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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.
  • October 15, 2012

    Protect Us and Our Kids from Toxic Chemicals Now!

    Why are we still exposed to so many toxic chemicals?

    CarsonWe know they threaten our health and wreck the environment. Fifty years ago, in her revolutionary book Silent Spring, scientist Rachel Carson drew a bright red line between the use of pesticides like DDT and threats to our environment. As Leigh at Green4U writes, "She was the canary in the coal mine..." who sounded the alarm about chemicals in our environment and, sadly, died before DDT, the chemical she most studied, could be banned. 

    The Environmental Protection Agency was founded a few years later, in part to protect people and the planet from dangerous chemicals like those Rachel Carson identified. Since then, dozens, if not hundreds of non-profit organizations and scientific institutes have documented the impact chemicals have on our ability to reproduce, bear healthy babies, raise thriving children, and live healthy lives. And yet, we're still exposed to dangerous chemicals that wreak havoc on our hormones, our brains, and our bodies.

    In honor of Silent Spring, in observance of today's Blog Action Day, and to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many concerned women have weighed in, expressing their ongoing belief that we must be protected from exposure to toxic chemicals at all costs. Shane at Environmental Booty captured the hopeful sentiment we all share when she wrote, "There is no other choice than to stand in spirit with Rachel Carson to create a sustainable future.  We must work together to create a future full of the most uproarious Springs.  Springs filled with the beautiful sounds of children playing, birds singing and mothers and fathers breathing huge sighs of relief because they fought for our future that will be healthy and sustainable for our planet as well as their families."

    Why Are We Still Threatened?

    Continue reading "Protect Us and Our Kids from Toxic Chemicals Now!" »

    September 14, 2012

    Think Ahead to Meatless Monday with this Delicious Casserole

    Farmers markets, roadside stands and bins in the grocery store are full of the ripe ingredients that combine to make recipes from La Tartine Gourmande, a new cookbook from Beatrice Peltre that emphasizes fresh, organic and seasonal cooking. The book itself features everything I like in a collection of recipes: simple directions, straightforward lists of ingredients, and beautiful photographs, thanks to the pictures taken by the author herself.  La-tartine-gourmande-book-small

    The recipes include breakfast, lunches, dinners and desserts "to inspire." They're as beautiful to look at as they are delicious to taste. And many of them, like the vegetable "tian" described below, offer a perfect alternative to meat on Meatless Monday or any day.

    Serve your tian with a fresh green salad tossed with a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, a sprinkling of sea salt and a twist of cracked pepper. If your diet is gluten free, take another 5 minutes to make some whole-grain couscous. Otherwise, use a slice of whole grain bread to sop up the juices left in the bottom of your dish. 


    Summer Vegetable Tian

    The following recipe serves 4. If that's all you need, you can still double up and freeze what you don't eat, or cover and serve again later in the week. 

    By the way, a "tian" is a dish from the south of France. It features layers of summer vegetables baked slowly in a low-temperature oven so that the flavors and scents of all the vegetables combine without losing their individual taste. I first tried it at a neighbor's dinner party. As delicious as it was the day it was cooked, my neighbor said it was even more flavorful the next day when the left-overs were re-heated.

     Ingredients (serves 4)

    1 tablespoon chopped lemon thyme or regular thyme

    1/4 cup chopped basil

    Eggplant rounds5 garlic cloves minced

    2 Italian eggplants (280 g; 10 oz), sliced into thin rounds

    Sea salt

    olive oil

    2 zucchini (400 g; 14 oz), thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)

    3 to 4 ripe tomatoes (550 g; 19 1/2 oz), thinly sliced

    2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (280 g; 10 oz) (use a mandoline if you have one)


    Here's What You Do:

    Continue reading "Think Ahead to Meatless Monday with this Delicious Casserole" »

    November 20, 2008

    Big Green Purse a Finalist for "Books for a Better Life" Award


    I'm honored! Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, is a finalist for the prestigious "Books for a Better Life" Award given annually by the New York City Chapter of the National MS Society. The winner will be announced Monday, February 23, 2009 during an awards ceremony at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in Manhattan hosted by Meredith Vieira, co-anchor of NBC’sToday show.

    Keep your fingers crossed for me!

    July 23, 2008

    Go Green, Live Rich

    Go_green With all the belt-tightening going on, most people seem ready to give up whatever eco-friendly actions they've adopted in order to economize. In his new book, Go Green, Live Rich, best-selling author David Bach makes a convincing case that saving energy and resources will not just save you money, but make you money, too. He offers four steps for greener living that could save you $10 a day every day of the year. They are:

    1) improve your car's fuel economy: save $884 annually

    2) seal leaks in your home to reduce heating and cooling needs; save $129

    3) adjust thermostat in either direction 3 degrees: save $85

    3) Bring lunch to work (in reusable containers): save $1,560

    Total savings: $3,758 per year, or approximately $10 a day.

    Green_pig_2And, says Bach, if you invest that $10 a day (instead of finding new things to spend it on), and you earn a 10 percent annual return (which you can earn through investments in green funds, by the way), in 30 years you would have $678, 146.

    So...before you think you can't afford to live green, think again. Not only will you enjoy immediate savings, but you'll have extra investment income to help fill your green piggy bank for the future.

    March 06, 2008

    Big Green Purse Book Goes on Sale!

    Book_icon Our new book, Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, rolled off the presses this week and women across the country have been writing to say, "Hooray!"

    Though dozens of "green living" books crowd store bookshelves, Big Green Purse is the only one that highlights the power of the purse to protect the environment. The book's message is loud and clear: Women spend eighty-five cents of every consumer dollar. When we make our money matter -- either by buying less or by buying green -- we protect the planet and ourselves.

    The book:

    * targets key commodities (like coffee, cosmetics, clothing and cleansers) where your dollars can have the most impact

    * provides standards-based guidelines and "thumbs up/thumbs down" ratings to help you shift your spending to eco-friendly products, companies and services

    * highlights "eco-cheap" strategies to help you save money but still live and shop green

    * reveals phony "greenwashing" marketing techniques you'll want to avoid

    * suggests simple and quick environmental lifestyle changes you can make regardless of how much money you spend.

    Mary Hunt, sustainable marketing maven, calls Big Green Purse "the most important book your book club will read this year...women like listening to Diane, she knows how women work...Big Green Purse brilliantly blends the two (the scientific and the pragmatic), providing the HOW TO's that you don't see anywhere else with stories that burn a visual into your brain...Like many "tip books" this one is packed, but it comes with context and real life experiences - that's the motivating difference for me... Big Green Purse is a "must read, save, refer to" book that will get us through the next critical decision- making years."

    That totally sums it up!

    Order your copy here. And while you're at it, get one for your sister or best friend, too. Feel free to send me your questions, comments and review!

    September 19, 2007

    New Book Encourages Teens to Get with the (Turtle) Beat!

    Covermed Living in Costa Rica, Marina Kuperman has been inspired to protect sea turtles. Her new book Turtle Feet, Surfer's Beat is one way she's helping to educate and involve teenagers in understanding how important it is to protect these animals from extinction.

    The story revolves around a typical suburban American, Penelope, who is forced to go to Costa Rica with her parents when her father gets a new job. Her parents enroll an unwilling Penelope and her little brother at the Leatherback Turtle Biological Station camp.  Penelope isn't pleased but forgives the horrid accommodations and the never ending bug brigade when she sees the turtle. She pledges to do all she can to save it from extinction. But hang ten, dudes! Penelope is about to get help.  One lonely night, as she's patrolling the beach for turtle poachers, she stumbles and falls directly into the arms of the local surf champ.  Together they dive into the world of surfing and marine preservation.

    I interviewed Marina recently during her blog tour.

    What took you to Costa Rica in the first place? I moved to Costa Rica about 4 years ago because my husband got a full grant to get his masters degree in Wildlife Management here.  And because it's such a great place we decided to stay.

    How did you get involved with the turtles? We took a trip to Tamarindo beach and Playa Grande.  At night the thing to do is to go on a tour to the Leatherback  Turtle Biological Center and see the turtles lay their eggs.  It was one of the most magical moments of my life, and when I found out that they are on the brink of extinctioin I was moved to act.  My son is three years old, and I really want him to see this animal in its natural habitat when he grows up. With that in mind, I became inspired to write a young adult book about marine preservation. Environmental education, if not handled properly, can be an extremely boring topic, so I incorporated the surf town of Tamarindo with surfing action, beach parties, teen romances and marine preservation.

    Why did you decide to write a book aimed at teenagers?  Teens and kids are the future. They will be the most affected by the problems of today. However, since they are not so set in their ways yet, it's easier for them to start changing the way they do things from an early age so that it becomes part of their life. 

    What are you doing in Costa Rica besides writing books? For now I'm focusing on getting my website and teen community going.

    Can teenagers really make a difference in protecting the turtles, or on any other environmental issue? Absolutely. It's about making the right moves from the start rather than doing something wrong and then trying to repair it. The thing with teens, if they are having a fun time doing something, it doesn't
    seem like they are really doing anything at all, it just feels right!

    How threatened are the turtles in Costa Rica and elsewhere? They are literally almost extinct. 15 years ago 1600 turtles came to nest on Playa Grande; today, if there are 50 turtles they call it a good year.  Scientists are predicting that if we don't do something drastic, there will be no more leatherbacks in less than 10 years.

    What are the biggest threats the turtles face? Overdevelopment.  Beach front land is hot property no matter where you live.  The strong lights, too much noise and pets scare the turtles away and they end up staying in the waters and not coming in to lay their eggs.

    Bannermed For more information about the community of teens, surfers, artists, scientists and everyone else Marina is involving in marine preservation, visit

    May 26, 2007

    What is it about Rachel Carson that some misguided souls just love to hate?

    Sspring Rachel Carson, who would have turned 100 years old on May 27, was a marine biologist and award-winning writer who warned the world about the dangers of pesticides and herbicides in her fearless book, Silent Spring. Published in 1962, Silent Spring revealed that toxic chemicals have a long-lasting presence in our water and on the land. It documented traces of DDT in mother’s milk, while alerting us to the threat it posed to other creatures, especially songbirds.

    President John F. Kennedy was so moved by Silent Spring that he initiated a presidential advisory committee to study the issues it raised. The U.S. Senate opened an investigation into the use and abuse of pesticides based on her research. Nevertheless, Rachel was vilified by the agricultural chemical industry, who accused the book of being “sinister” and “hysterical.”

    Today, we’re coming full circle. Even as proof mounts almost daily that cancer is linked to pesticides and herbicides, Rachel Carson’s detractors persist. Their latest ploy? Derail an effort in the U.S. Senate to commemorate Rachel’s birth and honor her unique contribution to environmental protection.

    Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is using Senate rules to oppose a commemoration of Rachel Carson, blaming the pioneer for using “junk science” to sway public opinion against DDT and other chemicals. 

    Carson On the eve of Rachel’s 100th birthday, her own words seem more relevant today than when they first appeared on the page:

    “The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery - not over nature but of ourselves”

    “Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species -- man -- acquired significant power to alter the nature of his world.”

    “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'”

    April 18, 2007

    Teresa Heinz Kerry Supports Marketplace Change

    Teresa Teresa Heinz Kerry, chair of the Heinz Family Philanthropies, is poised to kick off the annual Women's Health & Environment Conference in Pittsburgh, PA April 20. I caught up with her on her blogtour to ask her opinion on the way women can use their big green purse to protect the planet.

    DM: How important is the marketplace as a venue for environmental change?

    Teresa: The market can change the status quo overnight, and it can either help or hurt the environment.

    For example, when CEOs decide to change their purchasing or investing practices to be more environmentally friendly, it can have an immediate impact on both the environment and how other businesses respond. And, when a CEO is prepared to encourage their workforce to think creatively, to accept a challenge to find ways to cut costs and do it in an environmentally sustainable way, it can result in a win-win outcome.

    Kerrybook In the book John and I just finished, This Moment on Earth, we share the story of Alice Waters, who founded the restaurant Chez Panisse. As Susannah Abbey reports,

    "To supply the restaurant, Waters bought only food grown in accordance with the principles of sustainable agriculture. Since it opened in 1971, the fixed-price menus offered nightly at Chez Panisse have consisted only of fresh ingredients, harvested in season, and purchased from local farmers.

    "By pursuing one goal, Waters has accomplished another: she has successfully established relationships with local farmers and become an integral part of the agricultural community (she serves on the board of one of the farmers' markets). In this way she has demonstrated how a restaurant can thrive while contributing to the general welfare of a community."

    Teresa continued: The markeplace can also be very important for driving change. Purchasing locally grown and organic products drives demand for those products, allowing the producers to thrive and expand, and encourages more producers to enter the market, thus making healthier products available to more consumers.  For the environment, that means lower transportation costs (less pollutants) in the air, and for the consumer it means fresher food.

    DM: What steps can women take in the marketplace to protect themselves from the most serious environmental threats that impact their health?

    Teresa: Understand what you are purchasing by becoming an informed consumer. Check specific websites that can be helpful, such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the Environmental Working Group regarding their work on the body burden, and the Nature Conservancy for their Zero Emissions program.

    Next, combine your purchasing power with that of other women and men. In other words, if we are going to successfully bring more environmental, organic and other products into the marketplace, it will take the financial clout of millions of Americans purchasing together. Remember, numbers times dollars equals green power.

    DM: What role can students play?

    Teresa: Take a look at a book that Alice Tepper Marlin produced called Students Shopping for a Better World.

    It's a do-it-yourself guide on how to exercise your power as a consumer to protect the environment, promote equal opportunities for women and minorities in the business world, prevent cruelty to animals and reward corporations that act responsibly.

    I happened to grow up in  real jungle. With the information provided in this book, you will be able to clear a path through the jungle we call the consumer marketplace.  Our goal is to get companies to march to the same tune as their customers and understand the reasons we have for buying their products. Such consumer power will force responsible social and environmental behavior through economics - for a future we can all afford.

    DM: Women seem to be the victim of many ingredients in cosmetics that have the potential to harm our health, from nanoingredients to parabens to phthalates. What advice do you have for women who want to use cosmetics but still protect their health?

    Teresa:  We all need to know what we are using and whether it is safe. Check with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as well as Environmental Working Group. And, as you are doing that, ask your member of Congress why there is no federal agency responsible for monitoring the ingredients in cosmetics, personal care and household products! Then ask them what they are going to do to help!!

    DM:  Any final thoughts?

    Teresa: As John Heinz said, standing on the steps of the Capitol on Earth Day 1990, "Remember that green is magic...and the color of your money is green.  Use your green magic as if the fate of our planet depends on the decisions you make every day.  It does."

    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.

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
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