1. Check out the Joy of Living Less’ New Home Ec Challenge, where you’ll learn how to make everything from candles to cleaning products.

    Check out the Joy of Living Less’ New Home Ec Challenge, where you’ll learn how to make everything from candles to cleaning products.

  2. Considering composting? We’ve got the dirt on how to get started — plus, what you can compost and what you can’t!
The science of compost
How to start a compost pile in 4 steps
81 things you can compost
30 things you should never compost
How to become a composting guru

    Considering composting? We’ve got the dirt on how to get started — plus, what you can compost and what you can’t!

  3. We’re moving into month #2 in our Year of Living Simply! Join us to learn how to live greener and more simply and be happy doing it!

    We’re moving into month #2 in our Year of Living Simply! Join us to learn how to live greener and more simply and be happy doing it!

  4. Have a healthy, happy holiday season

    With Thanksgiving over, the holiday season is truly upon us, and MNN has some tips for your holiday preparations.

  5. Q&A with MNN’s Kimi Harris

    Kimi is a mom who shares nourishing recipes and sustainable-living tips.

    1. What inspires you to live a green lifestyle, and what kind of things do you do to go green?
    A lot of things inspire me. My children inspire me to go “green.” They provide the motivation to take care of myself (so I can be the energetic mother they need), and I desire to nourish them with good food and to minimize toxins, when possible. We eat mostly homemade food made from whole foods, grass-fed beef, and quality seafood and chicken. We minimize packaged foods, and we try to use the least amount of plastic as possible.

    2. How did you become interested in eco-friendly food?
    It started with health concerns of my own, and then my desire and interest in healthy foods grew as I had children. That naturally lead me into thinking how I could make wise choices in how I cooked and what I bought at the store.

    3. What’s one of your favorite healthy summer recipes?
    I love salads year round, but especially in the summertime. I really like sweet onion poppyseed dressing when paired with chicken and peaches over green lettuce.

    4. What food issue are you most concerned about?
    Hmmm… That’s a hard one. I am concerned about conventional meats, GMOs and a loss of traditional foods in our diets. By traditional foods, I mean foods and cooking/farming methods that we’ve been using for thousands of year that are sometimes being replaced with inferior “modern” foods: Packaged, frozen, refined foods with little nutritional value.

    5. What’s a good way to start greening your diet?
    Make your own food at home from scratch. You will eat better, avoid many preservatives and packaging and save money too.

    Check out Kimi’s blogs here.

  6. Q&A with MNN’s Starre Vartan

    Starre is an eco-fashionista and world traveler who blogs about sustainable style and green living.

    What inspires you to live a green lifestyle, and what kind of things do you do to go green?
    I’m inspired by the natural world. Whenever I’m outside — even if it’s in the city — I’m attuned to flowers blooming (I always stop and smell whatever flowers are available), bees buzzing and trees waving in the breeze. I grew up in the woods of the Hudson Valley and the beaches of Sydney, Australia, with a pretty unstructured schedule, so I spent most of my childhood reading and playing outside in the lakes and forests of the Northeast and the tidepools of the East Coast of Australia. I am always paying attention to my environment, so my green actions are about responding to whatever ecosystem I’m in. I pick up plastic when I’m near waterways (plastic is especially harmful to marine ecosystems), clean my house and body with nontoxic products and take public transportation as often as I can, and I have been vegetarian for almost 20 years now. I also love to eat local, grow some of my own produce, rescue animals and buy used stuff instead of new.

    How would you describe your personal style?
    I love gorgeous fabrics and details, so I tend toward interesting prints (African, Irish and Indian are recent faves) and unusual or bright colors. I like elements that look handmade like crocheting and embroidery and those with a sculptural element. My style is a mix of global nomad, NYC street style, classic Yankee-prep and bohemian. These days it’s not hard to find vintage or new sustainably-made pieces that fit into those categories. I love to travel and find that finely knit organic cottons, silks and alpacas do the best job of keeping up with me.

    What’s your best natural beauty tip?
    Less is more. I recently switched to washing my face with organic, unprocessed coconut oil — it is both a cleanser and a moisturizer, and it offers mild sun protective benefits. My skin looks truly awesome these days. I also eat lots of veggies — the key to great skin is 90 percent from the inside — and fruits and veggies offer antioxidants and hydration that make skin look wonderful. I’m also a fan of natural oils like argan for taming hair and I always use natural makeup — whatever you put on your skin gets into your body, after all.

    What will be eco-fashionable this summer?
    It’s all about prints, prints and more prints. Color, dynamic prints, mixing them up, and not being afraid of what you wear. That’s what’s on tap for summer. 

    What advice do you have for someone who’s looking for ways to green their lifestyle?
    My advice is to always start with something close to home that matters to you. Do you love to work out? Then make sure you are bringing your reusable water bottle and buying low-impact sneakers (New Balance makes cool ones) and workout gear (Prancing Leopard makes great stuff). Or if you are a mom or dad, teach your kids about gardening, astronomy or something that puts them — and you — in contact with the natural world. If you love to travel, think about how you can lower your impact there by taking a train instead of a plane, packing lighter, or bringing food with you instead of buying packaged stuff.

  7. Q&A with MNN’s Michael d’Estries

    Michael is a pop-culture expert who blogs about green celebrities, arts and culture.

    What inspires you to live a green lifestyle?
    Part of it is curiosity and the challenge of changing the standard of thinking I grew up with. Our society is a modern marvel, but it’s also done an unfortunately good job of separating us from nature. It’s fun becoming educated on green alternatives and living a life that’s more in harmony with the world. Rediscovering green and healthy habits that were a part of living centuries ago has also been a pleasure. It just feels right.
    How did you become interested in the green aspects of Hollywood?
    I’ve always been a fan of Hollywood entertainment, but the Internet really opened my eyes to just how much the rest of the world is, too. Back when I started writing in 2005, I would get excited to see 5,000 hits on an article I’d produced on green energy, but blown away by the tens of thousands that were being generated by celebrity-focused stories. I decided to use a honeypot approach and see if I could combine the two to spread greater awareness. In conjunction with my business partner Rebecca Carter, that’s how ecorazzi.com was born.
    Who are some of the greenest celebrities?
    In terms of walking the walk, I give tremendous credit to Ed Begley Jr., Daryl Hannah, and James Cameron. Nearly every aspect of their lives holds true to something rooted in sustainability. Ambassadors that I believe do a wonderful job at working their butts off for green initiatives include Leonardo DiCaprio, Ian Somerhalder, Jack Johnson and Ellen Page. These people are not only committed but also passionate and educated about the topics they support. You’d be surprised (or not) at how often that’s not the case with celebrity spokespeople.
    What are some of the eco-trends in Hollywood right now?
    In terms of transportation, electric vehicles are replacing hybrids as the new badge of eco-cred. More celebrities are also getting hands-on involved with organizations — traveling around the world to places like the Congo, Uganda, Brazil, etc. to see firsthand how the initiatives they’re fronting are directly helping. Embracing a “greener” diet is also hugely popular — with everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton, Russell Brand and even Ozzy Osbourne shifting to plant-based diets.
    What kind of things do you do to live a sustainable lifestyle on a daily basis?
    I live on a farm, so a lot of what I practice goes into making my homestead a better place. Composting, recycling, conserving water, local energy from wood, etc.

    What advice do you have for someone who’s looking for ways to go green?
    Just try one thing at a time. The whole green thing can be overwhelming, but it’s important to realize that it’s OK to do it for selfish reasons and not just some “save the planet” mantra. Want good health? Try incorporating more veggies into your meals. Want more cash in your wallet? Try biking more, using mass transportation or investing in an energy audit for your home. I always say that the Earth will recover just fine once we’re gone, but going green is about making our own lives, right now, that much better. The fact that the environment benefits too is a wonderful plus. rful plus. 

  8. Q&A with MNN’s Siel Ju

    Siel is a Hollywood socialite with a Ph.D who blogs about health and beauty.

    What inspires you to live a green lifestyle, and what kind of things do you do to go green?

    Honestly, I’m most strongly inspired by rather selfish reasons — like better health and a happier life for myself. Sure, I could burn gas fighting traffic and parking at a conventional supermarket to get less-than-fresh, semi-tasteless produce shipped from far, far away while shivering in the always ice-cold air conditioned store. But biking to the local farmers market, where I can spend a pleasant morning in the Southern California sun chatting with fellow Angelenos and sampling flavorful in-season treats (free!) seems like a no brainer.

    What are some of the strangest/most interesting things you’ve done or blogged about for MNN?

    One strange and scary blog post that comes to mind is unfortunately a sad one about the mind-blowing melange of plastic junk found in the stomach of a single sea turtle.

    What’s your best natural beauty tip?

    Eat your veggies — period.

    (Eating vegetables may make you more attractive.)

    What will be eco-fashionable this summer?

    Nude sandals

    What advice do you have for someone who’s looking for ways to green their lifestyle?

    Join a local group, or at the very least, get out to local green events and get to know your green neighbors face to face. That’ll help you stay motivated and energized about making every day Earth Day — while giving you a continuous source of ideas to keep greening your life and your community at large.

    What do you like best about blogging for MNN?

    The variety. Green affects all aspects of life, and I think blogging for MNN helps me see the interconnectedness of the disparate green ideas and subcultures.

    Read Siel’s blog for the best tips on natural beauty, eco-fashion and green living.

  9. Q&A with MNN’s Matt Hickman

    Matt is an eco-living expert who blogs about how to go green at home.

    What inspires you to live a green lifestyle, and how did you become an ‘eco-living expert’?

    I should confess that before I was a green blogger or any kind of “eco-living expert”  (I like to think of myself as an eco-living “helper”), I was a design-focused journalist with a knack for trend-spotting. While attending the New School’s MFA Creative Writing program, I covered travel, fashion and design for a magazine, but it wasn’t until I graduated that — by complete chance — I became involved with sustainability. Essentially, green found me and I quickly became immersed.

    What kind of things do you do to go green at home?

    Many of the things that I blog about I can’t actually do myself because I’m on a blogger’s budget and live in a shared rental apartment in Brooklyn. So when it comes to organic gardening, home solar and improvement projects, my hands are tied. Instead, I focus on practical, low-hanging fruit actions.

    I’ve always been super-vigilant about keeping chemicals out of my home and have long used natural cleaning products and personal care items. I’m somewhat finicky when it comes to home furnishings and opt for heirloom-quality stuff, locally and handmade goods, and select vintage items in lieu of cheap, plastic, made-in-China crap.

    I’ve also experimented with line-drying clothing on my roof, and I’d love to start capturing rainwater to feed my many houseplants, although I don’t think my super would be too keen on this idea. I’d like not to get evicted anytime in the near future, thank you very much.

    You blog about a lot of interesting green inventions. What’s the most innovative idea you’ve come across that you’d use yourself? What’s the strangest?

    After admiring it for months, I purchased the Plumen, a “designer” CFL bulb and I love it. I’m also obsessed with ANDREA, a plant-based air purifier and the Dyson Air Multiplier, although I haven’t used either of these somewhat pricey items. Although they’re aren’t gadgets per se, I love the low-waste packaging concepts behind Berry+ laundry soap and Seventh Generation’s 4X Laundry Detergent. The strangest innovations have been a line of robotic home furnishings with microbial fuel cells that are powered by the flesh of household pests. Fascinating but also pretty gross.

    What advice do you have for someone looking for ways to go green at home?

    This may seem cliché, but start small and have patience. Next winter, trying turning the thermostat down a couple of notches. And buy recycled content toilet paper — your tender behind will eventually toughen up and forgive you for taking away the cushy, virgin pulp stuff. 

    What do you like best about blogging for MNN?

    I like many things, but perhaps what I like best is being able to promote the good, green deeds of people and businesses that are local to me. There’s a lot happening in my neighborhood — green housepainters, sustainable furniture designers, organic urban farms, etc. — and I love that I don’t have to stray too far to find inspirational material.

    Read Matt’s blog and stay informed on all things green and homey.