2010 - Our Daily Green

Friday, December 31, 2010

Year end accounting for Our Daily Green

At the beginning of this year, Our Daily Green began to accept advertising from assorted affiliate companies. We decorated our space with banners encouraging our readers to click and consider the companies we promoted. We also pledged to donate half the proceeds of our advertising to the charity of our readers' choosing at the end of the year, under the optimistic assumption that we would generate tremendous income.

The results of the year long experiment are as follows:
  • We had a few advertisers that paid a few pennies per click. That netted approximately 14¢ in revenue.
  • We had a few advertisers who paid when friends signed up for a newsletter. That was a bit more profitable, resulting in $18.00
  • We had some sponsors buy space for their advertisements and that was a $30.00 one time payment.
  • Several of our sponsors paid commission for products purchased. Most of the purchases were our own, resulting in a rebate on items purchased of $15.68.
  • The last category were sponsored postings. We had companies that wanted links to their sites, so Our Daily Green wrote about a product that fit both our mission and theirs. That resulted in $88.32. (after pay pal fees were deducted).
  • We received a low flow shower head to test and 5 shower heads to giveaway.
  • Our Daily Green also received a pack of recycled goodies from TerraCycle to giveaway. 

This is a grand total of $152.14 in cash revenue generated as a result of advertising on this blog. As pledged at the beginning of the year, Our Daily Green will make a donation to a charity chosen by the readers. With your indulgence, the donation will be a $75.00 donation, with the $1.07 towards blog expenses. We did not count the merchandise as it was given away.

While we are happy to make the donation, the paltry amount generated from advertisements on the blog did not warrant cluttering our readers' eyes and distracted from the message of Our Daily Green. In 2011, we no longer will be using affiliate advertising on the sides of the blog. We will still accept sponsored posts provided they fit our mission, and we still will showcase products that we believe are in line with our ethical and earth friendly mission. In each instance, we will disclose any financial incentive we receive and we also pledge again to donate half the proceeds to a charity of our readers' choosing.

Please nominate a charity in the comments below. Some suggested charities can be found in these blog posts from the past year. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Giveaway Green

On occasion, Our Daily Green's affiliates give us opportunities to pass along to our readers.  Here is a simple opportunity to win gourmet salt and pepper mills from 123West.

Win Free Peugeot Paris u'Select Pepper and Salt Mill Set

125west.com Online Catalog of Specialty Home and Outdoor Products Since 1999On January 15, 2011, we will pick one our Facebook “Like” friends to receive a free Peugeot Paris u’Select 9″ Black Lacquer Pepper and Salt Mill Set! Made in France, the Peugeot Paris mill is an all-time favorite used in hotels, restaurants, and homes around the world. Each mill features a turned beech wood body with 7 coats of hand-rubbed gloss black piano finish. The u’Select mechansim gives a choice of pre-set levels of grind from very fine to coarse.

It is very simple to enter the contest. Simply click on the Facebook “Like” button found on each 125West page in the lower left column. Good luck!

(to clarify... NOT the like button embedded in this post... but actually become a fan of the 125West facebook page, by going to their site).  Liking my post does nothing but stroke my ego, it doesn't qualify you to win the prize. (which is valued at over $60) So please follow the links throughout the post (NOT at the bottom) and then like the actual site, click the "like" on FB to enter to win! Click on anything in ORANGE text to enter.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No more bed head from the showerhead green

Our Daily Green has been extended an incredible opportunity. We've used low flow showerheads in the past, and honestly must admit (as green as we are) that the flow and wash was absolutely pathetic. It could only be described as using a squirt gun to shower. We lumped low flow showerheads into the 20 category of our 80/20 pledge to live green. A noble idea, but not really practical or a desirable change. Feeling grubby and unclean isn't a way to inspire green living. 
Learn More!

Then we learned about the Bricor showerhead. Intrigued by a showerhead that promised both pressure and water savings, we contacted Bricor. Bricor generously agreed to send us a showerhead (FREE) to test and also offer FIVE more showerheads as a giveaway to Our Daily Green readers. There is our disclaimer. We got a free showerhead. But if I didn't like it, I wouldn't have agreed to promote it past that.

After using replacing my old showerhead with the Bricor, I cannot sing my praises highly enough. This showerhead delivers. I'm keeping the Bricor. To quote my daughter, it felt like a rainstorm. She said she couldn't tell the difference at all. I will admit that it takes longer for the water to warm, (since it's not coming through as quickly) BUT, I feel CLEAN. I feel like the water I use is actually being used efficiently. I really cannot say enough wonderful things about this product. I do plan to evaluate my water bill at the end of this month to assess the savings and chart how long it takes for the Bricor to pay for itself.

It's not necessary for me to go on, the proof is in the test. Our Daily Green has five Bricor showerheads to give to our readers. I encourage our readers to please post a blog about Bricor if you are inspired to support them. They are a small startup company and have been incredibly attentive to Our Daily Green. We received the showerhead within a day, and when they sent the givaway showerheads, they also included packaging material and an expense check. In other words, this company has integrity.

Even if you don't win the giveaway, Bricor has extended a discount to our residental and personal readers. Just order a showerhead and tell them you learned about them from Our Daily Green and you will receive a $10 discount on any product priced $39.95 or more. (commercial customers, contact Bricor directly for bulk discounts).

It's very important to know that the Bricor operates optimally at a water pressure of 50psi.

If your water pressure is below that, the Bricor may not work for you. Most municipalities are at least 50psi, so the concern is primarily for rural areas. 

Qualifying for the giveaway is simple

1. Comment your interest in this post with the understanding that if you're chosen, you must send me your mailing information. I cannot send you a prize otherwise. I do promise not to use your name/email for any spam activities.

2. Follow Bricor on either Twitter or Facebook. If you are not active on either of those sites, please state as much in your comment to qualify. If you are not following on Twitter or FB and you've not indicated as much in your comment, your entry will be disqualified. I will check to make sure entrants have followed appropriately.

3. The giveaway will end once we have five participants. So hurry. This is a limited time offer for the first five responders.

Thank you for your interest and for caring about ways to conserve water. Good luck!

Friday, December 3, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Green

While Our Daily Green tries to eschew the commercialism of the holidays, there are several modern and earth friendly ways to share our blessings with those less fortunate.

As a holiday tribute to the 12 Days of Christmas song, we have gift ideas from assorted fair trade, charitable, and third world organizations that will last more than disposable goods manufactured under unsafe conditions and still satisfy our desire to share generously.

12 Days of ChristmasPartridge in a Pear Tree: The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is a nonprofit charity dedicated to planting edible, fruitful trees and plants to benefit the environment and all its inhabitants. Their programs include the donation of  orchards places such as public schools, city parks and gardens, low-income neighborhoods and hunger relief sites.

Turtle Doves: Adopting a sea turtle and preserving their habitats will help keep them from extinction.

French Hens: Why not give the gift of chickens? Chickens give children and families a lasting source of nutrition and income. Fresh eggs raise the levels of protein and other nutrients in a family’s diet, and the sale of extra eggs and chickens can pay for vital basics.

Calling Birds:  Or maybe just a way for a soldier to call home. Recycle and donate your old cell phone to a soldier. See link for donation information and a prepaid postage label.

Golden Rings: If you'd like to give jewelry, Brilliant Earth is a source for ecologically and ethically mined gold and diamonds.

Geese Laying: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck which are closely related to geese. A donation of 5 ducks to a hungry family and  they can benefit from hundreds of large, protein-rich eggs all year long. A duck also offers valuable down-feathers, famous for their thermal insulation and padding — great for use in bedding materials and warm clothing, or to fetch much-needed income at the market.

Swans Swimming: Clean water is essential to safe swimming. Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. Charity:water is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

Maids MilkingA good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day - enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. 

Ladies Dancing: Made by Survivors is a fabulous network that helps emancipate women and girls who have been sold into slavery. They sell handmade goods via catalogues and hope parties. These women get a new lease on life and a chance to truly dance.

Lords Leaping: One World Futbol offers children around the world the chance to play with indestructible soccer balls.

Pipers Piping: Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation keeps music alive in our schools and communities by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs, giving youngsters the many benefits of music education, helping them to be better students and inspiring creativity and expression through playing music

Drummers Drumming:  600 million people in the world are deaf, but only 8 million have hearing aids. The Solar Ear was created by Howard Weinstein specifically for those in rural areas world wide where electrical power and money are scarce. The solar powered digital hearing aid has been created to help the millions of people globally that are deaf, giving them sound and aiding them to get jobs.

With a little creativity and generosity, the 12 Days of Christmas can become the 12 months, years and decades. We have a chance to make a difference. Which one is your favorite? Can you think of some others?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lighting a Candle Green

Sometimes, Our Daily Green finds inspiration in the most unexpected places.

This morning, we've been preoccupied with the news of a little friend in our world who is undergoing treatment for a cancerous brain tumor. Her parents have asked us to say some prayers and light a candle because that is one of their child's favorite rituals. Our Daily Green believes in the power of prayer, even from unexpected places in the universe, so when we tweeted a prayer request and the next tweet in the FreshGreenKim feed was about using "green candles" it inspired us to write this post.

Most candles are made from petroleum based paraffin. According to Bnet's health and fitness archive:

Paraffin is the predominant wax used in the candle industry. Paraffin is basically the "bottom of the barrel" even after asphalt is extracted. Paraffin is the final byproduct in the petroleum refining chain. A retired chemical engineer who worked with the largest refiner of mineral oils and petrolatums in the United States, explains that one barrel of crude oil when refined gives the following percentages:

  • LP gas - 2.3 
  • Refinery gas - 3.7 
  • AV gas - 0.2 
  • Motor gasoline - 45.7 
  • Jet fuels - 6.8 
  • Kerosene - 1.2 
  • Diesel and heating oils - 21.1 
  • Residual fuel oils - 11.3 
  • Petrochemical feedstock - 4.6 
  • Lubricants - 1.3 
  • Asphalt, road oil, coke and paraffin wax - total 5.3

The original beeswax or newer soy based waxes are safer alternatives for candles and readily available. Petroleum-based paraffin releases volatile organic compounds such as benzene and toluene when burned. Sort of kills the reverence and mysticism behind candle lighting if it involves inhaling toxins.

Do yourself a favor and find beeswax or soy candles. Then light one and pray for our little friend. She can use the glowing warmth and hope.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Clark Griswold Green

wholesale Solar LED Light String (1049-CIS-19049)
Solar LED lights
Our Daily Green's home has not quite achieved the level of Clark Griswold's Christmas display, but we enjoy putting out some lights for the season.  Chevy Chase plays the fictional character from the Vacation movies and is known for his love of lighting his home for Christmas.

Two reasons we are personally less than enthused about lighting our home is trying to string the cords that power the lights and the additional cost for electricity. But what if those lights were powered by the SUN? What if there were no wires, but only a small solar panel and no additional cost on the electric bill? Even better, they turn on automatically at dark, with no switch or timer needed. 

If wiring or high utility bills has kept your inner Clark Griswold from truly shining and glowing, look into some solar holiday lights. Your wallet and circuit breaker will thank you.  The only one not thanking you will be your electricity company!

Our Daily Green has partnered with a solar lighting distributor for some generous discounts on solar Christmas lights. We do receive compensation if you decide to purchase some lights from this company which will be distributed to a reader's choice charity at the beginning of 2011.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let's Make Black Friday Green

Today's post will be short and sweet. As millions of people prepare for Black Friday, in preparation for the holiday shopping binge, Our Daily Green would like to suggest another approach. Check out the Postconsumers site, and play the interactive game.

Take a minute before you set an alarm for the middle of the night to go shopping and ask yourself, do I or anyone in my family REALLY need any of this?

Do you have a storage area in your house? An attic or basement? Or are those filled and you rent space to store stuff?

Don Aslett's Clutter-Free!: Finally & ForeverStart small and figure out what you can live without, not with. Give yourself the gift of space. Unclutter your life. Clutter Free is a book I read many years ago, before I even truly embraced green but was trying to conquer my packrat-ism. It's loaded with tips and encouragement.

When you unpack your holiday decorations, there are inevitably several things you no longer even use. Donate them. Don't repack them and put them back in storage. Adopt the "one in, one out" philosophy. Consider your wardrobe. Most of us wear the same outfits over and over. If you don't wear it, give it to someone who will. Consider the ways we can reduce what we bring into our homes and instead take a few minutes to share what we have in abundance.

Happy Green Thanksgiving and here's wishing a beautiful GREEN Friday tomorrow!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fluoridated Water Green

Do you know that fluorine is the most reactive of all elements and no chemical substance is capable of freeing fluorine from any of its compounds. For this reason, fluorine does not occur free in nature and is extremely difficult for scientists to isolate. Yet we put it in our water and toothpaste. Because it is in our water, it also affects all our crops. The average United States resident receives over double the daily recommended amount of fluoride.

In 2008, 195.5 million people (72.4%) on public water systems had fluoridated community water, which is a substantial increase from the 2006 figure of 184 million people (69.2%).  The easiest way to know if your water contains fluoride is to check with your local water supplier, or use this interactive click map from the CDC.

The 1991 study on fluoride conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services proved inconclusive,
Genotoxicity studies of fluoride, which are highly dependent on the methods used, often show contradictory findings. The most consistent finding is that fluoride has not been shown to be mutagenic in standard tests in bacteria (Ames Test). In some studies with different methodologies, fluoride has been reported to induce mutations and chromosome aberrations in cultured rodent and human cells. The genotoxicity of fluoride in humans and animals is unresolved despite numerous studies.

The Case Against Fluoride: How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It ThereOther researchers have found more alarming results. The July-Sept. 2010 issue of the peer reviewed scientific journal Fluoride, published by the International Society for Fluoride Research Inc. (an independent non-profit organization which promotes the sharing of scientific information on all aspects of inorganic and organic fluorides) examines the book, THE CASE AGAINST FLUORIDE.

The book considers the ethical arguments against medicating without patient consent (since there is no choice if it's put into drinking water or not), evidence of ineffectiveness as well as evidence of harm, and the possibility for overdose.

For years, Our Daily Green has avoided fluoridated toothpaste as well as drank only filtered water. The distinction however, between toothpaste and water is that toothpaste is not ingested. Water is. Much to Our Daily Green's surprise, most pitcher and faucet filters do NOT remove fluoride from the water. Three technologies consistently remove fluoride from water; reverse osmosis water filters, distillation filters and cartridge filters that use a material specifically designed to remove fluoride from water.

If fluoride is a concern for your family, please do some additional research how you can petition to have it removed or remove it yourself individual or whole house filters.

For additional reading and viewing:

Fluoride: The Hidden Poison in the National Organic Standards 
Fluoride Action Network

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not a Guinea Pig Green

Our Daily Green has expressed much concern over chemicals in our environment, from our homes to our air to our diet.

The Environmental Defense Fund has started a coalition of businesses, organizations, and individuals representing over 11 million Americans. Members include the Autism Society, Healthcare without Harm, Moms Rising, and Teens Turning Green.

They are committed to protecting our health from chemicals that either are untested or have been proven to cause health problems. Watch the video to learn more, then if you'd like to stay informed, become a fan of Not a Guinea Pig on Facebook.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How many shopping days green?

Over the next few weeks, despite due diligence to keep junk mail at a minimum, our mailboxes will be filled with advertisements for any number of toys, clothes, unique gifts for the hard to buy for person and any other sort of glossy encouragement for consumers to $pend $pend $pend.

We have a paper recycling bin outside the door and try to keep the catalogues from even coming in the house, but now it's happening in emails, radio, billboards, television; the inundation of solitications to spend on stuff for others that adequately demonstrates an appropriate level of affection over the holiday season.

It's a difficult trap to avoid without seeming a Scrooge-like hater of the holidays. Our Daily Green does not hate the holidays or the friends and family in our group of acquaintances. We do hate the pressure to buy "stuff" that isn't particularly useful or interesting and often is manufactured under less than desirable circumstances. Fair trade goods are an exception and we've discussed them previously.

With some creativity, holidays can still be celebrated without mindless purchases but instead thoughtful, true demonstrations of affection. One of Our Daily Green's tried and true gifts of food has been a repeated success for many years.

layered gifts in a jarOne of our favorite gifts to both give and receive are the layered food mixes in jars. Everyone has to eat so having a simple go to meal or treat is a true gift of time, as well as the opportunity to reuse jars and fabric scraps. We save 32 oz. jars throughout the year to decorate and fill with different mixes. In the past, we've given cookie mix, soup mix, spiced tea, and hot chocolate. It's very easy to involve the entire family in the process of mixing the ingredients, layering, printing labels, decorating the jars. Wide mouth jars work best, but a narrow jar with a wide mouthed funnel enables the reuse of narrow mouthed jars.  Several recipes are available online, including the Gift in a Jar site, which also has printable labels and instructions for the gifts.

For the folks who have everything and are unlikely to cook, instead of a gift card to a big box store or a check, consider a microloan. Microloans can be purchased in increments of $20 dollars and up and help a small business or third world entrepeneur who would not qualify for financing get started. Interest payments are made on a regular basis and serve as a year round reminder of the gift without taking up shelf space, or getting filed away to a long forgotten corner of the house.

A gift of time is also appreciated in today's busy world. The one thing nobody can purchase is TIME. Consider an offer to run errands once a month, babysit small children for a day or evening, grocery shopping for an elderly person, anything that will offer time and talent to the recipient.

A little heart and creativity can guarantee a lovely, green, heartfelt holiday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Triple Bottom Line Green

Triple Bottom LineAn important principle driving sustainability is a Triple Bottom Line. The theory is a business model that considers three P's, including not just Profit but also People and the Planet.

Our Daily Green is a strong advocate of the 3/50 project as well as other local shopping initiatives. This week, PBS will be airing the program, Fixing the Future, starting on November 18th.

Showcased in this program is BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. BALLE seeks to coordinate and educate consumers, businesses, investors and entrepreneurs about the Triple Bottom Line principles of business. 

Over the next few weeks, Our Daily Green will offer more in-depth information about the building blocks of a local living economy, including:

It is important to recognize that BALLE does not encourage (re: guilt) consumers into feeling obligated to support a local business, but rather helps local businesses offer value to the consumers as well as viability to an investor; a symbiotic relationship involving all parties.

To learn more, check your local listings for Fixing the Future and bookmark Our Daily Green for follow up posts.

1715 Ellis St, #103
Bellingham, WA 98225

Watch the full episode. See more NOW on PBS.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Recycle Day Green

recycling dayDonate Now!
2420 S Industrial Hwy
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Did you know that this coming Monday, November 15th, is a holiday? A green holiday. Monday is America Recycles Day, an awareness day established 13 years ago. From their site:
Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day. More than a celebration, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States. One day to inform and educate. One day to get our neighbors, friends and community leaders excited about what can be accomplished when we all work together. One day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year. 
Earth 911 contains a simple click guide to where and how just about any household item from electronics, to automotive, to carpet, as well as the typical paper, glass or aluminum can be recycled.

The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a fascinating tool that can be downloaded, the iWARM, the Waste Reduction Model, and works through Microsoft Excel. iWARM calculates the energy saved by recycling and what that savings can power. For example, recycling 10 aluminum cans saves the energy equivalent to run a ceiling fan for 21 hours. The energy saved by recycling one catalogue (tis the season for mailboxes filled with catalogues!) will run a compact fluorescent light bulb for over 3 hours.

Recycling can be profitable as well. Organizations such as RecycleBank have partnered with corporate sponsors to reward recyclers. TerraCycle has an array of fundraisers for recycled items from juice bags to cookie wrappers. On a more local note, in Our Daily Green's community, the middle school has been raising funds for a few years now to repave their track by collecting aluminum cans. Last year, the students won a $5K national grant for their efforts.

Recyling doesn't just save the planet, it saves the green in our wallets as well. Won't you join the celebration on Monday? What will you start recycling?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Green

Our nation honors its military veterans today. We recognize the dedication of the men and women who served our country in such a capacity. In addition to honoring our veterans, there are several ways we can honor and assist those in active duty, and many of those ways are green.

As fast as electronics are made, they seem to become obsolete.  We upgrade on a regular basis, rarely considering what becomes of the discards. Electronic waste is a much larger problem than we acknowledge, as Annie Leonards's recent video, Story of Electronics, demonstrates.

Our Daily Green would like to showcase two non profit organizations that are not just keeping the electronics out of the waste stream, but also sharing them with soldiers, setting up Internet cafes and entertaining the troops with video games. We commend them.

JDS Computers is an organization composed entirely of volunteers. To date they have donated 743 laptop computers to Internet cafes in Iraq and Afghanistan. These cafes allow the soldiers to communicate with their families and loved ones back stateside. They accept laptop donations, Pentium III or higher. If you're upgrading a laptop soon, consider checking their site for information how to donate your old laptop.

Games for Heroes is another electronic recycling mission. Two high school boys in Westchester NY have been collecting hand held video game systems and cartridges and sending them to soldiers. When founders Peter Gallagher and Jack Wilson realized that most of the soldiers weren't much older than they were, the founded this charity.

Today, we ask you not just to honor the Red, White, and Blue... but also, the green.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


This is a fabulous quiz from the Christian Science monitor. Some of the results are extremely encouraging.


Let us know how you did! We were pleasantly surprised by the answer to #8.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Soccer Mom Green

A few weeks ago, Our Daily Green invited our readers to vote for a group we belong to, Green Affiliates, in a contest sponsored by YouTopia. Thank you for your support. Green Affiliates finished with a total of 220 votes. The winning entry was One World Futbol, with an astounding 1550 votes. We would like to share a little more about their mission.

soccer mom futbol green
One World Futbol
We titled this post as a tribute to our many of our friends. While Our Daily Green does have a diverse audience, due to the demographics of both the author and my peer group, we reach a great number of "mom bloggers". Of that portion of bloggers, it's a safe assumption that many of us have children who have played or do currently play soccer. So here's to the "soccer moms" and how we can be green.

Soccer is an interntionally acclaimed sport, popular among children all over the world and played by millions. One evening, One World Futbol's founder Tim Jahnigen watched a news story about refugees in Darfur. As he watched the children playing soccer with  a makeshift ball of rubbish tied up with twine, he was inspired to make a difference. Hence the creation of the One World Futbol, an indestructible ball that never needs inflating, does not puncture, and does not require hand stitching. While this ball is not intended to replace regulation soccer balls for matches, it is a perfect ball for practice and recreational use.

Recording artist Sting has lent his support to the project start, which in turn inspired the company name,  after Sting's song One World.

Our Daily Green congratulates One World Futbol and invites our readers to support this fine organization. For every One World Futbol purchased, One World gives one to an organization in need through their special Buy One, Give One promotion.

 One World Futbol: The Ball


Monday, November 1, 2010

Casting a Ballot Green

Tomorrow is midterm election day across the United States. While Our Daily Green wishes frequently that love of the earth not be politicized unfortunately, it's a hot button for many candidates.

Because our elected officials can effect long term decision making, it's imperative that voters make informed choices. We have the power to choose those who will enact policies that protect the environment and our planet.

Sorting through candidate websites and making sense of confusing political advertisements can overwhelm even the most diligent voter. Our Daily Green has two non partisan resources that we recommend to seek out candidates whose platforms best match environmentally friendly actions.

On The Issues allows a voter to search by state, candidate and issue. The site could use a bit of updating. For example, we were disappointed to find that only one candidate was listed in our states' governor race. But On The Issues still contains a plethora of information on topics that may be of environmental concern, such as:

  • Budget & Economy 
  • Corporations
  • Energy & Oil
  • Environment
  • Foreign Policy
  • Free Trade
  • Government Reform
  • Health Care   
  • Technology

  • The site is easy to use if a bit limited in the information. It's still a good resource to double check information or learn a bit more in depth.

    Another site Our Daily Green recommends is being touted as the "Match.com" of political websites,

    Project Vote Smart contains interactive tools to match personal beliefs and ideologies to the candidate that best reflects them. It has several listed issues and also allows the voter to rank the by level of importance. It's a fabulous resource to double check how well a candidate matches up with your important issues.

    Our Daily Green urges everyone to vote tomorrow. If you weren't certain who to vote for, utilize the very simple  resources we've shared here and make your voice heard.

    Thank you again!

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    How to Reduce Greenwashing

    On October 6, 2010, Federal Trade Commission proposed revisions to the Green Guides used by marketers to help them avoid making misleading environmental claims. The guides were originally published in 1992, and revised again in 1996 and 1998. The new proposal seeks to create uniform language for claims.

    Following these proposed changes was an unsettling report released this week by TerraChoice, the environmental marketing subsidiary of the Underwriters Laboratory. The report indicates that over 95 per cent of consumer products making green claims are guilty of some sort of greenwashing. Greenwashing is when companies make unsubstantiated, poorly worded or vague claims of environmental friendly practices.

    Highlights from The Sins of Greenwashing: Home and Family Edition include:
    • There are 73 per cent more green products on market today than in 2009
    • 4.5 per cent of products now sin-free, compared to only 1 per cent in 2007.  100 hundred per cent of toys and 99.2 per cent of baby products surveyed are guilty of some form of greenwashing.
    • BPA-free claims are up by 577 per cent since the 2009 Sins of Greenwashing study, appearing more frequently among toys and baby products than any other category studied.
    • Phthalate-free claims increased 2,550 per cent since 2009. 
    • Big box stores surprisingly are more likely to stock products that are “sin-free” than boutique stores. 
    • Categories such as building materials, construction and office products contained more sin-free products than categories where “green” experience was less developed, such as baby products, toys, and consumer electronics. 
    • Good eco-labeling helps prevent (but does not eliminate) greenwashing – of the products certified by a recognized third-party certification, more than 30 per cent are sin-free.
    With all the misleading and sometimes deceptive claims out there, consumer trust is damaged. Confusion paralyzes the consumers from making any sort of green choices. But how to combat greenwashing?  With careful and transparent accounting of environmental footprint activity.  

    photo courtesy of: Chris Baskin.com/ Creative Commons 3.0
    Promising developments utilizing Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA)software can track carbon footprints from the supplier all the way to the consumer. ECA is essentially a hybrid life-cycle assessment; by directly linking financial data to life cycle data to produce a snapshot of the companies’ operations. ECA identifies problem areas in the supply chain so that immediate action can be taken.

    This allows decision makers to quickly address critical areas within the enterprise and supply chain. Hunter Richards of Software Advice recently wrote a similar article about ECA software and greenwashing and provided valuable information.

    Key factors in successful implementation include; clear government action on regulations, adoption of carbon accounting principles, expansion of emissions accounting, business incentives and informed consumers.

    What are some of the ways Our Daily Green readers find genuine green merchandise?

    Friday, October 22, 2010

    Voting with Our Wallets Green

    Several of Our Daily Green's posts this month have focused on consumer choices. We are an economy driven by consumption. It's daunting and confusing to know what companies to support. Under the category of Confessional Green, we admit there are times making such a choice is overwhelming to the point of resentment and inaction. Yet, how consumers spend their money is the way to drive corporate change.

    Yesterday, we posted an opportunity to vote for Green Affiliates. The voting is going well, but Green Affiliates is far behind the leader, with the seventh highest number of votes. After checking out the leader, Ethical Oceans does provide a valuable service. One of their recommendations is a book and website that is so simplified and comprehensive that we had to share it here. Our Daily Green's tag line includes the words VERY SIMPLE for a reason. If it's too complicated to adopt, there will be no change in behavior. 

    Better World Shopping is a comprehensive ranking site that considers five key issues:  
    • HUMAN RIGHTS: sweatshops, 3rd world community exploitation, international health issues, divestment, child labor, code of conduct. 
    • THE ENVIRONMENT: global warming, rain forest destruction, pollution, recycling, renewable energy, green washing, toxic waste, eco-innovations, illegal dumping, sustainable farming. 
    • ANIMAL PROTECTION: factory farming, animal testing, humane treatment, wild animal habitat. 
    • COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: family farms, local business support, volunteer efforts, sustainable growth, philanthropic donations, nonprofit alliances, establishing foundations.
    •  SOCIAL JUSTICE : fair wages, fatalities, union busting efforts, health & safety records, discrimination based on: race, gender, age, ability, religion, sexuality, ethnicity. 

    The site then breaks down the goods and ranks them from best to worst, in simple color coded top ten format. The researchers also considered availability of merchandise so that it's not a wild goose chase to find the most responsible product. Better World Shopping has gathered over 20 years of data on over 1000 companies.  

    What Our Daily Green appreciates about the research again is how VERY SIMPLE it is to vote responsibly with our wallets. Few people want to take the time to read every label or go to a myriad of stores or spend hours looking up information on each purchase. Better World Shopping has a pocket sized guide as well as a $1.99 APP for phones.

    Better World Shopping's website also provides the resources to obtain more in-depth information. One of the more interesting charts was the top 10 lobbying companies currently spending some of the largest amounts of money on Washington. Lobbying influences the democratic process in ways that serve the companies, but not necessarily the consumer.

    With Halloween fast approaching, it was also interesting to find the rankings of chocolate companies which indicates that Nestle has an F, but Hershey's has a C, while the Fair Trade Divine Chocolate gets an A+. Charts like this help the consumer make a quick and informed choice instantaneously. For example, a choice of a Hershey's product would be better than a Nestle product, but not as good as Divine.

    One criticism is of course not knowing "WHY" behind the rankings without further research. This guide is easy to follow making it a very simple way to move towards responsible wallet voting. The popularity of this guide has it in its 3rd edition of publication.  

    Let's Just Give It AwayOur Daily Green is so happy to find this book that we will send a complimentary copy to the seventh unique commenter on this post. Please follow, tweet, stumble, share, blog and like this post to help increase comments.

    If you are the seventh commenter, please contact FreshGreenKim with contact information. Please include an item you plan to check out in this book if you are chosen. Do not include your email in the comments, but rather send it to me in a separate mail, to protect your privacy.

    Good Luck!

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    YouTopia Green

    One year ago, as part of a blog contest, my fellow greenie, Consciously Frugal gifted a Green America membership to me. Upon receipt of the membership and catalogue, it was thrilling to discover such a comprehensive list of socially, environmentally, and ethically responsible companies and businesses to support.

    Our Daily Green is now a Green Affiliate. Green Affiliates empower e-activists to transform the world through economic power. Our mission is to dramatically ramp up online economic activity in support of green, fair trade, and socially responsible companies and causes. This low-cost, viral networking expands the reach of socially responsible companies and causes that may not have marketing budgets or staff.

    Green Affiliates have been nominated in a contest sponsored by YouTopia to receive identity development services from Free Range Studios valued at $15,000. Free Range Studios is the brainchild behind Annie Leonard's wildly successful Story of Stuff as well as many of the most successful cause-based viral movies. As they celebrate their 11th year, watch a short movie about some of their previous work. With clients such as the Amnesty International, The Sierra Club, and The Humane Society, Free Range has the talent and resources to raise awareness to a new level.

    Our Daily Green encourages our readers to go over to YouTopia and cast a ballot for The Green Affiliates. Help partner two fabulous organizations working to make tomorrow a better day.

    Thank you for your support!