Posts Tagged holiday green changes

The Great American Cleanup – Get Involved

 It’s never too late to improve your community’s environment. Keep America Beautiful’s annual event, The Great American Cleanup takes place between March 1 and May 31 in communities all across the United States. This is the nation’s largest community improvement project.

Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful, Inc.’s mission is to “engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments.”  This is done through their various programs such as The Great American Cleanup.  Each year, people work together to beautify their neighborhoods: picking up litter in parks and roadways, cleaning up beaches and other waterways, planting trees and flowers to restore public spaces, painting over graffiti, repairing local homes and businesses, and holding recycling drives and workshops.  The concept is two-fold—educate and participate.

The Keep America Beautiful, KAB, website makes it easy to get involved in a program near you.  KAB provides the tools  to locate or start your own community based beautification project; from how develop partnerships and corporate sponsors to curriculum for teachers to utilize in their classrooms. You can also visit the history of KAB and witness the beginnings of the green mentality long before it was fashionable.  Oh yes, I vividly remember the first public service announcements; one in particular with the single tear running down the Native American’s weathered cheek.  The message was, and still is, clear: pollution is disgraceful and we need to work together to save our planet.

Remember, it’s never too late to volunteer your time and effort for The Great American Cleanup.

And visit Earth Promise to make your promises to help clean up America!



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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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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 Child’s Reading List

Every child deserves to have a good book read to her.  Reading aloud is one of the most important activities you as a parent, grandparent, sibling, or caregiver can do together. No matter what your values are, reading can help communicate via illustrations and stories.  Those “green” parents who want to share their eco-values with their offspring can do so by reading or supplying books about the environment.  Here are some of my favorites:


·         The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss is my all-time favorite.  To say the least, he was ahead of his time when it was published in 1971!!  Through his whimsical play on nonsense words, Dr. Seuss educates his readers not to destroy our environment.  In the end, our future is left in the hands of a child. Indeed, this tale is timeless.

·         Planet Earth Gets Well, by Madeline Kaplan. This book introduces its readers to detailed changes you can make to help Earth become healthy.

·         365 Penguins, by  Jean-Luc Fromental. A family unexpectedly receives one penguin each day for one year….thus the title, 365 Penguins.  Not only does this engaging book tie in math, but also ecology and geography.

·         The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming, by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon. Amusing, educational and empowering; this book provides the readers with the knowledge to inspire and to take action.

·         The Last Polar Bears, by Harry Horse.  A grandfather and his dog engage on an expedition to find a polar bear living in the wild.  Told through various letters written to his grandson at home, Grandfather and his canine pal encounter various humorous obstacles.

·         The Tree , by Dana Lyons and David Lane Danioth.  This splendidly illustrated book (inspired by a song which includes the cd) is about an ancient fir living in the Pacific Rain forest.  The Tree talks of his long life: what he has seen and sheltered over his 800 years.  This is undoubtedly a nature’s treasure.

·         Why Should I?  by Jen Green. This enjoyable easy to read series demonstrates the importance of protecting nature.


Come and visit tomorrow for more resources to engage your family in helping the environment.

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Teach Your Children Well

“Mommy, you’re wasting water!” my 5 year old informed me last night.  I honestly was waiting for the water to warm up to wash my face, but since my husband and I have drilled the “no running water” rule in our house, our kids act like the “green” police.  She was right; so off went the water.

As the saying goes: kids learn by action, so be a good role model. It is second nature for our daughters not to let the water run while brushing their teeth; they automatically reuse the backsides of paper; they know to turn their lights and fans off when leaving their rooms and they instinctively recycle.  They were astonished that Mimi and Poppy didn’t begin recycling until just recently.  When asked why, my parents were too embarrassed to let their grandchildren know that it was an inconvenience.  Guilt from the grandchildren works miracles!

It’s never too late to teach children the importance of helping our environment.  There are a myriad of ideas to get from books and websites that can help educate you and your children.  Over the next couple of days I’ll offer some suggestions and resources.

 Promises you can make with your children to jumpstart your green family:

·         Be sure to make the outdoors part of your day.  Have some sort of garden that your children can take part in caring for. If you show enthusiasm and respect for nature, your child will want to do the same

·         Plant a butterfly garden.  This is a great opportunity to go to the library to check out various books about butterflies and learn how they play a critical role in our environment.

·         Recycle.  Have separate bins so that they can help sort.  When we get stumped on a particular item, like styrofoam, we visit, . You can also make it a learning experience and ask your local recycling plant if you can visit.

·         If their school doesn’t already recycle, start small by having the students recycle in the classrooms.  Eventually it can move into the cafeteria.

·         Buy organic foods when possible and explain why.  Foods grown in accordance with the National Organic Standards Act are done so without toxic pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic hormones, sewage sludge, GMO’s or irradiation.  This is not only good for the environment, but for your body.

·         Turn it off or unplug anything that uses electricity: fans, lights, computers, chargers etc.  Have this become a daily ritual.

·         Close the doors.  Kids (and parents, too) are notorious for standing in front of the open refrigerator.   Know what you are getting so that the refrigerator door doesn’t stand ajar too long.  This is the same for the oven as well, as it will use less energy to do its job.



Be sure to visit Earth Promise’s blog tomorrow for resources to help your family.





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Meat-Free Valentine’s Day–Good for You and the Earth

Make an Earth Promise to have a meat-free Valentine’s dinner. For both health and environmental reasons, opting to have a vegetarian meal is a great promise you can make.  Zenzibar Alternative Culture offers some valuable reasons to stop or at least cut down on eating meat:

·         Lowering the risk of cancervegetarians are less likely to get cancer by 25 to 50 percent.

·         Lowering risk of heart diseasevegetarian diet reduces cholesterol

·         Factory farmed animal carry disease–approximately 30% of all pork products are contaminated with toxoplasmosis. We are increasingly at risk from highly contagious diseases like Mad Cow Disease and Foot and Mouth disease in sheep and cattle

Many agree that damage caused by the meat industry is one of the top contributors to global warming.  Our friendly bovine cud-chewers are a large culprit of producing methane into our environment.  So what is methane exactly and how does it harm our environment? “Methane breaks down in the atmosphere to form carbon dioxide, ozone, and water, all of which absorb heat.” The Earth’s atmospheric temperature then rises, causing the ice caps to melt, sea levels to rise, all which instigate a wide range of evils on our plants, wildlife, and humans.


Some environmental reasons to cut down on meat:

·         Environmental pollution–Raising animals for food is the biggest polluter of our water and topsoil

·         Destruction of natural habitat–It takes more land to raise animals for food than it does to produce the equivalent nutritional value by raising edible plants

·         Inefficient use of agriculture, water and energy–It takes 2640 gallons of water to produce one pound of edible beef. The water used to raise animals for food is more than half the water used in the United States. 70% of U.S. grain production is used to feed farm animals. The grains and soybeans fed to animals to produce the amount of meat consumed by the average American in one year could feed seven people for the same period.


So consider a meat-free Valentine dinner with your loved one, whether you prepare your feast at home or if you choose to dine out.   Those who are carnivores, aim to reduce the amount of meat you eat in an average week (one less meal than my average amount).  

Visit, Earth Promise, for more changes that make a difference.

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Green Wines For Valentine’s Day?

You want only the best for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. This year take the opportunity to do something simple yet romantic with your beloved; share a candlelit meal together.  What better way to express your love than sharing a nice bottle of eco-friendly wine.

Not only are there an abundance of Organic wines to choose from today, but Biodynamic wines (aka, BD wines), as well.

Biodynamic wines use a method of organic farming that combines spiritual and holistic development.  It uses an advanced emphasis on food quality and soil health.  Organic farming simply uses techniques to have the best, purest soil possible.  The basic principle behind biodynamic farming, then, is to treat the farm as an individual living organism. Biodynamic farming goes even further to recognize the existence of subtle energy forces in nature.  

For your wine/astronomical lover, here are some Biodynamic wines to please the palate:

Quivira Wine, produces Biodynamic wines with an emphasis on sustainability and minimal impact. “Committed to expressing the unique terrain of Dry Creek Valley, and through biodynamic processes, they craft wines only from grapes grown on the estate’s vineyards.”

The Resonance Vineyard in Oregon offers Biodynamically certified wines.  The entire packaging is recyclable as well.  

How about purchasing a nice bottle for your Valentine under $25?  Perfect for our current economic climate.   Below are some Organic options that won’t empty your wallet:

Organic Wine Press has sampler packs and wine of the month club options.

Organic Vinters touts their broad selection from around the world.  These Organic (and some vegan) options are not only healthier, but better for the environment. 

Bonterra Vineyards philosophy of respect for the land produces not only premier wines, but beauty in a bottle that won’t break your budget.  The winery in Hopland Bonterra uses only renewable energy, including solar, and trucks and tractors run on biodiesel.

Obviously the most green-friendly option is to drink local.  Find a winery that practices environmentally responsible production nearby since a lot of fossil fuels gets burned transporting your gift.

 Visit, Earth Promise, for changes that make a difference.

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