Wednesday, August 12, 2009


What is daylighting? Daylighting is the use of natural light instead of electricity to illuminate buildings and homes. Daylighting will save you money while reducing your carbon footprint. New buildings are being designed to take advantage of natural light - check out for more information.

Our house was not specifically designed to take advantage of natural light, but we are fortunate that it gets great daylight in most of the rooms. We are able to get great natural light all day and only need to turn on lights after the sun sets or on cloudy days. See if you can take advantage of daylight by opening the curtains instead of turning on a light.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Carbon Rally

I stumbled across a great eco-networking site - which has great earth-friendly challenges for everyone looking to live greener.

The site puts up new a easy to handle challenge every few weeks and keeps track of how much carbon you save. The current challenge is Cold Then Fold - use only cold water to wash and rinse all of your laundry this month. Previous challenges include biking one day a week, line drying laundry, recycling your old cell phone, and reducing the amount of meat you eat.

If you've got a competitive streak, Carbon Rally has challenges that you can do as a team. So compete as a group, family, or workplace and the planet will win.

Monday, August 10, 2009

10 Reasons To Go Veg

Here are some great reasons why you should become a vegetarian:

1. A car driving vegetarian produces fewer CO2 emissions than a bike riding meat eater.

2. Cow farts contribute to global warming.

3. Pig farms pollute local water resources.

4. Rain forests are cut down to create grazing land for cattle.

5. It takes 35 calories of energy to make one calorie of meat.

6. Prevent animal cruelty in factory farms.

7. On average vegetarians live 6 years longer.

8. You’ll reduce your risk of food-borne illnesses.

9. Save money at the grocery store.

10. Pigs are much smarter than dogs, they have the mental capacities of a 3-year-old child.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Earth Friendly Soft Scrub

Looking for a non-toxic scrub for your bathtub, sinks, and kitchen countertops? Check out this simple recipe from Healthy Child, Healthy World.

1/2 cup baking soda
1/8 cup of castile soap (I prefer Dr. Bronner's Peppermint)
1 tsp. vegetable glycerin

Combine well and store in a repurposed squeeze bottle like a mustard bottle. Squeeze onto the surface to be cleaned and scrub with a damp rag and wipe clean.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weekend Project - Refrigerator

Refrigerators are one of the biggest energy users in the home, save energy and money by making sure your refrigerator is working efficiently.

1. Start by vacuuming the cooling coils on the back of the fridge. (Be sure to unplug the refrigerator first.)

2. Check the temperature settings. Recommended temperatures are 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit for the fridge, and 0 degrees for the freezer.

3. Check your door seals. Put a piece of paper in the fridge door and see how easy it is to remove. If it slips right out, it is time to replace the seals.

Performing simple maintenance a few times a year will save you a lot of money on your energy bill.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pretty Clean Thirteen

As food budgets continue to feel the pinch of the tough economy it is getting harder for some to purchase organic produce. There are many fruits and veggies with a low pesticide use due to their natural defenses against pests or they are grown in climates where pests are not as much of a problem. Here is a list of the pretty clean thirteen - foods you can save on by buying conventional:

1. Onions

2. Avocados

3. Sweet Corn

4. Pineapples

5. Mangoes

6. Asparagus

7. Sweet peas

8. Kiwi fruit

9. Bananas

10. Cabbage

11. Broccoli

12. Eggplant

13. Papayas

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy National Farmers Market Week

Support your local farmers market this week in honor of National Farmers Market Week. Some benefits of shopping at your local farmers market:

1. Meet the people who grow the food you serve to your family and friends.

2. Connect with others in your community.

3. Help support local farmers and artisans.

4. Purchase fresh products at great prices.

5. Learn from farmers how to pick the best produce.

6. Cut your carbon footprint by purchasing food grown locally which is sold without excess packaging.

Do you love your local farmers market? Help them have a chance to win $5,000 by voting at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hold on to your butts

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world, often ending up in waterways and on our beaches. At beach cleanups, cigarette butts are the most common form of trash found, usually one in every five items collected is a cigarette butt. Cigarette butts are dangerous to wildlife that may mistake them for food. Many smokers think that cigarette filters are biodegradable and that it is not a big deal to to drop them on the ground, however they can actually take 15 years to decompose.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Repair, Don't Replace

We all know the 3 Rs - reduce, reuse, & recycle. Of the three the first - reduce is the most important. Every new item you purchase has a large impact on the planet, production uses raw materials, energy & water and creates waste. In light of this the most earth friendly thing you can do is to keep an existing item rather than buying new. Renew old items by visiting a jewelry repair, shoe repair, or local seamstress. A few months ago I broke a heel on a pair of my favorite shoes - a quick trip to the shoe repair store and $10 later my shoes were as good as new.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Eco-friendly Potty Training

Today in our local paper there was an article on an interesting effect of the current recession - a decline in the sales of disposable training pants. Parents analyzing their budgets are forced to rethink which products are essential and with a potential savings of $30-$100 a month, many parents are deciding that disposable training pants aren't a necessity.

Since disposable training pants like disposable diapers are made from petroleum byproducts and tree products, they have a huge impact on the environment. By choosing to avoid the use of training pants parents can see three benefits -

1. A more earth-friendly approach to potty training
2. Significant money savings
3. In many cases, faster toilet training.

The first two benefits seem obvious, but why would potty training go faster without training pants? Like disposable diapers, training pants have absorbent material to wick away wetness. When my daughter was potty training we let her run around the house naked or in underwear and she quickly learned to use the potty to avoid accidents in her pretty panties.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Guide Dogs Go Green

I have been crazy busy the past month with our new guide dog puppy in training - Grace. Grace is an active, precocious, and absolutely adorable 3 month old black Lab. She is the third guide dog puppy we have raised for Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Fl. Southeastern Guide Dogs has recently completed a major renovation of their puppy kennel. In an effort to save money and be more eco-friendly the school added solar panels to the roof of the kennel to take advantage of the Florida sunshine to heat the water used in the puppy kennel. The school estimates it will save $5,000 a year by switching to the solar water heater. The school also uses green cleaners to provide a healthy environment for the puppies.

Interested in more information on Southeastern Guide Dogs check out while at the website be sure to check out the adorable puppies on the puppy cam