How many brand names are within your arms’ reach? How new is the computer on which you’re reading this? Are you wearing clothing that bears a popular name? Are you carrying a cell phone, iPod, or Blackberry? How much stuff surrounds you? And how much do you buy into the need to have even more?
I just finished watching Consumed: Inside the Belly of the Beast, a Slackjaw Film. It’s an extremely thoughtful video that put my own participation in consumerism into perspective — and into question….
Perhaps you’re caught in the consumerism web, too. If you’re in the U.S., it’s hard to avoid today: it’s the mother of all consumer days here: Black Friday….
I want to buy local and organic, but if I can’t find food that is both, do I buy local or organic? I believe in supporting local businesses, but if I can only find the notebook with recycled paper at a national office supply store, do I buy it or go with a less environmentally friendly version at the local store?
We each have a set of values that we live by—or try to live by. Whether it is supporting local businesses, buying union-made goods and services, eating organic food, or buying recycled goods, the list goes on. Oftentimes, though, our values start to overlap one another, and it is difficult to find a product to buy or a company to support that falls in line with all of our values, let alone one that we can afford. So what are we to do? …Read Full Article
Used to be, we had very few choices in laundry detergent. And all of them had fragrances that were so strong people could smell us coming. Now, with Free and Clear detergents as an option, we no longer have to walk around smelling like some chemist’s idea of nature. ECOS Free and Clear All Natural Laundry Detergent is one of many options available to people like me, who would rather not have to smell my clothing all day (or anyone else’s).
But there are other good things about this item in the Earth Friendly Products line, like no itching….Read Full Article
Ally Maize was already excited to go to prom to see her friends dressed up and spend the evening dancing at a swanky hotel. But this year, the 17-year-old high-school senior from West Los Angeles decided to make her prom a little greener.
She wore a couture, floor-length, royal blue ball gown by Lindee Daniel of Puridee. It’s made from fair-trade organic fabric and high-quality Indian peace silks called ahimsa and tussah. She also met with 30 friends, who agreed to carpool to the dance.
Maize founded the Green Youth Movement when she was 15. After watching An Inconvenient Truth, she was inspired to educate elementary students about sustainability and global warming. She organizes events like community gardens to teach kids how to plant and grow their own food. This year, attending her own prom inspired her to inform others on how to lessen its environmental impact.
“Prom is something that high schoolers across the country do every year. It’s easy to make prom greener,” says Maize….Read Full Article
Zulugrass necklaces are at home in both Kenya’s pasturelands and a trendy boutique in Los Angeles. A colorful, coiled group of The Leakey Collection’s Zulugrass™ strands costs $39.95. But what the price tag doesn’t mention is that the woman who cut, dyed, and beaded the native Kenyan grass into this necklace is earning enough money to feed and educate her family for years to come.
Katy and Philip Leakey founded The Leakey Collection™ after a devastating drought a decade ago destroyed the livelihoods of their neighbors in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. As the landscape became charred and depleted, the community’s men moved north to find grazing grounds for their cattle, and the women and children were left behind with no source of income….
Recently, Philip and Katy visited one of these retail outlets — Zero Minus Plus in Santa Monica, California — to discuss the local impact of buying fair trade products. “Fair trade is a response to globalization,” Philip said. “Several decades ago, people produced [goods] for their local markets. With the internationalization of markets, many producers lost their buyers.” Fair trade is a market-based attempt to connect these producers with their new, global consumers, focusing on ethical and sustainable business practices….Read Full Article
When Judi Shils’ daughter started wearing makeup in 2005, Shils was concerned about the toxic chemicals the teen was applying to her face. This, as well as the high cancer rates in Marin County, California, where they lived, inspired Shils to launch Teens for Safe Cosmetics.
Project Green Dorm
The group evolved into Teens Turning Green (TTG). Last July they launched the Project Green Dorm store, a pop-up in The Village at Corte Madera mall. TTG’s mission was to sell green alternatives to typical dorm gear. The pop-up store was designed as a short-term venue, and Project Green Dorm now exists as a checklist on the main Teens Turning Green website. There, users get tips on how to green their bedroom, bathroom, closet, gadgets, and more.
Reducing exposure to chemicals is so important, Shils says, because everything we do to our bodies carries on to our children. “We should do the things we can to ensure the health of generations to come,” she notes. “We’re messing with our chemistry — that’s the bottom line.” …Read Full Article
“Where can I get this?” my 90-year-old mother-in-law asked. She was washing her hands with the complimentary sample of Desert Essence Organics Hand Wash I had received from the company. “I like this soap!” she said.
I smiled. “Yeah, I like it too, Lucille.”
“Really, where can I get some?” more forceful this time. She wanted me to know that she really meant it.
That’s high praise from Lucille. For several months, Joe and I have been helping care for his mom part of every week since she broke her wrist in October. We’ve assisted her with countless hand washings, shampoos, and showers. This was the first time she had applauded a product that we had used in her care. And, boy, did she say it with enthusiasm! …Read Full Article
There’s a lot to love about W3LL PEOPLE cosmetic products — and not just because they have a smart marketer telling us so. (Who could resist a line like, “Hippie Tested, Diva Approved”?) In our house, every skin- or haircare product gets scrutinized to make sure we’re not using toxic chemicals. With W3LL, that’s not a problem. Here’s what their site says about the ingredients:
“We’re not sure who decided it was a good idea to pack skincare full
of artificial preservatives, fillers and other “scientific” chemicals, but as it turns out they’re not so good for your skin, or the planet.
“W3LL is driven to create a fresh, safe focus on skincare by providing products with proven, medical-grade nutrients that actually work, and don’t increase the mounting toxic load each one of us faces every day.
“So no, our products don’t have a nuclear half-life. But when you think about it, would you really want them to? W3LL is a truly beautiful choice by offering small batch products chock full of live, active natural ingredients every bit as effective as their evil counterparts – while leaving as gentle a footprint on the planet as possible. Now that’s beautiful.”
The company philosophy is beautiful, and so are its products…Read Full Article
Today’s post is a review of three products for body, face, and hair that I’ve come to love: Avalon Organics Olive & Grape Seed Fragrance Free Hand & Body Lotion, Sweet Skin by Sweet Wheat, and Moroccanoil.
Just to be clear, we won’t review a product if we don’t like it enough to say positive things. (Has that happened? You bet it has. But those products shall remain nameless; there’s already too much negativity in the world.) If we get a product as a free sample, we’ll tell you so. Otherwise, you can be confident that we paid for them, just like any other consumer would. And that’s the case with all three products today: We bought them.Read Full Article
June 4, 2009 by Sabrina Potirala
Filed under Agriculture, Blog, Cancer, Central America, Consumer Spending, Diet, Food & Drink, Front Page, Health, Nutrition, Research, Scams, Slideshow, South America
If you listen to the hype, you may begin to think that the acai (pronounced a-sigh-EE) berry is the wonder food for everything that could possibly ail you. The ads are all over the Internet, in magazines, on television. They lure you in with questionable (if not outright fabricated) celebrity endorsements, “free” sample offers, and broad claims of almost mythical proportions.
Although acai is most commonly advertised as a weight-loss product, marketers also claim that it provides increased energy levels, improved sexual performance, improved digestion, detoxification, high fiber content, high antioxidant content, improved skin appearance, improved heart health, improved sleep, and reduction of cholesterol levels…Read Full Article
April 10, 2009 by Joe Hennager
Filed under Blog, Business, Consumer Spending, Economy, Front Page, Homes, Natural Resources, Recycling, Slideshow, Surplus Materials, Surplus Purchases, Sustainability, Tips
I’ve learned a lot from 30+ years of being a waste stream management consultant.
We all have stuff, most of us have clutter. Whether it is in our home or at work, things slowly appear around us, filling the open spaces. It’s a mysterious wind that blows chaos into our lives, like snow drifting in around our feet. It leaves us wondering, Where did all this crap come from? …Read Full Article
It is no secret that change is the only option for a healthier way of living. But in a timid economy, even the most dedicated consumers begin to ask, “How?” Several Dallas-area artists, designers, and retailers will assemble on March 21st with an answer to that question: The Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar. The event offers an abundance of organic, handmade, fair trade selections and services from local small business.Read Full Article
February 4, 2009 by Amanda Rooker
Filed under Blog, Consumer Spending, Environment, Family, Front Page, Green Living, Health, Organic Food, Pesticides, Slideshow, Sustainability, Sustainable Living, Virginia
For much of my life, I have zealously pursued the ideal of sustainable living. A deep love for the natural world, coupled with an equally deep perfectionist streak, made me alternately — depending on the flavor of the times — an object of curiosity or subject to ridicule. However, over the past five years, I have had to admit that this ultra-determined sort of sustainability has not produced the eco-perfect life that I expected.Read Full Article
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
“There is a way to live an authentic, productive, meaningful life—and have all the material comforts you want or need. There is a way to balance your inner and outer lives, to have your job self be on good terms with your family self and your deeper self. There is a way to go about the task of making a living so that you end up more alive. There is a way to approach life so that when asked, ‘Your money or your life?’ you say, ‘I’ll take both, thank you.’ ” — Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, in Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st CenturyRead Full Article
It might be surprising to learn how easily the average person in an industrialized nation can make changes to reduce our carbon footprints. Want to learn how to reduce yours? Susan Roothaan’s workshop teaches how to improve quality of life and save money while reducing your impact on the planet.Read Full Article