April 30, 2010

Really Natural April 2010 Monthly Round Up

Alternative Energy




Electric Cars

Energy Savers




General News

Green Homes


Monthly Round-Up


Product review

Really Natural Books


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April 29, 2010

Solar Company Offers Obama Free Solar Panels for White House

Not since the Carter administration has the White House benefited from photovoltaics. Solar company Sungevity is offering President Obama free solar panels for the White House rooftop, including installation. Eco Geek reports:

Sungevity is offering the 102-panel, 17.85 kW solar system, installation and warranty as a free donation, at no cost to the Obamas, the government or tax payers. The only costs associated with the panels would be the upkeep and maintenance. In case the president isn't comfortable with the $107,900 donation, they're also offering a 10-year lease of the equipment at $537/month with maintenance and monitoring included.

Obama would be a fool not to take Sungevity up on their generous offer.

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April 28, 2010

Eco Fashion: Stewart + Brown Organic Stevie Blazer On Sale!

Sometimes eco-friendly fashion can be expensive, but at least you are getting sustainability along with great style.  Good news!  The Stewart + Brown Stevie Blazer is on sale!

This cute buttoned up blazer will be sure to turn heads this fall. Fun 100% organic lace accents along front yoke. Short raise collar, belt in back. Fitted. Hits at hip.

  • 90% organic cotton, 10% polyester

  • made in usa

  • machine wash in cold water

  • all sales final

  • original price: $284.00 now: $158.00

I love my Stevie blazer! The plum color is much darker than I imagined, but that was a pleasant surprise. Even though the blazer is from the fall line, it is the perfect light jacket for warmer temps. It is super comfortable, and like all Stewart + Brown items, the quality is high. These "organic pioneers" know how to make eco-friendly chic!
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April 27, 2010

4 Bad Habits That Shorten Your Life by 12 Years

New research conducted at the University of Oslo and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has discovered four common bad habits can reduce your life span by as much as 12 years. The bad habits are:

  • Smoking tobacco

  • Less than two hours of exercise per week

  • More than two alcoholic drinks for women or three drinks for men per day

  • Eating less than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day

I wonder why men can drink more than women without seeing the negative effects?

Via: Huffington Post

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April 26, 2010

Really Natural Beauty: Biodynamic Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream

I rarely buy natural beauty products anymore, as I get plenty of samples to review. Recently, I found myself out of face cream and resorted to purchasing one of my old favorites: Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream.

A rich, luxurious daily moisturizer. Soothing rose ingredients nurture and renew sensitive, dry and weather-damaged skin. Protects skin against dryness and soothes red, irritated skin and conditions of couperose.

  • Protects the delicate outer layer of the skin against dryness and irritation

  • Extracts of rose petal, rose hip and avocado soothe and renew red, irritated, sensitive skin

  • Seals in moisture to prevent dryness

  • Thirty rose flowers go into each tube of Rose Day Cream

Although I don't have any "irritated skin conditions", I like how this cream is thick and nourishing, but it doesn't feel heavy and oily. I do spend a lot of time in the sun gardening, so I like the soothing qualities of the rose cream.
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April 23, 2010

Really Natural Cleaning: Wool Sea Sponges Are Not Just for Beauty

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I recently purchased a natural sea wool sponge. I've used such sponges before in the bath; however, this sponge I bought for house cleaning, specifically outside window washing. Sea wool sponges are durable, soft (no worries about scratching windows), and they do an amazing job. My sea wool sponge has quickly become my favorite tool for cleaning all around the house. They are perfect for car washing too!

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April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010: 10 Historic Photos From 40 Years Ago

Earth Day 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of this event that sparked the environmental movement. Here are ten images from the first Earth Day in 1970.
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April 21, 2010

Really Natural Foods: Beaver Brand Gourmet Ketchup

Spring time is here and warmer temperatures brings on BBQ season. Whether you are cooking up organic beef or tofu burgers, unique condiments complement any outdoor meal. Beaverton Foods has just introduced a gourmet, all-natural ketchup that is blended with its award-winning honey mustard.

Beaverton Foods began over 80 years ago:

In 1929 Rose Biggi started Beaverton Foods in the cellar of her farmhouse. To help endure the Great Depression, she began grinding her horseradish crop, bottling it, and selling it to local grocery stores. Through her hard work and perseverance, she not only survived the hard economic times, but also built the foundation for the largest specialty condiment manufacturer in the United States.

This gourmet ketchup is very affordable ($3.50) and has a unique flavor, but I wish it was made with organically-grown ingredients. Furthermore, it came shipped in a box of styrofoam peanuts rather than the compostable kind.  At least the bottle is recyclable.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

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April 20, 2010

Dayton Adds Hybrid Diesel Gillig Busses to Ohio's Greenest Fleet

I grew up in central Ohio and occasionally would visit Dayton to see live music. The fourth largest city in Ohio is home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, and the Dayton Peace Accords. Now, the city has the claim to fame of of having the greenest fleet in Ohio. Greater Dayton RTA reports:

Ten new hybrids will complement RTA's fleet with four of the new coaches rolling into service following the ceremony. RTA's entire green fleet will be on display including a new hybrid diesel bus, an electric trolley bus, and a paratransit Tesco vehicle...

The hybrid diesel Gillig coaches are powered by clean diesel hybrid electrical propulsion systems that reduce emissions, save fuel and are smoother and quieter than conventional buses. The hybrids use the latest General Motors- manufactured parallel drive technology, which is more efficient than traditional systems. The buses utilize long-life, non-hazardous and maintenance-free NiMH batteries that capture and store braking energy as well as solid state advanced controllers that manage and blend power sources to optimize performance.

Via: Green Car Congress

Image: Automotive.com

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April 19, 2010

Really Natural Books: Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Beauty Fixes

Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Beauty Fixes is written by ethnobotanist James Wong. Wong believes, and I agree, that it's easy to grow and make your own natural remedies. He explained to NPR:

I think so many people have this stereotyped idea of what herbal medicine is. I think they've very much got a big black line in their minds that separates serious, conventional, tested, scientific medicine on one side and slightly airy, fairy, away-with-the-hippies -- you know -- natural-but-probably-doesn't-work, plant-based medicine on the other. To me as a scientist, whether a chemical is found within a pill or the cells of plant is really irrelevant -- that's just packaging.

Wong's book has a beautiful layout with incredible photographs and recipes. Take for example:
A few tablespoons of this garlicky vinegar in hot water make a powerful antifungal foot bath, but don't use it on broken skin -- it will hurt! The vinegar takes 1 month to infuse but will last at least 6 months to 1 year. It tastes good in salad dressings, too.


Garlic Footbath
10 bulbs garlic, peeled and finely chopped
100 g fresh sage leaves
2 cups (500 ml) cider vinegar

1. Place the chopped garlic and sage leaves in a jar, then add the cider vinegar. Seal and leave to infuse for 1 month, shaking occasionally.

USE Add 5 tbsp to a bowl of hot water, and soak feet for 15 minutes. Use 2 or 3 times a week in conjunction with "Garlic Talcum Powder" (see page 52).

This is a great book for the seasoned herbalist and amateur alike, and it is an incredible resource I know I will refer to over and over again.  The title is pretty unique too!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

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April 16, 2010

re:newal Bottled Spring Water Made From Plants, Not Oil

We all know bottled water is bad, but sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where thirst demands you buy a bottle rather than sip off a dirty gas station bathroom sink. Fortunately, companies like renewal premium spring water - 'The Eco-friendly water bottle', environmentally friendly bottles made from plants offer consumers a choice.

As families are increasingly moving to a more sustainable lifestyle
the bottled water industry is quickly trying to adapt to stay
relevant. This $11 billion business actually declined slightly in
2009 and there was a flurry of activity among traditional beverage
companies to try and adapt. PepsiCo introduced Eco-Fina with 50
percent less plastic. Coke introduced a "plant bottle" which actually
still contains 80% plastic from crude oil and Nestle introduced
Re-source made from 25% recycled plastic. The reality is that plastic
is still derived from crude oil and takes up to 1000 years to break
down naturally.

Other brands like 're:newal premium spring water' are taking a
completely different approach to change the business but introducing a
plant bottle made entirely from corn. The resin (known as PLA) is made
completely from plants and can be returned to the earth in its natural
state. re:newal is one of a small group of companies using this
material and re:newal is unique in combing natural spring water with a
100% biodegradable bottle and label.

The only unfortunate thing about this bottled water (besides being bottled water) is that the facility is located in Florida. In an ideal world, the few times we find we need bottled water, we would have options to purchase petroleum-free plastic bottles holding locally sourced water. The transportation of water across the country certainly bears a heavy carbon footprint and must be considered.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

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April 15, 2010

Prince Charles Commissions Music Inspired by his Organic Gardens

Prince Charles, a long-term organic gardener (well, he probably has a lot of hired gardeners) and advocate of the local food movement has commissioned music inspired by his award winning gardens at Highgrove. UPI explains:

Patrick Hawes, one of Britain's leading composers, has completed the four-movement Highgrove Suite, inspired by the gardens at Prince Charles's country home...

Claire Jones, the royal harpist, and the Philharmonia Orchestra will premier the suite this summer at a Highgrove concert to benefit The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts.

The Christian Science Monitor further explains the Prince's commitment to organic gardening:
Long before organic went mainstream, Prince Charles was an avid proponent. He recommended improving soils with compost instead of pouring on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. He also advocated recycling kitchen and garden waste for compost and collecting rainwater to provide moisture for plants. Charles endured years of jokes about his views, which were considered a bit odd - but he didn't back down. And he put his money and personal influence behind them - most notably at his Highgrove estate...

Americans tend to think of organic gardening mostly in terms of vegetable gardens. But Prince Charles shows that following environmentally sound principles in the landscape works just as well with ornamentals, since his estates have the type of landscapes that are typical around European palaces and grand houses: intricately trimmed topiary, towering hedges, and many types of informal gardens - from wildflower meadows, orchards, and lily pools to "productive gardens" of vegetables and herbs.

I imagine the original royal gardens were grown organically before the invention of petrochemicals, and I am sure they were nothing less than spectacular.
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April 14, 2010

Really Natural Books: The Earth's Best Story: A Bittersweet Tale of Twin Brothers Who Sparked an Organic Revolution

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When I wasn't making my own baby food, I served my children Earth's Best organic baby food. The Earth's Best Story: A Bittersweet Tale of Twin Brothers Who Sparked an Organic Revolution is the story behind the company that feeds so many babies.

On the face of it, our story is the tale of a journey to launch the first organic baby-food company in the United States. While of course true, our inspiration soared beyond baby food to a grander, multidimensional imagining, an imagining where the face of agriculture was transformed and the chemically dependent agribusiness paradigm was reduced in its prominence.

We envisioned a world where organic foods would become dominant, with an organic avenue right through the mainstream food thoroughfare. And in our dreams organic baby food would be a catalyst for that paradigm shift: a shift that would support and protect our fragile ecosystems, safeguard farm workers and their families, and walk the talk about doing right by those who are most vulnerable and precious to us?our children.

Truly, these twin brothers are brilliant! Many people I know, including family members, only began their journey into organic food (which eventually leads to a greener lifestyle in general) when their first child was born. After feeding this pure little being the best food on earth (breastmilk) parents approach chemically-grown solid food with hesitation and trepidation. Earth's Best, found in almost every grocery store in America, offers an affordable, organic option. Thanks to the Koss brothers, an organic revolution really did begin with the babies!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 13, 2010

Natural Beauty: "Organic Cheaters" Protest

Organic is a marketing term in the beauty industry, and many products, even ones we have reviewed, use the term loosely tricking consumers who don't dig deeper into the ingredients. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) explains:

The Organic Consumers Association has long fought against what it calls "organic cheater brands" - personal care products that use the name "organic" in the product name or brand, yet are not truly organic products at all. This year at the Expo West Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California, the OCA staged a very visible public protest to expose what it calls "sham poo products" that are "organic cheaters."

The protest was part of the OCA's Coming Clean Campaign which continues to expose dishonest or misleading products in the skin care industry.

Many of these brands are ones I have used in the past and are sold in health food stores. These companies should not be allowed to get away with labeling fraud!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 12, 2010

Natural Pet: Holistic Select Nourish Puppy Health Food

holistic select.png
My dogs have tried Holistic Select dog food before with favorable results, now it's our 124-pound puppy's turn to review "beyond natural, beyond holistic" food.

Holistic Select Nourish Puppy Health-Anchovy, Sardine & Chicken Meals Recipe was gobbled right up by our puppy. He actually had just eaten his regular breakfast and had a full belly, but when I poured Holistic Select into his bowl, he couldn't resist chowing down.  He loved it!

Ingredients: Anchovy & Sardine Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Natural Mixed Tocopherols), Chicken Meal, Pork Meal, Oatmeal, Dried Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Menhaden Fish Oil, Carrots, Sun-Cured Alfalfa, Peas, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Organic Quinoa, Apples, Blueberries, Cranberries, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, DL-Methionine, Vitamins [Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Biotin], Minerals [Polysaccharide Complexes of Zinc, Iron, Manganese and Copper, Cobalt Carbonate, Potassium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Choline Chloride, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract, Inulin, L-Carnitine, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger Fermentation Products, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative).
What's in your puppy's food? I bet you can't pronounce most of the ingredients. It's actually really gross what is put in pet food, and many of the ingredients are toxic. You don't have to worry about Holistic Select ingredients, and the puppy food also comes in a canned version.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 9, 2010

Natural Eye Care: LashFood Conditioning Eyeliner, Mascara, and Eyelash Serum

Some people are born with beautiful, lush eyelashes, and some people need a little help in that department. LashFood was designed for anyone looking to improve the appearance of their eyelashes, and they have added conditioning mascara and eyeliner to their line.

LashFood products are natural eyelash and eyebrow conditioning stimulators that provides you with fuller, longer, darker, and stronger lashes. LashFood is formulated using the highest grade natural ingredients including Biotin, an essential vitamin, Arginine, a natural amino acid, and root and herbal extracts. No harsh chemicals, drugs or imitation ingredients are used. All products are dermatologist tested and approved. The newest innovation of JB Cosmetics, LashFood is created by Jane Kim. JB Cosmetics is a well known cosmetic manufacturer that specializes in eyelash products and stands for sophistication and beauty.

Products include:

LashFood uses nano-peptide technology. Honestly, I am afraid of anything that uses nano in its product description over growing concerns about the safety of nano technology; however,  It is positive that these products are made in the USA and are not tested on animals. They would make a nice Mother's Day gift too!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 8, 2010

7 States Investigating Monsanto's Monopoly

Seven US states district attorneys are investigating the evil Monsanto for abusing "its market power to lock out competitors and raise prices on seed". According to the Organic Consumers Association:

The states are probing whether Monsanto violated laws by offering rebates to seed distributors for excluding rival seeds, imposing limits on combining the product with other genetic modifications, or offering cash incentives to switch farmers to more expensive generation of seed varieties.

The state investigations add to pressure on Monsanto. The US Justice Department is investigating the company's marketing practices, and DuPont Company has accused Monsanto of anti-competitive practices in licensing litigation.

Maybe anti-trust laws will finally bring this agricultural giant down!

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2010

Really Natural Books: Animal Factory

Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment by David Kirby is an eye-opening, informative account of how factory farming is negatively affecting our health and environment. I have not read this book cover to cover at the time of this review, but I am very impressed at its thoroughness and message.

Animal Factory is a thoroughly-researched piece of investigative journalism, in which Kirby sets out to approach factory farms differently from 'Fast Food Nation' or 'Eating Animals'. As his powerful and provocative books shows, the supermarket price of milk, pork, steak and chicken do not reflect the actual costs of mass-producing meat and dairy, which are passed on the to surrounding communities, including:

  • Airborne feces sprayed by farms, covering neighboring homes, fields, and towns

  • Recalls of dangerous meats, fruits, and vegetables caused by farm pathogens

  • Increasing public health crises, including asthma and MRSA infection, and possibly swine flu and leukemia and other cancers in communities adjacent to these farms

  • High levels of feces and nitrates in public water supplies near these farms. The New York Times recently reported that "19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from drinking water contaminated with parasites, bacteria or viruses." (9/15/09)

  • Massive fish kills in local waters from pig and cow manure lagoon spills

  • Immense costs to clean up hazardous farms, absorbed by taxpayers or individual farmers, rather than by the corporations that profit from such practices

  • Dead zones spreading miles out to sea, where marine life is suffocated by algae growth stimulated in part by factory farm pollution

In Animal Factory, Kirby follows three American families in different regions of the US, whose lives have been utterly changed by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. Weaving complex science, politics, business, and the lives of everyday people, Kirby documents a crisis that has reached a critical juncture in the history of human health and our larger global environment.

I like how Kirby tracks factory farms affect on families, as it gives a human touch to a story that is truly overwhelming to contemplate.

As a vegetarian, my life is still affected by factory animal farms. No one is immune. We must support local, traditional farms as consumers to really bring about change, as well as make sure our politicians are aware of the consequences of factory farming. Anyone that has visited or driven by a large factory farm, like Harris Ranch on I-5 in California, knows, the situation is not good for animals or humans.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 6, 2010

Hyrbid Sales Fall in Comparison to Light Vehicles in March 2010

prius 2010.jpg

With gas prices remaining somewhat steady during the Obama administration, consumers are not rushing out to buy hybrids. Autobloggreen explains:

The numbers are in for Mach sales and hybrids have fared well compared to last year. Hybrid automakers can't heave a sigh of relief quite yet, because sales have fallen short of the overall industry rise compared to a year ago. The numbers show that hybrid sales are up 18 percent from last March, while light vehicle sales rose 25 percent. Hybrid sales were also below expectations. It's likely that strong incentives for traditional cars and a rebounding economy drove buyers towards conventionally powered vehicles.

The Toyota Prius, despite recall issues by the automaker, still remains the golden child of the hybrid market dominating 53 percent of sales. The Honda Insight is also very popular tripling their sales from one year ago.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 5, 2010

Non-Toxic Cleaning: PawSafe Cleaners Safe for Pets and Kids

It's long been a source of rumor and concern that common cleaning products are harmful to children and pets. Although many of these internet rumors have been proven false, the truth is most common cleaners do contain harmful ingredients for our health and environment. Snopes explains:

Western society likes its homes and its clothing clean, but satisfying that desire comes at a price -- to do so, consumers must place their faith in polysyllabic chemical concoctions vended by large corporations, entities they don't always trust to have their best interests at heart. Consequently, fears about noxious or dangerous substances being secreted in common cleaning products is a recurring theme in contemporary lore.

Pawsafe offers a non-toxic solution "Pet & Kid Safe".
The ASPCA lists household cleaners in the top 10 list of poison calls handled by their poison control center.

Most household cleaners on the market today use harsh chemicals to provide the cleaning power in their products. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are toxic and remain in the environment long after use. These products can be safely used but pose a threat if a young child or pet gets into them. Just read the labels and see the ingredients, hazards and warnings that most cleaning products carry. Some cleaners can burn skin, cause blindness, and even death if ingested.

Why take risks when you don't have to.

PawSafe products are formulated using natural plant-based surfactants and citric acid that cut through grease and grime, limescale and soap scum without leaving a dangerous chemical residue.

PawSafe makes:

I have to admit the vibrant colors scare me, as I do not associate them with natural cleaners. I am also concerned with the "vegetable derived surfactants", but here is the company's response:

Q: What are surfactants and are they safe?

A: The surfactants used in PawSafe products come from plants and are a natural wetting agent that helps water and oil mix. This is an important ingredient in helping clean up oils and grease, dirt and grime. All of the ingredients used in PawSafe products are generally safe and temporary exposure should not create problems for your pet or children. However, it is a good, safe practice to keep this and all cleaning products out of the reach of pets and children.

Q: What are emulsifiers and are they safe?

A: Emulsifiers keep the ingredients of PawSafe in suspension and prevents separation so you don't have to shake the bottle before using. Emulsifiers are generally not harmful to pets or children. However, it is a good, safe practice to keep this and all cleaning products out of the reach of pets and children.

The terms "generally not harmful" cause some concern, but anything can be harmful in excess.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 2, 2010

How to Super Simple, Super Cheap Make Organic Vegan Chocolate Pudding

One of the common complaints about switching to an organic diet is that it is more expensive, especially when it comes to convenience foods. Not everyone has time to make dishes from scratch using whole food ingredients. I recently discovered Dr. Oetker Organic Chocolate Pudding Mix on sale, and I figured out how to make it vegan by simply substituting soymilk for the milk.

Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cornstarch, Organic Cocoa, Salt.

At $1.42 a box, anyone can afford this organic treat. It is super easy to make, just add soymilk and heat slowly, and it comes out tasting like real pudding (even with the layer of skim on the top). My kids love it, and I love how cheap and easy it is to make!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 1, 2010

Really Natural March 2010 Monthly Round Up

Alternative Energy


Electric Cars

Fair Trade



Green Homes



Monthly Round-Up

Product review

Really Natural Books




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