Posts Tagged green my home

A Friendly Earth Promise Reminder: Tomorrow is Earth Hour

Just a friendly Earth Promise  reminder that tomorrow night March 28, 2009, at 8:30pm is Earth Hour. This international annual event is held on the last Saturday of March signifying awareness to take action on climate change.  Started by the World Wild Life (Australia) in 2007, Earth Hour achieved worldwide participation in 2008.  For more information, be sure to visit:

 https://earthpromise.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/earth-hour-earth-day-earth-living/

Also let your kid in on the action.  Earth Hour Kids invites children and teens to participate in this climate changing event as well. 

Be sure to visit the Earth Promise blog  as next week we will have 21 fantastic interviews leading up to Earth Day.

 

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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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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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Hair: The Ideal Renewable Resource

Did you ever wonder what could be done with the abundance of hair clippings that cover the floors of salons and pet groomers around the world?  My stylist enlightened me about an eco-friendly company that actually collects hair clippings to make Oil Spill Hair Mats . Over 300,000 hair salons from the US, Canada, China, India, South Africa and beyond mail their hair trimmings to San Francisco based, Matter of Trust.  Think about it: hair, the most ideal renewable resource, naturally absorbs oil and acts like a perfect sponge.  These Oil Spill Mats, that look and feel like a large SOS pads, are a completely organic method of waste removal.

This eco-absorber du jour, hair, can also be collected to make fertilizer mats for plants.  According to Smart Grow, hair is a natural by-product that keeps the plants moist and prevents weeds without chemical laden fertilizers.  Living in Florida, my potted plants are loaded with weeds and constantly need to be watered.  Tests conducted on “container-grown plants grown with SmartGrow mats remained healthy and floriferous even after 18 months without fertilizing.”  Now, that’s worth trying!

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Green Your Eating And Cooking Habits

We are a society that over-consumes in every sense of the word.  We buy unnecessarily and if you just look around, we eat unnecessarily as well. We have been taught (and somewhat scared) into dieting, using artificial products to add to our foods, and forced to read food labels.  Much of the cuisines we consume or at least have consumed over the past years are filled with toxins.  The process of how food is grown and manufactured has drastically altared.  This has transformed our country into an unhealthy cesspool.  It is important, then, to stay healthy in today’s climate of uncertainty. “We can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold,”  President Barack Obama told Congress.  With the rising cost of healthcare, becoming sick is simply not a financial option.  Both eating well and saving money, then, are crucial.

Below are some healthy, green eating and cooking ideas that can easily be put into your daily schedule and may even save you a few bucks!

·         Grow herbs and vegetables at home ….either in your outdoor garden or on your window sill.  It will be a small investment, but will save you tons in the end.  Be sure to plant the organic seeds (or purchase a small potted organic herb plant); this way you know from the start it is pesticide free.

 

·         Ban the high fructose corn syrup.  This is where reading labels are vital.  This sticky sweetener is found in the obvious sodas, juices and many cereals.  Go to your cabinet and check out the myriad of products that have this toxic sweetener. D Life  explains that it’s a highly purified blend of sugars (typically 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose) derived from corn. Because the fructose in HFCS is part of a manmade blend (as opposed to the natural compound of sugars found in fruit), the body metabolizes it very differently from other sugars.”  If this scientific explanation isn’t enough to change your refined sugar habits, then hopefully the announcement of mercury found samples of high fructose corn syrup will drive you to toss your packaged food out.  The Washington Post article warns, Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered.”

 

·         Sugar alternatives.  When Christopher Columbus brought sugar to America, it was, yes, filled with calories, but contained protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Ah, but then the processing of the sugarcane changed dramatically.  A few centuries later, the sugar business needed to revamp their processing methods to get more bang for their buck.  The essential nutrients were then stripped away in a process that produced what we know today as refined sugars.  Basically, a product with loads of calories and no nutritional value. Thus, the root cause for health problems.  Then, there came the birth of artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin) filled with synthetic chemicals. Instead, try agave nectar as it has a lower glycemic index.  Agave nectar is a great economic alternative to other sweeteners since it has approximately “1.4 x the sweetening power of white sugar and, agave nectar’s mild flavor doesn’t vary widely which will lend a real consistency to recipes.” Also try Stevia as an additive to smoothies, yogurts, coffees and teas.  It is not recommended, though, for baking.  Keep in mind that most sugar producers practice unfair labor. Although purchasing the organic, fair-trade brands may empty your wallet, at least you know you are supporting a worthy cause.

 

·         Fish and mercury levels.  Yes, fish and shellfish are part of a healthy diet.  Yes, they are low in saturated fat, and full of nutrients, but then there is the mercury element.  It is said that all fish have traces of mercury, but certain types have larger amounts that the public need to be made aware of; especially pregnant women and children.  Visit, Environmental Working Group  for a list of fish containing high levels of mercury.

 

·         Need to thaw?  Do so in the fridge in lieu of running hot water over the food.  This obviously will save water and will allow the food to thaw more evenly.

 

·         Cook in advance.  If saving time and money are priority, then use (or altar) recipes that call for dry legumes.  Allow them to soak overnight in the fridge.  If you make enough in advance, you can put into smaller containers in the freezer.  Although the canned versions are mighty convenient, some are known to have Bisphenol-A (BPA) an endocrine disruptor in the linings of the cans.

 

·         Cooking is not just for ovens/stoves.  I’m not suggesting cooking in the microwave either!  How many times do you throw a sweet potato in the oven?  Smaller portions can easily be cooked in a toaster oven and it uses much less energy, thus saving money on your electric bill.  Slow cookers are also a big hit and try plug-in kettles in place of the tea kettle heating up on the stove.

 

·         To keep the microwave clean in order to maximize its performance.  Maximizing energy means less energy used; thus saving money on electric bill.

 

·         To cover pots when cooking when possible. This allows you to cook quicker so that you use less energy.

 

For more eco-changes, visit Earth Promise  and partake in the changes that will help you live a more healthy, green lifestyle.

 

 

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Water Rationing Is Not Just For Californians

California’s third year of drought is cause for alarm.  Reservoirs are low even though there have been large amounts of snow from storms lately.

NPR’s, Morning Edition  announced, ”California has declared a statewide water emergency in the face of a punishing three-year drought. It could result in some drastic conservation measures and water rationing over the coming months, stretching from California’s farm belt to major coastal cities like Los Angeles.”

Also the Sacramento Bee  has an eye-opening article how the lack of water is causing a detrimental trickle effect; the “thirsty farms”, the dwindling number of fish in the estuary, and lack of jobs is real and frightening.  The amount of produce the country relies on California for is staggering.  Some farmers will buy water on the open market to keep orchards alive”  Purchase water?  Is this what our over-indulgent country has deteriorated to?  This is an enormous wake-up call for our country to take action now.

Make promises to help our precious Earth.  Here are a few of the countless suggestions from Earth Promise that everyone can do that will make a big difference: 

·         To take shorter showers.  Every two minutes you cut down on your shower can conserve more than 10 gallons of water.  This will not only save you time, but money on your water bill.

·         To run only full loads in the dishwasher. By running the dishwasher when it is not full, you will do so more often, thus using more electricity.

·         To not pre-rinse dishes if possible before putting them in the dishwasher.  If you do need to give them a rinse, don’t allow the water to run. 

·         To turn off the tap while brushing my teeth.

·         To flush one less time per day (obviously picking the right time not to).  By doing this, you can save up to 5 gallons per day.

·         To plug the drain in the tub before turning on the water instead of waiting for it to get warm.

·         To use drip irrigation or soaker hoses in my garden and/or flower bed instead of regular sprinklers which will use less water.

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