Thursday, May 12, 2011

ECO-DATING: Are You Green in The Dating Game?

        So you've decided to go green or you're already living green.  But just how green are you? We recycle, eat organically or locally grown foods, purchase earth friendly products, conserve energy in our daily lives; utilize the sun for heating our homes and the moon for cooling us at night.  Some of us are even packing up and relocating closer to nature and to places and countries that are actively eco-conscious and eco-progressive.  It is in our nature to take anything further, deeper and beyond and being green is no exception. On that note, how about matters of the heart? Are you loving in a green way? Are you eco-dating? Are you green in the dating game?
         How do you create an eco-date?  Let me begin by turning your attention to simple abc's of dating. First there has to be at least two individuals involved. Having similar lifestyles and beliefs around the earth, ecology, the environment and a green life as a whole would help a great deal, but its okay if one person is green and the other is some other color. After all, this is how we learn from each other, grow and spread the message of a more quality life and peace on earth. Then there are the plans for the date - the where, the what, the how and the in between.
         So you’ve asked her or him out already and the date is a few days away.  The next thing to consider is where you’ll be taking your date.  It should be an eco-friendly or an eco-friendly activity and place if it’s to be a green date. If you have decided to begin your eco-date with dinner at a restaurant then keep in mind that your eco-sensual options for dining out are still growing, and depending on where you live, you may not find any eco-conscious restaurants.  Of course then there’s the how- as in your mode of transportation. Will it be a motorcycle, scooter, public transportation or foot stumping? It’s easier to get around without a car within the boundaries of the District of Columbia so that is the easiest part.  I happen to live in Washington DC so I’ll gladly give you a few options of eco-conscious restaurants and add some other green ideas for your eco-date. Let's begin with dining places.
Coppi’s Organic Restaurant
1414 U Street NW, Washington, DC  20009
What makes it green: Coppi’s have developed relationships with organic farmers and food coops through the region. Their décor includes some recyclables such as benches and woodwork from a local church. They use sustained sourced fish, grass fed/free range meats and poultry, a wood-burning oven, wind power electricity and low wattage light bulbs. 
Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar
Capitol Hill/ Eastern Market
233 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003
What makes it green: Sonoma pledge that their foods are prepared with naturally raised, seasonal and local ingredients and they support the local community of growers in the process. It’s website also mentions using renewable energy, though the source isn’t specified.
Sweet Green
Various locations to choose from: Capitol Hill,
Dupont, Georgetown, Logan Circle, Bethesda
What makes it green: This restaurant is elaborately green and sustainable. They use 100% plant-based compostable packing non derived from oil; they offset 100% of their energy with wind energy credits and built solar panels on the roof top of certain stores. They have composting & recycling stations for their customers to compost their packaging and recycle their bottles. They use reclaimed and FSC*certified materials in their construction. They offer a series of interactive, educational nutrition classes where students learn about health and “where food comes from” through fun, hands-on activities. Talk about the sweetness of green, you can be surrounded by and filled with it here.

Restaurant Nora (Dupont Circle)2132 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC  20008

What makes it green: In April 1999, Restaurant Nora became America's first certified organic restaurant with the owner Nora Pouillon being a pioneer and champion of organic, environmentally conscious cuisine inherited through her Austrian roots. The restaurant is committed to sustainable agriculture. Nora promises that it offers seasonal, fresh organic food, prepared in a healthy way and that their foods do not carry synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or GMO’s.            This restaurant enjoys a "big following" of environmentalists and politicians, who can eat here with a clear conscience, knowing that what's on their plate hasn't polluted the environment, is healthy for them, and tastes good too.
Java Green/Cafe Green
1020 19th Street NW, Washington, DC  20026

 What makes it green: Java Green is owned by a diverse group of 4 men from 3 different continents (Asia, America & Europe) whose personal lifestyle and choices are blended in the philosophy and presentation of their establishment. An all around eco-conscious café, it was voted Best Washington Vegetarian and Best Washington Vegan in City Search best of DC. Whether you are seeking raw, gluten-free, soy-free, or nut-free cuisine or just looking for some tasty guilt-free food this is the place. Their full bar features not only local brews but also the best organic wine, beer and spirits from around the world. From the low-VOC vegan paints that color the bright hues of their walls to the double-filtered, de-fluoridated drinking water at every table, they are committed to caring about our environment and your health. 

Great Sage Restaurant
5809 Clarksville Square Drive
Clarksville, MD  21029

What makes them green: Great Sage declares they cook with fresh organically grown produce & believe a gourmet dining experience can be created out of plant-based foods. Their menu is influenced by the flavors and styles of many cultures and no animals are harmed and the environment rejoices in their choices. Great Sage is part of the Conscious Corner family of local, independently owned businesses. Its owner is one of the owners of Java Green/Café Green. They also have live entertainment and other green events.
 Some Eco-Sensual things to do on your Eco-Romantic Date:
Washington DC is also the home of green organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council, the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, the International Ecotourism Society, Green Seal and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  And the surrounding states - Maryland and Virginia offer their own earth-friendly charm, as you will discover below.

Old town Trolley Tours

 For  sightseers, there is an environmentally friendly company called Old town Trolly Tours that provides educational day, duck and moonlight tours around Washington, DC. Ninety percent of their vehicles run on propane instead of gasoline, which means they burn cleaner and safer and more environmentally efficient than other vehicles. Old town Trolley promotes the use of their tours through bumper stickers on vehicles, which read "ONE TROLLEY= 20 CARS." Touring the city would make a great moonlight date and I have a tour guide friend that can put some soul into your tour.

Eco-Friendly Yoga

Yoga District offers affordable and by-donation yoga classes in community-run yoga centers committed to eco-friendly practices; a non-profit studio promoting peace and yoga activism while serving the homeless and community. They offer eco-friendly yoga mats and sliding scale, free and by donation yoga classes for those who are truly in need. Hey, I think gong to a yoga class in an eco-friendly environment is a great pathway to an authentic union between two.
Screen On The Green
Free Outdoors Movies on the National Mall

Screen on the Green is a favorite Washington, DC summer tradition. Bring a blanket to the National Mall on a warm night and watch a classic film on a gigantic movie screen. Films are shown on Monday nights beginning at dusk, around 8:30-9:00 p.m. People start to claim their spots on the lawn as early as 5 p.m. Movies play except in extreme weather and there are no rain days. The film festival runs from July – August. Exact dates to be announced. Call Screen on the Green hotline for moiré info.  1-877-262-5866
Green Festival
The Green Festival is like a walk through a sustainable community. Beginning with finding solutions to help make our lives healthy-socially, economically and environmentally. Individuals, business and community leaders come together to discuss critical issues that impact us at locally and globally. Organizations and businesses showcase programs and products that restore the planet and all that inhabit it. Neighbor-to-neighbor connections are formed and skills are shared to empower people to create change in the world. I think it’s a great idea for a date. In fact, this year the Green Festival has been shifted out of DC and on to New York. It takes place the weekend of October 21 – 22 with enough time to plan an eco-date trip with that special someone. Reduce your carbon print – take a train or bus. 

Green Vineyards & Wineries in Virginia
Turn wine tasting into a complete eco-sensual experience!
Wineries are reinventing the wheel of winemaking and distribution. Packing wine in a “green” way is the newest trend in eco-winemaking. You won’t be sent home with heavy glass bottles – green alternatives such as lighter glass, bag-in-a-box or cartons are emerging at eco-friendly vineyards.
Other green initiatives include solar energy.  Some vineyards recycle and reuse their water and/or have a solar water heating system.  Farming and bottling equipment is also solar powered such as forklifts, lights, pumps and more. Other vineyard vehicles operate off of bio-fuel to reduce pollution.

Here are a few well-known Virginia eco-friendly vineyards for the perfect eco-date:

1.    Notaviva Vineyard – is in the process of creating their first organic wine. It will be an Elderberry wine produced from organically grown fruit. Visit:

2.    Fabbioli Cellars - uses various sustainable viticulture practices such as harvesting non-irrigated vines to preserve water and allow the vine to adapt to the true climate and spreading spent grapeskins (pumice) back into the vineyard as fertilizer and weed control. The winery utilizes geothermal energy for hot water and climate control. The new winery storage area for Fabbioli was constructed from burying used shipping containers. The cellar reduces the need for cooling and heating and now sets the example for other wineries.  Future plans include a rewards program for wine lovers who return the Raspberry Merlot bottles – saving on shipping, printing, and glass. Visit:

3.    8 Chains North – originally the wine at Fabbioli Cellars. 8 Chains North implements a similar fertilization system as Fabbioli Cellars.  Both vineyards place spent grapeskins (pumice) back into the vineyard as fertilizer and weed control. Visit:

4.    North Gate Vineyard - these owners are in the process of building a LEED-certified tasting room, making it the only *LEED-certified vineyard in DC’s wine country. Visit:

Eco-Friendly Marine Activities
Sail the Chesapeake on an Eco-Boat Ride

Annapolis, Maryland
Enjoy a fun, environmentally friendly, quiet and stress free afternoon on the water on a ten-passenger Duffy electric boat without the noise, vibration or smell of a gas boat.  Electric boats are zero emissions vehicles so you can boat with a clear conscience. Board a climate-controlled, 22’ Duffy at the Chart House Restaurant pier at 300 Second Street in Eastport. No boating experience is necessary. This is a really fun thing to do with a group of friends or family or 5 group dates. J.

An Eco-Lodge Sleep-Over
Kick back after the Green Date

Hotel Helix
is an innovative, eco-friendly “green” hotel in downtown Washington, DC. Their progressive eco-friendly practices help support a sustainable world and a healthier planet. They are committed to using high-quality, non-intrusive, environmentally friendly products and services at our Washington, DC hotel. And while you’re there lavish yourself in a Green Spa experience with their in-room spa treatments.  And there’s more… Visit:

Hotel George stars as a leading “green” hotel in Washington, DC. Some of their green practices include: linen and towel re-use program reducing laundry detergent and water usage by 25%; their extensive recycling program helps recycle 60% of their waste; all cleaning agents are environmentally safe and non-toxic; they use energy efficient air-conditioning and in-room mini bars. Visit:

Hilton Hotel Alexandria Old Town’s has an elaborate green initiatives and all for a very reasonable price. Find out more. Visit:
 Find out about other Green Hotels around the country and world. Visit the Green Hotels Association for a list of their member hotels and to learn how they are decreasing carbon footprint while giving you a luxurious green lodging experience. Visit:
Other Green Dating Activities:
~ Hiking
~ Go eco friendly camping or fishing
~ Gardening together
~ Create your own "Green Happy Hour"
~ Go horseback riding together
~ Go to the beach together - a clothing optional beach will make it 4X's the fun!
~ A visit to the Zoo
~ Meet up at the Flee Market
~ Take a dance class together or
~ Do a community project or volunteer together
~ An eco-romantic picnic at the park or under the moon & stars
~ Take a trip to NYC together and party at the one of NYC's finest
   eco-friendly night club - GREEN HOUSE
Do you have any other eco-dating or eco-romantic ideas? Share them here!
Indulge and gratify your senses the green way!
1129 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
What makes them green: “From the choice of product lines and packaging to the paper and ink used for printed materials, an all-encompassing approach to eco-friendliness is a top priority.” Nusta Spa’s environmental commitment marries sophisticated designs with the highest standards of sustainability. With almost 5,000 square feet of space, Nusta Spa is the first urban day spa of its kind designed with high performance "green" interiors which are healthier, more efficient, and environmentally responsible. Nusta Spa is the first spa in the world to be accepted into the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Pilot Program for Commercial Interiors. Does this make you want to wink and open your eyes to find your body melting into a massage table with hot stones laced along your spine and the natural aroma of earth’s fragrances streaming into your nose and the pores of your skin. A duo spa retreat is not a bad green date idea at all! Visit: 

         If it’s an eco-date than you’ve got to be decked in a green way. It’s not enough to say you’re green when the treads and accessories you adorn your body with are guilty of depleting the environment and robbing the earth. And you can do it creatively and affordably too. Of course you are radically green when you simply are without any clothing. But that may not work so here are some suggestions:
Vintage & Thrifty:
Buying vintage or thrift is the greenest of all. Here you have the three R’s – “reduce, reuse, recycle”. You are reducing pollution when you don’t buy into the mass production of clothing and the awful picture and doings behind the sweat lodge scene and clothing industry. I consider myself rather ‘vintage” & “bohemian” so I live to find the best deals and most suitable clothing that expresses my individual taste and the style of my spirit and vintage and thrift stores. They are not old and worn clothes they are “preloved” because anyone that takes the time to donate their clothing to these stores are conscious of the importance of recycling. Of course there are plenty of vintage stuff that’s never been worn – tag still in tack.  You can also find accessories and footwear at most vintage & thrift stores.  So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself some threads for your green date.
Here are a few to start with:

Junction Vintage
1510 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 483-0261
Meeps Vintage Fashionette
Adams Morgan
2104 18th Street NW Washington, DC

Clothes Encounters-Second Kind
202 7th St SE, Washington, DC
(202) 546-4004
Located on Capitol Hill. Used clothing and accessories.
Georgia Avenue Thrift Store
6101 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC
But if you have plenty of time and extra money you can always shop online at places such as GAIAM who carries natural, organic wardrobe essentials made from earth-friendly fabrics like 100% organic cotton, bamboo, hemp and rayon from sustainable bamboo. Mix and match to create your own casual day-to-evening style with versatile, every-where clothes in comfortable, eco-smart fabrics.
Of course, you're not green unless what you're using on your body and skin is in compliance with green and environmentally friendly and eco safety standards. What you put on or into your skin can green you or harm you. From your lotion, facial substances, deodorant, nail polish & fake nails to the hair products, toothbrush/toothpaste, sanitary products, shampoo & conditioner, coloring and more. And oh yeah, tatoos - totally not green,  unless its henna art.  The choices you make for your precious body can be quite detrimental over a period of time.  My mother would always say, “Beauty is skin deep, but ugliness is to the bone.” And your bone could be real ugly if you’ve spent years plastering your body and skin with harmful, chemically laced and environmentally destructive skin products just to look fine. They lace the shelves of stores and the screens of your television and magazines calling you to buy, buy, and buy.  The irony is that there is so much pain under the exterior of those faces and bodies that are plagued by the harmful chemicals over time. You may be one to think that praying will change the damage but the truth is the beauty and cosmetic industry is preying on your desperation. They are the ones that should be put on trial for the countless physical deformation and deaths.
But I have shared enough and given you plenty of ideas to help you go on that eco-date and to green your romantic life.  The Campaign for safe cosmetics - is a great place to start doing your own research on safe and earth friendly products.
Getting ready for a hot eco-date with a new prospective lover or mate can be fun and can inspire imagination. It can also be nerve wrecking if you are out of balance.  The anticipation can definitely become an aphrodisiac, stirring up your love juices and igniting the fire of hope and passion. Greening your date gives you an opportunity to indulge your senses and treat or be treated like a queen or king. The date starts with you and the moments of preparation. I know and feel that way when I am getting ready for a very important date.  Anticipation hits the roof as I dance and swirl. Make the prep hours ones that are stress free and uplifting. Set the mood – light some candles, diffuse some essential oil(s) or burn a eco-friendly incense, play your favorite music, take a nice long hot bath, do a couple of yoga postures and some deep breathing to ground and center yourself and set the intentions to have a fantastic time.

Imagining that you are a goddess or king can do wonders for your self-esteem and it will show in your facial expressions and body movement. This alone will create a glow of mystery that will keep your date wondering, intrigued and wanting YOU more!!
*FSC - Forest Stewardship Council
*LEED – Lead in Energy and Environmental Design

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