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Share your ideas, tips, and suggestions on small ways each of us can add to our everyday lives in order to help our environment and slow down the rate of global warming. One person can do so much!
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Jul. 15th, 2008 @ 08:18 pm Shhh...don't tell the shampoo companies but...
You're better off just washing/rinsing your hair with water (assuming you don't use chemicals on you hair to start with). I had a teacher in high school (Coach Rainey I think it was) tell the health class he taught that using shampoo and/or washing more than once a week was bad for you and your hair. It strips the natural oils that you pay for conditioners to put back in. This particular teacher had also survived cancer (despite being a fairly young man) and strove to eliminate chemicals from his life.

I've recently started washing with water only and it leaves my hair in the best condition. While I like the smell of the "natural" shampoos I sometimes use, I like the condition of my hair without them better. No frizzies or fly away hairs and with more lustre. It does tend to look a bit greasy after more than a couple of days so I don't agree with no more often than once a week; but cleaning your hair with just water every other day or so works great for me and I encourage everyone to give it a try. Oh, and let us know the results, please!
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Jul. 13th, 2008 @ 01:52 pm Save the Planet, Save Yourself
Current Mood: calmcalm
Tags: ,
A friend shared a link with me recently for Meatless Mondays, which I had never heard of before.  It's a national health campaign supported by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in which people ascribing to the typical several servings of meat a day diet vow to not eat any meat at all on Mondays.  It was designed to help bring down the numbers of obesity-related deaths as attributed to various cancers, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.  Of course, it can save you a ton of money, be light on the environment, and help fight world starvation too but they don't actually mention that on the website!

Some of us are already doing this and others in our group are vegetarian and vegan too but perhaps this project may be a good resource for someone you know who wants to make a difference for the environment or improve their health status and doesn't know how.  I checked the site over and there are a lot of good tips and tools related to cooking as well as a couple of interesting recipes, some created by celebrities.  It could be a spring board to a whole lifestyle change.

One nice section of the site is that it that teaches the public how to critique health and nutrition information seen in the news.  Smarter consumers will lead to better food choices and better food choices will lead to ecological changes that can serve to restore our environment.  We can start a revolution plate by plate and what's one day for a meat eater anyway?  Challenge builds character.  Let's do it.

For the politically minded folks: check out the campaign's sponsors here.
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Jun. 26th, 2008 @ 10:50 am Get rid of those shower curtains
Enviroblog: New Shower Curtain Smell is Gross
It may not be news to regular Enviroblog readers, but it's official: new shower curtain smell is caused by toxic chemicals.
A study commissioned by the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice looked at the chemical composition of PVC shower curtains bought at a variety of retailers (from Sears to Bed Bath & Beyond). 
They found, unsurprisingly, that shower curtains contain high levels of phthalates. They also found high levels of organotins, and the single shower curtain tested for off-gassing released 108 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Click to continue reading.
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Hiker Me
Jun. 20th, 2008 @ 11:30 am BPA Tips & History
Current Location: Ionia, MI
Current Mood: calmcalm
I found a guide on Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA, which is a chemical found in #7 plastics and in the liners of some cans that has been deemed harmful to humans.  If you've never  heard of BPA, you might want to take a look at an article written by Catherine Zandonella, M.P.H called "The Bisphenol-A Debate: A Suspect Chemical in Plastic Bottles and Cans" from 2006.  If you just want to see the list "Eight Ways to Avoid Harmful Chemicals from Cans and Plastic Bottles" it will give you some idea of what to avoid and you can find that by clicking on the link above and choosing page 4.

Ms. _stacy also made a post about this subject previously in which more article links can be found if you want to know more.  Knowledge is power!  If anyone has any further information about BPA, please jump into the conversation.  Prior to this, I didn't even know can liners contained BPA or that it was so prevalent in wine.
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Jun. 16th, 2008 @ 10:21 am TIA: BPA Info
Can anyone tell me where I could look up BPA information on plastics, specifically cups? Is there somewhere I can test the generic ones I have or are there rules for figuring it out yourself, someone told me it's only clear plastic - but I don't believe that.

I have several cups I love that aren't clear plastic, and I'd love to be able to keep them... but don't want to use them as my daily water cups if they're filled with BPA.
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Jun. 1st, 2008 @ 08:54 am World Changing
Current Location: 48846
Current Mood: contentcontent
Deep in the bowels of World Changing: A User's Guide for the 21st Century, I had an epiphany that I had finally reached the point where I could start to go farther in reforming my earth-gobbling ways without wasting emotion on mistakes of the past.  Edited by Alex Steffen, this amazing book takes the reader through every single aspect of living and actually gives an honest picture of how our choices impact our lives and the lives of others across the planet.  It isn't condemnatory but well-researched and balanced in terms of cause and effect.  For instance, if you never considered how U.S. farm subsidies affect cotton growers overseas, you can figure it out in a paragraph that spells it out simply.  You seriously do not need an agricultural or economics degree and the goal of the book isn't to smash the fun out of our lives but urge us to think critically about what we're doing, why, and how we can make changes that will support the Earth and all its wonderful inhabitants.

My sister bought this book for me but you may seek it out at our library or check out their website: http://www.worldchanging.com

In honor of the book and the efforts of all of you to continually question and refine your lives, I have decided to share a few notes related to my progress in this respect and also to some future goals that I am working on making a reality.  I hope you will share your successes, dreams, and advice with each other here too!

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May. 25th, 2008 @ 10:38 am A Little Black Humor
Current Location: 48846
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
In the May 20th edition of the NY Times, Steven D. Levitt writes of the solution to our global warming woes in his farcical piece, "To Fight Global Warming We Must Tax All Recreational Exercise".  Of course, he is joking but his short article raises some interesting points about obesity, inactivity, and how our actions affect the world on an economic scale while at the same time impacting the bathroom scale.

No matter where you are and what you're doing to remember our servicemen and servicewomen this memorial weekend, I do hope you are enjoying the Earth as it is right now.  Take care!
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May. 2nd, 2008 @ 10:07 am Bike Sharing
Current Mood: okayokay
You've heard of car sharing.  Now, meet bike sharing!  There's a new program that starts in D.C. this month that will allow people to rent bikes to use as transportation for a few hours at a crack.  The program is coming soon to San Francisco and is being considered in the cities of Chicago and Portland as well.  My husband forwarded a NY Times article about it to me and now, I share it with all of you.

Bicycle-Sharing Program to Be First of Kind in the U.S.

I think it's an intriguing program.  If we had it in Grand Rapids or Lansing, MI, I would use it instead of the buses to get around.  Although I commute by car, when I carpool, sometimes I get stuck on the other side of town and have to make my way back to the lot, so this would be a great way for Americans to get some exercise if the destination is too far to walk and mid-day buses tend to be very crowded.  What do you think?  $40/year sounds terribly reasonable.
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Apr. 25th, 2008 @ 11:55 pm Questions About Composting Inside an Apartment
1)Can I shred paper plates and put them in a compost?

2)What do I do w/ the soil once its ready to come out of the compost. How do I remove the soil w/ out taking out the worms?

3)Are worms that come out of the ground the same worms they use for composting?

4)Is there going to be maggots in this?
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Emily Browning
Apr. 25th, 2008 @ 08:54 am Agua Unwrapped
Current Mood: blankblank
The May issue of Vegetarian Times has a good article about the debate surrounding bottled water versus tap water.  Many people are convinced that bottled water is cleaner and safer to drink but what is the truth and how does our consumption of this natural occurring element affect our pocketbooks and our environment?  You can't access the article online but some of the research they culled for the article is online.
The Natural Resources Defense Council studied several bottled water brands and compiled some data you might find interesting:

Bottled Water
Pure Drink or Pure Hype?

The cliff notes version:

1.) 25% of bottled water is tap water like from the city of Houston, for example.

2.) In the sample the NRDC tested, 22% of the bottles contained chemical contaminants above set levels for consumption.  It included nasties like arsenic (which is in city tap water across the country as well) chloroform, nitrates, and bacteria.

3.) The VT article noted that recycling is on the decline across the U.S. and the NRDC says that several thousand tons of global warming pollution is emitted when bottled water is shipped into NY and CA ports from foreign destinations and that overwhelmingly, they end up in landfills except for a mere 13% which are recycled.

It's an interesting debate as bottled water is a strange new commodity that didn't exist when our parents were kids.  No one is really saying that you shouldn't stockpile/rotate for emergencies such as hurricanes but if you're really concerned about the quality and want to know exactly where the water is coming from, you could poke a friend in Congress or contact the FDA:

Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.
Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857

Or you could buy a stainless steel container and pour your own as VT notes the cost of bottled water is hundreds of dollars more expensive than what comes out of your own faucet.
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