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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « May 2010 | Main | July 2010 »

    June 29, 2010

    Free E-Newsletter Clears Up the Confusion About Green Living & Shopping

    Newsletter   If you're looking for information that clears up the confusion about green living and shopping, I invite you to subscribe to our free Alerts! e-newsletter.

    Every two weeks, it offers just what you need to make your environmental choices a little clearer:

    * unbiased product reviews

    * money-saving tips

    * links to helpful resources

    * profiles of readers who have joined our One in a Million campaign and are shifting at least $1,000 to greener products and services

    * reports on my own experiences trying to live in greater harmony with people and the planet.

    It will only take you five minutes to read, but will save you hours of time when you're trying to figure out what to buy or do. 

    Remember: It costs nothing to sign up, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

    A Glimpse Inside Mother Nature's Jewelry Box

    White pendant I'm a big fan of "natural" jewelry - necklaces, bracelets and rings made from seeds and stones, or sea glass found on the beach. But jewelry doesn't have to be this rustic to meet my "green" criteria. Generally, for reasons I list here, I look for accessories that are

    * fashioned from recycled or reclaimed materials (like gold, silver, and gemstones)

    * made either by artisans in the U.S. or Fair Trade jewelers abroad.

    The socially responsible jewelers listed below have mastered the art and design of environmentally friendly creations for your personal adornment.

    Brilliant Earth. Crafts high quality jewelry using recycled precious metals (gold and platinum), conflict-free Canadian diamonds, and fair trade colored gemstones. Brilliant Earth offers loose diamonds, engagement and wedding rings, earrings, and pendants. (18K White Gold Open Leaf Pendant with Diamond Accents pictured left).

    KYLER by Joy O. Made 100% in the US, KYLER by Joy O creates elegant, intricately designed jewelry. The pieces are primarily made from steel, the most recycled material on the planet, and accented with partially recycled glass. All other chains are made from heirloom-quality, hypoallergenic nickel-free 14k gold fill and sterling silver. All artisans work in fair trade conditions AND even their packaging products are made from reusable and recyclable recycled paper!

    Ruff & Cut. Manufactures beautiful bracelet, earrings, necklaces, pendants, rings, engagement rings, and men's jewelry. All jewelry is made from recycled metals such as certified recycled gold and sterling silver, and conflict-free diamonds. Ruff & Cut purchases all raw materials from socially responsible sources, and actively re-invests 10 percent of each sale as well as portions of company profits into non-profit organizations working to improve the conditions for those working and living in mining communities around the world.

    Continue reading "A Glimpse Inside Mother Nature's Jewelry Box" »

    Recycle, Re-Use or Donate Your Wedding Dress

    Wedding dress Whether you've just celebrated your own wedding day or your daughter's, you may be left with one souvenir you don't need to hold on to: the dress.

    Yes, you can keep it in a bag in the back of your closet for the next 20 years and hope someone, someday will wear it again.

    Or, you can give your dress a second life right away, by selling it or donating it online. If you're in the market for a wedding dress, think "new to you," as opposed to "brand new," and you'll not only get a dress that's more eco-friendly. You'll probably get a bargain, too. The dress pictured to the left? Over $3,200 new; just $800 gently worn at SavetheDress.com.

    Some of the re-sellers listed below charge a small fee to list your dress, then pay you when the dress sells. Others simply sell on consignment, which means they'll only pay you when they sell your dress.

    Recycled Bride. This free marketplace recycles everything from designer wedding gowns to table decorations. The site works just as well for buyers as it does for sellers.

    Encore Bridal. An online consignment and resale bridal boutique, this company also uses recycled paper for stationary, recycled and biodegradable shipping packages, and fuel-efficient transportation.

    Once Wed. This site offers brides everything from wedding ideas and photos for inspiration to once-worn wedding gowns. You can list your wedding dress on the site for free. Bonus? A portion of the revenue brought into the site goes to International Justice Mission which supports justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and violent oppression.

    Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses and WoreItOnce. Both online companies connect buyers and sellers of new, sample and used wedding dresses.

    Continue reading "Recycle, Re-Use or Donate Your Wedding Dress" »

    June 28, 2010

    Read This Book Before You Watch Nature Porn or "Fang TV"

    Shooting-in-the-Wild-final-op Films about wildlife are scary. They're exciting. They make you ooh and aah while you cover your eyes so you don't have to watch the really gory parts. But are they honest?

    Not according to Chris Palmer, author of the gripping new expose Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom.

    The book, based on extensive research as well as Chris's own experience producing wildlife films for IMAX theaters and for conservation groups like the National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society, documents film after film that appears to be "natural" but is, in fact, a series of fantastic shots staged by the filmmakers to provoke the animals but entertain the audience.

    Why do the filmmakers manipulate what they find in the wild? Because these "money shots," as Chris calls them, are the ones that generate the ratings. And without high ratings, films about wildlife may not make it onto the screen.

    02_Chris_Palmer "Nature porn" or "fang TV" generates the biggest bang for the buck, says Chris, even if those pictures have been staged or digitally altered to sensationalize animal behavior. And while they may enthrall viewers, such film techniques not only upset the animals being filmed; they put the filmmakers themselves in great danger. Chris is a master storyteller, and his accounts of the death of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, who was killed by a sting ray; Timothy Treadwell, who died at the hands of the grizzly bears he filmed; and filmmakers who narrowly missed being chomped to death by a 30-foot long python are not to be missed.

    Full disclosure: I'm a friend of Chris' and I commented on a couple of the book's early chapters. But until I saw the complete tome, I had no idea it was such a pageturner. Chris has rubbed shoulders with celebrities like Jane Fonda, Ted Turner, and Robert Redford. He has shot film himself in locations as exotic as Tahiti. He is the founder and Director of the Center on Environmental Filmmaking at American University whose Emmy winning and Oscar-nominated films have been broadcast on the Disney Channel, TBS Superstation, Animal Planet and PBS, as well as in IMAX theaters. He admits he is guilty of some of the techniques that he criticizes in the book, and now wants to see discontinued. This book is part memoir, part indictment, but one hundred percent committed to changing the way future wildlife films are made.

    Shooting in the Wild is a must-read for anyone who loves watching animals on screen and wants a truly "behind the scenes" perspective on how animal movies are made. But it's absolutely essential for anyone who wants to make an ethical wildlife film today. 

    If you can't help the Gulf in person, send money.

    Pelican-Bath-LA-06-21-10 Cleaning up the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico takes lots of hands -- and lots of money. Volunteers are needed to scrub oil off turtles and birds, scoop oil off beaches, and monitor wetlands for damage. Groups managing clean-up efforts need more financial support so they can try to minimize the terrible consequences of 60,000 gallons of oil a day being pumped into the region from the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded two months ago.

    Here's a list of groups that need your help. If you're already volunteering in person, please let us know where you're working and what you're doing.

    If you can send money, these groups sure could use it:

    Gulf Restoration Network - Sign up to volunteer or donate, and send a message to BP.

    Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund - 100 percent of all donations to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund will be granted to organizations working tirelessly in the effected areas. Their specific focus is to help fishermen and their families in the following Louisiana parishes: Plaquemines, St. Bernard, lower Jefferson, Terrebonne, and Lafourche.

    Gulf Coast Fund - The Fund is giving grants directly to local environmental and community groups working to clean up the damage and document the impact the disaster is having on wetlands, shore birds, marine life, and the families living in the area.

    International Bird Rescue Research Center -  A team of 40 bird rescue specialists (see photo, above) has been deployed to the Gulf Coast disaster site to help rescue seabirds caught in the oil.

    Text to Give - Mad Mobile and mGive have partnered to make it easy to donate to The Waterkeepers Alliance and SaveOurGulf.org. Text GULF to 50555 to donate $10; 100 percent of donations will support the efforts these groups are making to reduce the impacts of the oil on wetlands and wildlife.

    June 16, 2010

    Mad at BP? Skip the Boycott. Stop Driving.

    Oil soaked bird  The harsh reality is that BP and the rest of the oil companies drill for oil because we are willing and able to pay for it. There is no supply without demand. And Americans, who produce only 2 or 3 percent of the world's oil but consume over 20% of it, have been the demanders in chief.

    It will do absolutely no good to boycott BP if you keep buying oil and gas from someone else. BP's oil, along with everyone else's, is sold on the world market, not just to BP stations. Local gas stations are usually owned by entrepreneurs in your community, not by BP. They sell gas that comes from a variety of sources, not just their namesake. So as a consumer, even if you boycott a BP station, you're not necessarily boycotting gas produced by BP. Likewise, if you buy gas from a different station, you could be buying BP gas.  

    Plus: is there any "good" gas?  Are there any "good" oil companies? Is Exxon, responsible for what was previously the largest oil spill in U.S. history, better than BP? What about Shell, a company known for its horrid human rights violations? Or Chevron, which has been sued for polluting pristine rainforest in Ecuador?

    Take a look at the photo (above, left) from AP photographer Charlie Riedel. It's a bird, but that's about all we can tell, it's been so mired in oil.

    Sadly, it's a perfect metaphor for our economy.

    Want to change it?

    Drive less, for starters. Here's how.

    June 14, 2010

    New Yorker Shifts to Green, Saves More Than $10K

    Nancy_sm_flip Our latest One in a Million member is Nancy, an Episcopal priest and practicing psychologist who lives in central New York state. The One in a Million campaign encourages people to shift $1,000 of their household budget to greener products and services. I was amazed to learn how Nancy has shifted so much she is actually saved more than $10,000 without feeling deprived. Here's her story.
     
    What inspired you to make so many "green" changes in your life? My doctoral studies were in MindBody medicine and holistic healing...which led directly to my first change: become a vegetarian(1991)—which reversed bone loss. In the intervening years I continued to study, teach courses, and give lectures and workshops on holistic healing and spirituality. My studies and workshop presentations expanded in 2005 after I learned about the known health risks associated with land fills at a meeting of the local chapter for the League of Women Voters. The local land fill had expanded despite opposition and was (and is again) asking to expand.
     
    Recyclecc Troubled by the evidence, I began reading about recycling, which led me to studies about plastics, cleaning agents, bath and body care, cosmetics, and, surprisingly, food safety and how they affected human health and the environment.  The readily available evidence was, and remains, shocking and deeply distressing.  I believe that all of us need to be more conscious of the factors which affect our health and over which we can chose to  have control, with our voices,  pocket book, and votes. As a person living with a life-long disability I felt that, based on this new learning, I had a responsibility to act on it by making conscious choices about my life and health as I move toward retirement and continued aging! That led to my second change: I became a vegan, eating only organic foods at home, and have reaped more health benefits than I imagined possible. No more antibiotics and hormones I didn’t chose, need or want; no more insecticides and pesticides bred into Genetically Engineered foods—as  far as I can determine and choose; reading labels to avoid corn derivatives and high fructose.

    All of this learning, alongside continued growth and new learning in my spirituality and prayer life, led me to my third change: a decision to become conscious and present to the world and nature around me, as well as to family, friends, and neighbors. All of life breathes the same air, is exposed to the same water, and shares the consequences of toxins in the land fill. The very least I could do was to avoid adding toxic, disposable, meaningless stuff or organic garbage, leading to my fourth change: changing my patterns of consumption, understanding the what and why of every purchase. Suddenly you see the stuff that clutters home, office, car and life.  Stuff that wastes financial resources and generally obscures the meaning or purpose of one’s life. De-cluttering is a lesson in letting go and led to my fifth change, saving money as my shopping habits changed.

    Are your choices for you alone or for a household? I live alone but children and grandchildren visit often. They know the routine -- I have posted a list of what items go in the paper basket, the compost pail, the small garbage basket, the shredder and the recycling can (in kitchen). The cleaning woman, handy man, and lawn person know what does where in garage containers each week.

    What was harder than you thought? Eating out with NO dairy products. My experience has been that the majority of  restaurants, chefs, and cooks in small cities are not well-informed or prepared to serve vegetarians and vegans.

    What was easier? The absolute easiest thing was simply adding each new change as I came to it and then living into it.  I have a savings account for my ‘annual savings,’ which I use for life-giving organic foods, addressing needs (recreation, retreat, play) instead of wants, and enjoying a healthier and more purposeful life!  
     
    What's next? These changes are part of a spiritual journey that I hope will continue to evolve and deepen.  I hope my example or words will save at least one person and one child from the toxic effects known to exist in our environment, water, food, and products we consume or purchase in blind faith.  My greatest hope is that in the near future, Americans will take to the streets and demand accountability of corporations and government agencies for safe food and water, and non-toxic, renewable and sustainable products.   If we dream GREEN, we will become GREEN!

    Nancy's Green practices explained with savings:

    Continue reading "New Yorker Shifts to Green, Saves More Than $10K " »

    June 03, 2010

    What is the Oil Spill Doing to Flipper?

    Diving3 On a recent trip to Australia, I had the good fortune to spend a day scuba diving and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. From above, the water appeared blue, calm, and seemingly empty. But as soon as I dipped below the surface, I was amazed. As far as the eye could see, the underwater world teemed with animals. Schools of clown fish (think Nemo) zipped past exotic 30-foot tall coral reefs. Groups of wrasse, a fish that's bigger than my 70-pound dog, swam by, their huge faces oblivious to the giant green sea turtle snoozing on the sea floor just below. Angel fish nibbled on small invertebrates; nearby, gorgeous parrot fish gnawed at the algae growing on the coral. There weren't just dozens or hundreds of animals under the sea; I could see thousands, and that was just in the small area where I was diving. What about the rest of the ocean?

    I am thinking about all that wildlife now, as the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues seemingly without end. The people whose lives are being affected by the millions of barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf's waters deserve as much attention as they're getting. They've lost their livelihoods, their neighborhoods, and in some cases, their very lives.

    Dolphins-film-u2 But the animals trying to survive in the water are in some ways even more vulnerable. They have nowhere else to go, and for the most part, no way to remove the oil once it gets on their bodies. At least 25,000 animals appear to have died from the oil spill thus far, including dolphins and sperm whales. Many other fish, like bluefin tuna, are at risk because they're in the process of returning to their breeding grounds right now - and those breeding grounds happen to lie smack dab in the middle of the oil spill disaster zone. It is not an exaggeration to wonder whether some animals will become extinct as a result of the spill.

    Take a look at this list of "The Ten Cutest Animals" threatened by the spill. Sadly, there's not much we can do to help them in the short-term. Long-term, we must renew our commitment to kick our addiction to oil in favor of safe, clean renewable fuels.

    Florida Resident Shifts $1,137 to Organic Foods, Native Plants & Worm Poop

    Kimbutton2 Worm poop? It's not as crazy as it sounds (see post below). Worm castings (as they're more delicately called) make great organic fertilzer. They're also a terrific choice if you're looking for ways to shift your spending to greener products and services -- in this case, away from concentrated agricultural chemicals and towards all-natural soil amendments. That's just one of the choices Kimberly Button of Orlando made when she joined the Big Green Purse One in a Million campaign. What about others?

    Well, Kim also started buying more organic chocolates and tea (who can blaim her?), organic groceries,and organically-based personal care products like body lotions and shampoos. She printed her business cards on recycled paper and bought recycled envelopes, too. Plus, she bought a re-usable stainless steel lunch container so she could forego plastic bags or takeout boxes. All told, she shifted more than $1,000 in just a few months, qualifying her to become a One in a Million member.

    Now, you might think it was a "no brainer" for Kim to put her money where her mouth is. After all, she is a green living consultant who has founded her own sustainable business and website. (Make sure you check out her work at GreenWell Consulting and GetGreenBeWell). But she still has to manage a budget, make choices when she shops, and evaluate trade-offs.

    So I asked her, "What inspired you to make the shifts to greener products and services?" "I started living greener because of health problems that weren't being adressed by modern medicine - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia," she said. "After quickly realizing the positive health benefits of living green, I really became more in tune with how my decisions directly or indirectly affect the health of the planet as a whole. It's a "Do unto others...." mentality that I have now.  What do my excessive spending habits do to the livelihoods of individuals less fortunate than us around the world?"  
     
     
    Then I wanted to know, "What was easy about the shifts? What was more challenging?"  "Buying organic and healthier foods was definitely easier. There's an instant benefit there.  And buying green cleaners is a no-brainer. Same cost, or less, for the same cleaning power. Paying much more for healthier personal care products can be challenging sometimes, since the cost is often SO much more than the cheap stuff, but these are products that are being absorbed by your skin, so the health benefits to me are more important. I just find ways to use less stuff, and the savings justify the costs!"
     
    Being intentional about how she's spending her money has also inspired Kim to plan for the future. "I hope to invest in larger, more expensive items such as rain barrels, a composter, a drip irrigation system and even a hydroponic garden system," she vows. "I know these are so important, but the initial expense can be quite expensive, especially when it also involves some modifications to your home."

    In the meantime, Kim will contine to make affordable shifts in her day-to-day purchases that benefit her as well as the environment.

    Kim's Shifts in 2010

    January Recycled Envelopes 6.50
    February Biodynamic Lotion (Clearance) 5.00
    February Organic Tea House 4.00
    February Organic Groceries 125.00
    February Non-Profit Org. Donation 25.00
    March Organic personal care products 54.00
    March Organic groceries 130.00
    March Seeds 10.00
    March strawberry & blueberry plants 12.00
    April Organic meats & produce 130.00
    March Organic Restaurant 8.00
    March Non-Profit Org. Donation 15.00
    April Green Business Cards 11.00
    April Stainless Steel Lunch Container 18.00
    April Organic Tea House 10.00
    April Eco Tour 80.00
    April Organic Chocolates 6.00
    April Organic Restaurant 54.00
    May Eco Friendly Pest Controls 4.50
    May Recyclable Pots 60.00
    May Compost/ Worm Castings/ Mulch 40.00
    May Organic Groceries 150.00
    May Green Web Site Hosting 40.00
    May Native Plants 30.00
    May Organic Groceries 109.00
    TOTAL $ 1,137

    One_in_a_million Feeling inspired? You can join the One in a Million campaign yourself. Here's how.

    And to read about more One in a Million members, click here.


     

    June 02, 2010

    You Want Me to Buy Worm Poop?

    Castingsworms It's not really as disgusting as it sounds. Worm poop is known in the world of organic gardening as worm castings (though really, they are poop).

    You want to add them to your garden because they're so naturally rich in the kind of bacteria, enzymes and water-soluble nutrients that really give plants a kick in the pants (well, in their leaves, stems, flowers and fruits or vegetables) when the plant absorbs them through its roots. 

    Says The Tasteful Garden, "Worm castings are packed with minerals that are essential for plant growth, such as concentrated nitrates, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium. They also contain manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, borax, iron, carbon and nitrogen. However, the best of all is that these minerals are immediately available to the plant, without the risk of ever burning the plant. Remember that animal manure and chemical fertilizers have to be broken down in the soil before the plant can absorb them."

    You can use castings in potting soil, in soil for trees, shrubs, and flowers, and as mulch. You can even mix them with water to make a liquid fertilizer (otherwise known as "worm poop tea.")

    If you're really bold, you can build your own worm bin and produce plenty of worm poop on your own.

    On the other hand, if that idea totally disgusts you, go ahead and pick up castings from your local nursery or online here, here or here.

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