Monthly Archives: November 2008

Sunday Links – 11-30-08

Stop Making Our Kids Sick; Make Chemicals Safe – It’s amazing to me that so few chemicals have actually be checked for safety. While we wait for proper testing, think more about homemade cleansers made from things you already have around the house. Most are really good at their jobs.

Melamine in formula: Another round with the FDA – It’s really hard to not use “FDA” as a swear word anymore. Sure, there’s less than what was found in Chinese formula, but just what do you think “no known safe level” means?

US Formula Makers Say Products Are Melamine Free – Yes, they do. Do you trust their in-house testing?

How to Separate the “Green” from “Greenwashing” When You Shop – Perhaps someday greenwashing will just mean cleaning with green cleansers. But for now it’s all too common for companies to pretend to be offering green products when they really aren’t.

How to Green Your Carpet Cleaning – Carpet cleaners often have some really nasty toxins in them. This article will give you some great options. I will add that baking soda and vinegar can work too… just don’t overdo the baking soda because it takes a long time to work out!

Nature Inspires Art in San Diego – Hey, it’s my hometown! I have no idea if I’ll make it there during the show, but pretty cool anyhow.

Are in-sink garbage disposals eco-friendly? – There may not be a clear cut answer, but if you can compost, the garbage disposal shouldn’t be your default for some things.

Are Lower Gas Prices a Good Thing? – This echoes some of my own feelings on the matter. I’m determined to not drive more just because it has become more affordable again.

Five Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Dry Cleaning – I almost never buy “dry clean only” clothes, but every once in a while something comes up. I’ve been carefully washing a lot of these outfits for years with few problems.

New Bluefin Tuna Quota Levels Are A “Mockery of Science” – Say goodbye to this species if regulations don’t get better soon.

Before You Let Your Doctor Give Your Kids Drugs, Read This – I don’t like to give myself medications, but that goes double for my kids. So many of the problems we see now may be more related to diet and activity levels than any need for medication that I’d rather give other options a try for anything not life threatening.

Doubting Renewable Energy – Ever wonder what’s taking so long with renewable energy? Investors who can’t see the opportunity in front of them, for one!

Planning My Avoidance of Black Friday

That’s right, I loathe Black Friday. It strikes me as just another example of excess consumerism, and a chance for people to start overspending early. That and I spent too many years in retail during college to have any appreciation for large shopping crowds.

My husband on the other hand intends to head out. I hope I can get him to call me before making too many decisions about Christmas gifts. He’s not so good on a budget and we need to be good this year. Really, really good since we’re still recovering from his being out of work for 6 months earlier this year.

I don’t mind keeping an eye on the online deals, although I almost never buy anything. It’s mostly stuff beyond what I’d consider for presents.

This is a year we are cutting way back on Christmas anyhow. My sisters and I have discussed options for simplifying things. My inlaws have announced their intention to simplify this year. They were shocked by my highly enthusiastic reaction.

But I figure it should be more about the holiday anyhow. Let’s face it, most adults these days in this country can buy their own needs and an awful lot of wants. That’s a part of why so many people are having trouble with credit now, but nonetheless so many Christmas gifts merely add to the clutter.

We’re looking a lot at gifts of help or fun times together this year. Might paint at my mom’s house. Might take the kids out for mini golf. Things that are fun, but don’t add to the mess.

Green Gift Ideas to Give to the Non-Green

Not everyone wants to go green, even now. That can make them harder to shop for when you’d rather keep things green. So I’ve been thinking on things that just about anyone can appreciate.

Gifts for Non-Green Adults

Reusable Bags

I know this can seem a bit odd, but I’m seeing people who would rather not be called environmentalists using these now. My inlaws, for example. They’re not remotely into the environmental movement, but recently found out about reusable shopping bags and utterly adore them.

Brita Pitcher Plus Reusable Water Bottles

Put the two together for the people who just cannot stand the thought of drinking straight tap water, and you might just help them break the bottled water habit. Brita is about to start taking back pitcher filters, so make sure to let people know! They may or may not do it, but it’s worth the try.

It may help to get a nice looking Sigg or Kleen Kanteen, so the appearance is a motivator for it to be used as well. Don’t forget to buy some for the kids in the family. My daughter adores her Kleen Kanteen.

Cast Iron Cookware

You can often find this in local antique shops. It’s great for people who love to cook. Cast iron skillets and dutch ovens are the most popular. I own a cast iron skillet that had been my grandmothers, and it’s my favorite. They really do get to be nicely nonstick with age and proper treatment.

Organic or Fair Trade Chocolate

Who could resist? If you have a Whole Foods nearby you can probably find a decent selection, but I’ve also seen Green & Black’s at other stores in my area, such as Target.

Green Skin Care

Many people love getting skin care products. Shop around a little and it’s not too hard to find some that are fairly environmentally friendly as well as kind to the skin. Who needs all those chemicals anyhow?

You can buy a preassembled gift basket or make one of your own. I tend to enjoy assembling gift baskets when I give them, so that I have total control over what goes into them. Makes it a bit more personal, too.

I’ll cover gift ideas for kids in another post. There are some really great shops out there that offer wonderful, environmentally friendly toys for children.

Sunday Links 11-23-08

Top Ten “Green” Thanksgiving Tips – Don’t overdo is perhaps the most important.

New Study: Kids Prefer Vegetables Over Candy – Maybe not true for all kids, but a nice reminder to talk to your kids about why vegetables are important.

Tips for Eating Green on Little ‘Green’ – Healthy, green food isn’t all expensive. It may take a little more time in the kitchen, but if you can swing that you can make some wonderful, green, healthy meals for pretty cheap.

Greenwash Of The Week: Febreze-”It’s A Breath Of Fresh Air”. – Can I say that I am not the least bit surprised? I’ve never liked the scent of artificial “air fresheners” and such. This makes me quite happy to be leaving them out of my home.

Skip the Plastic at the Grocery Store – A challenge, but a good one. Just pay attention and you can avoid a lot of plastic when you buy groceries. In my house we buy the olive oil in the big metal cans and then refill the glass jar with a funnel. Fewer containers of any sort to buy and a better price!

Keeping it Cheap and Green: Kitchen Edition – Some simple tips for keeping your kitchen a bit greener.

Outgoing Bush Takes Final Stab at Earth – The war on the environment continues. You can find a lot of stories on this if you want to get really mad at our outgoing President.

I Don’t Think Alternative Energy Means What You Think It Means: Fred Pearce to BP – They say they’re looking at alternative energy, but their definition of it isn’t what you might want it to be.

Homemade Eco Gifts You Can Make for the Holidays! – More ideas for things you can make as gifts this year. Great for families on a budget or just if you want to keep things greener.

Flow and Tell – A roundup of feminine products that are greener than the usual. My husband was a bit grossed out talking about some of these at first, but he got the idea after a little.

The Coupon Trap – Are coupons really worth it? You may be saving money but are you getting anything healthy?

10 Tips For A Non-Toxic Pregnancy – It’s just about impossible to avoid it all, but pregnancy is a great time to do what you can.

5 Simple Water Conservation Methods: Do They Save Real Money? – Some fair calculations done on some of the most basic ways to save water. Of course, it’s not all about money, especially if you’re in an area currently experiencing or likely to experience water shortages in the future.

American Food System Fertilized With Industrial Chemical Melamine – Ever feel like the bad stuff is just hard to avoid? Stories like this make me love my garden more.

When Natural Foods Aren’t Natural: Agave Nectar – Agave nectar turns out to be highly processed, not so natural a sweetener as you might hope.

Loving My Daughter’s Klean Kanteen

A couple of weeks ago, I got tired of replacing my daughter’s reusable drink bottles I was packing in her lunch. She proved to have quite the talent for breaking the bottles we purchased for her at the local Henry’s. Most often she’d crack the lid, but sometimes it would be the bottle itself.

painted kleen kanteen

I replaced three bottles this school year before deciding that it was flat out time to cough up the money for a Klean Kanteen. So far, we’re loving it.

We bought one with a sports bottle top, so that she doesn’t have to open it very much to take a drink. I figure you can count on most first graders to spill their drinks pretty regularly if they’re open and they’re in a crowd of other kids their age. Too much goofing off going on. It’s just 12 ounces, which is small for a Klean Kanteen, but since it’s the only size that fits in her lunch bag and she has some juice left over each day, I would call it the perfect size.

We had some paint pens sitting around, so I let her try decorating it after I painted her name on it. Something like this I want to be sure can be returned to her if she ever forgets it at school. I hope the paint sticks well, but I know metal can be tricky.

The nice part is that if she should somehow manage to crack the top, I can buy a new top, not a whole new bottle. Even the top looks much more sturdy than what we had been buying before, though.