Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner Does It Right

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When Earth Friendly Products makes the claim that they’re eco-friendly, they have the credentials to prove it. This family-owned business makes and sells super-effective cleaning products, including Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner. In my opinion, this is one of the best all-around cleaners available — and that includes both natural and toxic cleaners. I love how well it cleans, what it’s made of, and even how it smells. I can’t say all that about many other cleaners — can you?

Like pretty much everyone we know, Joe and I are busy people. Sometimes we don’t get around to doing all the cleaning tasks on our list as quickly as we’d like. Recently, we let our upstairs tub and shower go just a little too long between cleanings. When we were sprucing up the house for a family party, we kicked into gear for a quick spritz around the house before everyone arrived. I got ready to tackle our upstairs bathroom. Oh, boy.

To say that the white walls of the tub and shower enclosure were looking a little gray might actually be an understatement, but let’s just leave it at that. I grabbed the bottle of Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner and started spraying about a three-foot-square section of a shower wall. Then I turned my attention to the sink while that part was soaking….

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Electronics TakeBack Coalition Promotes Producer Responsibility

February 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, E-Stewards, E-Waste, EPA, Front Page, Recycling, Slideshow

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Our home stands on top of a toxic waste dump.

And if you’re stockpiling obsolete electronics in the house, so does yours.

That clunky old CRT computer monitor or TV that’s currently collecting dust in the basement, attic, closet, or garage contains anywhere from 4 to 8 pounds of lead. The new flatscreen LCD monitor you replaced it with contains far less lead, so you might think it would be safer for the environment.

Actually, it’s not…

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Brownfield Remediation Provides Local Opportunity

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Late this past fall, Cindy Quast, an environmental engineer with Stanley Consultants’ Iowa City Office, invited Blue Planet Green Living to visit a brownfield site. Quast, a 20-year veteran of environmental consulting, has been cleaning up brownfields for more than 10 years. Joe Hennager and I joined Quast at the western edge of Davenport, Iowa, for a quick course in Brownfields 101.

A chill wind cuts through my coat, and I instantly regret having left my gloves in the car. On the far side of the highway where we have parked, wetlands serve as a buffer zone for the Mississippi River. Eagles nest in the trees high above, soaring over the water to catch their food. A few feet from the busy highway on the near side, environmental engineer Cindy Quast is talking with two men. They stand at the bottom of a small hill that borders a long, private driveway.

One of the men, Wyatt McCain, is taking soil samples from the base of the hill. The other man, Daniel Cook, wears the uniform of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). We walk together to the far end of the driveway, where McCain begins sampling again. Quast and Cook take turns patiently explaining to us the work being done on the site and why it’s important.

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Naturally Clean – The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy, Non-Toxic Cleaning

December 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Books, Chemicals, EPA, Front Page, Green Cleaning, Tips, TSCA

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When my kids were small, I wanted to give them a clean, healthy home to live in. Our home was clean, no doubt about it, but was it healthy?

Naturally Clean by Jeffrey Hollender and Geoff Davis (with Meika Hollender and Reed Doyle) debunks the myth that a clean home is automatically a healthy home. Cleanliness in itself isn’t bad (though it can be taken to extremes, according to Chapter 20), but the chemicals used in those cleaners can be deadly. “The decision to stop using synthetic chemical cleaners is one of the most important ones you’ll ever make for the health of your family and the safety of your home,” say the authors….

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Indie Film “A River of Waste” Issues Urgent Call to “Vote with Our Ballots as Well as Our Forks”

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“Only after the last tree is cut down, the last of the water poisoned, the last animal destroyed… Only then will you realize you cannot eat money.” — Cree Indian Prophecy

So begins the documentary film A River of Waste, setting the stage for a discussion of how agriculture in the U.S. — and indeed, much of the world — has left behind the family farm and turned into profits-at-any-cost Big Ag. And there are costs — costs to the animals kept in filth and confinement; costs to the environment in air, soil, and water pollution; and costs to the health and well-being of people.

This excellent indie film presents a story that has been carefully researched and seamlessly assembled to show consumers just how dangerous CAFOs are. But it doesn’t stop there; it presents solutions in the form of regulations and practices that are common in the European Union…

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EPA’s STAR Fellowship Competition Underway — GRO Soon to Begin

September 1, 2009 by  
Filed under 2009, Blog, EPA, Front Page, U.S.

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Are you a grad student who is engaged in environmental studies? Here’s your chance to earn a STAR fellowship from the EPA to “help defray the ever-increasing costs associated with studies leading to advanced degrees in environmental sciences.”

But it’s not just a matter of asking; it’s highly competitive. Applicants undergo “a rigorous review process.” Master’s and doctoral degree options include “traditionally recognized environmental disciplines as well as other fields such as social anthropology, urban and regional planning, and decision sciences.” …

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All Abuzz about Habitat: A Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day and Potluck

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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…

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Power Up 2009 Conference in Ft. Walton Beach April 8 – 11

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Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (March 27, 2009) – The Gulf Coast Energy Network, in cooperation with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Bay Area Resources Council and Okaloosa County, is bringing together a group of energy leaders, policy makers, scientists, engineers, green building specialists and more for Power Up 2009 Energy Conference & Expo April 8-11, 2009 at the Emerald Coast Conference Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

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Coal Industry Creates Appalachian War Zone

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Bo Webb lives in a war zone. He fears for his life and the lives of his family every day. He wonders, will an explosion cause debris to land on his house and loved ones? Will the toxic fumes from explosives poison their lungs and their waterways? Will the dam above his children’s elementary school break, covering everyone below with toxic waste? Will the scarred landscape of his homeland ever recover? Bo Webb lives in West Virginia. He has asked that his letter be spread as widely as possible. Read it, and you’ll understand the urgency with which he writes. There is no “clean coal.” There is only destruction. Pass it on.
As I write this letter, I brace myself for another round of nerve-wracking explosives being detonated above my home in the mountains of West Virginia. Outside my door, pulverized rock dust, laden with diesel fuel and ammonium nitrate explosives hovers in the air, along with the residual of heavy metals that once lay dormant underground.

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Toxic Substances Control Act Hearings — A Hopeful Start

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We noted on Tuesday that the Toxic Substances Control Act would soon be under review. Today was the opening day of the House of Representatives’ hearing: “Revisiting the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.” The goal of the hearing is to reform the TSCA. The Honorable Bobby L. Rush (D-NJ), Chairman, made the statement that appears below. With this auspicious beginning, we hold out hope that our lawmakers will take bold and carefully considered action to safeguard the health of our nation and our planet.

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House Panel Takes on Toxics Reform

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Amid growing concern that U.S. chemical regulations are not adequate for protecting human health, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee this week will investigate the current law to assess its effectiveness at governing the thousands of chemicals in commerce today.

The House Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee will meet Thursday to discuss the Toxic Substances Control Act, which was first established in 1976 to govern the roughly 82,700 chemicals in commerce.

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Green Consultant Boosts Efficiency and Profits

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“Being environmentally responsible is not just about meeting the regulations and complying with the laws anymore, but that you’re actually setting the bar for other industries in your sector, and that you’re using good environmental management to expand your business and to make a profit. As an environmental consultant, I help you find a new way to innovate and become the most efficient, to squeeze every dollar that you can out of what you’re earning,” says Molly Long, president of A.W.E. Consulting.

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Red Tape, Regulations, and Environmental Crimes

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“When I went to Ireland recently,” says environmental auditor and consultant Molly Long, “I sat in a pub with a pint of Guinness while being lectured to by an average citizen of Dublin about what environmental terrorists we Americans are. He didn’t know we were environmental consultants. It was a really interesting perspective. He said we do a terrible job of protecting the environment.”

Long is a former hazardous waste inspector for the state of Indiana. Today she is in high demand as an ISO 14001 auditor and an environmental consultant, two services she provides through A.W.E. [Agriculture. Wildlife. Environmental.] Consulting, Inc. As an enforcer of laws, an environmental auditor, and a consultant, Long has worked extensively with a wide variety of businesses, industries, and government groups. In this interview, she brings broad perspective to the topic of environmental laws and regulations.

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