Friday, January 30, 2009

Green your Super Bowl Party

This weekend across America people will gather to celebrate the annual tradition of Super Bowl Sunday. Like with all your parties, try to minimize your impact on the planet while enjoying your friends and family. Here's some tips to keep your party Super Green:

1. Huddle up with your family and make a list of everything you'll need for your party to eliminate wasting gas on extra trips.

2. Hit the local farmer's market for super fresh veggies for your guests. Vegetarian dishes will save you money, use less resources to produce, and are healthy.

3. Score big with your guests by choosing organic food whenever possible - scout out your local grocery store for organic chips, dips, beer, wine, and more.

4. Tackle your waste by using real plates & glasses, and cloth napkins while entertaining instead of disposables.

5. Coach your guests in saving the planet by setting up recycling centers for bottles and cans.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

5 great reasons to give up bottled water

There are a million reasons why we need to break our country's addiction to bottled water - it's ridicously expensive, bad for the environment, totally unnessary, - the list goes on and on. Here's 5 reasons why you need to kick the bottled water habit:

1. Save $500 a year by breaking a bottle a day water habit.

2. According to, you could run 100,000 cars for a year on the amount of oil used to make plastic water bottles.

3. Nine out of 10 single use water bottles are thrown away insead of recycled.

4. If you drank the recommended 8 cups of water per day by drinking single serving Aquafina bottles, you would spend $2,500 a year! Kinda crazy in this current economic crisis to spend money on something you can get for free.

5. In most taste tests, people can't taste the difference between bottled or tap water. In fact the top selling bottled waters - Aquafina and Dasani - come from municipal water supplies.

Make the switch to reusable stainless steel water bottles, your pocketbook and the planet will thank you. Check out the great bottles available at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Clean up...

When it comes time to clean up your little ones messy hands, steer clear of antibacterial soaps. Scientists say they are no more effective at cleaning than regular soap and can make germs more resistant in the long run. Most antibacterials kill germs with triclosan, a chemical which can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics. Instead choose natural soaps, such as glcerin-based soaps or organic shea or cocoa butter soaps. What about when your on the run? Avoid hand sanitizers with triclosan and ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is a highly flammable skin irritant which can be deadly if ingested by children. My favorite product for cleaning hands on the go is CleanWell Hand Sanitizer Spray which kills 99.99% of germs with kid safe, non toxic, biodegradable, and renewable ingredients.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Recycle with Intent

I've previously discussed recycling magazines, which can be recycled by donating them to the library, nursing homes, or in some locations in your curbside recycling bin. However here's a fun activity to do before you recycle your magazines, use them to make an intention collage. I spent last night with some amazing women hanging out and making collages. Every creation was as unique as the woman who made it - some choose images, others words or phrases, others included beads or other objects that spoke to them. What is an intention collage or vision board? It is a collection of pictures, images, words, or phrases that reflects your passions or desires. You can do a board to bring a specific thing into your life - a new home, a puppy, a new career - or you can create a collage to discover your passions. Start by going through magazines and cut out phrases or pictures that appeal to you - don't analyze why you like a particular image or word just trust your intuition. Then go through your clippings and choose your favorites, weeding out ones that no longer feel right. Glue your items on your board and hang it in a place you will see it often. My collage came together to reveal my passion for living green and my desire to simplify mine & my family's life this year. I plan to do another collage with some things I'd like to manifest - a new home, a trip to Costa Rica, etc. My daughter also wants to make one, so I guess my magazines will hang around a bit longer before they make it to the recycling pile.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eat the View

Now is the time for change and let's encourage Obama to start at home by planting an organic garden at the White House.

A vegetable garden at the White House is not a new idea, John Adams planted a garden during his presidency. During World War II, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden on the White House lawn. With her support, the Victory Garden program grew to nearly 20 million Victory Gardens across the U.S., producing 40% of all the country's vegetables. The program was encouraged through gardening handbooks, rallies, recipe contests, and media support.

President Obama has brought hope to many in this nation and across the globe and while we all bask in the honeymoon phase of his presidency, hopefully he will take advantage of this special time to inspire everyone to make changes to help our country recover from our economic crisis.

So start planning your own organic garden and encourage President Obama to plant the First Lawn with organic vegetables for the White House and local food pantries by signing the petition at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Solutions from the Green Economy

Reposted from Green America -

Everyone now understands that the economy is broken.

While many name the mortgage and credit-default-swap crises as culprits, they are only the most recent indicators of an economy with fatal design flaws. Our economy has long been based on what economist Herman Daly calls “uneconomic growth” where increases in the GDP come at an expense in resources and well-being that is worth more than the goods and services provided. When GNP growth exacerbates social and environmental problems—from sweatshop labor to manufacturing toxic chemicals—every dollar of GNP growth reduces well-being for people and the planet, and we’re all worse off.

Our fatally flawed economy creates economic injustice, poverty, and environmental crises. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can create a green economy: one that serves people and the planet and offers antidotes to the current breakdown.
Here are six green-economy solutions to today’s economic mess.

1. Green Energy—Green Jobs
A crucial starting place to rejuvenate our economy is to focus on energy. It’s time to call in the superheroes of the green energy revolution—energy efficiency, solar and wind power, and plug-in hybrids—and put their synergies to work with rapid, large-scale deployment. This is a powerful way to jumpstart the economy, spur job creation (with jobs that can’t be outsourced), declare energy independence, and claim victory over the climate crisis.

2. Clean Energy Victory Bonds
How are we going to pay for this green energy revolution? We at Green America propose Clean Energy Victory Bonds. Modeled after victory bonds in World War II, Americans would buy these bonds from the federal government to invest in large-scale deployment of green energy projects, with particular emphasis in low-income communities hardest hit by the broken economy. These would be long-term bonds, paying an annual interest rate, based in part on the energy and energy savings that the bonds generate. During WWII, 85 million Americans bought over $185 billion in bonds—that would be almost $2 trillion in today’s dollars.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Rethink
Living lightly on the Earth, saving resources and money, and sharing (jobs, property, ideas, and opportunities) are crucial principles for restructuring our economy. This economic breakdown is, in part, due to living beyond our means—as a nation and as individuals. With the enormous national and consumer debt weighing us down, we won’t be able to spend our way out of this economic problem. Ultimately, we need an economy that’s not dependent on unsustainable growth and consumerism. So it’s time to rethink our over-consumptive lifestyles, and turn to the principles of elegant simplicity, such as planting gardens, conserving energy, and working cooperatively with our neighbors to share resources and build resilient communities.

4. Go Green and Local
When we do buy, it is essential that those purchases benefit the green and local economy—so that every dollar helps solve social and environmental problems, not create them. Our spending choices matter. We can support our local communities by moving dollars away from conventional agribusiness and big-box stores and toward supporting local workers, businesses, and organic farmers.

5. Community Investing
All over the country, community investing banks, credit unions, and loan funds that serve hard-hit communities are strong, while the biggest banks required bailouts. The basic principles of community investing keep such institutions strong: Lenders and borrowers know each other. Lenders invest in the success of their borrowers—with training and technical assistance along with loans. And the people who provide the capital to the lenders expect reasonable, not speculative, returns. If all banks followed these principles, the economy wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in today.

6. Shareowner Activism
When you own stock, you have the right and responsibility to advise management to clean up its act. Had GM listened to shareholders warning that relying on SUVs would be its downfall, it would have invested in greener technologies, and would not have needed a bailout. Had CitiGroup listened to its shareowners, it would have avoided the faulty mortgage practices that brought it to its knees. Engaged shareholders are key to reforming conventional companies for the transition to this new economy – the green economy that we are building together.

It’s time to move from greed to green.

--Alisa Gravitz

Monday, January 19, 2009

Get Cozi...

Why not save a few trees by switching to a paperless calendar this year? Consider one of the free online planners, such as Cozi. The Cozi calendar allows you to personalize your calendar display with different colors for each family member. Cozi also has a family journal, shopping lists, Christmas Card list,a screen saver option from your personal photos, you can send emails to your family members, jot notes, store recipes, and it can even be synced with Microsoft Outlook. When entering activities you choose their frequency - daily, weekly, every Tuesday, etc. - eliminating the need to enter the same information multiple times. Depending on your child's school district you can even download school calendars onto your family calendar. I love the fact that when I have access to the internet, I have my calendar no need to remember to carry my planner with me and best of all nothing to recycle at the end of the year. Check out Cozi at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vegan "Buttermilk" Pancakes

Are you vegan and missing the taste of homemade buttermilk pancakes? Then try this tasty vegan version.

Vegan "Buttermilk" Pancakes

1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 Tbsp. warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup soy milk
1 Tbsp. white vinegar

To make the "buttermilk" combine the soy milk with the vinegar and let stand 2 minutes for it to curdle. Meanwhile in a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and evaporated cane juice. In another bowl, combine egg replacer mix, canola oil, and buttermilk; stir into dry ingredients. Pour 2 Tbsp. of batter onto griddle preheated to 350 and cook until batter bubbles and pancakes begin to brown around edges. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The 5 Minute Shower

The change to the 5 minute shower was an intimidating one for me since I loved a long, hot shower and I seemed to get all my brilliant ideas in the shower. However once I started timing my showers I found it was pretty easy to get squeaky clean in just 5 minutes. Now I will confess there are still a few times that my shower runs long - just recently I had a bad head cold and boy did a steamy shower really help that out. As far as my thinking goes I still have plenty of time in the shower to brainstorm and I've taken to carrying a notebook with me and letting my mind wander when I am stuck at traffic lights, doctor's offices, whenever I have a little downtime.

Why is shortening your shower so important? Even if you have a low-flow shower head a 5 minute shower will use 7-8 gallons of water. If you haven't installed a low-flow shower, put this on your must do list as a 5 minute shower without one can use an astronomical 20 gallons of water!

Getting my daughter to take a 5 minute shower is one of my family's green resolutions for 2009. As little as she is I'm not sure what takes so long in there, but I know it requires a lot of singing! To help her with her goal I got a Shower Coach timer. This great timer suctions on the side of the shower and has a 5 minute sand timer. The Shower Coach makes easy for her to see how much singing time she has left.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Greening your family

Is one of your resolutions for your family to live greener in 2009? If you want to make lasting changes in your home you will have to encourage your family to join you in your quest. So call a family meeting to brainstorm what changes you want to make and a game plan to make them happen. Here are some guidelines for your family green meeting:

1. Make sure everyone has equal input by writing down all ideas that are offered.

2. Vote on what ideas you want to adopt this year.

3. Get your goals in writing. Having your goals in writing helps your family take ownership of their actions.

4. Plan monthly family meetings to review how you are progressing on your goals. This will help you track your family's progress and reinforce what your goals for the year are on a regular basis.

5. Reward your family for accomplishing their goals by planning a fun family outing with the money you save by making your green changes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Bright Green Year...

Happy 2009! It's a new year which is a great time to evaluate my family's actions and how to live greener in 2009. Here's my family's goals for this year:

1. Plant an organic garden this spring.

2. Use our clothesline more.

3. Hook our home theater system up to a Smartstrip.

4. Buy local whenever possible.

5. Check my tire pressure monthly to save money on tires and gas.

6. Train my husband to shut down the computer when he's done with it!

7. Shoes off at the door.

8. Limit purchases to those items we really need.

9. Get my daughter to take 5 minute showers.

10. Continue to educate others about the importance of going green and the simple changes they can make to live a little greener.