December 31, 2008
Happy New Year! The following is a recap of the top ten posts that were written and received the most traffic on Really Natural in 2008.
- Solar Hot Water Heaters Found on 90% of Israel's Rooftops: In the 1950s, Israel experienced a fuel shortage, and residents responded by installing solar hot water heaters on their rooftops. By 1983, 60% of homes had solar hot water heaters, and current law requires their installation. Jerusualem's skyline is beautifully cluttered with 90% of homes' rooftops adorned with solar hot water heaters.
- Toyota Adding Solar Panels to Prius to Power Air Conditioning: The Toyota Prius has long been the golden child of the environmental movement for its fuel economy. When the EPA changed the standards for reporting fuel economy on new car stickers to include the use of air conditioning, the hybrid Prius lost a few miles per gallon. That may all change, now that Toyota plans to install solar panels on the roof of high end models to power the AC.
- Build a Green Home - No More Power Bills Ever: A New Jersey engineer Mike Strizki has created a green home resulting in no more power bills ever, and not just electric bills. Strizki converts sunshine into electricity using photovoltaic panels - and then uses the electricity to wring hydrogen for fuel out of ordinary tap water.
- Your Flat-Screen TV is Worse for the Environment than a Coal Burning Power Plant : Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) has been deemed the "missing greenhouse gas", because it is not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, yet it is 17,000 times stronger than carbon dioxide! NF3 used to be produced in tiny amounts, but the boom in flat-screen TVs has changed that.
- Solar Stik Portable Solar Array Cheaper than a Generator to Run: If you ever have the need for green, portable power, Solar Stik is the "new generator". For example, Solar Stiks were sent to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. What is a Solar Stik? It is portable solar system that weighs about 100 pounds and can be set up in about 10 minutes.
December 30, 2008
On demand, tankless hot water heaters have long been the norm in Japan and Europe, where apartments are usually too small for big tank hot water heaters that are commonplace in the United States. I've been using a tankless hot water heater for 12 years. We currently use a Bosch Aquastar Indoor Tankless Water Heater
. This hot water heater is capable of heating 7.2 gallons per minute and provides enough hot water for up to 3 appliances or showers at a time, although I recommend using only one at a time for the best results.
A tankless hot water heater qualifies you for a $300 U.S. Federal Tax Credit and can save you up to 50-percent off your annual utility costs. It does take getting used to a tankless hot water heater once you make the switch. When first turning on the hot water tap, it takes a little while for the hot water to reach your faucet, since the water is being heated on demand and not stored hot like in a traditional tank heater. Also, you will want to consider how you use your hot water, as the pressure will drop if you try to use hot water in multiple faucets and/or appliances at a time. Furthermore, a tankless hot water heater works best with a solar hot water heater that can preheat the water. These lifestyle adjustments are minor considering the energy savings and conservation benefits of a tankless hot water heater.
December 29, 2008
Many people who have chosen a green lifestyle often resort to chemical ointments when faced with a problem, such as burns or acne, because they think they are the only thing that works. Thera Wise
offers a better, natural alternative to chemical ointments like corticosteroids
Since 2001, Théra Wise maintains a commitment to providing the most efficacious bio-active All-Natural Therapeutic Ointments available on the market today. Théra Wise products can best be described as clean, natural plant therapy ointments. No petroleum base ingredients, vegan friendly and cruelty free products.
Our aim is to pioneer a new direction for OTC (Over the counter) therapeutic ointments, combining modern science with time tested "body friendly" natural bio-active plant ingredients low impact manufacturing processes, and environmental sensitivity.
Thera Wise offers four natural bio active therapeutic ointments:
- HmR Natural Hemorrhoidal Ointment - Witch Hazel Extract, Organic Chamomile Extract, Barley Beta-Glucan Concentrate, Grape Seed Oil, Seabuckthorn Berry Oil, Organic Aloe Extract, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil (Containing- EFA's, Tocopherol and Phytosterols), Butcher's Broom Extract, Vitamin A, C, E, Olive Oil Emulsifiers and Waxes, Natural Plant Preservatives
- SHO Natural Skin Healing Ointment - Calendula Extract, Organic Chamomile Extract, Burdock Root Extract, Barley Beta-Glucan Concentrate, Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil, Soya Sterols, Seabuckthorn Berry Oil, Organic Aloe Extract, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil (Containing- EFA's , Tocopherol and Phytosterols), Organic Tea Tree Oil, Vitamin A, C, E, Olive Oil Emulsifiers and Waxes, Natural Plant Preservatives
- VpR Natural Vapozing Decongestant Rub -Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, White Pine Oil, Peppermint Oil, Camphor Oil, Asian Berry Wax, Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil, White Thyme Oil, Bitter Orange Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil (Containing- EFA's, Tocopherol and Phytosterols), Vitamin A, C, E, Olive Oil Emulsifiers and Waxes, Natural Plant Preservatives
- Ac+ Natural Acne Ointment - Witch-Hazel, Tea Tree Oil, Organic Tamanu Oil, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Marine Algae Extract, Barley Beta Glucan Concentrate, Aloe Extract, Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil, Alpha Glucan, Vitamin A, C, E, Olive Oil Emulsifiers and Waxes, Natural Plant Preservatives
Fortunately, I have only needed one of these therapeutic ointments this winter, but I am glad I have them in my medicine cabinet. The SHO Natural Skin Healing Ointment
is very gentle and soothing on my chapped, winter hands. It feels wonderful on my woodstove burn, and I like that it has natural antibacterial properties.
December 26, 2008
Go! Go! Beauty
offers many unique blends of lotions. We've tested out the Go! Go! African Spice Bazzar Shea Butter Lotion
. This beautiful smelling lotion feels wonderful on my winter dry hands, and best of all, it is natural, cruelty-free, environmentally-friendly, socially-conscious, biodegradable, and the containers are recyclable. Go! Go! products have even been certified by PETA
with a Caring Consumer Seal.
Quench your thirsty skin with a precious and ancient secret from the Cradle of Life. This rich, creamy lotion contains 5% pure African shea butter, just enough of the emollient to shield your skin from the fierce elements and provide enduring hydration. Bring your inner radiance to the surface with healing aloe, rejuvenating sugar cane, and anti-oxidant grapeseed and vitamin E. Smooth it on. Your skin laps it up so that you will feel absolutely royal.
Go!Go! is a globally-minded, socially-conscious company. For every 200 bottles sold, Go!Go! donates $100 to Women for Women International
, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women in war-torn countries around the world rebuild their lives.
December 24, 2008
Hand made in Los Angeles, California, nettiescrub
bath and body products are natural, whimsical, and scrumptious. From lemon body balm to cinnamon citron lip balm, nettiescrub's blends are unique and perfectly fragrant.
Inspired from a passion for the "pure, simple, and fun," our whimsical line is created & designed to lighten life's daily burdens and its effect on skin. In addition to lightening moods and raising smiles, nettiescrub™ formulas are only sold in sustainable and reusable packaging. It's the gift that keeps giving, to you and the earth. "Going green has never been so glorious"
My favorite product is the Nettiescrub Grapefruit Body Buff Organic Hand Exfoliant
sugar, soy bean oil, grape seed oil, organic aloe water, jojoba oil, spearmint oil, organic acai oil, organic olive oil, grapefruit essential oil, rosemary essential oil and grapefruit seed extract
I've never used a body buff before, and I am in love with its exfoliating properties. I also love how nettiescrub containers are recyclable and reusable! I will be reusing my nettiescrub containers to try my own hand at crafting homemade beauty products, thanks to nettiescrub's inspiration!
December 23, 2008
Fuel cell technology may one day power all your portable devices with a simple sticker! According to Clean Technica
FuelCellSticker technology from myFC AB could
offer a new way to power cell phones, Blackberries, iPhones, laptops
and all the other little boxes we carry around every day.
Swedish-based myFC's stated mission is to
create power solutions for mobile electronics, freeing users from power
cords and cumbersome, toxic batteries, while allowing manufacturers and
service providers to create more energy-intensive mobile devices and applications.
How cool would that be to just slap a sticker on a device to power it? Each individual FuelCellSticker provides 0.9 watts and can be used together to provide as much power as you need.
December 22, 2008
Medis 24/7 Fuel Cell Power Pack can charge your cell phone, Medis flashlight, smart phone, or iPod in an emergency. According to Wikipedia, a fuel cell is:
A fuel cell is an electrochemical conversion device. It produces electricity from fuel (on the anode side) and an oxidant (on the cathode side), which react in the presence of an electrolyte. The reactants flow into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains within it.
Fuel cell technology is becoming more readily available for consumers, such as the Medis Power Pack. Simply squeeze the power pack to activate it, and you'll have energy to provide up to 30 hours of mobile phone time or 60-80 hours of iPod listening from the 1 watt power pack.
The Medis Power Emergency Kit provides:
Instant Power: No pre-charging needed as this fuel cell offers an instant and reliable power source, delivering energy only when needed and can sit on the shelf prior to activation for extended periods of time, while other chargers need to be pre charged for up to 6 hours. The flashlight can be powered for up to 10 days continuously, so it will last several weeks with average use during the night.
Emergency Relief: Every family should have a fuel cell in their home or car so they can generate their own electricity if they lose access to the big grid. As we know, storms and disasters don't have time limits. The Fuel Cell Power Pack can add up to 30 additional hours of talk time to your cell phone, and the Flashlight provides up to 6 weeks of lighting on one Medis Fuel Cell.
Eco-friendly: Medis' fuel cells are environmentally-friendly, using a proprietary fuel that is a patented mixture of Alcohol, sodium borohydride and KOH (alkaline)--all safe for the environment.
Recyclable: Everything in the Power Pack can be recycled. Currently Spent fuel purification and further usage of borates are used for various products for example: detergents, cosmetics, fire retardants, etc.
- Retail Cost: Medis' Fuel Cell Emergency Kit retails for $49.99 to $59.99 and includes a Medis 24-7 fuel cell (charger), flashlight, and adapters to charge a variety of portable devices, such as smart phones, cell phones, radios.
Travel Friendly: A DOT permit allows a passenger to carry up to 3 fuel cells in the cabin of the plane, keeping your phone charged on long flights and layovers. With a power pack, travelers never have to worry about being out of touch because they can't find a plug or adapter.
The shelf life for the fuel cell is 18 months if unactivated, or 3 months once it has been opened. There has been some controversy about Medis' fuel cell technology
, but this technology could be very useful during power outages and other emergencies.
December 19, 2008
From algae to dirty diapers
, it seems like biodiesel can be made from almost anything. Recently, researchers have discovered in the Patagonian rainforest a unique fungus that makes diesel compounds directly from cellulose
. Professor Gary Strobel of Montana State University explains:
These are the first organisms that have been found that make many of the ingredients of diesel. This is a major discovery.
Gliocladium roseum could be used to turn the 430 million tons of plant waste that are produced on U.S. farms each year into biofuel.
December 18, 2008
The North Face, one of my favorite outdoor clothing companies, has just completed construction of a 1-megawatt (MW) solar system at its distribution center in Visalia, California. The solar system will provide 25-30 percent of the energy needed by the facility. According to Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy, the company that designed, engineered, and installed the solar system:
There is a massive need for clean generation located close to where power is actually used, and customers like The North Face are playing a key role in making that vision a reality.
The rest of the energy needed by the North Face will be offset by purchasing Green-e Climate-certified carbon offsets from wind energy projects.
Via: Renewable Energy World
December 17, 2008
is a non-toxic, odorless, kid-friendly nail polish that is "natural as mud".
Mud is a mixture of water and dirt. Makes great mud pies.
Piggy Paint is a mixture of water and other natural ingredients. Makes fancy nails.
Piggies love 'em both.
Piggy Paint is a non-toxic fingernail polish designed especially for your little girl.
No smelly odors, no toxic chemicals,
and no damage to your precious one's nails or the environment.
I tried Piggy Paints on my daughter's nails, and there really is no odor! Usually nail painting activities are banned from inside our home, but with Piggy Paint, no one noticed she was painting her nails. Piggy Paints do not contain any formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate or acetone. Piggy Paints even makes non-toxic nail polish remover!
According to the Grist
And lest you think the FDA is keeping a close eye on your mani/pedi products, the truth is that the governmental agency doesn't test, review, or approve the ingredients -- and doesn't even require the companies making the products to conduct safety testing. In most cases, virtually any ingredient can be used.
The worst of these include toluene, a toxin that has been linked to birth defects; formaldehyde, a carcinogen and common indoor air pollutant; and dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, a plastic softener that has been much-maligned in the news of late for its role in a number of health problems including infertility, reproductive cancers, and disruptions in fetal development.
Best to play it safe and stick with Piggy Paint
December 16, 2008
Imagine a world powered completely by renewable energy! That's exactly what The European Renewable Energy Council and Greenpeace believes can happen by 2090. According the EcoGeek
The report creates a scenario that includes biomass, geothermal, solar and wind energy providing the bulk of the world's power. While the development of those sources is key, the larger component of the scenario is major increases in efficiency. These gains would be made by instituting rooftop wind and solar so that energy is generated close to the consumer, as well as retrofitting and maximizing the efficiency of buildings, particularly through better insulation. The report claims that the bulk of these changes could be made by 2050.
Energy [R]evolution Report
, a Sustainable Global Energy Outlook, outlines how to achieve this goal. This comprehensive report is divided into the following sections:
- climate protection
- implementing the energy [r]evolution in developing countries
- scenarios for a future energy supply
- the energy [r]evolution
- nuclear threats
- key results of the global energy [r]evolution
Image: Elsie esq. on Flickr
under a Creative Commons License
December 15, 2008
Every house should be equipped with rain barrels off of its gutters. It's free water that most likely would just run off into the sewer, so why not save it for irrigation? The Deluxe Rain Barrel with Screen Lid - 55-Gallon
is made from a UV protected food-grade barrel that was previously used and has been upcycled into a rain collection barrel. You could probably do this yourself from any food-grade barrel. This one comes with two spigots for easy hook up and a screen to keep out debris.
December 12, 2008
Want to make your iPhone 3G
greener? Charge it with the sun! This solar iPhone case by Mobilefun
will charge your phone in about three hours, but it takes 10 hours of sunlight to be fully charged. Finding 10 hours of sunlight in the winter can be a problem, so the case also comes with a Mini USB. Not only does this solar case keep your iPhone charged, it also protects it from scratches, bumps, etc.
December 11, 2008
Tasmanian devils are suffering from an infectious cancer called devil facial tumor disease that may cause their extinction in 10 to 20 years. According to Jeremy Austin, an Australian zoologist:
We have lost over half our devils in the past 10 years, with an estimated population of 20,000 to 50,000 mature devils left. Extinction within the next 20 years is a real possibility unless we find a vaccine, eradicate the disease and establish captive colonies.
Tasmanian devils became extinct on the Australian mainland 400 years ago, and Tasmania tigers did not survive European colonization.
Tasmanian devils are coping with the infectious cancer by having sex at earlier ages. The fatal cancer strikes the devils at the age of two, which is their breeding age. The cancer is spread during fighting over food and mating.
Via: Center for Biological Diversity
December 10, 2008
Cleanwell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer
is an amazing product, and it is now available in four new scents: spearmint lime, orange vanilla, citrus herb, and lavender. I always keep a bottle of CleanWell in my purse for sanitizing my children's hands on the go, but I had never read the full story behind the product.
Conor was born with a rare, non-genetic form of Combined Severe Immune Deficiency, with only 10% of his immune system functioning. His parents soon discovered that all household disinfectants, antiseptic soaps, and cleansers contained toxic ingredients. Of particular concern is Triclosan, which is found in antibacterial soaps and has been linked to cancer. In order to protect Conor's weakened immune system, his parents developed CleanWell using thyme and oregano to fight germs.
CleanWell products are all natural and kill 99.99% of germs naturally with a combination of plant oils called "Ingenium", including MSRA, E.Coli, and Salmonella. It is also certified cruelty-free and biodegradable. I feel safe using CleanWell products in my home and classroom.
December 9, 2008
"I am creative", "I am unique", and "I am infinite potential" are examples of the positive messages on Cool Green Attitude's Learning and Confidence T-shirts
. Each shirt comes with a Buddy Bookmark which describes and reinforces positive behavior:
I am kind and caring
WHEN I AM
friendly and helpful
to others from what I
say and do.
WHEN I SHOW
I care with love and
someone is sad or
WHEN I AM
kind to myself and
my skin, kind to the
environment, and kind
to my friends.
All Cool Green Attitude designs are printed with organic water-based inks on 100% certified organic cotton. The company was started by three mothers, and the line is not just for children. Women and men's designs are also available.
December 8, 2008
J.Lynne Gloss FX Lip Glaze
is cruelty-free, free of chemicals, synthetics, and fillers. This natural mineral lip gloss comes in a multitude of lush, juicy colors. From neutrals to bold colors, you are sure to find a color to suit you. This natural lip gloss feels great on your lips and is long lasting.
Ingredients: Lanolin, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Beeswax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil. May Contain Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Manganese Violet (CI 77742).
J.Lynne Cosmetics, an indie beauty and mineral makeup company, makes their cosmetics in small batches in Arizona. Founded by Jessica Lynne Miller after years of using "traditional" cosmetics that irritated her sensitive skin, Jessica found the solution in mineral makeup.
December 5, 2008
The chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA)
may interfere with chemotherapy treatment, as reported in Environmental Health Perspectives
. This new study found that BPA, which is found in many hard plastics, soda/beer can linings, and tin cans, shields cancer cells from chemotherapy. "It's actually acting by protecting existing cancer cells from dying in response to anti-cancer drugs, making chemotherapy significantly less effective," said Nira Ben-Jonathan, a professor of cancer and cell biology. The study's authors conclude, "These data provide considerable support to the accumulating evidence that BPA is hazardous to human health."
Via: New York Times
December 4, 2008
Founded on the principles of Cradle to Cradle design, as defined by William McDonough's book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
has designed zero waste holiday cards. The cards come with their own prepaid envelope, so the receiver of the card can send it back to a recycling center, where it will be repurposed into carpet backing
. You can even get photo cards from ReProduct. Nearly 7.5 billion greeting cards are sold in this US every year. If we could recycle all these cards, we would help close the loop.
December 3, 2008
is an eco-friendly clothing company featuring unique organic t-shirts. My favorite is the Learn t-shirt
. From production to distribution, Mission Playground is conscious of the environment and encourages people of all ages to follow suit.
Mission Playground's Top 5 Reasons to Wear Organic Clothing:
1) Organic clothing will help you reduce your environmental impact - the state of the environment is one of the world's biggest concerns, by wearing organic clothing you are doing what you can to ensure our children's children can enjoy Mother Nature as much as we do.
2) Organic clothing is best for your health- Our clothing is in constant contact with the largest organ in our bodies, our skin, and organic cotton clothes are produced in ways that do not destroy the environment and do not use pesticides, fertilizers or GMO seeds. In California, five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton are cancer-causing chemicals (cyanazine, dicofol, naled, propargite and trifluralin).*
3) Organic clothing is better for children - children are more vulnerable to toxins because their immune systems are immature. Because organic methods of agriculture do not use these harmful chemicals, their resulting fibers are much easier on a baby's sensitive skin.
4) 25% of the world's insecticides are used to grow conventional cotton** Enough said.
5) Organic clothing is cool - Well, Mission Playground's organic clothing is cool. With inspirational messages and designs such as 'The Earth is our Playground, Our Mission is to Preserve it', each article of clothing gives you the edge you need to be an agent of change.
December 2, 2008
Bamboo is hailed by environmentalists
as quick growing and sustainable. Electric cars are espoused for their zero carbon emissions. The Japanese have combined both bamboo and electric cars into the BamGoo
. I don't know how safe it is to drive, but it certainly is unique. According to Japan Probe
Single-seat bamboo-made electrical car "BamGoo" is displayed in Kyoto city, western Japan, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008. The 60-kg ecologically-friendly concept car is developed by the city and the Kyoto University, featuring local bamboo ware technology. The car can run for some 50 kilometers (30 miles) on a charge.
December 1, 2008
DIY (Do It Yourself)
Really Natural Products
Socially Responsible Investing
Yard and Garden