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Good For You, Good For Our Planet



Updated: 2006-06-29T16:09:00-07:00

 



#56 Earth Dinners

2006-06-29T16:09:00-07:00

Stale dinner parties, stale conversation, and stale processed foods have no place in our vibrant ecological cycle! An “Earth Dinner” is a great way to re-invent the dinner party and re-invigorate our connections to each other and to real food....

(image) Stale dinner parties, stale conversation, and stale processed foods have no place in our vibrant ecological cycle!   An “Earth Dinner” is a great way to re-invent the dinner party and re-invigorate our connections to each other and to real food. Organize a dinner comprised of locally-produced organic foods and share stories about the origins, preparations and paths that the foods have taken to your table. Organic Valley’s “Earth Dinner” playing cards can flavor dinnertime conversation with such questions as “How many songs can you think of that reference food or eating?” Remember: eating is an environmental act! LISTEN 

Source: earthdinner.org




#55 Beauty Ugly Products

2006-06-28T16:45:00-07:00

You wanted to feel as if you’d just stepped out of a salon, but you feel as if you’ve just stepped out of a laboratory! Many beauty products contain ingredients that can be irritating or even harmful. Ones to be...

(image) You wanted to feel as if you’d just stepped out of a salon, but you feel as if you’ve just stepped out of a laboratory!  Many beauty products contain ingredients that can be irritating or even harmful. Ones to be on the lookout for are a group of toxic chemicals labeled as DEA or MEA. Often used in shampoos and body washes, DEA and MEA can cause skin irritation, affect hormone function and contain carcinogens that have been linked to cancer. Live beautifully, feel beautiful with products like Aubrey Organics, which are made without DEA or MEA.  LISTEN 

Sources: “Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics” , Barbara Close. Chronicle Books, 2005.

      TOXNET: Toxicology Data Network

      




#54 Earth Insurance

2006-06-27T17:25:00-07:00

Car insurance is required by law, but who’s insuring our earth against car pollution? As oil prices surge, fossil fuels dwindle, and pollution hovers above cities, the ever-growing attraction to hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles is no surprise, and this past...

(image) Car insurance is required by law, but who’s insuring our earth against car pollution?  As oil prices surge, fossil fuels dwindle, and pollution hovers above cities, the ever-growing attraction to hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles is no surprise, and this past year hybrids have gained new converts in California: insurance companies. Farmers Insurance and Travelers Insurance have announced 5-10% discounts for owners of hybrid vehicles. Insurance companies are known to be relentless quantifiers of risk, and these two have concluded that encouraging hybrids is in all of our best interests. So, ‘Insure’ a cleaner earth: buy Hybrid.  LISTEN  

Source: Farmers Insurance (farmers.com), Travelers Insurance (hybridtravelers.com)




#53 Green Housecleaning

2006-06-26T16:52:00-07:00

Green housecleaners know that a house isn’t clean if it isn’t green. For all their hard work, housecleaners have not really cleaned a house if they’ve simply replaced dust with toxic disinfectants, making floors unsafe for children and indoor air...

(image) Green housecleaners know that a house isn’t clean if it isn’t green.   For all their hard work, housecleaners have not really cleaned a house if they’ve simply replaced dust with toxic disinfectants, making floors unsafe for children and indoor air unsafe for all. Most all-purpose cleaners contain chemicals that can damage lungs and, with sustained exposure, cause cancer. Make sure your home and your housecleaners are healthy by hiring an eco-conscious housecleaning cooperative sponsored by Bay Area non-profit group WAGES. When a WAGES co-op cleans your house you’ll know that “clean” is more than skin-deep.  LISTEN

Source: WAGES (Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security)  




#52 Plasma TV Efficiency

2006-06-26T08:46:23-07:00

Your TV is not yet as big as a refrigerator, so it shouldn’t use as much energy as a refrigerator! Larger televisions take up an increasingly large portion of our already immodest energy consumption, and Plasma screen TVs take more...

(image)











Your TV is not yet as big as a refrigerator, so it shouldn’t use as much energy as a refrigerator!  Larger televisions take up an increasingly large portion of our already immodest energy consumption, and Plasma screen TVs take more than most, as much as a new refrigerator. Fortunately, Panasonic and Pioneer have both developed energy-efficient Plasma TVs that can wile away your evenings without wasting our planet’s resources: Panasonic’s PX500 series uses 43% less power than its predecessor. Compare the efficiency of these with LCD screen TVs, which are also known to be light on the kilowatts.  LISTEN

Source: Greenlight Magazine and also see the treehugger blog.




#51: Healthy Couch Potatoes

2006-06-26T06:38:00-07:00

If you’re going to veg out in front of the TV, be a healthy veggie and buy an eco-friendly sofa. When sofa-shopping, look for sofas that are free of polybrominated diphenyl ethers—PBDEs for short. Used in furniture as fire retardants,...

(image) If you’re going to veg out in front of the TV, be a healthy veggie and buy an eco-friendly sofa. When sofa-shopping, look for sofas that are free of polybrominated diphenyl ethers—PBDEs for short. Used in furniture as fire retardants, PBDEs are toxic compounds that disperse in the environment and are absorbed into our bodies and women’s breastmilk, possibly decreasing the IQs of our offspring. And you thought it was just the TV! European countries have already gotten off the couch and instituted bans on PBDEs. Tell retailers you prefer PBDE-free furniture. The couch potatoes in your home will thank you! LISTEN

SOURCE: Grist Magazine, “Ask Umbra”, June 5, 2006.
Environmental Health Perspectives (ehponline.org), “Brominated Flame   Retardants: Cause for Concern?”

This post was written by William Craven




#50: Evergreen Rings

2006-06-26T05:55:00-07:00

Give your partner an ecologically responsible commitment ring—a gift of truly everlasting love. In addition to funding conflicts in Africa, mining for gold and precious gems wreaks havoc on land and pollutes essential waterways, destroying all living things in its...



#49: Light Bulb Enlightenment

2006-06-23T05:53:00-07:00

With all that Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs do for energy conservation, it’s a wonder that so many of us are still in the dark. Conventional lighting accounts for 28% of the energy in your home, sapping California of precious resources...

(image) With all that Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs do for energy conservation, it’s a wonder that so many of us are still in the dark.  Conventional lighting accounts for 28% of the energy in your home, sapping California of precious resources while also draining your pocketbook. Also known as CFLs, Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs light the way to cost-effective conservation. CFLs last 10 times longer than standard bulbs while using 75% less energy, and the 35 bucks you’ll save by replacing just four of your bulbs with CFLs will be a nice reward for your environmental enLIGHTenment.  LISTEN

SOURCE: Flex Your Power

This post was written by William Craven




#48: Used Tires ‘Bounce Back’

2006-06-22T05:50:00-07:00

You don’t have to burn rubber to get the most out of your tires; let that rubber bounce back in an abundance of recycled rubber products. Discarded tires clog landfills to the tune of 250 million a year. Even worse,...

(image) You don’t have to burn rubber to get the most out of your tires; let that rubber bounce back in an abundance of recycled rubber products. Discarded tires clog landfills to the tune of 250 million a year. Even worse, illegally piled tires burn for months in destructive fires, sending up acrid plumes of chemicals and air pollutants. Discarded tires even provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes. When getting rid of old tires, check with your mechanic to make sure they’ll ‘bounce back’ in the form of rubber mulch for eco-friendly landscaping, shock-absorbent playground surfaces or athletic tracks. LISTEN

SOURCES: www.rubberecycle.com

“Recycling Tires: A history of rubber recycling”, Ohio Department of    Natural Resources (www.ohiodnr.com).

This post was written by Willaim Craven




#47: Greening Your Morning Mug

2006-06-21T05:48:00-07:00

Here’s a zen question: If a tree falls to make your daily coffee cup, does it make a sound? Starbucks offers a 10 cent discount for bringing your own cup to fill up, and while 10 cents isn’t a lot,...



#46 Recycle Responsibly

2006-06-20T06:00:00-07:00

If you drop items like batteries and used ink-cartridges into the wastebasket you are putting everyone at risk. Harmful ingredients can be released into your home and ultimately into the environment. Batteries, used ink-cartridges and electronics can all be recycled....

(image) If you drop items like batteries and used ink-cartridges into the wastebasket you are putting everyone at risk. Harmful ingredients can be released into your home and ultimately into the environment.  Batteries, used ink-cartridges and electronics can all be recycled. But you may want to look into where your recycling goes. The vast majority of technology waste gets shipped to other countries for processing, often in unregulated conditions that result in polluted water supplies for entire populations. You can minimize your impact by buying less toxic alternatives, buying from companies that guarantee domestic recycling, and donating still-usable items to nonprofits.  LISTEN

Source: Rider, Kimberly. 2006. Healthy Home Workbook. Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

This post was written by Shana Weber  


 




#45 Kiss oil-based lipstick goodbye

2006-06-19T06:00:00-07:00

Did you know that many lipsticks and lip balms are petroleum-based? Most of the fragrances and flavors are needed to mask the underlying unpleasant chemicals. Fortunately there are many alternative products that are really good for your lips, keeping them...

(image) Did you know that many lipsticks and lip balms are petroleum-based? Most of the fragrances and flavors are needed to mask the underlying unpleasant chemicals.  Fortunately there are many alternative products that are really good for your lips, keeping them softer and healthier than the petroleum-based products. And it’s nice to know the fragrances in natural products aren’t masking something unpleasant underneath. Look for lipsticks and balms made from beeswax or plant oils. You’ll also find these products don’t tend to go rancid as readily as the petroleum-based products if you hold onto them for too long.  LISTEN

picture Madhava
 

Source: Rider, Kimberly. 2006. Healthy Home Workbook. Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

This post was written by Shana Weber  




# 44 Environmental Landscape Design

2006-06-16T06:00:00-07:00

When choosing a landscape designer for your home or business, consider one who specializes in sustainable landscape architecture. A growing number of graduate programs in landscape design and architecture are integrating principles of sustainability and ecology into the core of...

(image) When choosing a landscape designer for your home or business, consider one who specializes in sustainable landscape architecture. A growing number of graduate programs in landscape design and architecture are integrating principles of sustainability and ecology into the core of their discipline. More and more people wish to design outdoor spaces that are sanctuaries for local and native species. Landscaping becomes an act of restoration and habitat enhancement, rather than for creating a museum of perfectly controlled exotic specimens. Landscapes designed to enhance native habitat can also serve as outdoor classrooms for sharing the principles of ecological design.
LISTEN

picture Berger partnership

Source: Rider, Kimberly. 2006. Healthy Home Workbook. Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

This post was written by Shana Weber  




#43 Edible Landscaping

2006-06-15T06:00:00-07:00

If you have landscaping plans for your yard this summer, consider adding some edible features. Edible plants often have a number of different uses for the household. If looking to plant trees consider lemons and limes, excellent for cleaning as...

If you have landscaping plans for your yard this summer, consider adding some edible features. Edible plants often have a number of different uses for the household. If looking to plant trees consider lemons and limes, excellent for cleaning as well as flavoring food and drink. Lavender and rosemary can be used for bathing, cooking, and decorating. Some ancient traditions even say that planting garlic near roses makes them smell sweeter and grow more vibrantly. Perhaps this is because garlic has natural anti-pest qualities. And don’t forget to plant basil next to your tomatoes for that yummy summer salad. LISTEN 

SOURCE: Rider, Kimberly. 2006. Healthy Home Workbook. Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

This post was written by Shana Weber  




#42 Rich Soil, Cheap Pricetag!

2006-06-14T06:00:00-07:00

Every time most of us put our kitchen garbage out on the curb we throw out valuable nutrients. Kitchen scraps are full of the nutrients necessary for enriching the soil around your house, from small window boxes to full flower...

(image) Every time most of us put our kitchen garbage out on the curb we throw out valuable nutrients.  Kitchen scraps are full of the nutrients necessary for enriching the soil around your house, from small window boxes to full flower and vegetable gardens. Composting is one way to release the nutrients found in kitchen scraps and can be done in bins outside, or even in a box under your sink. Why spend money on expensive composts when you can make it yourself for free, and with minimal effort? Check with your local garden supply store or a composting friend for advice.  LISTEN

SOURCE:  Rider, Kimberly. 2006. Healthy Home Workbook. Chronicle Books, San Francisco.




# 41 Apples Keep e-Waste at Bay

2006-06-13T06:00:00-07:00

Apple Computer recently joined Dell, HP and other companies in providing free recycling for newly purchased computers. Apple also promised that no hazardous materials will be exported from recycled computers. A recent estimate found that less than 10% of discarded...

(image) Apple Computer recently joined Dell, HP and other companies in providing free recycling for newly purchased computers. Apple also promised that no hazardous materials will be exported from recycled computers. A recent estimate found that less than 10% of discarded computers are recycled and as much as 80% of collected e-waste is shipped to China, and other countries, where crude dismantling poisons the people, land, air, and water. If you have old computers which no school or community center can use, the Computer Recycling Center can help! Call toll-free, 1-88-88-usedPC to find a recycling center near you.  LISTEN

SOURCES:
As You Sow Foundation
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition  
Computer Takeback Campaign

Computer Recycling Center

This post was written by Shana Weber  and K. Truka




# 40 Relief for Feverish Fish

2006-06-12T06:00:00-07:00

It’s good when a fever breaks, but broken thermometers can send mercury down the drain into local waterways. Mercury is toxic to wildlife and the human nervous system, kidneys and other organs. Mercury thermometers are the single greatest residential source...

(image) It’s good when a fever breaks, but broken thermometers can send mercury down the drain into local waterways.  Mercury is toxic to wildlife and the human nervous system, kidneys and other organs. Mercury thermometers are the single greatest residential source of mercury pollution in the San Francisco Bay. California recently banned disposal of mercury thermometers and other toxic materials in household trash. You can take such waste to a hazardous waste facility. To locate one near you call the California Department of Toxic Substances at Control 1-800- 72-TOXIC. Look for mercury-free thermometers at your local drug store.  LISTEN

SOURCE: Save the Bay

This post was written by Shana Weber  and K Truka. 




#39 Grads Take an Eco-Pledge

2006-06-07T05:06:00-07:00

At colleges and universities across the nation, some students are adding an eco-pledge to their graduation ceremony. Through the Graduation Pledge Alliance, or GPA, thousands of students are voluntarily pledging to explore and take into account the environmental consequences of...

(image) At colleges and universities across the nation, some students are adding an eco-pledge to their graduation ceremony. Through the Graduation Pledge Alliance, or GPA, thousands of students are voluntarily pledging to explore and take into account the environmental consequences of any job they consider, and to work on improving those aspects of any organization they work for. By taking the pledge these students are making a public commitment to sustainability. At some schools the graduates even wear green ribbons to symbolize their pledge and raise awareness among their peers. This program was launched by students at California’s Humboldt State University in 1987.

Source: Co-op America’s RealMoney Journal May/June 2006

This post was written by Shana Weber  

"I __________ pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work."




#38 Even Gloomy Areas can go Solar

2006-06-06T17:56:00-07:00

Heating water is the single most costly energy expenditure for American households, but solar water-heating can come to the rescue, even in the gloomiest of climates. A couple in rainy Seattle recently installed an active solar water heater in their...

(image) Heating water is the single most costly energy expenditure for American households, but solar water-heating can come to the rescue, even in the gloomiest of climates.   A couple in rainy Seattle recently installed an active solar water heater in their home, and they have yet to see it fail to provide hot water, even at the end of a cloudy day. They also installed energy efficient appliances and a full solar electric system. Their electric bill has now dropped to about $5 a month. The value of their home has also increased since everyone knows energy costs will continue to rise. 

 



#37 Thrifty Shoppers are Eco-Shoppers

2006-06-05T06:47:00-07:00

Buying secondhand clothing has an impact far beyond just your pocketbook; it sends ripples of influence throughout industry. If you just want to save money, buying used clothing is very satisfying. You would be amazed the fabulous things people give...
(image) Buying secondhand clothing has an impact far beyond just your pocketbook; it sends ripples of influence throughout industry. If you just want to save money, buying used clothing is very satisfying. You would be amazed the fabulous things people give away, sometimes never worn. But buying secondhand clothing also keeps your dollars away from companies that support sweatshop labor, and reduces demand for the natural resources that go into making new clothes. Check your local phone listings for thrift and consignment shops near you. When you do buy new clothes consider long-lasting options that you know you’ll enjoy wearing for a long time. 
 



#36: Two Wheels Better than Four

2006-06-02T05:37:00-07:00

Make every day Bike-to-Work Day! Avoid traffic, spare the air and get exercise by celebrating the joys of two-wheeled motion. The rate of bicycling in San Francisco has more than doubled since 1990 with at least 1 in 25 residents...

(image) Make every day Bike-to-Work Day! Avoid traffic, spare the air and get exercise by celebrating the joys of two-wheeled motion.  The rate of bicycling in San Francisco has more than doubled since 1990 with at least 1 in 25 residents commuting regularly on two wheels. This is good news for commuters and community. Using your bike to make a short 4-mile round trip instead of your car keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air and out of our lungs. If you must drive, be a bike-friendly motorist and share the road by giving cyclists a wide berth. LISTEN

SOURCE: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition   and League of American Bicyclists

Post written by K. Truka, and S. Weber

Photo Adam Aufdenkamp




#35: Easy Being Green at the Car Wash

2006-06-01T05:18:00-07:00

Did you know that each year, average citizens inadvertently dump more motor oil into coastal waters than oil tankers do? There is one thing you can do to reduce oil and other contaminants from being flushed into our coastal waters....

(image) Did you know that each year, average citizens inadvertently dump more motor oil into coastal waters than oil tankers do?  There is one thing you can do to reduce oil and other contaminants from being flushed into our coastal waters. Go to the carwash instead of washing your car by hand. Carwashes have to send their dirty water to a wastewater treatment plant for processing, while the storm drains on your street empty directly into the nearest streams. Oil and other car pollutants can be toxic to fish eggs and smother aquatic life by creating a film on the water’s surface.  LISTEN

SOURCE:  San Francisco Save the Bay and Earth 911

Post written by K. Truka and S. Weber
 




#34 Eco-Friendly Decks

2006-05-29T07:09:00-07:00

Are you considering building a deck onto your house? There are lots of ways to go green as you build. One way to green your deck is to use recycled plastic lumber. It’s low-maintenance, requires no sealing, staining, water- or...

(image) Are you considering building a deck onto your house? There are lots of ways to go green as you build.  One way to green your deck is to use recycled plastic lumber. It’s low-maintenance, requires no sealing, staining, water- or insect-proofing, and it’s totally rot-resistant. Plastic lumber is usually made from post-consumer recycled plastics, so buying it can help keep plastic grocery bags and beverage containers out of the landfills. When shopping make sure the product has high recycled content of high-density and low-density polyethylene. These plastics are easy to recycle and have fewer chemical hazards than other plastics. LISTEN

SOURCE: Co-op American’s RealMoney Journal, Mar/Apr 06

Picture




#33 Windowsill Gardening

2006-05-26T05:52:00-07:00

Want a garden, but all you have is a windowsill? Never fear, just start your own windowsill gardening cooperative! Two neighbors in New York City’s East Village wanted to garden on their windowsills, but one had shade, and one had...

(image) Want a garden, but all you have is a windowsill? Never fear, just start your own windowsill gardening cooperative!  Two neighbors in New York City’s East Village wanted to garden on their windowsills, but one had shade, and one had sun. So they decided to start a coop. On the sunny side, they grow rosemary and tarragon. On the shady side they grow tomatoes, oregano, thyme, spearmint, basil and sage. They also save their compostable table scraps and take them to the community garden compost bin nearby, where they can trade it in for cured compost for their windowsill pots. LISTEN

SOURCE: The Green Guide, Mar/Apr 06 (www.thegreenguide.com)

Picture from this nice picture book




#32: Dangerous Dryer Balls

2006-05-25T05:46:00-07:00

You know those colorful nubby dryer balls that claim to be earth-friendly because they soften fabrics without chemicals? Well, I’ve got news for you. Many of those dryer balls are made of polyvinyl chloride, a hard-to-recycle plastic whose manufacture and...

(image) You know those colorful nubby dryer balls that claim to be earth-friendly because they soften fabrics without chemicals? Well, I’ve got news for you.   Many of those dryer balls are made of polyvinyl chloride, a hard-to-recycle plastic whose manufacture and incineration releases carcinogenic dioxins. So consumers beware and be sure to check what the balls are made of before buying. Truly nontoxic fabric softeners are available from companies like Seventh Generation and Ecover. Or simply add ¼ cup of baking soda to the wash cycle. To avoid static, dry cotton and synthetics separately, or hang them outside to dry. LISTEN

SOURCE: The Green Guide, Mar/Apr 06 (www.thegreenguide.com)




#31: Spring is in the Air

2006-05-24T05:40:00-07:00

Now that spring is here and warm breezes are beginning to blow, consider using Mother Nature to dry your clothes, save money, and reduce our fossil-fuel dependence! Every year in the U.S. it takes the equivalent of 34 million tons...

(image) Now that spring is here and warm breezes are beginning to blow, consider using Mother Nature to dry your clothes, save money, and reduce our fossil-fuel dependence!  Every year in the U.S. it takes the equivalent of 34 million tons of coal to dry our clothes. That’s 66 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Solar drying is gentler on your clothes, eliminates static cling, reduces wrinkles, and the UV rays are a natural disinfectant. It is also an excellent excuse to get outside, and the clothes smell great. During bad weather clothes will air-dry easily indoors as well. LISTEN

SOURCE: The Green Guide, Mar/Apr 06 (www.thegreenguide.com  and www.laundrylist.org




#30 Can Coal be Green?

2006-05-23T05:32:00-07:00

There is a lot of buzz about coal as the new source of cheap, clean energy for the U.S., but will coal every be truly green? Mining of coal often causes devastating environmental damage, and coal gets low marks on...

(image) There is a lot of buzz about coal as the new source of cheap, clean energy for the U.S., but will coal every be truly green?   Mining of coal often causes devastating environmental damage, and coal gets low marks on the green report card when compared to solar and wind energy. The list of pollutants released by even the cleanest coal is dominated by dangerous heavy metals, including lead and mercury. Investing in a solar and wind energy infrastructure would begin to tackle our global warming problem and protect us from toxins in a way that coal cannot.

SOURCE: Co-Op America (www.coopamerica.org/go/climateaction )




DG#29: Not (really) tested on animals

2006-05-22T06:38:00-07:00

Did you know that some products labeled as “not tested on animals” aren’t telling the whole truth? Many companies do not test their final products on animals, but DO test each individual ingredient. Beware of personal care, cosmetic, and household...

(image) Did you know that some products labeled as “not tested on animals” aren’t telling the whole truth?  Many companies do not test their final products on animals, but DO test each individual ingredient. Beware of personal care, cosmetic, and household products that claim no animal testing. There is one way to find out if your favorite products are telling the whole truth. Visit the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, or the CCIC, found at leapingbunny.org. The CCIC is the only group that verifies that all ingredients as well as the final product are not tested on animals. LISTEN

SOURCE: The GreenGuide (www.thegreenguide.com) Nov/Dec 2005

This post was written by Shana Weber  





DG#28: Top Designers Dig Hemp

2006-05-19T06:10:00-07:00

Stylish hemp is not just for Woody Harrelson. Hemp and hemp-blend suits have hit the corporate world with flair. I’m Betsy Rosenberg with EcoTalk’s Daily Greens – Good For You, Good For Our Planet, brought to you by Organic Valley...

(image) Stylish hemp is not just for Woody Harrelson. Hemp and hemp-blend suits have hit the corporate world with flair. I’m Betsy Rosenberg with EcoTalk’s Daily Greens – Good For You, Good For Our Planet, brought to you by Organic Valley Family of Farms. Designers like Georgio Armani and Todd Oldham have discovered that hemp is hip, functional, and great for suits. Hemp is stronger, more absorbent, and uses less water to grow than cotton. And it requires no toxic pesticides. That means it’s less expensive to produce and better for the environment than cotton. And now that high-end designers have caught on, classic business-wear can be ecofriendly with style. Check with your favorite designer brand to see if they’ve caught the hemp wave. LISTEN

SOURCE: Co-op America, RealMoney Journal, Sept/Oct 2003 

This post was written by Shana Weber  




DG#27 Make Your Flying Carbon-Neutral

2006-05-18T06:03:00-07:00

Did you know that the average domestic flight releases more than 1,700 pounds of greenhouse gases per passenger? If you have guilt pangs about this, there is a solution. Consider getting inexpensive energy offset credits. For a reasonable fee, you...
(image) Did you know that the average domestic flight releases more than 1,700 pounds of greenhouse gases per passenger? If you have guilt pangs about this, there is a solution.  Consider getting inexpensive energy offset credits. For a reasonable fee, you can support activities that will effectively absorb the greenhouses gases that you are responsible for releasing. You can do this for flying, driving, or any unsustainable aspect of your lifestyle! You can find these services by using search terms like Carbon Credits, or Carbon Offsets. Carbon credits also make great gifts, especially for the big consumer in the family!  LISTEN

SOURCE: New American Dream, Issue no. 34, Winter 05/06




#26 No-Waste Partying

2006-05-17T06:31:00-07:00

Next time you host a party at your house, consider intriguing your guests with the goal of a no-waste celebration. Think of all those disposable plates, napkins, cups, and containers associated with most of the parties you’ve ever been to....
(image) Next time you host a party at your house, consider intriguing your guests with the goal of a no-waste celebration.   Think of all those disposable plates, napkins, cups, and containers associated with most of the parties you’ve ever been to. Now imagine everyone having fun doing their part to reduce that waste and the associated environmental impact. Simply asking guests to bring their own washable cups, plates, and utensils will have a huge impact on the number of garbage bags you put on the curb. Also, encourage guests to carpool, or ride their bikes if they live close-by.


 



#25 Big Veggies, Small Nutrition

2006-05-16T06:29:00-07:00

According to the USDA standard non-organic vegetables have fewer vitamins and minerals than they did 50 years ago. Homegrown and organic veggies are far more nutritious than their corporate farm counterparts. Not surprising since factory farm products are bred for...
(image) According to the USDA standard non-organic vegetables have fewer vitamins and minerals than they did 50 years ago.  Homegrown and organic veggies are far more nutritious than their corporate farm counterparts. Not surprising since factory farm products are bred for high growth and production, not nutrition. Over the last 50 years, protein has declined six percent, iron 15 percent, vitamin C has dropped 20 percent, and riboflavin has fallen by 38 percent. These are excellent reasons to invest in organic produce for your family, or better yet, grow them yourself. They’ll taste better and be better for you and the planet.
SOURCE: Organic Consumers Association, Organic Bytes #80






#24 Wise Lawn Care

2006-05-12T06:28:00-07:00

Increasingly, homeowners are switching to organic lawn care products, but there’s still a long way to go. Stores like Lowe's, Sears and Home Depot, which used to sell only synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, are selling record amounts of organic soils...
(image) Increasingly, homeowners are switching to organic lawn care products, but there’s still a long way to go.  Stores like Lowe's, Sears and Home Depot, which used to sell only synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, are selling record amounts of organic soils and fertilizers this Spring. Surveys show only 5% of US households use organic lawn care products, but 21% say they’d like to. That number is likely to climb as more learn that common lawn and garden chemicals have been linked with cancer and kidney or liver damage, particularly in children and pets. Nor surprisingly, organic products are also better for your grass.  LISTEN
SOURCE: Organic Consumers Association, Organic Bytes #80



#23 Fight Global Warming with a Green Thumb

2006-05-11T05:15:00-07:00

Did you know that, on average, food travels 1500 miles to get from the farm to our forks? According to the USDA home food production is at an all-time low in U.S. history, at a time when we can least...

(image) Did you know that, on average, food travels 1500 miles to get from the farm to our forks?
 According to the USDA home food production is at an all-time low in U.S. history, at a time when we can least afford it. It takes 400 calories of fossil fuels to ship a 5 calorie strawberry across the nation, when it would easily grown in your back yard. You can fight global warming right at home. From the smallest windowbox herb garden to a large community garden plot, becoming a green thumb has enormous environmental and health benefits for you and the world.  LISTEN



#22 New Homegrown Label

2006-05-10T07:05:00-07:00

The Western Montana Sustainable Growers Union has launched a new food certification and labeling program that goes beyond USDA Organic. The corporate takeover of the organic foods industry has resulted in products being shipped often thousands of miles to the...

(image) The Western Montana Sustainable Growers Union has launched a new food certification and labeling program that goes beyond USDA Organic.  The corporate takeover of the organic foods industry has resulted in products being shipped often thousands of miles to the consumer. Many doubt the organic label means much if it comes with a huge fossil fuel price tag. Now, in Western Montana, you can buy organic products labeled “Homegrown”, guaranteeing they were grown within 150 miles of where they are sold. Independent programs like this are now cropping up all over the country to help keep organics localLISTEN




#21 Green Roofs Clean The Air

2006-05-09T10:48:00-07:00

Cities across the nation are discovering that growing plants on rooftops does a lot of good for everyone. Community activists, researchers, city planners, and landscape architects are working together in a number of communities across the nation to use rooftops...

(image) Cities across the nation are discovering that growing plants on rooftops does a lot of good for everyone.  Community activists, researchers, city planners, and landscape architects are working together in a number of communities across the nation to use rooftops to help clean air and water, and save energy. New York City currently has 60,000 square feet of green roofs in place. Chicago has an impressive 2 million green square feet. Vegetation on rooftops acts as a filter for dirty city air, helps reduce storm-water runoff, acts as a filter for runoff water, and insulates the buildings below, lowering energy bills.  LISTEN

For more information: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
This post was written by Shana Weber  



#20 Schools Cause Learning Impairment!

2006-05-04T20:44:00-07:00

Did you know that the majority of America’s 120,000 schools are cleaned with products that can cause cancer, reproductive disorders, headaches, asthma, and even learning disabilities? Yes it’s true, our schools could cause impaired learning! One out of three cleaning...
(image) Did you know that the majority of America’s 120,000 schools are cleaned with products that can cause cancer, reproductive disorders, headaches, asthma, and even learning disabilities?  Yes it’s true, our schools could cause impaired learning! One out of three cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals and it’s not just students who suffer, but teaching and maintenance staff as well. An estimated 6 out of every 100 janitors experience injuries related to chemicals in cleaning products. Alternative products are widely available at no additional cost, so it’s just a matter of making the switch. The state of NY already has!

SOURCE: New American Dream, Issue no. 34, Winter 05/06
LISTEN

This post was written by Shana Weber




#19 Safer Scouring

2006-05-03T11:32:55-07:00

Do you have really stubborn scrubbing to do? Many commercial scouring cleaners have silica or chlorine bleach, both potentially dangerous substances. Silica can be harmful if inhaled, and bleach products mixed with other cleaners can create a poisonous gas. Bleach...

(image) Do you have really stubborn scrubbing to do? Many commercial scouring cleaners have silica or chlorine bleach, both potentially dangerous substances.  Silica can be harmful if inhaled, and bleach products mixed with other cleaners can create a poisonous gas. Bleach is also harmful to septic systems and releases unhealthy chemical byproducts into the environment. A safer method for scrubbing is a homemade paste of baking soda and a small amount of liquid soap. Try a test spot to make sure you don’t make scratches. Then scrub away. Commercial products, free of silica and bleach, are also available in local stores.

LISTEN
This post was written by Shana Weber  




#18 Wise Window-Washing

2006-05-02T11:24:00-07:00

Most commercial window-cleaners contain ammonia, which is known to irritate lungs and trigger asthma. But there are healthy, inexpensive and easy alternatives. If your windows are simply dusty, cool water will do the trick with a cloth, and a squeegee....

(image) Most commercial window-cleaners contain ammonia, which is known to irritate lungs and trigger asthma. But there are healthy, inexpensive and easy alternatives.  If your windows are simply dusty, cool water will do the trick with a cloth, and a squeegee. For really dirty windows mix ¼ cup of vinegar with water in a 1-quart spray bottle, and scrub with a clean scrubbing pad. Greasy fingerprints are easy to remove with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice with warm water in your quart spray bottle. And for that added sparkle, you can polish your windows with a piece of newspaper when nearly dry.
LISTEN
This post was written by Shana Weber  




#17 Lighting the way

2006-04-28T08:16:26-07:00

Today’s compact fluorescent bulbs are not the buzzing, flickering, sickly-tinted lights of their early days. Incandescent bulbs may seem like a bargain, but over their lifetime they waste money and energy. Compact fluorescent bulbs last 10 times longer and use...

(image) Today’s compact fluorescent bulbs are not the buzzing, flickering, sickly-tinted lights of their early days.
Incandescent bulbs may seem like a bargain, but over their lifetime they waste money and energy. Compact fluorescent bulbs last 10 times longer and use 66% less energy, and they’ve come a long way. The quality of today’s fluorescent bulbs is excellent. They come in all shapes and sizes and are available in full spectrum to chase away those winter blues. There are also an increasing number of lamps and fixtures that are designed to accommodate the often-larger size of compact fluorescent bulbs.  LISTEN

More information

This post was written by Shana Weber  

 

 




#16 Greening Our Smog-producing Lawnmowers

2006-04-27T08:55:36-07:00

A new 2006 lawnmower is 93 times more polluting, gallon for gallon, than a same-year car. Cars have catalytic converters, which remove smog-producing chemicals from the exhaust. Lawnmowers don’t. The US EPA and State of CA are working to require...
(image) A new 2006 lawnmower is 93 times more polluting, gallon for gallon, than a same-year car.
 Cars have catalytic converters, which remove smog-producing chemicals from the exhaust. Lawnmowers don’t. The US EPA and State of CA are working to require converters on lawnmowers to help ease air pollution, against stiff opposition.  Some manufacturers argue that engines will run hotter, creating a fire hazard…the same argument automakers used 30 years ago when afraid the modification would lower their profits. Today’s proactive manufacturers say they can safely overcome the heat problem.  I’d happily pay a little extra to help prevent asthma in my kids.  Source:  Clean Air Watch

LISTEN

This post was written by Shana Weber  




#15 Responsible e-products

2006-04-25T22:28:35-07:00

There are now computers, printers, monitors and all sorts of e-products that no longer contribute to the international e-waste pollution problem. High tech companies have stepped up to the plate to help solve the problems of e-waste. Many electronics end...

(image) There are now computers, printers, monitors and all sorts of e-products that no longer contribute to the international e-waste pollution problem.   High tech companies have stepped up to the plate to help solve the problems of e-waste. Many electronics end up overseas where low-wage workers are exposed to heavy metals and other toxins in abysmal working conditions. The toxins also pollute local waterways. Dell, HP, NEC and IBM all offer “take-back” policies for old machines, and promise to recycle them safely. Look for TCO and Blue Angel ecolabeled products that have cut out many of these toxic materials.  LISTEN

SOURCE: The GreenGuide Nov/Dec 2005 (but you have to be a subscriber)

This post was written by Shana Weber  




#14 Buried in a Mountain of Packaging

2006-04-20T20:32:00-07:00

Did you know the average person in the United States throws out 300 pounds of packaging every year? Most of the time we don’t need the packaging that comes with many products, and there are lots of simple ways to...

(image) Did you know the average person in the United States throws out 300 pounds of packaging every year?  Most of the time we don’t need the packaging that comes with many products, and there are lots of simple ways to reduce waste. Try carrying a mug for those hot drinks to go, and a reusable water bottle. Tuck a stash of used shopping bags in your car to re-use again. Avoid taking bags at all when you only buy a few items. And consider reducing the amount you order take-out since the packaging is often wasteful and non-recyclable.  LISTEN

SOURCE: Paper or Plastic. By Daniel Imhoff. A Watershed Media Book.

This post was written by Shana Weber  




#13 All-purpose home-made natural cleaner

2006-04-19T13:22:00-07:00

Did you know you can make an inexpensive, natural and healthy all-purpose cleaner with common household ingredients? All you need is vinegar and salt, or baking soda and warm water. Vinegar and salt mixed together will clean just about any...

(image) Did you know you can make an inexpensive, natural and healthy all-purpose cleaner with common household ingredients?   All you need is vinegar and salt, or baking soda and warm water. Vinegar and salt mixed together will clean just about any surface. Vinegar breaks up soaps, oils and other grime and the salt acts as a natural nonabrasive scrub. But if you don’t want the vinegar odor, then try 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. You’ll get the de-odorizing and scrubbing power of baking soda without any of the harmful chemicals in bleach and ammonia-based cleaners.  LISTEN

SOURCE: Healthy Home Workbook

This post was written by Shana Weber  





#12 Natural drain cleaner

2006-04-18T13:16:48-07:00

Do you have a stubborn clogged drain? Before you pour in the chemicals give the nontoxic approach a try. You’ve probably already frustrated yourself with the plunger. The next natural step to open clogs is to pour 1/2 cup baking...

(image) Do you have a stubborn clogged drain? Before you pour in the chemicals give the nontoxic approach a try.
You’ve probably already frustrated yourself with the plunger. The next natural step to open clogs is to pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain and then add 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Then cover the drain. Remember not to use this method after trying a commercial drain opener—the combination can create dangerous fumes. Let it sit overnight and see what you get in the morning. If it’s not cleared, it might be time for that plunger again.  LISTEN

Read Vicki Lansky and more information

This post was written by Shana Weber 




#11 Natural fibers in the bathroom

2006-04-18T13:14:59-07:00

Beware synthetic fabrics in your bathroom. That decorative shower curtain, soft towel, or cheery bathmat might look lovely and fresh, but is it? If it's made with plastic, vinyl, or synthetic fabric, it can give off harmful compounds that can...

(image) Beware synthetic fabrics in your bathroom.
That decorative shower curtain, soft towel, or cheery bathmat might look lovely and fresh, but is it? If it's made with plastic, vinyl, or synthetic fabric, it can give off harmful compounds that can cause immune dysfunction, allergies, and other reactions in many people. But don’t feel limited! The wealth of natural fabrics and furnishings made from organic, unbleached cotton, hemp, and linen will amaze you! Try a hemp-linen blend or hemp-cotton blend for towels and shower curtains. Hemp is naturally mold-resistant! LISTEN  (sorry little delay for the podcast)

More information.

SOURCE: Natural Home Workbook

This post was written by Shana Weber 




#10: Full-spectrum light bulbs light the way

2006-04-13T14:19:55-07:00

Do you get the winter doldrums? Full-spectrum light bulbs can light the way and help our environment. In the home office, art studio, or anywhere you work, read, or sit for extended periods of time, full-spectrum light bulbs can be...

(image) Do you get the winter doldrums? Full-spectrum light bulbs can light the way and help our environment.
In the home office, art studio, or anywhere you work, read, or sit for extended periods of time, full-spectrum light bulbs can be a simple but dramatic change toward healthy light quality. These light bulbs simulate the natural spectrum of light found outdoors and are much better for your eyes, sense of well-being and overall health than other types of artificial light. They are also designed to last longer than standard bulbs so are cost-effective and create less waste. LISTEN

For more information

This post was written by Shana Weber 




#9 Sleep Soundly in Organic Bedding

2006-04-13T12:30:11-07:00

Make your bed a healthy place to sleep. We spend up to 1/3 of our lives in bed, so sleeping in a healthy environment is very important. If you have synthetic pillows and blankets, consider purchasing 100% organic natural-fiber covers...

(image) Make your bed a healthy place to sleep.
We spend up to 1/3 of our lives in bed, so sleeping in a healthy environment is very important. If you have synthetic pillows and blankets, consider purchasing 100% organic natural-fiber covers for them until they can be replaced. Even once you have switched to healthier pillows and mattress, you may still want to keep covers on these items as they decrease the dirt, dust, and skin cells that contaminate the filling, inviting dust mites. And when cleaning your bedding be sure to use natural laundry soaps.

LISTEN

For more information visit EcoBedroom

This post was written by Shana Weber   




#8 Throw rugs hide a thousand sins

2006-04-11T14:04:40-07:00

Can’t afford to replace your carpets but worry about chemicals released into the air? Just cover them up! If you have carpeting that is there to stay, especially newer carpet, throw down a natural-fiber area rug on top of it...

(image) Can’t afford to replace your carpets but worry about chemicals released into the air? Just cover them up! If you have carpeting that is there to stay, especially newer carpet, throw down a natural-fiber area rug on top of it to limit the amount of chemicals released into the air. Another option if you’ve just installed standard new carpet is to air out the house for a few weeks and let those new-carpet smells escape. Those odors are toxic volatile organic compounds and no good for you. Then lay down your natural fiber rugs to prevent further offgasing. LISTEN

For more information

SOURCE: Healthy Home Workbook, Natural Home Magazine

This post was written by Shana Weber  




#7 Take Off Those Dirty Shoes!

2006-04-11T06:22:00-07:00

Did you know that your shoes track all kinds of pollutants into your home? The custom of removing shoes before you enter a home has significant health as well as symbolic value. Pesticides, germs and chemicals from the outside world...

(image) Did you know that your shoes track all kinds of pollutants into your home?
The custom of removing shoes before you enter a home has significant health as well as symbolic value. Pesticides, germs and chemicals from the outside world stick to shoes and find their way into carpets, rugs and furniture fabrics. In other words, exactly where you don’t want them to be. Creating a comfortable entry space for guests and family to remove their shoes can also help facilitate the transition from work life to home life and provide that much-needed moment to unwind at the end of a long day.   LISTEN

SOURCE: Healthy Home Workbook

This post was written by Shana Weber