Tag Archives: global warming

Keep Your Clothes Chilly to Save CO2

Pounds of CO2 is how much you’ll save per year by washing your clothes in cold water.

“Not only does cold water get your clothes clean enough, but according to a new guidebook, The Environment Equation, putting your machine on this setting lowers your carbon footprint dramatically. (If you have allergies, you may need to wash your bedding in hot water to kill dust mites.)” — Shape magazine, August 2008

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Filed under Eat, July 2008, Pray, Run

All-Night Road Trips and Giant Turtles Mixed with 25 Years of Love

I apologize for the mild hiatus, but vacation means unplugging and, hence, I have been trying to avoid the virtual world as much as possible. Of course, I do, however, love writing, so that can only last so long. (:

So, how about a brief run-through of the last few days?

Lunch on Monday was a bowl of homemade pasta salad made by my sister, Amanda. She used a mix of whole wheat and regular pasta, — a good way to trick the kids into eating the wheat kind! — and topped it with light Italian dressing, seasonings, cheese crumbles, chopped cucumbers and black olives. I had a bunch of grapes on the side.

Dinner was tuna with light mayo, cranberries, and a few mixed in sliced almonds and pine nuts, on hearty Italian bread with melted pepper jack cheese. I had a few Cool Ranch Doritos on the side. After dinner, the boys built a fire and we had s’mores.

I made mine with 2 squares of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate each. I had four — definitely way too many! But they were so, so, so yummy Photograph by Luke Shannonand I figured, “Heck, it’s vacation!” The photo just doesn’t do them justice.

Tuesday started off with more time in the car. Dan and I went to see Jack Johnson in concert, a gift from him for my birthday. The one “problem,” however, was that the concert was scheduled during the same time we were planning to go on vacation. So, what was supposed to only be a short drive to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (about three hours from home) turned into a seven-hour drive from upstate New York.

But we were on vacation, so what did we care? We hopped into the car and made it a day, and arrived at the Blossom Music Center around 5 p.m. The concert was preceded by plenty of green-thinking vendor booths that you could visit and learn about various Earth issues, such as recycling, political point of views and worldwide corporations’ standpoints on green efforts.

It was so cool, and this is one of the fabulous things — besides his music — we love about Jack Johnson. All of his musical endeavors are backed by his need to make everything as earth-friendly as possible. The concert T shirts are made from organic cotton, you are asked to bring reusable water bottles to the show, his CD was made from solar energy, and the list goes on and on. If you are interested in learning more about his Earth efforts, check out Jack’s All at Once community, a new social action network where you can discuss issues and events, explore non-profit groups, and learn how to make positive changes in your local and world community.

A nice bonus was that at each booth you could earn a stamp on a ticket that was entered into a drawing where you could win a spot on the stage while Jack performed. I would of visited the booths anyway, but I thought that was a great way to get people to stop by and learn about important issues. We didn’t win — and I was so sure we would!

Jack was great — more than great . . . he totally rocked! We had such a good time. He played almost all of our favorite songs — he forgot “Better Together”! — and the concert just reaffirmed our love for Jack! (:

The only downer: We decided to be superheros and drive the whole way back to vacation — at 11 p.m.!! Looking back, the smarter decision was to just get a hotel room and rest. But my parents’ 25th anniversary was the next day and we wanted to get back to celebrate. It is all still one big haze, but I know there were two sugar-free Red Bulls and a few Starbucks’ Double Shots involved, and, of course, lots of Twizzlers. After hitting some construction traffic, we arrived at the cottage at 7:30 a.m., dazed, confused, sleepless and ready for some of the home fries my mom was cooking.

A quick view of food on the road and the following morning:

*Before we left I had a bowl of Barbara’s Bakery Shredded Oats with about 1 cup 1% milk. I also had a cup of coffee — duh!

*Lunch was a nice sandwich Dan had packed me the night before. It was the same sandwich I had for dinner the previous night, except this time it was on two slices of whole grain bread. I also shared some pasta salad with Dan and had a Synergy to accompany it all. Look how cute this cooler is! And I even got a message on my banana (PG is Dan’s nickname for me) which I decided to save for later. I have the best fiancé, right?

*I followed up lunch with a handful of peanut M&M’s from a bag I was sharing with Dan. It must be a car thing, huh? Later, I had a few Twizzlers from the bag I was saving for the car ride home — oops!

*At the concert, Dan and I shared some very pricey chicken fingers and fries. I knew I would regret it — not just because of the $8.00 price!!!! — because fried food always makes me nauseous. But I was hungry and, at the time, chicken sounded good. Note to self: This type of chicken never really tastes good, especially, for eight bucks! We had two fingers each and split the handful of fries that came with it. That “meal” was topped of with a $5.00 bottle of water. We should have listened to Jack and brought along our Sigg water bottles! He sets up water jugs, like the kind you see in offices, and you can refill as many times as you want. Good thing to keep in mind for next time. But, ultimately, no complaints because Jack was well worth the $13 refreshment and snack.

*The car ride home started off well — I had my banana and some 2% Fage Strawberry Greek-Style yogurt. But as the night/morning continued, my eating habits went a bit downhill. Like I already said, I had a sugar-free Red Bull, Starbucks’ Double-Shot espresso drink, Twizzlers, and some cheddar cereal, pretzel and cracker mix — kind of like a Chex Mix type-o-thing.

*When we arrived at the cottage, I had a plate of home fries, scrambled eggs, 2 mini pancakes and a piece of whole grain toast.

I would have liked to have passed out right then, but I had a little work to do, so I got busy. Around lunch time, I watched The Bucket List with my family and munched on Trader Joe’s cinnamon grahams – I love these homemade-style graham crackers! I wasn’t in the mood for lunch after a big breakfast, so the graham crackers were a good keep-me-awake snack. The movie was great, and a must see; it is based on the theme of the book, The Bucket List: Things to Do Before I Kick It by Justin Zackham.

My parents went out for dinner for their anniversary, so that meant the kids were on their own. We had some rigatoni pasta with sauce and salad. Our snack was anniversary brownies with my parents when they returned from dinner. My sister made them paper hats for them to wear while they ate — it was a pretty funny site to see! Congratulations, mom and dad, on 25 years of marriage — you guys rock.

In between dinner and brownies, my brother, Isaac caught a humongous turtle! He was out fishing, spotted this guy and actually managed to scoop him up with a net. He was not very happy, so we let him go ASAP — we didn’t to make this guy too mad! Isaac named him Bubba, and then we all said farewell to our river friend.

Breakfast this morning was Barbara’s Bakery cereal, again, with 1 % milk. I know, it’s like, get a new cereal, girl! But I love this stuff.

I was doing so many things during the day that I kind of forgot about lunch. Not a good thing at all — when my mom and I returned from our 4-mile walk, I was kind of thinking, “Hmmm…what is this feeling in my stomach? Ahh, lunch!” So, I had some hummus and Triscuits, along with small square of last night’s brownies. (; Dinner is almost ready, so I did not want to overdo it. Mahi mahi, salad, grilled veggies and brown rice are on the menu! Mmmm — I cannot wait!

Speaking of, I think I smell something yummy … I gotta go!

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Filed under Eat, June 2008, Pray, Run

If You Do One Green Thing Today…

Use less dryer time! Make a simple investment in a drying rack or washing line, and you will cut back on the loads — no pun intended! — of energy that are being used by a dryer.

I am guilty of wasting electricity by using a dryer, so this is one green to-do that I need to start incorporating into my everyday routine.

Check out the Whitney Design Wall Mount Telescoping Indoor Drying Rack, Versaline SlimLine Clothes Line, Whitney Outdoor Clothes Drying Umbrella, Mrs. Pegg’s Handy Line or Polder Chrome Accordian Clothes Dryer. Some of them can be a bit pricey, so it just depends on your budget.

The point is that there is an option for everyone — and that is what makes being green just so gosh-darn fabulous!

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Filed under May 2008, Pray

Just Make One Small Change, You Greenie!

“If I make one tiny positive change today, I consider myself green. It can be as simple as flicking off a light switch or buying an organic apple. My motto is one change makes a difference, and if you can make two, that’s even better!” — Sophie Uliano, author of Gorgeously Green: 8 Small Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life

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Filed under April 2008, Pray

Go Makeout with a Few Trees Today

As promised yesterday …

I once had a … well, lets call her an acquaintance in an effort to keep her anonymous … So, I once had an acquaintance tell me that she hates “tree huggers.”

And I thought, “Really?”

Well, hopefully, the earth is around long enough for you to pass that lesson on to your children. ):

I mean, to an extent, I get it. Sometimes all of the efforts for saving the earth and the animals and so forth can seem a bit in-your-face. But when I feel that way, I remind myself that I feel that way because of the fact that these truths are making me uncomfortable; at that moment, I am not yet ready to admit that the earth is falling apart or that it really is unfair to keep chickens cooped up to an extent where they are unable to move for the entire duration of their lives.

So, the fact that she made such a statement — and had made many others of the like — made me cringe. Not because I necessarily think she is a bad person, but because of the fact that she has yet to learn of the the harm involved in such statements.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect. I sometimes buy too many apples and have to throw one away, and I drive an SUV that is for sure not helping the Earth. But I would much rather be a tree hugger-in-training than a person who fails to realize the failings of the world that surrounds her.

Now, am I foolish enough to think that my efforts alone will change the world? Absolutely not. My recycling container in the corner of my kitchen and reusable bags that I take to the grocery store are all just small bits at a time.

But the real questions are: What if no one made any efforts? Don’t all of these little changes make a noteworthy difference? Don’t they all add up to make an even bigger difference?

I am reminded of a story that my mother read to me when I was younger. It is called The Starfish Story, and it is adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley:

→ Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

And isn’t that the point?

The truth is, if you set out trying to save the entire Earth, you will find yourself with quite a full plate. But it is the small efforts, the few starfish, that make a difference. And that, for anyone, is a doable cause.

So, I say hate the treehugger, and you are only hating a truth that you are unwilling to recognize. No one is asking you to spearhead the global warming movement. But make a few small steps toward saving this planet, and you will be wrapping your arms around a big oak in no time.


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Filed under April 2008, Pray

No Jokes Here — Let’s Get Serious About Our Planet!

earth21.jpg The beginning of a new month always presents to me an opportunity to start anew. And while I would like to kick April off by playing the world’s most fabulous April Fools’ Day prank on all of you, I decided to, instead, acknowledge this day as the beginning of the month in which we celebrate Earth Day. What a better time than now to talk about a few things that each one of us can be doing to save our planet?
Now, I know we have been inundated with thoughts of global warming, and “green” talk may be the last thing you want to hear about. But if you are anything like me, than I have confidence that each one of you would like to be doing your part to save the good Earth that lies at our feet. Right?
I read this article today and I found it quite interesting. Some of the tips I cannot yet adhere to, — I don’t think my landlord would appreciate solar panels — but it is nice to know that I can do something as small as change a light bulb and know that I am making a difference!
Read on for more tips:

A Green Truth: 5 Things to Buy

From The Oprah Winfrey Show Global Warming 101 with Al Gorealgore.jpg

For the past 20 years, former Vice President Al Gore has been traveling the world speaking about global warming, a passion of his since college. In 2006, his lecture was made into the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Now available on DVD, this is the third highest grossing documentary of all time. Gore will donate 100 percent of his profits from his movie and book to a non-partisan effort to continue education on global warming.

In his lectures, book and documentary, Gore explains that if we continue to ignore what we are doing to our planet, we risk destroying the very future of our civilization. And the former vice president says that we must act before it’s too late.”Some of the leading scientists are now saying we may have as little as 10 years before we cross a kind of point-of-no-return, beyond which it’s much more difficult to save the habitability of the planet in the future,” Gore says.You are not helpless in the fight against global warming. Gore goes inside a Lowe’s Home Improvement store outside Nashville, Tennessee, to show you the five things you can buy that will help solve the climate crisis…and save you a few bucks!
Compact fluorescent light bulbs: These energy-efficient bulbs cost less than $4 and are produced by major corporations like GE. If every household in America switched five regular light bulbs for five fluorescent bulbs, it would be the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the highways for a full year.
Outdoor solar lighting: These yard or patio lights cost less than $20, and they don’t burn any electricity or produce any CO2.
Programmable thermostats: Though these thermostats cost from $50 to $100, they can actually cut your heating and cooling costs. Set the setting so it’s a little bit cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer when you’re not in the house. A difference of 2 degrees can reduce a home’s CO2 emissions by up to 9 percent over the course of a year.
Air filters: Changing the air filters in your heating and cooling systems regularly can knock 2 percent off of your CO2 output each year.
Electric hot water heater blanket: Hot water heaters use a lot of energy and generate a lot of CO2. A blanket costs less than $18 and can cut your home’s CO2 emissions by almost 4 1/2 percent.Gore says that when you’re shopping for major home appliances, look for the Energy Star label. “This is a signal that you’re getting an environmentally efficient appliance that’s going to save you money at the same time,” he says.
A few other small (but HUGE!) ways to go green:

  • Use pure beeswax candles which are naturally aromatic and infused with the sweet, subtle scent of honey. Check out 3RLiving.greenandgorgeous.jpg
  • Try a cute tote as an alternative to shopping bags. I love the Green & Gorgeous tote by Scoop NYC. And it’s only 28 bucks! (Hey, mom, my birthday is coming up . . . hint, hint! )
  • Use cleaning products that do not contain chemicals that can cause harm to the planet and your home. Try Shaklee’sbiojkleen.jpg Get Clean Fresh Laundry detergent or a vinegar-based, ammonia-free window cleaner, like biokleen.
  • Invest in a power strip. According to an article in the March 2008 issue of domino magazine, a computer that has been urned off still drains the lifeblood from outlets, accounting for up to 10 percent of home electricity use. The new-generation strip actually stops the current saving money and energy. Check out this one for $30.95 at Smart Home USA.
I cannot wait to research these and many more products — in addition to green efforts around the globe — during the month of April. It is exciting to know that each one of us can make small changes to make a huge difference in our world.
Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find.” — Quote from Time magazine

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Filed under April 2008, Pray