March 31, 2009

Obama Signs Conservation Law that Protects and Expands National Parks and Wilderness Areas

arches1.jpg Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the largest conservation measure in 15 years. The Public Land Management Act expands and protects US national parks and wilderness areas from oil and gas development and was supported by both political parties. Comprised of 150 individual measures, the law creates ten new National Heritage Areas, designates two million acres (81,000 hectares) as wilderness areas, and sets out water conservation measures for the indigenous Navajo nation.
Via: Truthout
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March 30, 2009

Revolution in a Bottle: How Terracycle is Redefining Green Business

revolution_in_bottle.jpg Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle Is Redefining Green Business is by the founder of TerraCycle, one of our favorite companies on Really Natural. Tom Szaky dropped out of Princeton in 2002 to start a company that would work towards eliminating the concept of waste. Of course this book is printed on 100% recycled paper, and the bookjacket can be removed and turned into a prepaid upcycled mailing envelope to support TerraCycle's Brigade program.
Revolution in a Bottle is a rollicking tale of entrepreneurial adventure and an essential guide to creating a company that's good for people, good for profits, and good for the planet. Szaky offers an array of insights into how to (and how not to) work with major companies, media, consumers and even investors. He also shares the key to TerraCycle's success and the paradigm for any eco-friendly company: making mainstream green products without charging a premium.

TerraCycle's growth has been rapid but perilous, filled with seemingly insurmountable challenges, several near-failures, and a whole lot of worm poop.


TerraCycle has seen its ups and downs, including being sued by Scott's Miracle-Gro. This is my favorite chapter in the book, as it is honest recollection of a make or break situation for this unique startup. The basis of the lawsuit was over packaging. If you are not familiar with TerraCycle, their signature fertilizer is packaged in repurposed soda bottles. Scott's eventually pulled out of the lawsuit, but ironically, the lawsuit gave TerraCycle extra exposure and publicity that helped the business grow.  It is how I first heard about the company and took notice of its products and mission.
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March 28, 2009

Turn Off Your Lights Tonight at 8:30 PM for Earth Hour

Tonight at 8:30 pm, people across the world will be turning off their lights for Earth Hour. From the Great Pyramids of Giza to the Chatham Islands, people around the globe area uniting for climate change:
At 8.30pm local time tonight, 2848 cities and towns across 83 countries will switch off their lights for Earth Hour in a moment of global solidarity.

From the small island nations of the South Pacific to the densely populated cities of the Americas, millions of people from all walks of life and corners of the world will participate in Earth Hour, casting their vote in the world's first global election between Earth and global warming.

66 national capitals and 9 of the10 most populated metropolises on the planet have confirmed their participation in this year's event, along with some of the world's most prominent cites...

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March 26, 2009

Italy and Switzerland Change Border Due to Melting Snow

matterhorn2.jpgAhhhh, another sign of global warming...the alpine glaciers between Switzerland and Italy are melting causing the two countries to reevaluate their mutual border. This border has been in place since 1861; however, the permanent snow cover and permafrost is melting, so the border is moving. According to the Independent:
Mr Mercalli says it is not only glaciers but other points of reference used in delimiting the border that have changed their position under the impact of global warming. "In places the conventional border fixed in 1861 followed water courses, and where glaciers have melted these may have changed significantly," he said.

The decision to redraw the border is a dramatic reminder of how seriously mountains are affected by climate change, he added. "The mountains are particularly sensitive to change. And they are also areas that teach us a lot: effects of climate change that you don't notice in the cities are vividly apparent in the mountains. Increased incidence of mud and rock slides, caused when soft ground previously covered by permafrost is exposed to rain, is only the most dramatic consequence."


The area around the infamous Matterhorn are affected.
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March 25, 2009

The Complete Idiot's Guide has Gone Green!

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The Complete Idiot's Guide has gone green with a whole set of books on eco-friendly living. Here are few excerpts from each book to give you a flavor of the information they contain:

  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organic Living:
    • Conventionally grown coffee spends its life in the sun and is doused with a bunch of pesticides. However, processing beans does away with most of the residues. But the people who grown the beans have to deal with those pesticides on a daily basis. It you buy organic coffee, you can help lessen their body burden-and perhaps spare your own.


  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegetable Gardening:

  • As you can see, many insects are beneficial to your garden, and unless you have studied them, you might have difficulty telling a good bug from a bad one. That's why it's just not a good idea to use insecticides and pesticides indiscriminately. If you just go out and spray like crazy, you'll end up killing every insect out there.


  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning, 2nd Edition:
    Old but clean 100 percent cotton T-shirts, clean white cotton tube socks, or 100 percent cotton baby diapers make the best dusters. They are lint free and easily laundered.  Everyone has cotton T-shirts and tube socks that have worn out their welcome, so no further manufacturing is necessary. Use what you have at home helping to save our Mother Earth. Then use them as rags when they wear out their welcome dusting.


  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Natural Remedies:
    Free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules that harm healthy cells, are generated by activities in the body-in this case, the brain-and all the thinking you're doing. If we eat enough of the good stuff, there's a good chance we'll have enough antioxidants to scavenge these bad boys and put them in their place. If not, and the production of free radicals overwhelms our antioxidant defense, our delicate brain cells could be in for a bruising, resulting in plaque buildup and less-than-optimal brain function.



These books are extremely user-friendly and easy to read. From light green to dark green, anyone can find useful and new information in the eco-friendly Complete Idiot's Guides.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 24, 2009

Obama Pledges $2.4 Billion for Electric Cars

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Vowing to be a world leader in renewable energy, Obama has promised $2.4 billion for electric car. Specifically, the money would be used for developing next generation plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and advanced battery components. These advancements would create tens of thousands of US jobs and reduce the country's reliance on foreign oil. Obama stated:

We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad or we can create them here in America and lay the foundation for lasting prosperity...The nation that leads on energy will be the nation that leads the world in the 21st century. That's why, around the world, nations are racing to lead in these industries of the future...Germany is leading the world in solar power. Spain generates almost 30 percent of its power by harnessing the wind, while we manage less than one percent and Japan is producing the batteries that currently power American hybrid cars.

The $2.4 billion has been made available under the economic stimulus law, and it will be divided up as follows:

  • $1.5 billion to US manufacturers who produce highly efficient batteries

  • $500 million for manufacturers other components for the vehicles.

  • $400 million for evaluating and building electric vehicle infrastructure, such as charging stations and training for mechanics.

Via: Truthout

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March 23, 2009

Handmade Soap and Lip Balm from Aroha Organics

AH_Header5.jpg I love handcrafted beauty products, especially soap and lip balm. Aroha Organics makes by hand wonderful beauty products that are free of toxins and synthetic ingredients. "Aroha" means "love" in Maori, the indigenous language of New Zealand, and I love these products.
Aroha Organics natural soaps and balms is a multi-national husband and wife team located in beautiful Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. Having lived in both New Zealand and America working on organic farms for the past four years we have had the opportunity to live our dream of a more sustainable lifestyle. One of our great experiences was learning how to make traditional soaps and balms. What started as a hobby making high quality moisturizing products for ourselves and friends turned into a desire to sell and to educate others about the benefits of using naturally made soaps and balms and buying hand made products.

Ahora Organics soap is made using a cold process, and the soap base is certified organic. Oils are added using a process called superfatting right before the soap is poured into the molds, which allows the oils to retain their original form for optimum moisturization. All ingredients are sustainably harvested, and Ahora Organics dreams of one day having their own CSA organic farm.

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March 20, 2009

Eco Food Friday: Organic Instant Oatmeal

organic oatmeal.jpg Nature's Path Organic Oatmeal pouches are a quick and easy breakfast for busy mornings. Made from only organic rolled oats and sea salt, I like adding Organic Goji Berries and maple syrup to this hot cereal. The convenient pouches made from unbleached paper make it easy to grab a packet on your way out the door when you are running late and make a nutritious breakfast at work.
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March 19, 2009

Annoucing the Winner of Our Great Green Beauty Giveaway: Kiss My Face Potent & Pure Complete Organic Facial Care System

potent & pure all.jpg Valerie is the lucky winner of Great Green Beauty Giveaway: Kiss My Face Potent & Pure Complete Organic Facial Care System Kiersten was randomly selected and left the following green beauty tip:
Lemon water as a toner works great & it's cheap too!
  Kiersten won:
Thank you to everyone for entering this contest, and thank you to Kiss My Face. If you didn't win, I hope you will check out their great Potent & Pure Line.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 18, 2009

Arctic Heavy Metal Pollution Caused by Coal Burning

coalplant.jpg We all know there is no such thing as "clean coal"; the negative effects of coal burning are long lasting and far reaching. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, coal burning power plants in North America and Western Europe are responsible for heavy metal pollution in the Arctic. Natural News reports:
Researchers took an ice core sample from Greenland and analyzed it to determine levels of heavy metal deposits over time. They looked specifically for the metals cadmium, lead and thallium, and were able to measure monthly levels of the contaminants as far back as 1772.

The levels of all three pollutants surged between the years of 1850 and 1900, coinciding with the growth of rapid industrialism in North America and Europe. By the early 1900s, all three toxic metals were being deposited at a rate 10 times higher than before the Industrial Revolution.


Interestingly, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, there is a decrease in the rate of heavy metal deposits in the Arctic ice. I wonder if our current economic recession will demonstrate similar results.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 17, 2009

Solar Panels in the Sahara Desert Could Power ALL of Europe

brightsource-thermal-solar.jpgAll of Europe's energy needs could be provided by a very large solar array in the Sahara Desert, according to researchers. Dr. Anthony Patt, a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, explains:
It [North Africa] could supply Europe with all the energy it needs. The Sun is very strong there, and it is very reliable. There is starting to be a growing number of cost estimates of both wind and concentrated solar power for north Africa... that start to compare favorably with alternative technologies. The cost of moving [electricity] long distances has really come down.
How large a solar array would be needed to provide Europe's energy needs? Dr. Patt estimates the array would be the size of a small country (a fraction of the size of the Sahara Desert) and it would cost approximately $70 billion.

Via: Consumer Energy Report
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March 16, 2009

Eco-Friendly Yoga Apparal by BuddhiWear: I'm Just Here for Savasana

WOMEN_LSSCOOP_IMJUSTHERE.Blue.jpg It's true, my favorite asana is savasana. This final relaxation as a corpse is the perfect ending to any yoga practice, and now I've discovered an organic, eco-friendly top by BuddhiWear to express my love for savasana. The Women's Buddhiwear "I'm Just Here For Savasana" Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Organic T-Shirt is lightweight, super soft, and comfortably fitted. Since BuddhiWear's clothing is 100% organic, each shirt saves 1/3 pound of chemicals from entering our soil, air, and water.
BuddhiWear produces and sells postively themed organic apparel. Our company took its name from the word "buddhi", meaning "she who is conscious, AWAKE". Our company is focused on buying local, supporting small businesses, and being green. BuddhiWear's mission is to promote positive empowerment through yoga and other practices. BuddhiWear is committed to providing high-quality apparel for the family with a flair for yoga and all things positive.
For every garment sold, Buddhiwear plants a tree. Furthermore, they use Dharma Merchant Services to process credit card orders, which enables the company to donate a percentage of each transaction to charity.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 13, 2009

Eco Food Friday: Organic Agave Plus with Sunflower Seeds Granola by Nature's Path

agaveplus_sunflower_granola_productlarge.jpg I've discovered a delicious agave sweetened granola by Nature's Path that is wonderful in Greek yogurt or with soymilk. Nature's Path Agave Plus with Sunflower Seeds is made from:
Organic rolled oats, organic agave nectar, organic brown rice flour, organic soy oil, organic sunflower seeds, organic oat syrup solids, sea salt.
I love how this organic vegan granola contains no sugar and is sweetened with natural agave nectar. A box of this granola does not last long in my household!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 12, 2009

The Last Known US Jaguar Has Been Euthanized

machobjaguar.jpg The last known living jaguar in the US has been euthanized. Jaguars were thought to be extinct in the US until there were confirmed sightings of two male jaguars (Macho A and Macho B) in Arizona in 1996. Macho A was last seen in 2004, and it is suspected he has crossed the border into Mexico or is deceased.

Macho B was captured in 2008 and fitted with a tracking collar. Biologists noticed that Macho B's movements were slowing, and he had lost weight. He was recaptured and taken to the Phoenix Zoo. According to the LA Times:
Shortly thereafter, Macho B was euthanized when tests revealed severe kidney failure from which he could not recover. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jeff Humphrey said kidney failure was common in older cats, but questions remained about whether stress from his capture had caused or exacerbated Macho B's condition. A necropsy was performed, and today Phoenix Zoo Executive Vice President Dr. Dean Rice is saying the capture probably played a key role in the jaguar's death. While Macho B probably had existing kidney problems, stress and the increased pressure on his body to process the tranquilizer drugs used during his capture probably hastened his death, according to Rice.
It is so sad that human interference has hastened the death of this 15-16-year-old jaguar, but the situation may become even more bleak. The only chance the US jaguar population has for survival is from the Mexican cats; however, the 700-mile border fence being built to stop illegal Mexican immigrants will also prohibit jaguars from crossing the border.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 11, 2009

Monsanto's Genetically Modified Cotton Kills Soil

cotton.jpg Monsanto's Bt-cotton can lead to the total destruction of soil organisms and beneficial enzymes in less than a decade of planting, according to a new study conducted in India. The Organic Consumers Association reports:
A new study analyzing fields planted with Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) cotton indicates the crops are causing the soil to slowly die. The study found that over a three year period soil micro-organisms, which are necessary for building healthy and nutrient rich soil, decreased dramatically in the Monsanto cotton fields. According to the Institute for Science in Society, "At this rate, in a decade of planting with GM cotton, or any GM crop with Bt genes in it, could lead to total destruction of soil organisms, leaving dead soil unable to produce food."
Apparently, the region in India (Nagpur, Amravati and Wardha of Vidharbha) where the most GMO corn is grown also has the highest rate of farmer suicides. Coincidence? Yet another reason to buy products made from organically grown cotton.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 10, 2009

Great Green Beauty Giveaway: Kiss My Face Potent & Pure Complete Organic Facial Care System

kissmyfacepotentpure.jpg Kiss My Face has graciously given Really Natural a complete set of their new Potent & Pure Line to give away to one of our lucky readers! Potent & Pure is a complete organic facial care system.
The Kiss My Face Potent and Pure facial care system is formulated with the highest quality and most effective ingredients that nature has to offer. We've used only the most potent and pure extracts and organic or wildcrafted botanicals in abundant concentrations, so you'll see the results you expect and more.

This system was created by combining the latest scientific research with beneficial botanicals, vitamins, extracts and minerals that are time tested and true. These are among the cleanest products available, great for sensitive skin and free of ingredients that clog pores. No parabens, phthalates, SLS, artificial colors and fragrances, and not tested on animals.


To enter our Great Green Beauty Giveaway, simply leave a comment to this post that includes your favorite green beauty secret. On, Wednesday, March 18, 2009, a winner will be selected from random from the comments section of this post. One lucky winner will receive a complete set of the Kiss My Face Pure & Potent line including:
Good luck! This is an incredible set of organic facial care!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 9, 2009

Fox News: Burping Worms May Contribute to Global Warming

aquatic_worm.jpg I recently came across an article from Fox News ("Fair and Balanced") about aquatic creatures, such as worms, contributing to global warming.
Aquatic animals that feed on lake and stream bottom sediments burp out small amounts of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, a new study finds.

While the biological emissions from these critters pales in comparison to the nitrous oxide emitted by fossil fuel burning, their contribution could increase as more and more nitrogen-rich fertilizer runs off into lakes, streams and seas, the authors of the study said.


I'm not a fan of Fox News, and this fallible headline "Burping Worms May Contribute to Climate Change" is just plain silly, especially when one reads the article that cites Peter Stief, of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Germany, stating:
We're not expecting a new catastrophe...We have not discovered that the animals represent an environmental problem.

Yes, the word "may" was used in the headline, but the contribution of aquatic creatures to the effects of global warming are minuscule in comparison to livestock flatulence, let alone how human activities are increasing aquatic animals' contribution to greenhouse gases through fertilizer run off.  
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 6, 2009

Eco Food Friday: Gluten-Free Organic Corn and Rice Whole O's Cereal

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Thanks to Nature's Path, now celiacs can enjoy O shaped cereal! Nature's Path Gluten-Free Organic Whole O's are delicious and my son's favorite cereal (even though he is not a celiac, but my father is). Made from organic brown rice flour, organic corn flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic pomegranate juice concentrate, and sea salt, this cereal is truly organic! Also, Nature's Path is a company you can trust:

Nature's Path is committed to producing products which support the development and sustenance of organic agriculture. We aim to do this in a way that minimizes our ecological footprint while striving to maintain social, environmental and financial integrity.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 5, 2009

12-Year-Old Boy Builds Recycled Shelter for Homeless

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12-year-old Max Wallack has created a "Home Dome" from plastic, wire, and packing peanuts. The Home Dome is designed as a homeless shelter and was created for the show Design Squad's Trash to Treasure contest. Max won $10,000 and a Dell laptop for his invention. Max explained his inspiration:

When I was six. I won an invention contest that included a trip to Chicago. While there, I saw homeless people living on streets, and beneath highways and underpasses. I felt very sorry for these people, and ever since then, felt that my goal and obligation was to find a way to help them. My invention improves the living conditions for homeless people, refugees, or disaster victims by giving them easy-to-assemble shelter.

Via: Green Building Elements

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March 4, 2009

World's Only Pink Albino Bottlenose Dophin Needs Protection From Tourists

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What a rare sight to see a pink dolphin! Discovered in Lake Calcasieu, an inland saltwater estuary in Louisiana, this dolphin has gotten so much attention from tourists that conservationists are warning it needs protection. Regina Asmutis-Silvia, senior biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, explains:

I have never seen a dolphin coloured in this way in all my career. It is a truly beautiful dolphin but people should be careful, as with any dolphins, to respect it - observe from a distance, limit their time watching, don't chase or harass it. While this animal looks pink, it is an albino which you can notice in the pink eyes.

Via: Telegraph

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March 3, 2009

Is Your TV Prepared for Climate Change?

frozen tv.jpg
Sony has developed a TV that can withstand the severe weather conditions of climate change. For $20,000, you can have a 65-inch LCD television that will survive torrential rain and freezing temperatures.

Via: Wired

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 2, 2009

February 2009 Really Natural Monthly Round-Up

...and Really Not

Beauty

Business

Conservation

Energy Savers

Fair Trade

Fashion

Food

Green Homes

Health

Monthly Round-Up

Office

Really Natural Books

Really Natural Products

Recycling

Solar

Wildlife

environment

technology

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