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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.
  • « July 2009 | Main | September 2009 »

    August 25, 2009

    Natural Weed Control: Battle the Hassle and Banish the Herbicides

    Dandelionflower Weeds! Don’t you hate em?

    And no wonder.

    Weeds are like those prank candles people put on top of a beautifully decorated birthday cake. You go to make your birthday wish --only to have it thrown back in your face when the candles refuse to blow out. No matter how often you blow, the flame reappears. Then, just when you think you’ve finally won, you realize you’ve sprayed wax all over the cake, leaving you both defeated and wishless.

    Although the scenario is an obvious exaggeration, it highlights the challenge you face every time you try to control weeds. They keep coming back. And if your only solution is to use chemicals to control them, well, it’s a lot like spraying wax all over your delicious cake.

    There are some environmentally friendly herbal and biodegradable sprays you can use to control unwanted plants. But before you take that step, try these practical, eco, and cheap cultivation techniques.

    Go back to the beginning. The key to safe, environmental weed control lies in creating great growing conditions for your desired plants. Weed seeds exist in every garden, but healthy soil will discourage them from growing . What can you do? Aerate your lawn to keep the soil loose and fertile. Water foundation plants so they’ll stay healthy and grow to the appropriate size. Add compost and sunlight to build a nourishing environment for the plants you want to thrive. 

    Play around with your planting.  Space your plants closer together. As the plants reach maturity their leaves will touch and help block out light to the ground below, making it more difficult for weeds to survive. You can also try competitive planting, such as putting some bushes or fast-growing annual plants in your bed to prevent  weed seeds from germinating. To avoid buying expensive nursery plants,  save money by swapping plants with friends and neighbors instead. 

    Mulch heavily. A thick layer of mulch keeps the light from reaching the weeds. Bonus? Organic mulch such as straw, grass clippings, leaves and shredded bark will nourish your soil as they decompose.

    Continue reading "Natural Weed Control: Battle the Hassle and Banish the Herbicides" »

    August 23, 2009

    Shift Your Spending to Protect the Environment

    We launched the "One in a Million" challenge to encourage consumers to shift $1,000 of their usual household budget to products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefit. To date, almost 5,000 people have made the shift, resulting in a $5 million impact in the marketplace.

    Here's the inspiring story of Cassandra, one of our most recent shifters. Thanks for becoming One in a Million!

    Cassandra Hi Diane!

    I signed up for your "One in a Million" challenge last year at the beginning of May after I purchased your book. I am delighted to report I have achieved the goal of shifting $1000 towards organic products in one year. My total was $1153.06.

    Just after I signed up for your challenge I moved from Syracuse, New York to Salt Lake City, Utah. This made my challenge both easier and harder. I didn't know where to shop for organic foods and I had to start from scratch with appliances and furniture.

    I learned quickly and began shopping at Whole Foods as well as thrift stores for furniture for my new apartment, kitchen supplies, and clothes. I tried to share my excitement with my family and friends by buying them "green presents" - organic soaps, used books, organic chocolate, bamboo shirts, and organic cotton socks for their birthdays and Christmas. As a result my mother has begun to use her reusable grocery bags and buys organic fruits and vegetables. I'm working on convincing her to switch to organic laundry detergents.

    I work as a project manager for a small firm based out of Arizona. Currently, I am helping my company manage the construction of a large wind farm in southern Utah called the Milford Wind Corridor. My company acts as the third party compliance monitor ensuring the biological and cultural resources are protected during construction. It has given me a new perspective on the process of shifting to alternative energy.

    I enjoy being "green" at work and at home! Your book and blog has prompted me to be a better, more informed consumer.

    Thanks so much for your inspiration!


    How did Cassandra do it?

    Continue reading "Shift Your Spending to Protect the Environment" »

    August 14, 2009

    Is the Chevy Volt Good for the Environment?

     Chevy-volt-a01 General Motors has started manufacturing an electric vehicle called the Chevy Volt. It claims the car will drive up to 40 miles on its lithium-ion battery, which can be recharged at home or work using a regular electrical outlet. According to GM, more than 75 percent of Americans live within 20 miles of where they work. If that sounds like your commute, you could drive the Volt to your job and back on 100% electricity without generating any of the emissions that cause air pollution or climate change, at a cost of about 80 cents in electricity a day.

    If the battery does run down, the 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gas engine acts as a generator to charge the battery and provides enough power for up to an additional 600 miles. Says Chevy, the Volt will get 50 mpg with the generator running in what’s called "extended range" mode. If you drive 60 miles, with the last 20 miles in this mode, you'll enjoy a 150 mpg equivalent for the trip.

    Does the car's high fuel efficiency rating mean it's "good" for the environment? That begs the question, is ANY car good for the environment?

    After all, manufacturing a car is still a polluting, resource-intensive process. Fom an environmental perspective, driving a car is still inferior to using mass transit, biking, walking, and telecommuting,  Americans need better transportation options, not necessarily better cars.

    However, I think it's fair to say that the Volt is "better" for the environment, in several ways:

    It shows that any company - even one like General Motors, maker of one of the world's most polluting, least efficient vehicles, the Hummer - can make great strides in creating new products to protect the planet and human health.

    It demonstrates to consumers that their demands for more environmentally-responsible products create a powerful incentive to businesses to clean up their act.

    It fuels competition. General Motors may be the first to market with its electric car, but it won't be the last. It has set a standard other manufacturers will now be in a race to emulate.  Remember the history of hybrids in the U.S.? In 1998, there were virtually no hybrids being sold. In 1999 Honda introduced its first hybrid model, followed by the Tyotoa Prius hybrid in 2000. The wild popularity of these cars, especially the Prius, inspired a frenzy of re-design among all car companies. These days, every automobile manufacturer has at least one hybrid in its showroom - and over a million hybrids are being sold every year.

    Should we all get out of our cars more?

    Continue reading "Is the Chevy Volt Good for the Environment?" »

    August 01, 2009

    Did Swag Pollute BlogHer09?

    Blogher "Junk."  "Trash." "Stuff."

    These are just a few of the words I have heard used to describe the "swag" handed out at BlogHer09, a conference that has aroused as much backlash as "bravos" since it ended last week.

    How did things get so out of hand for an event and institution that have commanded so much respect since its founding five years ago?

    To some degree, BlogHer became a victim of its own success. The reputation of the conference has grown as "the" place to network with other bloggers, pick up new technical skills and get a sneak peak on blogging's future. As a result, demand to attend has skyrocketed, forcing BlogHer to hold the event in big cities with large conference facilities that turn out to be so expensive, corporate sponsors are needed to help defray costs.

    But corporate sponsors don't come to BlogHer conferences to promote blogging. They come to promote their brands and sell their products to the most powerful consumers in the world: American women who blog. The bigger (and more expensive) the conference gets for BlogHer and attendees, the more appealing it is to companies looking to promote themselves to the captive crowd a BlogHer conference delivers over two days.

    That was apparent in the degree to which corporations dominated virtually every aspect of BlogHer09 (see photos at FakePlasticFish and OrganicMania).

    As an attendee, I felt overwhelmed when I checked in Friday morning. Had I accidentally stumbled upon a promotional event for PepsiCo? The soft drink conglomerate, BlogHer09's major sponsor, seemed to be everywhere: manning its "Juice" TV studio on the main floor, aggressively handing out bottles of its new Trop 50 drink to passersby, dominating the Expo arena with the largest, busiest, freebie-est lounge. But PepsiCo wasn't alone. Every single session was sponsored by a company; some Fortune 500 entity attached its name to every meal and every party. There was no commercial-free "breathing space" anywhere on the agenda.

    As a member of the team BlogHer put together to help green the conference, I felt a bit cheated. The Green Team worked hard to collaborate with conference organizers and develop a list of items that would have low eco-impact but still satisfy attendees and conference sponsors alike. Indeed, BlogHer deserves credit for taking significant steps to reduce the environmental footprint of the conference by minimizing paper use, promoting recycling, and reducing waste. They also helped us negotiate with PepsiCo to eliminate bottled water at the event in favor of water dispensers, which we considered a major accomplishment. But I can't help but wonder if the environmental gains we secured through Green Team negotiations were neutralized by all the free bags of Fritos, throwaway plastic pouches of applesauce, and other disposables that were dispensed over the course of the event.

    It was especially demoralizing to learn that, in lieu of its throwaway plastic water bottles, Pepsico would hand out flavored water in -- yes - throwaway plastic. Talk about an empty victory

    As the moderator of the conference's Leadership panel on green and sustainability, I feel like it's my responsibility to step up and express my concerns. I can't lay total blame on the companies. I don't completely blame BlogHer, either. BlogHer founder Elisa Camahort is right when she says that going into the Expo was optional. No one forced attendees to take the junk being handed out there. And BlogHer evidently had no control over independent parties held in private suites to attract select conference goers. Whatever attendees chose to do, they did all on their own. 

    However, I do take issue with the argument that because BlogHer09 was not a "green" conference, the conference sponsors did not have to adhere to principles of sustainability in what they offered to attendees.

    "Green" is not a niche. It's not even a lifestyle choice. It's a matter of survival. We need to start treating it that way, including at events like BlogHer09.

    Continue reading "Did Swag Pollute BlogHer09?" »

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