June 30, 2010

Green Party Solutions: Flings Pop-Up Recycling Container

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Every year, we celebrate our children's birthdays with a party by the river. It is always a challenge finding a suitable container to haul the recycling back up from the beach. Brown bags tear, especially if a little liquid drips into them, and plastic trash bags don't hold their shape when heavy bottles and cans are thrown in. It's a little trail to the beach, so hauling a trash can down is not really an option when we are already schlepping so many other party goods. Flings Pop-Up Recycle Container offers a solution:

New Flings Pop-Up Bins make trash and recycling collection easier in your home, at events, or when you're on the go. Flings start out flat for easy storing and portability, and then pop up in a flash whenever and wherever you need them. The decorative patterns are attractive for all occasions and help signal where the trash and recycling are supposed to go. Who ever though that trash and recycling could be so easy -- or so much fun?

These bins cost about $4 a piece, and I like that they are clearly labeled for recycling.  They are made from "biodegradable and recycled materials".  I do not like that they are intended for single use, although I think you can get several uses out of them. Personally, we will probably stick to our milk crate solution to recycling at our outdoor parties. Once a few bottles and cans end up in the crate, people get the idea of where recyclables go.

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

June 29, 2010

Most Solar Town in America: Mojave Desert Town Nipton, CA

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Thanks to Skyline Solar, Nipton, California will soon be the "most solar town in America". Nipton is located in the Mojave Desert is is considered the gateway to Mojave National Preserve. With a population of only 37 residents, it would not be hard to make this town 100% solar, although Skyline is shooting for 85% as their goal.

Skyline Solar, a manufacturer of High Gain Solar (HGS) arrays for commercial, industrial, government and utility markets, today announced the first commercial installation of its High Gain Solar (HGS) 1000 system in a new municipal solar power plant in the tiny desert town of Nipton, Calif. The 80-kilowatt Nipton plant is an upgradeable solar power system that will provide roughly 85 percent of Nipton's electricity needs--the highest percentage of solar electricity of any town in the United States.

"As the gateway community to the Mojave Desert, Nipton seeks to be a good steward of the environment. Sustainability is paramount to this endeavor," said Gerald Freeman, Principal Administrator for Nipton. "It is with this in mind that we are extremely pleased to be utilizing the HGS 1000 as our primary source of energy. And the HGS upgradability is a very attractive option."


From nineteenth century mining town to green energy town, Nipton's history in the Mojave Desert continues to evolve.

Image: Ken Lund

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 28, 2010

Probiotics for When Antibiotics Are Necessary

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It's been a week since I have been able to post, and I apologize to our readers. I had been suffering from an extremely painful sore throat and ear ache that led to four trips to the emergency room. Eventually, I was diagnosed with an abscess on my tonsil that had to be removed. Throughout all of the treatments, I was given heavy amounts of super antibiotics orally and intravenously. Today, I am slowly on the mend, but antibiotics are part of my life for the next two weeks.

One advice consistent from friends and doctors was to take Probiotics. We chose New Chapter Organics Probiotic All-Flora, Vegetarian Capsules

Probiotic All-Flora contains nine strains of live probiotics cultured together on a non-dairy whole-food medium and then combined with growth-stimulating prebiotic Organic Apples, and Organic Inulin sourced from Organic Jerusalem Artichokes. The live probiotics in Probiotic All-Flora, including revered probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus helveticus, help support optimal digestive and immune system function...

 

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that occur naturally in the human intestinal tract. Foods "cultured" with beneficial strains of probiotics such as yogurt and kefir have been used throughout history to improve overall health and vitality, and today, there are many studies reinforcing their ability to balance and promote digestive health.* Probiotics also play an important role in modulating the immune system, 70% of which is located in the gut.

Antibiotics kill all of the bacteria in your body, both good and bad. You need to replenish the good bacteria while taking them and for awhile afterward.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 21, 2010

Organic Gardening Magazine

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Whether you are an experienced organic gardener or someone just learning, Organic Gardening is a wonderful periodical.

What You Can Expect in Each Issue:

  • Food: We evaluate new and heirloom varieties of tomatoes and all your favorite vegetables in our nationwide network of test gardens. And we bring you the latest research on how to grow them to the peak of flavor. Each issue also includes hints on serving them simply to show off their homegrown goodness.

  • Landscaping: A well-maintained property enhances your home's value and gives you a comfortable space where you can relax with family and friends. We show you how to create a yard that is filled with color and interest in all four seasons, with details on the flowers, shrubs and trees that demand little care and deliver big impact. And we offer expert suggestions for giving your yard that "designed by a pro" look.

  • Pest and Weed Control: Toxic pesticides and weedkillers not only harm wildlife and poison our fresh water supply, they threaten the health of people and pets. Organic Gardening readers get solutions that are proven to work, but safe for all living things.

  • Soil: The secret to success in gardening is right below your feet. Organic Gardening is the only magazine that gives its readers information they can use to build the most fertile, well-balanced and healthy soil possible. Plus, find out how easy and rewarding composting can be.

From organic summertime lawn care to keeping backyard chickens, the current issue is full of inspiration.  As an avid gardener, I find I need motivation at times. Reading Organic Gardening gets me excited to be in the garden, and the recipes provide further encouragement when it comes to harvesting and being creative with your bounty.

This magazine has been around since 1942. A two-year subscription only costs $23.94 ($2.00 an issue), and it would make a wonderful gift.

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

June 18, 2010

NOT NATURAL: Jarritos Mexican Soda

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Once again, we have an example of someone not doing their homework! We were sent a whole case of Jarritos Mexican soda. Although this soft drink contains "100% natural sugar" instead of the high fructose corn syrup found in most American sodas, the other ingredients are not natural. Artificial flavors, food colors, sodium benzoate, etc....my daughter said, "We better not try it." So I can't tell you if this soda tastes good, as I won't drink it.

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

June 17, 2010

World Cup 2010 Carbon Footprint: 2.75 Million Tons CO2

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As the world is enthralled with World Cup 2010 frenzy, we can't ignore that this year's carbon footprint is the greatest in the history of the games. Specifically, 2.75 million tons carbon dioxide will emitted this year which is nine times greater than the 2006 World Cup. Mother Nature Network reports:

So why is the carbon footprint for the event so high? The study cites the geography of South Africa as the main culprit of the high carbon footprint. In fact, 1.85 tons of carbon dioxide will come just from fans traveling across oceans and to and from the 64 matches spread across nine host cities in the 25th largest country in the world.

As of early April, 119,000 tickets had been sold to Americans, who at the time were the leading foreign ticket buyers. That's thousands of people making the more than 7,000-mile trek from the United States to South Africa. No wonder the carbon footprint is sky-high.

Efforts have been made to green the games through recycling, wind power, tree planting, and recycled jerseys.

Image: CLF
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 16, 2010

Really Natural Books: Wisdom of the Last Farmer

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Early in my gardening years, a friend gave me Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm. I was moved by this family's tale of Japanese internment, organic farming, and the Sun Crest peach. In fact, I planted a Sun Crest peach in my orchard so I could experience this incredible fruit that is difficult to market in today's grocery store monoculture. Now, David Mas Masumoto has written a new book Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land.

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

June 15, 2010

U.S. Military is the World's Biggest Consumer of Fossil Fuels

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In wake of the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, Americans are examining their dependence on fossil fuels. It is good that individual citizens do what they can to conserve; however, the US military is the "world's single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth's climate". Truthout reports:

Such "greenwashing" helps to mask the fact that the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world's countries. If the U.S. military were a nation-state, it would be ranked number 37 in terms of oil consumption - ahead of the likes of the Philippines, Portugal, and Nigeria - according to the CIA Factbook.

And although much of the military's technology has become far more fuel-efficient over the last few decades, the amount of oil consumed per soldier per day in wartime has increased by 175 percent since Vietnam, given the Pentagon's increasing use and number of motorized vehicles.


Image: mindfrieze

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 14, 2010

5 Last Minute Green Father's Day Gifts

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In my family, we joke that giving late gifts for holidays and birthdays is genetic. Here are some last minute ideas if you feel compelled to give your Dad a green gift for Father's Day. Remember, just spending time with your Dad may be the best gift of all!

1. Kindle Wireless Reading Device

Although I don't know how eco-friendly the materials or construction of the Kindle are, the fact is e-readers save on paper! My daughter got an e-reader for Christmas, and she has already read over two dozen books on it. 

2. Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

Most dads I know take pride in their lawns. My own dad doesn't obsess over his green grass, but he definitely keeps it neatly mowed. I think the perfect eco-friendly gift for a lawn loving father is a classic push reel lawn mower.

3. Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Insulated Water Bottle with Loop Cap

An insulated stainless steel bottle keeps your water cool longer and makes a great gift for dad. It can also serve as a subtle hint that your father should ditch the plastic water bottle habit, if he has one.

4. Men's Chaco Flip EcoTread™

Dad's deserve good sandals, and summertime is upon us. I've seen a lot of dads wearing dorky sandals. Help your dad become more hip and eco-friendly with a pair of Chacos!

5. Fox River® Men's Organic Outdoor Sock

Ties may be the classic Father's Day gift, but Dad will get a lot more use out of organic socks!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 11, 2010

Really Natural Locavore Cookbooks: Emeril Lagasse Farm to Fork

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If you have a garden or love to shop at farmers' markets, you know the value of cooking with fresh, local ingredients. Famous chef Emeril Lagrasse does to and has written a cookbook to help you stay creative while maintaining locavore ideals. Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh is an aesthetically pleasing cookbook filled with beautiful photographs and delicious recipes.

In this extraordinary new book, Emeril Lagasse continues his lifelong commitment to using fresh, local ingredients in his restaurants and home kitchen. He has spent the past thirty years building close relationships with farmers, fishermen, and ranchers. Farm to Fork is his guide to help you explore the great local bounty through fifteen flavorful chapters--sweet summer in "The Three Sisters: Corn, Beans, and Squash," juicy "Berries, Figs, and Melons," sublime naturally raised meats in "Out on the Range," fresh catch in "Fresh Off the Dock," and home canning tips from "Home Economics: Preserving the Harvest."

One of my favorite recipes is one of the simplest. Mint grows like a weed once planted, and I have a ton of it all over my yard and garden. Emeril offers this wonderful recipe for fresh mint tea:
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh spearmint leaves
1/3 cup sugar
Two 1/4-inch-thick orange slices (do not peel)
6 whole cloves
2 orange pekoe tea bags

1. Bring the water to boil in a saucepan.

2. In another saucepan, combine the spearmint leaves, sugar, orange slices, cloves, and tea bags. Carefully pour the boiling water over the tea mixture, and the let it steep for 3 minutes. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then strain the tea into a small warmed teapot or other serving vessel. Serve hot.


Of course your orange pekoe tea won't be local (and probably not the oranges either), but at least you will have used up some mint!  Most of the recipes in this cookbook do not use entirely local ingredients (depending on your climate), but they do give you ideas for when the season offers a bounty of certain ingredients. 

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

June 10, 2010

Stanford Poll: More People Doubt Global Warming is Real

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Given that 2008 was a cool year, the number of global warming skeptics has actually increased, according to a Stanford University poll. Unlike Gallop polls that focus on people's reactions to media reports on global warming, the Stanford survey asked for independent opinions. SF Gate reports:

Although the vast majority of Americans believe the Earth is gradually warming because of greenhouse gases and want the government to regulate them, a small but growing number of people doubt that global warming is real, according to a new poll.

The Stanford University survey, released on Wednesday, found that 74 percent of those polled believe the world's temperature has been gradually rising over the past century, compared with 85 percent who believed it in 2006.


Jon Krosnick, a Stanford professor of political science, notes that the cooling trend in 2008 was just a "one-year drop in a 100-year warming trend".

Image: Mikael Miettinen

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 9, 2010

Tagless, Flat Seamed Soft Clothing for Kids

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We've all experienced the annoying tag on an item of clothing that drives us crazy! If you pull it off, you risk tearing a hole where it is attached. If you cut it, you risk leaving a little bit of the tag that will continue to bug you.

For many children, especially those with Autism and other sensory issues, clothing sensitivities are common. Soft Clothing has a solution. Take for example the t-shirts they sent us for review:

Reinvention of the classic T shirt with suspenders printed on the front AND back. Now with special adaptations for extra comfort and style--made with 100% Soft cotton, constructed with flat seaming, a flat, wide fit bound collar, printed label and care info (tagless), and a classic t-shirt silhouette. Printed with digital printing techniques and water-based ink for a smooth handfeel, and enzyme washed for an extra soft finish.

Soft Clothing's line is made in India from 100% cotton. The clothing is packaged in a great reusable draw string bag too! My only suggestion is that they switch to organically grown cotton fabric.

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

June 8, 2010

Does Pirate Booty Contain GMO Ingredients?

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We recently received the following comment on our Ahoy Matey! 6 Flavors of All-Natural Pirate's Booty post.

I find this Pirate's Booty post VERY interesting... being that it is right after a GMO post... When Pirate's Booty does come from GMO corn. Just to let you know.

I was shocked to hear this information, as my kids are hooked on Pirate Booty, and I thought my only complaint was that it was not organic.

I did a little research online and could find no information to back up our reader's comment, so I emailed Robert's Gourmet and got the following response:

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you very much for taking the time to address your concerns with us. We value your opinion and truly appreciate your feedback. At this time, we seek out and purchase ingredients from non-GMO sources.

However, due to possible cross-contamination during processing and transportation and naturally occurring cross-pollination we cannot ensure that our products are 100% GMO-free; thus, we feel that it is misleading to our consumers to advertise as non-GMO.

As you may know, there is very little consistency in non-GMO labeling claims. Manufacturers can currently make claims according to their own internal criteria, which can unfortunately include empty and unsubstantiated claims. Non-GMO labeling requirements remain grey and unchecked by any federal or state regulatory entity.

Pirate Brands is committed to providing the highest quality snacks available to our consumers. At this time, we are working to tighten our systems to control those critical points where the risk of cross-contamination is highest. We appreciate you letting us know that this is important to you.

I'm not sure how I feel about this response. Either the company is being brutally honest and ethical about the state of cross-contamination or they are trying to pull one over on consumers. What do you think?

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 7, 2010

The Best Natural Baby and Kids Shampoo and Soap: California Baby

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I've been using California Baby Calming Baby Shampoo and Body Wash for six years now ever since I discovered my son was sensitive to sodium lauryl sulfate. California Baby is the gentlest product for your little one's skin, and even my eight-year-old daughter still uses this soap and my son's eczema has never returned since we made the switch.

Benefits & Features:

  • Contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients
  • Cleansing agent: 100% Decyl polyglucose
  • No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, DEA, or numbing agents
  • No tears, non-irritating, non-stripping formula
  • Safe and gentle
  • Two products in one--use head to toe. May be used for hair, face and body
  • Great for babies, kids, or adults with chemically sensitive skin
  • Will not irritate eczema or cradle cap; reports of healing even stubborn cases
This is a product I highly recommend for all of your family members!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 4, 2010

Natural Home Cleaning Since 1886: New Bon Ami Products

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One thing I love about Bon Ami is you can find it any grocery store. It is my green cleaning standby when I can't shop at a health food store. Now, the company that has been making natural home cleaning products since 1886 has released new products. The new formulas include a tangerine thyme scent:
Bon Ami Powder Cleanser:

Bon Ami still uses the trademark feldspar and limestone as gentle, effective abrasives, but now combines them with even more sustainable cleaning agents from renewable corn, coconut, and palm oils. Plus we've added a touch of baking soda to help absorb odors.

Dish Soap:
Bon Ami Dish Soap was created with the same emphasis on gentle effectiveness as the original powders. Read through the ingredients - right there on the bottle - and you'll see there is nothing in the Dish Soap that will harm the environment either inside or outside your home. The all-natural ingredients are tough on greasy dish soils, but gentle on the skin, and will never contain phosphates or chlorine.

All-Purpose Cleaner:
Bon Ami All Purpose Cleaner is available in a Free + Clear version that has no added scent. And now Bon Ami offers a version of the product scented with natural essential oils. This fragrance, Tangerine Thyme, is a delightful fusion of mandarin orange, tangerine, orange, thyme, and clove.

Liquid Cleanser:
New Bon Ami Liquid Cleanser has the same gentle effectiveness of the original powder, but is easier to apply to vertical surfaces such as shower tiles, tubs, sinks, and walls. Like the powder, it contains the simple ingredients that have made Bon Ami a household friend for more than a century.

Our great grandmothers knew how to clean naturally! Beside, Bon Ami products are much cheaper than most green cleaning products!

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

June 3, 2010

Americans Won't Pay More for Green Cars. Will the Gulf Spill Change That?

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In wake of the tragedy in the Gulf, you would think many Americans would be reevaluating their ideas on oil. The attitude towards offshore oil drilling may be changing, but does that translate into a willingness to spend more money on green cars? A new study has found that Americans do not want to pay more for clean technology cars; however, the study was conducted between April 6, 2010 - April 26, 2010. Autobloggreen explains:

Owners choose lower cost technological solutions over higher priced alternative fuels...

One in five Americans(1) indicate they would be extremely or very likely to purchase a start stop system (21 percent) or an ECO drive assistant (19 percent). Both of these systems provide an estimated 10 percent gain in fuel economy. Barely one in six owners say they are extremely or very likely to purchase flexible fuel engines (16 percent) or a clean diesel engine (14 percent)....

Only one out of 25 vehicle owners are extremely or very likely to consider purchasing fuel cell engines (4 percent), hybrid-electric engines (4 percent), plug-in hybrids (4 percent) and pure electric engines (2 percent). A comparative bright spot is a 10% level of consideration of compressed natural gas engines.

I wonder if the current tragedy in the Gulf would change the statistics if the survey was conducted today.

Image: futureatlas.com

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 2, 2010

Eco Travel Gear: Natural Silk Neck Pouch Perfect for Passports, Plane Tickets, and Money

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Now that my children are getting older, I am getting the itch to travel abroad. I also attend a lot of music festivals and find I need something to keep my important items close to my body while I dance without worrying they will be stolen. Recently, I purchased the Eagle Creek Travel Gear Undercover Silk Neck Pouch. Made from 100% natural silk in Vietnam, this little pouch is perfect for you passport, ID, money, plane or concert tickets, etc. It even fits my iPhone! This silk pouch can be worn over or under your clothes and is much less obvious and secure than the fanny packs you usually see tourists wearing.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

June 1, 2010

Really Natural May 2010 Monthly Round Up

Baby

Beauty

Food

Green Homes

Health

Holiday

Kids

Kitchen

Pets

Product review

Really Natural Books

Recycling

Shopping

Solar

Wildlife

environment

technology

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking
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