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Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Mama Earth says, FML

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

You think YOU’RE depressed? Have you resorted to spiking your kombucha?

Think how Mama Earth feels these days. Watch the video on chatroulette.

Let’s not FML along with hers, huh? Tell her it’s not all that bad on —– washing in cold water saves 80% of energy use

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Little things, little things, right? We can and should keep moving forward towards less energy use and less CO2 emissions individually, collectively, and as consumers. So, caught my attention. As in, “I do 30degrees C when I use a washing machine – the cold setting. I’ve been doing this for years, but I didn’t know that I was saving a LOT of energy use. Almost 80% of the energy use of a washing machine comes from heating the water. Wow. Get everyone on board and that’s some math equation.

Did you know:

Enzymes have been used to improve the cleaning efficiency of detergents for more than 35 years, and are now well accepted as ingredients in powder and liquid detergents, stain removers/laundry pre-spotters, automatic dishwashing detergents and industrial/institutional cleaning products. Industrial/Institutional Detergents Industrial and institutional laundries have traditionally used strongly alkaline detergents and high temperature washing. However, because of increasing wastewater treatment and energy costs, many industrial and institutional laundries have opted to use enzyme-containing detergents as an effective means of reducing costs and maintaining cleaning performance at lower temperatures and alkalinity.

35 years? Where have I been? This information needs to spread faster and farther. So many people still assume they need to use hot water to get things clean. Join the group on Facebook or just pass on the info. to friends.

Yep, this group is sponsored by an enzyme company called, NOVOZYMES. But, you know, it needs to come from the source and bringing consumers and other environmental organizations into the loop is more than fine by me.

In fact, they’re not hard-selling because I couldn’t figure out where/how to buy their products or what to look for in my current detergents. If anyone else has luck, let me know?

Vegan Alternatives VS Real Food

Friday, February 26th, 2010

I left behind my vegetarian/vegan lifestyle slowly but surely over the past several years. I did so by listening an learning to both new information and my instincts. And I did so only after I found and researched local sources for dairy and meat. If only factory-farmed animal products were available, i would not be adding it to my diet. But, happily, local farms are making a comeback in many areas and I was immediately willing to learn about the benefits for my health, for my community and for the planet. (Remember this post?)

In this ongoing process, I found out that my Pitta constitution thrives on raw dairy (cools my firey nature) and that occasional meat (often also raw) satiates me in a way that vegan food never did. I’m happy to support local farmers. But, most of all, I’m happy to leave behind the processed food that served as vegan alternatives. Although I still love to cook with fermented soy products like tempeh and miso – it became harder and harder to look at things like fake cheeses, lunchmeats, “burgers” or egg substitutes as real food. Because in many ways, they are not. I don’t miss the odd taste or the way they left me craving more. Read more here from Grist Food Editor, Tom Philpott.

If you carry through the logic, it becomes obvious that processed food is far from sustainable, including, and maybe especially, vegan processed food (consider the fact that many vegan alternative products contain GMOs). Processing means loads of energy and resource use. It may also mean miles of travel.

The farther you take this logic, the healthier you will be. Raw nuts rather than nut butter? Whole grain cereals like oatmeal or amaranth rather than dry cereal in a package…’s all worth it, your taste buds re-learn to crave what nature serves up best, your wallet will be happier, too.

Remember, when it comes to food choices (and many other things) it’s what you do MOST of the time that matters. Stay informed. Stay open. Stay healthy.

Freeze Yer Buns with friends

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

I woke up this morning – still cold. I really wanted to get things toasty for 6am yoga practice, but everything about yesterday’s post reminded me to get over it and get with it. I closed the doors to practice space, turned on the space heater and got to work. If YOU need more inspiration/motivation to turn it down or off, visit and pledge to “Freeze Yer Buns” in 2010.

I loved this site – Deanna Duke, aka Crunchy Chicken,  is a girl in a Seattle – a lovely Leo – who is “putting the mental in environmental”.  The site is sincere but not so serious – plenty of wiggle room for wimps like me. She’s moving and shaking lots of enviro, health, and social issues on other blogs as well. I loved hearing from her readers, too. Grab some warmth any way you can. You sent some to me, Deanna – thanks!

Global Warming is Weird

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

by Tao

Back in the day, scientists noticed abruptly changing weather patterns over the planet. Since much of it had to do with warming temperatures, the phrase “global warming” was born. This was unfortunate because as time passed and studies continued, the trends began to look a lot more weird than warm. Cold when it was supposed to be warm, warm where it’s supposed to be cold. Extreme temperature shifts, droughts in wet areas, then flooding. We started referring to the problem mmore accurately as “global climate change”.

But out there in the mainstream, it didn’t fully stick. Many people, when asked about climate change issues think of warming. So, when many parts of the world experience below normal temps, above normal snowfall – as in the U.S. this year – there is a false sense of security – a hope that we were wrong, a unjustified sigh of relief. I know because I’m tempted to feel the same way.

After a several years of variations of drought and heat, we’ve been soaked with rain and freezing our butts off here in NC this Winter. I wish I could let myself believe we bought some time when it comes to the consequences we are facing, but I would be giving into our favorite human coping mechanism, denial. And denial is a powerful tool, as I pointed out here.

Johnathan Hiskes, on, asks us to consider the smart and scientific explanations on his post here.

Stay warm everyone. I hope it snows in Vancouver. Most of all, don’t get fearful. Get forceful. Make change happen.

Clean Death? – replace your toxic cleaners!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

by Tao, Carrboro, NC

Did you hear the one about the Cleaning professional who blew up her car by lighting a cigarette?

I wish this was a joke, but it’s true and not all that surprising – It was full of popular, but toxic, cleaning supplies. (Fortunately, she survived the mishap, though suffered burns.)

New Year’s Resolution time – protect yourself and your environment by switching to GREEN CLEANING SUPPLIES. There’s lots of convenient choices for every need in stores and online – even drain cleaner, furniture polish, and more. If this isn’t where you want to spend your dollars, you can also make your own cleaners for just about anything with inexpensive, safe ingredients like vinegar, salt, and baking soda. You know the scoop.

A new one for me: If Winter dryness is causing you static and you are tempted to buy dryer sheets, don’t, just add about 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle.

Contact your local hazardous waste facility by using the phone book or checking their website. To get a headstart on your options, you can also visit Earth911.

Most importantly, don’t wait – those chemicals sitting under your sink, in the attic or garage are not doing anyone or anything any good. Start CLEAN in the New Year!

Jackson Browne on plastic water bottles – more fun my way

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Jackson Browne doesn’t drink water out of plastic. He says this supposed convenience that we are overcharged for is actually inconvenient for everyone, considering what it is doing to our health and the planet. In fact, he has a lot to say regarding this issue when interviewed by Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish following the recent screening of the documentary, Tapped (a documentary which trails the path of the unseen and unregulated world of the bottled water industry).

Jackson isn’t just playing around. He keeps his metal water bottle attached to his belt, takes it on airplanes, takes his own metal coolers for his band and crew on tour, and declines the flats of bottled water left for him in hotel rooms. In fact, to be certain to get his message across, he tells us his latest idea is to leave a note saying, “This water’s being declined by a member of the worldwide movement to protect the planet and our own health and to take back our right to a clean environment.”

And, he’s having fun, In fact, he says “fun” at least 3 times in the same interview:

“It’s more fun to do it my way. It’s strong, it’s healthy, it’s empowering. It’s more fun than taking that crap.”

I’ve always loved the music. Now I love the man.

There is more to the bottled water issue than meets the eye. There are major health risks posed from BPA – the chemical building block of clear, hard plastic  – which wreaks havoc on our entire hormonal system – and from much smaller amounts than previously considered (go to Plastic Pollution Coalition for more. Our oceans and rivers clogged with plastic, our landfills overflowing, and baby albatross are dying of starvation from a belly full of the stuff – a metaphor for our entire society, Browne points out. Watch the video and find out why.

(Photo from

Catalog Choice – just in time for holiday mailing madness

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Remember Green Dimes? I joined last year and yep, for just a few dimes I’ve gotten off and stayed off most junk mail lists. However, another holiday season is approaching and I’m seeing some new catalogs have found me. I’ve been calling some of them to get of their lists, but it usually involves a long hold period, and reciting my name and address endlessly.

Just in time, I heard about a nonprofit, founded in October of 2007, which gets consumers OFF unwanted catalog lists. The online steps are simple and quick and once you’re in the system, you can return conveniently any time a new catalog shows up. This means you can still receive the catalogs you want, but, think twice (or three times) about how much you really get out of these when you can use their websites to browse products and place orders. is free and does not share your information with ANY lists of services. They already have over one million members and have kept over 13 million unwanted catalogs out of the mail. Catalog Choice also has a program for merchants which can help them clean up their distribution lists to save mailing costs, while actually increasing their customer base and respect customer preferences.

I’m signing on today, before the holiday mailing madness really gets in gear. Join me.

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