November 2010 - Our Daily Green

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 "" 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!