January 30, 2009
I finally remember to use reusable shopping bags at all stores, not just the grocery store. When I forget, I feel a strong pain of eco-guilt and usually walk out with my arms full of goods and no bag at all. I hate plastic bags, but many of the reusable bags sold in retail chains are made of synthetic fabrics that do not biodegrade. Sure, you are using them over and over again, but there is a better choice for the environment.
Barebags makes 100% natural cotton canvas shopping bags.
Plastic bags harm our environment. They harm our animals. They harm our lands and seas. They can suffocate our children and pets.
Plastic bags are comsumed by the trillions and only 1% are recycled.
Plastic bags are very costly to recycle and sell for very little on the market.
Today's latest answer to single-use plastic bags? The plastic fabric look-a-likes! They look like canvas, some are even the same color as real canvas. But guess what? They aren't cotton canvas! They are made from nonwoven polypropylene! Will they biodegrade? No. Will they photodegrade? Perhaps, with enough sunlight they will break down into tiny bits of toxins that could leach into our land and water supply. Reusable? Yes, for a year or so until the seams give way.
Barebags are sturdy and come in many sizes. The unbleached cotton fabric also gives you an opportunity to decorate the bags on your own, should you choose. These bags are great and will hold up to many years of use.
January 29, 2009
Ten solar-powered trash cans have been installed in People's Square, Shanghai.
Why would trash cans need solar power? These trash cans talk! The refuse receptacles tell people where the nearest bathrooms are and illuminate a map at night. Eventually, the city plans to install 480 solar-powered talking trash cans.
January 28, 2009
Aurora Naturally Plush Toys
are eco-friendly stuffed animals. The exterior of these toys is made from 100% soy fiber, and the stuff comes from kapok seed pods, a sustainable rainforest crop
. Recently, Aurora Naturally Plush won 2008 BabyZone.com Amazing Toy Award.
The world's first "green" plush line, more commonly referred to as Eco-Plush, surpassed all award requirements as evaluated by Babyzone.com and its diverse panel of testers. More than 100 manufacturers submitted their newest, most innovative baby and toddler products to Babyzone.com. Products were given to a panel of test moms and their children who evaluated each toy on uniqueness, age-appropriateness, long-term usability, skill development and fun.
Congratulations Aurora! My family loves these eco-stuffed animals, and we have given them for many gifts.
January 27, 2009
Ecologists are warning that planet Earth is running out of water.
According to the Times Online, we are getting low on "sustainably managed water"
The warnings, in an annual report by the Pacific Institute in California, come as ecologists have begun adopting the term "peak ecological water" -- the point where, like the concept of "peak oil", the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite.
Billions of people live without fresh water, and many of our agricultural and industry needs use tremendous amounts of H2O. Experts say we need to become aware of the water content in everyday items. For example, a glass of orange juice takes 850 litres of fresh water to produce it.
Water may become a source of violence and war as the situation becomes more dire.
Dan Smith, the Secretary-General of the British-based peacebuilding organisation International Alert, said: "Water is a basic condition for life. Its availability and quality is fundamental for all societies, especially in relation to agriculture and health. There are places -- West Africa today, theGanges-Brahmaputra river system in Nepal, Bangladesh and India, and Peru within ten years -- where major changes in the rivers generate a significant risk of violent conflict. Good water management is part of peacebuilding."
The UN estimates more than 1/3 of the world's population is suffering from water shortages.
January 26, 2009
I am one of those people that is plagued by cold feet (I blame my mom for smoking when she was pregnant with me and negatively affecting my circulation). I don't like itchy wool socks, but I don't like synthetics fabrics either. Smartwool Socks
are the perfect solution. These socks are 86% wool, 13% nylon, and 1% elastic. The nylon keeps them from being itchy, and for that, I will tolerate a little synthetic fiber in my socks. The high content of wool works as natural odor control (I should get my daughter a pair), temperature regulation (keeps your feet warm when it's cold, and cool when it's hot), and wicks moisture away from sweaty feet. The minimal packaging is printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks. Smartwool Socks
come in super cool funky designs (even though they keep your feet super warm). I could not survive winter (or spring or fall) without my Smartwool socks.
January 23, 2009
Designer jeans are the raging trend, and yes, they are expensive. If you are going to spend a lot of money on a pair of jeans, they ought to be organic. Joe's Jeans makes their famous Socialite style in an organic cotton fabric
. These stylish jeans are 98% organic cotton 2% elastane.
The Socialite- [n: classic fit] Straight across the hip and crisper in the flare, this fit gives the illusion of a long, sexy silhouette.
Sure, it's a splurge to buy Joe's Organic Jeans, but it is a decadent purchase you don't have to feel eco-guilt about. Besides, they are super comfortable too!
January 22, 2009
Can a food bar really prevent aging? That's the claim of Regeneration's Anti-Aging Whole Food Bar
. This bar provides 150% of our recommended daily dose of antioxidants from superfood ingredients like Goji Berries, Blueberries, Cranberries, Mulberries, Grapes, Pomegranate, Acai, Mangosteen, Agave Nectar, Almonds, Jiaogulan Tea, Pistachio Nuts, C-Ester, and Omega 3,6,9. These antioxidants attack free radicals that damage the healthy cells in our bodies. These bars have been independently tested by Brunswick Laboratories
to contain a super high 7,800 ORAC units per bar.
ORAC stands for (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). (ORAC) measures the total antioxidant power of foods and nutrients. The ORAC test is considered to be the industry standard in determining the Antioxidant level of foods and nutrients. The National Institute on Aging developed the ORAC method and the US Department of Agriculture and Brunswick Labs have been instrumental in perfecting the ORAC assay procedure and testing various foods to determine ORAC levels.
Higher levels of ORAC in food equate to greater levels of antioxidants which in turn protect our bodies from "Free Radicals" which are known to be the main culprit of aging.
I don't know if these bars are the fountain of youth, but I have to be honest...they weren't a big hit in my household. They may be really good for your body, but the flavor and texture are not outstanding. I was expecting a totally different flavor from "regenerating cocoa brownie" than what I tested. They aren't gross, but they aren't something I would go out of my way to eat either.
January 21, 2009
A new study of orca whales living off the coast of British Columbia has revealed their dwindling populations are being negatively affected by eating salmon
that is tainted with PCBs
. Although PCB use has been largely banned in the United States since 1977, this persistent organic pollutant is still present in our environment. Salmon are the staple of killer whale's diet, and even though the amount of PCBs in chinook salmon is relatively low, even small amounts pose a significant risk to the whales.
In fact, the whales have become the most contaminated marine mammals in the world.
Peter Ross, supervising researcher on the study published in the current issue of the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, explains:
Killer whales are long-lived, top-of-the-food-chain animals. They have small, isolated populations. They have very large habitat needs. If we're trying to protect 84 animals in an area where we've got 8.5 million people, we've got a bit of work to do.
One out of every 2000 Pacific orca whales have dangerous levels of pollutants that damage their immune systems, affect reproduction, and lead to developmental abnormalities.
January 20, 2009
I would love to have this aeroponic growing system on my wall filled with beautiful orchids. Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air without using soil. Besides looking amazing on your wall, the moth orchid roots suck toxins from your home's air.
Breathe Easy is an aeroponic growing system designed to improve home air quality. It utilizes toxin absorbing plants that clean the air and add humidity. It also doesn't hurt to bring some of nature's green indoors too. The plants are held in place by magnetic seals in the top opening...As an added touch, a row of LED lights line the bottom for some nice ground effects.
lights illuminate the roots creating a nice visual effect.
January 19, 2009
I wish I could get away from a print calendar, as that would be truly green, but in order to coordinate my family's schedules, we need it in print. Asgard Press is making green calendars from archival vintage prints
that are very cool. Take for example the Vintage Super Heroes calendar
The images featured in this calendar are archival-quality reproductions of the covers of the actual Golden Age and Silver Age Covers of DC Comics cover art that were sold many decades ago. In some cases the images have been digitally repaired and restored where creases, tears, marks, or other damage would have otherwise distracted from the appreciation of the artwork as it appeared at that time. Some images have been cropped and/or resized to fit this format.
What makes these calendars green? They are printed on 50% consumer waste recycled paper with soy based inks. They also include vintage images that you are sure to keep beyond the calendar year, thus reducing waste. You may even want to frame the images and give them as gifts!
January 16, 2009
Many people are concerned about the safety of fluoride, especially in water
. For years, I have relied on Ayurvedic toothpaste as a fluoride alternative and never experienced a cavity while using it. The Chopra Center describes Ayurveda medicine
Ayurveda is a 5000 year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India...More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. Providing guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior and the proper use of our senses, Ayurveda reminds us that health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body mind and spirit.
The Ayurvedic toothpaste I love is Vicco
Vicco Pure Herbal Toothpaste is the original Ayurvedic toothpaste. Vicco cleans your teeth, refreshens your breath, stimulates your gums.
Every tube of Vicco contains 20 pure herbal extracts long established by Ayurvedic herbal tradition to be good for teeth, mouth and gums.
Ayurvedic practice, centuries old, actively involves those elements in nature most beneficial to the individual. Vicco toothpaste is made from herbs, barks, roots and flowers, no artificial ingredients or refined sweeteners, no harsh abrasives fluoride just the best ingredients for dental care. Vicco's concentrated formula lasts longer and tastes great.
Vicco is not only great for your teeth, but it special herbal formula keeps your gums healthy too. I love the gentle tingling I feel in my mouth when I brush my teeth with Vicco, and of course, it is cruelty-free.
January 15, 2009
The plug-in Prius is coming a year early!
Toyota has announced the plug-in Prius will be released in 2009, and they are rolling out 10 other hybrids by 2010. Even more exciting, Toyota will be debuting an all electric car at the Detroit Auto Show that will be on the market in 2012. Gas 2.0 explains Toyota's exciting annoucement
Along with the announcement of the electric concept, Toyota has reiterated that, although the fully electric car will be a part of their overall strategy, the company sees conventional non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, like the current Prius, as their core long-term powertrain technology...And, in a new development, Toyota says they are moving up the roll-out schedule for the upcoming plug-in hybrid Prius from 2010 to late 2009. Initially only available to fleets, the car will sport a lithium-ion battery. Toyota says that the new generation Prius was engineered to be able to accommodate either a NiMH battery for the conventional gas-electric hybrid or a lithium-ion battery for the plug-in version.
I hope one of the new hybrids is a real 4wd for mountain people like me!
January 14, 2009
Did you know that a Pina Colada has more calories than a Big Mac or a margarita contains 453 calories? Replace fruit juices and syrups with low calorie Totally Organica organic flavored sparkling waters for a refreshing, low calorie cocktail
Totally Organica now offers the first flavored sparkling water to be certified as organic by the USDA. We start with pristine artisian water flowing from a spring directly into our plant in the Au Sable National Forest near the U.S. & Canadian Border.
Our eight refreshing flavors are each produced from organic essences without any sugar or artificial flavorings!
I know seems silly to certify water as organic, but this is sparkling water with fruit flavor. There are no sugar or artificial flavorings added, and of course, it is refreshing to drink by itself (no alcohol required). Totally Organica is also perfect for diabetics.
January 13, 2009
New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, Japan plans to start storing winter snow for summer cooling in 2010. The winter snow will provide 30% of the summer cooling needs. EcoGeek explains this clean technology
The snow will be covered by heat-insulating materials, which should retain about 45% of the snow collected. The remaining snow will then be used to chill the liquid of the building's cooling system. According to Japan Today, the practice could result in a 2,100 ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year.
Hokkaido's annual snowfall is between 20 to 30 feet. Hopefully this innovative technology will catch on in other snowy cities around the world.
January 12, 2009
I've discovered an affordable, unique eco-friendly jewelry maker on Etsy: Squishy Sushi
My background is in graphic design but I have recently begun designing jewelry as well. All of my pieces have an asian flair to them and are made from recycled papers and other jewelry findings. As a graphic artist, I'm drawn to beautiful bits of printed material and enjoy mixing them with other media. All pieces are hand crafted by me in my studio, in San Francisco, California.
Squishy Sushi's unique pieces have an Asian influence are made from items such as magazines, dominos, and Scrabble
pieces. I recently purchased a Recycled Scrabble pendant
This scrabble pendant is made from a bit of recycled magazine. The pendant has been coated with a heat and water resistant 2-part resin for a high gloss shine and durability. The bail is silver plated. This pendant measures 3/4" by 1" including the bail.
At only $7.50, this pendant is certainly affordable, and I feel good about supporting an artisan on Etsy
January 9, 2009
These cookies may not be organic, but Loacker Quadratini hazelnut wafer cookies are all natural and delicious. Ingredients:
Unbleached Wheat Flour, Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil, Glucose Syrup, Sugar, Hazelnuts 9% In the Cream, Sweet Whey Powder (Milk), Soy Flour, Skimmed Milk Powder, Cocoa, Dextrose, Barley Malt Extract, Salt, Raising Agents (Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, Disodium Diphosphate), Emulsifier Soy Lecithin, Bourbon Vanilla Pads.
These sinfully good wafer cookies practically melt in your mouth, and they are very addictive. The Loacker company is located in the heart of Italian Alps
in the Dolomite mountains. You can taste the fresh air and pure water of this pristine environment with every bite of the hazelnut wafer cookies.
For generations we have used selected, premium raw materials and ingredients in an unspoilt, natural environment to produce unique wafers and chocolate delicacies. Together with modern production technology, this has ensured the high quality of our products. We base our reputation on this principle.
Of course, transporting cookies from Europe may not be the most climate friendly thing to do, but these wafer cookies are a special treat.
January 8, 2009
I am an organic, biodynamic coffee
junkie, and my used grounds end up in the compost pile. New research done in Nevada has revealed that wasted coffee grounds can be used to make biodiesel
. 16 billion pounds of coffee are grown worldwide annually (so apparently I am not the only addicted to morning soy lattes). The used grounds contain 11 to 20-percent oil by weight, and its high level of antioxidants makes coffee more stable then other biodiesel blends. Researchers estimate that coffee grounds could add another 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world's supply. If SVO cars smell like french fries, I wonder if coffee biodiesel will have that delicious roasted aroma when burned.
January 7, 2009
BPA is nasty stuff
, and it has been linked to heart disease and diabetes
. According to Science News, the FDA has failed to protect Americans from this chemical used as a starter material in most plastic manufacturing
Urine levels of the chemical bisphenol A, found in many plastics, are strongly linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and liver enzyme problems, a new study suggests. The study, which examined a representative sample of the adult U.S population, appears in the Sept. 17 Journal of the American Medical Association.
"This is good news and bad news," comments Richard Stahlhut, an environmental health research fellow at the University of Rochester. "The good news is these are man-made exposures. If the findings hold up, we could get rid of BPA and hopefully people get better. The bad news is it would mean that our system by which we determine risk is really flawed. It's evidence that the regulatory system is inadequate in very important ways."
The good news is there is a safer, stylish water bottle options. Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles now come in color
! No more boring silver, instead you can have a pink, orange, brown, green, black, or blue bottle. Best of all, they are toxin-free dishwasher friendly!
January 6, 2009
This umbrella is ingenious! The Lightdrops
umbrella uses the energy of rain to power LEDs. CleanTechnica explains how the umbrella uses the energy in rain
The polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) umbrella features a "collective
membrane" that powers its LED lights with energy from the rain. The PVDF material actually harvests kinetic energy-- the heavier the rain, the brighter the umbrella's LED light becomes.
This cool alternative energy gadget just makes me want to sing:
Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me
Nothing's worrying me because my umbrella's LEDs are lighting the way!
January 5, 2009
I love Himalayan salt, and I've always been curious about salt lamps. I think they are really beautiful and create a nice ambiance in a room, but I didn't know that they actually clean the air.
- These lamps are made of natural crystal salt mined from underground salt mines in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains
- The beautiful orange-reddish Himalayan crystal salt is mounted on a wooden base
- This crystal salt is hundreds of millions of years old and, as a result, has special properties and high mineral content
- Heat from the bulb (in our lamps) or flame (in our candle holders) causes the salt to emit negative ions
- These negative ions bond with the pollutants in the air (positive ions) and neutralize them
- Also, the newly bonded ions become heavier and fall to the ground removing them from the air circulation
- In addition, these negative ions combat electro-smog caused by electronic devices operating in the home
- Symptoms from asthma, allergies, and other illnesses can also subside from the effects of these products
- Concisely, these products cleanse the air naturally and are extremely beautiful
The salt lamp uses only a 15 watt light bulb, so it is energy efficient, or alternately you can use a candle. It is such a beautiful, natural light that creates a warm glow. I love my salt lamp
January 2, 2009
I hate to buy books, as once they are read, they sit on a shelf or get passed around. It seems like a waste of money. I live too far from the library to make use of it. BookSwim
offers the perfect solution: it's like Netflix for readers.
BookSwim is the first online book rental library service lending you paperbacks and hardcovers, Netflix®-style, directly to your house, without the need to purchase! Whether it's new releases, bestsellers, or classics, we have something for everyone, with free shipping both ways! Read your books as long as you want -- no late fees! Even choose to purchase and keep the titles you love!
Plans start at $9.95 a month. Books are shipped in 100% recycled plastic bags. By using BookSwim, you will reduce the amount of trees that are cut down to produce books (BookSwim estimates that 20 million trees are cut down every year for American book production!)
January 1, 2009
Yard and Garden