Did you know that canned foods contain Bisphenol-A (BPA)? BPA is a hormone disrupter that has been shown to have developmental toxicity, carcinogenic effects, possible neurotoxicity, and linked to obesity by triggering fat-cell activity. But have no fear, there is a one choice out there for organic, BPA-free food: Eden Foods. According to Eden Foods:
Eden Organic Beans are packed in lead free tin covered steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous c-enamel lining that does not contain bisphenol A (BPA). (Oleoresin is a natural mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants, such as pine or balsam fir). These cans cost 13.77 percent more than the industry standard cans that do contain BPA. This costs Eden $300,000 more a year. To our knowledge Eden is the only U.S. company that uses this custom made BPA-free can.
I will only buy canned food from Eden Foods; however, due to the acidity of tomatoes, there are no BPA-free canned tomatoes on the US market. I prefer fresh tomatoes anyways.
I am always up for gadgets that multi-task and simplify life, but I am not sure how I feel about the WashUP washer and toilet combination. This appliance takes soapy water that drains from the washing machine and uses it to flush the toilet. I think that is a good idea, and it would help keep the toilet cleaner by using greywater from the washer, but what happens when you unload the washing machine and drop a clean sock into the toilet?
I really do have a thing for expensive jeans, as they fit well. Less is more when it comes to fashionable denim, as most Americans have more clothes than they need. Del Forte Denim offers sweatshop-free, organic cotton, designer jeans. These jeans combine high fashion with sustainability. Del Forte Denim participates in the Sustainable Cotton Project (SCP).
Since 1994, SCP has been building bridges between farmers, manufacturers and consumers to pioneer markets for certified organically grown and sustainable cotton, including working on the ground with local farmers. SCP's guiding philosophy of "cooperation for a change" has fostered a new level of shared information among farmers, manufacturers and others in support of creating a cleaner cotton industry.
By purchasing organic cotton denim, I feel less guilty about the price tag. Sustainability does come at a high cost to the consumer but a low cost to the planet.
Saturday, March 22, 2008 was World Water Day, and in honor of the event, restaurants all over the country joined UNICEF's Tap Project. As part of the Tap Project, customers donated a dollar for each glass of tap water they were served for free. Just one dollar provides a child in need with 40 days of clean water.
On a recent trip to Tahoe, I experienced the consequences of not wearing sunscreen in the snow. Searching for a natural sunscreen in a drugstore, I found Burt's Bees NEW! Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 15 and felt pleased Clorox was getting the brand into more outlets; however, I was somewhat disappointed in the product. Even though I applied it multiple times, I still got sunburned the following day, but the
product may not be to blame. SPF 15 is not strong enough protection for
high alpine skiing. Burt's Bees NEW! Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 15 contains Titanium Dioxide minerals, Hemp Seed oil, Calendula, Witch Hazel, Goldenseal, and Wheat Grass extract to naturally reflect the sun's harmful rays and provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. It is Paraben-free and Phthalate-free, as well 99.11% natural.
Whirlpool has developed an eco-friendly concept kitchen inspired by natural ecosystems. This concept kitchen is 70% more energy efficient than standard kitchens. It is designed to use 60% of the water and heat generated from appliances to power other appliances in the kitchen. For example, heat produced by the refrigerator's compressor is used to heat water for the dishwasher. Why didn't someone think of this sooner?
When I took an alternative energy course at Humboldt State University over ten years ago, the Real Goods Solar Living Source Book was our textbook. This book is the definitive source for renewable technologies and sustainable living. Even if you don't plan to install solar panels in your home, you can learn a lot from this book. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Real Goods Solar Living Source Book includes brand new sections on Peak Oil, Climate Change, Relocalization, Natural Burial, Biodynamics and Permaculture. Other expanded chapters include:
Land & Shelter
Solar Hot Water Systems
This book covers it all and is a basic reference for almost all things green!
I love my organic coffee, but I can't drink too much of it. A great, tasty alternative for a little caffeine fix is Oregon Chai. I like to use the packets of chai powder mis, as they are convenient and easy to take to work. Just add hot water, and you have a delicious cup of chai!
Sugar, Dried Whole Milk, Dried Nonfat Milk, Dried Honey, Tapioca Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors, Dried Black Tea and Salt.
Traditionally, solar energy has been expensive, at a cost of about $7.00 per watt; however, now, Massachusetts based Konarka has successfully developed a new process to manufacture solar cells with an inkjet printer.
"Demonstrating the use of inkjet printing technology as a fabrication tool for highly efficient solar cells and sensors with small area requirements is a major milestone," commented Rick Hess, president and CEO at Konarka. "This essential breakthrough in the field of printed solar cells positions Konarka as an emerging leader in printed photovoltaics."
The solar cells are made without silicon and are manufactured into a thin, light film and do not require a clean room like traditional silicon cells. These organic (carbon/plastic/oil) cells aren't as efficient as their silicon counterparts, but their production cost is much less. Hmm, now what to do with solar film? The company has suggested "putting its plastic on soft drink bottles in stores for advertising," but I am not sure this really matches the sustainable values of the solar industry.
USBCELL AA Rechargeable Batteries are like other rechargeable batteries in the sense that you can use them hundreds of times; however, these batteries can be recharged using the USB port of your computer. There is no need for a separate charger, and they are easy to use. Just pop off the cap and plug them in to your computer. Over 15 billion batteries are discarded each year. Don't toss 'em, recharge 'em!
The compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) has become the poster child for the green movement, specifically the small steps individuals can do to lessen their carbon footprint. One Billion Bulbs is trying to mobilize people around the world to replace one billion incandescents with CFLs (of course, some of you may be forced to by law). "It would make a difference to the environment - preventing greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of millions of cars." By signing up at One Billion Bulbs and tracking your light bulb changes, you can quickly see how this small step really does have an impact! "Your grand kids will thank you for it."
Did you know that CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and should not be thrown into your household garbage can? CFLs have to be disposed of at hazardous waste material sites; however, the amount of mercury in a CFL is still significantly lesser than the pollution caused by the power plants needed to power your old incandescents. To put it into perspective, the Green Guide states:
The amount of mercury in CFLs is relatively small, approximately 5 milligrams (mg), which is roughly equivalent to the mercury in two cans of albacore tuna. Older mercury-based thermometers contained about 500 mg...Depending on where you live (and the mixture of your local energy supplier), you could be releasing as much as 18 mg of mercury into the atmosphere to operate one incandescent bulb over its lifespan. A CFL, on the other hand, produces an estimated 4 mg over its lifespan as a result of burning coal (9 mg total when added to the 5 mg that exist in the bulb). If one billion incandescent light bulbs were replaced with CFLs, we could prevent 100 million grams of mercury emissions.
The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook is the quintessential cookbook for vegans and vegetarians, similar to Betty Crocker for those just learning to cook. This cookbook is loaded with basic recipes from sloppy joes to cinnamon rolls. You can learn to make your own seitan and soymilk in this cookbook filled with basic recipes, from the quick to the more complicated. My copy of The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook is so torn and tattered that is held together with a rubber band now. The Farm is an intentional community in Tennessee, famous for their midwives.
Did you know that oatmeal originated in ancient Scotland? Oats are better suited for the short, wet growing season of Scotland than wheat, and the original oatmeal was a coarse meal produced by slowly grinding the kernel between two large millstones. Bob's Red Mill Organic Scottish Oatmeal is made the traditional way, and its flavor is nothing like the oatmeal you are used to. The whole grain goodness provides a satisfying start to your day, and it has quickly become my favorite warm breakfast cereal.
Who ever heard of someone collecting grain milling machinery built 100 to 200 years ago, refurbishing it, setting it up in a modern sanitary environment, and then seriously going into the business of supplying natural foods to the world? Well, I did! And it's been great fun by far the most challenging and fulfilling thing I've ever accomplished, and it all started with my knack for tinkering!
I think that we have a lot we can learn from Bob when looking to live our lives more naturally. Often, all we have to do is look towards the past to see what really natural living was like and emulate those methods. Once upon a time, organic gardening/farming was the only way to grow food. Thank you Bob!
Using $6000 from his part time job as a lifeguard, Andrew Angelloti converted his 1988 Mazda pickup to an electric vehicle (EV). Using 20 batteries and a 60 HP 9" electric motor, this truck tops out at 55 MPH and gets about 40 miles per charge. Andrew is working on converting his second car to an EV, as he hopes to achieve 80 MPH out of the 1992 Toyota Tercel.
These shoes are vegan and super cute for spring. Simple Women's Toepaz Flat is available in five colors: cub, Adriatic blue, natural, black, and lint. Simple is leading the way for the shoe industry by making a 100% sustainable product. These shoes are made from hemp uppers and lined in bamboo. A natural latex footbed with an organic cotton canvas cover and recycled car tire outsole complete these eco shoes. The shoes are assembled using water-based cements and 100% post consumer paper pulp foot forms. Simple ships the Simple Women's Toepaz Flat in "totally state-of-the-art/back-to-the-future post-consumer recycled box."
Are you competitive? Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint? Carbonrally is a fun way that you can fight climate change and put your competitive nature to good use. It is a place where you can:
Reduce global warming by taking quick & easy challenges.
Compete with others in your area and around the world.
Here's how it works:
Take the challenge: Today's featured challenge is to not eat meat for two days this week. You can also suggest challenges.
Check out the results: You can view the Total Impact Map to see how many tons of carbon have been reduced by Carbonrally members.
Compete: Create or join a team and compete against other teams for the greatest carbon reduction!
Socialize: Of course, Carbonrally is a great place to meet new, green friends!
According to Carbonrally, "1,418 Rallyers have reduced CO2 emissions by over 76.54 tons so far! That's equal to turning off the electricity of 70 homes for about 1 month!" Now that's impressive, and it really demonstrates how if we all take small steps, they add up!
Home cleaning products can be a source of poor indoor air quality, thus it is really important to use the non-toxic, natural cleaners in your home, especially if you have a greywater system, like I do. Solay Simple, made by Solay Wellness, makes a multitude of cruelty-free, biodegradable, unscented, and non-toxic cleaning products. All of these products are "100% free of petroleum based or other hazardous ingredients, SLS, fragrances, phosphates, animal by products, dyes and other common triggers for respiratory or skin irritations."
Natural All Purpose Cleaner with Himalayan Salts: This product is great for cleaning anything in your home! It is made from purified water, sugar derived water conditioning agent, coconut derived surfactant blend, ethyl alcohol (derived from corn), and Himalayan salt. I am not too sure about the coconut derived surfactant blend, as this sounds similar to sodium lauryl sulfate; however, the label clearly states it is SLS free.
Solay Simple Dish Soap: This dish soap works well, but don't expect big suds (that's the lack of SLS). Just three ingredients (purified water, coconut derived surfactant blend, and Himalayan salt) keep your dishes clean and your family healthy.
Solay Simple Fruit and Veggie Wash: I've never seen much need for a separate product for cleaning fruits and veggies, since I eat organically and figure dish soap is safe for this purpose, but I have to say, this fruit and veggie wash came in handy when I was cleaning Jerusalem artichokes from the garden. It is made from purified water, coconut derived surfactant, citric acid (derived from citrus fruits,) and Himalayan salt.
Laundry Soap with Himalayan Salt: There are a lot of laundry soaps out there now claiming to be "eco-friendly", but many of them are not all natural. Solay Simple Laundry Soap is made from purified water, coconut derived surfactant blend, soy based fabric softener, and cellulose derived optical brightener, and Himalayan salt.
All Solay Simple cleaning products are made in the USA and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Solay Wellness also donates donates money and products to several non profit organizations around the world.