If you are still using Roundup, you may rethink that decision considering the studies piling up against it. This is a video I made for a class a couple of years ago. At that time there were already studies showing negative effects of the chemical glyphosate, a.k.a Roundup.
This is a great informative graphic that Education Database Online shared with me. Our Plastic Nightmare shows why plastic is so damaging.
Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions? A lot of people resolve to save more, lose weight or be kinder. If you resolved to live a more sustainable life, you could do all that and more.
By living more sustainably you can save money because you won’t be buying so much stuff, especially new stuff. I love the reduce, reuse and recycle slogan. Do I buy new stuff, yes, but I do try to find a second-hand version first. The downside of buying second-hand is that it can take a considerable amount of time. Then you may have to go and get it new after spending your valuable time looking for something and not finding it. But, the hunt can certainly be fun and addictive.
The resolution to lose weight is a popular one. Did you make that resolution? How’s it going? We’re two weeks into the new year and I think people are already losing motivation. One way to be healthier and lose weight is to eat in a more sustainable manner. Think local, seasonal and clean. Try and reduce or delete processed foods. Look to bulk and organic. Make a big batch of something and freeze half. There is mounting evidence on the health detriments coming from all the chemicals and additives in out diet. There are studies linking obesity to processed food, food additive chemicals, fast food and portion size that we as a society are addicted to.
Buying in bulk helps to save money and also cuts out a lot of waste. If you really want to reduce waste, buy reusable mesh bags to replace the disposable plastic ones for your bulk items. Buying in bulk helps us eat better and cheaper. Invest in a good cook book, especially one that takes into account seasonality of foods. Make use of the online resources to help with seasonal cooking. Freeze and can your own food. Even if you don’t have a gigantic garden, take advantage of the farmers market.
If you do some of these things to save money and lose weight, then you’ll be well on your way to being kinder. Anytime you reduce your consumption and waste, you are being kinder to the planet and all those that inhabit it.
Good luck in the new year and in your resolution to be a better you.
I just watched a news story on CBS This Morning about aging and rotting utility poles. The story told how a rotten utility pole fell on a worker. The accident left the man paralyzed from the neck down. According to the story, old and decayed poles are a real problem across the country, but especially in the southeast part of the country.
In a report on The Environmental Literacy Council‘s website, the lifespan of utility poles has serious environmental impacts. Manufacturers use toxic chemicals to treat the poles. Those chemicals leach out into the soil over the years of the pole’s use.
More and more utilities are buried, but according to The Environmental Literacy Council, about 120 million utility poles are in use. So, if the poles are unsafe and rotting, and communities can’t afford to bury the lines, what can be done without damaging the environment? What about making the poles out of recycled material?
I wrote a blog in 2009 about a company called TieTek that made railroad ties out of plastic and rubber tire waste. The ties do not need to be treated with any chemicals because they are already rot resistant.
Doesn’t that sound like a perfect solution to replacing our country’s aging and deteriorating utility poles? I sure think so. This could be a great idea for a green company. I hope that happens.
A local magazine launched an Eat Local Challenge six years ago. Every year some local businesses and some health and wellness organizations get involved to encourage residents to eat food produced within 100 miles of the city.
I definitely do my best to meet the challenge, but I gotta have my coffee and chocolate. Sorry, that is where I draw the line. That said, the coffee and chocolate are organic and fair trade.
Do you live in a community that has a similar challenge? Do you participate?
There are some very good reasons for eating locally. The reasons range from supporting local economies to reducing your carbon footprint. Your health and wallet can benefit as well. By staying away from processed food, we can save money and get a lot of chemicals out of our bodies. Buying in bulk and planning ahead also help keep costs down and encourage healthy eating.
Why not try your own local eating challenge? You might discover some wonderful, local hidden treasures. If you take the challenge, please share your stories on your new finds.
If you haven’t switched to non-toxic or natural kitchen cleaners, because you didn’t think they would clean as well as the mainstream harsh cleaners, it’s time to let those fears go.
America’s Test Kitchen has tested cleaners for the kitchen, and the non-toxic ones have come out on top of the heap of cleaners available.
By switching to non-toxic cleaners, you will help yourself, your family, and your pets’ health.
I once had a reader tell me what an immense difference switching to natural cleaners made to her pets’ health. After she had read a column I wrote about green cleaning, she switched to non-toxic cleaners, and was able to take her pets off allergy medications.
Method tested best in the all-purpose cleaner category and Seventh Generation tested best in the dish liquid category. Bar Keepers Friend won for best abrasive cleanser. Ketchup, yes ketchup, was the best copper cleaner! I’ve been using ketchup to clean copper and brass for years.
I posted a link to the video from the show.
Happy Earth Day! How are you celebrating today? Showing your support of Earth Day could be as simple as replacing an inefficient incandescent bulb with a new LED bulb, buying a reusable bag made from recycled material, planting a tree, shrub or other native plant in your yard, eating like a vegetarian for the day, or eating like a locavore. You can get an app for your smartphone from Locavore to help you find locally grown ingredients.
You can also find bigger ways to celebrate Earth Day by getting involved with sustainable organizations. The Earth Day Network has a site where you can find more information about Earth Day. Maybe this Earth Day is when you commit to make big changes in your life. Maybe today you decide to start biking to work or taking public transportation. Maybe today is the day you put in a compost or garden.
If you have the basics of reduce, reuse and recycle down, make bigger changes. If you don’t have the basics down, start incorporating them into your life.
1. Stop buying bottled water, bring your own reusable bottle
2. Stop accepting plastic and paper bags, bring your own reusable bags
3. Stop buying individually wrapped convenience items
4. Buy in bulk
5. Use rags instead of paper towels
6. Switch to glass food storage containers from plastic containers or disposable bags
7. Switch to recycled paper products like recycled-content toilet paper or recycled-content printer paper
8. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins
9. Stop eating processed foods. Eat real, whole food and then don’t waste it
10. Stop putting chemicals on your lawn, heck, get rid of your lawn
11. Unplug stuff around your house or use power strips to turn things off
12. Support fair trade
13. Shop at farmers markets
14. Install low-flow faucets, aerators, toilets and shower heads
15. Take five minute showers
16. Shop in secondhand stores
17. Switch to non-toxic cleaners
18. Lower the temperature on your thermostat in the winter and increase the temperature on it in the summer
19. Weatherproof your home
20. Talk about sustainability
This list could go on and on, but this should get you started. Do you have some more ideas? Post them in the comment section. We can all learn from each other. Make every day Earth Day.
Not long ago, June of 2010, a study came out that terrified a lot of consumers. The study said that reusable bags were riddled with bacteria. What was an eco-conscious consumer to do? At a minimum, wash those bags. Some people thought that another answer would be to stop pesky legislation to ban the plastic bag; after all, plastic bags couldn’t sicken us with E. Coli. Some folks flat out wrote to stop using reusable bags.
Well, it turns out that study was maybe not the best example of the scientific method. It was also not a great example of passing along results of a study. Picking and choosing facts and then misrepresenting those facts is, well, not a very honest thing to do. The American Chemistry Council funded and then reported the study. The ACC is desperately trying to block legislation to ban plastic bags.
This re-post on Bag Monster is brilliant! I wish I had been the one to research and write this piece. I have to confess; I was one of the lazy bloggers out there that posted a blog about the study without calling up a biologist first. Bad Green Girl, very bad. I hang my head in blogger shame.
I didn’t get crazed and panicked in my blog. I suggested ways to sanitize reusable bags. I also suggested color coding your bags as an extra precaution. This does not let me off the hook, but it is better than screaming “Stop using reusable bags or you will die!”
So, this is all old news now. The post is over four months old. Why am I writing this? Because the misinformation from that study by the ACC is still making the rounds.
Should you wash your reusable bags? Yes, I do think that is a good idea. Should you stop using reusable bags out of concern for safety? No, a big fat no to that question. Should you switch to reusable bags from plastic bags? Yes! What are you waiting for? Do it already! Sorry, I sometimes can’t help myself. Ahem, yes please, do switch to reusable bags.
One word of advice. Don’t buy cheap bags. Make a small investment in some quality bags that you can reuse and reuse and reuse and then wash and wash and wash. I see good reusable bags everywhere, including my favorite local stores. The online selection is astounding and in a dizzying array of colors and patterns. You can use these bags to make a statement about yourself, not just a statement that you care about reducing plastic use.