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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.
  • Main | April 2007 »

    March 23, 2007

    A Year Without Toilet Paper?

    Toilet_paper_2 A family living in New York City is making news because they're giving up toilet paper for a year. They're also foregoing new clothes, foods not grown within a 250-mile radius of Manhattan, and all forms of carbon-fueled transportation. That means they don't take cars or cabs and they don't ride elevators, though they do use push-powered scooters -- even when it snows.

    They call it No Impact living, and it's pretty much the complete opposite of what Big Green Purse advocates.

    Now, I confess. I do a lot of what "No Impact Man" (you'll have to read the article) does, though not to such an extreme. No, I haven't given up toilet paper. But I walk as much as possible. About 80% of the food I buy is locally grown. I use my own reusable mug when I'm out and about to avoid throwaways. I take my own shopping bags to the grocery store.

    But this is where the Man and I part company. I want to simplify my life and reduce my environmental impact, and I sure wish the rest of the world would, too. But the chances of 300 million Americans giving up toilet paper are slim to none. The chances of some greater percentage of the population switching to toilet paper made from recycled paper are much greater. And it's by using that consumer clout to buy the right products that we force manufacturers -- the entities that do the most damage to the environment -- to reduce pollution, stop global warming, and right a whole host of other environmental wrongs.

    "No Impact Man" is to the eco-lifestyle movement what Greenpeace is to the environmental movement: far enough out on the fringe to make what is truly impactful -- in this case, shifting significant dollars in the marketplace to force manufacturers to clean up their act -- seem simple and safe by comparison.

    Thanks, Man. And let me know when you need a roll of (recycled) toilet paper.

    March 16, 2007

    Hot Women

    Amid reports this week that this has been the world's warmest winter since the government first began keeping track more than a hundred years ago, more and more women are voicing their concerns about the disproportionate impact that a hotter planet has on them and their families.

    Women_labor The Gender and Climate Change website argues:  "Climate change is not a neutral process; first of all, women are in general more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, not least because they represent the majority of the world's poor and because they are more than proportionally dependent on natural resources that are threatened.  The technological changes and instruments that are being proposed to mitigate carbon emissions, which are implicitly presented as gender-neutral, are in fact quite gender biased and may negatively affect women or bypass them."

    The Association for Women's Rights in Development asks, "Is climate change a gender issue?" and reports on the hardships Inuit women, who live in Canada's far north, are suffering from the devastating impact climate change is having on their climate and community.

    Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General of IUCN-The World Conservation Union, has also joined the chorus of those who are concerned that climate change is threatening women's lives. When swift environmental changes and natural disasters come along, she pointed out during the celebration of International Women's Day, it is the women - who are poor and landless yet responsible for food production and the health and safety of their families and communities - who are the most vulnerable. An IUCN report notes that the physical, social, cultural and economic impacts of global warming jeopardize women far more than men.

    An international Climate for Change project is trying to encourage more women to participate in discussions about climate protection.

    That's a step in the right direction. But those of us with marketplace clout can do more. Given that we buy so many products that fuel global warming - from energy-burning cars and light bulbs to home appliances and even food - one immediate action we can take is to shift our spending to the most fuel-efficient products and services available.

    There are lots of reasons to try to cool the globe. Helping out our sisters is one of the important ones.

    March 11, 2007

    Fresh Food Wins Again

    You know fresh food tastes better. Turns out, it's safer for you, too.

    A new study by Environmental Working Group has found a toxic ingredient associated with birth defects of the male and female reproductive systems in the lining of over half of 97 cans of name-brand fruit, vegetables, soda and other commonly eaten canned goods.

    The chemical is bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic and resin ingredient used to line metal food and drink cans. BPA is also found in plastic bottles, even baby bottles, and plastic food containers.

    EWG's lab tested nearly 28 different types of food. Chicken soup, infant formula and ravioli had BPA levels of highest concern. For 1 in 10 cans of all food tested, and 1 in 3 cans of infant formula, a single serving contained enough BPA to expose a woman or infant to BPA levels more than 200 times the government's traditional safe level of exposure for industrial chemicals. Pregnant women and formula-fed infants may be at particular risk if they're eating or drinking canned foods or beverages.

    BPA is associated with several health problems and diseases that are increasing among Americans, including breast and prostate cancer and infertility. Given that almost 20% of our diet comes from canned food, the issue is not one we can afford to ignore.

    What to do?

    * Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

    * Buy pre-packaged food in glass jars, not cans.

    * Eat a varied diet, reducing the amount of canned food overall.

    * Breast-feed children as long as possible; use powdered formula rather than pre-mixed formula from a can.

    * BPA is often found in #7 polycarbonate plastic.  Choose #1,2 or 4 plastic instead. Never microwave in plastic, especially food for kids. Use ceramic, glass or microwavable dishware.

    * Use baby bottles made from glass, polyethylene or polypropylene plastic.

    * Throw out old, scratched plastic bottles or food containers.

    * If you use plastic wrap, try a brand like Saran, which claims to be BPA-free.

    For more recommendations, read the full Environmental Working Group study.

    March 10, 2007

    Every Dollar Makes a Difference

    Better_world_shopping_guide If you're having a hard time figuring out where to spend your money to make the biggest impact, take a look at The Better World Shopping Guide. It grades dozens of companies that stock your supermarket's shelves based on their social and environmental responsibility so you know which product to choose and which to avoid. From coffee and energy bars to cookies and even computers, this book will help you tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys." If you have to shop, this guide will help make your money matter.

    March 07, 2007

    Air Pollution Gives Women "Heart Break"

    You thought air pollution only hurt our lungs?

    Air_pollution_2 Not so. When women breathe the polluted air that's common in many cities, we're also increasing our risk of heart disease.

    Here's what happens: air pollution is made up of minute particles of dirt, dust, soot and grit that come from burning fuel at power plants, industrial facilities and cars. When we breathe in dirty air, the "particulates" get stuck deep inside our lungs. If our lungs get inflamed as a result, we could have a heart attack or stroke. Women are more susceptible than men to air pollution, and the heart problems it causes, because our blood vessels are smaller than men's, among other reasons.

    Scientists at the University of Washington analyzed data available through the Women's Health Initiative, a national research project that studies the health status of 65,893 women. Their study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, should reinforce the efforts being made by many environmental and health groups to strengthen air quality regulations.

    It also provides more reason for all of us to buy fuel-efficient cars, compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy-efficient appliances and other produccts that will burn less energy and help reduce soot and smog.

    Save energy, save a heart.

    March 06, 2007

    It's About Quality, not Quantity

    Using your Big Green Purse is not about buying MORE stuff. After all, "rampant consumerism" is part of what's thrown the planet into crisis mode to begin with.

    Instead, Big Green Purse focuses on buying "better" stuff: products manufactured using organic or non-toxic ingredients and energy- and water-saving practices, by adult workers, not children, who are given a fair price for their goods and services.  Better products help protect wildlife and nature rather than destroy them.

    Quality over quantity can really pay off. It saves money to buy better products that last longer than the conventional items you're used to. It also saves time. I have energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs in my house that I haven't had to change for at least seven years, and some as long as 10 years.  Talk about convenient as well as environmentally correct! The concentrated eco-friendly clothes washing detergent I use lasts me 40 or 50 washes before I need to buy a new box or bottle.  I can drive my hybrid almost 400 miles before it needs a fill-up -- and then it only costs me around $30.00.

    Shifting money we already spend to better, greener products is about getting more for our money while we protect the planet, too.  If it adds up to less "stuff," well, that's actually the point, isn't it?

    March 02, 2007

    Our Money, Our World

    Ladies, how are we going to spend our money today?

    At least, the $2.7 billion we’re going to earn.

    You. Me. Your friends. My two sisters. The woman next door. The cashier at the 7-11. The CEO speeding by on her way to work at a company downtown. The school nurse. Your kid’s teacher.

    $2.7 billion a day. $1 trillion a year. Collectively, that’s what we’ll earn and that’s what we have the potential to spend. That’s in addition to the billions we influence if we’re managing budgets at home, at work, or for organizations we volunteer for.

    So: back to my question.

    How are we going to spend our money today?

    The reason I ask is because…it matters, especially when it comes to protecting our environment. Here’s how.

    You’ve all heard the old saying, “Money talks.”

    I look at it a little differently.

    I believe money makes things move. It’s like the way flowing water can dislodge a tiny pebble, but eventually thrust even big boulders downstream. The way we spend money moves politicians to vote, governments to act, other people to care.

    Our spending habits also influence the kind of products companies manufacture, and how. Because manufacturing burns so much energy and uses so many resources, a company’s decisions affect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the places we go to relax and connect to our spiritual selves. Global warming? Yup, that, too.

    The more we opt for products that benefit the environment, the more we move companies to be more environmentally responsible, and the better off we all are.

    It’s that simple.

    We women spend 85 cents of every dollar that’s spent in the marketplace today. We’re not just buying diapers and cheese doodles, either. We’re major purchasers of cars, electronics, tools, clothing, sporting equipment, and more. We have as much potential to move manufacturers to be “green” as there are products on the shelves of our local grocery store, Home Depot, Best Buy or Sports Authority.

    You know that other old saying, the one about the future being “in our hands”?

    Well, it’s not.

    Ladies, our future is in our purses.

    We can spend our money dislodging a few pebbles here and there.

    Or we can spend it moving big boulders downstream

    It’s our money. Our world.

    I say we move boulders.

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
    Green by