Friday, July 8, 2011

Let's Make Phoenix An Even Greener City With Some Blue Bins

Good morning Greenies!  It sure has been a while since my last post and I truly apologize for that.  Between going back to school, moving across the country, writing/editing two novels and watching my Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup life has been pretty much non-stop action and I just had to let a few things fall by the wayside.

Sadly Green Leaf Reviewer was one of those things.

But now we're moved to Phoenix, Arizona, hockey season is over and I haven't started my next class yet so it seems as good a time as any to toss out a mini update on all things Green in the Southwest!

When we arrived at our apartment complex I was a little sad to see that there weren't separate dumpsters in the complex for recycling.  Because we have so much stuff from moving (newspaper being the real biggie -- the boxes will be stored and given to my sister when she buys her house to move yea!) i was hopeful we would be able to make use of the blue bin for a good chunk of it.

Back in Boston, on average, we had at least double the ammount in our recycle bin to the regular trash bin.  Not having a recycle dumpster was going to present a new challenge for us.  Sadly we had no choice but to hate the environment for a couple days because 1) We had no internet access to locate the closest transfer station and 2) The building management couldn't give us any info on where it was.

Really?  In this day and age I would think that there would be bins everywhere and if not at least there would be information available.  but sadly I was mistaken.

I got relly tired of hating the environment by throwing away all kinds of stuff that I don't even want to talk about tossing so I finally started researching where the closest transfer/recycling drop off location is to me.  Want to know what I found?  A whole lot of nothing unfortunately.

I ended up on the City of Phoenix website, I meandered my way over the the Environment and Sustainability page, and then I found the Recycling Information link was broken.  Bummer.  Instead I found my way to the Green Phoenix site where I learned all kinds of great information on how Phoenix is striving to be the single most sustainable city in America.

Woah, that's a tall order for sure but they have some amazing initiatives they'll be addressing in order to get there including retro fitting buildings with solar, installing more efficient city lighting and a restoration of a huge stretch of the Salt River (a popular vacation destination among other things). 

Of course then it seems totally ironic to me that they're on such a Green kick and I can't even recycle my plastics in my own complex.  Nor can I find a bit of information where I can even take my recyclables to be dropped off locally.  I started on my mission to find out if I could find out more.

The first order of business was to read every link on the page.  A huge resource of information but none pertaining to what I was currently looking for.  Next I located a pdf of what was acceptable to recycle.  At the bottom of that I found an email address which I submitted my question of where to find a transfer station.

And I figured while I was at it I might as well inquire about how to petition to get my community onto a regular recycling pick up rotation.  I mean what's the harm in that right?  An extra dumpster is no problem in a parking lot this size!

I came across the un-broken link of the Pollution Prevention and Recycling page and there is a terrific summary of information on what/why/how Phoenix recycles...just no where!

Hopefully I'll hear back from someone very soon because for as many phenomenal programs that the city is/has spent money initiating of late one of the most basic is lacking in information.  I'll keep the progress up to date and who knows, maybe I'll end up becoming a community activist after all!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Boston Bruins to Receive Merit Award from EPA

Direct from the Boston Bruins website, yesterday's honor of merit from the EPA as a team committed to bettering the environment truly is a wonderful achievement for the team. There are few events that I go to where I see, what appears to be, so much waste and to know that the Bruins are taking steps to help local people in need makes me so overjoyed to be a fan!

Here is the full text from the article (to read online please follow the link above):

BOSTON, MA – On Wednesday, May 11 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award the Boston Bruins with the Environmental Merit Award during a special ceremony in Boston’s Faneuil Hall beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Environmental Merit Award honors individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. Boston Bruins Foundation Director of Development Bob Sweeney will be accepting the award on behalf of the Bruins organization.

At the start of the 2010 -11 season, the Bruins joined the NHL’s green initiative and partnered with Rock and Wrap It Up! to help fight hunger throughout the United States and Canada. The Boston Bruins committed to work with Rock and Wrap it Up! to pack up all prepared but unsold concession food and give it to local shelters and places in need citywide. To date, the Bruins have donated 4,950 meals and 6,950 pounds of food to the Boston Rescue Mission. Including TD Garden’s contributions, a cumulative total of 15.5 tons of food has been donated to the Boston Rescue Mission.

The Rock and Wrap it Up! project was founded by Syd Mandelbaum, a forensic scientist who in 1991 combined his love of music with a passion for wiping out hunger by redistributing leftover food from rock concerts. The program now works with more than 150 bands, 200 schools and universities and 50 sports franchises. It has collected more than 100 million pounds of food to feed more than 200 million people.

19 environmental awards will be given to Massachusetts environmental groups, individuals, businesses, non-profit and government agencies in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as the EPA presents its annual Environmental Merit Awards for 2011.

The Merit Awards recognize valuable contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving and are a unique way that EPA can recognize individuals and groups that are making significant impacts on environmental quality in distinct ways.
For more informaton on any of the groups mentioned please visit their websites:

Boston Bruins
Rock and Wrap It Up!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Grownup Noise - This Time With Feeling

It’s no secret to readers of this here blog that The Grownup Noise is quickly moving up the ranks to one of my very favorite local bands. So when I got the 411 that they were releasing a new disc, it’s safe to say the anticipation for it was palpable. I was happy to tear off the shrink wrap and pop that baby right into my player the very day it arrived.

As expected, I was not let down.

This Time With Feeling was, as the title suggests, full of, well, feeling! Not to mention the band’s distinctive, signature sound. Lead singer and guitarist Paul Hansen put his pen to paper this time around and conjured up twelve songs with lyrics that provoke emotion from the listener, and that ethereal quality of musical reflection these hard working guys and gals have come to be known for.

Paul, along with cellist Katie Franich, bassist Adam Sankowski and drummer Aine Fujioka, (as well as Kyle Crane on drum and Todd Marston on accordian) spin their delicate, yet powerful, beats and strings into a blend of music that defies any labeling into one specific genre; their music truly has something for everybody to enjoy.

This album seriously crosses gender/genre/age/taste lines so smoothly I could play it for anyone and I guarantee they would find at least one track they love. But it isn't all over the place either. Like a runway show at fashion week, the songs stand alone yet still represent a cohesive collection.

When I loaded the disc into my iTunes it classifies as Alternative but there is an influence of jazz, urban/indie pop, folk and smooth summertime groove on every track of this album. Each member of the band (plus a host of featured guests) mixes it up among multiple instruments and vocal backing to bring the fullness of the entire band’s talent front and center; no matter what you call it, the thing is just plain great.

Right off the bat I recognized a couple songs as they were featured on their 2010 EP Shall We? including the lead off song “Strawmen” which was more than a pleasant way to ease right into this disc as if it was my favorite recliner chair. As I continued to listen my ears perked at three more songs from the EP -- “The Artist Type”, “Six Foot Solemn Oath” and “So It Goes”. It was fun to hear some grooves that I was already familiar with blend seamlessly into the additional eight tracks on the disc.

Then I got to track 9, “Just So You Know”. Within twenty seconds the words “this is a radio single” tumbled out of my mouth. And I mean it. I could picture hearing this song on just about any contemporary radio station and bopping along as I roll the windows down in the warm winds of spring. It’s a perfect song to drive to, to cook to, to dance to and to sing along with.

The lyrics are catchy, there’s that thing, that hook, that any radio song really needs, but it isn’t overtly in your face like some pop songs. They hug you with it and it washes over you like it’s your best friend and closest confidant. By the time I got to the end of the song it was like I’d already known it forever.

The last three tracks didn’t disappoint either and the final track, “Somehow We Escaped” is stripped down, ballad-esque and whimsical as Paul and a baritone guitar sweetly, and honestly, put you at ease with his utterly unique voice. You know, despite the fact that the lyrics are about anything but whimsical subjects.

And when it ends all you’ll want to do is start it over again from the beginning. Which I did. Immediately, and with a smile.

Where It All Began

My self proclaimed groupieness with this band started years ago, before I’d even heard a single note from even one of their instruments, when I found out they had converted a 30 some odd year old van to run on veggie oil and they were planning to use it to tour that very summer. The van, dubbed with the moniker Lorian (as taken directly from the side of the van), made two back to back summer tours and was put to rest before last year’s summer tour.

After speaking with Adam about why Lorian had to be put out to pasture I learned that, although veggie conversions are a great idea for bands, they’re still in the earliest stages of testing and, basically, the kinks were kind of outweighing the benefits.

That’s not to say the band is all about stomping on the planet now, quite the opposite! They’re still uber conscious, recycling on the road and keeping an eye on their fuel consumption by limiting the zig-zag of a typical tour. And that makes them even cooler in my book.

Where You Can See them Live

A kick off show for the release of This Time With Feeling is happening this Friday night at the Middle East Downstairs, right in Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tickets are insanely cheap, $12, and are likely to sell out quick because these folks have a pretty healthy local following.

(Hint, hint -- go buy your ticket now!)

But if you can’t make it to that show fear not! The band is on every social media network known to man -- Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and you can listen to their live music on YouTube, just search The Grownup Noise. Not to mention a schedule of appearances is updated regularly on their official website.

Trust me, buy this new disc, you will not be disappointed.