Greening Paris: Hotel Gavarni In The Parisian Chic 16th Arrondissement

Hotel Gavarni is the greenest little hotel in Paris. But you wouldn't know it unless you a) did your research a b) took some time to have a conversation with hotel manager Xavier Moraga, Hotel Gavarni's own eco-chic Parisian.

Tucked away just off Rue du Passy in the chic shopping district of the 16th arrondissement, this 25 room hotel is luxurious and at the same time offers an easy and relaxing charm that is both welcoming and discreet...and eco-friendly. It carries the European Eco-Label rating, equivalent to North America's Green Keys.

The staff is there to help with all your requests, whether that's picking you up at the airport in a hybrid Prius, getting you instantly connected to their complimentary Wi-Fi or guiding you on how to make the 5 minute walk to the Musee' de la Mode at the Trocadero or the 10 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, they'll do so graciously and with good manners. They'll also readily engage you in conversations about the state of solar paneling on buildings in Paris (problematic because many of the buildings are heritage or historical) and in gray water management, a topic often reserved for the most sincere eco-ists.

Parisian Green Philosophy

Xavier Moraga's green philosophy is to show guests how easy – and subtle – it is to be green in our every day lives and thereby have a big impact on the environment.

He believes that talking about ecology in general, not backed up by actions, no matter how small, and “guilting” people into ecology is not the way to go. Not if you want to see results. The better way is to lead by example and to make those examples enjoyable.

“In Paris we can't change the facade of buildings. We have no right touch the facade, add solar panels, change the windows, things like that. We can't do structural changes but we can do systemic changes. A hotel this size is like a house. All our 'small' actions can resonate with our guests so that they can copy the actions at home,” said Moraga.

Hotel Gavarni, like all good luxury hotels, practices understated hospitality in an atmosphere of quiet elegance. So it follows that you'll only notice the hotel's eco-aspects when you really pay attention.

For example, each of the rooms boasts a jacuzzi bathtub. The warm jets of water pulse on your tired muscles as you lie there, your neck and head cushioned on the back of the fitted soft pillow. You'd never guess that all of the faucets in the hotel's bathrooms have been replaced with valves that save about half the water usage of the average Parisian bathroom. Each of these valves cost about 5 Euros. And by saving half the water usage, they save about half the water bill.

Their complimentary organic breakfasts feature fresh, organic fruits from the market like seasonal melons, cherries, oranges. There are farm fresh eggs and “bio”(organic) jams to accompany your warm croissants and aromatic, fair trade coffee. The hotel has established relationships with local organic farmers so they buy direct. In fact, the hotel even serves as a distribution center for the upscale neighborhood's Community Supported Agriculture co-op, a program that is so popular there's a waiting list to get on.

Green Means Think For Yourself!

Moraga emphasized over and again how being green is simply re-thinking the way you do things. “It's thinking for yourself,” he said. “Even if you're not rich, genius, famous, you can still make a difference.”

For example, the hotel's lights are all LED lights. This switch-over resulted in 10X less energy consumption and a savings of 21% in their energy bill.

Using natural cleaning supplies was also a shift towards the simple, the natural. Vinegar, it turns out, is one of the best cleaners to prohibit the lime build up caused by the hard Parisian water. And vinegar is not just a safe and non-toxic cleaner, it's also very cost-effective.

Being green isn't simply a job for Moraga. Like so many of the green tribe, it's a way of life, it's in the DNA. When he's not at the Gavarni, he and his family are building three apartment buildings and two houses that are all environmentally friendly, even implementing gray water and natural building materials. “It's a small step for man, a huge step for mankind,” said Moraga with a smile when he described his personal projects. He's also just returned from a trek to the Antarctic where he documented the pristine natural habitat of seals and penguins through fabulous photos. “People say the Antarctic is 'all white,' it's not...It's blue!”

Moraga has given green a lot of thought as it pertains to Paris's hotel industry. He's come up with a number of good questions, one of which is why don't the tourist booking agencies, such as Thomas Cook, have a booking search filter for how green a hotel is? For example, people search for hotels based on cost, based on star ratings, so why not based on an Eco-Label rating? After all, it is well documented that the tasteful traveler today is ever increasingly choosing eco options.

He has goals to match his progressive thinking. “We'd love to get the chance to speak with the Minister of Tourism so we could talk about undertaking a campaign about what hotels are doing in Paris to be green. For example, to get a 5-star rating, a hotel should be required to implement at least 10% eco-friendly practices,” he suggests.

Progressively Green: Passy, Paris

A quick walk around the Passy neighborhood reveals even more good ideas. Across the street from the hotel is one of Paris's “Velib'” which are the bicycles on demand. For about 1 Euro per day, you can take one of the bikes, use it, then drop it off at the bicycle station nearest your next destination. On a Sunday afternoon, there were hundreds of Parisians and tourists alike on these bikes swarming the streets near the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero. Municipal programs such as these show that when the city and the citizens are on the same page, great (green) things can happen.

A direction to go in from here would be to focus on building energy retrofits throughout Paris. Moraga is quick to agree. In a city whose buildings predominantly fall under historical preservation, demolition is out of the question. Energy retrofits, including window replacement, however, would demonstrably cut down on energy consumption and also GHG emissions, of which buildings generate even more than transportation.

“It would be great, for example, if there were tax incentives and favorable terms for bank loans taken out specifically for energy efficiency building retrofits,” suggested Moraga. “This could also potentially create a number of good green jobs,” he noted.

Hotel Gavarni is located at 5, rue Gavarni. also Find them also on Facebook.

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California Enterprise Zone

In what can temptingly be referred to as the "Tony and Arnold Show," Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, applauded earlier this week the re-affirmation of the East Los Angeles Enterprise Zone and the implementation of the three-year tax holiday for new businesses established in Los Angeles, both outcomes of the newly refocused Office of Economic and Business Policy.

Governor Schwarzenegger delivering remarks at the announcement of the Business Tax Holiday proposal. From left to right: Baxter BioScience Business Corporate Vice President and Baxter International President Joy A. Amundson, Los Angeles First Deputy Mayor and Chief Executive for Economic and Business Policy Austin Beutner, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Councilmember Tom LaBonge.  Photo Courtesy Peter Grigsby.

A healthy example of this public-private partnership is Baxter BioScience, a 50-year resident in the Mayor's native neighborhood of East Los Angeles.

Deadlines Not Headlines

The Mayor stated that the newly refocused L.A. Office of Economic and Business Policy has a new mantra, "...And that mantra is 'Deadlines, not headlines.' Our enterprise zones...We've gained the remarkable distinction of having the most acreage in the state with enterprise zone designation.

So if you're a business in L.A., coming to L.A. and paying taxes for the first time, for the next three years you're not going to pay business taxes so we can grow jobs here in the city of Los Angeles."


Vice President of Baxter BioScience, Joy Amundson noted the key role the company and its 3,000 employees have played in the California economy for the past 50 years: "Since 1953 we've been a cornerstone of the L.A. business community, right here, operating right here on Colorado Boulevard and San Fernando Road. For more than 50 years -- 50 years -- Baxter BioScience has played a significant role in elevating biotech."


Ms. Amundson emphasized the company's commitment to sustainability, pointing out that Baxter BioScience is recognized today as one of the 100 most sustainable corporations in the world.

"We're not just an ordinary company, ladies and gentlemen; we're biotech. We are the cream of the crop here in Los Angeles," continued Ms. Amundson, "Our technology helps patients who suffer from a range of medical conditions. In fact, this plant is the world's only producer of a therapy that treats infant botulism called BabyBIG."



Mayor Villaraigosa likes to point out that Los Angeles is positioned to be the "Greenest Big City in America."


According to Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner a recent study concluded, contrary to popular belief, that the three-year tax holiday for new businesses actually would spur enough job growth to create more tax revenue and that it wouldn't impact the budget because it's money the city is not currently collecting. The Tax Holiday is estimatedd to create 55,000 new jobs, with a 12 percent unemployment.

The Tony And Arnold Show

Mayor Villaraigosa: I recognize what it is to have a job and particularly a good-paying job like you have here at Baxter, what it is to be able to maintain your families.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: I think this is a very important move, that the local government and the state government worked together and showed great partnership. And as you can also see, I'm a Republican, he's a Democrat. There are Democrats and Republicans here. We all worked together because we don't care about the party; we care about one thing, to serve the people and to serve you, the workers, to keep the jobs here and to help businesses. That is the important thing for California and for Los Angeles.


Mayor Villaraigosa: Someone last night called me and said, "You know, your press conferences with the Governor are now almost done on a weekly basis. What's this about?" 

I think the Governor said something very important. It's about jobs. I think people are tired of the partisanship you see in Sacramento, in Washington D.C. I just came back from the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Oklahoma City and the one thing every single mayor there laments is that partisanship, the inability to work together.


Well, this Governor, I can tell you, has delivered for Los Angeles and he's delivered for Los Angeles on a regular basis. And so every time he delivers, the least we could do is be here. And I want to acknowledge my friend, the governor of the great state of California, the man whose office helped us move through the bureaucracy and the red tape so that we could celebrate this day, my friend Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.


And, of course, I'm always kissing up to him because he's only got about six more months in office. He's going to do another movie and he says he's going to put me in it when I'm out of a job. So, you know, this is good. And again, thank you, my friend and thank you for your leadership.

On June 15th in Sacramento, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted a Summit on the Advanced Transportation Industry where he brought together industry leaders in new vehicle technologies, clean transportation fuels and electric and hybrid vehicles to discuss how California can remain the undisputed leader of advanced vehicle and alternative fuel research and development and green jobs.Photo by Justin Short.


The Governor also hosted his monthly display of alternative fuel vehicles at the

Governor's Summit on Advanced Transportation And Clean Energy Cars earlier this week in Sacramento:


Governor Schwarzenegger: When I came into office in 2003, I remember I asked our administration to go and have a display in the next auto show, in the next car show in Los Angeles of alternative-fuel vehicles. And at that point, the first display, I remember we had were two vehicles -- two.


Today when I walked around I was counting and there were 20 different vehicles.


Schnapps And Oil Don't Mix


The Governor asks the question, are we really addicted to oil?


Governor Schwarzenegger: I mean, one needs only to look to the Gulf of Mexico and the tragedy and what happens when you just rely on oil. And I think that this has really woken up everybody.


And it is shameful how desperate and how dependent we have become on fossil fuels. I mean, 95 percent of our transportation is done through fossil fuels and that's pitiful.


And I don't believe what Thomas Friedman said, when he said that we are addicted to oil, because I think there's a difference between having alternatives and you're addicted to one thing, you have to have this one thing. That's an addiction. Like if I have a choice to drink water versus schnapps but I continuously drink schnapps, then I have an alcohol problem and I should go to an addiction center to get rid of my addiction. But if I only have schnapps to drink, you know, then it's another thing.


We need an energy policy so that we know where our energy is coming from. Do we want to continue relying on countries and sending $400 billion a year to countries that hate us, or do we want to go in a different direction? I mean, that is really the question.


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Pierce Brosnan Talks Whales At Global Green Awards

Pierce Brosnan and wife Keely Shaye Smith took to the Global Green podium Saturday night in Santa Monica to speak out in support of Whale Rights.

Pierce Brosnan speaks out in support of whales at Global Green's June Award Ceremonies in Santa Monica. Photo courtesy Charley Gallay.
Pierce Brosnan, Actor and Environmentalist, who is the global whale spokesperson for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and Fred O'Regan, President of IFAW, have written an Open Letter to President Barack Obama. 

Obama administration officials are pushing to lift the global ban on whale hunting. In 1986, after two centuries of whaling pushed whales to near extinction, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling worldwide. It remains one of the 20th Century’s most iconic conservation victories.

Beginning with President Ronald Reagan, the international ban on commercial whaling has been a policy championed by every single American President.

Keely Shaye Smith and husband Pierce Brosnan produced PSA in support of whales and against lifting the ban on whaling. Photo courtesy Charley Gallay, Santa Monica, June 12, 2010.
The PSA, which was co-written and co-produced by his wife Environmental Activist Keely Shaye Brosnan and Beef Films began airing on Sunday, June 6, 2010.
To view the PSA and the open letter go to

Pierce Brosnan, Actor and Environmentalist, was an honored presenter at the 14th annual Global Green USA Awards Gala. Photo courtesy Michael Caulfield.
The marine devastation caused by the ongoing BP oil disaster drills down on how crucial it is that the United States extends protection to all threatened marine species – especially including the world’s largest and most majestic mammal – the whale.

L.A. City Controller, Wendy Greuel, supports Global Green USA. Photo courtesy Michael Caulfield.
Ripped from recent headlines is Peter Bethune, of Sea Shepherd's, trial in Japan for his attempt to prevent a Japanese whaling ship from slaughtering whales in the international waters of the Antarctic.
Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd, said that Mr Bethune "is being used as a political football by right-wing nationalists in Japan."
Mr. Bethune has described what he's going through in the Japanese courts as "judicial rape." Read More HERE
Mr Bethune is expected to be found guilty of the assault charge despite weeping in court last week and saying he had no intention of hurting whalers. Japanese courts boast a conviction rate of more than 99 per cent and if found guilty he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
By labelling its hunting "scientific research", Japan has often killed more than 1,000 whales a year. In 2008, Japan's fishing fleet came back with only just above half of its target number, in part because animal rights activists, including Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace, targeted the whaling voyage.
Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith were honored presenters at the Global Green USA Awards this past weekend held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bugalows in Santa Monica.
Other presenters included: Hosted by Good Morning America’s Sam Champion, Pierce Brosnan & Keely Shaye Smith, Michelle Rodriguez, Amy Smart, Alison Brie, Sharon Lawrence, Judy Greer, Rhona Mitra, Walton Goggins, James Kyson-Lee, Cheryl Tiegs, Bahar Soomekh and State Senator Fran Pavley helped tribute the evening’s honorees including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The University of California System, The W Hollywood Hotel & Residences, James Cameron & Suzy Amis Cameron, and Global Green President Matt Petersen.

Matt Petersen, President of Global Green USA and Award Recipient for 2010, with Cheryl Tiegs. Photo Courtesy Michael Caulfield.
International Environmental Leadership Award: Recognizing their 40th anniversary as a federal agency.

Mark G. Yudof, University of California System President; Matt Petersen, Global Green USA President; Marty Collins of Gatehouse Capital. Each accepted an award at this year's Global Green Awards Ceremony in Santa Monica. Photo courtesy Michael Caulfield.
California Environmental Leadership Award: UC President Mark G. Yudof is accepting this award in recognition of the UC System’s expansive leadership in constructing green buildings on their campuses, more LEED certified buildings than any other university in the country.

Allison Brie presents award to Marty Collins of Gatehouse Capital.  Photo Courtesy Charley Gallay.
Green Building Environmental Leadership Award: Marty Collins of Gatehouse Capital is accepting the award in recognition of their contribution to advancing green building with the newly opened and first LEED certified hotel in Los Angeles.

Michelle Rodriguez, 14th Annual Global Green Gala Awards, Santa Monica. Photo courtesy Michael Caulfield.
Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award: In recognition of their longtime commitment to environmental advocacy, specifically recognizing the global impact and environmental message of the landmark film AVATAR.
Founders Award: In recognition of his incredible leadership and bold vision during his 15 years of service at Global Green USA.

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Jet-Set: Eco Fashion Goes Continental

by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff,.EcoStiletto

Last month’s assertment that Los Angeles was the epicenter of North American eco-fashion ruffled a few feathers—from New York to Canada. (“The Emerald City? Puhleeze!”) Our eco fashion part deux:


There’s eco-jewelry and then there’s fine eco-jewelry, the kind of serious pieces think about for a long time before you buy them—and wear them for a long time to come. New York-based jewelry designer Sandy Leong’s gorgeous, angular cocktail rings—crafted exclusively in recycled gold with fair trade gems like the one pictured above—are just those kinds of pieces, and have made fans of celebs like Zoe Saldana, Kristen Stewart, and Fergie. Not bad company to keep.


We’ve loved Lina Rennell and Ashley Watson separately for a while now—Lina for her swimsuits and Ashley for her upcycled leather jacket purses—but their new collaboration on a series of bags crafted from hand-printed organic cotton with recycled leather accents is a dream come true. With Ashley in New York, Lina in NorCal and the bags made in Canada, this is truly a multi-city offering.


There’s nothing basic about LABEL’s Tony tee. Crafted from the thinnest possible, tissue-weight lyocell, it’s equally at home at the beach as it is on the dance floor. Since 2007, LABEL has utilized all natural, organic, renewable or reclaimed fibers to make their sporty-meets-sexy designs. Can we get one in every color?


The genius behind eco-fashion mecca TEICH, Allison is a super-green geek—we say that ever-so-lovingly—who retrofitted her East Village location with vintage fixtures, low-VOC paints and energy-efficient lighting before opening in 2009. She offers a wide range of sustainable jewelry and accessories, mostly made locally in New York City, but our favorite is her eponymous line of TEICH handbags like this vegan ultrasuede, organic-cotton lined Nolita shoulder bag with the detachable vintage chain strap.


Vancouver-based Flora and Fauna specializes in sustainable separates, like this back-to-the-beach hoodie shrug crafted from organic bamboo and cotton and accented with coconut buttons. Plus, $2 of each sale goes to local animal rescue associations. (Cute dog not included.)


Brooklyn design house Feral Childe is known for their hand-drawn textile prints and construction details—a peplum here, a plume there—crafted from sustainable materials. Find them—and other cutting-edge eco-designs—at eco boutique body politic, which adheres to its sustainable ethics with recycled shipping boxes and an emphasis on low-carbon-footprint online catering to customers with emailed size recommendations and style tips.


Wear your inspiration on your sleeve? Try moving it up to your shoulder with Boston-based Pansy Maiden’s new Lady Day bag, inspired by Billie Holiday’s signature gardenia and crafted in all-vegan-all-the-time materials like organic twill and hemp. Sweet and rugged, dainty and durable—just like all our favorite heroines.


The steel canyons of Pittsburgh are crawling with green start-ups, despite the dirty reputation the industrial age has left with the city. Local designer Jonano pioneered the cultivation of eColorgrown cotton at a Brazilian artisan cooperative, where organic cotton grows in a rainbow of gorgeous colors without dyes, but we’re partial to their new line of water color dresses made from organic bamboo and cotton that look to us like a gorgeous cloudy sky—the perfect counterpoint to a sunny summer day.


We may love peace silk evening gowns, but even a green girl’s gotta work. We love Seattle-based Plaid Doctrine’s new line of vaguely preppy work bags crafted from vintage-inspired fabrics made from recycled bottles, accented by veggie-tanned leather. We’re snapping it all up, from briefcases to laptop totes to accessories like this smart—yes, we said it—purse organizer, which could very well double as a clutch. 


Winner of the first-ever eco-fashion “Designer of the Year” award from Fashion Takes Action, Canadian designer Nicole Bridger is an original innovator of the Vancouver sustainable fashion movement. Nicole learned about sculpting fabric while working with Vivienne Westwood, then applied the knowledge to fabrics such as naturally pest-resistant—and therefore truly organic—linen, like the beautiful Presence top, pictured below.


With its clean lines and innovative designs, Thieves spearheaded the Canadian eco-fashion movement when it was launched by designer Sonja den Elzen in 2006. Four years later, Thieves is still setting milestones—summer’s five-in-one tencel dress, which can be worn a myriad of ways, is a definite case in point. We can’t wait for next season, when the label introduces pieces crafted in beeswax organic cotton, like the wrap belt we’re sneak peeking here. Shhh.


There’s a reason Vancouver-based Nixxi has such a cult following: The line infuses refined classics with edgy, contemporary styles crafted in sustainable materials like hemp, soy and linen. Eco-dyed and sewn in fair-trade Canadian factories, this is a line with its ethics intact. Oh, and did we mention that each and every piece is ridiculously cute?


Leanne McElroy’s eponymous label hits sustainable fashion on every level. Not only do her clothes rock, but she manufactures through fair-trade cooperatives in Indonesia, where she also sources her certified organic or sustainable fabrics, including the buttery soft chambray tencel denim featured in these adorable slouchy trousers.


Soft buttery fabrics like micromodal and tencel—created from beech and eucalyptus trees using a “closed loop” process that isolates and recycles chemicals before wastewater is released—flatter most body types, while carefully-placed details such as gathers, pleats and ruffles make Vancouver-based Lav and Kush a staple of any ecoista’s closet.

Eco Fashion

So stop with the bickering, city girls! There’s definitely enough eco fashion to go around!

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Dad and Baseball...Happy Eco Father's Day!

During this Father's Day weekend, there will be lots of us looking to celebrate Father's Day by getting outside, throwing a ball around and perhaps batting a few innings with good ol' Dad...

Armando Galarraga’s perfect game...

Ever wondered where that bat Dad got you for your last birthday came from? Or maybe, now that it' Father's Day, that new bat you're going to get HIM - one that's fun and eco-friendly...?!

...9 out of 10 wooden bats are made from the wood of the White Ash, a tree that can grow 80 feet tall with a trunk 2 feet across. The remaining bats most likely come from Sugar Maple trees.

From Seedling to Stadium

[excerpted from Ranger Rick]

Jack Norton knows a lot about baseball bats. His company supplies the wood that will become a Louisville Slugger, a very famous brand of bat that has been around almost as long as baseball itself.

His company owns and protects 10,000 acres of timberland in New York and Pennsylvania, in a region called the "ash belt." Most of the world's baseball bats come from this one spot!

He says that the first - and maybe most important step - in making baseball bats is taking care of the trees they come from.

9 out of 10 wooden bats are made from White Ash.

A White Ash tree will grow for at least 75 years before being cut down to make baseball bats. About 40 bats will be made from an average tree.

To ensure a good and lasting supply, the trees are carefully managed. They are only cut down in ways that don't harm the environment and which allow new White Ash trees to grow and replace the old ones. This is called sustainable harvesting, which simply means doing things in a way to make sure there will always be White Ash trees in the future.

Cut and Dried After the trees are logged, they are split into pieces of wood around 40 inches long and 3 inches across. That's just a little bit bigger than a bat, but this wood isn't ready to become a bat just yet!

The longest part of making a bat is the drying, or curing, of the wood, which can take several months. Wood contains a lot of moisture, and before bats can be made from it, the wood needs to slowly dry the right amount.

Wood for baseball bats used to be dried in a kiln, which is like a big oven. This required a lot of energy and would make a lot of smoke. Instead, the wood today is dried in climate controlled chambers that use fresh air and very little energy.

These billets soon will become baseball bats.

Wishing All Dads a Happy Eco Father's Day!

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