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The latest news, food for thought, recipes you’ll love, great advice on everything from raising kids to nurturing bees, plus videos designed to entertain, educate and enlighten. If you’d like to find out what’s on our mind – or let us know what’s on yours -- this is place to be.

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Farewell to a Friend

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Anita Roddick, the crusading entrepreneur who used the Body Shop chain of cosmetics stores she founded to promote causes like ending animal testing and supporting the environment, died in Chichester, England, on Monday. She was 64. The cause was a brain hemorrhage, her family said.

–The New York Times, September 12, 2007

That sucks. Goodbye, Anita.

I remember sitting with her in San Francisco at the Co-Op America Green Festival, they were raising money to add a Chicago location to the event schedule. She jumped up and said, “I’ll contribute $10,000 if Jeffrey will.” What was I supposed to say?

Her passion new no bounds and she was willing to do what ever it took to support what she believed in. Twisting arms was always OK as long as it was in the pursuit of a greater good. Anita was a mentor, advisor, role model and source of great inspiration. Our shared beliefs created a bond that withstood the test of time. It was almost 20 years ago when I first visited her and Gordon at their home in England. When a nasty reporter named John Entine attacked her in the early 90s I helped organize her defense. The world will miss her, I will miss her. We need many more Anita Roddicks. Unfortunately they are far and few between.

With great love,

Jeffrey

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Green Around the Edges

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Author: the Inkslinger

Meet Kimberly Paulk, today's guest blogger for a Wednesday. Kimberly says she spends her time writing, enjoying her family, and engaging in the noble pursuit of trying to figure out how to stop screwing up the planet for our kids.

As an (almost) daily reader of The Inspired Protagonist, I finally decided to create a blog specific to my neck of the woods – Charlotte, North Carolina. The focus is being green…or at least, greener than you were the day, week or month before. I look at this as a journey, and I’m not “there” yet. I think there are a lot of people like me, trying to live a little more consciously but perhaps not quite sure how to do it. Green Around The Edges – Charlotte is for those folks, who are just trying to figure it out as they go along. The amount of information out there about the environment, along with the chorus of “don’t do this” and “never do that” can be overwhelming, and that can lead to apathy. So as I take baby steps, I share my progress and resources here in Charlotte with my blog audience, and hopefully we’ll all arrive at our destination together - and on time.

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If You Have Your Nails Done Read This!

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While I never have, I know many who make it a weekly ritual to visit a nail salon to get painted.

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Making Good Things Bloom

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here's the first guest post of the week, this one from Inspired Protagonist Christina Frutiger of Gig Harbor, Washington...

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Back to the Future

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This weekend my family and I returned to New York City for a four-month stay after 15 years in Vermont. Our move was prompted by having two of our three children attend New York University this Fall. Our youngest daughter will spend the semester at the local Rudolf Steiner School.

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Media Madness

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Author: the Inkslinger

For our next trick, we will take a single small company and make it appear very nearly almost everywhere at once…

Here we are taking 2nd place in Cook’s Country magazine’s dishwashing liquid tests.

Last week, Jeffrey appeared on WOR radio’s Joan Hamburg Show in New York City. You can hear his segment here (scroll down to August 29, Hour 1).

Jeffrey is also featured on the Fast Company blog in this interview outtake from the magazine’s September cover story on Greenpeace’s Adam Werbach.

And in the strange world of product placement, ours have been getting placed on Hollywood sets left and right. You have to look closely at the background scenery, (kitchen sets are usually the places to scrutinize) and having a DVR for pausing purposes helps, but our stuff has been playing a minor supporting role on The New Adventures of Old Christine not to mention Jeanne Tripplehorn's kitchen on the HBO series Big Love, as well as the countertops of Rachael Ray and Bravo's Top Chef.

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Energy Changes

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Author: the Inkslinger

Almost three weeks ago, my family moved to a new home. As much as I love it here, I’m finding that I’m missing our old home’s energy systems, which were fairly sustainable from a climate crisis perspective. Over the course of our decade-long occupancy, we had gradually replaced all the existing appliances with new EnergyStar models, and all the lighting with CF sources. We phased out our furnace and learned how to heat entirely with wood, a renewable local resource we burned in a catalytic stove. Our hot water came from electricity, which in Vermont comes largely from our one nuke plant and from Hydro-Quebec. (I know both of those sources have some serious environmental problems associated with them, problems for which I’ve actually been arrested protesting, but from a carbon POV, they’re alright.).

Now we do it all with oil. And because the new place has no basement, the furnace sits in a utility room directly behind my home office. Whenever anyone runs the hot water longer than 15 seconds or so, I hear it kick it in and burn, burn, burn. The carbon counter in my head starts spinning. It’s driving me completely nuts, and the heat’s not even on yet. Combine that with old appliances, too much track lighting, and a wood stove so ancient it looks like Ben Franklin himself built it, and I’ve suddenly got an energy problem.

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Freaky Friday

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Author: the Inkslinger

One thing you can always say about Nature… She’s never lacks for curveballs. Here’s a fresh handful of mystery (one of my favorite things) to keep our sense of wonder alive as we say so long to summer.

First up, the wake-up call of all time. I simply cannot fathom the size of the mug of coffee I’d need if this were me.

Question: if you did snooze that long, would you have nightmares like this this?

Finally, there’s nothing like a big scary space hole to get one’s holiday weekend off to a rip roaring start.

Happy Labor Day, kids…

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