Baby You Can Share My Car

First off, I’d like to apologize to the Beatles for the pun used in the title; I just couldn’t help myself!

The magazine section of the Sunday, New York Times from March 8, 2009 has an exceptionally informative article about the new (American) trend, car sharing. “Car sharing (a European concept) is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour.  The editorial focuses on the origins of one of the largest car sharing companies, Zipcar.  This is not just a cars on demand type of company, but a community.  Althoughvery convenient for both city dwellers and college students, being a member of Zipcar may not be something for country or suburban folks to participate in. 

To read the article in its entirety, click here  You might think twice about purchasing your next car.

To learn about ways you can make Earth Promises about your transportation, click here.

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Green Thumb Or Not; Change Your Eating Habits

Michelle Obama’s White House garden is inspiring.  The First Lady’s agricultural endeavor both introduces and reminds people to get closer to the land; to conserve Earth’s precious resources; and the importance of growing their own healthy food.  For some people this is feasible; for others, both time and natural space interfere with this green-thumb movement. There are many accessible sites to help start your own garden, whether it’s an herb garden in your window sill, planting a fruit tree, or planting a fruit and vegetable garden.  Here are some sites to help start your gardening adventure:

·         Mother Earth News

·         Gardeners

·         Southern Living

·         Organic gardening  

 

If you fall into the category where time and space hamper your gardening efforts, you still can have access to local fresh vegetables and fruit as well as contribute to lessening your carbon footprint.  Think about the toxic chemicals that are needed to preserve the food or the amount of petroleum used to deliver your food.  Buying local, like growing your own garden, will help support your local community’s economy; lessen the impact on your environment; and allow you to eat healthily.  Now is the perfect time to consider purchasing as much food as possible from local sources.  Food Routes, which is part of Food Routes Network, is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to reintroducing Americans to their food – the seeds it grows from, the farmers who produce it, and the routes that carry it from the fields to their tables.”  The FoodRoutes website provides tips on how to buy more local food, where you can find this food in your community, educates about how buying local affects the environment and your health, and has the latest news on farming today.  You can even take part in the Buy Local Challenge . This allows you to show your support to those local farmers in your community. It’s time to revitalize the food movement!

For more tips on how you can make changes in this healthy, local food trend, visit Earth Promise.

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Tap Project’s Good Deed

Growing up, I always made the assumption that (clean, drinkable) water would always be available.  My wasteful habits are astonishing to look back upon: running water while brushing teeth; not turning the hose off while washing the car; and running the kitchen sink while washing dishes. The millions of gallons of water my family and I wasted make me cringe with disgust.  This careless water behavior of mine has come to a screeching halt.   The news about our dwindling water supply and countries around the world not having safe drinking water to survive is not so new.  With our environment in peril, it’s time to truly make a change in behavior.

Today, the lack of clean water is the second largest killer of children under the age of five.  This global crisis is due to the high demand for fresh water in our world.  In a 2008 CNN interview with Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water,   Barlow explained: One way or another, we have taken accessible clean water … and we have rendered it unusable. We take massive amounts [of water] and we irrigate the desert, where it evaporates. We’re pumping groundwater all over the world far faster that it can be replenished by nature. We are actually running out of fresh, clean water everywhere in the world, including here in North America. We have to give up this myth of abundance. We have come to the limits of the planet.”

How can we help our fragile planet’s water supply?  This upcoming March 22nd through March 28th is World Water Week.  We can all make an extra effort to support clean water access to everyone around the world.  New York City based, Tap Project assists UNICEF’s endeavors to bring clean water to children all over the world.  Participating “restaurants would ask their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free.” 

Starting in 2007, Tap Project was solely a NYC endeavor with 300 Manhattan-based dining locations.  In 2008, it has grown more than 7 fold to 2,300 participators nationally (restaurants, corporations, volunteers, advertising agencies, community groups, local governments and everyday diners). 

The Tap Project website allows you to locate a participating restaurant near you.  Although it is too late to volunteer or sign up your restaurant for this year’s Tap Project, donations can be made to support UNICEF’s project to provide sanitized water for children around the world.

To kick off 2009’s Tap Project, a walk in both New York City and Chicago will occur.  Although it is only a one mile event, the participants are encouraged to carry a minimum of one gallon of water to show support for “the millions of children worldwide who must carry water from distant sources each day.”

Be sure to visit Earth Promise as it has many ideas for you to change your wasteful water habits. 

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Purple is the New Green When it Comes to Shopping

Online shopping: I know I couldn’t live without it.  It’s one of the most convenient tools the Internet has to offer.  Every search engine or guide plugs that they make it the easiest, fastest or have the largest selection available

Now that green shopping has become the norm, I came across, Thepurplebook Green: An Eco-friendly Online Shopping Guide.  Born from the annually published series, thepurplebook, Thepurplebook Green focuses on the web’s finest eco-friendly businesses.  For those who still enjoy snuggling up with a book to do research instead of going to the computer, this guide (made from recycled paper, of course) is for you.  Some of the many green entities you can research are: fashion, food, home improvement, furnishings, garden supply, personal necessities and gifts. There are over 400 earth-friendly retailers featured in the book.  For neophytes and green gurus alike, the opening few chapters offer simple, non-life altering advice to green-ify your life.

This book can also help guide you to make your promises

 

 

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An Inspiring Green Dream

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.

 Henry David Thoreau

 

American author, poet and naturalist, Henry David Thoreau, is best known for his book Walden, a reflection and fascination within his natural surroundings.  I have come in contact with a modern day Thoreau, 29-year-old Nathan Winters.

Nathan Winters, avid traveler/explorer and nature devotee, from Lancaster, PA, has decided to live the life he has imagined.  As well as being an entrepreneur and product manager in the world of technology, his longtime goal and dream has been to travel across America.  Nathan has chosen to do it via bike .  He will unite his love of nature with his love of exploration hoping to draw attention to support the conservation of land and nature. 

Nathan has developed the site, Follow Nathan where visitors can actually followhis progress on a map; be able to read about his journey via blog; and be able to read a Daily Green Tip. Nathan will conduct video interviews with locals along his sojourn. You will be able to follow his up to minute progress via Twitter, Facebook, Youtube.

Although he has no concrete route, his vision is to begin in Maine and ride through to Washington state.

Nathan’s agenda is clear: preserve nature.  Not only does he hope his ride will bring awareness to this important cause, donations can be made to help support his ride and provisions as well as money going towards “the organizations that are devoted to help preserve land and nature.” For every $10 in donations to FollowNathan.org, he will help plant 10 trees which helps protect the environment with the help of one of his partners, Trees For the Future Also, Nathan will plant 5 trees with every purchase of one of his cool products: messenger bags coffee mugs and a variety of cool t-shirts for both men and women, (all adorned with the Follow Nathan logo).

FollowNathan.org  is not only an impressive site, but an inspiring dream that he is making come true.  Pedal on, Nathan Winters!

 

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Water Bottles: Bad for Our Planet, Bad for Our Body

We’ve been flooded with information about the how’s and why’s single-use plastic water bottles are outright terrible for our planet and our bodies:

·         Fastest growing section of beverage department

·         (Many) end up in landfills

·         They are shipped either from overseas or just across our own country (burning fossil fuels and diesel fuels).  All this travel to simply get our fill of H2O; something that we have access to right nearby!

·         This, then, causes our gas prices to rise.  Creating and shipping plastic water bottles generates a demand for oil and thus depletes our oil reserves.

·         The estrogen (female sex hormone)-mimicking toxin is found in these deposable bottles.

 What should be done? Start by promising  to curb your bottled water purchases.  Also, make a promise to drink tap water when dining out when possible as opposed to bottled water.  Small changes like these, then, will halt the amount of estrogen-like pollutants entering your body. (At least via water bottles!) Below are some great scientific sites that provide detailed data regarding hormones found in plastic water bottles:

The report in The Globe and Mail reveals the consistent contamination of bottled water with a hormonally active substance leaching from PET, one of the world’s most popular packaging materials. The plastic is also used for soft-drink bottles and a host of other food and beverage containers and is identified by the recycling-industry symbol of the numeral “1” encased in a triangle.” 

Science News reports about a water bottle study done at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt.  Scientists conducted research on mud snails, animals highly responsive to female hormones.  Their results were astonishing: a production of up to twice as many embryos.  Be sure to read the article in its entirety.

All this news is outright frightening.  I thought #1 was one of the good plastics?!  How to remedy the situation?  Carry your own non-toxic plastic water bottle, but be wary of the bottle you choose.  Or, avoid plastic altogether and purchase glass bottles to refill and stainless steel ones to tote around.

Earth Promise has many eco-friendly living tips that make a big impact…for the Earth and your body.

 

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How Green Is Your Pet’s Pooper Scooper?

Picking up after our pets (yes, their poop) in most places it’s not only law, but common courtesy.  No one likes to do it, but it has to be done.  Although this matter is totally biodegradable, why then do we place it into a non-biodegradable bag?  If you still use regular plastic bags, let me remind you about some of the hazardous statistics:

·         Takes up to 1000 years for a plastic bag to decompose

·         12 million barrels of oil used to make plastic bags

·         Less than 1% of all plastic bags get recycled in the U.S

If your dog hasn’t been taught the etiquette of pooping under a bush or in the woods, then decomposable bags are your best bet.  GreenDoggieBags is a company, started by two South Floridians that developed an alternative to the non-biodegradable bags.  Made from a cornstarch mixture, these eco-friendly bags look like their counterparts but decompose after a few months.  Not out in the market yet to purchase, GreenDoggieBags is focusing on making deals with green friendly cities.

For other Earth friendly pet information, visit, Pet Style and if you want to start making your own pet Earth Promises, click here.

Here are some pet promise examples:

To buy a collar for my pet that is made of organic canvas instead of nylon.

To buy pet treats with no packaging (from the pet store treat bar).

To speak to my veterinarian about putting my pet on a vegetarian diet, or feeding them food with less meat, poultry or fish. 

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