April 30, 2009

April 2009 Really Natural Monthly Round-Up

Alternative Energy








Monthly Round-Up


Product review

Really Natural Cars

Really Natural Products





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April 29, 2009

Book Review: Our Unprotected Heritage: Whitewashing the Destruction of Our Cultural & Natural Envrionment

our unprotected heritage.jpg Our Unprotected Heritage: Whitewashing the Destruction of our Cultural and Natural Treasures takes a hard look at the interplay between the preservation of our heritage (both cultural and natural) and unabated development. Written by Thomas F. King, this book begins by exploring the myth that the US government has laws that protect our natural places. I know firsthand about this assumption recalling when my parents first visited me in the west. Like many Americans, my parents assumed that US National Forests were protected land. They were shocked to see the destructive clearcuts that were taking place in the early 90s.

King divides environmental laws into two categories: bright green laws and light green laws. Bright green laws apply to everyone (more or less), involve "hard-and-fast quantitative criteria", and are enforceable. Light green laws, such as National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), apply to federal agencies and their are rarely enforceable consequences, such as jail time or fines, for violations. They are supposed to be self-enforcing, and they involve subjective criteria.

NEPA has long been thought of as the champion of the environment, and in my experience, it often works. I have seen NEPA stop destructive "salvage" logging sales in old growth forests that were not harmed by mild fire. I have also seen NEPA be skirted, such as in projects for forest stand improvement under the guise of fire prevention. Instead of looking at each project individually, including endangered species, statewide projects fell under one NEPA review.

King identifies five problems with our current environmental impact assessment (EIA) and cultural resource management (CRM):

  1. Specialist hired to complete reports have a vested interest in seeing projects completed because they work for the clients that hire them.

  2. Federal agencies view EIAs and CRMs as hurdles they need for "clearance" to projects rather than taking their responsibilities seriously.

  3. Agencies overseeing these these assessments (Council on Environmental Quality and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation) have no real authority.

  4. The EIA and CRM systems are not transparent and offer limited opportunities for participation.

  5. We have accepted the system they way it is and don't demand change.

King offers solutions to fix the system, namely strengthening NEPA by keeping it politically and publicly prominent, so that we can truly move towards effective environmental policy. We must revise NEPA and "amend the US Constitution to give environmental protection the status of fundamental law."
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April 28, 2009

Farmers Must Feed the World While Reducing Emissions

farm_work.jpg Farmers are facing what many feel is an impossible task: they must feed the growing world population while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. From farting cows to growing crops that emit nitrous oxide, agriculture is globally a major source of greenhouse gases. According to scientist Richard John Eckard of the University of Melbourne:
We want agriculture to feed the world. We want farmers to be viable and continue to increase the rate of productivity growth. At the same time, we're telling them they are going to face a more harsh climate they need to adapt to. On top of that you impose a policy that you can now only emit a fraction of the emissions that you were emitting.
Australia is exempting agriculture, which accounts for 16 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, from its emissions trading scheme until 2015.
Via: Reuters AlertNet
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April 27, 2009

Spry Gum Contains Xylitol to Prevent Dental Cavities

spry gum.jpg I first discovered xylitol when my son was diagnosed with Early Childhood Caries. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, prevents tooth decay.
An overview of studies about xylitol and dental caries suggests potential clinical dental applications for xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring, low-calorie sugar substitute with anticariogenic properties. Data from recent studies indicate that xylitol can reduce the occurrence of dental caries in young children, schoolchildren, and mothers, and in children via their mothers. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, is derived mainly from birch and other hardwood trees...Commercial xylitol-containing products may be used to help control rampant decay in primary dentition.
My children chew Spry Sugarfree Gum, which contains xylitol. Fortunately, my children have never had a cavity since we started chewing xylitol gum, but I can't say for certain it is the cause of our success. We have also become more vigilant in our toothbrushing and flossing to prevent further decay. Please note, xylitol can be harmful to dogs.
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April 23, 2009

Real Time World Statistics on Energy, Population, Environment, Food, Water, Health, Government & Economics, and Society & Media

realtimestats.jpg Ever wonder what is going on the world right now? WorldoMeters gives you world statistics updated in real time. The above snapshot was taken at about 7:45 AM (PST) this morning, and already the statistics have rapidly changed before publishing this post. These statistics bring the message home, especially as one notes which numbers are spinning off the charts and which ones remain relatively static. It is interesting to contemplate where one is represented multiple times in the statistics (such as blog posts published).
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April 22, 2009

Kiss My Face Natural and Organic Shimmers and Shines for Kissable Lips

sosbanner.png Kiss My Face's newest natural, organic products are for your lips! Sheer Organic Shine and Sheer Organic Shimmer are 100% natural, 91% organic, and made from natural minerals. Vitamins A and E help protect and heal your lips, and the colors are beautiful. There are six shades of "glorious glosses" and six "tempting tints". They even contain stevia!

I've been suffering from chapped lips for days, and the Sheer Organic Shine is very soothing and healing. The organic hint of mint or vanilla flavor is delightful, and the shea butter and jojoba oil moisturizing. Of course, since these new lip products are from Kiss My Face, they do not contain parabens, SLS, phthalates, synthetic colors or flavors, animal ingredients or testing.

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April 21, 2009

Kleenex Continues to Log Old Growth Forests for Tissues

Kleenex brand tissues logs old growth forests, including the Boreal Forest, in order that its customers can blow their noses. Remember handkerchiefs? My dad always had one in his pocket ready for our childhood runny noses. They are softer than tissues, and old growth forests do not need to be logged in their production. Of course, alternatives to Kleenex, such as Seventh Generation Facial Tissue, exist.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 20, 2009

New Organic Snacks and Treats by SunRidge Farms

sunridgefarms.jpg SunRidge Farms makes delicious organic treats and snacks. Founded in 1977, SunRidge Farms has over 1000 certified organic and natural products, many of which are sold in bulk!
Our goal is to provide both the healthiest and freshest products to our customers. We do this by offering foods that have been grown and processed without the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, artificial additives, flavors, colors or preservatives.
Their facility is even powered by solar panels. From classics like Organic Yogurt Pretzels to brand new products, SunRidge Farms helps raise money for the Defenders of Wildlife through the sales of their products. Here are the new products SunRidge Farms is introducing:
  • Organic Sunny Worms: With 100 percent daily value of vitamins A, C, D and E per serving, these gelatin-free vegetarian gummy worms are bursting with natural fruit flavor.
  • Omega 3 Men's Energy Mix: This nut, chocolate, and fruit blend is specially formulated for men, including Zinc, Lycopene and Omega 3's for good prostate and heart health.
  • Frosted Star Cookies: All-natural and delicious real vanilla cookies, available in frosted raspberry, cinnamon, chocolate, peanut butter and mixed varieties.
Of course, my favorite SunRidge Farms product is the classic Hit the Trail MIx, which won the Best Taste Award from the American Culinary Institute in 2004.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 17, 2009

This Organic Cereal Does Not Contain: Pesticides, Herbicides, Preservatives, Additives, Irradation, Sewage

flax plus.jpg What could be better for your health than organic flax seeds, organic pumpkin seeds, organic raisins, and organic oats? Sewage-free cereal, of course. I was amused when I read this description of Nature's Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch cereal. I thought sewage was the breakfast of champions! Seriously though, this organic cereal is high in omega-3s and is delicious (and I'm not even much of a raisin fan).
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April 16, 2009

Salt May be the Key to Happiness

Physiologist Alan Johnson of the University of Iowa has discovered that salt intake may be linked to happiness. By depriving rats of salt, Johnson observed rats had less pleasure and desire to perform daily activities, such as pushing a bar to release sugar water. Once the rats were given salt, they became "happy" again. National Geographic explains:

He points to one study of people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Many of the patients were found to have reduced their sodium intake for health reasons. Increasing sodium in their diets alleviated many of the patients' symptoms.

Most people get more salt than the need in their diets, and there is a link between salt and heart disease, but Johnson's findings are interesting.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 15, 2009

EcoSMART Organic Insecticide

ecosmart.jpg Organic insecticides may sound like an oxymoron, but EcoSMART has done it. By using organic plant oils, EcoSMART products kill insects naturally which makes them safe to use around children and pets. I personally don't like to kill insects, but my bee allergy and joy of camping necessitates the need for the occasional use of a repellent or insecticide.
  • EcoSMART Wasp & Hornet Killer: EcoSMART Wasp & Hornet Killer formula kills and controls wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and spiders. This easy-to-use formula includes such organic plant oils as peppermint oil, wintergreen oil, canola oil and more. For use outdoors as well as in non-living areas such as in attics, crawl spaces and other areas where stinging insects nest.
  • EcoSMART Flying Insect Killer: EcoSMART Flying Insect Killer formula kills and controls flies, gnats, mosquitoes, moths, wasps and other flying insects. Direct spray at flying insects, contacting as many as possible. Spray in short 2-3 second bursts.
  • EcoSMART Ant & Roach Killer: EcoSMART Ant & Roach Killer formula kills and controls ants, carpenter ants, cockroaches, crickets, pill bugs, silverfish, spiders, and other crawling insects on contact. Spray on insects to kill on contact. Also, treat areas where insects are commonly found, including around sinks and plumbing, near appliances, behind cabinets and around waste containers. When treating ants, spray around the entry points and trails.
  • EcoSMART Insect Repellent DEET Free!: This powerful, all natural, and nontoxic formula is made from organic plant oils, and repels mosquitoes, gnats and other annoying pest for hours. EcoSMART Insect Repellent dries quickly and has a fresh and natural scent. It is safe to use on the entire family, including small children and infants.
All EcoSMART products are made in the USA.

Even though these products are "organic plant based", caution must be used, especially around children. For example, it is better to put insect repellent on infant and young children's clothing rather than their skin. Many plant oils can have a negative effect on both our environment and health if overused. Just because something is naturally derived does not mean that safety precautions should not be followed.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 14, 2009

Energy Costs More to Blame than Ethanol for Rising Food Costs

ethanol corn.jpg Ethanol has gotten a bad rap for causing the price of food to rise but also to blame is the rising cost of energy. Ethanol is not without fault, as a Congressional Budget Office report stated that ethanol production was responsible for 10 to 15 percent increase in food prices between April 2007 and April 2008; however, between 22 and 36 percent of the increase in food prices are due to the increase in the cost of energy sources. Tom Buis, chief executive of Growth Energy, an ethanol-industry association, explains:
The report released by the Congressional Budget Office confirms what we've known for some time - the impact of ethanol production on food prices is minimal, and that energy was the main driver in the rise of food prices
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Turkey Federation and the National Council of Chain Restaurants responded in kind:
Today's Congressional Budget Office numbers once again remind us of the unintended negative consequences associated with our nation's current policies which promote and mandate the conversion of massive amounts of corn and other food crops for biofuels production.
Whomever is to blame, rising food costs have hurt Americans during this economic recession.

Via: San Francisco Chronicle
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 13, 2009

Aveda Enbrightenment Skin Care Line Improves Skin Cell Clarity

aveda.jpg I've just tried Aveda's new Enbrightenment skin care line. These natural beauty products are designed to give your skin more clarity and lighten dark spots. The key ingredients of the Enbrightenment line are vitamin C, glucosamine, brown algae and naturally-derived salicylic acid.  The line features:

April is Earth Month at Aveda. Since 1999, Aveda has raised over $11 million for non-profits like the Greenhouse Network, Clean Air-Cool Planet, Global Greengrants Fund, Chicago Wilderness, Potomac Conservancy, and the Gulf Coast Restoration Network. This year's theme for Earth Month is clean water. Aveda has set a goal of raising $3 million for global and local organizations working to support and preserve clean water.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 10, 2009

Eco Food Friday: Get Your Omega-3s with Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch

NP-FlaxRedB_US-EB-RGB.jpg We eat a lot of cereal in our home. It's an easy snack and breakfast my young kids can assemble on their own, but I don't want them eating sugary cereals. My kids love Nature's Path Organic Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch, and I love that it is organic and good source of Omega-3s from the flax seeds. The organic strawberries and raspberries provide a tangy sweet flavor to contrast the crunch.
Made with love and ... Organic whole wheat meal, organic wheat bran, organic rolled oats, organic evaporated cane juice, organic flax, organic soy oil, organic brown rice flour, organic freeze dried raspberries, organic oat bran, organic barley malt extract, organic freeze dried strawberries, sea salt, natural strawberry flavor, organic oat syrup solids, tocopherols (natural vitamin E), organic molasses, organic rice bran extract, organic cinnamon.
You can even use Nature's Path Organic Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch to make smoothies! From the Nature's Path website:

1/2 c. cold water
3/4 c. Nature's Path Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
1 medium-sized ripe banana, peeled and halved
4 ice cubes

Pour water into blender and add cereal, yogurt, banana, and ice cubes.
Cover blender jar and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.
Pour into tall glass and enjoy.

We'll have try that! My daughter loves reading recipes and making smoothies.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 9, 2009

Many Butterflies May Go Extinct in Britain

butterfly.jpg Many of Britain's butterflies are hovering on the brink of extinction. Wet summers, housing developments, and intensive agriculture are to blame. Some of the affected species are:
  • high brown fritillary
  • wood white
  • small tortoiseshell
  • pearl-bordered fritillary
According to Tom Brereton, head of monitoring at Butterfly Conservation:
If we have a nice, sunny year, some species will bounce back, but some species got to such a low ebb on some sites we're not sure if it has tipped them over the edge of extinction.
The cuckoo is also on the verge of being listed as an endangered species in Britain, as less pairs are migrating from Africa because of the scarcity of food and water.

Via:  Daily Mail
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April 8, 2009

Natural Pet Treats: 4 out 4 Dogs Love Holistix!

holistix.jpg Ever since I was a child, I loved giving my dog treats. Now natural dogs have treat that is holistic, made in the USA, and delicious. In a taste test with my four dogs, all four dogs loved Holistix Biscuits for Dogs.  Every dog treat contains:
  • Spelt - This delicious grain is naturally high in fiber, vitamins and essential fatty acids. Spelt was one of the earliest cultivated grains, dating back to 5,000 B.C.
  • Flaxseed - A source of Omega 6 & Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Canola Oil - A source of Omega 3, to promote healthy skin and coat.
  • Tomato Pomace - A fiber source containing Lycopene, a natural antioxidant.
  • Sweet Potatoes - Rich in potassium & Vitamins A &C.
  • Inulin - a prebiotic food source for the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
  • Cranberries & Blueberries - Enhances the immune system and slows cell deterioration.
  • Yucca Schidigera Extract - Derived naturally from the yucca plant.
Holistix natural biscuit treats comes in three varieties: Bison (free range) & Barley, Chicken & Barley, and Menhaden Fish Meal.

Holistic Select dog treats are my dogs' favorite since they are made with real meat and high in protein!

  • Over 90% meat (Salmon, Chicken, Duck or Pork)

  • Ideal for sensitive skin

  • Naturally preserved

  • No added artificial colors, flavors, synthetic preservatives, or GMO's

  • Very simple ingredient listing for even the most delicate digestive systems.

Lucky dogs love Holistic Select and Holistix!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2009

Bad News at the Poles: Antarctic Ice Shelf Disappears

20090403_larsenmelt.jpg A new U.S. Geological Survey reports that an Antarctic ice shelf has completely disappeared. Another ice shelf has lost a portion three times the size of Rhode Island! Antarctica is the Earth's largest reservoir of glacial ice, and it is melting rapidly. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar explains:
This study provides the first insight into the extent of Antarctica's coastal and glacier change. The rapid retreat of glaciers there demonstrates once again the profound effects our planet is already experiencing -- more rapidly than previously known - as a consequence of climate change.
Recent imaging has revealed the Wordie Ice Shelf and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exist.
Via: Environment News Service
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April 6, 2009

Hemp Plus Granola is a Great Source of Omega-3

hempplus.jpg My family's favorite granola is Nature's Path Organic Hemp Plus Granola. This organic granola is made from:
Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Soy Oil, Organic Brown Rice Flour, Organic Flax Seeds, Organic Hemp Seeds, Organic Oat Syrup Solids, Sea Salt, Organic Molasses, Organic Rice Bran Extract.
Hemp seeds are very nutritious and have up to 35% plant protein containing all nine essential amino acids. They also contain alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that is lacking in most people's diets. Don't worry, hemp seeds only have trace amounts of residual THC, and none is detectable in hemp seed granola. This granola won't get you high!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 2, 2009

Greenbird Breaks Land Speed Record for Wind-Powered Vehicles

British engineer Richard Jenkins clocked 126.1mph in his Ecotricity Greenbird powered only by the wind. The previous record of 116 mph for a wind-powered vehicle had held for ten years. At Lake Ivanpah, a dry lake bed, just south of Las Vegas, the Greenbird was powered by only 30 mph winds. Eco-businessman Dale Vince explains:
The record is an amazing achievement. It shows what is achievable with great British engineering and the power of the wind. In the next twenty years I firmly believe that wind power will be our main energy source and wind-powered cars will no longer be the stuff of dreams.
Ecotricity plans to reveal a wind-powered car for everyday use in the near future.
Via: Daily Mail
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 1, 2009

March Monthly Round-Up

Alternative Energy




Electric Cars



Green Homes

Monthly Round-Up


Really Natural Books







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