Doing the Basic Things the Best
Green Money Saving Tips that Stick-It to the Utility Companies!

by Fred Koch

My push to “Build for the Environment” (the “Economic Environment”) underscores my commitment as a GREEN builder to continuously identify and employ wiser and smarter building solutions and energy-saving concepts. This is especially important as we head into the fall and winter months where increased energy costs are expected.

 

To define energy-saving solutions it’s imperative that we first shore up and understand what and where our energy costs are currently going. To do this, it’s best to employ a simple yet solid GREEN concept by “Doing the Basic Things the Best.” In doing so, we find that core energy costs generally derive from electrical and water usage, resulting in the following energy-saving tips:

 

  • Electrical – Shut off electrical draining gadgets when not in use, particularly before bedtime. Focus on “left-on” household computers and automation games and you’ll see at least a 20 percent reduction.
  • Water – Police water usage times to ensure overuse is not occurring. Look at the biggest culprits such as long shower times, oversized and overused outdoor sprinkler systems and even drilling-down on clothes washing; if it’s not dirty, don’t wash it!

 

Become an energy-miser! Identify household areas where energy is typically overused or wasted, allowing you to hone in and smartly manage it. You can do this manually or by using a wide-array of smart automated energy shut-off / shut-on systems. Any way you look at it, by “Doing the Basic Things the Best,” you’ll be in a position to be environmentally correct while saving money!

 

 

Fred Koch, founder of Koch Development, is LEED certified and BuilditGreen certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Koch Development has been designing, inspecting and building conventional and green homes for over 20 years throughout Southern California.

 

To contact Fred Koch or Koch Development, visit www.kochdevelopment.net



Why the Blonde Vegetarian Loves Bragg Live Foods

Exuberant and gorgeous, Rebecca Woodland is the “Blonde Vegetarian.” After a bout with breast cancer in 1996, she became vegan, and her journey into healthy eating and cooking began. Frustrated by complicated vegetarian cookbooks and the false idea that healthy food couldn’t be tasty, she went on a mission to make vegan cooking delicious and easy—for even the blondest of blondes. Along the way, she discovered more healthful ways to enhance the true flavor of food. Bragg Live Foods Liquid Aminos, Apple Cider Vinegar and Nutritional Yeast became flavoring staples in dozens of her recipes. Healthy Living recently caught up with Rebecca to discuss her new book The Blonde Vegetarian and her love of Bragg Live Foods.

 

Healthy Living: After you recovered from breast cancer, why did you become vegan and eliminate dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners?

 

Rebecca Woodland: Because of the way “food” is produced in this country (factory farming, with overuse of chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics, etc.), it was best for me to eliminate the foods that are products of factory farming (dairy, eggs, meat, poultry). Sugar feeds cancer cells, so I had to eliminate that. Artificial sweeteners are seriously bad. I believe that there are serious long-term consequences, and no one should partake of any artificial sweeteners. Besides, I don’t like the taste. About caffeine, a little is not a problem, but I had gotten into the habit of drinking too much coffee and accompanying it with sugary foods. Also, the acids in coffee aggravated my stomach.

 

HL: What guiding principle or philosophy inspired the recipes found in The Blonde Vegetarian?

 

RW: I was absolutely determined to make healthy food taste good, and it had to be easy to prepare. I knew that if it didn’t taste really good I wouldn’t eat it, and if it wasn’t easy to prepare I wouldn’t make it.

 

HL: The recipes are low in fat and sodium content. Many of them include Bragg Liquid Aminos. Can you tell our readers what Bragg Liquid Aminos are?

 

RW: Liquid aminos are a liquid protein concentrate derived from non-GMO soybeans and purified water. That’s all. They contain 16 amino acids. They are not fermented or heated. Gluten-free, alcohol-free and all-natural, they have a small amount of naturally occurring sodium and are an ideal replacement for tamari or soy sauce.

 

HL: What kind of flavor does Bragg Liquid Aminos bring to a dish?

 

RW: A little salty, sort of like tamari or soy sauce, but without a strong, distinctive Asian flavor. Bragg Liquid Aminos do not overpower any dish. They add depth of flavor and are especially good on rice, beans, potatoes and in soups, broth, gravies and stir-fry recipes. A little goes a long way.

 

HL: You recommend apple cider vinegar in your book as well. What is so special about this type of vinegar?

 

RW: Apple cider vinegar has been used for about 2,500 years as a remedy for all kinds of ailments. It supports a healthy immune system, helps digestion and is rich in enzymes and potassium. I use it because it also tastes really good.

 

HL: Why do you prefer Bragg Certified Organic Apple Cider Vinegar over other brands?

 

RW: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar is organic, unfiltered, unrefined and tastes much better than the other brands. It is more natural and I believe more beneficial. It is the only apple cider vinegar that has “the mother,” which occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules.

 

HL: Why do you prefer Bragg’s Nutritional yeast? Does it differ from brewer’s yeast? What does it add in terms of flavor and health to dishes?

 

RW: Nutritional yeast is a totally different product than brewer’s yeast. Brewer’s yeast tastes horrible. Nutritional yeast tastes good. It looks like a flaky powder, has a slightly cheesy flavor (like good parmesan, not the stuff in a can) and is a good source of vitamin B12, which is lacking in many vegan diets. I use it in pesto and other recipes instead of parmesan. Nutritional yeast cannot be used for fermentation or as a rising agent in baking. Bragg Nutritional Yeast is high quality and comes in a convenient container, which makes it much easier to use and store than other nutritional yeast that can only be purchased in bulk.

 

HL: What do you value and trust about Bragg Live Foods?

 

RW: Bragg is very selective in the kinds of products it produces and markets. Their nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and liquid aminos are quality products that taste good. Bragg products have a real, live person backing up their quality and reputation. I trust Patricia Bragg, a living example of dynamic good health at any age.

 

Resources

 

www.theblondevegetarian.com

www.bragg.com

 

Bragg Liquid Aminos, Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and other products are available at health food stores nationwide. And you don’t have to be blonde to enjoy them!


Raw Food Noni, Nature's Escape from Pain

There is a special tropical pain solution today that you need to know about when looking for a natural way to soothe sore muscles, tears, rips, strains, sprains, even lower back pain, and really, all the everyday aches and pains of our active lives. It's called noni, the most remarkable gift from nature humankind has ever discovered for pain relief. This South Seas tropical fruit is crafted into lotions and fruit leathers for a total natural preparation.

 

Noni, Morinda citrifolia, is in the family Rubiaceae, which includes such notables as coffee, gardenia, and cinchona, the quinine tree. It is one of perhaps 80 species in the genus Morinda, spread worldwide through the tropics. Many of these species have origins in the area that includes Borneo, New Guinea, Northern Australia, and New Caledonia: it is out of this population that noni is thought to have evolved and spread.

 

Traditionally, the whole fruit was consumed raw in almost its entirety and also applied topically for medicinal use to treat muscle aches and pains.

 

Today, athletes, including University of Hawaii’s Warriors’ football and basketball squads, now use topical noni. And thousands of other weekend warriors are also using topical noni, some of whose amazing stories we’ve reported on in past articles.

 

HOW NONI RELIEVES PAIN

 

Scientists themselves have been exploring the pain-relieving benefits of noni, and they’ve discovered there is a scientific basis for this amazing healer. The sensory neurons that mediate pain sensation are known as “nociceptors.” Their endings or receptors, located in skin, muscles, joints and internal organs, are activated by pain.

 

Studies have demonstrated that noni is rich in scopoletin. Among its wide-ranging pharmacological effects are anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and sedative activities. The body also utilizes scopoletin for smooth joint movement.

 

In the January 2010 issue of Phytotherapy Research, researchers from the University Clinic, Hamburg, Germany, found that noni is a “tropical plant with a long tradition of medicinal use in Polynesia and tropical parts of eastern Asia and Australia. One of its favorite uses is the treatment of painful inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis.”

 

The analgesic activity of noni fruit “reduced the pain sensitivity comparably to the central analgesic drug tramadol.” An alcohol extract of noni fruit puree also caused an “effect [that] was comparable to hydrocortisone.”

 

The findings suggest that preparations of noni “are effective in decreasing pain and joint destruction caused by arthritis.”

 

A QUALITY PREPARATION

 

Hawaiian Health Ohana's organic noni farm on the garden isle of Kauai.

No one does lotions and all-natural noni better than Hawaiian Health Ohana. Their certified organic noni farm is located in Hawaii, on the Garden Island of Kauai. So many people have discovered the noni lotions and fruit leathers of Hawaiian Health Ohana and have experienced for themselves their amazing pain-relieving properties, that sales of their noni products have turned into a global trade by word of mouth alone.

 

“As we harvest our noni for our leather and lotion, we have learned to cultivate the noni and present it raw with processing below 115 degrees F. The powerful phytonutrients, brain and pain-relieving chemicals and enzymes in it remain highly biologically active,” says Steve Frailey whose noni lotion and leather are global favorites.

 

That’s why the farm that is introducing noni to the world is one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. People have pain. Whether it’s trauma, arthritis, aching joints, fused spinal discs, a bad hip—it doesn’t matter. Noni helps those with pain and arthritis and physical injuries. People come. They spread the word and order globally.

 

Hawaiian Health Ohana has received thousands of testimonials. Their lotion is just something else. If you’re seeking the amazing benefits of noni, try the versatile fruit leather and the wonderfully fast-acting noni lotion and experience noni the way that it was meant to be.

 

Hawaiian Health Ohana is a family-owned, organic-certified farm that is totally self-sustainable. They even produce all of their own soil amendments which provides total control.

 

Steve Frailey began organically farming noni fruit in 1981 when he and his wife started the farm.

They use pigeon peas and cow peas for hedges for improving soil nitrogen (since they are a no-till farm). No animal products are ever used, so they can avoid potential contamination with antibiotics or other drugs used in veterinary medicine. They are a totally vegan farm. “The care we take in making our farm fertile results in an even better raw food noni,” says Steve.

 

“We mulch like crazy,” he adds. “The trees stay green in the hot, dry summer and you can see the soft tilth of the soil. We don’t till the earth and turn it over, which is a whole philosophy. There is a whole microbial city going on in the soil, breaking down things naturally, and when you turn things over those microbes get disturbed, which changes everything, so we mulch.”

 

The farm has two 42-foot tall wind turbines with 12-foot blades and a solar array, reducing their carbon footprint and offering power for the entire operation.

 

In all ways, this is a raw food noni. Both the leather and lotion are exceptional. Buy them today at your local health food store, natural pharmacy or wherever nature's finest pain relievers are sold.

 

 

WHAT LAVENDER AND ICYHEAT LAVENDER NONI LOTION USERS ARE SAYING

 

Helps with Osteoarthritis

 

“Aloha, I have osteoarthritis in my ankles and knees, but have NO pain or swelling, because of your Lavender Noni Lotion.  And I have to need to take any aspirin-type products.”

 

Sincerely, Barbara Wilcox

 

 

Painful and Swollen Feet

 

“I suffer from peripheral neuropathy of the feet due to diabetes.  I get burning pain from my toes at night.  I tried the Icy Heat Lavender Noni Lotion and it decreased the pain more effectively than any of the other products that I have tried in the past.”

 

Thank you, JFG, PharmD

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Here’s how former University of Hawaii head trainer Mel Toth advises weekend warriors use noni for the types of injuries active people are most likely to experience:

 

Sore ankles and heels. Toth recommends rubbing Lavender Noni Lotion or IcyHeat Lavender Noni Lotion on your ankles and into your heels prior to working out and immediately following workouts.

 

Tired legs. Toth said that one of the major uses for Lavender Noni Lotion or IcyHeat Lavender Noni Lotion was for tired legs, especially where there is very little rest time allowed. So for athletes who want to work out two days in a row or who do work out regularly, say three or four times a week, she recommends massaging a thin layer of noni into all portions of your legs after your work out.

 

Quadricep and hamstring injuries. For quadricep and hamstring injuries, Toth strongly recommends electrical stimulation with micro-currents, icing, and then noni. She advises that many acupuncture clinics can provide electrical stimulation with micro-currents.

 

Low back pain. Almost everyone suffers from low back pain every now and then. Once again, says Toth, noni is excellent for relieving pain. She advises massaging it into the affected area four times a day.

 

Trauma and minor contusions. Most of us experience trauma or minor collisions. Use Lavender Noni Lotion or IcyHeat Lavender Noni Lotion four times daily on the affected area.

 

Repetitive motion injuries. Golfers and tennis players, in particularly, are likely to experience soreness from repetitive motion. Once again, noni applied to the affected area offers excellent pain-relieving properties.

 

Warming up massage. For warming up the muscles prior to working out, Toth recommends IcyHeat Lavender Noni Lotion with menthol and camphor to bring immediate heat to the area.

 

Cramps. By applying lotion five minutes before games, muscle cramps can be avoided.  Also, use lotion for nighttime cramps if they develop.  (We hear a number of major college basketball  players are now using IcyHeat Lavender lotion to avoid cramping and help heal their sports injuries.)

 

 

Resources

 

Hawaiian Health Ohana’s Lavender Noni Lotion, IcyHeat Lavender Noni Lotion and their 100-percent-certifi ed organic fruit leather are available at health food stores and natural food markets. Visit Hawaiian Health Ohana at www.nonifruitleather.net to use their store locator service or call 888-882-6664 for more information.
 


 Infrared Sauna Therapy for the Millions with Diabetes and Syndrome X

For someone living with diabetes, infrared therapy might well be their best friend.

Doctors have discovered that infrared light—a completely safe spectrum of the sun that penetrates the dermis and provides inner warmth—has amazing benefits for people suffering from chronic pain and arthritis, can improve mood, relieves mild depression and seasonal affective disorder, and enables the body to detoxify.

And, as the latest research shows, some of the most far-reaching benefits are for people with diabetes or who are prediabetic with a constellation of symptoms known as Syndrome X, which was first made popular as a term in this decade, and reflects a number of dysfunctions involving cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and obesity. As it turns out, these underlying conditions all respond remarkably well to infrared sauna therapy.

Latest Study Shows How Infrared Therapy Benefits People with Diabetes

The most recent good-news study was published in the April 2010 issue of Acta Med Okayama, where doctors from the Department of Physical Therapy at KIBI International University, in Takahashi, Okayama, studied the effect of infrared therapy on patients with type 2 diabetes. In this study, they examined the effect of leg hyperthermia on oxidative stress in bedridden subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus using 15-minute sessions of infrared rays over a two-week period.

Fasting markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were measured at the start and at two weeks after infrared therapy had begun. Results showed that markers for total oxidative stress levels “were decreased significantly.”

Help with Syndrome X

An October 2001 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found positive results. Researchers from Kagoshima University, Japan, sought to determine whether sauna therapy improves endothelial (blood vessel) function in patients with coronary risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and smoking.

Twenty-five men with at least one coronary risk factor and 10 healthy men without coronary risk factors were enrolled. Patients in the risk group were treated with a 60 degrees C infrared-ray dry sauna for 15 min and then kept in a bed covered with blankets for 30 minutes once a day for two weeks. Two weeks of sauna therapy significantly improved vasodilation, improving circulation and nourishment to all the tissues. “Repeated sauna treatment improves impaired vascular endothelial function in the setting of coronary risk factors, suggesting a therapeutic role for sauna treatment in patients with risk factors for atherosclerosis.”

The evidence is becoming increasingly clear that infrared saunas will benefit people with diabetes. Be sure to choose Sunlighten, as this is the only brand with clinically backed Solocarbon®  technology, which has been clinically studied and proven effective. The latest mPulse Series provides immediate biofeedback for heart rate and calories burned with an LCD interface that links to an online biofeedback center.

So if you are one of nearly 24 million Americans with diabetes and you want to do something smart for your health condition, consider Sunlighten.

Resources

For more on Sunlighten (formerly Sunlight Saunas), visit the company’s informative website, www.sunlighten.com; you can also learn more by calling 877-292-0020.

When Shopping for a Sauna, Remember the Heating
Technology Makes All the Difference
Google the words "infrared sauna" and a whole new world of health will open up. A sauna in your home or apartment when used regularly can be one of the most powerful and cost-effective health tools today.
 
A recent review article in the July 2009 Canadian Family Physician found that infrared saunas offer significant help for reducing blood pressure and overall heart health, as well as for chronic pain. Other benefits include improved athletic performance, mood, and even weight loss. No wonder top doctors like Mehmet Oz and health fitness leaders such as Jorge Cruise use and recommend taking in-home saunas regularly. (Interestingly, both Dr. Oz and Cruz have spoken about the same brand.)
 
Yet, in the end, much of the information available online about saunas is not very good when it comes to helping you find the best sauna and value; most websites shout instead of inform, and without much solid evidence for the particular product being hawked.
 
Not Just Any Sauna… or Heating Technology
One of the most important points for the sauna shopper to keep in mind is that your heating technology is critical to the benefits you should expect to receive. Think of the heating technology in your sauna as the heart (or core) of the sauna experience.
 
Many saunas sold today use electric heat, rocks, wood, or steam—and to the naïve shopper, there might not seem to be much difference between them when it comes to the end product. After all, heat is heat, right?
 
Not really. In fact, the problem with these technologies is that none have the evidence of science to back their benefits—and they simply are outdated. It’s like driving a Model T.
 
The other option is the infrared sauna—and most experts agree—including published literature—that an infrared sauna experience is far superior to any other heating technology. In fact, all the studies mentioned in the Canadian Family Physician were performed with infrared sauna technology. And The Journal of American College of Cardiology reports that infrared sauna treatments significantly increase circulation, improve heart health and aid in weight loss.
 
What is Infrared?
With steam, electric, rocks or wood, inside air temperature gets very hot, not the core of the body; only the outer layer of the skin is heated. Infrared is different. Infrared works at a lower temperature, yet by its very nature has been shown to raise the core temperature of the skin. Infrared light is the natural radiant heat felt from the sun. Picture yourself outside on a warm sunny day. That is how it feels to be in an infrared sauna. It’s the comforting heat that warms you from the inside. It’s the most natural heat source on earth!
 
Infrared light (experienced as heat) is part of the sun’s invisible spectrum. One of infrared light’s characteristics is the ability to easily penetrate human tissue, giving you that wonderful natural warmth.
 
You can be exposed to infrared heat for hours and it will not cause your skin to burn. Infrared heat is completely healthy and safe for all living things. In fact, it is so safe it is used in hospitals to warm newborn infants.
 
The Best Technology Today
But there is yet another important knowledge byte: not all infrared saunas are the same. Not by a mile.
 
Consider these important shopping tips when selecting your infrared sauna: you want your body to be surrounded by infrared heat, delivered at a low ambient temperature. Studies on detoxification prove that longer sessions at lower temperatures produce far deeper and better detoxification results.
 
Also, being able to deliver infrared heat to specific areas of your body at specific wavelengths is important; that’s how precise the technology is today. That is because doctors know that different wavelengths—near, mid and far—have different health and wellness benefits. For example, infrared rays focused in the near and mid range are best at relieving pain, while others can deliver circulatory health or deep detoxification benefits.
 
With these shopping tips in mind, one technology appears to be far advanced over any other. Solocarbon® and Solocarbon® Custom Spectrum® is the heating technology; it is available in the revolutionary mPulse and other sauna models from Sunlighten, ™ which has established itself as the most innovative infrared sauna company today, in terms of service, quality and consumer protection, as well as in science and clinical validation.
 
Solocarbon heating technologies surround you in clinically-backed therapeutic infrared. This is different than any other heaters available. Most heaters concentrate heat in a few areas, but when you enter a Sunlighten sauna, you are surrounded with infrared heat dispersed through the floor, legs and torso. This means you are completely surrounded by therapeutic infrared. Ceramic infrared saunas do not provide this added benefit. Sunlighten’s Solocarbon and Solocarbon Custom Spectrum heating technologies have a larger surface area, which means they emit infrared at a lower surface temperature. Also, the Solocarbon technologies are so innovative, that their infrared heaters operate at a low 100° to 200° F, while most traditional infrared heaters operate at a surface temperature between 300° F and 1000° F. Your ambient temperature in a Sunlighten sauna is only around 120° F, meaning you won't feel suffocating heat.
 
The Concept of Emissivity
All materials can either reflect energy or radiate it. The term often associated with this concept is emissivity, which is a measure of this ability to radiate energy by a material. For example, an emissivity of 1.00 implies that the material is 100 percent efficient at radiating energy. A material like steel has emissivity of 0.1; in other words, steel is only 10 percent efficient at radiating energy. To maximize the efficiency of an infrared heater, the heating element (i.e. material) must have a very high emissivity in order to emit as much heat energy as possible.
 
Sunlighten has developed an advanced infrared heating material whose top priorities are safety and high emissivity. The end result is the employment of a material that has not only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for applications involving food (ultimate safety), but more specifically, that can withstand temperatures significantly exceeding the operating ones of the sauna heater so as to prevent off-gassing. In terms of emissivity level, an independent laboratory certified that the proprietary infrared coating material in a Sunlighten sauna is 98.95 percent emissive, coming close to the theoretically perfect level of efficiency.
 
Further marking a distinct line in the sand between the old and the new is that the mPulse Series from Sunlighten simply has no competition. This is the technology that we recommend. The mPulse Series is next-generational. It makes a major leap forward by integrating technology with comfort—whether being able to track your blood pressure, calories burned and other bio-feedback health results via a simple LCD touch-screen or its ergonomic floating benches. Plus, clinically-backed Solocarbon Custom Spectrum heating technology not only offers the full spectrum of infrared (unlocking the widest range of health benefits), but is also fully customizable based on wellness goals.
 
The heart and core of your sauna experience is the heating unit. Be sure it is infrared. And be sure it is Solocarbon-based for what is arguably the most advanced technology today from Sunlighten (www.sunlighten.com).
 
Resources
For more on Sunlighten (formerly Sunlight Saunas), visit the company’s informative website, www.sunlighten.com; you can also learn more by calling 877-292-0020.

Are You Bringing Home Toxic Fumes?
Can Choosing Safe Household Cleaning Products Really Make a Difference?
There is growing evidence that solvents used in cleaning products impact our children, particularly their intelligence. But the irony, of course, is that you could be exposed to toxic levels in your own home. Homemakers certainly use these same chemicals daily.
 
Have you ever noticed how you can smell your household cleaning products even though they are all tightly sealed? These fumes are known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Simply put, VOCs are carbonbased chemicals that form gases at room temperature. Examples of VOCs are phthalates, butyl cellosolve (found in Windex), formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, dichlorobenzene, acetone, xylene, vinyl chloride, naphthalene, methylene chloride, and dioxane (found in dish soap and hand cleaners). All of these toxic chemicals are commonly found in household cleaning products and in their presence, you actually can inhale them. What’s more, one of their greatest risks may be to women of childbearing age or who are pregnant or nursing.
 
Unfortunately, loopholes written into the federal regulations overseeing household cleaning products have allowed manufacturers to formulate products with dangerous chemicals without being required to list them on their labeling.
 
Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota’s introduction of a bill to require label disclosures and a legal suit brought by Earth Justice and other groups in New York requiring manufacturers to fill in such information on a state database could help democratize the market place by requiring companies to come clean. But until then, the information truly is secret and only a few consumer cops and science sleuths have been able to reveal what’s in these products.
 
There are many sources of VOCs in your home, but certainly the products you buy are among the most likely to contaminate your air—air fresheners, hair sprays, multipurpose cleaners, spot removers, laundry detergents, tile cleaners, furniture polish, insecticides, and spray paints are each major sources. In addition, VOCs are released from carpets, new furniture or cabinetry with urea-formaldehyde resins in the wood, and all sorts of plastics, as well as dry cleaning.
 
In one study, the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that while outdoor air at sampled sites contained less than 10 of these airborne chemical toxins, indoor air at those same locations contained an average of 150 different VOCs.
 
Such VOCs are the same petrochemicals implicated in global warming. Like solvents (most of which are classifi ed as VOCs), VOCs are easily evaporated into the air when products containing them are used.
 
VOCs have been making the news lately via a fresh round of studies showing these inhaled compounds harm human health. In the United Kingdom, Shawn Ellis tested the air in parts of a house where the cleaners—Pledge, Clorox Wipes and Lysol Disinfecting Spray—were stored.
 
Measuring the ambient air around these products, Ellis found that the VOC levels increased significantly where they were stored. Pledge registered 273 parts per billion (ppb) VOCs. (Anything over 500 ppb could be a problem for people with sensitivities, says the report.) Clorox Wipes came in at more than 1,000 ppb. But the clear-cut indoor air champion was Lysol Disinfecting Spray, which came in around 1,200 parts per million (ppm), or, roughly 1,000 times higher than the Clorox Wipes and equal to twelve hundred drops in a pool.
 
CHILDREN AT RISK
There is growing evidence that solvents used in cleaning products impact our children, particularly their intelligence. At the Hospital for Sick Children at the University of Toronto, Canada, scientists have begun to see these changes in a whole new generation of petro-babies—children who are a little less intelligent, less able to deal with stress, and a bit more prone to aberrant social behavior—all because of the types of chemicals we are using.
 
In the May-June 2001 issue of Neurotoxicology and Teratology (23[3]:235-45), researchers compared the cognitive and behavioral functioning of 33 children (ages 3-7) whose mothers worked with organic solvents during regnancy with a group of 28 unexposed children who were matched on age, gender, parental socioeconomic status, and ethnicity. Half of the group was born to mothers who had worked in occupations where solvents were present,
and half had mothers who’d experienced no such contact with these chemicals while pregnant. The women who were exposed also said that during their work with these hazardous chemicals they took protective measures such as wearing masks and gloves.
 
In spite of these precautions, however, their contact with solvents appears to have had effects on the developing brains of their unborn children that were measurable years later.
 
The study indicated that as levels of solvent
exposure increased, children scored lower in language and motor ability. “Significantly more exposed children were rated as having mild or severe problem behaviors. The findings suggest that maternal occupational exposure to organic solvents during pregnancy is associated with poorer outcome in selective aspects of cognitive and neuromotor functioning in offspring.”
 
But we can make up for these kinds of toxic exposures later in life, right?
 
Not so. A few years later, when the children were older, they were re-examined. Once again, researchers found that in utero contact with petroleum solvents harm mental abilities later in life. This time, children of mothers who were exposed to organic solvents tended to score lower on tests designed to measure language skills, attention span and memory.
 
Even when their tests scores were within normal ranges, exposed children demonstrated a reduced ability to recall sentences. Further, the scientists also noted increased hyperactivity among members of the exposed group.
 
In utero exposure to organic solvents is associated with poorer performance on some specific subtle measures of neurocognitive function, language, and behavior,” they concluded. “Reducing exposure in pregnancy is merited until more refined risk assessment is possible.”
 
The study’s authors classified both the tested and observed differences between the two groups of children as “subtle,” and noted that their research did not attempt to determine how much exposure and to what specific solvents caused which kinds of impairment. Instead, they said that the project was notable for being the first to establish a cause and effect relationship between solvents and brain damage in fetuses, and that the results indicated an urgent need for further study.
 
Young children are especially vulnerable. Everything goes in their mouths and they virtually live on the floor. And young kids are more sensitive because they are still developing the basic body systems: the brain, internal organs, respiratory and immune systems.  
 
But the irony, of course, is that you could be exposed to toxic levels in your own home. Homemakers certainly use these same chemicals daily. I found many products containing formaldehyde when I co-wrote The Safe Shopper’s Bible. For example, some interior sprays for cars have contained formaldehyde and you would of course end up inhaling it all day long as you drive. At least in factories, workers might receive respirators! Furniture polishes contain many neurotoxins. Windex contains 2-butoxyethanol, also known as butyl cellosolve, a neurotoxin; there have been reports of elevated levels of butyl cellosolve found in the bloodstreams of window washers in France. However, not to be outdone, if you choose to use Clorox Bathroom Cleaner, it contains butyl cellosolve as well—and at a whopping 3 to 7 percent of the total formulation. Mr. Clean is also the source of glycol ethers. In a recent study, occupational exposure to glycol ethers was found to lower sperm quality.
 
These are commonly used products—Lysol, Windex, furniture polish, all-purpose cleaners, shower scrubs, harsh disinfectants, dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, odor and stain removers—and the list grows from there. And in our homes, we frequently do not use protection. It is a lot of exposure, all of the time.
 
Oftentimes, no protection is used by homemakers. This means homemakers could be far more intensively exposed to these chemical toxins.
 
HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
The easy answer is to say that we should reduce our exposure. But how do we do this?
 
The first thing to do is to seek transparency: look for companies that use green science to produce formulas without toxic chemicals. Plus, we need to be able to buy the products at our local store at a great price. In other words, to detoxify a nation, such a brand would need to be everywhere people shop.
 
A great example of transparency is Earth Friendly Products, the number one-selling green brand across all markets in North America.
 
Their clear bottles of dishwashing and laundry detergents, along with petroleum-free household cleaning and pet products, are taking over shelf space everywhere. There is a good reason they are as likely to be found at Costco or Sam’s Club as they are your local health food store—and why in both markets the company is winning zealous converts. After all, they are selling a great product at a great price with a strong green ethic. Take their complete commitment to zero phosphates and salts, the only major brand to completely stop production of polluting laundry and automatic dishwashing powders. They also protect against dioxane pollution with third-party oversight testing.
 
According to the company’s website, “We start the creative process with plants. We never use petrochemical, non-ionic ingredients. We check possible ingredients for what’s called ‘Responsible Sustainability’ by asking questions like: Is this from a rainforest? Is it needed in the area to sustain any endangered wildlife? Are workers given a fair wage for their labor? If all indicators are a go, then we move on. As we continue the process, we use as many National Organic Program-certified organic essential oils as we can find. Then, each new product undergoes in-house testing and some are submitted to a consumer testing agency to undergo rigorous and objective third-party testing. Every single essential oil we employ is a scent that is pure, real and 100 percent natural. Each cleaner is the result of hundreds of man-hours in research and development. And every formula is formaldehyde free.”
 
Actually, Earth Friendly Products' ability to deliver on value and quality is deeper than this alone. They have regional manufacturing plants throughout North America which not only saves on transportation miles but makes them one of the few, if the only, green companies to completely make their own products in their own carbon-neutral facilities. The fact that their manufacturing plants employ hundreds of workers in the fast-growing, green-collar economy is also important to a country struggling to create new opportunities.
 
Earth Friendly Products make me feel good. I get a good green value. They are a staple in our home. They certainly take away those funny odors coming from other household cleaning products that used to be found in my cleaning cabinets!
 
Resources
Earth Friendly Products are available nationwide. They are committed to your water of tomorrow. They get this connection. For more information, visit www.ecos.com. 

The Strand NYC - Manhattan's Newest Chic Green Hotel

The Strand Hotel NYCWhen you’re in Manhattan, be sure to stay at The Strand (33 West 37th Street). Not only is The Strand the city’s newest hotel, but also among one of its most green.

 

Making The Strand green involved a total rehab. “We took the entire inside out of the building and when we finished, we found that it just made sense to go as green as possible,” says Don Glassie whose company, Atlantic Stars, provides travelers with the opportunity to enjoy some of the most exciting travel destinations the Atlantic Coast has to offer. “For example, we knew we could save a lot of energy if we used smart sensors. Both the lighting and thermostat are based on smart technology. They turn off when guests leave the rooms, based on motion. Our rooftop bar is solar heated and comfortable even on winter days like we’ve had in 2010! We have high-efficiency lighting and in-house recycling programs, plus we buy locally grown foods as often as possible for our restaurants.”

 

It’s important to combine the very best in travel with the very best in environmental awareness. But even demanding travelers will find that going green at The Strand offers everything you would expect from a great hotel. The Strand Restaurant features a signature alabaster bar and lounge with a fire place, year-round greenhouse and sidewalk cafe seating, plus an ethos of locally grown foods. It’s really the green place to be when you’re in NYC.

 

Book your stay today at www.thestrandnyc.com.



Tip for a Greener Bathroom

Are you trying to green your home? Well, why not start in the bathroom with an all-natural shower curtain? Available in certified organic cotton, hemp and bamboo, many natural product supermarkets and green lifestyle stores are now carrying them, or check out the 100-percent organic shower curtains at www.lifekind.com. And if you do buy a plastic shower liner, be sure to buy one that is PVC free, so you avoid any harmful chemicals.



Would You Live in a Shipping Container?

Riverside Building, Leamouth, Tower Hamlets, London. Photographer: Fin Fahey. Modular live/work units built using old shipping containers.

Don’t be so quick on the draw to say “No”. Container architecture is actually taking the world by storm, a very resourceful storm.  Recycled freight containers offer efficiency and affordability to green buildings.

 

These durable boxes are inexpensive building blocks, not as cheap as LEGO bricks, of course, but less than building materials for the average American home. “The total cost of a house—between $150,000 and $175,000 after the buyer settles upon the various options—works out to be between $73 and $90 per square foot, about half the cost of the conventional $200 per square foot for reasonable quality, new construction in the Northeast,” says Adam Kalkin, of New Jersey-based Architecture and Hygiene.
 

Shipping containers connect and stack to create modular, efficient spaces, and their hollow, metal insides, once used to ship cars from Germany and textiles from China can be easily modified to fit your modern comforts—and hold the most precious cargo of all, yours.

 

SG Blocks LLC™ is just one of many emerging companies that are turning shipping containers into green building blocks used in all types of building construction. Check them out at www.SGBlocks.com.


Researchers Discover Chemical Carcinogen
in Popular Laundry Detergent Brands

Nearly two-thirds of laundry detergents sold in America today are contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical called 1,4-dioxane, which is as potent a carcinogen as many chemical pesticides that have been banned for use around homes, according to a new study carried out by the Organic Consumers Association and Green Patriot Working Group under the direction and supervision of David Steinman, a leading consumer advocate and former representative of the public interest at the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Virtually every recognizable mainstream brand of laundry detergent is contaminated with this cancer-causing chemical, according to the study results.

 

Levels of the chemical were as high as 55 parts per million (ppm) in Tide from P&G and 25 ppm from Purex (Dial).

 

Only a few brands—most from the natural products industry—tested free or very low for this powerful cancer-causing substance. Earth Friendly Products tested completely free of any traces of this dangerous chemical.

 

The health risk from 1,4-dioxane in laundry detergents has become a matter of considerable debate among public health experts and advocates. The same study group has also tested many other cosmetic and personal care products, as well as other types of household cleaning products for the presence of this chemical. High enough amounts were found throughout the testing that many companies have come under legal scrutiny.

 

Clearly, the risk from dioxane’s presence in children’s bubble baths, shampoos and adult products such as body wash seems obvious to the public—since the products are applied directly to the skin. In this case, under pressure by the California attorney general and public interest groups’ legal arms, many manufacturers began eliminating or markedly reducing the amount of dioxane in their products.

 

Dioxane appears in products as a result of a process called ethoxylation in which relatively harsh low-sudsing ingredients are combined with ethylene oxide, a known human carcinogen, in order to produce softer detergents that produce more suds. In this process, the ethylene oxide undergoes a slight modifi cation and reappears in the product disguised as diethylene oxide, also known as 1,4-dioxane or simply dioxane. For many years, dioxane contamination was routinely overlooked as a serious concern by manufacturers and even our federal watchdog agencies. But recently, as a result of public pressure stemming from the OCA-Green Patriot Working Group studies, consumers have begun pressuring manufacturers to produce cleaner products.

 

Although many consumers visually associate dermal exposure through the skin and scalp via shampoos and bubble baths as an obvious and unnecessary risk to themselves and their children, in fact, the risk from laundry detergents, is more complex—and involves both immediate exposures and long-term consequences to our precious drinking water resources.

 

Dioxane is considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be an emerging threat to water supplies across the country. Towns as diverse as Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Newport Beach, California, have all found their water supply fouled by this chemical.

 

In Orange County, California, dioxane-tainted sewage water was injected into fresh drinking water supplies for Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley. Public authorities closed many wells. The cost for the cleanup was over $10 million, and Newport Beach alone spent hundreds of thousands of dollars importing water for its residents.

 

Yet, even today, according to experts, trace levels appear in the water supply. Other sources such as greywater systems that contain laundry detergents and personal care products also contribute to the dioxane contamination.

 

The reason it is being found at trace levels even after removal of the major source is that the water experts there are looking for it. Because it has been unknown, it hasn’t been tested for. Testing is costly and requires the most advanced technologies, not available to water districts routinely. In California, when dioxane has been tested for, it is found in upward of ten percent of well samples. Nobody knows how many private wells and groundwater resources are being polluted by greywater from washing machines that trickles into the major water supplies but again with more testing it is likely to be found more frequently.

 

According to researchers writing in the March 2008 issue of Chemosphere, “As a groundwater contaminant, 1,4-dioxane is of considerable concern because of its toxicity, refractory nature to degradation, and rapid migration within an aquifer.”

 

For example, only recently it was reported in April 2009 that 1,4-dioxane was found in the drinking water of residents of Plaistow, New Hampshire. The dioxane had migrated from a waste oil site and fouled more than a dozen residents’ drinking water. Residents have been advised not to use their tap water. The chemical has been found at three other locations in the state. Yet, the state just began testing for the chemical in 2008. And when detected, its removal is likely to be costly.

 

Yet, California law prohibits any amount of a carcinogen to be released into drinking water supplies. Clearly, when people dispose of their laundry water it is eventually going to end up in water supplies. In California, reclaimed sewage water is now being injected into groundwater supplies as a means of replenishing their stores. Earth Friendly ProductsThis means there is potential for low levels of dioxane to be injected into groundwater.

 

Today, dioxane can be easily removed from the finished product through vacuum stripping or alternative ingredients can be used that do not require the ethoxy processing. In particular, the remarkable success and popularity of ECOS from Earth Friendly Products, clearly the major player in the natural products industry, shows that a laundry detergent should not only include performance and value, but leadership in environmental stewardship. These are clearly safer for families, workers, and our precious natural resources.


Results of Laundry Detergents Tested for the Petrochemical Carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane

Conventional Brands Natural Brands

Tide Total Care (P&G) – 55 ppm

Ivory Snow (P&G) – 30 ppm

Tide Free (P&G) – 29 ppm

Purex Ultra (Dial corp.) – 25 ppm

2x Ultra Gain (P&G) – 21 ppm

Cheer Bright Clean (P&G) – 20 ppm

ERA (P&G) – 14 ppm

Arm & Hammer (Church & Dwight Co.) – 5 ppm

2x Ultra Wisk (Sun Products Corp.) – 3.8 ppm

Woolite Complete (Reckitt Benckiser) – 1.3 ppm

ALL (Unilever) – 0.6 ppm

Dreft Powdered (P&G) – ND

Sun Burst Sunsational Scents (Sun Products Corp.) – ND

ECOS (Earth Friendly Products) – ND

Seventh Generation Free and Clear – ND

Life Tree – ND

Method Squeaky Green – ND

Clorox Green Works – ND

Planet Ultra – 6 ppm

Mrs. Meyers – 1.5 ppm


 Key

 ppm = parts per million

 ND = not detected

Resources 

 

To find super clean laundry detergents visit www.ecos.com.


Revamp Your Red Carpet:
Sustainable Beauty for Your Big Night Out, from EcoStiletto

by Natasha Ayala Garber and Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff

You may not have made it to Oscars this year, but once in a while everyone gets invited to a “red carpet” event—a hot date, big party, anniversary, reunion or wedding—that inspires a hair and makeup transformation. And even if your daily routine is full-on green, most of these pre-event transformations typically involve a retreat to paraben-heavy pancake, super-leaded lipstick and hairspray shellac that sends your carbon footprint up a size—or four.

Newsflash: Sustainable hair and makeup works just as well—or better—than its chemical cousins to get you ready for your big night!

As we’ve found in two years of
 EcoCelebrity interviews, even celebrities green their hair, makeup and fashion routines for the red carpet. Many pay thousands of dollars to high-profile stylists who can find them one-of-a-kind sustainable gowns, shoes and accessories, makeup artists who give them glowing, gorgeous skin without hormone-altering chemicals, hairstylists who create signature looks that last for hours without toxic sprays and manicurists who polish their nails in the chicest colors that won’t leave them stained yellow from formaldehyde. 

But who has thousands of dollars to throw at a stylist? Read on, ecoista. We’ve got you covered.

ABOUT FACE

Jessica AlbaAs Jessica Alba proved at Global Green’s 7th Annual Pre-Oscar Party last week, beautiful makeup starts with perfect foundation. But typical liquid foundations and concealers are loaded with parabens, artificial colors and other harmful ingredients, and way too many are tested on animals.

For a flawless, Earth- and animal-friendly face, we love
 NVEY ECO Certified Organic products, especially the amazing Erase concealer, which hides imperfections like dark circles, age spots and blemishes.

Once you’ve concealed, if you’re looking for full coverage, opt for
 NVEY’s Crème Deluxe or try their tinted Moisturizing Liquid Foundation for a dewy, barely made-up look.

NVEY cosmeticsMatte-addict? Make sure your skin is photo-ready with a dusting of
 NVEY’s Compact Powder—a great product to pack in your clutch if you tend to, you know, glow.


Like Jessica, your knockout red-carpet dress probably shows some skin—which typically calls for a tan. But exposure to UV rays can lead to sun damage, premature skin aging and skin cancer. As for sunless tanning products, though they may save you from an unhealthy solar sizzling, many have their own associated risks. So-called “tanning pills” typically contain
 canthaxanthin, which can cause eye damage and liver injury, while plenty of “safe” sugar-based sunless tanning creams are still chock full of parabens, propylene glycol (antifreeze in Physician's Formula organic wearyour fake-bake, anyone?) and artificial fragrance.

Instead, get a glow that saves your skin—and the planet—by using cruelty-free, drugstore-brand
 Physician’s Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Bronzer to achieve your just-blew-in-from-Barbados shade. We’re big fans of the dual-tone bronzer palette, which contains organic rice silk and organic jojoba seed oil—but no parabens, synthetic preservatives, synthetic colors, synthetic fragrance or GMOs—to create a subtle and slightly shimmery effect.

LIP LOCK

Between greeting (even air-kisses warrant a lip smack) sipping, snacking and talking, lips get a workout on red-carpet nights, and you need lip color that will stick with you until the DJ packs it in. Disturbingly, many long-wear lipsticks contain carcinogenic colors, lead, chemical preservatives and phthalates, long associated with hormonal disruption, including liver, kidney and lung damage—no cause for celebration.

That’s why we’re so excited about
 Lip-Ink, which adheres to the principles of PETA and the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, while turning out wax-free, paraben-free, kosher, vegan, long-wear lip color that’s loaded with more than 40 natural herbs, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Lip-InkApplying Lip-Ink lip stain is a three-part process, involving lip-prep, color application and shine coat, and we will caution you that the color does tingle briefly, but intensely, when applied. But once we got this stuff on, it stayed on, and on and on and on, through laughing, smiling, smooching, drinking and eating, until we swabbed it off with Lip-Ink’s all-natural Off color remover. The best part? You can layer several Lip-Ink shades (they’ve got zillions), to achieve your perfect color. Smooch!

THE MANE EVENT 

And then there’s hair. What to do with one’s tresses is almost always a source of stress for even the mellowest party girl. Up or down? Tousled or tight? And what about those propellants, petrochemicals, skin irritants, neurotoxins and carcinogens so often found in hair sprays, mousses, gels and other holding products?

Not a pretty picture.

So we’re thrilled to offer a lesson in fancy ’do’s from eco-hair expert and Carla Gentile of
 Steam Salon in Los Angeles, CA, who blew our minds at GreenBlogCon2009 by using some of her miraculous eponymous pomade, a wide-tooth, rat-tail comb and mixed-bristle brush (Mason Pearson, made from cruelty-free, naturally shedded boar bristles, natch) to back-comb her way to gorgeous, indestructible, product-free updos like the one pictured above.

Intelligent NutrientsUsing
 Intelligent Nutrients certified-organic and all-eco-all-the-time products, here are Carla’s favorite red-carpet redo hair tips:

For Volume: “Always towel-blot the hair so it is semi-dry. Don’t rough dry the hair with a towel! This will wreak havoc on your ends and increase breakage. Then tip your head upside-down, spray with a light-hold hair spray like Intelligent Nutrients Volumizing Spray and secure hair in a high pony tail until dry. Shake it out for full, natural volume that requires no electricity or product at all!”

For Curls: “Towel blot your hair, then work through Intelligent Nutrients Hair Balm. Towel blot again to remove excess product and moisture. Section the hair, roll it into curls and pin using curl clips, making large pin-curls all over your head. Let your hair dry naturally, or, if you don’t have the time, use your hair dryer on a low setting to finish drying. The most eco-friendly way to achieve these curls is roll them in at night before you go to bed. When the hair is dry, simply remove the clips and shake your hair out for soft texture and wave.”


Now, go work that carpet, baby!

 

Visit EcoStiletto for more green tips!


We Need Green Patriots

I just needed to speak out when I read David Steinman’s article on, “We Need Green Patriots,” in Healthy Living magazine (13.10).  For years I have been compelled to bring home recyclable material from my workplace. 

 

For over 13 years I worked in a hospital as a laboratory supervisor.  It was part of my employees’ “training” to learn how to rinse out the reagent bottles we were done with and collect them in a bag, along with any aluminum foil and paper we ended up discarding.  I then brought this bag home with me, adding it to my home material at the curb weekly.  Now, at my current job which is a laboratory manufacturing company, I’m taking home a full box or bagful DAILY. 

 

I’ve tried in earnest, at both locations, to bring in a more professional service…to have EVERYTHING recyclable actually recycled.  And at both, I have been responded to with plain anger for even making such a suggestion.  How ludicrous could I be to suggest given the COST?

 

I’ve been reading on how so much of our recyclable material actually goes right to the landfill with the rest of our garbage, or how toxic the chemicals are that are used or which are bi-products of the recycling process are.  So yes, while I work hard urging my fellow people to care about our earth, I’m still searching out the best ways to do it! Well, so onward I will continue…taking home my loot to put out weekly.

 

-Natalie Lynn Lichtenbert

 



Can Your Window Cleaner Cause Cancer?

One of the most ominous secrets today about household cleaning products—namely Windex—is that a synthetic chemical commonly used in their formulas has shown some evidence of carcinogenicity. The secret has been deeply buried throughout the years in a little publicized technical report from the National Toxicology Program. While the report overall did not condemn the chemical as a carcinogen, its findings represent what could be the beginning of the end of this chemical in consumer products.

 

The report was published in March 2000 and is part of the National Toxicology Program’s Technical Report Series.

 

The chemical has a lot of aliases and is known as butyl cellosolve, 2-butoxyethanol, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGMBE or EGBE) or as a member of the family known as ethylene glycol monoalkyl ethers. It is used extensively as a solvent in surface coatings such as lacquers, enamels, varnishes, and latex paint; in paint thinners, paint stripping formulations, and inks; and in degreasers and industrial and household cleaners.

 

2-butoxyethanol was nominated for study because of its widespread use in industrial and consumer applications, the potential for exposure to workers and the general population, and the absence of chronic toxicity data, according to the report. In the study, it was found that, “There was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of 2-butoxyethanol in female F344/N rats based on the increased combined incidences of benign or malignant pheochromocytoma (mainly benign) of the adrenal medulla. There was some evidence of carcinogenic activity of 2-butoxyethanol in male B6C3F1 mice based on increased incidences of hemangiosarcoma of the liver. A marginal increase in the incidences of forestomach squamous cell papilloma and an increase in the incidences of hepatocellular carcinoma may have been exposure related. There was some evidence of carcinogenic activity of 2-butoxyethanol in female B6C3F1 mice based on increased incidences of fore stomach squamous cell papilloma or carcinoma (mainly papilloma). Increased incidences of forestomach neoplasms in male and female mice occurred in groups in which ulceration and hyperplasia were also present.”

 

When a chemical causes cancer in both sexes of two species of animals or more it is generally thought of as being a potential carcinogen (its final classification based on a sophisticated review of many additional studies and evidence). So—this chemical is very close.

 

But there’s more scary news. In a December 1998 article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, doctors treated seven clerical workers after exposure to vaporized 2-butoxyethanol, which had been applied overnight to strip the floor of their file room. At the time of exposure, they had noted intense eye and respiratory irritation, marked dyspnea, nausea, and faintness. All seven workers later experienced recurrent eye and respiratory irritation, dry cough, and headache.

Four months after the exposure, cherry angiomas began to appear on the arms, trunk, and thighs of six workers, who voiced concerns about the possibility of cancer. New cherry angiomas have continued to appear 5 years after the acute exposure, as the initial ones persisted. “These angiomas occur in healthy persons as they age but in this instance appear to have resulted from a single overexposure to 2-butoxyethanol.”

 

Ironically, the researchers concluded, “We felt confident in reassuring the workers that they would suffer no serious consequences from this exposure.”

 

Yeah, sure! No serious consequences?

 

The scary thing is millions of homemakers, janitors and other folks are using this chemical today, not fully realizing their harmful effects. The brand of window cleaner most closely associated with its use in their products is Windex. But many other products, including some Fantastik, Formula 409, Lysol and Simple Green formulas also contain this chemical. Unfortunately, finding out which products contain this chemical requires sleuthing and looking at company data since there are such lax labeling regulatory laws, requiring little to no specific ingredient disclosures.

 

Does that mean these products are dangerous and should never be used? Well, nobody knows for certain how much damage these products can do, but one can speculate that one would not want to be using ALL or several of these products (especially at the same time) without protection while working in the home and cleaning on a daily basis. But, unfortunately this scenario is probably the one we see most often. Homemakers do a lot of cleaning. They use a lot of these products. They rarely use protection, and worse, they might be pregnant. This affects everyone, but one can imagine the hundreds of thousands of people in cleaning jobs who are being exposed. It is hazardous to their health, their babies and society! Besides, these products transmit what are called volatile organic chemicals that become airborne and can be inhaled 24/7 in the home. In one media report, Lysol came out as the worst of all products tested. Rates of environmental cancers continue to rise. Some studies link occupational exposures to cancer, including homemakers. Do we really need to be adding another potential carcinogen to the pool of toxic chemicals to which we are being exposed?

 

The Better Choice

 

Earth Friendly ProductsYou don’t have to buy products with this chemical to get perfectly clean and clear streak-free windows. We’ve put a lot of different cleaners to the test and while Windex no doubt does a great job on your windows, other cleaners we have tested do just as well without having to use what appears to be a highly toxic chemical where even low chronic doses might present an unnecessary risk.

 

With all of this in mind, our clear choice for all-around performance and value has become relatively easy: Earth Friendly Products has tested free of not only this chemical, but all petrochemicals including dioxane and formaldehyde. Their products are available everywhere. They work just as well (we know as we’ve tested them). They’re comparably priced. AND, they end up protecting you and your family.

 

Resources

 

Earth Friendly Products, including their window cleaner and all-surface cleaner, as well as their Wave automatic dishwashing gel and ECOS laundry detergent, are the smart, green choice. They don’t contain phosphates, dioxane, or any other chemical toxins. Visit them at www.efpclean.com.



The Beauty Bus

Beauty BusThe Beauty Bus Foundation enhances the quality of life for home-bound, terminally or chronically ill patients and their primary caregivers by providing free of charge, in-home beauty and grooming treatments such as facials and manicures. derma e® Natural Bodycare, a pioneer in natural skincare, is product sponsor for the Beauty Bus Foundation. “In donating our nourishing skin-care formulas, our wish is to help Beauty Bus continue to touch lives in such a warm, gracious and caring way,” says Dr. Linda Miles, L. Ac. D.O.M., vice president of derma e.

 

Resources

 

Find out where you can catch the Beauty Bus at www.beautybus.org. derma e products are available at natural health retailers nationwide, visit them at www.dermae.com.



Making Things Green
Miracle in the Big Easy: The Ninth Ward is Coming Back

by David Steinman
David Steinman with Global Green's green-building expert, Michael Lopez

It was only four years ago, but for many people it seems like it was only yesterday. At the time, I was on the plains of Iowa, near the Nebraska border, listening to the loud thunder claps of the storm and then waking up and visiting a plant called NatureWorks, where plastic was being manufactured from non-polluting corn and turned into all sorts of neat and useful things like beer mugs for sporting events, yellow coffee cups, and even blankets.

 

Half a continent away, in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Katrina was looming, big, getting bigger, refusing to budge from its target: New Orleans, Louisiana. What proceeded to happen in the next few days was as devastating a natural disaster as Americans had seen in several decades, perhaps a precursor of what is to come with global climate change. I remember flying back to Los Angeles to my three children. I was alone; but not nearly as alone as the people of New Orleans would find themselves in the days following the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. We all know the story—the story of the great flood of 2005. We know about the terrible failures of the levy system that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed and of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), in light of drowning, looting, dislocation, death and more deaths, thousands (some 1,836).

 

The Holy Cross Project's green demonstation home.

For the last four years, most Americans have talked about NOLA (New Orleans, LA) without being there. It really isn’t fair, if you know what I mean, to gossip about what you don’t know.

 

On December 30, 2009, I visited the Ninth Ward of New Orleans with my fiancée Ana. We were in a Ford F-150 pickup with Global Green's Mike Lopez, assuredly one of the most knowledgeable green builders today. The home of the future—one that is small, compact, super efficient, and affordable—might well have been invented right here in the burgeoning Holy Cross neighborhood of the Ninth Ward by a group whose founder, Mikhail Gorbachev, was once part of the Evil Empire (that he helped to dismantle with his program of Glasnost).

 

On the second day there, Mike picked us up at the International House, a member of the Green Hotel Association, and we drove out of the French Quarter and Downtown. That was when he told me, “They have repainted downtown so you won’t see the waterlines,” where we drove down Claiborne.

 

“How was the French Quarter affected by Hurricane Katrina?” I asked.

 

“Not quite as bad as you might think,” Mike replied. “That’s because in their wisdom, when New Orleans was first settled, people built on the highest ground. That would be the French Quarter,” he said. But as we drove, where so many businesses and hotels lined the boulevard, he said that this section had water that was four or five feet. New Orleans, at least downtown, was back in business, some four years later. We were there for the Sugar Bowl weekend and plenty of good folks from Ohio and Florida were venturing down to support their team. But downtown was easy to get out of.

 

Debris from the flood remains on roofs.
The farther away we drove from downtown, the more dilapidated the city became, and then we crossed one of the eight canals that surround New Orleans and we were in the Ninth Ward. I was witnessing something on the level of a war zone, something as devastated. We turned from Claiborne Street, which divided the Ninth Ward into two sections. We were about to enter the worst area. We drove down ironically named and nearly deserted Flood Street. We drove amidst the ruins in the lower Ninth Ward, which is thought of as the area downriver of the Industrial Canal. Unlike the Holy Cross area of the Ninth Ward, this portion is really low, below sea level. It is difficult to describe the devastation. It was so complete and thorough. It was like a flood of Biblical proportion had hit the town—but why would God attack the God-fearing people of the lower Ninth Ward? I saw churches everywhere. Some were going strong. Others were abandoned.

 

“Somehow over the years nobody gave a damn how people built and everyone wanted to believe the Corps,” Mike said. “But now you can see what happens; this was all a manmade disaster.” Vacant lots, overgrown with grass and weeds, covered with foundations, dominated the scene. A few homes were situated along the roads, but very few—and there were no stores, no lights, no lamps, just outcasts of homes, more frightening than being alone in the jungle. Maybe 10 percent of the people had returned—if even that. We saw roofs littered with debris. It just was not happening.

 

“You see where we are now is one of the lowest areas in the city.” It was difficult to imagine that where we were was once an actual community. Big spray-painted messages from the time of the flood marked many of the homes.

 

Fats Domino's home survived the flood, although the artist has moved to a different neighborhood.

We passed by the home where Fats Domino had long lived and recorded. “His story is interesting,” Mike said. “It was a few days after Katrina when friends realized they hadn’t heard from him. He was 77 at that time, and he had taken refuge in his attic and there’s a cut in the side of his home, which also used to be his recording studio, where he was pulled out. In that heat and humidity it was amazing that he survived. People say he was emaciated. He lives on the North Shore now.

 

“The strange thing for the people of the Ninth Ward was that when the storm came and   passed, at first they thought everything would be all right, but as you can see, this area is very low lying and surrounded by levees. The storm came and went and everyone came out on the street and then they heard or saw the wall of water coming, rising fifteen feet in some areas, which is why you still see debris on the roofs of homes, but the surge that came from the Gulf had only begun. The eight canals that crisscrossed the fish-bowl city became conduits for the surge, a frightening overload. Water from the Gulf went up through Lake Pontchartrain. That was when the levees failed. People had been assured by the Army Corps of Engineers that the levees would never fail, but the water kept coming (from some two miles away). The floodwaters were eight to ten feet high. As the water came up, people could not escape, and there was no way to escape through the roof, either. They drowned inside their attics.”

 

Up ahead of Ana and me were the levees themselves, covered with grass, looking fairly lethal. The Corps always assured the people they would be safe, he said. “But recently the court held the Corps liable for what happened. Sure they will appeal and it will take years, but maybe justice will be done. The Corps is powerful, and it isn’t usual that a decision goes against them.”

 

The impact on the City of New Orleans has been substantial. When people leave, business leaves. There were no stores. There was about one home per block. Nobody had really returned. Schools were closed down. Churches were closed down. Buildings were boarded.

 

“But don’t think of this as a socioeconomic issue,” Mike warned. “A lot of people were affected.” Nonetheless, lower income minorities were tremendously adversely affected. It was clear. Still, I understood where he was coming from. Something like this hurts everyone living on low ground.

 

As we finally made our way across Claiborne and we entered the Holy Cross neighborhood, only the name remained. “The school decided to move,” Mike said.

 

Global Green's sustainable green homes will be sold only to people who were living in the Ninth Ward as of April 29, 2005.

Yet, the Holy Cross neighborhood is coming back. It is on slightly higher ground and that makes all the difference. In fact, Mike had come from Austin, Texas, where he was overseeing a state-based regional green building initiative, to show how a sustainable community could be built here in the Ninth Ward. The homes that we saw were remarkable and for sale at a very reasonable $175,000 for a fully sustainable 1,100 square feet. What makes the homes remarkable is how energy efficient they are. The demonstration home was completely energy independent.

 

There were so many innovative features about the home. Consider that it is drawing all of its power and energy from the sun and geothermal. The floor was made with recycled local wood. The home supplies much of its own water by capturing rain. There was a huge underground water cistern. The geothermal system was impressive because you can actually use the stable temperature of the earth to either warm or cool a home, depending on your needs, and it is free, and there is a renewable and endless supply. The solar panels supplied all of the rest of the energy. There was a control panel on the wall that Mike showed me that you touched to learn about your power usage. You can tell when you use peak power or just a little and relate it back to what you are doing, he said. The entire home was Energy Star-certified. It was actually reducing its carbon footprint to a net negative, going beyond “carbon neutral.”

 

If there is a take-home lesson from Global Green's The Holy Cross Project, it is that we can make a difference even here. I turned to Mike and asked: “I mean, couldn't some of all that money that went to Wall Street have helped Global Green to do its job better and improve a neighborhood in a city that Americans love and need?” He just smiled at me.

 

New Orleans is a great town. There’s a lot of opportunity. Where the new homes are located is the rebirth of a vibrant neighborhood. The homes are selling for excellent prices and this part of the Ninth Ward is going to emerge stronger than ever. The green shoots are sending hope into the community. Michael Lopez and Global Green are part of the hope. Global Green is conducting tours regularly so that everybody can learn from these homes and “take what they learn to their own projects,” Mike said. “That is what it is all about, man. Spreading the message far and wide—and, of course, helping this community.”

 

 

Resources

 

www.globalgreen.org

www.fatsdominomusic.com

• Hear a podcast of Beth Galante of Global Green discuss the Holy Cross Project at www.greenpatriotradio.com


Top Anti-aging Nutrients & Herbs for Your Skin

This winter the harsh winds will howl and moan like coyotes and the sun will shine as bright as a fi re, refl ecting off the snow, or you will be confronted with the exhaust fumes of modern urban life in the cold streets of the big city. You can bet that wherever you are (even soaking up the rays in the Sunbelt) that your skin craves a special set of nutrients and herbs just to help it cope with the harsh environment.

 

Here’s our winter shopping guide to some of the best and most-trusted elixirs that your skin will drink up:

 

Products containing hyaluronic acid (HA), a “moisture magnet,” are perfect for rehydrating dry skin during these dry, low-humidity times. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water and has the amazing ability to bind moisture to tissue to soften, smooth, tone and rehydrate your skin.

 

With age, the body’s ability to produce its own HA diminishes and topical application helps replenish the skin.

 

You definitely want to make HA a key part of your skincare program. Do look for a whole host of products containing HA, including body and hand lotions, rehydrating crèmes, and eye crèmes. (Be sure your HA formula avoids parabens and phthalates.)

 

COQ10, ESTER-C AND GREEN TEA

 

A perfect day crème for rehydrating combines HA with Ester-C®, green tea extract, and vitamin E. Ester-C is proven in clinical studies to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, according to proprietary studies the company had performed, and makes a great complement to HA. Vitamin E works with ascorbic acid to actually increase your skin’s antioxidant activity, as shown in an article in the August 24, 2001, issue of Life Sciences. Green tea applied topically is extraordinary for preventing sun- and free radical-related skin damage according to an article in the July 2009 issue of Cancer Biology & Therapy.

 

Also complementing HA and improving cellular health is retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A.

 

Around the eyes, HA can help, especially when combined with Pycnogenol®. This remarkable antioxidant, extracted from the bark of the French maritime pine, has been shown to be 50 times more powerful than vitamin E and 20 times more effective than vitamin C in neutralizing free radicals. Pycnogenol also has important anti-inflammatory properties, helps to stabilize the capillary system, improve circulation and increase the skin’s resistance to inflammation, making it an ideal ingredient for those who have sensitive skin or who suffer from rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions.

 

During the day, consider a skin-care formula with macadamia oil. Rich in palmitoleic acid, experts believe macadamia has the highest levels of any plant oil. Palmitoleic acid is a key component of human sebum when we are young but the levels decline radically as we age.  Many experts including Weston Price recommend macadamia nut oil for the skin of older people. Plus, it is very stable and penetrates the skin quickly, making it a vanishing oil. Macadamia nut oil is used in France in suntan lotions for this reason. Its fatty acids seem to help the skin maintain high levels of moisture.

 

Cosmetic and personal care product shoppers love being green. That means safe for you and the planet. That is the other half of the equation. Be sure your products are completely free from parabens and phthalates. Be sure your company is constantly striving to lessen its impact on the environment and improve conservation efforts. Whenever possible, be sure your natural ingredients are sourced from environmentally friendly farms that practice sustainable agriculture and are organic inside 100-percent-recyclable packaging.

 

In 2009, derma-e® marked the second year manufacturing with wind energy, reducing the company’s environmental footprint by matching 100 percent of conventional electricity use with clean, renewable energy. This renewable energy purchase supports derma e in their continuing effort to completely offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

 

Resources

 

derma e offers a complete line of products to help reduce the signs of aging and resolve problem skin. Visit www.dermae.com for a complete list of products.

 


 

Which All-purpose Cleaner is Deep Green?

What is in that all-purpose cleaner with the label of the bald-headed man with the golden earring, anyway? Why won’t Formula 409 tell me more about some of its pesky ingredients? And if a product says when you buy it you will help to save the planet and calls itself green in its name, then why is it using artificial green colors to make its point? Is that literally the definition of greenwashing?

 

So when the scrub brush hits the first counter, what qualities should a shopper look for when seeking an effective yet environmentally responsible all-purpose cleaner?

 

We are all trying to green our homes and make them safer. Certainly, green household cleaning products play an important role. The chemicals in household cleaners are known to be toxic to the kidneys, liver, and nervous system. Some could cause cancer. In addition, many of the products use exorbitant amounts of natural resources in their production, manufacture, and distribution.

 

To help you through this toxic nightmare, we have evaluated the leading all-purpose cleaners, both mainstream and green, to see which are the safest and which are most dangerous (least safe).

 

We reveal their toxic ingredients, often not disclosed on labels. And we looked at the companies behind the brands to see which are true green.

 

 
Product Toxic  Ingredients

Petrochemical
Rating

Company Information Product
Rating
Earth Friendly Products Parsley Plus All-surface Cleaner & Orange Plus

Earth Friendly Products is the only major green household cleaning company with significant market penetration in virtually all channels and that makes its own cleaning products at its own regional plants throughout the United States; this means better quality control and significantly reduced transportation miles. Bonus: their California plant produces 60 percent of its own energy with an extensive solar panel system, and by recently expanding their facilities, they added over 100 green jobs in the U.S. over the last 12 months and plan to add another 100 jobs in 2010. This company beats all others. www.efpclean.com


Bi-O-Kleen 
All-purpose    Cleaner        


   

The 20-year-old company manufactures in-house in the United States. Smaller than some of the “big boys,” it lacks the sheer product diversity of some of its green competitors. www.biokleenhome.com


Fantastik All-purpose Cleaner

 

Propylene glycol monobutyl ether

 

Quaternary compounds

S.C. Johnson has engaged in many excellent green activities such as gas to energy landfill projects but remains very much oil reliant and produces products with the least green credentials.

Formula 409

Propylene glycol monobutyl ether

 

Quaternary compounds

 

Monoetha-
nolamine


 

 

Clorox is extremely oil dependent as this product demonstrates, although it recently is taking

part in a global campaign to save many species of frogs from extinction. (Perhaps it ought to

recognize the possible link between the chemicals it uses in its own products and the demise of the environment in which the frogs are trying to survive.)

 


GreenWorks All-purpose Cleaner

None above 1 pecent formula

From the same company that brings you Formula 409; can a product be deep green when it is artificially colored? www.greenworkscleaners.com


Lestoil Concentrated Heavy Duty Cleaner

Petroleum distillates are nerve toxins; pine oil is an allergen

See Clorox


Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner

Butyl cellosolve

Reckitt Benckiser is known in Europe for using greenwashing tactics.


Method All-purpose Surface Cleaner

None

Company does not have own manufacturing facility. Their products are manufactured globally in the United States (primarily the Midwest), Canada, China, Mexico and Europe; uses renewable energy purchases as offsets. www.methodhome.com


Mr. Clean Multi-surface

Alcohol ethoxylate

Procter & Gamble has resisted consumer efforts to clean up their products from a chemical carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane; an ongoing study has found some brands (such as shampoos) using alcohol ethoxylates to be contaminated.


Seventh Generation All-purpose Cleaner


Kathon CG

Seventh Generation produces excellent products—

They are transitioning all products to MIT/BIT, a synthetic preservative, however, biodegradable and non-irritating. www.seventhgeneration.com

 


Simple Green

Butyl cellosolve

Company touts product as “green” but with butyl cellosolve it is green only in color.


Windex Multi-surface

Butyl cellosolve

Ethylene glycol

See S.C. Johnson


 
MyChelle To The Rescue

by Karolyn A. Gazella  

 

Myra Michelle EbyAt Medicine Horse Program, we have seen firsthand how horses can help people. Our award-winning HopeFoal Project provides direct evidence as to the power of the horse-human connection. With HopeFoal, we rescue foals from the Premarin drug industry and match them with depressed, anxious, and troubled teens. The foals are born to mares whose only purpose is to provide urine during their pregnancy for the estrogen replacement drug Premarin, also known as Premelle, Prempac, Prempro, and Premphase. The foals born to these mares are merely byproducts, often sent off to slaughter. They are an after thought, an irritant that serves no purpose in the eyes of the drug company.

 

At Medicine Horse, we have a different perspective. Teens experiencing “at-risk” behavior help us gentle the foals. The teens can relate to these foals, which come to us anxious, afraid, or angry. Many of the kids in this class often feel they are the “throw-away” children, the byproducts of a life that has become too difficult to live. Along with a trained therapist and experienced volunteers, the foals show the kids that life is worth fighting for.

 

I remember the first time I shared the HopeFoal Project with Myra Michelle Eby, pioneer of true natural skin care products and founder of MyChelle Dermaceuticals.

 

“We have to help,” she told me.

 

A woman of action, Myra quickly made MyChelle Dermaceuticals the most impressive corporate sponsor that Medicine Horse Program has ever seen. Our HopeFoal Project is by far the most expensive and labor-intensive program we offer. Without MyChelle, I am not sure that our HopeFoal Project would have survived. Today, it is not only surviving; it is thriving.

 

Medicine Horse Program works in partnership with horses to help young people experience enhanced psychological, spiritual and emotional health. We specialize in growth and learning programs that help enhance a child’s self-esteem, manage anger, cope with fear, and learn how to trust again.

 

“The foals need special attention and care,” explains Corinne Schindler, Medicine Horse barn manager and instructor. “Thanks to MyChelle, we are able to rescue our HopeFoals and successfully integrate them into our herd where they can help more children.” Medicine Horse has a vision of service, sustainability and giving. It is a vision that MyChelle has embraced fully.

 

Attention To Detail

 

When working with horses, there is an enhanced awareness that is hard to describe. The horses help instill a sense of honesty and openness that often cannot come from conventional learning or therapy. This spirit of respect and trust is similar to the values that drive Myra to produce the highest quality skin care products possible. Her attention to detail is unparalleled and her commitment to quality is reflected in actions, not just words.

 

Myra has more than 25 years of experience in the natural health industry and has traveled the world searching for unique, effective ingredients for MyChelle products. Even more important than what is in her products is what is not in them. Extra care and attention is paid to purity. Myra insists that her products are always free of phthalates, parabens, propylene glycol, ureas, EDTA, and artificial fragrances and colors.

 

“For MyChelle, our mission goes way beyond just producing skin care products,” she says. “We have a commitment to our customers to produce the highest quality products that are not only effective, but that are also safe for the user and the environment. We also go out of our way to use cutting-edge, active, dermaceutical-grade ingredients in the correct molecular structure for optimal absorption and effectiveness.”

 

The MyChelle mission is fueled by a commitment to truly make a difference—one customer at a time and one cause at a time. To Myra, leading her company with integrity and giving back to the community is paramount.

 

Top of The World in Frisco, Colorado

 

Myra Michelle EbyFounded in November 2000, MyChelle Dermaceuticals has experienced impressive growth since the moment they began manufacturing their quality skin care products. Myra has listened to her customers and intuitively and expertly crafted a nontoxic, effective skin care product line that her customers appreciate. Customers also value the fact that when they buy a MyChelle product, they are supporting a consciously minded company. In addition to Medicine Horse, MyChelle is a dedicated supporter of the survivors and victims of cancer through the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

 

“Recent evidence shows us that topical parabens—which are estrogen mimickers—have been detected in human breast tumors,” explains Myra. “I am very proud that MyChelle is one of the very few skin care lines, even in the natural products industry, that is paraben-free.”

 

It is that commitment that makes MyChelle Dermaceuticals so successful and readily embraced by health conscious consumers. As they celebrate their six-year anniversary, they are more committed than ever to providing the most effective safe skin care products possible.

 

“We feel like we are on top of the world as we continue to make our dream a reality,” says Myra. “We feel so fortunate to be able to contribute to the health of our customers and the health of our community.”

 

Company With a Commitment

 

In these troubling, challenging times, consumers like yourself are seeking companies whose products and corporate ethics reflect your own values. Producing nontoxic cosmetics, coupled with bettering our community, particularly troubled youths, and rescuing poor foals that would otherwise have no lives at all, is what MyChelle is all about. Their inclusion in the Green 100, which is part of the new book Safe Trip to Eden: Ten Steps to Save the Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown, also demonstrates that they are a pro-environment, pro-American green patriot company. This is a great company to support and one that I am proud to be reporting on.

 

Congratulations to Myra and the entire MyChelle team. On behalf of Medicine Horse Program and all of the participants in our HopeFoal Project, we want you to know that our gratitude is as expansive as is your commitment to quality. Thank you MyChelle!

 

 

Karolyn A. GazellaKarolyn A. Gazella is executive director of the  Medicine Horse Program in Boulder, Colorado, and the co-author of The Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrated Approach to Treatment and Healing (Celestial Arts, Berkeley, California).

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Resources

 

MyChelle Dermaceuticals’ skin care products are available nationwide at health food markets and holistic spas. Call 1-800-447-2076 for more information or visit www.mychelleusa.com.


  
The Best Green Hotel in Paris

 

Everybody should go to Paris at least once in their life. If you decide to go, you will definitely want to stay at a green hotel. But, is ecotourism possible in Paris? Yes.   

 

Remember the name Gavarni. That’s Hotel Gavarni at 5 Rue de Gavarni. My fiancé, Ana, and I did and and we were pleasantly surprised by our wonderfully romantic stay at Paris’s best boutique and first independently certified green hotel.

 

Go green with Gavarni, and you will get everything: value, quality, friendship, and the most beautiful rooms…. Especially delightful was that we were in such a nice area of Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower rising in the background with all of its lights at night, making our stay even more romantic.

 

Since I was going to France to enjoy its wonderful cultural and natural resources, I wanted to do the right thing, and Hotel Gavarni fit the bill when it came to traveling green. France is actually a very green country, but Hotel Gavarni is the first, and only, hotel I could find that has been certified by the European Union Ecolabelling Board.

 

“When they came to our hotel,” said assistant director Prisca Scheidecker, “they had a very stringent list of requirements—from our fabrics, to our cleaning products, our foods, even our energy use. We are 100 percent carbon neutral and we use renewable energy through carbon offsets and credits.”

 

All of the Hotel Gavarni’s lamps had compact fluorescent bulbs, and there was in-room recycling, but who knew that when we sent our clothes out to be laundered they would go to a haute couture green cleaner that used nontoxic methods? In fact, leave it to Gavarni to find the only eco-friendly dry cleaner in Paris, which turned out to be Kennedy Pressing. Here’s the back-story: While most dry cleaners still use toxic perchloroethylene for dry cleaning, Stéphane Sibony, director, uses all natural silicon, which, by the way, was also better for the beads and sequins on Ana’s clothing.

 

The rates are so reasonable. Our package included breakfast. You can enjoy the Gavarni breakfast either in your room or in the pleasant sunlight-dappled, naturally air-conditioned dining room on the first floor. “Gavarni makes the best breakfast in Paris!” Ana declared, while we enjoyed fresh organic fruits, eggs, yogurt, coffee (fair trade and organic), iced tea, and fresh organic orange juice. (Can it get any better than this?)

 

And what about the shopping and dining close by? I am still gushing over the great buys we found at the many shops along Rue de Passy, and how we loved our first dinner in Paris at La Petite Tour just around the corner from the hotel.

 

(The time we were there—early August—is a great time for sales throughout France.)

 

I don’t think I could have asked for a better hotel. A short walk from the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero, and the Bois de Boulogne and 10 minutes away from the Champs-Elysées, it is a good starting point to discover and enjoy the city of lights. Dante and Jennifer and the rest of the staff were the best. They are friendly and, fortunately for us, they spoke perfect English. They booked our tours at Versailles and the Louvre, took care of our restaurant reservations (try Convivium for wonderful Italian), and even helped us with our car rental at Hertz when we decided to drive to Provence. French caricaturist and illustrator Paul Gavarni was a brilliant artist, and every floor of the hotel features his original illustrations. You will want these for your own walls. And, the good news is that some of his art is available and I think will continue to rise in value. I also loved their jewelry display (though we waited until Cannes to buy jewelry).

 

I loved that when we went to the room and I needed to connect to the Internet to e-mail, twitter or blog, the hotel’s wireless service was completely free and without hassle. I could stay in touch with my kids and loved ones.

 

One test of a great hotel is whether or not you would want to stay there again on your next visit. You can be absolutely certain Ana and I would definitely return to the Hotel Gavarni.

 

Gavarni History

 

Built between 1907 and 1908 by Henri Lecoeur, a famous French architect, the building was intended, since the very beginning, to be a hotel with furnished rooms. Its name came from the street: Gavarni. First constructed in 1835, the “Rue des Artistes” was renamed in 1875 in honor of Sulpice Guillaume Chevalier (whose pen name was Paul Gavarni), a caricaturist, painter and journalist, who died in Paris in 1866. Gavarni contributed to several nineteenth century newspapers such as Le Charivari and L’Illustration, and illustrated novels by Honoré de Balzac. Gavarni’s works are part of the decoration of the hotel, which displays one of the only known portraits of the artist at reception. The hotel still has its original façade and marquee.

 

The interior, despite being deeply renovated (last in 2001 and 2005), has maintained its comfortable homey style and atmosphere. The warm decor in each room and suite give it a “home away from home” feeling.

 

Resources

 

www.gavarni.com

 


 
derma e Products Meet Whole Foods Market
Premium Body Care Standard

Whole Foods Market Premium Body CareFor the most exceptional personal care products available today, look for the Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care seal. Whole Foods Market has bestowed their seal upon over 2000 products and continues to seek out more every day. Recently added to their list are 40 products from derma e®, which means they have met the strictest standards for quality sourcing, environmental impact, results and safety.

 

The Premium Body Care seal identifies formulas that do not contain toxic ingredients such as parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, and polypropylene and polyethylene glycols.  All products must contain ingredients which allow the formulas to function effectively. Plus, ingredients in these products are recognized for being minimally processed therefore they have little environmental impact during the manufacturing process.

 

derma eFor nearly 25 years, derma e Natural Bodycare has pioneered the development of high-performance antioxidant skincare solutions. Their comprehensive line of natural products is paraben-free, cruelty-free, and 100 percent vegetarian. Additionally, derma e products contain non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) ingredients, which are sourced from environmentally friendly farms that practice sustainable agriculture, and use 100 percent recyclable packaging.

 

derma e DMAE Derma e not only manufactures high-quality products that are safe, they have a deep-seated commitment to the environment. derma e is constantly striving to lessen their impact on the environment and improve their conservation efforts. 

 

Derma e products are available at fine health food stores and natural product retailers. Use the store locator at www.dermae.net to find derma e near you.  To find out more about their newly bestowed Premium Body Care seal click here.   

 

For more information on Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care standards
click
here. 

 



What I Learned

Earth Friendly Products EcosI thought I knew everything about laundry detergents. I ended up speaking with some very smart environmental people and realized I knew next to nothing. Hopefully, what I have learned I have conveyed in what I believe is a very important article in the latest issue of The Doctors’ Prescription for Healthy Living (13.7:32). If this article helps to educate you on your laundry detergent choices, wow, that could make a big difference in your local water supply. One amazing fact that I learned while researching this story: laundry detergents are the nation’s second leading cause of human-made inorganic water pollution. In fact, we need to be able to recycle our water supplies for both urban and agricultural uses. But powdered laundry detergents, in particular, are polluting our waterways with sodium salts. When dumped into our sewer systems, treating inorganic pollutants like phosphates and sodium is next to impossible and EXPENSIVE.

 

And what about cancer-causing chemicals like dioxane that are in laundry detergents? Or how about estrogen-mimicking detergents such as nonylphenol ethoxylates that alter our very reproductive nature? All these have a toll on our personal health and environment. Why don’t we just try to save money as a society and use products that avoid these problems in the first place? But is this even possible?

 

YES!

 

A little bit of education could go a long way. Making this change on a personal level will be good for every local community’s drinking water and soil quality.

 

Boy, at a time when the nation’s fresh drinking water is becoming increasingly limited, particularly in the drought-plagued West, your choice of laundry products truly makes a difference. Let's not waste the very natural resource that makes life possible.

 

WITNESS TO THE CHANGE

 

In talking about a truly green economy, I have actually reported this story from the hub of the change. To write this story, I visited the Earth Friendly Products plant in Garden Grove, California where their laundry, dishwashing and other household cleaning products are made for the Southwestern region. There are actually four plants, regionally located, significantly reducing the company’s carbon footprint, making it, I believe, the nation’s first truly carbon neutral household cleaning product company, and with a very significant (and growing) share of the national market.

 

That’s just the beginning. The day I visited Dr. Van Vlahakis (the company’s founder), his daughter Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks and the rest of the staff, dozens of green collar workers were on the roof, putting in a solar system that would reduce energy usage by eighty percent.

 

With this investment, the company was putting people to work in the new green collar economy during a really difficult economic time.

 

Why this success? Because Earth Friendly Products is delivering shopping value and quality—and quality these days must truly embody green living—this is where Earth Friendly Products excels. Their products tested dioxane-free by the Organic Consumers Association and the Green Patriot Working Group. They offer detergents that have the lowest sodium, no phosphates, no formaldehyde, no petrochemicals, and that are truly pH neutral and non-caustic. Both for the laundry and washing dishes, these products perform better, require less detergent, and protect local community drinking water supplies. 

 

So there I was in the middle of the change, witnessing it! Read the story here.

 

-David Steinman

 



Named for Three Awards by the Green Book Festival!

David Steinman and the Green Patriot 


Freedom Press' managing editor Kim Henderson
with Dave during the reception. Photo: Ken Mitchell

Working Group won three awards including first place and two honorable mentions in their categories respectively in this year’s Green Book Festival celebrated at Vermont Restaurant in Los Angeles

 

Dave accepted his award for Diet For a Poisoned Planet and spoke about everyone involved in the green patriot movement and its critical importance to our nation’s future.  “We must shine a light and educate so that those who do not see can come in from the dark,” he says.

 

Sheila Huettl, editor of 50 Simple Steps to Save the Earth from Global Warming
(Freedom Press, 2008), talked about the many easy things she learned she could do to live a green life more fully.  50 Simple Steps was recognized with an honorable mention in the ‘How-To’ category along with Living Green (Freedom Press, 2006) by Greg Horn.

 

You can check out the entire list of winners at www.greenbookfestival.com.

 



Beach Cleanup in Puerto Vallarta

On their recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, Dave and Ana went to the Arches beach and helped pick up trash that had washed ashore from the sea.  Think how beautiful our beaches would be if everybody did this or better packed away their trash when at the beach.





Why Eating Brazil Nuts Can Help Save the Rainforests
  

by Kim Henderson

Below is an excerpt from 50 Simple Steps to Save the World’s Rainforests to be released in Spring 2011 from Freedom Press

This is one of our favorite steps because it is so simple, delicious—and nutritious. Go to the market, buy some Brazil nuts (organic, if they are available) and eat 'em up.  That's it!

Yes, by simply buying and consuming Brazil nuts (or Brazil nut oil), you will be helping to preserve the Amazon rainforest. Consumer power at its best! 

Here's how it works. Brazil nut trees produce fruit almost entirely in the Amazon's untouched rainforest because they are dependent on a unique, large-body bee for pollination. This particular type of bee depends on orchids that grow almost exclusively in the rainforest. Hence, disturbed forests lack these special large-body bees, often referred to as orchid bees.  Orchid bees do not "behave" (excuse the pun)—they are nonsocial or semi-social—in other words, humans cannot manipulate them to pollinate certain crops by transporting beehives from one plantation to the next. Thanks, in part, to these strong-minded bees, attempts to cultivate the Brazil nuts on plantations have failed (soil content also may be a factor).

Furthermore, because the Brazil nut is a highly valuable food source with profitable European and North American markets, the more than 100,000 Amazon inhabitants who depend on revenue related to Brazil nut extraction have a vested interest in preserving the forest where Brazil nut trees flourish. It's no mistake that Brazil nut harvesters have been called "guardians of the forest." 

 

Brazil nut trees live for a very long time—estimates range from 500 to 1000 years. If sustainably harvested, Brazil nuts can be harvested for generations and generations bringing income to locals without ever harming the rainforest.

Brazil nuts are considered the most viable non-timber forest product (NTFP) in the Amazon. Bolivia is the top exporter ahead of Brazil, followed by Peru. They are also harvested and exported on a much smaller scale from Venezuela, eastern Colombia, Guyana and French Guyana. By purchasing Brazil nuts, you are helping to preserve the area of the Amazon rainforest that spans across all of these countries. 

It's critical that Brazil nut exports remain a viable market as it provides income to many harvesters who could turn to more damaging avenues for economic survival, like panning for gold, logging, slash-and-burn agriculture or cattle ranching. 

The Peruvian government understands this and lends areas of forest that are dense with Brazil nut trees as concessions to local harvesters who manage them under contracts with the Peruvian forest service. Brazil nut concessions are privately managed conservation areas that allow harvesters and their families to make an income from the rainforest sustainably. Many of them receive help from a non-profit organization called the Amazon Conservation Association (www.amazonconservation.org) through the Brazil Nut Program, which provides the harvesters in the Madre de Dios river area with the latest innovations for sustainable extraction. The Peruvian harvesters sell the nuts to local shelling factories, which export the product overseas. This activity accounts for over half the yearly income for thousands of families in the Amazon and protects several million acres of forest from destruction.  In fact, Peru's sustainable standard for Brazil nut extraction was recognized by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) — the first FSC for a NTFP.

 

The lifecycle of the Brazil nut tree is such a beautiful illustration of the rainforest ecosystem, we think it will allow you to appreciate and get to know this large, tasty nut in a new way. Brazil nuts are actually seeds. The tall Brazil nut trees grow to the top tiers of the canopy, about 160 feet. They produce a fruit (also called a pod) resembling a coconut, which weighs from 2-4 pounds and measures 4 to 6 inches in diameter. When the fruit is ripe, they drop from the canopy to the rainforest floor (which can be quite hazardous!). Only a large rodent called the agouti has the capacity with its sharp teeth to gnaw open the very hard shell. Inside, there are 8 to 24 seeds or "nuts" packed like the segments of an orange with a protective shell. Agoutis eat some of the seeds and bury others for later use. Forgotten seeds sit dormant until a fallen tree allows sun through the canopy to allow a new sapling to grow, starting the lifecycle all over again. A harvester simply gathers the pods from the forest floor and opens them with a machete. They gather the nuts in a sack that they carry on their back out of the forest. A full sack can weigh up to 175 pounds! They are the only wild-harvested tree nut in the world.

 

You can find Brazil nuts and Brazil nut oil products at most supermarkets and larger health retailers or online. We strongly suggest buying organic whenever possible as this is more likely to ensure that the nuts are harvested sustainably. Overharvesting is a potential problem with Brazil nut extraction.  Research shows that there are some heavily harvested areas where new tree sapling populations have declined. Still, most environmental groups agree that it is better to support the Brazil nut industry as more sustainable extraction techniques are developed.

 

The best part about this step is that Brazil nuts are delicious to eat and they are a treasure trove of nutrition!  

 

Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, copper, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E, amino acids and essential fatty acids. In fact, they are one of the few nuts to have enough amino acids to make a complete protein. Just one nut contains 780 percent of the United States daily recommended allowance of selenium—a powerful antioxidant that is believed to help protect against breast and prostate cancer. The Brazil nut oil is also used in hair and skin products for its restorative properties.

 

There are numerous ways you can enjoy these nutritious, rainforest-saving nuts. Enjoy them roasted. It's very easy. Just spread a cup of shelled, organic Brazil nuts out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the nuts. Place them in a preheated oven at 350º F for 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Enjoy them whole or chop them and sprinkle them over salad, pasta, in plain yogurt with honey or on your morning oatmeal. 

 

Buy them in a nut mix to enjoy at holiday time. Add them in place of walnuts in any of your favorite baking recipes—cookies, breads and holiday fudge.

 

Brazil nut oil is excellent for salad dressings, adding a delicious nutty flavor.  You can cook with it too!

 

Brazil nut oil is known for its skin and hair restorative properties. Rub a little into your skin or hair. Or purchase it in bath and body products. The Body Shop® and Burt’s Bees® both carry products with Brazil nut oil (from sustainable sources, too!).

 

Truth is, all of us at the GPWG have gone a little nuts for Brazil nuts. Go nuts and save the rainforest at the same time!

 



Helping Green go Mainstream
At the Oscars with ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion & MixMedia Luxury Lounge


Andrew Dice Clay Courtesy of ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion during the 2009 Oscars’ WeekAlive! Expo Green Pavilion during the 2009 Oscar’s week is an exclusive venue featuring the acclaimed Alive! Expo - the premiere health, wellness & green living consumer expo in the country!  Alive! Expo Green Pavilion is founded and led by owners Kim Shimmel and Patrycja Towns. As specialists in ‘GREEN’ and in creating brand entertainment/sponsorship opportunities that surround ‘official green’ Hollywood red carpet ceremonies, their mission is to help green and natural product companies compete in the mainstream marketplace by gaining publicity through the support of media, celebrities and Hollywood personnel so that we together can promote the message "Go Green"! On February 20th & 21st in Beverly Hills, CA, Towns and Shimmel’s annual mission to educate celebrities and media about the natural products industry was extremely successful. 
 
The MixMedia Award Suites Luxury Lounge, home to all that’s green and fabulous was filled with health and wellness goodies, and of course celebrities. Andrew Dice Clay (pictured left) browsed between GotWheatGrass.com and the LipStick Bail Bond sponsors. Harry Hamlin stopped by and picked some of celebrity stylist Jonathan Antin’s eco-friendly hair care products and returning Alive Expo Green Pavilion celebrity Kevin Sorbo was excited to pick some Sweetie Sugar Scrub, Aubrey Organics products and Tuwa Elements of the Earth organic earth conscious bag.  Other VIP guests such as Elisa Donovan (Clueless, Sabrina the Teenage Witch), Deanna Russo (Knight Rider), Heather Mazur, Zee James (Everybody Hates Chris), Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock & Weeds), Natalia Cigliuti (TNT’s Raising the Bar), Sleepy Brown (Outkast), Marla "Painting by Elephant" Courtesy of ALIVE! Expo Green Pavilion during the 2009 Oscars’ WeekMaples and her daughter Tiffany, Cassidy Lehrman (Entourage), Robin Dunne (Sci-Fi’s Sanctuary) and the lovely Andrea Schroder (Top Design) enjoyed learning about the products, the charities they’re attached to such the Acai bracelets which give back to the World Wildlife Fund and paintings by Elephants (pictured right), which raises money for under privileged children. Guests snack on healthy treats from Explorers Bounty fruit chips, organic chocolates and tea and Zico organic coconut water.
 


Green Picks in Fashion, Beauty, Parenting and the Good Life
from EcoStiletto

“EcoStiletto’s eco-friendly choices can help reduce your carbon footprint from a ginormous Ugg into an oh-so-slender Manolo.”

Beauty: When our friend Spirit Demerson writes us to tell us she’s fallen in love with something, we sit up and take notice. Such is the case with Organic Apoteke, which she sells at her eponymous website, Spirit Beauty Lounge, where the rules established for eco-friendly cosmetics are rigorously enforced and the facilities are powered by 100% certified renewable wind and hydro energy. (She also donates to 1% For the Planet, as well as CarbonFund, and was recently awarded the Co-Op America Seal of Approval. Can the girl get any greener?)
 
After being awarded the Best Product of Britain Award in 2006 (we’re imagining a beauty duel with Liz Earle), Organic Apoteke went stateside with its Fair Trade and Vegetarian Society Approved line of certified organic skin care products. The packaging is 100% recycled, labels are biodegradable and the Organic Apoteke factory uses sustainable energy.
 
Most importantly, Spirit swears by the Detox Face Mask, formulated with Dead Sea mud and organic papaya extracts.
 
What’s good enough for her is good enough for us.
 
Through March 16, 2009 we’ve got 20% off on Organic Apoteke at Spirit Beauty Lounge with “ecostiletto” at check out. Gorgeous!
 
Health: This year, make a vow to drink cleaner and cold turkey that plastic water bottle. Why? In a nutshell: The largest trash dump in the world, a mess about twice the size of the continental U.S., calls the ocean home. Five hundred nautical miles from the California coast, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a floating stew known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is filled with 100 million tons of bottle caps, plastic containers, kayaks, legos, scraps of plastic bags, even laundry baskets. Why is this floating dump mostly plastic? Simple. It isn’t biodegradable and it tends to float.
 
The sick fact is that thanks to our obsession with bottled water, about 38 billion tons of plastic water bottles pile up in landfills every year. Not to mention the 8.25 billion gallons of water that it takes to fill them, the gas guzzled to transport them all over the world, and the 24 million gallons of oil it takes to make a billion bottles (multiply that by the 38 billion in the trash and call us in the morning).
 
So instead of propagating the problem, do something to stop it with a cool reusable bottle that actually filters the water you put into it! Say, what? Yes, ever so eco-miraculously, a coconut shell carbon, patented micro-filtration cartridge reduces as much of 99% of chlorine, chloramines, VOCs, Trihalomethanes (THMs), odor, taste, and heavy metals in plain old tap water. Then, once the harmful contaminants are filtered out, the water passes through filtration created by rare Japanese stones like Bakuhan, certified by the Japanese Ministry of Health for ability to increase circulation, promote blood alkalinity, increase skin healing time and reduce inflammation, and Taicho, revered for centuries for its natural ant-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Honestly, the list of healing powers goes on and on, but we can tell you that this little water filter packs a huge antioxidant-packed punch! 
 
If you’re concerned about the integrity of the bottle itself, considering that the average plastic bottle is prone to slowly release its chemical makeup into the “clean” water you are sipping, rest assured: The Wellness H2.O water bottle is made from low-density polyethylene, a non-leaching plastic. Plus, used filter cartridges are re-purposed for organic turf farming.
  
Put that in your bag and tote it!
 
Through the end of February 2009, get 20% off on H2.0 bottles with “ecostiletto20” at checkout. Gulp.
 
--Laurel House
 
Laurel House is a published author, nationally recognized magazine writer, healthy living spokesperson, national and local morning television show expert, and healthy living advocate. The founder of GreenIQ.com, an online calculator that measures your carbon footprint, and spokesperson for companies like Nature Made Vitamins, Laurel is a contributing editor to Healing Lifestyles and Spas and Fit Yoga magazines, the co-author of books such as The Gurus’ Guide to Serenity(HarperCollins 2004) and author of hundreds of articles printed in an array of publications including Women’s Health, Spa Magazine andVegetarian Times, among others. More than anything, Laurel is an advocate for a balanced green lifestyle.
 
cassia weekenderFashion: Want a purse that goes day to night to overnight? Check out Canopy Verde’s new line of eco-friendly bags. With clean lines accented by a signature button, the bags are made from an organic cotton bamboo blend, chrome-free leather, wooden hardware, eco-friendly dyes and chemical-free embroidery, and feature classic designs that are deceptively spacious.
 
Hitting the yoga studio after work? Go for the Juniper, with room for everything but the mat. Taking an overnight jaunt this weekend? The Cassia has you covered—and set aside space for the compact Calamint to clutch. Plus, in neutrals like ivory, chocolate and black, plus an eye-popping plum, these go-to bags go with everything.
 
Made in the shade, indeed. 

http://www.canopyverde.com 
 
Through February 28th 2009, get 20% off all purchases at Canopy Verde with “ecolover” at checkout. Happy traveling!
 
Home: Last weekend’s obsession with heart-shaped boxes got us thinking: There are those who love milk chocolate and those who are partial to dark, and never the twain shall meet. But now there’s more to chocolate than the mouthwatering flavor of your choice. Like organic, fair trade and vegan options, plus one that supports the last indigenous tribe in North America, which has long known the stuff is a gift from the gods. 
 
Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70% is so fabulously rich, dark and smokey that you might be able to substitute it for that second espresso. Dagoba Eclipse 87% Organic Extra Dark Chocolate offers up the faint taste of citrus. Allison’s Gourmet Organic Vegan Truffles captures the essence of artisan chocolate. And Navitas Naturals’ Sweet Cacao Nibs are certified organic, kosher, vegan and raw, from fair-trade harvested Peruvian cacao.
 
Finally, two new organic chocolate bars from Shaman Chocolates donate all profits to support the Huichol (“we-chul”) Indians, a Mexican tribe living in the Sierra Madre Mountains who are said to be the last indigenous tribe in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions. Covering both chocolate bases, the certified organic and fair trade bars are available in milk and a sock-knocking dark that features 82% cacao. The bars are the brainchild of Brant Secunda, a healer, shaman (hence the name) and the Huichol’s ceremonial leader, who started Shaman Chocolates as an economic vehicle to help the tribe preserve their ancient ceremonial and healing traditions, some of which feature chocolate, considered a sacred gift from paradise.
For which we can only say: Thank you. From the bottom of both sides of our hearts.
 
Now through February 28th, 2009 enter “sweetie” at Dagoba’s checkout and get a 15% discount on everything from herbal infused chocolate bars to drinking chocolate. Plus, in an ongoing promo from the Shaman himself, get $3 per box on Shaman Chocolates if you order two or more. We’re stocking up.
 
Kids: Looking for a little morning inspiration to get your kids dressed and out the door? Try an organic cotton tee that gives back—and looks great doing it. Then take your cereal conversation to another level and talk about what these shirts are doing for kids in third-world countries.
 
Case in point? Rain Tees are super-stylish, fair-trade, organic cotton, eco-dyed shirts handmade in Peru. They’re designed with participation of kids in regions of Central and South America where the rainforest is threatened, and for each tee sold a child in the region gets a tree to plant to replace one that’s been destroyed in their homeland. And these aren’t just meaningless designs: “Monkey Bridge” is named for special bridges constructed by children participating in a nonprofit effort in Costa Rica to give endangered monkeys a way to cross busy roads safely, and “Hummingbird” honors the more than 300 species of hummingbirds living in Central and South America.
 
All the better as conversation starters when your kids wear them to school.
Similarly, the organic cotton Sustainable Tees (and hoodies) benefit Children’s Village, part of the non-profit Hands & Feet Project, which supports orphaned children in Haiti with food, shelter and support. For each ridiculously cool tee sold (check out the collared EcoWarrior riff on the classic Polo), Sustainable donates $1.50 directly to the organization. But then they take it to another level. Each time you buy a tee, you’re given a postage-paid box addressed to the Village. Help your kids fill it with toys, books and personal care items (toothbrushes, soap, etc.) and pop it in the mail for a quick-and-easy way to demonstrate social activism that’s easy and fun.
Buying a shirt equals supporting a kid who’s less fortunate: It’s an equation that even your kindergartener can understand. 

www.raintees.com 
www.sustainable-kids.com 
 
For more to talk about, check out Enzoology, a science and conservation show created by Enzo, the most awesome eight-year-old we’ve ever met. Virtually.
 
--Natasha Garber
 
Natasha Garber is the former editor of Los Angeles Family magazine. Currently, she is a freelance contributing editor for Special Events Magazine and a contributor to numerous lifestyle publications across the country, where she covers green events and event planning, sustainable catering and cuisine, fashion and design trends. A mother of two and passionate proponent of eco-conscious family living, Natasha lives, writes, parents, plays and makes fresh, organic, totally delicious baby food (just ask her 6-month-old) in Los Angeles.

Visit EcoStiletto for more green tips!

 
Garlands of Garlic and a Healthy Heart 

The headline from a 2006 clinical trial held at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center was impressive: “Aged garlic extract may reduce the risk of heart attack, a recent study suggests.”
 
The story reported, “Investigators at the Research and Education Institute (REI) at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center followed 19 cardiac patients over the course of a year. Nine were given regular doses of Kyolic® Aged Garlic Extract™, and 10 were given a placebo.”
 
Electron beam tomography was used to monitor changes in calcification in the subjects’ coronary arteries. Calcification underlies the transformation of arterial plaques to “hardened” atherosclerotic lesions. These interfere with vascular blood flow and may lead to heart attack or stroke.
 
But the Aged Garlic Extract performed marvelously. “At the end of the double-blind, randomized study the patients taking Kyolic were found to have significantly less coronary plaque formation than those in the placebo group. Further, the Kyolic group tended to have lower levels of blood homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine are considered a major risk factor for heart attacks.”
 
No kidding! Garlic is good medicine, good for your heart, good for your colon, good for your brain, good for your liver and pretty much all the rest of you too!
 
Garlic and your Heart
 
Talk to anybody familiar with diet and heart and circulatory health, and the allium family of vegetables, rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, comes to the forefront. You might even have Society Garlic growing in your garden and you can pluck a blade and taste its pungent flavor. Onions, garlic and chives all belong to the allium family of sulfur-rich vegetables. All are great for your heart and for maintaining a healthy cholesterol profile. Indeed, one form of garlic, Aged Garlic Extract, can even help promote the health of persons who have suffered a heart attack.
 
The family’s sulfur compounds and other phytochemicals have been valued for thousands of years in culinary recipes and medicine. If you want to enjoy tasty powerful heart medicines, shallots, chives, leeks and onions, and, of course, garlands of garlic should be your foods of choice—although your social life might suffer. Indeed garlic, the stinking rose, is considered to be the most potent, medicinally and with its powerful hot lip-puckering flavors, but it is definitely most difficult to consume fresh and raw. Although experts say that garlic’s powerful aroma and taste were developed as defensive mechanisms to make birds and other animals stay away, we humans seem to have found ways around this problem with traditional methods of culinary preparation our chefs and health experts have cultivated over thousands of years.
 
The use of garlic has been documented for over 5,000 years, according to Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council (ABC) based in Austin, Texas. Additionally, the ABC has evaluated data from more than 30 clinical trials involving more than 45,000 subjects. “All but three of these trials showed some positive benefit for garlic in cardiovascular and arterial health, for cancer, building immunity and for other circulatory matters,” said Blumenthal.
 
Unfortunately, a person would have to eat enormous quantities of garlic daily to get some of these remarkable health benefits. The most efficient way of getting adequate and standardized amounts is by taking a nutritional supplement of garlic extract, he said.
 
Experts say that people should begin taking garlic in their twenties and thirties when arteriosclerotic plaque buildup starts, long before people feel any symptoms. Garlic’s rich stores of water-soluble antioxidants and sulfur compounds are a preventive measurement to maintain heart and cholesterol health.
 
How to be a Savvy Garlic Supplement Shopper
 
The best way to be sure you’re buying a quality garlic supplement is to look at labels. Contrary to the popular myth that a garlic product must contain allicin to be beneficial, allicin has not been conclusively proven to be responsible for garlic’s known health benefits. Most of the products that have been shown to demonstrate garlic’s health effects do not contain significant amounts of allicin. (Allicin is an odorous and transient garlic compound.) In fact, according to one study, published in 2006 in Biofactors (26;2:93-103), “Although garlic produces more than 20 kinds of sulfide compounds from a few sulfur-containing amino acids, their functions are different from one another.” Allicin, in fact, is noted for its antifungal and antibacterial properties, whereas the allyl sulfides and other water-soluble sulfur and flavone compounds possess antithrombotic and anticancer activities.
 
Though individual compounds have shown activity in studies and are absorbed by the body, it is likely that a synergism of various compounds provides the benefits of garlic. This is in agreement with Dr. Heinrich Koch, the renowned scientist at the University of Vienna who stated that the activity of various sulfur compounds could not alone be responsible for the benefits of garlic, and fixation on a single group of components can lead to mistakes and wrong conclusions. Equally untrue is the myth that if garlic or a garlic product does not have a garlic odor it does not provide benefits. A major part of the data on the benefits of garlic is derived from studies of cooked garlic, pickled garlic, and Aged Garlic Extract. All have little typical garlic odor.
 
Most of the healthiest foods throughout history are cultured to produce their most long-lasting nutritional benefits. The ancient chefs and food artisans understood the importance of food preparation to bring out the very best in aged garlic.
 
Fortunately for modern-day consumers, Aged Garlic Extract contains many different phytochemicals including unique water-soluble compounds, lipid-soluble components, flavonoids (notably allixin), the micronutrient selenium and an antioxidant compound called fructosyl arginine. Long-term extraction of garlic (up to 20 months) ages the extract, creating antioxidant properties by modifying unstable molecules with antioxidant activity, such as allicin, and increasing stable and highly bioavailable water-soluble organosulfur compounds, such as S-allyl cysteine and S-allylmercaptocysteine. Indeed, according to more than a decade of research, S-allyl cysteine, found most abundantly in Aged Garlic Extract, appears to be a very promising compound with excellent availability and documented clinical benefits.
 
Researchers reported in 1995 in the Journal of the Agriculture and Food Chemistry (43:2332-38): “The pharmacokinetic studies of SAC demonstrated rapid absorption and almost 100 percent bioavailability after oral administration. In addition, since both the safety and effectiveness of S-allyl cysteine have been reported, this compound appears to play an important role in garlic’s medicinal effects.”
 
Aged Garlic Extract—Scientifically Supported Traditional use of Garlic
 
Reporting in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Applied Toxicology (28;5:710- 6), scientists were positively buoyant over SAC-rich Aged Garlic Extract. They reported that the preparation has “antihyperlipidemic, antilipoperoxidative and antioxidant effects.”
 
They reported that supplementation on a daily basis, in fact, produced “a significant increase in red blood cells, hemoglobin, packed cell volume, white blood cells, neutrophils, platelet count and fibrinogen level and a significant decrease in erythrocyte sedimentation rate, eosinophils, lymphocytes, bleeding, clotting and prothrombin time.”
 
Taking Aged Garlic Extract daily for a period of 35 days “showed a positive effect on all the biochemical parameters studied…. Thus, the study showed the protective effect of SAC….”
 
Several double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies, reported in publications such as Nutrition Research, the Journal of Nutrition, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have shown that Aged Garlic Extract dramatically cuts risk factors for heart disease and dementia; these include lowering blood cholesterol, triglycerides and homocysteine as well as reducing blood pressure and increasing blood flow.
 
According to the scientific research, if you look at active ingredients, one gram of raw garlic contains only 50 micrograms of SAC, but 1 gram of Aged Garlic Extract contains 1,000 mcg. Thus, it takes 20 grams of raw garlic to be equivalent to 1 gram of Aged Garlic Extract on the basis of SAC. So, Aged Garlic Extract may be more beneficial, gentler and more desirable for supplementation purposes than even raw garlic!
 
A lengthy but enlightening passage in an article in the March 2001 issue of the Journal of Nutrition pretty much sums up long-standing and growing current enthusiasm medicine has for this unique preparation. The author, Dr. Carmia Borek, in the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, at Tufts University School of Medicine, noted that Aged Garlic Extract “protects DNA against free radical-mediated damage and mutations, inhibits multistep carcinogenesis and defends against ionizing radiation and UV-induced damage, including protection against some forms of UV-induced immunosuppression.” Dr. Borek continues, Aged Garlic Extract “may have a role in protecting against loss of brain function in aging and possess other anti-aging effects, as suggested by its ability to increase cognitive functions, memory and longevity in a senescence-accelerated mouse model. Aged Garlic Extract has been shown to protect against the cardiotoxic effects of doxorubicin, an antineoplastic agent used in cancer therapy and against liver toxicity caused by carbon tetrachloride (an industrial chemical) and acetaminophen, an analgesic. Substantial experimental evidence shows the ability of Aged Garlic Extract to protect against oxidant-induced disease, acute damage from aging, radiation and chemical exposure, and long-term toxic damage. Although additional observations are warranted in humans, compelling evidence supports the beneficial health effects attributed to Aged Garlic Extract, i.e., reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and aging, including the oxidant-mediated brain cell damage that is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.”
 
Or to put it another way: Garlic is good medicine for your heart and so much more!
 
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract is available at health food stores and natural food and product supermarkets nationwide. For more information visit www.kyolic.com or call them at 800-421-2998.

  
A-Ha! A Premier Anti-Aging Molecule

How would you like to live to one hundred years old without any of the aches and pains of aging, poor eyesight or dementia, without disease? It sounds pretty good and there is a place where that might be possible.
 
Come visit Yuzurihara, the Village of Long Life, two hours outside of Tokyo, where people routinely live into their nineties without any of the usual signs of aging. In fact, more than ten percent of the villagers are 85 or older, ten times our national norm. Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s—all are practically unheard of in this village.
 
These villagers have found the secret of long life in their traditional diet, which is unique. Unlike other regions of Japan that grow rice, Yuzuri Hara’s hilly terrain is better suited to harvesting different carbohydrate-rich foods high in sticky starches that may prove healthier: things like satsumaimo, a type of sweet potato; satoimo, a sticky white potato; konnyaku, a gelatinous root vegetable concoction; and imoji, a potato root. These foods just happen to be rich in hyaluronic acid, and, as a result of their diet, the people of the village have higher levels of HA than most people have in their bodies.
 
This is a good thing. A very good thing. The skin of people in their eighties and nineties feels like a baby’s. Their eyesight is remarkable; most cannot remember a single day in which they were sick, even though many smoke. Doctors, farmers, innkeepers, all routinely practice their professions into their eighties.
 
Yet, you don’t have to visit Yuzurihara to take advantage of their longevity secret.
 
So what is HA? That’s a good question since it has only been in medical use here in the West since around 1997. Hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate, more specifically a mucopolysaccharide occurring naturally throughout the human body. It loves to bind to water giving it a stiff viscous quality similar to “Jello.” And it is the fact that this long-chained molecule loves water that appears to be why it is so good for our bodies.
 
This viscous gel is one of the most heavily researched substances in medicine today with thousands of clinical trials mostly in the fields of eye surgery and orthopedics where it used as a shock absorber to protect the retina or joints, respectively. Its function in the body is, among other duties, to bind water and to lubricate movable parts of the body, such as joints and muscles. HA’s consistency and tissue-friendliness allows it to be used in skin-care products as an excellent moisturizer. It is one of the most hydrophilic (water-loving) molecules in nature and can be described as “nature’s moisturizer.”
 
But the most dramatic discoveries of HA’s healing powers are just around the corner. After all, HA is integral to virtually all tissues and organs—and now medical science has proven that oral and topical HA is absorbable and beneficial—provided, of course, that you’re using a high molecular weight, non-animal sourced molecule with proven absorption.
 
How to Choose the Best formula
 
There are many HA products available now on the market, making your shopping choice all the more important, according to experts in writing in 2004 in the Journal of Applied Nutrition who examined the different kinds available. The most absorbable and reliable choice would be a high molecular weight HA, around the 2.4-3 million Daltons range. The researchers note, “…dietary supplements containing HA are not equivalent due to the inherent properties of the three major types of HA commercially available as dietary supplement materials. Consumers and health care professionals need to be aware of the different types of HA and their very large differences in properties (even before ingestion). One source, hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage, is clearly unlike native HA, does not match the biological properties of native HA, and consequently should not be represented as HA to consumers on product labels...” Ultimately, the researchers recommend high-molecular weight HA, such as found in Synthovial Seven®, which uses purified non-animal HA that most closely resembles the substance found in the body. It is this HA that has powerful anti-aging and lubricating qualities.
 
The HA miracle is upon us. It’s you’re a-HA moment. Now what are you waiting for?
 
So Many Great Products, so Little Time!
 
Synthovial Seven, from Hyalogic, is easy to take. Just put a dropper full in a glass of water once a day. HylaRub™ soothes, moisturizes and maintains healthy joints. Ditto for HylaSoak™ moisturizing joint soak. HylaVision is for your eyes and combines HA with vitamins A, B2,C and E. Dr. John’s Formula toothpaste with HA and Xylitol is excellent for your gums. There is also an episilk hand and body lotion, shampoo and conditioners, facial cream and lip balm.
 
Everybody around here and all our friends at Healthy Living are raving about the Episilk™ HA serums! These ultra pure and potent topical formulas deliver every benefit that you could imagine, reducing appearance of age spots, uneven tones, lightening and reducing the appearance of dark circles under the eyes, firming and moisturizing your skin for an instant facelift. They’re completely hypoallergenic, too. You definitely won't want to miss the anti-aging benefits of these formulas!
 
Here are some of the most promising ways that HA can benefit your own quest to live as long and healthfully as possible.
 
Tendons & Ligaments/Joints/Connective Tissue
 
Connective tissue is found everywhere in the body. It does much more than connect body parts; it has many forms and functions. Its major functions include binding, support, protection, and insulation. One such example of connective tissue is the cordlike structures that connect muscle to bone (tendons) and bone to bone (ligaments). In all connective tissue there are three structural elements. They are ground substance (hyaluronic acid), stretchy fibers (collagen and elastin) and a fundamental cell type. Whereas all other primary tissues in the body are composed mainly of living cells, connective tissues are composed largely of a nonliving ground substance (hyaluronic acid), which separates and cushions the living cells of the connective tissue. The separation and cushioning allow the tissue to bear weight, withstand great tension and endure abuses that no other body tissue could. All of this is made possible because of the presence of the HA and its ability to form the gelatinous ground substance fluid. No wonder studies with oral HA demonstrate excellent benefits for supporting joint health!
 
Eyes
 
Hyaluronic acid is a powerful eye tonic. No wonder, since HA is highly concentrated inside the eyeball. The fluid inside the eye called the vitreous humor is composed almost completely of hyaluronic acid. HA gives the fluid inside the eye a viscous gel like property. This gel acts as a shock absorber for the eye and also serves to transport nutrients into the eye. Eye surgeons inject HA directly into the eye to help maintain the shape of the eye during surgery. It has been said that after the fifth decade of life, our eyes stop producing the much needed hyaluronic acid resulting in various eye problems such as poor vision, dry eyes, and floaters. Today, oral and topical HA are also thought to help support ocular health, particularly based on proprietary research in Japan on HA pills in which users reported improved vision.
 
Skin
 
Although HA can be found naturally in most every cell in the body, it is found in the greatest concentrations in the skin tissue. Almost fifty percent of the body’s HA is found in skin tissue, both the deep underlying dermal areas as well as the visible epidermal top layers. Young skin is smooth and elastic and contains large amounts of HA that helps keep the skin stay young and healthy. The HA provides continuous moisture to the skin by binding up to 1000 times its weight in water. With age, the ability of the skin to produce HA decreases leaving the skin unhealthy and wrinkled. That’s why topically applied HA is such a powerful anti-aging cosmeceutical.
 

Gum Tissue
 
The gums (gingivae) are composed of dense fibrous connective tissue (ligaments) which secure the teeth to the alveolar bone (jaw bone). Once again, connective tissue is composed of a fibrous tissue surrounded by hyaluronic acid (extra-cellular matrix). Without the hyaluronic acid, the gum tissue becomes unhealthy and may lead to swelling. If the HA is present it helps to provide the tensile strength of the ligaments that secure the tooth in place by providing hydration and nourishment. Regular use of HA helps to maintain a healthy set of gums.
 
Scalp Tissue & Hair Follicles
 
Actually the hair and the hair follicle are a derivative of skin tissue. There are two distinctive skin layers, one, the epidermis (outer layer), which gives rise to the protective shield of the body and the other, the dermal layer (deep layer), which makes up the bulk of the skin and is where the hair follicle is located. This dermal layer is composed of connective tissue and the connective tissue, with its gelatinous fluid like characteristics provides support, nourishes and hydrates the deep layers of the scalp. The result is healthy lustrous hair and a moisturized scalp. Again, all of this is made possible because of the presence of HA in the scalp tissue and its ability to form this fluid and hold water. No wonder consumers seek HA in shampoos and conditioners!
 
Lips
 
The lips are a core of skeletal muscle covered by skin tissue. The dermal layer of the lips is composed primarily of connective tissue and its components hyaluronic acid and collagen that give the structure (shape) and plumpness to the lips. The hyaluronic acid binds to water creating a gelatinous fluid that hydrates the surrounding tissue and keeps the collagen (responsible for keeping the skin tight) nourished and healthy. The result is healthy well hydrated and plump lips that are well protected from the environment. Again, lip balms.
 
Extracellular Matrix
 
The (ECM) is a gel-like fluid that surrounds almost all living cells and is essential to life. It gives structure and support to the body and without it, we would just be a trillions cells without a shape or function. It is essentially the mortar between the bricks. The skin, bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments are examples where the ECM is located in the body. The ECM is composed of material (fibrous elements) called elastin and collagen surrounded by gelatinous HA. HA’s roles in the ECM is to prevent the stretchy fibers in the body from overstretching and drying out by continually bathing them in this nutritious water base gelatinous fluid. It also serves as a wonderful medium through which nutrients and waste are transported to and from the cells of these structures. This fluid would not exist if it was not for the ability of the HA molecule to bind up to 1000 times its weight in water.

Visit www.hyalogic.com to learn more about this amazing anti-aging supplement or call them toll-free at 866-318-8484.  Obtain a FREE SAMPLE of their topical serums at www.nutritionfreebies.com
 

 
Shining Light from the Inside Out

Founded in 1999, Sunlight Saunas produces and sells far infrared saunas for therapeutic benefit for both residential and commercial use.

When owners Aaron and Connie Zack (pictured at right) needed a larger building for their growing company, building a new facility was an option. But they selected an existing building to renovate because they knew they would use fewer environmental resources, as well as help to revitalize an area within Kansas City rather than encourage further spread to undeveloped areas.
 
An Employee-Driven Company
 
“We’ve created the kind of business we would want to work for as employees,” says Aaron Zack. The design is open, with work spaces bathed in soothing shades of blue and gray. There’s an Inspiration Room where a slinky and small tubs of Play-Doh sit alongside state-of-the-art wireless technology. The walls have special magnetic paint so that any surface in the room can become, at any time, a brainstorming board. The entire building, a perfect rectangle on the outside, has an inner open and circular feel as you can wander from showroom to breakroom, employee fitness center to the sales hub, all without retracing your steps. Oval conference areas give the space a soft and cozy feel.
 
Private cubicles are equipped for one-on-one conferences or simply for the employee who needs a moment of solitude or silence to get the job done.

There’s a Relaxation Room for employees complete with pool table, ping pong, cable television and a full kitchen. In this kitchen you will find an example of just how different the Sunlight Saunas environment is from the everyday corporate office. Breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack are provided for each employee for five dollars per day. And healthy fare is served, of course!
 
The kitchen also makes good business sense. Aaron says, “The kitchen is so much more than a kitchen. What we see is that our departments really interact. Rather than the sales team going to eat with the sales team, they all sit down together. It really creates a more cohesive organization. They know each other now. They are able to share ideas and strategies.”
 
For more on Sunlight Saunas, visit the company’s website, www.sunlightsaunas.com; you can also learn more by calling them at 877-292-0020


  
Penetrating Phytochemicals Travel Deep For Blessed Health

by Janell Cole, N.D., C.T.
 
I am receiving so much interest from everybody when it comes to herbal dermal infusions that I thought I better write this article from the very start so more and more people can start to catch on to them and benefit from their use too.
 
When it comes to the powerful healing properties of my herbal dermal infusions, I love telling the story of Carol, a health food store owner, who finally overcame a five-year-old chronic staph infection of her legs with my X-tracting Balm. As it so happened, Carol was attending a health show in Las Vegas that was put on by the Natural Products Association when we met. She asked me to look at her leg.
 
Carol needed X-tracting Balm immediately. The main ingredient in X-tracting Balm is bloodroot to capture and remove impurities, but the dermal infusion also contains goldenseal, echinacea, chaparral, burdock, cat’s claw, pau d’ arco, peppermint, red clover, black walnut, wormwood, cloves, and tea tree oil, all infused into certified organic olive and coconut oils that rapidly penetrate the skin, carrying these herbs’ beneficial phytochemicals directly into the system. These herbs help purify the blood, while others help the body to protect itself from microbiological parasites.
 
The next day Carol returned to see me. She told me her leg was already feeling better but very dry. So I gave her our S.O.S. Balm, which is both antibacterial and antifungal and rapidly relieves dry, cracked, itchy, irritated skin. S.O.S. Balm is great for athlete’s foot, nail fungus, jock itch, and diaper rash, too. Within a few days her staph infection was completely gone and her skin was totally healed. It was phenomenal.
 
Traditional Modality, Modern Implications
 
Dating back 5,000 years to the origins of homeopathy, transdermal infusions were a proven method for transporting healing compounds directly (through the skin) into the bloodstream until the early part of the twentieth century. But for some unknown reason, or perhaps because of the rise of allopathic medicine, this method of delivery seemed to have been forgotten in favor of delivering the benefits of herbal or prescription medicines orally (through the mouth).
 
Did you know that liver metabolism can reduce the bioavailability of the active ingredients in many herbs by 80 to 90 percent? Perhaps that is why so many women and men are now trying a new method of obtaining the benefits of herbal remedies without swallowing.
 
Transdermal delivery systems avoid many inherent variables associated with oral alternatives including poor digestion, inability of tablets to properly break down, fluctuating transit times through the body, interaction with digestive fluids, in addition to overall side effects.
 
As a naturopath and colon therapist who frequently saw patients who often presented themselves with parasite-related digestive problems, I had to come up with a method for delivering vital healing herbs that bypassed their weakened digestive systems. My patients were experiencing internal and dermal fungal infections, anxiety disorders, and other ailments, and orally delivered herbal preparations weren’t working because their digestive systems were so weakened. My traditional training led me to the discovery or should I say rediscovery of dermal infusions, and natural curiosity led me to begin experimenting with methods of combining powerful herbs into known transdermal carriers like olive and coconut oils.
 
Today, my Mobu Herbals line includes more than 10 different formulas that would make a wonderful addition to any medicine cabinet. Both the A.M. Pain Balm and P.M. Pain Balm as well as the Kava Calm Balm can be used for almost immediate health pain or stress relief. For anybody suffering from skin infections or irritations, the X-tracting and S.O.S. balms are your best option.
 
If you are experiencing problems such as joint and muscle pain, anxiety, weight gain, prostate problems, menopausal symptoms, low energy, constipation, or skin problems, and you’re looking for a different way to take advantage of herbal remedies, penetrating dermal infusions might just be the most potent method yet of delivering powerful herbal nutrients.
 
Good News for Newborns’ Bottoms
 
Here’s another story I love to tell. Again, X-tracting Balm performed for a three-year-old child—and this is a story that almost every parent of a newborn with diaper rash will want to read.
 
The mother of a three-year-old toddler came in. Her child could not heal up on her bottom and had candida and staph infections. Basically the doctor had said it was staph and gave her all sorts of antibiotic creams. Staph is a very common infection and can be caused by something as regular as a diaper rash. Nothing was working. It was just so red; it looked like second degree burns. I gave her X- tracting Balm to apply. By the second day there was no more pain. By the end of the fifth day the redness was gone. Everything was gone. They were just so happy.

Resources
 
Mobu Herbals’ penetrating dermal infusions are available at health food stores and natural product supermarkets. Visit them at www.mobuherbals.com or call (877) 396-MOBU (6628).

  
Attorney General Sues Over Formaldehyde in Cribs
By Jennifer Muir

California Attorney General Gerry Brown is suing five children's furniture manufacturers for failing to warn consumers that their products emit the cancer-causing agent formaldehyde.

Cribs and changing tables containing the chemical have been found at Target, Wal-Mart and Babies R Us, Deputy Attorney Genera Susan Fiering said Wednesday.

“This type of furniture is of particular concern because the baby sleeping in the crib is really closest to the source of the emissions,” Fiering said. “The concentrations are going to vary depending on how large the room is. Often children's rooms are small.”

The suit alleges the five companies knowingly sold products that emit formaldehyde gas without alerting consumers with warning labels, as required by Proposition 65. The law says manufacturers must provide “clear and reasonable warnings” when their products contain chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. These baby products exceed the recommendations for formaldehyde emission set by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the Department of Public Health, the lawsuit alleges.

Brown's office became aware of the problem in May, when the Environment California Research and Policy Center published results of baby furniture tests and identified high levels formaldehyde in six of the 21 products they tested.

The attorney general's office performed its own tests and discovered levels of formaldehyde gas at “many times” 40 mg per day — the minimum level that requires a warning under state law, Fiering said.

The five companies being sued are Child Craft, Delta Children's Products, Storkcraft, Jardine Enterprises and South Shore Furniture.

A trade group that represents makers of children's furniture said the attorney general's findings are erroneous.

“We have some of our members have outside labs do their own testing, and the results of their tests came out differently than those submitted by the environmental group,” said Yarissa Reyes, a spokeswoman for Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association.

Delta Children's Products owner Joseph Shamie issued a similar statement: “Our furniture complies with all federal and state laws … We remain confident that proper testing will further demonstrate the safety of our products.”

Formaldehyde is found in products consumers use every day, from the glues and resins used to make particle board and plywood, to permanent press textiles, fiberglass insulation and cigarettes. Long-term exposure to the carcinogen can increase the risk of developing cancer, asthma and allergies, according to the Environment California report.

“Children in particular are extremely susceptible to being exposed to toxic chemicals because their bodies are still developing,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, an advocate for Environment California. “Chemicals can really wreck havoc on young little bodies.”

Still, there's no evidence that any of the products identified in the report have harmed anyone, Fiering said.

Etienne Chabot, marketing director for South Shore Furniture, said his company already has changed the type of material used to make its “Country Style Changing Table” to comply with new California regulations that go into effect in January. The regulations, which will be rolled out through 2012, require all manufacturers of composite wood products to lower formaldehyde emissions and to have a state approved lab certify that the products comply.

Chabot says the previous model also was safe.

“I'm a father of three,” Chabot said. “And my two-weeks-old baby, we change her every day on our South Shore changing table, and I'm not worried at all about her safety.”

The state also is suing the companies for violating the Unfair Competition Law for "unfairly profiting" by not posting warnings about carcinogens in their products when other companies must do so.

Meanwhile, Environment California is urging the state to adopt new regulations, including requiring chemical manufacturers to prove that the chemicals they market are safe.

Here are the products called out in the Environment California report for failing to report high levels of the chemical and the stores where each were found:
 
  • Child Craft Oak Crib (Target)
  • Bridget 4-in-1 Crib by Delta (Wal-Mart)
  • Kayla II Changing Table by Storkcraft (Babies R Us)
  • Berkley Changing Table by Jardine Enterprises (Babies R Us)
  • Country Style Changing Table by South Shore Furniture (Target)
  • Rochester Cognac Crib by Storkcraft (Target)
 
Resources
 
Contact the writer: 714-796-7813 or jmuir@ocregister.com

  
Simple Steps to Personal Care Product Safety

By Lea Morgenstern

The little-known fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not actively regulate the ingredients in our personal care products means that we as consumers have to become more educated about our choices. For example, the choice between a product which contains parabens, synthetic compounds used as preservatives which have been found in human breast tumors (read about the 2004 study here), and products that are preserved instead with blends of essential oils like grapefruit seed seems obvious once you have the right data. Fortunately, there is an emerging market for safe personal care products, but you have to know where to go for the best safe products available.
 
When I began to look for safer makeup and skin care, I encountered a scarcity of basic information about ingredients and a tedious process to identify which products met my safety standards. I was on a search to find effective beauty products free from parabens (butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben or propylparaben), pthalates, sodium laurel/laureth sulfate, urea, petroleum products, propelene glycol, talc, synthetic fragrances, and other ingredients that are known to be harmful, yet are prevalent in conventional products. I used as my guide three main resources: The Environmental Working Group's “Skin Deep” online cosmetic safety database, a list from Aubrey Hampton (founder of Aubrey Organics) of the Ten Synthetic Ingredients to Avoid and The Green Guide's Dirty Dozen Ingredients in Personal Care Products.

With these tools, I was able to find products that met my safety standards, but I also soon discovered that most of them didn't work nearly as well as the department store brands. What I was looking for were safer, greener, better products. I found that—on average—I had to order from at least three different companies before I found a product that I liked.

I knew there had to be a better way. So I decided to create the store I was looking for. With the help of a like-minded and supportive partner, we were able to launch www.thesimplebody.com in August 2008. We are steadily growing and adding more products as frequently as possible. We currently stock over a dozen different brands and offer many products in sample sizes.

At TheSimpleBody.com, we research and review companies based on the safety of their ingredients, the effectiveness of their products, and the sustainability of their ingredients. We only sell products that pass our three Simple Standards:

1. Is it safe?
2. Does it work?
3. By buying from this company, are we supporting products made with sustainable ingredients?

If you're looking for high quality, natural alternatives to conventional cosmetics and skin care, I invite you to explore TheSimpleBody.com. We try to run our business with as little waste as possible. We recycle everything, we use recyclable shipping materials, and we support companies who value the environment as much as we do. Vote with your dollar for more safe products in the marketplace!  And please, share your thoughts and suggestions with us by email at info@thesimplebody.com.
 
 
ALIVE! Expo


ALIVE! Expo is a two day health & wellness event for the entire family. In just one exciting weekend, you will learn firsthand about an alternative approach to health and wellness, get nutritional guidance, watch interactive yoga, pilates and fitness demonstrations, watch healthy cooking demonstrations, listen to lectures from industry health and wellness experts, sample great food, get free massages and go home with tons of free product samples.

Every year ALIVE! Expo brings together local and national natural product companies, alternative practitioners, chiropractors, health food retailers and community non-profit organizations showcasing information about their products and services to thousands of individuals interested in leading a healthy lifestyle. Click here for information on upcoming shows!

Our mission is to inspire and encourage individuals to embrace a life of health, wellness and fitness through awareness of natural and alternative solutions, advanced medicine research, education, nutrition, exercise and lifelong benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

For show information, tickets and directions click below

ALIVE! Expo Atlanta
May 16 & 17, 2009
Georgia World Congress Center, Hall C1

 

Plug In America Fundraiser

Real quick… We have to tell you about the recent Plug-in America fundraiser in Los Angeles at the home of Chris Paine, director of Who Killed the Electric Car. It was absolutely the most important event happening in this great green nation of America. You could not have been anywhere more important, in America or the world, than at the fundraiser.
 
Tesla SportsterPlug-in America is one of the most successful advocacy groups in the nation, and they are the single most important driving force and umbrella for all of us who are behind the quick rush for Detroit to put electric vehicles on the market. We are so proud of their accomplishments. We are also so hopeful for the Big Three automakers, well, at least two of the three, since Ford seems to have been left behind by GM and Chrysler.
 
Guess who crashed the party? GM with its electric plug-in Volt, and Tesla with its beautiful zero-to-sixty-in-under-four-and-a-fraction-seconds sportster—to which every hot blooded car-loving green patriot can aspire.
 
Chevy VoltPlug-in American Executive Director Chelsea Sexton told the crowd that this was a complete role reversal. “Usually it’s me crashing a GM party or event,” she told us.
 
Former CIA Director James Woolsey spoke about how important electric plug-in vehicles are, not only to national security by reducing our oil addiction, but also to working people and single moms, and anybody overwhelmed by the higher costs of living today.
 
“An electric plug-in runs one tenth the cost per mile per gallon,” he said. “That is the equivalent of 40 cents a gallon of gas. Green vehicles also play a part of reducing carbon emissions and our impact on global warming,” he added.
 
They are part of the new economy. And already jobs are on the way as Tesla builds its 250 million dollar manufacturing facility in California. It was definitely the place to be.
 
It was great to say hello to a member of our Green Patriot Working Group, Jim Woolsey, who wrote the foreword for our 50 Simple Steps to Save the Earth from Global Warming. We’re going to have Woolsey on Green Patriot Radio and devote a show to environmental policy, national security, and winning the war on terror.
 
We all said hello to EV owner and Plug-In America co-founder Paul Scott, also a contributor to our radio show. Paul will be on in the next few weeks to tell us about the third annual alternative transportation auto show held in Santa Monica.

Ana gets a feel for her electric motorcycle.
               

Plug In America co-founder Paul Scott with David Steinman

 



Green Patriot David Steinman with former CIA Director James Woolsey enjoy a talk about John McCain's environmental policy...what are the two discussing? (You can bet the former director of the CIA knows how to keep a secret.)
             


 


Beautiful and stunning Ana Gutierrez enjoys a moment together with David at the home of Who Killed the Electric Car director, Chris Paine.
 
 
For more information visit these sites:
 
   
 
50 Simple Steps to Kick Our Oil Addiction: Carpool 

Below is an excerpt from 50 Simple Steps to Kick our Oil Addiction due out next Spring from Freedom Press.

Another fast and easy way to save money on gasoline and help kick our oil addiction is to carpool.
 
If more of us were to take part in carpools we could cut down our oil usage significantly. Here’s what the experts say about carpooling at www.greenlivingtips.com:
 
  • In Australia, 83 percent of people who drove to work or study in 2003 did not have a passenger.
  • In the United States, single occupant commuting is around 75 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
The website also noted that, “There are millions of us who engage in solitary travel to and from work; driving billions of miles each year, spending a stack of cash on gas and pumping tons of emissions into the atmosphere.”
 
According to www.partnc.org, a ridesharing site in North Carolina, “Taking into account gas, upkeep, repairs and parking, you can save $3,000 or more a year by carpooling. It was estimated to cost $.491 per mile to own and operate an automobile and $.122 per mile just for gas, oil, maintenance and tires, according to AAA Motor Club 2000 statistics. A daily, 40-mile roundtrip commute was then estimated to cost $4.88. Triple that amount now and you can see how much money you’re really saving. You can easily save $6,000.00 a year or more.
 
Also, in many areas of the country, carpools have special freeway lanes that are far less crowded. Of course, if a lot more people carpool our entire roadways would be much less crowded. 
 
Where do you work? Many companies provide carpool programs and post information at these usual sites: bulletin boards, online intranet sites, Internet, and via electronic mail.  

You can also start a formal or informal carpool program at work. Just find some coworkers you always wanted to get to know and ask if he or she wants to carpool. Actually, some people are looking to form carpools at www.pickuppal.com right now.  Cool.
 
Match Commuter is another premiere resource for rideshare and carpool information online.  Match Commuter allows you to connect with fellow commuters in your area, and in doing so can help save you money on both gas and mileage expenses for your automobile. Visit www.matchcommuter.com.
 
Need to go cross country for a quick trip? Don’t want to drive your car? Visit www.erideshare.com. At the time we visited, they had over 6,000 rideshares posted that were going long distances. 
 
Another national site that helps folks who need to travel from city to city is www.carpoolconnect.com
 
You can also try www.carpoolworld.com and www.commutesmart.com. As you can see there are many opportunities for carpooling, just Google “carpool” to find the site that suits you the best, and sign up.

  
Give Your Car a Rest


Below is an excerpt from 50 Simple Steps to Kick our Oil Addiction due out next Spring from Freedom Press. 

That poor old 2000 Suburban that you love dearly—that seats nine—and that you don’t exactly feel like replacing deserves a little rest. All of our cars deserve rest, perhaps a long, long rest.
 
But just give them a day off. That’s all. Can you imagine how hard those driving pistons work for you just to run a simple errand? How about that trip out of the neighborhood to the local market to pick up a package of Twinkies just because you had to have them? That poor car of yours is just begging to put on the brakes and take a time-out.
 
But, no, you just have to keep whipping its ignition and pushing that steed until it’s just broken down and overused. Cars are works of beauty. Just ask Jay Leno. The comedian has garages of beautiful antique cars. Why not treat your ratty little red Corolla like an antique of the future? Give it a rest.
 
Just walk.
 
Or carpool.
 
Or stay home and work in the garden.
 
Do anything but take a drive today.
 
That’s all. It’s simple. Real simple.
  

Some People Would Love to Walk in Your Shoes

by David Steinman 
 
  I’ve always wanted to be the perfect recycler.  Recently, I had some terribly worn hiking boots and wanted to recycle them.  I did some online research and found out that recycling your shoes is, indeed, possible.
 
I went to www.soles4souls.org and found out that this great group of people will take gently worn footwear to give to those persons who are less fortunate and would love to walk in your shoes. 


Says the group: “Send us your shoes! We want the leftovers from your closet.  People across North America are cleaning out their closets and shipping their gently worn shoes to one of our warehouse facilities."

Per their website, "Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from the warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people like you. The charity distributes these shoes free of charge to people in need, regardless of race, religion, class, or any other criteria. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 7 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently donating one pair every 9 seconds.) The shoes have been distributed to people in over 125 countries, including Kenya, Thailand, Nepal and the United States.

"The idea behind gifts of shoes is nothing new to the Soles4Souls team, as they coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, netting over one million pairs donated for these disasters."

Here at Freedom Press, our employees are gathering together their gently worn shoes to give to this group, along with a donation to help with their freight costs. I might not be able to get rid of my hiking boots so easily since they are too worn, but we do have some baby and children’s shoes around our home that our kids have grown out of and that would be just perfect to send along. It is a neat feeling to know that soon a child will be very excited about their new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sneakers.

You can drop off your shoes at one of hundreds of participating locations, or ship larger collections of shoes to one of Soles4Souls' warehouses. For complete shipping instructions and more information:

Soles4Souls
Toll-free phone: (866) 521-SHOE
E-mail: info@giveshoes.org 
www.soles4souls.org 

For your athletic shoes that are more than ‘gently worn’, Nike has a great program called Reuse-a-Shoe that converts worn-out athletic footwear into athletic surfaces and other products.  In their dual commitments to reduce waste and help children to be more active, they take worn-out athletic shoes (of any brand) and grind their specific parts into materials that can be used to make new sports surfaces. 

To date, Nike has collected more than 25 million pairs of used athletic shoes and turned them into hundreds of sports surfaces for indoor and outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, tracks, weight rooms, and playgrounds (as well as other products). How exciting to think that your favorite tennis shoes might be converted into a tennis court at a YMCA or local park, helping many more people to enjoy the sport–so much better than adding to the landfill!

To donate your well-used athletic shoes, drop them off at the nearest Nike drop-off location (see website for details) or ship them directly to:

Nike Recycling Center
  c/o Nike Reuse-a-Shoe
26755 SW 95th Ave
Wilsonville, OR 97070
www.nikereuseashoe.com


 
Eco-Tourism in Costa Rica

David Steinman took his children and some friends to experience the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica.  Read his accounts on our Eco Blog and check out some of the photos right here:


 

The Green Patriot with his eco-explorers

 
Sharla on her float down the
Rio Pena Blancas
  Hunter Hawkins in the Sacred Seeds Garden
at Finca Luna Nueva
 
Rain forest plants at Finca Luna Nueva
 

Iguana sighting

 
Two-toed sloth at Finca Luna Nueva   Howler monkeys along the Rio Pena Blancas


Green Patriot Posters

During World War II the United States was able to mobilize industry and motivate its citizens in breathtaking speed. Factories were overhauled and consumption habits transformed. Conservation (in the form of rationing) became a patriotic act. Strong, graphically compelling posters played a crucial role in the success of this campaign.
 
Taking action was presented in these posters as vital for the common good of the nation and those who were willing to sacrifice were portrayed as attractive, dynamic American heroes.

To face the ecological crisis posed by global climate change today a similar mobilization of America is required. To help meet this challenge The Canary Project, Green Patriot Working Group, Timberland and other partners, are running a campaign to commission poster designs from leading firms and designers and also to solicit other designs through a national competition.
 
Project Number 1: On July 4th, 70 busses hit the streets of Cleveland with banners designed by world-famous (and Cleveland-born) designer Michael Bierut. These banners promoted the use of mass transit and the development of green jobs. The banners are part of a new environmentalism — one that sees action to address climate change as an imperative to protect both the American and world economies.  The campaign launched Green Patriot Posters and was made possible by support from The George Gund Foundation, Timberland and Earthkeepers powered by Changents!

Here is what Michael had to say about the designs:

 Americans have a great ability to pull together in times of crisis. Each day brings headlines that make it clear that global warming and dependence on costly and scarce foreign oil will demand the same kind of resilience, self-sacrifice and ingenuity that we’ve exhibited in the past: in short, that special American brand of patriotism. Back in the 30s and 40s, folksinger Woody Guthrie had a slogan on his guitar: “This machine kills fascists.” I was looking for a similar kind of statement to turn every bus ride into a blow for the environment.
 
In coming up with themes that would resonate in Cleveland, The Canary Project and Michael consulted with the GreenCityBlueLake Institute at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is currently running an exhibition of Canary Project photographs by Susannah Sayler.
 
Bierut’s designs call attention to two ways to fight climate change: take mass transit and support green jobs. Action and information on these issues as follows:
 
Mass Transit: US reliance on foreign oil would decrease by forty percent if one in ten Americans used public transportation daily. (source: American Public Transportation Association). Less car traffic also means less carbon emissions. Check out bus and train schedules in your area. 
 
Green Jobs: One of the most interesting partnerships to come out of the fight to stop global warming is the Blue Green Alliance between the United Steel Workers Union and the Sierra Club. The Blue-Green Alliance and notable others, such as the Apollo Alliance, are telling us that so-called green jobs can have a major impact on our economy and do a lot to put muscle back into the our domestic manufacturing sector. 
 
What exactly is a Green Job? Definitions vary. Essentially it is any job that contributes to the new, sustainable, non-oil addicted economy. Or as a recent Time magazine article put it “a green-collar job can be anything that helps put America on the path to a cleaner, more energy efficient future. That means jobs in the public transit sector, jobs in green building, jobs in energy efficiency — even traditional, blue-collar manufacturing jobs, provided what you're making is more or less green.” 

Make sure to visit www.greenpatriotposters.com to see more of Michael Bierut's designs and green patriot poster images.
 
Partners:
  
      

 
Use Electric Transportation
Step 21 taken with permission from 50 Simple Steps to Save the Earth from Global Warming by The Green Patriot Working Group (Freedom Press, 2008).
Electricity has transformed our society and economy, and it will play a key role in the critical transformation before us—whether to an environmental point of no return or to an era of true sustainability. Although the lion’s share of electricity used today is still generated by coal-fired power plants, we can still significantly shrink our overall carbon footprint by shifting from gas to electric-powered transport.
 
Research from Plug-In America shows that even when pure electric vehicles are powered exclusively by coal, they still reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 60 percent when compared to internal combustion gasoline-powered vehicles. And when you consider the emergence of green energy sources for electricity, the future looks even brighter.
 
At the beginning of the 20th century, 40 percent of American cars were powered by steam, 38 percent by electricity and 22 percent by gasoline. Prior to the
dominance of the internal combustion engine, automakers like Henry Ford experimented with different power sources to find the most efficient means for personal automated travel. Thanks in part to the tremendous success of the automobile, today we are in a critical era of re-invention, this time keeping carbon emissions and environmental responsibility in mind.
 
Gas-electric hybrid cars are more available and affordable today than ever before, thanks to consumer demand. While Toyota and Honda lead the way, other car companies such as Ford, Mercury, Nissan, and Saturn currently offer hybrid models, and many other automakers are scheduling hybrids for release over the next several years. (See www.hybridcars.com for the complete list.) Netting up to 50 mpg and sometimes qualifying for federal tax credits (as high as $4,000), hybrids are worth exploring. Look at The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s Green Book Online for ratings on these and all cars from a green perspective (www.greenercars.org).
 
While hybrids significantly reduce the need for gas, they do not deliver the benefits of pure “plug-ins” or 100 percent electric vehicles. Electric vehicles, also known as “EVs,” were relatively plentiful in California in the 1990s due to a state requirement that automakers create a percentage of zero-emission vehicles. Although these cars were quite popular with consumers, they virtually vanished when the state rescinded the requirement, as chronicled in the documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car?
 
Today, thanks to public demand, automakers are developing zero-emission electric plug-in vehicles once again, as well as plug-in gas-electric hybrids that receive as much as 100 mpg. Two interesting cars on the horizon are the Tesla Roadster sports car with a target price near $100,000, which reportedly will travel 245 miles on a single charge of its lithium ion battery, and the more affordable Chevy Volt, which will travel up to 40 miles on battery power alone and can be configured to run on electricity, gasoline, E85, or biodiesel.
 
It’s important to note that the cost of electricity to power up EVs is considerably lower than the price to fill them with gas. For example, Plug In America compared driving a 2002 Toyota RAV4 100 miles on gasoline for $10 (at $2.50 per gallon) and on electricity for only $3.
 
In addition to driving an electric car, there are several other ways to switch to electric transportation and lighten your carbon dioxide load. Plug-in electric bicycles combine the efficiency and exercise of pedaling with an electric boost when that next hill is a little too steep or long. Quite popular in Europe, they are now available in the U.S., as are electric pedicabs, scooters, and other personal conveyances. (See www.electric-bikes.com for a list of manufacturers and retailers.)
 
Whenever possible, use electric mass transit—once the mainstay in American cities in the form of trolleys, streetcars, and “trackless trolleys” (buses on streets connected to overhead wires). Today, cities are reviving these forms of electric transportation and adding electric buses to the green mix. Cities such as Santa Barbara and Chattanooga, Tennessee rely heavily on electric buses, while San Francisco runs vintage streetcars, cable cars, and zero-emissions “trackless trolleys” powered by hydroelectricity. Then there are electric subways, metros, light rail systems (for example, Minneapolis’s “Hiawatha Line”), and monorails plying cities in the U.S. and around the world.
 
With the growth of alternative fuels, the increase in hybrid offerings, the re-emergence of electric vehicles, and the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, our vehicles are auspiciously heading down a greener road (or track)! For today, electricity—whether from fossil fuels or green energy—is a carbon-lesser option than gas for powering your transportation needs.
 
Resources
 
 

Where You Sleep: a Cause of
Infertility & Environmental Illness?

No wonder so many couples today are infertile. Best-selling author of Living Green, Greg Horn, says that purchasing an organic mattress changed his life—and if you’re trying to have healthy children it could change your life, too. At a time when the former CEO of General Nutrition Centers and Garden of Life was suffering from many different symptoms of environmental illness, he says in his very valuable book that changing his bedding, including his mattress, was among the biggest most important health decisions he could have made. After all, we do sleep eight hours a night or more on our mattresses.
 
Virtually all mattresses today are made from some of the most toxic petrochemicals around. Recent studies have found that the petroleum-basedflame retardants and other chemicals used in synthetic mattresses can actually cause reproductive and behavioral disorders at levels as low as one part per billion.

Could the trend of low and damaged sperm counts that we have seen over the last few decades in the industrialized nations be linked with the chemicals in our mattresses? I suspect that the chemicals used in typical petroleum-based mattresses do play a role. These chemicals are highly volatile and we end up absorbing them via inhalation and skin absorption.
All of this is our way of introducing you to Lifekind Organic and Naturally Safer Products, the nation’s number one manufacturer of truly organic mattresses. Theirs is the only certified organic mattress manufacturing factory in the United
States. Plus, their mattresses are on sale right now and they meet all state and federal flammability standards.
 
If you’re seeking to improve your health, if you want the most blissful sleep, or if you’re simply interested in buying a new mattress that frees you from the toxicity of petrochemicals while providing you with the ultimate in comfort and purity—you should really check out Lifekind.
 
Lifekind is the only organic mattress and bedding company making its own mattresses and we think that companies doing their own manufacturing here in the U.S. are very special; after all, they provide good jobs for people in our own country, not to mention the extraordinary health service this green company is delivering to consumers. Plus, you get a three-month sleep trial with your purchase, and the company builds each mattress to your specifications and needs. In fact, we made Lifekind part of the original GREEN Patriot Green 100. Check them out today at www.lifekind.com.
 
Living Green by Greg Horn and Toxic Bedrooms by Walt Bader are both available at local health food stores and natural food markets as well as at book sellers nationwide and at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

 Who Knows the Secret to a Great Nut?

 
We are on the lookout for the best of the best, including change agents, warriors, and other leaders—people and companies promoting the highest standards of integrity in the natural products industry. When we discover these companies, we usually find they are run by green warrior-types trying to make this land and our planet a better place.
 
So excuse me if I am a little excited over Seth Leaf (pictured left) and Davy Pruzansky, affectionately known as “the Almond Brothers,” who in 2002 founded Living Nutz of Maine, which is, arguably, one of the most important nut companies in the U.S. today. In fact, they were honored earlier this year by Sen. Olympia Snow of Maine as an exemplary green business, earning them the distinction of being the first raw food snack company to receive congressional recognition.

For some time now, I’ve known that raw foods should be the next evolution in my own personal diet, and that their inclusion into my life could begin none too soon. Craig Winters, founder of The Campaign (whose mission is to persuade Congress and the President to pass legislation requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods in the United States), told me how raw foods pulled him from the brink of a health disaster back to a vibrant, healthy state. From that point on, I’ve realized I have to put more raw foods into my diet—and I thought almonds might be one of my raw food dietary staples. After all, they are hearthealthy—perhaps the healthiest of all nuts. But after meeting Seth Leaf, I understand why I must eat only Living Nutz raw almonds. Fortunately, they’re everywhere in health food stores across the country. Here’s the secret of why I am so dedicated to this company.

What You Don't Know


Thanks to Living Nutz, I am more educated and really feel like part of the raw food revolution. I couldn’t be happier—or healthier. Once you learn about what is happening to your almonds, you will understand why Living Nutz’s nuts are becoming hugely popular with everyone from Hollywood actors to climbers of Mount Everest, to everyone’s benefit.
 
Unfortunately, a consequence of the emergence of organic foods as a major growth industry is that many of the newest organic food producers are using pasteurization at very high temperatures which destroys many, if not all, of the enzymes and other health-enhancing nutrients that are plentiful in raw foods.
Most of us would benefit from including more enzyme-rich raw foods in our diets, like celery on the stalk, crisp Gala apples, leafy lettuce, and navel oranges. Not to say that everyone should be a 100 percent raw food faddist, but the fact is that few of us come close to consuming optimal amounts of raw foods and benefiting fully from their powerful curative and restorative properties.
 
What most people don’t realize is that all almonds grown in the U.S., Canada and Mexico now must be pasteurized with heat or chemical fumigation due to a ruling from the Almond Board of California (ABC) and the USDA enacted in September of 2007. According to this ruling, the pasteurized nuts can still be labeled as “raw,” and there is no requirement to indicate on labels the method of pasteurization.
 
This ruling was enacted in reaction to two reported cases of salmonella contamination in almonds. Salmonella is a bacterium that can make people sick to their stomachs and occasionally causes death. However, these cases were due to careless factory farm methods used to grow and process conventionally grown almonds, and had absolutely no connection to practices used to grow and handle organic almonds. Tragically, this ruling means that even organic almonds, as good as they are, must now be steam pasteurized at high temperatures, which destroys their enzymes and nutritive raw food factors.
 
What is happening to non-organic almonds is even more horrific, as many of them are pasteurized using a highly toxic fumigant called propylene oxide. An April 2007 letter from Richard Waycott, President and CEO of the ABC, to activist Dr. Joseph Mercola confirmed that growers are using propylene oxide to pasteurize almonds. He went on to say, “Pasteurized raw almonds do not differ in any significant way—taste, quality or nutritional value—from untreated almonds. Pasteurization simply reduces the presence of harmful bacteria on those almonds to safe levels while maintaining taste, quality and nutritional value.”
 
Mercola reports, “I then called [Waycott’s] office to see if there was anything he wanted to add to his letter, and he said that the EPA had tested propylene oxide and found it to be safe.” But the ABC did not mention that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Hazard Summary (created in April 1992 and revised in January 2000) indicated “The EPA has classified propylene oxide as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen. Propylene oxide has been observed to cause tumors at or near the site of administration in rodents, causing forestomach tumors following ingestion…and nasal tumors after inhalation exposure.”

Yuck. That doesn’t sound like my idea of a raw food dietary staple.
 
That’s where Living Nutz comes in.
 
Living Nutz began in 2002 with a core purpose: to create the best-tasting raw food gourmet treats on the planet!
 
“Our approach is simple; we wanted to make an easy-to-digest organic treat with the most amazing tastes that exist today!” says Seth Leaf. “Our secret is an extremely important one. Just as life is an ongoing process, so should be the method in how we prepare our food.”
 
Behold the nut. “Isn’t the almond perfect the way it comes off the tree? Pasteurizing a nut is [as unnecessary as] steaming lettuce,” he said. “The nut is on the tree and falls off. Snow covers it for the winter, and when the warm weather and spring come, the heat and moisture start to cause the nut to germinate and sprout—and that’s when it was consumed as part of the ancestral diet. At Living Nutz, we follow this ancient artisan craft to the fullest extent. We are the only company today that is able to provide raw almonds—truly raw almonds—because to circumvent these regulations, we import ours from Spain and Italy. They are truly raw. We also germinate them, which dissolves their tannins and toxins. By germinating them for about 12 hours, our nuts, like all living whole foods, are alive and alkaline; then we mix them with the most exquisite and delicious gourmet, certified organic flavors and dehydrate them at a low 110ºF. The whole process takes five days.”
And, in the end, you have some of the most delicious raw organic nuts you have ever tasted. That’s why I look to Living Nutz for inspiration. I want to buy foods that match my values and are absolutely scrumptious, while being 100 percent
raw and organic, and rich in enzymes and other active growth factors.
 
“The benefits of going raw-vegan are boundless,” Seth Leaf told me in a recent interview. “Raw foods are easy to digest, and they provide the maximum amount of energy with minimal bodily effort. Studies have shown that living foods have healing powers that can alleviate many illnesses, from low energy, allergies, digestive disorders, weak immune systems, high cholesterol, and candida to obesity and other weight problems. Research and real life experiences have also shown that a person can prevent their body’s healthy cells from turning into malignant cancerous cells by consuming mostly a raw food diet and whole organic foods!”
 
Eat raw foods and be healthy—that is certainly the message of Living Nutz. Make
sure your almonds, walnuts, pecans and other nuts are truly a living raw food!

Living Nutz is producing some of the most exquisite raw living foods today.
 
Remember the scent of freshly baked banana bread? Yeah, it’s like that—their delicious Banana Bread Walnutz , just like Mom used to make, only enzyme active! The ingredients are certified organic Living Nutz walnutz, bananas, agave, cinnamon, and Celtic sea salt. Their Cina-Pecan-Bun raw food nuts provide all the pleasure of our favorite cinnamon-flavored buns and rolls without ANY guilt! This is the best candied pecan available, made with certified organic Living Nutz pecans, dates, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and sea salt. Finally you can enjoy your buns and feel good about it too! Delicious in many raw food recipes,Vegan Cheesy Almonds provide the great taste of cheese but are completely vegan! Other Living Nutz favorites include Spicy Onion Garlic Pistachios, Chocolate Walnutz, Tahitian Vanilla Bean Coco Cream, and Spicy Cheesy Chipotle Walnutz.
 
There are many other delicious flavors as well! Yum yum. Now you know the secret, too.
 

More Living Nutz Media
 
See Seth Leaf on the almond pasteurization controversy
 
Hear Seth Leaf on Green Patriot Radio
 
Link up with Living Nutz
 
Resources
 
Living Nutz packets are available everywhere. Just visit your local natural food market when you feel the snack urge coming on or you want to stock up your
pantry. Twenty-five pound boxes of truly raw, organic imported almonds are also available. For bulk and store orders, call 207-780-1101, fax to 806-498-7872
or e-mail info@livingnutz.com. Visit the Living Nutz website at www.livingnutz.com.
   

Traveling with a Green Conscience
 
 
San Francisco is the one American city, among all that I have visited, that is the most special. You just have to be there to understand. It’s the most cultural, the most open-minded, the most snobbishly unsnobby—and has great stores, “the best Macy’s by far on the West Coast,” my shopping companion remarked. And this is a Macy’s, by the way, that is showcasing local produce and local chefs, as well as sustainable threads.
San Francisco is second only to Portland, Oregon, in being green as a city. They have Directors of Sustainable Living and Ecology and the Environment and citywide initiatives to limit the use of plastic bags, and city taxes to help ensure everybody in the Village all sorts of humanistic (but not very onerous) things to make the Republic work, including a city tax to fund health care. But what I loved long before I knew the city was green was the sheer architecture taken in on a walk down to Union Square. Beauty of form is as important here in the semi-permanence of this city on the bay as it should be. It’s not strip malls like LA, and it isn’t as intimidating as New York. It’s also colder because it is surrounded by the sea.
When you make it to San Francisco, be sure to stay at the Orchard Garden Hotel located near the corner of Bush and Grant, at the Chinatown gate. On a recent visit to this green city, we stayed at the Orchard. Why the Orchard? I suppose I could have stayed at the Fairmont or the Palace, (and maybe my other half would have liked that) but the Orchard Garden fits me better. It is who I am, how I self-identify. I loved it.  As much as I might fantasize, the truth is that even when I travel on pleasure I can’t be a sheer hedonist. That’s not me. I’m not unconscious. I never am when it comes to my responsibilities or to the help this old world needs from each of us. For me, travel is all about the adventure, and seeking out the best green hotels and ways to travel green is part of what makes it so fun to go places—at least for me.
The Orchard Garden Hotel was a great choice of a hotel, as it is setting an amazing example of how green the hospitality industry should be. This hotel is leading the way.
It is the first LEEDS-certified hotel in San Francisco, and it sure beats some of the less conscious and  conscientious hotels I have stayed at during my travels when I knew a whole lot less about what I owe back (or forward or whatever time continuum we put our responsibilities and joyfulness on). Of course, as an American and citizen of the planet, I want to put my hard-earned dollars into businesses whose environmental policies mirror mine, since I believe environmental policy, more than anything, determines the fate of nations. I think the Orchard Garden is doing something quite uniquely patriotic in its own way.
When you enter, you might notice the steel, glass and concrete, but you might not realize that all of the fly ash used in the concrete is recycled from a local manufacturer or that the wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (guaranteed to come from sustainable forests), or that the carpet is made from recycled materials and that the drapes can be handwashed. You might well note—as we did—that when you enter your room, you do so in the European style and your key card controls the electricity; so that when you leave all of the electricity is turned off automatically, ensuring you don’t leave CNN or “Law and Order” or anything else produced and created by Dick Wolfe playing, or the bathroom light on as so many guests tend to do. You see, green hotels are nothing if not economical. It is estimated the hotelier saves at least $6.50 per room per day when green policies are implemented, according to the Green Hotels Association.
Besides this, the hotel’s restaurant “Roots” is perfect for the locovore who prefers his produce local and organic. They serve local organic produce including Niman ranch beef and Dungeness crab caught along the Northern California coast.
Even the hotel’s location is superb—right beside the Chinatown gate where you can pass through into the Middle Kingdom and enjoy the organic tea shops and find a Kung Fu outfit for your 6-year-old son and ornamental pajamas for his twin sister and then buy about $50 worth of gag gifts you just can’t resist although they were all made in China—and so yes, you know them now, my sometimes hypocritical ways. (I just can’t imagine growing up without ever owning a shocking pen or fake vomit!)
 
I’ve also stayed at the nearby Triton, an eco hotel from the Kimpton Group, but truly, the Orchard Garden has reached down deeper to earn its green street credibility. Maybe it was learning as well that the downtown San Francisco Macy’s was offering organic cotton and sustainable fiber clothing now. All of this was making me feel like the people of San Francisco were quite uniquely eco-patriotic. I felt that way too.
I ended up interviewing Stephen Mühler (right), the Orchard Garden Hotel’s general manager, for Green Patriot Radio, and I learned that there is far more than meets the eye in this hotel’s ecology. They used so much recycled material in their systemic portions, their floors, and their inner foundation—and they really thought it through. This is the direction that the entire hotel and hospitality industry must follow. The Orchard Garden Hotel is a great leader.
 
Oh yes, how about the sleep? Have you ever stayed at a hotel where it is so noisy from the street that you can’t get to sleep? I have. How well I sleep is incredibly important to me, and I slept extremely well at the Orchard Garden. There was no noise, and the temperature was perfect. The room is kept incredibly cool or warm, as you please, with a digital thermostat.
 

Your intrepid reporter
at the Café de La Presse

    
In the morning, I loved being able to go downstairs and find organic fair trade coffee being served. Talk about consciousness. For breakfast, you can visit Café De La Presse and the fly fishing shop across the street. The café, at the corner of Bush Street and Grant Avenue, is a newly renovated establishment with a great magazine section. Whether you go there for coffee, a cocktail and appetizer, or for breakfast, you are sure to enjoy it. It’s a good place with a horseshoe-shaped alder wood bar and old world fixtures, giant posters and antiquated French light fixtures—great for taking good photos.
 
While in San Francisco, I also went to the nearby MOMA and was relatively disappointed with their showing, although I wouldn’t advise missing it entirely. They do have a terrific Monet collection.
 
And shopping, of course, is important too, although I must say that most of the stores still need to catch up when it comes to eco-fashion and sustainability. There are still too many shirts and other clothing made from cotton grown with pesticides that are toxic both to the human spirit and the body. We shopped in San Francisco, sure. But I ended up buying nothing, as none of it was organic (with the exception of Macy’s).
 
Restaurants to visit include Scoma’s (for its wild-caught seafood), and the Carnelian Room, known for its real high-society San Francisco and great romantic view.
I’m getting sick of mindless consumerism. It all seems to fuel rain forest destruction, prison labor in China, and child labor in Southeast Asia. So at the Orchard Garden with a great companion being at least halfway green, and trying to go to the deep green myself, I felt great. It was a good trip—oh, except for you know, Southeast Asia, Indonesian rain forests, and the polar bears.
  
How to Contact the Orchard Garden Hotel
  
Address: 466 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
 
Reservation numbers: 888-717-2881 or 415-399-9807
 
 
Listen to The Green Patriot Radio Show for David Steinman's interview with Stephen Muhler, General Manager of the Orchard Garden Hotel.
  
Where the Grass is Greener: Naturally Better Lawn Care  
 
 
If America loves anything, it’s a perfect lawn. There’s something about a broad weed-free expanse of well-manicured grass neatly clipped to a uniform height that inspires even the most hardened souls among us to get all gushy with praise and admiration. Perfect lawns, however, do not occur in nature, and creating them at home is often a chemically-intensive effort that’s neither green nor clean. Fortunately, there are ways to make beauty grow without involving anything ugly, and we’ve got more than a few ideas right here.
There are roughly 30 million acres of lawn in the United States. Approximately 4 out of 5 households have one of these private postage stamp-sized pieces of paradise. That’s almost 104 million homes with lawns whose average size is about 1/3 of an acre. Each year, the typical homeowner spends about 40 hours mowing their lawn. Most use gasoline-powered mowers, which produce the same amount of air pollution in one hour that a car makes on a 20-mile drive.
According to the National Gardening Association, in 2003, Americans spent roughly $38.4 billion on their lawns and gardens, or about $457 per household. For every acre, nearly 6 tons of clippings are produced each year, an amount equal to about 1,000 garbage bags. Our lawns are thirsty, too. According to the EPA, the average lawn needs about 10,000 gallons of water in addition to natural rainfall. In the eastern U.S. alone, one-third of urban water use is for lawn care.
 
All this grass is not without its benefits. For example, turf can save energy by keeping the ground surrounding a home 30-40° cooler than bare soil and 50° cooler than pavement. This natural air conditioning can dramatically reduce the need to use the artificial kind. Grass also creates oxygen and lots of it. A 2,500 square foot expanse of grass, or just a 50’ x 50’ parcel, produces enough for a family of four. That same patch can also absorb as much as 1,500 gallons of rainwater during a storm and around 12 lbs of the air pollutant sulfur dioxide every year.
 
The question is not whether we want or even need our lawns. It’s how can we grow and maintain these pastures in such a way as to make them a boon and not a bust for the environment.
 
There are a wide variety of strategies homeowners can use to have their lawn and green it, too. They keep your yard prettier, the people who use it healthier, and the earth safer. About 55 percent of all households use insecticides, 38 percent use herbicides, and 13 percent use fungicides on their lawns. In 1999, the last year for which figures are available, 78 million pounds of these chemicals were sold to consumers, and that’s not counting the quantities used by professional lawn care companies.
 
According to data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, homeowners using pesticides use up to 10 times more chemicals per acre than farmers. The EPA allows over 200 different pesticide chemicals to be sold for use on lawns, 35 of which are used in 90 percent of all applications.
 
These poisons can cause a variety of health problems including reproductive and developmental disorders, and cancer. According to the EPA’s own estimates, 95 percent of the pesticides used on residential lawns are possible or probable carcinogens. Children living in homes where pesticides are used have shown increased odds of childhood leukemia, brain cancer, and soft tissue sarcoma.
 
Ironically, pesticides aren’t any good for our lawns, either. In addition to their targeted pests, they kill valuable soil microbes, bacteria, beneficial insects, and earthworms, and actually weaken grass plants. Ultimately, homeowners using such chemicals face a downward spiral in which more and more pesticides must be applied to lawns as grass gets weaker and more vulnerable to pests and disease from repeated applications. Keeping pesticides of all kinds out of our homes and off our lawns actually keeps them greener in the long run, not to mention our families safer.
Here are 36 hot new methods to control garden pests without toxic pesticides.
    
36 Hot Natural Gardening Alternatives to Toxic Pesticides
Alternative Diseases/Pest Attacked How to Use/Comments
Biological Microorganisms    
Agrobacterium radiobacter Crown gall diseases infecting fruit and nut trees. Used as a dressing when pruning and as a dip for bare-root plants. These pathogens secrete toxins that poison harmful microorganisms.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Beetles, blackflies, caterpillars, fungus gnats, mosquitoes, and moth larvae.

 

A widely used bacterium that can be purchased as liquid, powder, dust, or granules. Bt can harm butterfly larvae; apply only to infested areas. More than 35 varieties of BT have been identified; consult product labels to identify pests suited to each variety. Bt takes several days to kill pests.


 
Milky spore disease Japanese beetle grubs, related beetle pests.

Usually applied to lawns. This is a long-term control that may require a year to take effect. New generations of beetles spread milky spore, making only one application generally necessary, except in northern areas where annual applications may be required.

Nosema locustae Crickets and grasshoppers.

 

Apply one pound per acre in morning when temperature is above 60º F and rain is not expected for at least eight hours. Severe infestations require multiple applications. Control may take one to two months; however, the protozoan infects succeeding generations. Best for long-term control in large fields.


 
Insects                                                                 
Aphid midge (Aphidoletes aphidimyza) Aphids (more than 60 species). Will not work against melon aphids. Release at first sign of predators. Generally release 3 to 5 cocoons per plant; 5 to 20 per fruit tree; 250 for small gardens and greenhouses.
Decollate snail (Rumina decollata) Brown garden snails and slugs.

 

Release five snails per tree in orchards. May minimally consume young or weakened plants if snails or other food sources not available.

Lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris) Aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs, mites, moth eggs, scales, thrips.

 

Generally release 2,00 eggs per 2,500 square feet. Scatter eggs throughout the garden. A second releasem two weeks later, may be necessary. Be sure live delivery is guaranteed if ordered through mail.


 
Mealybug destroyer; also known as Australian lady beetle (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) Mealybugs (all stages). Best to release in early spring at first sign of infestation. Release once or twice a year, two to five beetles per infested greenhouse plant, release 250 to 500 per ¼ acre. Also used in cittrus groves. Most active at 70º F or higher. Ants should be controlled as they protect mealybugs for their honey.

 
Minute Pirate Bug (Orius spp.) Aphids, caterpillar larvae, leafhoppers, scales, spider mites, thrips. Generally release 2,000 to 4,000 per acre. Plant alfalfa, sweet clover, vetch, and daisies to help attract and retain.
Predatory mites Cyclamen mites, onion thrips, spider mites, western flower thrips.

 

Early pest detection and release are important. Generally, 20 to 30 are applied per infested plant. Results could take up to three weeks. Many varieties are available. Temperature and humidity of the area they will be released are the most important considerations when selecting beneficial mites. High humidity is particularly helpful when beneficial mites are first released.

Predatory mites Pest mites

 

Place on leaves. Use 10 to 30 mites per plant at first indication of infestation. Control takes two to three weeks. Heavier infestations may require second release in two to three weeks. Several varieties are usually offered; selection depends on humidity, temperature.

Scale predatory beetles (Chilocorus nigritus, Lindorus lophanthae) Soft scales (e.g., soft brown scale). Several hundred required per greenhouse
Soil mite Fungus gnats, springtails, thrips pupae. Sprinkled on ground soil around plants generally at rate of 1 quart mites for every 1,000 square feet. Best to use early in season as a preventive.
Thrips predator Thrip

 

Release rates are 250,000 per acre, every two weeks. If infestation is severe, apply a botanical pesticide prior to introducing.

Trichogramma wasps More than 200 species of moths.

 

Generally used at at rate of 5,000 to 7,000 per infested tree, applied every 5 to 7 days during moth flying season. Specify problem area; various species are for field crops, orchards, and avocados.

Western predatory mite Citrus red mites, European red mites.

 

Apply 50 to 100 mites per tree as a preventive in summer and early fall. Apply 1,000 per tree in tree is infested.

Whitefly parasite (Encarsia formosa) Greenhouse whiteflies, sweet potatoe whiteflies.

 

Small greenhouses require approximately 1,0000 wasps or 2 to 5 parasites per plant when whiteflies are visible. Repeat in 1 to 2 more weeks. Double amount for sweet potato whiteflies. Not effective at temperatures below 62º F. Consider using with whitefly predatory beetle

Whitefly predatory beetle Whitefleis, spider mites

 

Generally release 400 to 1,000 per acre.

 

 

Nematodes

   
Heterorhabditis heliothidis Billbugs, black vine weevils, corn rootworm larvae, Japanese bettle grubs, masked chafers, mole crickets, and wireworms. Release when pests are present. Mix thoroughly with water. Spray around with water can or pressure sprayer. Always make sure soil is moist. Apply in late afternoon or evening. Reintroduce annually early in spring for early season protection.
Steinernema carpocapsae Carpenterworms, currant borers, earwigs, navel orangeworms, onion maggots, pillbugs, seedcorn maggots, sod webworms, sowbugs, and strawberry root weevils. See above.

 

Chemicals

   
Copper Anthracnose, bacterial leaf spots, black spot, fire blight, peach leaf curl, powdery mildew, rust. Apply to small part of foliage to make sure plant will tolerate. Generally can be applied up to day before harvest.
Diatomaceous earth Soft-bodied pests such as aphids, cutworms, mites, slugs, and snails. Dust over and around plants. Wear dust mask to avoid inhaling powder.

 
Fatty acid soap Aphids, chinch bugs, crab grass, dandelions, flea beetles, mealybugs, sod webworms, thrips, whiteflies. Also small weeds. Spray soapy liquid on infested plants, weeds. Before application, spray small amount on small area of foliage to make sure plant is not sensitive to fatty acids.
Growth regulators (kinoprene and methoprene) Methoprene: Blackflies, cattle flies, fire ants, fleas, fungus gnats, mosquitoes, midges. Kinoprene: whitefly.

 

Thorough application required. Use only as needed and only in areas of infestation. Although safe for humans, methoprene is toxic to amphibians, crustaceans, and birds. Commercial brands include Altosid (methoprene) and Enstar (kinoprene).


 
Neem tree extracts (also called azadiractin) Aphids, Colorado potato beetles, corn earworms, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, gypsy moths, leafminers, loopers, mealybugs, Mexican bean beetles, pest mites, and whiteflies. Apply at weekly intervals. Safe for mammals and beneficial insects. Use restricted to nonfood plants.
Pheromone traps Codling moths, grape berry moths, oriental fruit moths. Use in early spring; apply over large area, one to two traps per tree Pheromones are sex attractants that work by luring male insects to sticky traps. Commercial products include Biolure traps, Pherocon lures, Phero Tech traps, Scentry traps.
Pyrethrin/Pyrethrum Ants, aphids, beetles, billbugs, cabbage loopers, celery leaftiers, chinch bugs, codling moths, Colorado potato beetles, leafhoppers, Mexican bean beetles, sod webworms, spider mites, stink bugs, thrips, tomato pinworms, and whiteflies. Spray only on affected areas of plant or ground. Toxic to crustaceans and fish. Can cause allergic reactions in some people, especially if they are sensitive to pollen.

 
Sabadilla Aphids, cabbageworms, diamondback moths, flea beetles, grasshoppers, green stink bugs, harlequin bugs, leafhoppers, loopers, squash bugs, striped cucumber beetles, tarnished plant bugs, and thrips. Dust plants. Can also be mixed with water and used in nozzle pressure sprayer (be sure to make sure solution is free from seed hulls). Use only in infested areas. Can be allergenic to some people. Toxic to mammals. Toxic to bees.

 
Sulfur Black spot, brown rot, fungus, mites, powdery mildew, rust. Can be dusted or mixed with water and sprayed. Slightly toxic to mammals and an eye and skin irritant. Wear dust mask and protective gloves when applying. Never dust against the wind.
Superior horticultural oil Aphids, mealy bugs, mites, scales, some fungi and weeds. Also control over-wintering eggs

 

Use 3% solution in spring before budding. Use 1-2% solution when plants are in full leaf. Can be applied to fruit trees, shade trees, ornamentals, and roses. Test on small area of plant to make sure there is no adverse effect. Moderate toxicity to mammals and beneficial insects. Check the label to make you are purchasing a “superior” horticultural oil (i.e., at least 92% unsulfonated residues.

 

Physical Controls

   
Antitranspirants Powderly mildew, other fungal diseases. Applied to leaves to form thin barrier that prevents moisture from reaching spores. Commercial products include Folicote, For-EverGree, Vapor Gard, Wilt-Pruf.
Apple maggot traps Apple maggot flies

 

Resemble apples (at least to apple maggots). Begin use in June until harvest. Hang up to 6 traps per tree, depending on size. Stick surface traps pests. Should be checked, cleaned, and stickiness renewed twice a month. Commercial products include BioLure


 
Copper Strips Slugs and snails Highly effective barriers placed around garden perimter. Produces electric shock when slugs and snails come into contact. Commercial products include Snail-Barr.
Japanese beetle traps Japanese beetles

 

Hang up to 3 feet above ground, one trap every 200 feet. Use both pheromones and floral lures. Work best in combination with other controls specifically aimed at beetle grubs. Commercial products include Bag-a-Bug, Bio-Lure traps, Safer traps.

Slug and snail traps Slugs and snails

 

Best when partially buried in soil. Use commercial attractants. Generally, 1 trap used for ever 10 square feet. Commercial prdocuts include Garden Sentry, Slug Saloon.

Yellow sticky boards Aphids, cabbage root flies, carrot rust flies, cucumber beetles, fungus gnats, imported cabbageworms, onion flies, thrips, and white flies.

 

One trap per one to three plants, depending on severity of infestation. Use vegetable oil to scrape away insects before recoating with sticky material. Commercial products include BioLure traps, Chroma-line Card traps, Olson Stiky Strips, Trapstix.

 

How to Walk Your Green Talk
 
It’s getting easier to walk your green talk. Thanks to more and more sustainable materials being used in the shoe manufacturing industry and the growth of all sorts of smaller boutique firms, footwear is finally going green.
 
Here are some great cyberspace sites to hoof it over to:
 
Try going SIMPLE as in SIMPLE ecoSneaks®. Here’s their ingredients:

Men's EcoS

 
  • The men’s ecoSneak contains no animal byproducts or even regular animal products. This shoe is vegan friendly and veggie friendly.
  • Hemp uppers
  • The sidewall of the ecoS is made from a recycled bike tire
  • Organic cotton linings
  • Recycled PET (that’s recycled plastic bottles) laces
  • PET pedbeds
  • Yes, that outsole used to be a car tire
  • 100% post consumer paper pulp foot forms
There are plenty more great sustainable shoes at www.simpleshoes.com.
 
 
EL NATURALISTA relies on biodegradable rubber and natural dyes. Visit www.elnaturalista.com.
PATAGONIA uses recycled materials in the outsoles, cushioning midsole, cork foot bed, and sweat-wicking linings in its Finn hiking shoes. They also use nontoxic water-based glues.
 
 
 
 
By 2005, Nike, the shoe and garment manufacturers, reduced carbon dioxide emissions worldwide from business travel and from facilities and services to 13 percent below 1998 levels. The company expects to be carbon neutral by 2015.
 
Nike’s initiatives include the Considered product line, which is “the driving force and ethos behind a newly established team committed to integrating sustainable product innovation across all Nike branded products,” said the company’s website
 
 
Considered is Nike’s “response to the growing consumer demand for products that tell stories about a product’s materials and design intention,” said John Hoke, Nike’s vice president of Footwear Creative Design and co-director of the Considered team. “We saw it as an opportunity to create product that speaks to both premium design and sustainability. It was the natural next step for us to take based on more than a decade of rooting our environmental commitment…. This is obviously a huge challenge—one that will inspire us for years to come.   As a company, we’ve developed programs around shoe recycling, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing toxics in the manufacturing process and continually looking for ways to reduce waste in the design and manufacturing processes.”
Employees in the United States who travel for Nike business have the option of choosing Delta Air Lines to allocate a portion of their ticket cost to a fund established by Nike and Delta Air Lines. The Eco-Class fund is aimed at mitigating the annual climate impact of Nike’s air travel on Delta flights by offsetting the equivalent carbon emissions.
 
The company has also collected some 20 million pairs of sneakers through its reuse-a-shoe program. European distribution uses wind power.
 
P.S. How about your socks?
If you believe in those immortal words sung by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys that you should “be good to your feet, Pete,” you’ll love Maggie’s Organics.   Since 1992, the makers of Maggie’s organic clothing brand, have found “a way to make a living doing what we love: providing comfy, basic, durable clothing and accessories, making them affordable, and all the while supporting our beliefs and values in integrity, social responsibility, humility, sustainability and fun,” according to the company’s website. Their name “says a lot about us, and our clothes, and how we want you to feel when you put them on; comfortable, soothed, warm and wonderful—clean. Not hyped, or sold, or like you had better hurry up and wear them before they go out of style. We want our clothes to be the ones you choose to put on time, after time… after time.”
We love their socks especially. The company is dedicated to raw materials that are grown organically and sustainably; processors that provide livable working conditions, and workers who have control of their lives; processing standards that assure quality with the minimum of “additives”; pricing and business policies that support partnership.
 
 
 

 


 
The Eclectic Green Shopper
 
Lunch
 
When you're in West Hollywood, definitely visit Urth Caffe.  Having organic coffee and organic Greek salad, we noticed all the beautiful people there who were imbibing their organic teas in classy 100% compostable cups made entirely from corn sans petroleum. We took the cup home and put it in our compost pile; how's that for lightening your carbon footprint.
 
 
Eyewear
  

Spotted at the Natural Products Expo icu eyewear are the first to pioneer fair trade standards in the eyewear industry. 

www.icueyewear.com


Bed Sheets

Stop off at Target and pick up a 250 thread count certified organic sheet set consisting of one flat and one fitted sheet and two pillowcases, all made in India.  These beautiful, natural cotton sheets protect the environment and farm workers by cutting out hazardous pesticides used on cotton, not to mention reducing global oil dependency. 

www.target.com

Toothbrushes

Pick up a Preserve toothbrush made with 100% recycled plastics in its handle, including recycled yogurt cups.  The reusable travel case in which it comes is completely recyclable too, both with Recycline's postage-paid mailer.  

www.recycline.com


 
Buy Organic Cotton Drapes
 
 
People may say that we can’t shop ourselves out of this environmental mess. But we can’t stop shopping either. So we can at least be better shoppers.

Next time you’re thinking of redecorating your home, one of the options you have is to purchase organic cotton drapes.  While there are only a few sources for organic cotton drapes online, one of the best is www.factorydirectdrapes.com.  They provide terrific looking natural and white organic cotton drapes that they customize.  Most other companies selling drapes only offer precut standard sized drapes.  But who has standard-sized windows?

Factory Direct Drapes doesn’t offer a huge selection but their product is in stock and they do excellent custom work. Be sure to check them out.

 

 
How to Have a Great Hardwood Floor and Save
Orangutans, Too
 
Kids love orangutans.  But will your kids have the opportunity to see these beautiful redheads in the wilderness of a real rain forest?
 
Unless we Green Patriots take action now, the answer may well be no.  You see, orangutans’ days in the wild may be numbered unless something drastic occurs to halt the pace of illegal logging—and soon, according to researchers. Today, these primates live in Indonesia, only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, and their numbers have dwindled from perhaps several hundred thousand to between 15,000 to 24,000.  Cheryl Knott, an anthropologist at Harvard University, recently told National Geographic, “At the current rate of habitat destruction, orangutans could be extinct in the wild in ten to twenty years.”
  

As reported in Safe Trip to Eden (available at bookstores nationwide and at amazon.com), at least three quarters of all the wood harvested in Indonesia is illegal.

 

According to an October 27, 2003 Business Week editorial titled “Indonesia’s Chainsaw Massacre,” Indonesia’s ravaged rainforests are “disappearing at a rate equivalent to the area of 300 soccer fields every hour, gobbled up by loggers eager to turn them into plywood and planks for McMansions across the U.S. and Europe.”

But let’s move beyond Indonesia, just one of our global trouble spots when it comes to rain forests.  Illegal logging in places like Indonesia, the Russian Far East, Burma, the Amazon, and the CongoBasin is rampant. According to a recent report from Greenpeace:

  • Today 6 to 9 of each 10 exported logs are exported from Russia illegally.
  • In the Brazilian Amazon 60 to 80 percent of logs were produced in 2004 without any authorization.
  • In Cameroon 50 percent of logging between 1999 and 2004 is estimated to have been illegal.

What’s at stake here are not only our rain forests themselves—one of the most critical elements of climate stabilization.  When we lose our rain forests we are losing the battle against: global warming; unfair trade practices; global terrorism; and environmental pollution.  (To learn more about how rain forest preservation contributes to victory over each of these challenges, be sure to get your copy of Safe Trip to Eden:  Ten Steps to Save Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown [Perseus, 2007]).

 

The Amazonian Rainforest covers over a billion acres, encompassing areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia and the Eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru.  If Amazonia were a country, it would be the world’s ninth largest. 

 

The Amazon has been described as the “lungs of our planet,” because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen.  More than 20 percent of the planet’s oxygen supply is produced in the Amazon Rainforest, according to The Nature Conservancy.i,ii

 

In an article in Nature (2000), Peter M. Cox of the Hadley Centre and co-researchers tell us that, "About half of the current [greehhouse] emissions are being absorbed by the ocean and by land ecosystems."iii, iv  By 2050, his team expects that if we continue to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at current and projected rates, the rain forests will be afflicted with with drought.  At that point, the vast amounts of carbon dioxide being stored in rain forests like the Amazon will be released.  This could lead to global warming increases of 1.5 degrees C., which would cause tremendous climate change.  "Of course, this could be accelerated, and may be 'short-circuited' by direct human deforestation," say the researchers in the Nature article. 

 

There are lots of things we can do.  One of these is to buy flooring for our homes made from sustainably harvested materials, certified by the Forest Steward Council. 

 

One of the pioneering green patriots in hardwood flooring is Lewis Buchner, CEO of EcoTimber, a member of the elite GREEN Patriot Green 100.

 

 

Growing up in New Jersey, the son of a furniture designer and manufacturer migrated to San Francisco where his custom commercial furniture company Buchner Design Studio was one of the leading design firms throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. 

 

By October, 1995, he purchased Architectural Hardwoods and Veneers, the largest architectural veneer supplier on the West Coast with major projects for the San Francisco Public Library and San Francisco International Airport.  By 2003 he became CEO of EcoTimber, in San Rafael, California.


Today, EcoTimber is perhaps the only company in America supplying fully certified sustainably-harvested flooring.  Be sure to check them out if you’re seeking new flooring for your home. 

 

Sustainably-Harvested Wood Flooring:

How Do You KnowReally KnowYour Product is Green?

 

A pile of boards is a pile of boards.  Where did it come from? How did it get into the country? You just can't tell by looking at boards if they are sustainably-harvested flooring certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  Getting that green designation is more than a matter of stamping green on the packaging.

 

Buchner and his staff search the world, looking for sustainably-harvested timber that can be certified by the FSC as suitable for import into the U.S.

 

EcoTimber takes this very seriously.  They won't risk buying from a new factory without first visiting and assessing, on-site, the supplier's environmental and social policies, as well as their quality. 

 

Sustainably-Harvested Wood Flooring Consumer Buying Tips

 

Lewis and his team suggest the following:

 

Look for the Forest Stewardship Council certification on wood flooring packaging, and also ask your flooring dealer to show you their invoice from their supplier, which must state that that particular product is FSC certified (they can black out their cost; it's just the FSC description in the individual line item that you want to verify).

 

Just because a brochure or a display shows the FSC logo does NOT mean that the flooring you are buying is FSC, it only means that the manufacturer is licensed to produce FSC flooring, but what they are offering you may not be that FSC flooring.

 

Check, online or by phone, with EcoTimber to find out more about the wood species you are interested in and if it is available from an FSC forest.  Many species of flooring on the market are becoming threatened or endangered and are not available as a certified product.

 

If you are interested in reclaimed wood flooring, ask for verification that the planks really were recycled from old structures.  Some reclaimed flooring is actually new wood, not FSC, and made to "look" old. 

 

A Closer Look at EcoTimber, a GREEN Patriot Green 100 Company

 

Here are some of their most popular products:

 

      EcoTimber Classics - Pre-finished Engineered North American Hardwood Flooring

      • Products: Hard Maple, Natural Hickory, Chocolate Hickory, Caramel Hickory

      • Five-inch face widths

      • Square edges – no bevels or grooves on the floor’s surface

      • Random lengths up to 84 inches

      • 100% FSC Certified material

      • Made with formaldehyde-free adhesive

      • Meets 2012 CARB standard for indoor air quality

      • Qualifies for LEED credits for certified wood and low-emitting materials

 

      EcoTimber Solid Bamboo – Pre-finished Bamboo Flooring

   • Available in both horizontal and vertical grain; and in natural and amber colors

      • Six-feet lengths (unlike many three-foot competitors)

      • Made with formaldehyde-free adhesive

      • Affordable pricing competes with laminate flooring

      • Meets 2012 CARB standard for indoor air quality

      • Qualifies for LEED credit for low-emitting materials (EQ4.4)

            
Woven Bamboo - Amber
 
Woven Bamboo - Honey

       

EcoTimber Exotics – Pre-finished Engineered South American Hardwood Flooring

      • Products: Brazilian Cherry, Cumaru, White Tigerwood

      • 4.5” face widths

      • 100% FSC Certified material

      • Made with formaldehyde-free adhesive

      • Meets 2012 CARB standard for indoor air quality

      • Qualifies for LEED credits for certified wood and low-emitting materials

 

EcoTimber Hand-Scraped – Pre-finished Engineered North American Hardwood

       Flooring

      • Products: Hickory and Oak in a variety of stain colors

      • Genuinely scraped by hand – not “distressed” by machinery

      • Five-inch face widths

      • Made in USA

      • 100% FSC Certified material

      • Made with formaldehyde-free adhesive

      • Meets 2012 CARB standard for indoor air quality

      • Qualifies for LEED credits for certified wood and low-emitting materials

Resources

 www.ecotimber.com

 


How to Donate Your Stuffed Animals
by David Steinman
 
  

During the holiday season, I realized just how consumer oriented my kids had become.  We had so much stuff throughout our home. It was awful! 

But instead of throwing all those cute stuffed animals into the trash where they spew more toxins into the environment, I did a little research online and discovered there are some places that will actually take and welcome your stuffed animals—especially ones that can be washed and cleaned.  For example, hospitals love stuffed animals for pediatric patients. 

I spoke with Becca Schickling of Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, who told me that they were accepting donations for stuffed animals (10 or less) in good condition.  She said, “They need to be able to be put through the laundry, so please, no stuffed animals that make noise or that cannot be laundered.”

If you are local you may drop them off with their valet staff at the hospital or if you want to mail them their address is:

Valley View Hospital
1906 Blake Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601

To contact the hospital email:  BSchickling@vvh.org

     

Have Your Groceries Delivered

 

If you really want to be outrageous [while reducing your carbon footprint], order your groceries with a delivery service. Felicity Lawrence reports in The Guardian that food “miles” have risen dramatically over the past ten years, are still rising, and have a significant impact on climate change, traffic congestion, accidents, and pollution, as well as greenhouse emissions. 

According to the report, “Food miles increased by 15% in the 10 years to 2002. The average distance we now drive to shop for food each year is 898 miles, compared with 747 miles a decade ago. Food transport accounts for 25% of all the miles driven by heavy goods vehicles on our roads.”  Lord Bach, the United Kingdom’s Food and Farming minister, said the government would work with the industry to achieve a 20 percent reduction in the environmental and social costs of food transport by 2012. He added that the report offered clear pointers to consumers: “Internet buying and home delivery can reduce road congestion and vehicle kilometers.


Organic and seasonally available food can reduce environmental impacts, but these can be offset by the way they are transported to the consumer’s home.”
Around New York City and parts of New Jersey, more and more people are ordering foods, some of it organic, from FreshDirect home delivery service. It’s a great way to eat healthy foods and cut down on transportation-related greenhouse gases. Visit www.freshdirect.com.
 
In Southern California, Pax Organica delivers certified organic produce once a week. Visit www.paxorganica.com. Nationally, Wild Oats is working with the online grocer Peapod to deliver about five hundred Wild Oats–brand foods to home delivery customers in the Chicago area. Visit www.peapod.com or www.wildoats.com.
 
Home Delivery Resources:

Be a Green Patriot Traveler next time you visit Los Angeles 

Powered by fuel made from California-grown walnut oil, you can choose from Volkswagen models like Jetta, Beetle, and Passat at around fifty to seventy dollars per day.  The cars get 30 to 45 miles per gallon and cruise 400 to 800 miles between fuel stops.  And, of course, when we improve fuel efficiency, we are participating in the shift away from buying foreign oil from nations that sponsor terrorism. 

 

In one of the nation’s most fuel-gluttonous travel destinations, we've discovered a fuel conservation choice that is a great way to show your Green Patriotism

Visit
Bio-Beetle (on Sepulveda near the Los Angeles International Airport) which is “the world’s only all-biodiesel car rental company,” says Kristine Hansen writing in Westways, the travel magazine of the American Automobile Association.


Eco Web Gems

Various cool sites for going green…

Visit www.matter-mag.com for great information and policy articles on green transportation. 

Learn more about the green power movement in Nevada, were solar is
particularly well suited.  The GreenPower Program is jointly run by Nevada Power
and the Desert Research Institute.  See www.nevadapower.com/comenv/env/greenpower for information.

If you live in Atlanta, your couches and walls can be green too. 
Green home
furnishing and design shop Waldenour opened recently at 1000 Marietta Street as a source for organic upholstered furniture, screened fabrics and wall coverings.  Visit www.waldenour.com. 

If you’re looking for a possible green house, epOxyGreen offers YOLO nontoxic paints and Straw, Sticks & Bricks building materials.  epOxyGreen is located in Venice, California.  Visit www.epoxybox.com.

If you want to be more involved in the local-foods movement, visit both www.localharvest.org and www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/map.htm to find
farms through Community Sustainable Agriculture and local farmers’ markets.


Carbon Offsets and Green Energy
by David Steinman

I took my family out to Joshua Tree National Monument recently in search of the northernmost iguana species in the New World—the chuckwalla.

On the way we passed through the San Gorgonio pass, one of three major wind-catching regions in California.  I was heartened to see how much wind power our utilities are using in California nowadays—and more and more utilities nationwide are investing in wind.  That’s great.

Here’s a picture my son took of the wind farm in the San Gorgonio Pass near Mt. San Jacinto in California.  I think he has a great journalist’s eye!

To me this image means freedom for America from the bondage of foreign oil and building a safe and secure future by responding positively to the global warming crisis.  The 4,000 or so windmills on these twelve square miles 
of land produce energy for about 100,000 homes, according to an online site. Though an impressive sight, it is actually the smallest of the three major wind arrays in California (the others are at Tehachapi Pass and Altamont). Still, this the third-largest wind farm in the world.

Every type of power has its cost, but we will be a lot better off as a nation with a more diversified inventory when it comes to energy and reducing our dependency on oil from volatile regions of the globe.  There is enough wind in
the Rocky Mountains to power the entire nation, and America remains on the world’s top-five oil producers.  It’s time for Washington to lead, but we’ve been waiting for a long time and not enough has been done, and not enough will be without the will of the people.

This is just why I think carbon offsets are so critical.

Carbon offsets have enabled you and me to take part in helping the wind energy industry to take off.  Carbon offsets are the way we try to make up for some of our eco-sins.  They are also a form of investment. When I recently flew recently to San Francisco, I bought carbon offsets from
www.terrapass.com that will then be invested in green energy such as wind. Here where we live, I do not have the option of purchasing green or renewable energy, either.  Ours comes from nuclear and coal (sigh), so carbon offsets give me a chance to take part in a movement that is defined by Green Patriotism, which means not only getting America off its oil addiction but also finding our inner strength—our own inner wind.   We fly.  We drive SUVs.  So to help make up for some of these tremendous environmental impacts, we can offset them by investing financially in wind power via carbon offsets from sites like www.terrapass.com and www.carbonfund.org.  Our return investment is a stronger and more secure America—and that’s good for all of us. 

Oh, by the way, I almost forgot.  Joshua Tree was great.  We found some chuckwallas by Skull Rock.  The chuckwallas were cactus green against the orange boulders.  One puffed up when it saw us and wedged inside the deep crevice between two boulders.  We stayed with that puffed-up fellow for the longest time.  He was prepared to stay all night, though, so we headed onto other incredible destinations.  I’ll have to tell you more about Joshua Tree on another post!



Natural Electricity

by Greg Horn

Our first green tip is taken directly from the book Living Green: A Guide to Simple Sustainability by Greg Horn (former CEO of Garden of Life and GNC), published by Freedom Press:
 
What is natural electricity? In short, it’s power generated from a renewable source. One type of natural electricity is already well-established in the U.S., with water and gravity as its source.

Hydropower
Water power provides 97 percent of the renewable energy available in the United States, producing enough electricity to serve the needs of 28 million residential customers. This is equal to all the homes in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, North and South Dakota, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Hydropower is clean, leaves behind no residue and is efficient. It converts 90 percent of the available energy into electricity at about one quarter of the cost of fossil fuel-powered electrical generation. Use of hydropower prevents the burning of 22 billion gallons of oil or 120 million tons of coal each year—and that’s an important savings in terms of greenhouse gases.

Wind
This one is my favorite. Wind power comprises only about 1 percent of the energy produced in the U.S., but its rapid growth (23 to 30 percent in each of the last five years) and its clean, cheap, abundant and ever-renewable nature make it a natural consideration for the power of the future.

The American Wind Energy Association says there is enough wind sweeping across the U.S. to supply all our power needs. North Dakota alone could provide 40 percent of our needs—and the wind farms can be installed on top of traditional grazing and agricultural lands, doubling the efficiency of agricultural land use. Realistically, though, experts estimate only about 6 percent of U.S. energy needs will be provided by wind in the year 2020—about equal to the country’s current hydropower capacity.

So why aren’t we all basking in clean, cheap wind-generated electricity? The economic incentives are not quite compelling enough to attract large-scale investment in this exciting field. Windmills must be built and the delivery grid expanded to bring the wind power from the windiest sections of the country to the electricity-hungry urban areas. That’s where purchasing renewable energy from carbon credits (also called green tags or wind certificates) can help the most—by creating the economic demand that will create new supply. Wind power may still be the wave of the future, especially if more people are willing to fund this and other renewable energy sources by buying carbon credits, as I have.

Go Carbon Zero
The average American household is responsible for at least 10 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually through energy use at home and for transportation. Add in purchases and the other activities of daily living, and the average carbon footprint is 24 tons a year.

Carbon credits are a cost-effective way to reduce your carbon footprint, or even wipe it out if you wish. By offsetting the excesses in your carbon footprint, you become a part of the solution to climate change. These credits, or “green tags,” go to fund the purchase of clean power or offset projects such as energy efficiency or reforestation. When a windmill puts electrons into the grid, the cost of generating that power (including the capital costs to build the windmill) is slightly higher than simply burning fossil fuels, at least at present. Green tags pay for the difference, and the electrons generated by wind don’t know the difference.

As with organic foods, certification is critical to make sure that you are really getting clean power for your green tags. Buy them through a trustworthy organization such as Carbonfund.org, 3Phases, or Renewable Choice and look for the Green e-certification program.

Hero Profile: Carbonfund.org
Carbonfund.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to offsetting carbon emissions through certified renewable power credits to purchase wind power instead of fossil fuel power, efficiency projects to reduce energy use, or through reforestation projects to plant new trees which stabilize carbon from the air as they grow. This organization is a hero to me because of its efficiency. It maintains low overhead and offsets a ton of carbon entering the atmosphere at 50 percent to 80 percent of the cost of other organizations. Donations are tax-deductible, so it’s cost efficient as well. Learn how to offset your carbon footprint for around $99 per year at www.carbonfund.org.

Excerpted from Living Green by Greg Horn. Chapter 6, Energy Sustainability: Time for Renewal (pp.123-125).
 

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