A few days ago, Joe and I were talking with the manager of a local discount store (part of a national chain) and asked what they did with their spent fluorescent light bulbs. She sheepishly hung her head and said, “Well, I know we should recycle them, but…” Our state doesn’t require that fluorescent bulbs be treated as hazardous wastes, so the store manager isn’t breaking the law. But it was obvious to us that she feels guilty about dumping them in the landfill.
Although the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has included fluorescent bulbs under Universal Waste regulations since 2001. Although EPA considers fluorescent bulbs to be hazardous wastes, their disposal in landfills is permitted. But it’s not the best policy. …Read Full Article
In California, babies and children are exposed to toxic flame retardant chemicals in their clothing, sheets, and other materials nearly every minute of every day. Healthy Child Healthy World has launched a campaign urging citizens to send faxes to Governor Schwarzenegger and other government officials TODAY, with a strong message in favor of SB 772. According to Christopher Gavigan, CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, the bill would “exempt baby and juvenile products from California’s regulations that create a de facto mandate for the use of toxic fire retardant chemicals.”
On the surface, fire retardants in children’s clothing, bedding, strollers, infant carriers, changing tables, cribs, high chairs, and other products sound like a good idea. We all want children to be protected from flames. But Gavigan points out the flaws in this reasoning…Read Full Article
Any number of nonprofit groups are doing good work for the environment, but, to me, one of the most impressive is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). We’ve written in the past about their Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database and posted (twice) the ever-sobering EWG video 10 Americans. But those are just two of the many projects this group has sponsored.
In today’s email, I found a letter from EWG president, Ken Cook, listing several other group activities and projects that are making a real difference to the planet and to the health of the people who live here. Cook wrote to supporters to publicize the group’s activities…Read Full Article
Over the weekend we saw the movie, Food, Inc. with friends. We were told to have dinner first because the movie would take away our appetite. We didn’t doubt that possibility. But, for one very simple reason, we don’t have the same kind, or the same level, of concern: We know where nearly all our food comes from, and we know the producers and growers who provide it.
Still, the movie is unsettling. None of us were vegetarians before seeing the movie, nor did we leave ready to become vegetarians. But the level of cruel and inhumane treatment of animals in the film was difficult to watch. And, witnessing the levels of bacteria, chemicals, and waste products involved in America’s industrialized food system was very disconcerting, to say the least…Read Full Article
Last week, I attended a brief lecture at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in Iowa City. As I listened, I felt both delighted at the opportunity to learn from a noted writer and slightly guilty about not being at my Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) desk. Then Hugh G. Ferrer, Associate Director of the University of Iowa International Writing Program, connected his talk to me in a way I hadn’t considered.
Ferrer said that each of us possesses our own “bibliography.” By this, I understood him to mean something less concrete than a physical list of all the books we’ve read. I pictured a mental catalog that includes all the ideas we’ve absorbed, whether accepted or rejected; all the people that lived within the worlds we inhabited for a time; the experts who’ve shared their theories and experiences; and all the facts we’ve collected through our reading. His words called to mind the list of books our writers have reviewed on BPGL, including Jordan Jones’ “Environmental Canon.” Our BPGL bibliography isn’t a very long list so far, yet I have not managed to read them all. My bibliography is, like everyone’s, a work in progress…Read Full Article
Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is a volunteer organization dedicated to “clean, safe recreational water, free from sewage effluents, toxic chemicals, nuclear waste and marine litter.” Even landlocked folks like Joe and me, here in the Iowa Heartland, are joining the cause. We all need clean water. And we want beaches that are safe enough to walk on with bare feet. But clean beaches are growing scarce. Stories of medical waste, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, raw sewage, and disposable diapers make walking even remote beaches potentially unsafe and, often, unappealing.
In the next few days, SAS and Barefoot Wine and Bubbly will be hosting a beach cleanup tour on the shores of Britain. Join fellow environmentalists from 3 to 5 P.M. at the sites listed below. According to SAS’s Andy Cummins, as posted on the SAS website, “[V]olunteers can expect the afternoon clean-up sessions will kick off with a full introduction and briefing from the respected eco-campaigners at SAS. Each volunteer will then be given gloves and a rubbish bag and the marine litter-picking will commence. All volunteers need bring is suitable clothing for the weather”…Read Full Article
Shraddah Reyna is a new environmentalist. She became interested in the environment while living in Hawaii, a microcosm of our larger society and planet. She has an extensive background in advertising and sales, which she hopes to put to use in bettering our planet. She is currently studying business at the University of Redlands in California…Read Full Article
Until recently, I never really considered buying used clothing, much less used kids’ clothing, but somewhere along the path of saving money and doing good for the planet I wound up in a used-clothing store. I was amazed by the buried treasures and great prices, and ever since, I’ve been hooked. I’m just one person who has reconsidered my view of used clothing shops — but I’m one of many.
Between watching the news and chatting with my girlfriends, it’s become obvious to me that many people have caught on to the idea of buying gently used clothing and other items. They not only save money, they also reduce their use of virgin natural resources. A practice that was once considered a faux pas is now common — and even a bragging right, when the discussion turns to the importance of going green…Read Full Article
The New Deal Supper Club on July 15th was sweeter than a song.
This time, the ladies of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato took their awesomely sophisticated show on the road to Brooklyn’s hinterlands (I mean, Williamsburg). The trip to BRIDGET Tasting Room felt like an updated Mission Impossible scene. Only this time, the instrumentals were the introductory bars to the infamous 1987 hit, Smooth Criminal…Read Full Article
There is perhaps no better way to enjoy the warm weather and new life of spring than taking to the woods. Whether you enjoy day hiking, camping, or more extended and remote backpacking trips, the following guidelines will help you protect the outdoors you love so much. Most of these tips apply to parks, forests, and wilderness areas, both locally and nationwide…Read Full Article
Parenting is tough for everyone. And living holistically has challenges of its own. But being holistic and a parent, too? You may need support for that.
That’s why Executive Director Nancy Massotto created the Holistic Moms Network, a nonprofit organization that brings together holistically minded parents to share ideas and support each other. Blue Planet Green Living spoke by phone with Massotto to learn more about this rapidly growing, grassroots movement.Read Full Article
Blue Planet Green Living asked Nancy Massotto, executive director and founder of the Holistic Moms Network, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”
1. Reduce Toxins: Buy organic foods, clothing, and products; switch to natural or homemade cleaners and beauty products; and make conscious choices to reduce toxins in your everyday life…Read Full Article
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and you’ve decided that your family needs a compost bin in your backyard. You could go out and buy one of those really nice, plastic-barrel ones, the kind that sits on a fancy rack and rotates with a spin of the handle. But you don’t have to shell out a couple hundred dollars or experience the frustration of trying to assemble it when you get it home. Build your own. It’s less expensive, relatively simple to construct, and — as important, in my mind — easy to disassemble and repurpose if you ever want to.
I’m always looking for reasons to avoid buying anything new, especially new plastic things. I like to use old stuff when I can; it’s eco-friendly and helps create a sustainable lifestyle. Better yet, I prefer to make my own. But I have to be careful to not get carried away. I tend to over-design, and then over-build, so my projects end up costing twice as much and taking twice as long as yours might. Most people build their compost piles with four stakes and some chicken wire wrapped around the outside. That’s an option, of course, but it’s not raccoon-proof, and that was my first requirement…Read Full Article
You’re out to dinner with friends, ready to order a glass of wine with your meal. You look over the wine list, considering your options: White or red? Dry or sweet? Domestic or imported? Organically grown or not? And on and on… But it’s a good bet that you never stop to wonder whether the wine you will choose was produced with energy-savings in mind. For most of us, energy savings don’t spring readily to mind when we’re sitting in a restaurant. But starting today, there’s another factor to consider when choosing a wine…Read Full Article
Join Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) and One Step at a Time Gardens on Saturday, July 25, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. to explore the many benefits diversity on the landscape offers to the sustainable farm. At 6:00 p.m., PFI will hold the first of its summer potlucks. Bring a dish to share and your own tableware, and enjoy music from the local band The Shifting Gears during dinner. Beverages will be provided.
During the field day, tour One Step at a Time Gardens and hear presentations from local conservation offices. PFI staff member Sarah Carlson will discuss current and emerging opportunities with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) of the 2008 farm bill…Read Full Article
When thinking about this event, I considered what it is that I believe most strongly that might be useful to you. In my 66 years of life’s lessons with all the challenges, hardships, successes, adventures, work, play, educational endeavors, relationships, and spiritual seeking, the most salient thing I can share with you is something you already know. It is actually very simple and nothing new:
EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED…Read Full Article
T. I. Williams is a baker and live foods chef-educator based in New York City and, on occasion, Jamaica. …Read Full Article
Unlike Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the only thing complex about this supper club are the flavors of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato’s dishes.
The New Deal Supper Club, hosted by Chef Sarah Pace of Rabbit Mafia, featured features meals by the talented Suzanne Barr, chef and creator of Sweet Potato Bakery. The chefs have teamed up with marketer Kizzy Kae to provide the New York area with an exquisite dining experience that moves from one exciting venue to another…Read Full Article
You can undoubtedly find a product for virtually every cleaning need. Sometimes, however, the simplest methods are still best. Dig through your pantry and embrace your inner naturalist with the following solutions from the cleaning experts at THE MAIDS Home Services, a residential cleaning service…Read Full Article
General Electric’s proposed $100 million battery manufacturing facility was probably just the kind of project President Obama had in mind when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) passed in February.
If funded, GE’s sodium-battery producing facility will create 350 new green-collar jobs. The facility is to be built at a still-to-be-determined location in upstate New York. These batteries will power hybrid locomotives, mining trucks, and tugboats. They will also provide back-up power for stationary applications like telecom, which needs an uninterrupted power supply…Read Full Article