Hating on Enviromentalism

I don’t get it. How can you call caring about the environment “earth-worshipping manure”? Or liberal happycrap?

Do you have to be a liberal to care about the earth or eat local foods that taste great and don’t have chemicals? I mean I fully believe in the death penalty. Hell, I believe in an-eye-for-an-eye. I think welfare is for lazy people looking for handouts and women who aren’t smart enough to understand the concept of birth control.

But really, your saying green is about the liberals and therefore you don’t support it. Do you go to the beach? Ever been there when your three year old got her foot cut on an aluminum can? Really is it that hard to recycle it or just throw it away. Or ever been to a national park where someone just enjoyed a cookout and left all their trash behind? Looks nice don’t you think. Or you think this is about energy because it is so plentiful. Right, cause you aren’t faced with rising energy bills and are 100% for leaving you lights on and blasting your A/C when you are at work because you want to stick it to the liberal man. Ooooh….you showed him and your checking account what burning through an extra 25okWh can do.

My annoyance comes from my recent run ins with random comments and rantings on articles I have read. And honestly I am so tired of this blinders on mentality that the following comments ignited my fury.

ttt4 My nine year old daughter is a girl scout (brownie, actually) and I have to routinely offer an alternative perspective to the ‘mother earth’ environmentalist hogwash that emanates from the scouts these days. We sold hundreds of boxes of overpriced cookies for these guys and for that I get this tree-hugging nonsense. Look, I can believe in some basic concepts of voluntary recycling, but this earth-worshiping manure that is slowly overtaking many of our classic American institutions drives me up the wall.

 
From Well Meaning Gentleman “But is there really a problem anyway? I am not an expert or a physicist BUT, in my recollection of some elementary physical science concepts from my school days (I was listening; we didn’t have text messaging back then), ENERGY CANNOT BE DESTROYED, DIMINISHED OR DEPLEATED, it can only change in form. It seems to me that all this extreme, fear mongering, tree-hugging, earth worshipping, hand-wringing, industry hating, bottled water drinking, global greening, sterilized liberal happycrap is nothing more than a rebellion against the Sovereign God who has created this world for our use and dominion and who will sustain it until He has accomplished His purpose in it.”
 
Climate Change Fraud — What hippies, the WWF and now the US Government forget is that polar bears managed to survive despite the cold and ice, not because of it.  Slightly more pleasant weather will probably see an increase in the number of deadly white killing machines, not their extinction.
 
We have one planet and it is ours to do with what we want. This isn’t a partisan movement it’s our WORLD.  And only human beings could so thoroughly thrash a place in such a short time. For those of us who do in fact care about our sliver of the earth, I applaud you for doing what you can and fighting what seems at times a losing battle. For those of you who don’t care, don’t come crying to us when it finally hits you close to home.
 
Kimberly Lancaster | Twitter

Who Will Win the 2010 Heart of Green Awards?

via the Daily Green

The Daily Green’s Heart of Green Awards honor those people and organizations that take green to the mainstream — to the “heart” of the American people.

On April 20, 2010 The Daily Green will host its second annual Heart of Green Awards ceremony in the LEED Gold-certified Hearst Tower in New York City.

In addition to honoring celebrities and stalwarts of the environmental movement, The Daily Green honors one Lifetime Achievement winner and one Local Hero, nominated by The Daily Green audience.

This year’s list of nominees include 22 year old Katie Sportz, the youngest person ever to cross the Atlantic in a rowboat solo in an effort to raise funds for clean water initiatives in developing nations.  The list also includes Spencer Brown, founder of Rent-a-Green-Box, a company dedicated to tackling the problem of overfilled landfills around the country.  For a full list of nominees, click here.

Posted by: Ashley / follow me on Twitter

Become a Jedi of the Farmer’s Market

Now that spring has officially sprung itself here in our lovely state of Rhode Island my thoughts are drifting towards the 2010 farmer’s market season. I am a huge fan of the Aquidneck Growers’ Market; I get there early so that I can get first dibs on all the goodies while sipping on an icy cup of deliciousness from Custom House Coffee. Since buying locally is the biggest way to high five mother earth I thought I’d put together some tips and tactics in preparation for the upcoming season–to make sure you find the produce you are looking for.

Straight from the horses—or in this case farmer’s mouth

Don’t be afraid to talk to the person tending the booth—it is an amazing opportunity to speak with the people who grow it–they want to answer your questions! Ask where your food comes from, are they certified organic? If not ask why, I guarantee they’ll have a good reason…maybe they are a very small family run farm who practices sustainability because the price tag of organic just doesn’t add up…but hey…sustainable farming is great too!

If you don’t know how to cook parsnips, rutabagas, artichokes or that some squash blossoms are edible (and delicious when panko breaded and fried!), ask for suggestions on preparing them.

Make a list, no need to check it twice

Knowing what’s in season won’t be very hard to figure out while you are at the farmers market since it will be all around you…but doing a little recon before making any purchases will help you out in two ways.

  1. Do a little research for in-season produce and look at seasonal menus to help you figure out what you’d like to be looking for and what to do with your locally grown haul. Oranges and Avocados don’t grow in Rhode Island in May…but Asparagus does!
  2. Make a loop around and take in all the sights before buying (I like to grab a coffee and a blueberry muffin…grazing while I take in the sights) you’ll kick yourself if you find amazing looking basil two tables down…for half the price!

It always helps to have a few loose ideas in your head as to what you are going to do with your produce…often the grower will want to hear about that delicious blueberry trifle you made the week before, your feedback can help them sell to the next person who doesn’t know what they’d do with a pound of fresh berries.

Money talks…debit cards walk…

Please oh please do not get frustrated when the farmer forgets their credit card machine at home…unless you are at in indoor farmer’s market most of the time there is no electricity at such events. You’d think this was common sense…but since I’ve seen it—I had to put it out there…

Also don’t be afraid to use your cash to shop for bargains—it doesn’t hurt to ask especially if you are at the tail end of the day—if two items for $5 instead of $6.50 will work.

Tote along for the ride…

Since fresh produce hasn’t been dipped in wax or petrified to survive shipping thousands of miles it will absolutely bruise and damage easily. Collapsible market totes, boat tote bags and coolers will become your new bff and always go with you to the market. Damp paper towels or cheese cloth in water proof containers or baggies will protect herbs from wilting on your way home—and can be used in the refrigerator to help keep them a little longer. Chances are your farmer will have a few recommendations for storing, watering, and enjoying your purchases.

Do or do not…there is no try.” ~Master Yoda

Happy hunting–see you at the market!!

Here are a few great websites to help you along your journey:

Local Harvest

Epicurious’ seasonal map

Farmers Market online in season listing

Posted by Amanda| follow meow on Twitter

Electrolux is taking cooking to a whole new level

Electrolux is planning a whole new way to use your stove.  Electronics are taking over and why not add a bit of intelligence to your cooktop?  Electrolux is looking at ways to make pots and pans obsolete.  They want people who enjoy cooking and those without any cooking experience to operate the same stove.  Forget getting sauce splattered all over your cookbook, it’s not even a necessity in the kitchen anymore. 

Henrik  Otto, director of Global Design for Electrolux in Sweden has come up with  smart kitchens of 2050. Otto and his team at Electrolux believe in energy efficient appliances as well as appliances that can serve many different functions.

Here is what they think it would look like.  Electrolux Design Concept “Heart of the home” animation

Heart of the home is a shape shifting cooktop that is directly on your countertop that responds to touch as well as a built in cookbook that responds to touch as well.  Ideally they will design this with a simple touch of the hand able to outline the size of the pot or pan you wish to use, the temperature as well as the texture of the pot or pan.  You will also be able to press down your hand to determine the depth of the pot or pan.  You will be able to move around your pots with a simple touch in order to have what you need in front of you. 

The countertop will also provide holes that allow you to place food or herbs in them and the built in cookbook will pop up recipes.  Otto thinks this will be a great way for people to try new flavors that they wouldn’t have imagined together.  I am hoping this will be coming out before 2050!

Posted by Kate Kiselka, Follow me on Twitter

Spotlight on Creativity: Saturday Etsy Series

My etsy pick of the week is luniacstyle – a funky boutique where you can find accessories that make the outfit and make a statement.

Designing and creating jewelry has always been a constant in Jaclyn Murphy’s life.  She’s been creating since she was about 6 years old.  It’s quite a few years later, and her style has become a bit more refined, a lot less childlike, and crazy as ever.  Bright colors, sparkling gems, and silky materials account for “one of a kind” accessories in her etsy shop.  LuniacStyle is the name of her gig and its meaning simply means: crazy for the moon.  Jaclyn would stay up til the wee hours of the night working with wire, beads, feathers, and fabric just to form new ideas for each individualized piece.  Since then however, real life has taken over, so most of her designs are created when most are awake.  She hopes to spice up people’s style with her unique pieces, create some conversation, and spread the love in which all of her pieces are made with.  Have a look at her online etsy shop, follow her on twitter (luniacstyle) for upcoming deals and steals, and join her on facebook (luniacstyle)for the newest pieces available!

I have a few of her pieces and can’t wait to get more…next on my list is this South of France Blue Original Luniac Bracelet – just gorgeous!.

Posted by: Becca / follow my Etsy shop on Twitter

Healthy Furniture is the Future in a Green Home

The new rage in interior design is eco friendly and healthy fabrics, surfaces, textures and finishes.   People are finding the importance to using local woods and organic material, they are making a change to their carbon footprint, and making changes in order to “green” their lives.  Switching to organic foods, cleaners and even the way they care for their pets and lawn.  Many people have started looking further into organic living and have started to purchase organic materials for their clothing as well as taking a step back and looking at the furniture including their beds which they spend almost half their lives lounging on. 

The things that make a couch structurally sound and comfortable may actually be harmful to humans and their pets.  According to research done by Building Green there is evidence that the flame halogenated retardants used on most couches can be very harmful to animals as well as humans.  Buying a couch that is made with Wool Linings is much safer.

BiOH polyols are a soy based ingredient used in upholstered furniture, bedding, carpet backing and even automobile seats.  The reason the switch to BiOH is such a great choice is because they are made from soy bean oil which is a renewable source unlike traditional foam which is made from petroleum-based products.  It is a comparable product without having such a large environmental footprint.  It is a responsible choice for those looking for an environmentally friendly product. 

Using locally harvested wood for furniture is another important factor when consumers think about green furniture purchases.  The amount of time, money, energy and fuel it costs to ship a piece of wood from one place to another is costly and damaging to the environment.  This is why so many consumers are looking for local manufacturers to purchase their furniture from. 

When we went furniture hunting we wanted a company that had a solid green mission and offered a range of products including natural local woods, natural fabrics, and sourced from local companies.

We fell in love with New England based Circle Furniture, who works with manufacturers that have a commitment to the environment.  Most of the wood products made for Circle are made by people in New England including one of my favorites Maine Cottage which is where we got the bunk beds and bookshelves (picutred below) for Max’s room, Abby’s desk, and the bed and side tables for the guest room. They are locally made with low-VOC paints and finishes and have beautiful natural fabric choices as well. Paints and finishes are one of the leading causes for polluted indoor air according to the EPA.  Paints and finishes allow low level toxic emissions into the air over time.  Volatile Organic Compounds were once important to the performance of the paint, but now low VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes are available and are becoming very popular and in some cases required by new environmental regulations. 

The same goes for mattresses, we even bought new organic mattresses for the new beds.  Circle also uses Copeland which is a manufacturer that uses woods from forests that are not threatened and do not contain genetically modified trees, making them part of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  Copeland was recently awarded the 2009 Sage Award for reducing the industry’s environmental footprint. We chose this gorgeous Milford “cuddle couch” in a super soft corduroy fabric.

There are so many ways to decorate your home in sustainable style; it is getting much easier every year to find companies that construct attractive furniture using solid woods (FSC certified in some cases), natural fibers and low or no VOC finishes and varnishes. 

Furniture is an investment. As we have moved several times over the years, we’ve actually sold furniture with our house and it was fun to get to buy a number of new eco-friendly furniture pieces for the new house. It is important to note that inexpensive furniture is often made using composite woods that are made from glues that can contain formaldehyde—a known carcinogen!   Furniture treated for stain resistance contains chemicals that can pollute the air in your home.  So though we left off the stain protection we selected pieces with highly durable fabrics and finishes yet didn’t forgo style or comfort to bring green furniture into our home.

Kimberly Lancaster | follow me on Twitter

Greening up your Spring Cleaning

A couple of years ago after being fed up buying bottles of “green” window cleaner that never offered a larger sized re-fill version–I started making a few of my own cleaning products for everyday use around the house. Since then I have enjoyed a home free of that stinky cleaning product smell-which absolutely nauseates me just thinking about it, and keeps my lean budget a little meatier. I also get a great sense of satisfaction making something that works just as well and sometimes even better than some chemically engineered toxic compound.

I’m not saying to dump all your cleaning products down the sink—that would be insane and it could actually come back to haunt you by ending up in your water supply in diluted form! Use up what you have and then if you can try to reuse the spray bottle container. If you can’t reuse what you have a simple trip to your local hardware store or janitorial supply store will do the trick.

Here are some of my favorite solutions that are easy to make—and more importantly…they smell great and are effective!

Here is what you’ll need to pick up to start making your own cleaners:

Baking Soda

Lemon Juice (bottled works-fresh is best!)

White Vinegar (I buy it by the gallon)

Kosher Salt

Pure Castile Soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap)

Tea Tree Oil (Try your natural food store)

1. Great abrasive cleaner *works fantastic in the bathroom and kitchen

In the tubsprinkle surfaces with baking soda, then scrub with a stiff bristled brush or scrubber sponge. To tackle soap scum, sprinkle on some kosher salt w, and work up some elbow grease.

You can also make a paste out of baking soda and water for tough stains or really grimy areas like the oven—even letting it sit overnight …spray on little white vinegar let the chemical reaction happen and watch that stainless steel sink, stove top, or refrigerator shelves and bins sparkle!!

Mold or mildew in the shower or on the curtain? Try spraying white vinegar or even lemon juice—let it sit for a few minutes then hit it with a stiff bristled brush or a hard toothbrush in between grout lines.

2. Disinfectant that smells fabulous *great bleach alternative.

Mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of castile soap and 20 to 25 drops of tea tree oil. This works great in the bathroom in the sink and around/in the toilet! You can adjust the fragrance by selecting a scented castile soap…I like eucalyptus and peppermint!

3. Windows with a streak free finish

Combine 4 tablespoons of white vinegar per gallon of warm water and pour into a spray bottle. Spray solution on windows or any glass surface (coffee tables, bathroom mirrors etc.) and use one of Dad’s old undershirts or even newspapers to produce the cleanest windows you’ve ever seen.

*If you don’t like the smell of white vinegar you can use a mixture of lemon juice and club soda.

4. Floor cleaner *can be used on hardwood, tile or linoleum

You can keep your floors clean by combining 3 ¾ cups of warm water and ¼ cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle or a bucket, mop floor as you usually would. If you need some grit for hard to clean areas try using kosher salt for a scratch free abrasive floor cleaner that is safe.

Use caution when washing walls—this solution did discolor a piece of painted wall when I became a little over zealous in my cleaning efforts…try a test area first in a very unnoticeable spot!

5. Drain Cleaner *works for slow moving drains—untested on a blocked one

Drain cleaner is probably the most dangerous chemical I have ever brought into my house…recently I had a slowly draining bathroom sink and tried a non lethal remedy…guess what—it actually worked!

Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain (unscrew the stopper if you can for better access) pour an entire tea kettle or if you are using a nuker about 4 cups of boiling water into the drain.

If that still doesn’t do the trick—replace the sink stopper and add more baking soda then pour ½ cup of white vinegar into the drain. Cover tightly by closing the stopper, allowing the fizzies created by the chemical reaction to break down the greasy grimy clog. Flush with another tea kettle of boiling water.

Happy cleaning!!

Posted by Amanda | Follow me on twitter