January 2012 - Our Daily Green

Friday, January 27, 2012

From the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood...

Take Action to Stop School Bus Ads 

Our Daily Green is a member of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. We became supporters of this non-profit when they had a campaign against a Scholastic book that had been sponsored by the American Coal Foundation. They also have led campaigns against unhealthy food advertising on children's programming as well as marketing to infants. Their mission is:
to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers.  A marketing-driven media culture sells children on behaviors and values driven by the need to promote profit rather than the public good.  The commercialization of childhood is the link between many of the most serious problems facing children, and society, today.  Childhood obesity, eating disorders, youth violence, sexualization, family stress, underage alcohol and tobacco use, rampant materialism, and the erosion of children’s creative play, are all exacerbated by advertising and marketing.  When children adopt the values that dominate commercial culture—dependence on the things we buy for life satisfaction, a “me first” attitude, conformity, impulse buying, and unthinking brand loyalty—the health of democracy and sustainability of our planet are threatened.  CCFC works for the rights of children to grow up—and the freedom for parents to raise them—without being undermined by commercial interests.
campaign for commercial free childhoodThis post is from their latest newsletter. They want to keep advertising off school public school buses. With more and more schools scrambling to find funding, it seems an easy solution. Easy isn't always the wise one. We wholly support their cause and hope you'll become involved as well.

The new legislative season brings new attempts to turn school buses into traveling billboards. Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island and Washington are all considering bills that would allow ads on school buses for everything from junk food to violent and sexualized media. We are enormously sympathetic to the financial plight of schools, but commercializing schools and school buses is not a good solution. That’s why we’ve created our School Bus Ad Action Center,where you can find out the status of legislation in your state and what you can do to keep buses commercial-free. If you live in one of the states listed above, please visit the Action Center to tell your legislators to vote “No” on school bus ads.

There was some good news this week: Indiana legislators removed a provision allowing school bus ads from a school funding bill and a Rhode Island bill is being held for further study after a Wednesday hearing.  Unfortunately, Florida took a step towards commercializing its buses when the Education Committee approved a bill to allow school bus ads.  House Bill 19 now moves to the house floor for a vote.  (If you live in Florida,click here to take action.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Eight Tips To Boost Your Energy Level (guest post)

This is a guest post by Patricia Wright, Chief Savings Officer at Rollback. Patricia's website offers free coupons for over a million stores. Our Daily Green has featured coupon sites previously and what we like about Rollback is how comprehensive their information is. Remember, living green is about keeping more green in the wallet as well as our planet. Thank you, Patricia for sharing this article. 

The key to a successful and happy life is feeling energetic. When you're energized, you feel a power within yourself to achieve anything.

Here are some tricks to constantly stay in that "I can do anything in life" mode.

1. Take Power Naps

When you enter the "zoned-out zombie" mode at work, take a 10 minute power nap. By nap we don't mean snoring like Godzilla at the office. Just lean back, close your eyes, and think of nothing.
Forget everything while you power up. Take deep breaths.

2. Talk To Friends

Whenever I run into a friend on the street, I walk away feeling a lot more energetic. So reach out to a friend if you need a boost. Call up a good friend for 2 minutes for a quick recharge.

3. Listen to Active Music

When you're feeling slow, forget Cold Play and Frank Sinatra. Bring out the Black Eyed Peas and Deadmou5! But don't get carried away. 2-3 songs are enough to get you back in action.

4. Sleep Early and Enough

Best time to sleep is 10pm to 6am. If your alarm blasts you out of bed every morning, it's time to change your late night routine. Get enough sleep.

5. Morning Walk

Even a quick 10 minute walk in the morning will boost your energy. But an evening walk is drastically different. Your day will be happier with an early morning stroll.
This is a big one. Try it!

6. Act Energetic

Studies have shown that when you move faster, your metabolism kicks into high speed. Acting energetic makes you feel energetic!

7. Finish Small Tasks

Checking off a chore from your to-do list gives you a rush of energy. For a surge of power, organize your closet! You'll be surprised how great you feel when it's done.

8. Don't Misuse Food

When you're feeling down, stay the heck away from that carton of ice cream! All those extra calories just drag you down even more. Go outside for a short walk instead.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bar Shampoo Green

Approximately a year ago, Our Daily Green wrote about our decision to use solid soap as often as possible. We choose not to pay for water or generate the additional waste associated with plastic packaging and are absolutely thrilled with the results. Believe it or not? We still have the same bar (albeit quite a bit smaller) of soap next to the kitchen sink nearly a year later! It's been truly eye opening to contrast how many liquid soaps we've refilled at other sinks in that same time frame. (Prior to our bar soap conversion, we had a plethora of liquid soap and nothing is more wasteful than not using it up).

In addition to the environmental concerns, liquid soaps are very inconvenient when traveling. The additional weight and potential for liquids to leak makes solid soap an attractive alternative. Now that airlines penalize for overweight bags, not to mention the inability to carry any liquid over 3 oz. onto a plane, we prefer to save suitcase room for something besides liquids. Even if not traveling by plane, it's nice to travel lighter and not worry if the bottle of shampoo or soap would leak.

The solution to this problem was as close as a fellow blogger. Several of you may remember our popular guest post about how to make Wool Dryer Balls by Alicia over at Eco Friendly Homemaking. Turns out that Alicia and her husband have their own natural soap and shampoo business.

We contacted Alicia to ask if she could send us a sample of the bar shampoo to try. Not only did she share an entire bar of their wonderful shampoo bar, but she also included two lip balms and a luxurious body butter. What a pleasant surprise that was!

What I really appreciate about dealing with fellow eco-minded friends is their true commitment to our health and our environment. As I read their mission statement a little more closely, I realized how truly in accord their company is with my personal green mantra.
We, the American public have become the unwitting subjects of a massive toxicological experiment from personal care products. It’s ironic that in a day and age when so many have a heightened fear of terrorism and infectious diseases, few are aware of the harmful health risks coming from soaps, shampoos, shaving creams, deodorants, toothpaste, skin creams, cosmetics, hair sprays, laundry detergents, dish washing products and household cleaners. Billions of people every day are being exposed to ingredients that are proven carcinogens, toxins, neurotoxins, hormone disrupters, skin irritants, allergens, and respiratory disrupters. Some of the ingredients being used have even proven to be deadly to laboratory animals yet they have declared these same products safe for use with humans.
I've used the shampoo bar for about a week now and can attest to not only its effectiveness, but also a wonderful lather, terrific natural scent and healthy ingredients. What is really exciting is that so often a company will have a great idea, but their product isn't always as good as the idea. This is not the case with Eco Natural Soap. They are a small operation, without a flashy website or fancy commercials, but just a husband and wife who are sincere about living as naturally as possible and in harmony with our planet. As a side note, not only did I love the shampoo, but I also loved the bonus the body butter and lip balms.

Eco Natural Soap offers free shipping on every order as well as a complete refund on anything you're not satisfied with. I highly encourage you to try a shampoo bar! You'll be amazed with the results.

Thank you again, Alicia, for your generosity and camaraderie!

Shampoo ingredients:  5% Superfatting mixture of; Camellia Seed Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Shea Butter, Neem Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Wax, Apricot Kernel Oil, Castor Oil, Sunflower Oil, Virgin Coconut Oil, Sesame Seed Oil and Horsetail Grass, Dried Basil, Burdock Root, Dried Mango, Sodium Lactate (sugar beets) and Triple Pressed Vegetable Stearic Acid from palm added to a base of; Coconut Oil, Soya Bean Oil, Filtered Water, Sodium Hydroxide. “Purpose Blended” Essential Oils of: Lemon, Tunisian Rosemary, Sweet Orange and Tangerine.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Meatless Monday Meal: Broad Noodles with Lentils

Adapted from: Broad Noodles with Lentils: Sagnatiellie Lenticchie on the Food Network
Broad Noodles with Lentils: Sagnatiellie Lenticchie
by Mario Batali, 2002

This recipe is a twist on the Mario Batali recipe lined above. We've highlighted some of our favorite ingredients. Our Daily Green has begun to utilize coconut oil much more frequently in recipes. In addition to the incredible aroma (like being at the beach on a cold winter day!), coconut oil is an excellent source of lauric acid which helps the body fight viral and bacterial infections as well as increasing HDL (the "good cholesterol") more than any other fatty acid. We also were thrilled to still be able to pick fresh rosemary (in January!) from our herb garden, as this winter has been quite mild. We hope you enjoy this recipe.

1 1/2 cups lentils
2 bay leaves for lentils, plus 1 bay leaf for sauce
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons thyme
1 sprig rosemary
3 cloves garlic, whole
Salt and pepper
1 (32-ounce) canned tomatoes and their juices

12-ounce package of egg noodles, cooked al dente

Place the lentils in a large pot, add the bay leaves, and water to cover and rise 2 inches above the solids. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook about 40 minutes.

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until onion softens and begins to color. Add the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt, and tomatoes. Stir the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon and cook until the tomatoes are cooked and dark rust in color.

Add the lentils to the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper, remove the herb sprigs and garlic cloves and serve over noodles, divided evenly among 6 warmed pasta bowls.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

TakePart: 30 Ways in 30 Days

TakePart is the digital division of Participant Media, which includes the documentary Food, Inc., which we have written about numerous times. From TakePart's mission statement:
TakePart produces a website, with a daily cycle of original articles and videos that inspire people to get involved. We believe that compelling stories and provocative information creates curiosity, builds awareness and propels people to make positive social change in their everyday lives.
As part of that mission, they've compiled a fantastic calendar for the month of January, called 30 Ways in 30 Days, and it's filled with informative links and ideas to effect change in your own world. For example, today's suggestion is to Give Blood during National Blood Donor month. Yesterday's was to pledge to exercise 30 minutes, daily, and included apps to help with motivation. At the bottom of each action is an entry form to a Sierra Club Giveaway, that includes one Sierra Club outdoor adventure and a one-year membership.

We encourage you to look at some of the ideas on the 30 Ways calendar and adopt a few of them. Let 2012 be the year you make a difference. Our Daily Green will be showcasing some of these tips throughout the month. We'd love to hear from you with your favorite ideas or tips.