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27

Apr

Early Conservation Efforts and America’s Urban Parks

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As the final day of National Parks Week has arrived, we reflect on the amazing contributions of the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. Born in 1822, Olmsted is credited with designing some of our nation’s most beloved landscapes, urban parks and academic institutions.

A visionary, his career in landscape architecture began in 1857 when Calvert Vaux convinced him to work on the design of Central Park in New York City. A modest man, he considered himself a public servant with the task of shaping cities by stabilizing environments. The goal being to keep nature in cities. Through collaborations with engineers and architects he made scenic landscapes appear naturally occurring while repairing the watersheds and marshes to connect public parks with winding pathways to extend the benefits of green spaces.

Over his lifetime, he was asked to carry out over 500 commissions. He believed nature offered healing effects on individuals by relieving the pressures of urban life, and that public parks are essential to the ideal of democracy. The hour-long documentary, “Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks” explores the early conservation efforts and the formation of America’s first parks during the late 19th century.

Watch Part 1 of the documentary below or view the full version, here

Image: Central Park, NY

See Also:

The Real World Impact of Climate Change

Would You Like Bottled or Tap?

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

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24

Mar

Tradepal’s Reuse Initiative for Earth Day

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By Tamar Burton

With Earth Day just a month away, it’s still enough time to pull together a swap and sale!

Think about all the quality items unused and idle that others would treasure. With Tradepal, it is fast and easy to list items to giveaway, sell and even barter. The best part is getting an item without spending a dime - by trading one of your items instead. Whether you have last semesters textbooks, a funny sweater collection, upgraded electronics or some DVD’s you have watched 10 times. Just list them on Tradepal and host your online sale!

As a part of Tradepal’s community, you can:

  • create your profile in seconds by signing in to join friends 
  • discover other listings and buy, sell or barter right on Tradepal

  • request your own network to transact with - ex. green club, campus network or social group

  • increase visibility by sharing on blogs and social networks

  • be green - watch your Carbon Savings Score increase with each transaction

No more spammy emails from anonymous users to create apprehension. Tradepal users see profiles of other users. With integrated chat, payments and shipping, Tradepal encourages you to negotiate and finalize the transaction online or connect in person to meet and complete the exchange.

Tips to simplify your online sale:

Assess your items and start listing. For brand name items such as a ‘D-Rex Interactive Dinosaur’, just type D-Rex and choose one of our suggested images, set your price and your listing is live on Tradepal. 

Next, make it even more fun and share your listing with friends to get them to offer and list items too. How about sharing your link on Facebook or Twitter to build awareness and reduce your clutter without spending the weekend in the front yard selling. With each transaction, see how fun it is to make some money and receive new items. It’s fast and simple!

We love hearing from our community and welcome your unique ideas for promoting sales and causes on Tradepal. Send us a message anytime to share your stories, provide feedback or request advice at earthday@tradepal.com.

Happy Trading!

See also:

Tradepal Announces New Clinton Global Initiative to Make Reuse Convenient for College Students

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20

Apr

Quantify Your Carbon Savings from P2P Reuse on Tradepal

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by Tamar Burton

This Earth Day we unite in support of a healthy planet by inspiring change. As part of the 2012 theme Mobilize the Earth, and the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSDA) in Rio de Janeiro, Rio +20  we encourage everyone to proactively engage in ways that will create a quantifiable outcome by organizing events, volunteering and promoting renewable energy initiatives, and finally pledging support to a Billion Acts of Green. Now with over 997 million acts pledged and counting, our actions today will help to develop a comprehensive plan for sustainable development while inspiring the change necessary to get our world leaders to take bold energy action. 

In honor of Earth Day, we at Tradepal, suggest that you evaluate your carbon footprint and the many ways you can help the environment by reducing, recycling and reusing. To the many supporters of collaborative consumption, we encourage you to quantify the carbon savings your actions generate in changing users’ behaviors with services such as bike, car and ride sharing, swapping and trading. 

Senator Gaylord Nelson, the originator of the Earth Day holiday in 1970: 

"The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around."

Tradepal users save money and the environment when trading on our platform. They also have access to a dedicated calculator that quantifies their carbon savings derived from all their trading on the platform. It is surprising to discover the exact amount of carbon savings you have accumulated while trading and giving items away. 

On Tradepal, users may quantify their carbon savings both individually and as a group:

  • individual users who have excess electronics, video games or consumer goods
  • networks such as churches, charities and schools 
  • organizations including local businesses and corporations  
  • cities whose communities need an alternative to yard sales

Gamification Feature:  The Carbon Savings Calculator

It might seem trivial initially, but watching your carbon savings increase with each trade  is truly fulfilling. According to my Tradepal user profile, I have accumulated 354 kg of carbon savings over the past six months. While not sure what it exactly meant, I simply plugged my Tradepal Carbon Savings amount into the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

The following highlights some significant equivalents of my savings: 

  • Carbon sequestered by 9 tree seedlings grown for 10 years 
  • CO2 emissions from 14 propane cylinders used for home BBQs
  • CO2 emissions from 39 gallons of gasoline consumed 

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Additional Reading:

Trendsetting Women Leading Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces

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Are Yard Sales Losing their Curb Appeal?

Spring is the season for enjoying the outdoors and sharing with friends and family. Yet one of our nation’s past times is now under scrutiny. A growing issue for municipalities is the increasing complaints received from neighbors of yard sales gone to the extreme. Imagine living near neighbors offering appliances and cars on their lawns. This was the focus of a recent msnbc.com story spurring a sharp debate with more than 400 comments to date. In Delano, Calif., the city has declared a ‘yard sale showdown’ following numerous complaints received from residents of citizens operating business from their homes. 

When thinking of a yard sale, what comes to mind is the additional traffic and visitors entering the neighborhoods in search for bargains. For some, this is welcome as their goal is to share with their neighbors while generating funds from items no longer used. The issue at hand is that many of these so-called yard sales are de facto illegally operating storefronts. For yard sales of the extreme form, it seems a few are ruining it for everyone else.  

"While yard sales provide a great way to re-commerce, they vary by the location and are as unique as each city’s demographic," said Mollie Loeffler, President of the Parklawn Civic Association in Alexandria, VA. "In extreme cases, it is unfortunate when municipalities must take action in order to protect citizens from code compliance issues."

Some of the cities that have enacted restrictions and permit fees are detailed by this recent BusinessWeek article. While the limits vary, cities such as San Angelo, Tx., Phenix City, Ala., and Ontario, Calif., allow for no more than two yard sales per year, yet others including Elkhart, Indiana, allow up to 15 a year. As for fees, in South Greensburg, Pa., citizens must pay a $5 permit fee, while in Miami, Fla., it is as high as $28.

In retrospect, yard sales are a lot of work. From applying and paying for permits, to organizing and pricing items, to driving foot traffic and hopefully making sales, physical garage sales involve too much friction. Tradepal’s peer-to-peer marketplace offers a solution for both municipalities, as well as the weekend garage gal who is planning to move or just wants to de-clutter. The difference is, it doesn’t require a permit or any cash outlay at all. Another benefit is each item can be listed with images in less than a minute. Once all the items are listed, all you do is share the link to your ‘Tradepal virtual garage sale' with your social network. And as simple as that, the offers will start rolling in.

Listing an item is done in less than a minute on Tradepal. For example, type ‘iPhone 3G’ and tradepal will serve you relevant options to choose from to complete your listings in one-click. For books or games, just enter the ISBN number, and the system will automatically upload your listing. If you were planning to move, this service is a great option as you can even list giveaways. The options are endless.

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Additional Reading:

Online Marketplace Comparison: eBay vs Craigslist vs Tradepal

Did You Know You Harbored $7,000 in Unused Items

Are Yard Sales Losing Their Curb Appeal?

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