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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.
  • « April 2011 | Main | June 2011 »

    May 23, 2011

    Charcoal is out. What's in - and Eco?

    If you're still grilling with charcoal, I've only got one question for you: Why?

    Sun oven Most grills use either natural gas, propane, charcoal, or electricity. Of these options, charcoal emits more carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and soot than any of the others.

    "Charcoal grills and lighter fluid also contribute more to ground-level ozone [smog]", says Ana Gomez, of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, not exactly the ambience you're looking for when you invite friends over for a cookout.

    Eco-Friendly Alternatives?

    • Go solar. A solar stove like the Global Sun Oven (pictured) cooks more slowly and won't get you the same grilled flavor. But it can't be beat for an environmentally-friendly, clean-cooking cookout, and you'll never buy charcoal or other cooking fuel again. Cook casseroles, veggies, tofu, and maybe a few marshmallows. You'll need direct sunlight for the time it takes to cook your food. Read the cooking directions that come with the oven for best results, then see what works best in your yard or on your porch or patio.

    • Choose a gas grill over charcoal. If you already use natural gas to heat your home or power your appliances, you may be able to hook up a gas line directly to your grill. The convenience of not needing to refill propane tanks may outweigh the cost of the hook-up. Otherwise, choose propane, which also burns cleaner than charcoal. This website lists dozens of grill choices by brand. NOTE: Don't buy a larger appliance than you need or you'll end up wasting energy and money.) You can get small, portable propane grills to use at the beach, camping, or for tail-gate parties.

    • Use lump charcoal instead of briquettes. Briquettes may contain coal dust and other additives. Look for hardwood briquettes from sustainably- managed forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program.

    Chimney charcoal • Trade in your lighter fluid. These toxic petroleum distillates produce volatile organic compounds that create smog. No sense ruining your skewers or burgers with an air quality alert, is there? Instead...

    Try a chimney charcoal starter. Tuck crumpled newspaper into the bottom of the canister, load charcoal on top, and light with a match. You'll be able to pour hot coals onto the fire grate in about 15 minutes. Alternatively, use an electric starter. (Chimney charcoal starters are cheap! $10 - $15).

    (You can find several of these products, along with other things you need for summer, at our store.)


    May 10, 2011

    I took her camping; she took her iPod.

    We started taking our kids camping when they were both still in diapers. They were used to playing outside anyway, so camping seemed normal, only better, since they got to sleep in a tent and roast marshmallows around a live fire.

    Dan Dana Monet By the time they were five and seven, they could hike all day -- as long as we included picnics, tree climbing, rock skipping, tag and other games to keep them engaged and their minds off what they were actually doing: walking up a big hill, then walking down again.We also bicycled to local parks, visited horse stables, went to the zoo, and prowled the botanic garden. Going with friends whose kids were the same age as ours made it more fun for us all.

    During several spring breaks, we camped at Cinnamon Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It's a wonderfully safe place where children can flit about wild as birds and find endless fascination in hermit crabs, land iguanas, bats, and the myriad fish they see when they snorkel. My son eventually joined the Boy Scouts. My daughter became a dancer and a musician as she entered middle school, but we still made it a point to go hiking as a family a few times a year.

    Continue reading "I took her camping; she took her iPod. " »

    May 09, 2011

    What About the INSIDE Air You Breathe? 5 Steps to Keeping it Clean.

    We spend at least 85% of our time breathing indoor air, yet we spend 85% of our time worrying about outdoor air pollution! I asked Lori Denis (photo below right)for ideas on simple steps that keep the air inside fresh and clean. She should know. She's the star of HGTV's "The Real Designing Women" and author of Green Interior Design, a book I highly recommend. Here's what she said:

    Green Interior Design Here’s to your health!  When I first heard that our indoor spaces were more polluted than outside, I didn’t believe it.  Not in my house – I’m a neat freak!  But everything from furniture to plastics to electronics is constantly off-gassing, polluting our safe haven.  These toxins cause headaches, nausea, sore throat, dry skin, itchy eyes, and even loss of concentration.  Outdoor air quality is not only better for you, but Vitamin D production from sun exposure can actually help ward off sickness.  Here are a few ways to make sure you are enhancing your spaces to keep you, your family and friends healthy and happy.

    1.      WINDOWS – Open the windows and let the sunshine in!  Sunlight is a natural disinfectant.  Even if you live in an apartment, you can place pillows, blankets and mattresses in front of an open window to allow solar rays and fresh air to help sanitize them.  It's a lot easier than steam cleaning them, too!

    2.      PLANTS – Rooms with plants have been shown to have 60% less airborne molds and bacteria than rooms with no plants.  They soak up all the toxins your home is emitting and act as purifying organs.  Plants can also improve our mood by increasing positive feeling, improving creativity and reducing stress by producing higher dopamine levels.  They can even produce a healthy drop in heart rate.  As an added bonus – plants can make a room seem more expensive, making it look good and you feel
    good.

    Continue reading "What About the INSIDE Air You Breathe? 5 Steps to Keeping it Clean." »

    My County Finally Did It! What About Yours? Our New Plastic Bag "Tax."

    Last week, the County Council for Montgomery County, MD, where I live, finally voted to start charging consumers a nickel for each plastic or paper single-use bag they take at the check-out counter.

    Plastic bags The new environmental law, which goes into effect January 1, 2012, is designed to help get rid of the billions of horrible, nasty, throwaway bags that waste resources, clog waterways, and kill wildlife.

    Throwaway bags are one of those inventions that never should have seen the light of day. According to Pati Robinson from The Cleaner Earth Project, in 2010 consumers worldwide used over 1
    trillion throwaway plastic bags. Because the bags don’t biodegrade, they cause serious environmental problems. When they get loose, they end up polluting rivers, streams and oceans, where animals
    mistake them for food and die. In fact, scientists have found that fish living in the Pacific Ocean eat more plastic than plankton! Wildlife also die when they get tangled in plastic and can’t break free.

    Plus, plastic bags waste oil. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil are required to make the nearly 100 billion single use plastic bags used every year in the U.S. alone, says Cleaner Earth.

    Then there’s the fright factor. Plastic bags are downright ugly when they get caught in trees or blow along the highway like synthetic tumbleweed.

    For years, municipalities the world over mounted campaigns to educate people about the harm plastic bags cause while trying to motivate consumers to use reusable bags, to no avail. Then someone smart hit on the idea to charge shoppers for every plastic bag they used.

    Today, cities that require retailers to charge as little as a nickel for each bag a consumer takes are finding plastic bag use plummeting. In nearby Washington, D.C., disposable plastic bags used to make up 47% of the trash found in the Anacostia river basin. The Anacostia River feeds right into the Potomac, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay, which feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. Conceivably, a bag thrown on the sidewalk in D.C. could end up in a sea gull’s belly in no time at all.

    In January 2010, a nickel fee was placed on single-use plastic bags. In just six months, bag use decreased by 65%, reducing the total number of bags per month to 3.3 million, down from 22.5 million per month prior to the fee, reported the Washington Post.

    Now, a nickel is not a lot of money. It’s just five pennies. Pretty much anyone who has bought enough stuff to need a bag can afford to pay for it.

    Yet human nature being what it is, people seem to hate paying “extra” for something they used to get for free. I’ve stood in line at a cash register in D.C. and watched people fill their arms to
    overflowing with their purchases rather then cough up a measly five cents to put it in a bag.

    Stupid?

    Continue reading "My County Finally Did It! What About Yours? Our New Plastic Bag "Tax."" »

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