Save Water & Money

August 6, 2008
Spreadsheet Queen shared with me how she inexpensively cut her water bill by 40%:
At Blue Ridge Eco Store, I bought:
–3 sink aerators (1.95 ish ea.)
–3 toilet poppers  (9.95ish ea.)
–2 low flow shower heads (9ish ea)
–note: already have front loading washer
Great ideas, yes?
I would also add that having a bucket to collect water while waiting for the shower to heat up and using a rain barrel together would be helpful… I just don’t have a place to store all the water I would use… ideas?

Shopping Safe: Great Website for Busy Parents (and friends)

June 5, 2008

Too busy and tired to hunt down bath toys, pacifiers, milk storage containers, dinner ware, teethers, bottles, nipples, and everything else your child will chew that is phalate and BPA free?

Try The Soft Landing, a site I just heard about and had to pass along. Yeah, I know, it’s not shopping local, but shopping local right now, with high gas prices and this heavy heat, can be grueling on your energy costs… as in, I’m trying not to drive too far in any direction so that I conserve gas and avoid the sweating in the car)… I also like the samplers offered – like the “Go BPA Free Teether Sampler” – what a good idea and great gift~!

And I hear that, due to a local mom wanting to prevent BPA plastics from being Freecycled to the unsuspecting, local favorite Nature’s Child will possibly be offering a dumping bin for these evil critters…

In other ‘green’ news, I have, in my new house, started composting (trial #2). Here’s a colorful guide.

Green Resources: New, Local, and others…

January 11, 2008

With the launch of the new Better World Betty site – which features a searchable database, so you can find out where to purchase/recycle different kinds of items – and the election of a mayor for whom the environment seems to be a major priority (his blog is even green) Cville is turning greener by the day…

I wanted to also remind you of a couple other resources:

Green Charlottesville – a Yahoo group set up for virtual community discussions and sharing about green issues

Charlottesville Green Drinks – a monthly social hour for locals working for environmental quality – an evening of food, $1.50 beer specials, and amazing conversation on the second Thursday of every month – locations vary. (contact Lyle Solla-Yates, 434-806-9044)

Charlottesville Vegetarian Families Network – potlucks and online discussion

Piedmont Garden Swap – how much greener can you get than trading plants and information on gardening, growing, composting, etc.?

Freecycle – Reduce and reuse in a fun, free way

My favorite green and green parenting resources/blogs, not local but still useful:

Ideal Bite – get the daily e-mail tip or subscribe to the blog for fun, hip ways to go green

Green Daily – my new favorite, because its useful, plentiful, and down to earth

Eco Child’s Play – ideas for toys and more for keeping your kids green

Z Recommends – kid items, but this blog does extensive research into the BPAs and other harmful elements of bottles, pacifiers, etc. – a great resource

A Green Year

January 3, 2008

One thing I can say confidently about 2007, in summary: The “green” issue got taken to a new level of consciousness in our media, from Gore winning the Nobel prize to cities banning plastic bags to celebs declaring policies on one square of toilet paper per pee – a lot of it has been hype, and some may roll their eyes at the trendiness of something that should be more serious, but truly, my Sense of the World is much more attuned to green issues than it ever was 2006 and prior.

In fact, I’m really starting to feel the heat (ha) about our situation – like, we really really need to take it as seriously as we can. Reading this beautiful if sad article today about the emotional affects of losing our landscape really made the situation seem concrete and crucial –  people in Australia experiencing a new kind of sadness the author calls solastalgia, caused by the fact that:

In a world that’s quickly heating up and drying up, you can’t go home again — even if you never leave.

We are burning down the house, but there isn’t another one to go to. And don’t tell me we can live in a tin can in outer space – watching Star Trek gives me the claustrophobic creeps – there’s no outside, there’s no natural air. Yuck.

As a working mother, it is often extremely hard to make choices that fit my busy lifestyle AND conform to safe (for us and the earth) guidelines – tupperware, for instance, is a lifesaver if you’re on the run, but with the big scares about plastic toxins for our bodies and for the earth, I’m now feeling guilty about it – so I wouldn’t mind getting together with some others to not just talk but actually figure out cost-effective, time-saving ways to change our products and behaviors to make them more green. It’s too hard to do it all by yourself…

Any ideas for this welcome! 

FYI, check out my new favorite green blog, Green Daily, – not holier than thou, pretty practical and entertaining.

Listen to This: Everyday Toxins on Fresh Air

November 27, 2007

Terri Gross interviews this guy whose new book, Exposed, details the dangerous chemicals in everything from car dashboards to – sob! – my rubber duckies. Take a listen.
While my husband – ever the calm, rational news reader  – cautions me not to overreact to what may well be an extreme and unproven point of view, Schapiro’s claims didn’t surprise me, as I’ve read a lot about the stuff in cosmetics, plastics, electronics from a variety of sources. What did surprise me was his assessment of why the European Union – a much bigger market, by the way, than the US (who knew?) – restricts and regulates the use of these chemicals and the US doesn’t.

It’s not because the Europeans are nicer than we are – or because they don’t have industry lobbyists as strong as ours, fighting regulation  – but because of who is paying for healthcare. Because studies show that these toxins do in fact have health reprecussions, serious side effects – well, the European governments realize that preventing future disease is a better bang for their buck. Over here – well, the US government isn’t paying for our healthcare, we are – so they don’t give a crap that we’re being exposed to stuff that’s going to give us cancer and dilute our endocrine systems and other lovely things like that.

Anyway, I recommend this podcast of the show (I never get a chance to listen on the radio, myself).

Also, in green news:  Here’s a way to help the planet without doing much – these search engines donate to good causes – I got this list from Ideal Bite:

  • GoodSearch – powered by Yahoo, it donates 50% of revenues to a charity you choose each time you search.
  • Blackle – an unofficial black version of Google that uses less energy than the white version on some screens (for a more colorful option, try The Green Spider).
  • CatchTomorrow – customizable news, weather, and search options; donates 50% of revenues to the public school district of your choice.
  • Green Maven – though it’s not for charity, this Google-based search engine yields results from green-related websites only.