The leaves are falling and piling up in the yards; the air is cool, sweet, and crisp; just like the tart, orchard apples and the fresh, homemade pumpkin pies. These are the simple pleasures of the autumn season; and we’re in luck, because fall is finally here! And that means Halloween is right up our alley! This year when you are preparing for your spooky festivities, consider making a few, easy tweaks that are kinder to the Earth.
It’s a given that the leaves are going to fall during the season of fall…and unfortunately we’re the not-so-lucky ones who have to clean it up. After raking all the leaves in pile, you can bag them up in leaf bags that you can buy at your local hardware store and set them out during garbage day, where they will be properly recycled. Or, you can toss those leaves into your personal compost which will guarantee rich soil by the time spring rolls around. You can also throw in the leftover pumpkin “guts” into your compost too. But don’t toss the seeds because you can coat them in olive oil and salt, then toast them in the oven for a tasty, fall snack.
Adding lights that shed an eerie glow to your front yard will give that extra “umph” to your Halloween spirit! But this year, consider swapping out your old lights with LED lights. Light Emitting Diode (LED) are better for the environment because they consume low amounts of energy, they have a long life service (up to 50,000 hours!), and they contain no mercury, inferred or UV radiation. These festive lights come in the black string style lights or the icicle lights; and they offer the colors: Pumpkin Orange, Hocus-Pocus Purple, and Frankenstein Green. For more information about on these eco-friendly lights, visit this link-http://www.holidayleds.com/halloween_lights
It’s such a waste to purchase a new costume when you’re only going to wear the outfit once out of the whole year. So be friendly to mother Earth by reducing your consumption in a costume swap. Gather round your friends, family members, and neighbors and switch around through each others stuff. It saves money, plus it’s fun to mix-and-match several things. If you do decide to but a new Halloween costume, don’t feel to guilty, because you can always donate it to a local church, shelter, or Salvation Army. If you’re feeling crafty you can always whip up your own costume. visithttp://earth.com for some eco ideas on the perfect costume.
Everyone has their favorite, classical candy bar; but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous this season, then consider trying organic sweet treats. Yummy Earth offers organic treats that have no chemical colors, artificial flavors, or corn syrup. You can find Yummy earth products at Toys ‘R’ Us and at Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s is a known place that sells sweet, “green” lollipops.
Endangered Species Chocolate Bars is a brand of chocolate that makes all natural chocolate that is ethically traded and naturally shade grown. Plus, 10% of their net profits are donated to fund organizations that help protect species and their natural habitats. Visit- www.chocolatebar.com for more information.
Don’t forget about your local farms, orchards, and cider mills! They sell fresh sweet (hopefully organic) apples, cider, pumpkins, and squash. And with all of these delicious goods, you can use them to make your very own soups, muffins, cakes, pies, and seeds. You can also use the pumpkins, squash, and apples as a natural source of autumn decoration! And you can always toss the remains in your personal compost after the season is over.
Your tummy is rumbling and your cravings are kicking in. With people’s busy lives, they’re always on the go and they usually resort to fast-food restaurants for a quick meal. We’ve all heard about the unhealthy characteristics of french fries and double cheeseburgers from McDonald’s, Burger King, etc; but do you know why it’s so unhealthy? And have you ever wondered how devastating fast-food is, to not only your health and fitness, but the environment as well? Here are some facts about fast-food and what it does to the environment, so you can become more aware of this issue. And, perhaps, it will encourage you to pick the fruits and veggies instead.
It’s obvious that high calorie french fries and fattening burgers are unhealthy and can lead to weight gain. But, it’s mostly about what the fast-food is made out of that makes all the difference. Any synthetic chemical that is added to food leads to weight gain and health issues. The body cannot physically process the chemicals, and it turns into fat. And guess what…fast-food is loaded with chemical additives, such as aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Making the food itself is unhealthy, because there is no way that this stuff is remotely organic! According to the FDA Total Diet Study, fast-food hamburgers across the board contained 113 different pesticide residues. Ew!
*It takes 51 days to digest fast-food chicken nuggets or french fries!!
So much packaging and waste comes from the fast-food joints. The bags, wrappers, napkins, boxes, Styrofoam containers, plastic-ware, etc; is the primary source of urban litter in the United States. While fast-food packaging counts for 20% of our litter, another 20% comes from packaging for chips, drinks, candy, and other snacks. Out of all the litter, Styrofoam is the most common food waste. Styrofoam is by far the worst litter around, since it takes at least 900 years for it to break down in a landfill!
According to the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, the amount of food transported by road doubled between 1974 and 2005. That’s a lot of fuel and energy! A recent Hong Kong study shows that a fast-food restaurant making 4 hamburgers emits the same amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as driving a car for 1,000 miles! Yikes.
With all of the nasty chemicals in the food, the heavy load of litter, and sickening amounts of pollution, hopefully this has inspired you to not eat fast-food regularly, but instead think of it as an occasional treat. Your health, fitness, and environment are on the line!
Clothes are fun, and sometimes we buy them when we don’t really need them. But we (especially women) can’t give up this guilty pleasure! Clothes express our personality, and exploring the different styles at the mall is always an exciting adventure. But if you were to pull out all of the clothing you own and throw it in one huge pile, you would be amazed at how much material is actually there. Clothing leaves a huge carbon footprint in our environment. The amount of carbon emissions just from transportation is staggering- from the cotton fields to the factory, the factory to the store, you to the mall, and from the mall to back home again…phew! Plus, new clothes are treated with formaldehyde and other nasty chemicals. Even the cotton is treated with chemicals and pesticides. You definitely can’t eliminate the clothing footprint, but you can definitely reduce it. Here are a few ways to shop “greener”, and there are also a few suggestions on how and where to properly donate or dispose of old and unwanted clothing.
The best (eco-friendly) way to shop is at vintage or resale stores. All of the clothes are used so you save the energy and toxicity of making more new clothes. Don’t worry about having frumpy, gross clothes, because they only accept the best stuff. They won’t take in anything that is “dirty” or “heavily used”. Purchasing clothing from vintage or resale stores has a smaller amount of chemicals because the clothing had time to air out and wash out any unwanted chemicals. Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange (www.buffaloexchange.com) are excellent examples of vintage/resale stores that carry gently used brand named clothing that are also cheaper.
If you have several articles of clothing, shoes, or accessories that you don’t want anymore, consider trading with your friends! Pull out all of the things that you will never wear again and lay it out. Have your friends do the same, and take from each other’s pile. If you have things that are too ratty, stained, or too large for your friends, don’t throw them away. You can use those old clothes for pajamas or workout clothing! And those ratty gym shoes you have worn to death, don’t throw those out either! You can reuse them as outdoor, yard work shoes. You can also donate your unwanted shoes. Nike has a “Reuse-a-Shoe” program that will gladly take those old, hole-y athletic shoes off your hands! Just simply mail or drop off the shoes at a Nike location, so Nike can then proceed to process and recycle your old shoes into sport surfaces- basketball courts, tennis courts, running tracks, and playgrounds. So far 20 million pairs of shoes have been donated! Visit www.nikereuseashoe.com to find more information. You can also donate your shoes to Soles 4 Souls, an organization that collects shoes for people in need. When donating your shoes to any organization, make sure there isn’t any mold, smell, or wetness, or the shoes will just end up in the trash.
Salvation Army and Goodwill accept everything when you want to donate all of the old “junk” from your home. Although charities can’t sell everything, so most have connections to textile recyclers that take anything the charities don’t need. The textile recyclers turn old clothing into wiping rags which are sold to gas stations and paint shops. The shredded clothing can be turned into carpet padding or soundproofing insulation. While some fibers (especially wool) can be re-spun, re-dyed, and re-woven into brand new clothes. Unfortunately, not all charities have connections to the textile recyclers. If they don’t, then you can send the clothes directly to the recyclers through the 24-hour drop-off bins that are found in parking lots and central locations. Visit this link- http://earth911.com – to find these locations.
The sun is starting to set on the golden summer; the trees are slowly changing colors; and the air is getting slightly cooler. We all know that time of year, when you are suddenly awoken from a lazy, summer sleep with the sound of a school bell. Kids are heading back to school, and that means it’s time to get prepared and hunt down the best school supplies out there! This school year is going to stand out from all the rest because this year is going to kick off with positive excitement with new, eco-friendly school supplies! With these “green” school supplies you will learn in confidence, and mother Earth will give you an ‘A’ for achieving an environmentally healthy school lifestyle!
We all know that pencils have a short-lived life during the school year. But have you ever thought about how many trees are cut down to supply all of those pencils? Instead of using old-fashioned pencils, try Paper Mate Earth Write Recycled Pencils that are made from 100% recycled materials (including the lead and eraser). Smencils is another brand that make eco-friendly pencils. Their pencils are made from recycled newspapers, and if that’s not cool enough, they are also infused with fun scents! You can find these scented, recycled pencils at Uncommon Goods.
So there you are writing up a well-written essay when all of a sudden your words begin to fade…your pen ran out of ink. But just wait! Before you toss more and more pens into the trash, consider getting refillable pens. This is a definite “green” move, because the U.S. throws away 5.1 billion pens each year!! And that adds 770 tons of plastic waste to the landfills! You can also purchase pens that are made out of recycled materials, such as Vegan Essentials.
As the homework load heightens, so does the pile of paper that is used. With all of that paper being made and thrown away, consider recycling all of your old paper once the semester is over, and use both sides of the paper. Or better yet, you can purchase 100% recycled paper! This eco-friendly paper is now commonly seen in your local Staples store. Notebooks are another paper hogging source, and getting Ecojot’s 100% post-consumer recycled paper notebooks will lessen the environmental impact. Ecojot’s notebooks come in a variety of graphic designs and sizes; although the company is not open for business until September of 2011. In the meantime, you can get eco-friendly notebooks from Delight.
Organization is essential to a successful learning experience! And those handy three-ring binders certainly do the trick. But the unsustainable, plastic binders just add disorder to the environment. Consider getting recycled, corrugated cardboard binders from Re-Binder (www.rebinder.com).
Every healthy mind needs a decent amount of creativity! You just need some color and paste, and your project is on its way. This school year, consider using soy crayons or bees wax crayons. You can get soy crayons that are nontoxic, and made out of soybean oil at www.stubbypencilstudio.com. Regular wax crayons contain petrochemicals that are not eco-friendly. Sorry Crayola! If you’re more of a pencil person, don’t fret because O’BONaza Colored Pencils are made out of recycled newspaper. Plus, with every purchase a tree is planted. You can find these longer-lasting color pencils at www.myobon.com. As for the cutting and gluing, Kleen Earth supplies scissors that have handles that are made from recycled plastic. While Coccoina supplies adhesive glue paste that is made of potato starch. This paste works on paper and fabric, plus it’s solvent-free!
With the endless list of needed school supplies, you don’t expect to hand carry the load, do you? Ospry Cypher Bags allows us to have the opportunity to have eco-friendly backpacks that are made out of recycled materials; including reground buckles and recycled webbing. You can find these “green” backpacks at www.planetgreen.com.
Life’s most precious childhood moments consist of the simplest things; whether it’s running through the sprinkler, squishing your fingers between the colorful fingerpaints, or creating your very own world with sand on the warm beaches. And for all of you parents out there, I’m sure there’s nothing in comparison than to watch your own children explore the same exciting adventures. But, wouldn’t you want the best for your children? Nowadays, people are coming up with new, eco-friendly ideas that are healthier for you, your family, and the environment! Earth is in some definite need for some help; and if people want the tradition of watching their children and their children’s children innocently playing, then some slight switches will be required in order to do so. Below are some great, “green” beach toys and classical fun that you can get for your family!
Children love to think with bright colors! And there is no better way for them to expand their imagination horizons than using eco-friendly sidewalk chalk, play dough, and fingerpaints! The neighborhood sidewalks to kids are the perfect, concrete art pad that has no boundaries! With sidewalk chalk that is 100% vegan that is made with all organic fruit and vegetable powders, you can let your kids play without worrying about the chemicals that are getting on their skin. Plus, this vegan chalk prevents the nasty chemicals from washing away into the soil and groundwater. You can find “Edible Veggie Sidewalk Chalk” at the Wee Can Too Etsy Shop online.
You can roll it and you can pat it! Yup. Play dough! Play dough has been around for decades, but it’s time for a new makeover. The brand Peachy and Keen make 100% all-natural and gluten-free play dough. And it’s biodegradable! Each bright color has its own delicious scent of either mint, eucalyptus, lemon, rose, lavender, or vanilla. Look for Peachy Keen on the Etsy website!
Who needs paintbrushes when you can just smear around the paint with your fingers?! Fingerpainting is a fantastic, creative activity that kids love. And now, it has gone eco-friendly! No more nasty chemicals for your finger tips, or for the water when it gets washed down the drain. Kid Bean supplies hemp-based, vegan fingerpaints. There are no heavy metals or toxic ingredients. The paints are made from water, mineral pigments, hemp oil, methyl cellulose, extract of gentian roots, and it’s preserved with food/pharmaceutical grade substances.
There are holes to be dug and castles to be built! It’s time to pull out your beach pails and shovels and hit the sandy dunes! But before you go, you should consider getting eco-friendly beach toys instead of the toxic, plastic ones. Green Toys supplies sand castle sets that are made out of recycled milk jugs, and they don’t contain BPA or phthalates. Zoe B Organic sells biodegradable beach toys that are made from corn-based bioplastic, and they are free from BPA, phthalates, and PVCs. The toys will biodegrade in soil, fresh or salt water, or compost in 2-3 years! Sailboats are another great beach toy. Perhaps a real sailboat is not in your budget, but a toy sailboat is way more suitable for your kid’s playtime. Tweet Toys have eco-friendly sailboat toys that have sails that are made out of organic cotton, and are finished with a nontoxic, Tung oil finish.
Fruits and vegetables are obviously healthy for you. So why bother with organic fruits and vegetables? The produce that is conventionally grown may look the same as the organic produce, but there is a significant difference between the two that can highly benefit you and the environment! So what is the big deal with organic? Why should it be your top priority?
The definition of organic is food grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics; making the food healthier for you, the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere. Is it really that significant? Oh, yes it is!! Organically grown food requires 50% lessgreenhouse-gas-emitting energy than conventional foods. A contributing factor of the greenhouse-gas emissions comes from the chemical-filled fertilizers used to grow conventional food. When excess nitrogen-based fertilizers evaporate, it releases nitrous oxide (a greenhouse-gas) into the atmosphere. Food that is grown conventionally uses toxic chemicals (neurotoxins, carcinogens, skin and eye irritants, endocrine disruptors, and sometimes sewage!) in their pesticides and fertilizers, which will seep into the groundwater supply, contaminating it. Does that mean all of those toxins and sewage end up on your conventionally grown food? Oh, yes it does!! Organic farms use natural fertilizers and pesticides. And not only is organic food chemical-free, but the food itself is higher in nutrients; and that’s due to the fact that local, organic farmers grow more than one crop, resulting in nutrient-rich soil. Whereas food that is grown conventionally comes from farms that grow only one crop (monoculture), which lacks biodiversity, resulting in soil that lacks nutrients. Therefore, organic food contains more nutrients.
*If one acre of conventional farmland was converted into organic farmland, that would save 10-200 pounds of pesticides and hundreds of pounds of fertilizer each year.
Here is a list of fruits and veggies (grown conventionally) that contain the most pesticides. Usually the produce that has thin skin contains more pesticides because chemicals are easily absorbed.
- Strawberries -Bell Peppers -Peaches -Celery -Apricots
-Spinach -Grapes - Nectarines -Apples -Green Beans
For any food to be 100% Organic, the ingredients must be 100% organic. Go figure, right? And for anything to be classified as “Organic”, the ingredients must be 95% organic. And for food that is classified as “made with organic ingredients” must be made with 70% of organic ingredients. When shopping for organic foods, be sure to check that the food is actually certified as organic. Although, if you’re getting food from a local farm, they may not be listed as certified organic because they may not have the resources to do so, but just ask to find out what fertilizers were used.
Try and eat food that is local, and I’m not talking about the Kroger down the street. Look for local farms and dairies, since you know where it comes from, you know how it was grown, and local farms raise their meat humanely. The average food item in your grocery store travels about 1,500 miles before it reaches your home. Plus, local food is better for the environment because it uses 30 times less energy and CO2 emissions than elsewhere food. Just keep in mind- the farther the food travels, the less healthy it is, because it loses a lot of nutrition. Eating local also supports local economies!
*You can find local farms near you by using the website: http://www.localharvest.org
So you’ve been driving your car around, and you splashed through some puddles and shredded through some dirt roads. The result?A filthy, unappealing car. Yikes! So what’s the healthiest, most eco-friendly way to wash your car? It’s the battle between your self-car-wash in your driveway and your local drive-thru car wash. Which is better for the environment? Shockingly, washing your car in the driveway is actually extremely un-earth-friendly!
You’re in your driveway lathering up your car and rinsing it away with the garden hose…but then you see that stream of water running down the driveway and straight into the lawn, street, and/or the storm drains. It looks harmless, but in reality, it’s very harmful! Water that runs off of your car also tags along dirt, exhaust fumes, detergent, and oil, and it all goes through the storm drains-eventually leading to rivers, streams, creeks, wetlands, and lakes! All of this pollution will contaminate the water, poisoning aquatic life, and harming their natural habitat. And all of that unnatural soap is seeping into your lawn, eventually trickling down into the groundwater supply, contaminating it with chemicals!
*According to the International Car Wash Association, washing your car at home typically uses anywhere from 80-140 gallons of water!!! While your local drive-thru car wash uses approximately 45 gallons of water per car.
Taking your car through the local car wash drive-thru is actually better for the environment and it helps save water! The federal law requires the United States and Canada to treat their waste water before draining it into the sewage system. And through the sewage system, the water is treated before it’s drained back into the rivers, streams, creeks, wetlands, and lakes. Also, commercial car washes operate their systems with controlled computer programs and they use high pressured nozzles, which minimizes the amount of water that is being used. As listed above, commercial car washes use 45 gallons of water per car wash compared to the 80-140 gallons of water that’s being poured down your driveway!
If you must wash your car in the driveway, then consider using “green” soaps. That includes any soap that is biodegradable, phosphate-free, and chlorine-free. An example of such soap would be Simple Green’s Car Wash. For more information on this product click on the link: www.simplegreen.com This product is available in 100 countries, and you can also find it in Meijer, True Value, or The Simple Green Store.
It’s important to self-wash your car with biodegradable soap, on your grass or dirt to avoid the water from draining into the storm drains. When you wash your car on the lawn with biodegradable soap it will absorb into the ground and be neutralized into the soil. When you’re done washing, try mopping up or dispersing any sudsy puddles to prevent animals from drinking it.
Using a water-less car wash product is easy and it will save gallons upon gallons of water! Such products will be applied to the car through a spray bottle and would be wiped off with a cloth (could be organic cotton or old t-shirts, but avoid paper towels). The water-less spray-on car wash is also great for spot cleaning! The leading water-less car wash product is called Freedom Waterless Car Wash. It’s safe, water-based, biodegradable, and phosphate-free! For more information on this water-less product visit this link: http://freedomwaterlesscarwash.com
So how beneficial is an eco-friendly yard? Well, it is very beneficial, and it’s definitely worth the change! Going green in your own backyard helps conserve water, minimizes pesticide use, allows less upkeep with plants, and your yard waste won’t be…well…wasted!
First things first! The foundation of every lawn and garden is the soil. It’s important to have the most nutrient-rich soil, because itguarantees better plant life. Composting is a great way to create the best soil around! Plus it gives your food scraps a useful purpose, instead of tossing it in the trash. Composting is when you take leftover fruit & veggie waste (like banana peels), coffee grounds, tea bags, old spices, egg shells, bread crumbs, etc. And combine it with your yard waste, such as dead leaves and grass trimmings. When you mix this all together you then can layer it in your garden, yard, or flower pots with dirt. After a while, the food will decompose into the dirt, creating a nutrient-rich soil. To keep the raccoons and other pests and rodents away, do not put dairy products, fish, or meat into your compost. Don’t worry, composting is easy to do! Compost bins are a great way to store up your yard wastes and food scraps until you are ready to layer it in your garden or flower pots. You can find compost bins online ( www.compostbins.com ). For more information on how to compost, click on this link http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/07/building-diy-compost-tumbler-video.php?campaign=daily_nl
Conserving water when it comes to yard work is all about the type of plants you get. Try choosing plants and flowers that are hardy and drought-resistant so you don’t have to water them as often. Therefore, water is being conserved! Also look for plants and flowers that can survive in the shade, which won’t require as much watering. Mother nature has her own watering system…rain showers. Take advantage of mother nature and consider collecting rainwater with buckets. That way you can save water and save money on your water bill too.
Organic fertilizers are a better choice than conventional fertilizers. All natural fertilizers contain natural ingredients that are released slowly which decreases the chance of an environmental impact. It also increases microbial and it doesn’t contain salt, which can be extremely harmful to plant life. Plants do need nitrogen to survive, although conventional fertilizers release way too much of it, which can cause micro-nutrient inefficiency. Happy Frog Organic Fertilizer is a great example of an all natural fertilizer that will enhance your “green” yard and garden. This brand of organic fertilizer contains bat guano, kelp meal, bone meal, feather meal, and humic acid (a naturally occurring organic material that is formed when organic material decomposes).
To have an eco-friendly lawn and garden you must kill the weeds the safe way. Using organic weed killers, such as St. Gabriel Oragnics’ BurnOut Weed & Grass Killer, is an eco-friendly way of killing the unwanted “green”. This specific product is made from food-grade organic ingredients and it’s pet safe. Although, you may need to use several applications to eliminate root systems. Organic weed killers don’t contain toxic chemicals that could leak into your groundwater and soil; meaning it’s better for the environment and your health.
If you don’t want to buy organic weed killers, then here are some home-made options that are as equally safe and effective.
1. Boiling water will kill any plant it touches, just watch out, because you don’t want to burn your skin!
2. Vinegar is another option. If you spray vinegar in a spray bottle onto the base of the plant, it will kill the pesky weeds.
3. Salt is another option, but you need to be cautious with it because it can ruin the soil, making it useless for future planting. Using salt is best for sidewalk and driveway cracks that are loaded with weeds. The salt will eliminate the weeds almost permanently.
A healthy yard is a pest-free yard. The best way to eliminate pests (the eco-friendly way) is to have healthy soil (try composting, which is listed above) and maintaining a diverse ecosystem. For instance, installing a few bird-feeders around your yard will decrease your insect level. But there are also organic pest control products available, such as St. Gabriel Organics’ 100% all natural Milky Spore Grub Control, which kills those annoying Japanese Beetles. When this product is applied, it will last up to 15-20 years. You can find this product on Amazon or at Ace Hardware stores. Another option is insecticidal soap. Although most commercial products contain harmful additives, so try Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One. It’s an eco-friendly soap that is biodegradable and vegetable base, and it’s made with Certified Fair Trade and Certified Organic oils. This product is available on Amazon.
Growing an organic garden is an awesome way to make your yard greener! Use the above tips to keep your garden safe, healthy, and eco-friendly. Having an organic garden in your very own backyard is not only “green”, but it will also help save money on your fruit and veggie budget. It’s comforting to grow your own veggies because you know where it came from, you know that it’s chemical free, and they taste better than store-bought veggies! A UK-based website cites a Rutgers University study that compared organic, home-grown garden veggies with commercially store-bought veggies. The findings of the study show that organic, home-grown veggies contain greater amounts of essential minerals , including calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. The best vegetables to grow in your backyard include: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and leaf lettuce.
Summer is back and it’s time to pull out those picnic baskets and your barbecue grills! But before you pack up your favorite foods and plan out that backyard barbecue party here are some things to take into consideration. This blog post will cover how to have the best, environment-healthy barbecue and picnic. And the tips and information are simple and healthier for you, your family, and the Earth, so you can make your summer mealtime a memorable “green” experience!
We will start off with the “green” suggestions and facts about having barbecues this summer. Below will have several ideas and alternatives to your usual items that you may have that are actually harmful to the environment.
So which one is better?! Propane is the golden (or should we say green) winner in this competition. Propane is more energy efficient, burns cleaner than charcoal, and charcoal releases 105 times more carbon monoxide than burning propane! Charcoal can contain a lot of possible carcinogens. But if you can’t give up your charcoal then you have a few options to choose from:
1. Lump Charcoal: Such as the brand Wicked Good, which is made of 100% hardwood blends without any chemical additives. Although lump charcoal is a contributor to the deforestation issue. So an even better option would be #2 below.
2. Coconut Shell Charcoal: This charcoal is the healthiest one to pick out of the charcoal selection, because coconut shell charcoal burns without smoke, odor, or harmful emissions.
3. If you don’t like any of these options you could purchase charcoal that doesn’t contain any additives, coal, chemicals, or fillers.
*You can also look for solar barbecues at www.solarcooking.ca
When having your summer barbecue it’s tempting to cook every type of meat around, but it’s actually healthier to cook less meat and more veggies, but that doesn’t mean giving up the flavor. Jolinda Hackett created her own cookbook called Cookouts Veggie Style, and it has more than 200 veggie grilling recipes that you will bound to love! And when searching for those ingredients or meats, shop at your local farms instead of the supermarket. Because…
1. Local farms feed animals with grass, instead of corn, which is healthier for them and for us. The meat contains no hormones! You can search for local farms near you with the website www.eatwild.com. This website lists who will ship directly to you, and it also lists the farms and dairies that raise their meat humanely.
Every steak must have barbecue sauce to go with it! But this summer, try going all natural!
1. Annie’s Barbecue Sauce: This barbecue sauce is flavorful and all natural! It has several flavors to choose from; such as hot chipotle, sweet&spicy, smokey maple, and original.
It wouldn’t be a barbecue without the beer of course! This is a simple tip: try supporting your community by purchasing your beer at a neighborhood brewery. You can use websites from the Brewer’s Association and Craft Beer to search by state for locations near your town.
Here are some neat and simple ideas that add a little something to your barbecue. I have tips on what accessories and cleaning methods that you can try this “green” summer!
1. Paper/Plastic plates vs. Natural Plates: Obviously the natural plates are the better way to go. You can try recycled paper plates or you can also try the brand-Veneerware: Handmade Bambu Plates. The bamboo plates are made from organic, unbleached bamboo, and will compost into the ground within 6 months. These bamboo plates are sturdier than paper, so they can actually be used more than once!
2. Solar Shoji Lanterns: The brand Gaiam sells Shoji Lanterns, and they are appealing, eco-friendly, and inexpensive. The lantern has a lifted yellow LED light that runs off of a solar panel. The lantern absorbs sunlight all day and automatically switches on when it gets dark out. The light is surrounded by a waterproof, paper-inspired shade. Gaiam sells these lovely lanterns for about $29.
3. Lighter-Fluid vs. Weber Chimney Starter: The chimney starter is healthier for you and the environment, because lighter-fluid is petroleum based, which can be full of toxic chemicals that can set into your food.The toxic chemicals also penetrate in the air, creating nasty air pollution. Instead, try Weber’s Chimney Starter. All you need is a few sheets of newspaper and a few coals. After 30 minutes, you will have a deep slow heat.
4. Cleaning Your Barbecue: Instead of using those toxic cleaners, you can simply use a plain, white onion. Just heat up the grill to loosen up the crusted, burnt pieces, then use half of an onion, speared. And with the cut-side down, you can stab the onion with a fork and scrape up any grime left behind on your grill gate.
Are you and your family planning a fun, lunch get-away? If so, here are some simple tips on how to make your picnic-basket-adventure healthier and “greener”.
1. Stay Local: Staying close to home allows you to drive less, gives you the opportunity to walk or bike, or you can try out your area’s local transportation system. Staying local will save you money, promotes good exercise, and saves resources that we use for fueling our vehicles.You can use Park Finder or Outdoor Recreation pages on the web to search for suitable, local places to have family picnics.
2. Use Reusables: Stick with reusable utensils, napkins, plastic containers, etc. By doing this you save money in the long run, and you put less into the landfills.
3. Recycle Cans and Bottles: If you bring along drinks, consider trying organic beverages too!
4. Use Chimney Starter: Like I said above for the barbecue section, using the chimney starter instead of lighter-fluid is better for your health and the environment. Lighter-fluid is petroleum based and can release toxic chemicals and air pollution. Plus it’s a non-renewable resource.
5. Choose Fresh, Local, and Organic Foods: Support your local farms by purchasing their produce and meats! It’s always better to go with less meat, because it takes 9 pounds of wheat to produce 1 pound of meat! But if you can’t give up your meat, then you can still purchase the meat at the local farms. Local farms care-take the environment, provide wholesome, nourishing food, and the food is raised without the use of antibiotics. You can use the website www.care2.com and use the “Get Local” system to find farms near you.
6. Clean Up Your Garbage: This is obviously a no-brainer, but it’s a huge issue. Don’t leave any garbage behind, because it can contaminate the water and soil, harm wildlife, and it doesn’t decompose into the environment.
7. Protect Habitats from Your Pets and Kids: This might sound strange, but they can actually bring harm to wildlife. Several plants, nests, and other parts of the ecosystem get trampled by pets and kids each year! To help prevent this, simply put your pets (not your kids) on a leash. And you can give your children a wide open, safe space to play. Be sure to give them boundaries of where they shouldn’t cross due to where the wildlife is located at.
8. Observe and Learn: Take advantage of your picnic outing and learn about the wildlife that surrounds you. Bring along Field Guides and a Nature Journal, and record what you see and learn.
9. Use Natural Bug Repellents and Sunscreens: Like posted in previous blog posts, use natural bug spray and sunscreen that have less toxic ingredients which are healthier for your body and the environment. Plus, these natural products create less air pollution during their manufacture.
10. Recreation: Have fun the natural way! Go out and hike, bike,walk, swim, read, play, fish, canoe, kayak, or sail!
Summer is finally kicking in; and you know what that means! It’s time to go to the beach, play at the park, camp in the woods, and have fun in the summer sun! But this also means that there are going to be plentiful bug bites, and the kids are going to have more bumps and scrapes than you can keep up with. I’m sure we have all heard about the warnings of how unhealthy insect repellents can be for your body and the environment. If you’re not quite sure what the big worry is, don’t stress because this blog post will have all the information and safe alternatives for insect repellent, eco-friendly bandages, and natural “boo-boo” ointment. Don’t worry, this summer you will be prepared the healthy and “green” way!
You know those stinky bug sprays you coat you and your family with so you won’t get eaten alive? Well, you may be surprised that the chemicals within it are actually doing more harm than good. The most widely recognized active, harmful chemical is DEET, which is short for the fancy, scientific name, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. This synthetic chemical has been tested, and the results aren’t too comforting. DEET can cause various health risks; and persistent exposure to this chemical can cause headaches, loss of memory, and respiratory problems. There are several studies being done on this toxic chemical, although it has not been fully proved to be dangerous, but the results from previous tests are screaming to avoid this chemical! Synthetic insect repellents are toxic to your body and for the environment as well.The synthetic bug spray may keep the pests away, but it’s just not worth the scary side-effects and the polluted environment. Now I’m not saying you have to go suffer with itchy bumps all summer, I have some safe, natural alternatives that are healthier for you, your family, and the planet!
You won’t have to wonder what your body is being exposed to if it’s natural and if the ingredients come straight from mother-earth herself. I have two natural insect repellent suggestions that are effective, safe, and eco-friendly.
1. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus
This bug spray is plant-based and it is derived from the oil of a Lemon Eucalyptus leaf (a renewable resource). It contains no DEET, it’s non-greasy, and has a strong, yet pleasant, scent. The repellent is effective against mosquitoes, deer ticks, and no-see-ums for up to 6 hours! It is also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for effective protection against mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile Virus. The repellent is easy to apply, and won’t damage plastics or synthetics. Although it may stain leather.
2. EcoSmart Insect Repellent
This repellent is all natural and it is made from organic plant oils, and it doesn’t contain DEET or other synthetic chemicals. The active ingredients include: rosemary oil, cinnamon leaf oil, lemongrass oil, geraniol, wintergreen oil, Isopropyl alcohol, and Isopropyl Myristate. It’s effective against pests for up to 3 hours with no strong odor and easy application.
Summer brings out every one’s energetic mood, and kids know exactly what I mean! Nothing is going to stop kids from playing hard during the summer! But, they’re bound to fall and scrape a knee or cut a finger. Whatever the “boo-boo” may be, every parent knows the magic wonders of band-aids. Hmm…but have you ever thought how wasteful band-aids can be? It may not be the best option for Earth, but kids love the comfort of band-aids. I’m not telling you to give up the band-aids; although I’m suggesting a greener option that is better for the environment, and your kids won’t even know the difference!
1. Eco Guard Bandages
This brand of band-aids is made from recyclable or recycled materials and doesn’t contain solvents or alcohol. The bandages are latex free, and are made from water-based adhesives. They’re also made with natural food-grade colors and pigments. These band-aids are guaranteed to be sterile, heavy duty, and waterproof. Plus, they’re not tested on animals. They’re packaged in a recyclable cardboard box, and for a box of 25 bandages costs $3.99
No one wants nasty infections bringing them down during the fun summer season! Mom’s all around know the classical ointments that prevent those infections. But not so fast…did you know that natural ointments for cuts and scrapes are actually healthier and heal the injuries faster? I guess mother-nature holds all of the secrets. So the next time your child gets a scraped knee from climbing trees, consider using a natural ointment option instead of the synthetic ointments.
1. Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment
The ointment soothes scratches, cuts, and bruises, and it’s 100% natural. The ingredients include: olive fruit oil, beeswax, cocoa seed butter, wheat germ oil, lavadin oil, sunflower seed oil, tocopherol, lavender flower extract, rosemary leaf extract, soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, comfrey leaf extract, and a chlorophylin-copper complex. The featured ingredient-Comfrey- promotes rapid healing. Comfrey contains allantonin, a cell proliferant that stimulates new cell growth and increases cell production.