Linda Kelly

Linda Kelly

It’s been a brutal winter for most of the U.S., and for many countries around the world. Perhaps it’s time for a respite – time to dream of warm, sunny weather and complete relaxation. What better way than to ease back into a comfy string hammock. Here’s the perfect antidote, and an incredible story from one of our newest partners. In the spring of 2010, Joe Demin set out to Thailand, the “land of smiles”, to visit friends. Four flights and two boat rides later in the 9500-mile trans-global journey, Joe found himself on the island of Ko Lanta, in search of a map that would lead to the island’s most beautiful areas. The map was available at the hammock shop in the Old Town section of Ko Lanta. In the process of locating the map, Joe stumbled upon the beautiful, brightly colored string hammocks made by the Mlabri people of Thailand. His first experience in the hammocks sealed his interest. “It wrapped around like a velvet glove, like a hug from mom when you were little and had a long tiring day.” And the story of the Mlabri people intensified Joe’s resolve.  A nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe with no concept of land ownership or relationship with the outside world, the Mlabri were known as the “The People of the Yellow Leaves” after their simple huts covered with interwoven banana leaves that dry and change to a bright yellow color. Their way of life was devastated as the lands around them were claimed and deforested. By 2009, their numbers had dwindled to just 300 and they were listed on the Endangered Languages list. Without the benefit of land or education, they were in dire straits. Impoverished and forced to work in slave-like conditions or faux “tourist shows” that charged visitors for a chance to view their “primitive ways”, the future appeared bleak for the Mlabri.  Then, they were discovered by a missionary and a Swiss textile engineer who taught them basic business savvy and helped them adapt their natural weaving skills into specially designed hammock weaves. The beauty and comfort of the Mlabri Hammocks caught the eye of various visitors over the years, establishing a consumer following and several sales outposts  in Asia.  To read more about the Mlabri Tribe and their inspiring story of survival and recovery, please see the article on ShoestringVentures. When Joe heard the story of the people who created the hammocks, he knew that he wanted to go further than simply bringing a Mlabri hammock back to Boston. The story of the Mlabri people inspired his conviction to create the Yellow Leaf Hammock brand and create positive social change through sales of products that positively contributed to a sustainable lifestyle for the Mlabri Tribe. Seeing an amazing, high-quality product, created in a sustainable setting, justified his belief that a profitable company could succeed by benefiting the greater good. Yellow Leaf aims to use social entrepreneurship to help endangered ethnic groups secure a footing into the future -- all from the comfort of a hammock.  The Yellow Leaf Hammocks are functional works of art.  Their brightly colored fibers and intricate woven patterns contribute to the beauty, strength and comfort of Yellow Leaf Hammocks.  The master weavers who handcraft each hammock take great pride in their work and have engineered these to be the most comfortable hammocks on the market!  Every hammock is produced in a healthy and family oriented environment and weavers are compensated fairly, earning double the average Thai wage.  Joe has committed to offset the emissions created by shipping the hammocks from Thailand to his Boston warehouse, then on to his customers, by donating to and supporting our reforestation projects. “Do Good, Relax” and the Thai phrase “Sabai, Sabai” (translated roughly as No Worries!) are the key phrases that guide Yellow Leaf.  And Joe anointed himself the “Chief Relaxation Officer”, to be sure that the message gets across!  “Experience a vacation right outside your door” and treat yourself to the comfort, relaxation and escape of a Yellow Leaf Hammock.
In the Spring of 2007, WVO Management was established as Houston's first green waste vegetable oil recycler, providing safe, clean and timely removal of waste vegetable oil and creating new local green-collar jobs. Their mission is to contribute 100% of the usable oils to local recycling efforts that provide the greatest environmental re-use. WVO purchases waste vegetable oil from Greater Houston and Greater Lufkin restaurants and commercial kitchens/bakeries. Their recycling program meets all local, state and federal laws and guidelines.  Their customers receive carefree and professional waste vegetable oil removal services, and gain the benefit of participating in an environmentally friendly recycling program. From the start, WVO was built as a company that is conscientious about their impact on the environment. From the recycled paper on which their business cards are printed to the green energy used to power their workshop and offices, WVO is making business choices that make sense for their bottom line and for the future of our planet, by leveraging sustainability for profitability.  Part of WVO's environmental commitment includes supporting the mission and projects of through their CarbonFree® Partnership.  And the folks at WVO proudly proclaim that yes, they are tree-hugging capitalists. WVO also encourages their employees to be active participants in the community and affords them the balance between family and work to succeed. And the WVO Management Charitable Endowment Fund hosts three programs designed for Cause Related Marketing Initiatives of WVO Management LLC and their Houston donor businesses. To learn more about WVO, their services and community support, click here.
Looking to settle down on the west coast and seeking the best in sustainable living there? For over 20 years, Pacific Living Properties has been providing quality apartment homes to meet the needs of their residents. The owner-managed, family-run business is committed to offering an exceptional living environment to residents in their properties throughout California and Washington. Pacific Living Properties also strive to promote sustainable living practices in the communities in which their residents live and work. They are committed to reducing the ecological footprint of their communities and creating sustainable living environments. Through a commitment to eco-friendly practices, residents enjoy better health and a healthier planet when living at a Pacific Living Properties community. The communities are committed to the Be Green program which actively pursues creating healthier environments while reducing overall environmental impact. They work with local government, universities, non-profits and the private sector to help create sustainable lifestyles and business practices to protect our environment. The Pacific Living Community solar-powered headquarters is equipped with a rooftop 10,200 watt photo-voltaic solar energy generating system, which is 100% noise and emissions-free, producing 15,161 kWh of electricity per year. Pacific Living Properties is continually looking for opportunities to incorporate solar and other renewable energy solutions into their offices and apartment communities. And Pacific Living Communities promotes its Green Actions for Green Benefits from various energy efficiency and conservation initiatives, providing its residents with a listing of the benefits they receive from the Green Actions that Pacific Living Communities pursues on their behalf. One of these benefits includes a carbon offsetting program with, which helps Pacific Living Properties to offset operational emissions that cannot be eliminated by supporting’s energy efficiency, renewable energy and reforestation projects that help to reduce greenhouse gases. Pacific Living Communities also provides suggestions and recommendations to its residents about ways they can conserve and contribute to environmentally sustainable living. Their site advises that “small changes in your everyday actions can save you money, improve your health and meaningfully reduce your environmental impact”, and provides ways to conserve water, energy, reduce waste and “buy and clean green”. Learn more about the green living initiatives and welcoming communities at Pacific Living Properties, and take advantage of their “fall into savings” $100 off any new rental special offer through November 30th.
Ready for the trip of a lifetime, the adventure you’ve always wanted to pursue?  The great folks at Wild Planet Adventures have crafted once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences you’ll never forget! Started in 1991 by an expert wildlife guide with a passion for nature travel and its power to transform lives, the Wild Planet Adventures eco-tours have received broad acclaim by creating extraordinary experiences that deliver the ultimate adventures for wildlife enthusiasts. Every aspect of these Ultimate Wildlife eco-tours is designed to increase the odds of wildlife sightings, with truly “off the beaten path” destinations, expert naturalist guides and special nocturnal wildlife activities. Wild Planet’s guides are naturalists, biologists, or leaders in their field, such as the legendary master guide Koky Porras in Costa Rica, who has helped train many of Monteverde Cloudforest’s world-class guides.  The many intimate encounters with wildlife leave travelers breathless with wonder, a constant reminder that life is precious, and create experiences that inspire, exhilarate and enlighten. Wild Planet Adventures offers a range of tours for individual and group travel, including their signature “Ultimate Wildlife” eco-tour in 10 different countries.  These specially designed itineraries are full of “once-in-a-lifetime” wildlife encounters, rich with meaning and wonder.  A single moment can leave you profoundly and forever changed:
  • Witness an alpha-male monkey kissing a newborn baby on the forehead
  • Cuddle a three-toed sloth in your arms
  • Wander the cloudforest in search of the Resplendent Quetzal
  • Float silently down the headwaters of the Amazon river past an elusive jaguar
  • Dance underwater with playful Galapagos sea lions and penguins
  • Track tigers , leopards, elephants and rhinos deep in the magical forests of India
  • Listen to gibbons sing love duets to their mates from remote treehouses accessible only by ziplines
Wild Planet Adventure’s Ultimate Wildlife eco-tours currently offer unforgettable experiences in Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Galapagos, India, Panama, Peru, Thailand, Laos, Zambia (Africa), and a whale cruise in Baja California.  Their guest testimonials and acclaims such as Fodors’ “Top Ten Must-Do Trips” bear out the quality of the tours. Wild Planet Adventures has been named “One of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure. Wild Planet Adventures specializes in small, one-of-a-kind rainforest lodges, many of which have been featured on the Discovery Channel and top travel magazines. They include exciting tropical treehouses, biological stations, and wildlife refuges that offer breathtaking accommodations and outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities. And their commitment to sound eco-travel practices is evident in the careful planning and the quality and experience of the tour guides.  For Wild Planet Adventures, ecotourism is not just a marketing catch-phrase. It is a term used to describe ethical tourism that focuses on appreciation and preservation of a country's flora, fauna, ecosystems and culture.   The basic idea behind ecotourism is that visitors to a place can contribute to the environment and support the people who live in that environment.  If the local people can make a living from tourism, then there is less need to burn off the forest for food or hunt endangered animals for the price of their skins.  Wild Planet Adventures hires local guides and drivers and consciously contributes to the local economy, environment and community in each country in which they operate.  Your tourist dollars have a tangible influence in saving the environment, providing jobs, and raising environmental standards.  And all of Wild Planet Adventures trips are certified CarbonFree® by through donations made to offset the carbon footprint of all flights, vehicles, operating carbon of lodges, and the carbon costs of the resources consumed on each trip.  If you’re ready for the walk on the wild side that you’ve always promised yourself, check out the award-winning wildlife eco-tours with Wild Planet Adventures, and pack your backpack!
Facing the terror of teaching your teen to drive?  Want to learn from “anyone but Mom”?  If you live in the Manhattan Beach area of California, you’re in luck!  Behind the Wheel Driving School, family-owned and operated since 1994, teaches in-class and online driver education, driver training and brush-up lessons for teens, adults & seniors. BTW Driving School offers students the knowledge to develop safe and defensive driving skills that will last a lifetime. The lessons are taught by experienced personnel, who emphasize driver’s responsibility and the importance of traffic laws. Their lessons curriculum is extensive, detailed and engaging. Driving lessons are offered seven days a week, to meet all schedules. Parents of new teen drivers will have peace of mind, knowing that their child is in safe hands and being taught by the best. And Behind the Wheel Driving School adds a few lessons in environmentally-sound practices to their driving courses. “At Behind the Wheel Driving School, in addition to teaching our students safe & legal driving practices, we believe it is our duty to be environmentally responsible. Additionally, we feel that we can lead by example in our community, which will bring awareness of the value of making as little negative impact as possible on our mother earth,” says Ryan Stack, BTW Driving School Manager. “By making changes for the better, we are committed to developing sustainable business practices that improve our services & our facilities by making them more eco-friendly.”

In order to lead by example and take actions to fight climate change, the folks at Behind the Wheel Driving School:

  • set up their website to have the capability for customers to register and take driver education online;
  • recycle all aluminum, bottles, paper and other recyclable products used on-site;
  • print double-sided documents whenever possible;
  • recycle printer toner cartridges;
  • increase the use of local services to maintain vehicles; and 
  • offset their remaining carbon footprint with, to provide carbon neutral driving lessons (note the bumper sticker).                                                                                                                                                   
Behind the Wheel Driving School is also being environmentally responsible by only servicing their local community, within a five-mile radius of their office location, rather than driving a long distance (burning more fossil fuels and creating more pollution than necessary). To assist with this effort, they have created local websites to make sure customers are aware of driving education services offered in their community. The primary website is but they offer other local sites for Redondo, Manhattan Beach and El Segundo.
If the Royal Wedding today got you dreaming of the perfect setting for your wedding, consider some of these lovely locations, fit for royalty…or a down-home eco-wedding for more casual nuptials, if that suits your style. Imagine your wedding day surrounded by your closest family and friends, magnificent gardens and a backdrop of blue mountain skies, serene forest and flowing creeks, creating memories that will last a lifetime. The Twenty Mile House signature eco-estate wedding package offers you all this and more. This Northern California venue features spectacular Eco-Wedding packages and specializes in hosting ecologically minded green weddings. Your special day will feature local organic and sustainable farm fresh food, expertly crafted organic wedding cake or desserts, your choice of beautiful flowers including local and native options, inviting local hospitality from some of the friendliest people on earth, all set in the spectacular and environmentally friendly setting of the historic Twenty Mile House Eco-Estate. The Twenty Mile house strives to be a role model in implementing sustainable business practices to enhance the positive impact on the world, preserve the historic Twenty Mile House and to give back to the surrounding local community. To achieve these goals, the Twenty Mile House has established its own Eco Mission, including a pledge to operate carbon free. Nestled along the banks and brushed by the gentle breezes of the Chesapeake Bay, the Inn at Tabbs Creek beckons with a promise of pure relaxation in an eco-focused environment of country living and wholesome dining, surrounded by nature’s beauty. Innkeeper-owners Greg and Lori Dusenberry established the Inn three years ago, inspired by their passion for the environment, organic gardening and farming, sustainable living and green building practices. Guests at the Inn at Tabbs Creek are treated to the luxury and comfort of the Inn’s environmentally focused and lovingly restored accommodations and amenities, including outdoor swimming pool, bayside dock, and a myriad of outdoor activities. Sumptuous meals are prepared from on-premises organic gardens and locally grown fare. The beauty of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay surrounds the Inn, the perfect setting for nature-filled nuptials. As you're making your wedding plans, be sure to consider the environmental impact of your day. and WeddingWire make it easy to design a customized carbon offsetting program for the wedding festivities, guest travel and your honeymoon. Your future awaits you, as do spectacular settings for your special day.  Create the eco-wedding of your dreams, and receive the royal treatment.
What better way for a quick, healthy and satisfying midday warm-up than enjoying a miso soup, brought to you by Edward & Sons Trading Company.  The folks at Edward & Sons travel the world to taste and evaluate regional foods, to source the finest ingredients, and to partner with the most reliable farmers, packers and food artisans to create a unique range of natural and organic specialties. They began in 1978 with instant Miso-Cup®, the natural vegetarian soup and seasoning. Featuring simple, wholesome, freeze-dried ingredients in a handy pocket-sized pouch, just add a little hot water to create savory, satisfying soup-in-seconds™ anywhere. Miso-Cup® has nourished people on the go for over three decades, the first of many Edward & Sons’ items exemplifying their motto “Convenience Without Compromise.” Miso-Cup® soups comes in several flavors:
  • Golden Vegetable Miso-Cup® makes a light and flavorful soup garnished simply with onions and parsley;
  • Savory Miso-Cup® with Seaweed offers full-bodied flavor with the mineral rich addition of Wakame Seaweed;
  • Organic Traditional Miso-Cup® with Tofu; and
  • Reduced Sodium Miso-Cup® which features 68% less sodium.
The newest flavor addition, Japanese Restaurant Style Miso-Cup® is made with organic miso and boasts a full bodied flavor that will remind you of your favorite Japanese restaurant.  Whichever Miso-Cup® you choose, you will be enjoying delicious soup in seconds! Stop by the Edward & Sons website and take advantage of their February 20% discount on all Miso-Cup® flavors. Edward & Sons’ Trading Company, Inc. was born out of a commitment to create delicious natural foods featuring convenient preparation in step with busy, health-aware lifestyles.  All of the foods throughout their family of brands contain no ingredients derived from meat, or fowl or fish, and most of their items are suitable for vegans.  Check out the fully array of healthy, environmentally-conscious products available at Edward & Sons Trading Company.
Ever found yourself in the furniture-buying quagmire, staring at one of the furniture industry’s behemoth showrooms with homogeneous products, thinking there has to be a better way to furnish a house, office or apartment? Well so did the creative team that founded Viesso. Most furniture companies present their products in an outdated and inefficient fashion, and consumers were forced to settle for products that are generic, whether or not the pieces fit their specific needs. Viesso brings an innovative process to furniture design and creation that allows for maximum customization, with a website and more efficient showrooms as the core of the company. Viesso allows you to create custom furniture on their innovative website: select the model that suits your sense of style and is the right size for your space. From there, you pick from a large variety of options for fabric, filling, finishes, legs, and more to create your own custom piece, many of which are made from ‘green’ materials. You can price out all the options available on the website. Once ordered, your furniture piece is ready to ship nationwide in about 3 weeks. The aim at Viesso is to be the best solution for modern furniture, on and offline. While all their quality products are created and sold on their website, they support the website offering with a showroom and honest design help to allow people to make educated (and stylish) decisions. By blending customization, modern technology, smart design, and sustainable living, Viesso offers a refreshing way for you to furnish your space. While creating Viesso, the founders aligned themselves with other companies that share the same passion for the environment. All the products designed and produced by Viesso as made to be as “green” as possible. Check the “How It’s Green” tab at the bottom of every product page to see specific details for each individual product. Viesso carries its environmental focus through its overall operations, from small showrooms to reliance on technology and electronic communication. All products are custom-built, so there is little to no waste, and there is no large inventory of products to store, like most companies, because each piece is custom-built when ordered. This makes Viesso’s manufacturing process very efficient and reduces the impact on the environment in terms of materials used. Viesso also offsets a portion of its operational emissions through’s CarbonFree™ Business Partnership program. “We liked the way the programs were setup, and believed in the cause they [] are focused on. In addition, we got a good feeling after contacting them initially,” comments Travis Nagle, one of Viesso's founders. You owe it to yourself to experience the unique furniture selection, design and purchasing experience that Viesso has to offer. Visit their website at
Thursday, 18 August 2011 15:58

Vers Loves Wood (and Trees!)

Looking for beautiful, acoustically-sound cases for your technology devices?  Check out the collection of wood-crafted accessories at Vers. Founded in 2007, Vers produces a unique line of sound systems and mobile device accessories, with a particular emphasis on pursuing environmental sustainability in everything that they do. Unlike other products on the market, Vers’ line is crafted entirely from sustainably-sourced hardwoods and Bamboo. “Wood is simply the perfect material to work with – it’s beautiful, it feels great and has amazing acoustic properties. The best part, though, is that wood is one of the only truly renewable resources on the planet”, says David Laituri, Vers’ founder and CEO. “Wood – and trees – are very important to us, so we replant 100 trees for every tree we use in production. Our tree (re)planting programs are our way of giving back much more then we need.” Vers’ commitment to sustainability and CO2 reduction doesn’t stop there. In addition to sustainable wood sourcing and their deep commitment to reforestation projects, they also seek out the most energy efficient components, recycled paper packaging materials and have even eliminated packaging twist ties (7 miles so far!). “In reality, there is no such thing as a ‘green’ product – every product requires materials and energy to create and requires effort to recycle at the end of its useful life. We see it as our mission to reduce all three of these wherever possible, making maximum use of what is already here, using as little new material as possible and replacing it wherever we can. In the end, it’s the combination of hundreds of little things that add up to a big difference” says David. Vers became a CarbonFree Partner in 2008, and through close monitoring of their annual carbon footprint, has been able to offset more CO2 than their organization creates, effectively making them ‘carbon negative’ since their birth. Vers’ preferred offset option? You guessed it: reforestation.  David emphasizes the point: “Becoming a CarbonFree Partner is an important part of our impact reduction commitment, and the re-forestation option is a perfect fit with our mission. It sends a clear signal to our retailers and customers who we are, what we’re about and what we believe in as a company.” So check out for beautifully designed wooden cases and accessories for your devices that are attractive, durable, acoustically-superior and environmentally-sound. You’ll realize the ‘sound sound’ difference.
Monday, 07 February 2011 15:49

Three Steps to a CarbonFree Valentine's Day

As the annual celebration of love draws near, we’ve got the scoop on exceptional Valentine’s Day gifts, discounts and special offers that squeeze in a little extra love for the environment, too, as CarbonFree® Certified partners.

Step One: Flowers

The Goods: Flower Petal Why We Love Them: Flower Petal's mission is to make sure each flower arrangement, plant and gift is delivered on time, every time, and exactly the way it is requested. View their entire Valentine's Day collection and make that perfect selection. Their flowers are professionally arranged and delivered by a local florist. Bonus: Same day delivery is available until 2pm in the recipient's time zone. The Goods: Bloom Nation Why We Love Them: Bloom Nation shares the love by contributing 10% of any order to support the charity of the customer’s choosing.  And Bloom Nation has made a commitment to offset the carbon emissions for every flower delivery through Bonus: Same day delivery on all their bouquets. The Goods: Organic Bouquet Why We Love Them: Organic Bouquet partners with artisans and growers who adhere to rigorous U.S. and international standards of sustainability. They obtain products from companies who provide safe and just working conditions and a livable wage. With every purchase from Organic Bouquet, you are improving the life of a grower or artisan and protecting the environment for generations to come. Bonus: Organic Bouquet is pleased to offer delivery on Monday February 14th for Valentine's Day.

Step Two: Treats

The Goods: Organic Baskets Why We Love Them: Organic Baskets is a family owned and operated business dedicated to selling only natural and organic gift baskets from the best orchards and farms in the world. Bonus: Receive 10% off Valentine’s Day orders through their online coupon. The Goods: Drexelius Chocolates Why We Love Them: Drexelius Chocolates is your online source for uncommonly good chocolate.  The folks at Drexelius Chocolates love wonderful chocolate, care about the world we live in and support causes that promote healthy, sustainable living. Bonus: Drexelius Chocolates offers free shipping on orders over $25 and make donations raised through sales of chocolate to selected charitable causes. The Goods: Mondizen Why We Love Them: For the ultimate in romantic gifts, why not prepare original French macaroons for your loved one?  Mondizen is a purveyor of unique French goods for delivery all over the world. Bonus: For Valentine’s Day, Mondizen is offering its scrumptious strawberry-filled macaroons, directly from France but with English baking instructions. The Goods: Grounds for Change Why We Love Them: Grounds for Change is a certified organic coffee roaster specializing in 100% Fair Trade Coffee.  They are the first coffee roaster in the US to complete the rigorous third-party certification process necessary to obtain the CarbonFree® Certified Product label. Bonus: Newly on sale, select their special Valentine’s Day gift box for the perfect coffee-lover’s treat.

Step Three: Cards

The Goods: Paper Culture Why We Love Them:  Paper Culture offers eco-friendly stationery on FSC-certified 100% post consumer recycled paper, including all envelopes and packaging. Paper Culture strives to minimize their overall impact on the environment and they plant a tree in a US national forest with every order. Bonus:  Save 20% sitewide in celebration of Valentine's Day. Enter code SENDLOVE at checkout. The Goods: Why We Love Them: works hard to ensure their products are not only stylish, but also eco-conscious. From using recycled paper and eco-friendly digital printing, to maintaining FSC-certified printing facilities and partnering with to offset their carbon footprint, they are doing their part to protect the environment. Bonus: offers carbon-free shipping and a special 15% off Valentine's Day cards.
Page 3 of 14