April 2012 - Our Daily Green

Monday, April 30, 2012

Crunch a color food map

The Road to Healthy Eating
Courtesy of: Crunchacolor.com

FREE printable

Ten things to do during Screen Free Week

screen free weekThis week the Center for Commercial Free Childhood is promoting SCREEN FREE WEEK.

This is an opportunity to get away from the glowing boxes filled with advertisements, which range from subtle product placement to outright merchandising pleas. Television and the internet are a plethora of information, but often at a price. Increasingly, the youngest viewers among us are being marketed to with a greater frequency.

We suggest a number of activities that still will entertain and stimulate, but without the blatant commercial sponsorship. Like our friend Raffi, we believe that children should be honored, not considered advertising demographics to capture. (for the purposes of this blog, we shared local links, but also suggest a few minutes of search can help any reader find events in their own backyard). 

  1. Check out some of your local library events 
  2. Take a walk in a local park
  3. Find a musical performance, it is concert season for high school choirs and bands
  4. Live theater
  5. Cooking class
  6. Ride your bike
  7. Decorate t-shirts
  8. Have a picnic
  9. Gaze at clouds
  10. Make mud pies and get dirty
Those are only 10 of the ways to spend time that is not in front of a screen. 

What other ideas do you have for screen free week? 

for more information, find CCFC on either:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Organic Couponing

(This is an article that was originally written for another site, but they decided not to launch the site. It contains a lot of snippets of information we've posted in the past, but in one place. We hope this helps you find some ways to save green when you go green!) 

The popularity of extreme couponing shows tends to make a green and organic shopper wince just a little. It seems that the bulk of the coupons are for decidedly “ungreen” items, such as processed food, toxic cleaners, or over-packaged sample sized goods. For a shopper committed to an organic and environmentally responsible lifestyle, it can seem downright frustrating in addition to expensive. Furthermore, the perceived expense and lack of coupons for earth-friendly products can seem a real roadblock to adopting such a lifestyle.

That need not be the case. With a bit of commitment and education on how to find coupons, there are discounts available for all sorts of products that even the greenest consumer among us can appreciate.

Sometimes the coupons are as easy to find as the company website or Facebook page. In fact, coupon offers are frequently generated for Facebook fans only. To find a company website, look on their packaging or perform an internet search for the company name. We suggest setting up a separate email account for all couponing activity. Once a customer signs up for newsletters, they will receive frequent updates and coupons directly from the company.

Another excellent source of coupons is the coupon site, CommonKindness.com. This site has a unique mission that benefits both nonprofit organizations as well as consumers. The first coupon gallery on their site is generally devoted to organic and natural items. At the time of publication, coupons for companies such as Alter Eco, Rising Moon Organics, and Woodstock were available. Additionally, CommonKindness will donate from 20-66% of the amount of the coupons printed to charities and causes of the consumers’ choice. There is no cost for the consumer or nonprofit to utilize the CommonKindness service.

A third and final recommendation for organic coupons is to follow sites that collate coupon news, such as Couponing101 or Renaissance Mama, which compile a weekly round-up column with many coupons for green and organic items.

Green shoppers need not be left out of the couponing mania. In keeping with the green theme, using the blank backside of old documents and papers to print the coupons will save on paper. Several sites also offer electronic codes and smart phone codes that do not require paper coupons at all. Many store loyalty cards will offer electronic checklists for items that automatically are deducted at the checkout with the store loyalty card. With a little research and diligence, even green shoppers can realize significant savings from coupon use. 

Tree People

Tree People, Nonprofit, Los Angelesis a unique environmental nonprofit that unites the power of trees, people and technology in and around Los Angeles, California. They work to help nature heal the urban landscape.

From their mission statement:
Benefits of treesTreePeople’s mission is to inspire, engage and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment, making it safe, healthy, fun and sustainable and to share the process as a model for the world.
With Arbor Day celebrations taking place around the United States, the benefits of trees cannot be underestimated.
  • Trees clean the air: trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
  • Trees provide oxygen: in one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
  • Trees conserve energy: three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants.
  • Trees save water : shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.
  • Trees increase property values: the beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding street and neighborhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent.
mother's dayTreePeople have a unique program in place. They offer certificates of tree dedication for a variety of landmark occasions, from the birth of a new baby to a memorial. This Mother's Day they are offering special tree dedications. 

In addition to their dedications, TreePeople offer volunteer opportunities, educational programs, concerts, and other events around the greater Los Angeles area. It's a great charity and inspiring for cities around the nation. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

LivWise Cookbook Review

Cancer center

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet one of the best known and enduring celebrities of my era, Olivia Newton-John. Her career has endured and evolved over the years as she always finds a way to share her passion for life. After surviving breast cancer, she founded Liv.com, to facilitate and promote self exams, as she states,
“My dream is that all women in the world will have a LIV and love themselves enough to take charge of their own breast health.”  ~Olivia Newton-John
gaia spaTo further her mission, she is also a part owner of Gaia Retreat and Spa in Australia. The spa has received numerous international awards and recognition as a healthy and rejuvenating destination.

To follow this success, she sponsored the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre.

Olivia Newton-John CookbookAll her work is not without purpose. The 63 year old international superstar has launched a cookbook. Livwise builds on her previous projects, with "easy recipes for a healthy, happy life". 

We've perused the cookbook for about a week now, testing recipes, studying the advice and learning new methods and ingredients. The cookbook is a fabulous guide to using familiar foods in new ways and testing unfamiliar foods in a friendly way. Sprinkled with recipes from Olivia's home, spa recipes, and recipes filled with healthy ingredients, it's a wonderful addition to anyone trying to live in a healthier manner. She has a section on why using sprouted foods is important as well as simple how-to instructions. She has a list of "must have" pantry items. She includes fabulous vegan recipes as well as meat. There are chapters on salads, smoothies, and snacks as well as easy conversion tables from metric to US measurements.

The first recipe we tried was a fabulous coleslaw with cashew nut dressing. It was a refreshing and light twist on an old staple with the addition of red peppers, celery, red onion, and pineapple. Instead of heavy mayonnaise based dressing, instead she dressed the salad with ground cashews, lemon, and garlic powder. It was a delightful salad filled with protein and vitamin E from the cashews, antioxidants from the red peppers and onions, and vitamins C and K from the cabbage.

100% of the profits from the sale of this cookbook will go to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre.

In compliance with FTC disclosure rules, we received a free review copy of this cookbook. Nonetheless, we only publish reviews that we think will benefit our readers and all opinions voiced are our own. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weddings go green

The wedding season is upon us as Our Daily Green has already received "save the date" notices for upcoming family events. We personally have passed over 20 years of marriage and it's interesting to note how wedding favors have evolved.

When FreshGreenKim and NotQuiteAsGreenSpouse married, we handed out matchbooks engraved with our names and wedding date. Our children cannot even comprehend why we'd hand out matches in an era of butane fire starting lighters and banned smoking. 

Eco-Friendly Herb Seed Favor

We recently had the opportunity to review some green wedding, shower, party, or classroom favors. A small collection of appropriate gifts to hand out in bulk for a variety of occasions. 

In addition to the herb favor in the photo, we also received a small pouch of spiced potpourri, and a small paper cup with plastic lid ecotainer of basil seeds and planting pellet. 

For a small gift with an environmentally friendly message, FavorCreative has a myriad of color coordinated choices for unique and earth-inspired gifts. The key words are "inspired and friendly" which do not necessarily imply any better or worse for the environment than other favors. 

We simply don't think single packaged, labeled and wrapped gifts of anything are the best idea in regards to a true commitment to the earth.  A great idea and charming favor, but not necessarily better than any other single packaged/sold gift. This is not to suggest we don't think these favors are adorable and much improved over giving out matchbooks. Rather, we don't want to imply that these favors are genuinely friendly to the environment. 

To truly be environmentally and economically friendly (the favors are over $3/each), the giver may want to consider a do-it-yourself, locally sourced gift. If the idea is a nice gift with a meaningful reminder to raise some awareness, FavorCreative delivers.

Want to learn more and win a few samples and see for yourself? Leave a comment telling us what you'd like to give as a favor or what you did give as a favor. On May Day (May 1st) we will do a random selection from the commenters.

Our Daily Green received  the above mentioned products for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, we only review products or services we personally believe will our readers will enjoy learning about.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What have we learned? Earth Day 2012

I was invited to guest post for a writing colleague today and offer some thoughts on Earth Day.
Here is my essay:

Earth Day

A special thank you to my hostess, Dee Dee Mozeleski, for sharing her space with me. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Backyard Chicken Coop Green

backyard chicken coops
Black Copper Maran
Backyard chicken raising is gaining in popularity and not just in rural areas. As consumers grow more concerned about commercially produced food, many folks are choosing to have their own chicken coops.

The benefits of free range eggs are well documented. Very few foods are a natural source of vitamin D but an egg laid by a chicken that spends time in the sunshine has as much as six times the vitamin D as a commercially raised egg. Chickens also eat bugs that can be harmful to a garden, so they serve as natural pest controllers.

Before buying any chickens,check with the local zoning board for ordinances regarding backyard chickens.  More and more municipalities are allowing chicken raising. Chickens also need safe shelter, a chicken coop. A coop should have 2-3 square feet per chicken and protect the chicken from the elements and predators. There are several available commercially or they can be built with simple plans. After legal issues and shelter are covered, it's relatively easy to get started. The CaliforniaHatchery.com actually has chickens for sale online and can be shipped safely anywhere in the United States.

In accordance with FTC disclosure laws, Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. For more information about sponsoring a post on our site, click here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tiny Green Steps

One of Our Daily Green's mantras is the 80/20 rule. We strongly believe in doing it right "most of the time" but also in maintaining a sane level of change. Going green is not meant to be a burden or hassle, so we challenge our readers to study the infographic (source: Daily Infographic). 

In the past we've written about changing light bulbs, programmable thermostats, water heaters, and low-flow shower heads. Which one of these changes have you, or would you be willing to adopt?
As an aside, we still have the free programmable thermostat if anyone wants it, send me a message. 

saving energy, small changes

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wine Goes Green

Red or white are the two colors normally associated with wine, but green wines are gaining popularity. By green, it does not refer to the color of the grape or bottle. 

Green wines aren't just about what does or doesn't go into the wine, green wines encompass how the grapes are raised, how the wine is produced, and how the wine is packaged. Green wines are gaining in popularity as folks try to make more mindful choices in their regular shopping. 

green wineThere are different levels of green for wines, from environmentally responsible to certified organic.The online site, Wine.com has a symbol beside their selections to help choose a wine produced in a more "green" way. 

what are green wines infographic wine.com
Presented By Wine.com, Purveyors of fine green wine.

The preceding infographic was provided by our sponsor to help clarify green wine making. 
Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reverse Graffiti Green

Reverse graffiti is an art concept of using leaving an image behind by wiping away grime instead of putting on paint. In its simplest form, reverse graffiti is writing "WASH ME" on the back of a dirty vehicle. Reverse graffiti has  evolved to an art form, made famous by British street artist, Moose.

Our Daily Green first learned of reverse graffiti through a contest sponsored by Green Works cleaner on Facebook.  They will choose one lucky entrant and fly them to Los Angeles, California to participate as an artist in their reverse graffiti "gallery". From the contest information: 
Reverse graffiti, or “clean tagging,” is a method of creating art by removing dirt and grime from a filthy surface. This unique art form taps into the Green Works mantra that cleaning can be beautiful. Thus, The Reverse Graffiti Gallery was born. 
We set out to find a dirty place in L.A. that needed some love. After searching hundreds of blocks, we found the perfect place. And on May 29th, we’ll use Green Works cleaning products to create unique pieces of art. 
But we’re not working alone. We’ve found the perfect artist to partner with—a true pioneer of the reverse graffiti method. Together we’re going to turn one grimy alley into an inviting and beautiful place for the community to enjoy. Be sure to check back on May 29th to see the work in progress!
reverse graffiti moose
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wizard of R's Green

The local middle school has an aluminum can recycling drive. While it's ongoing, every spring they roll out a new campaign. This year, the campaign is a Wizard of Oz (R's) theme. Here are some of the posters and displays they have decorating the school driveway.

The school is raising money with cans to repave the track. Their drive is nationally recognized, having won grants from the United States Conference of Mayors two years in a row, second place in 2011, and first place in 2010. Today, aluminum is $.81/pound. Depending on the gauge of the aluminum, it takes from 31 to 34 cans to make a pound of aluminum. Our students are really ambitious and Our Daily Green completely supports their initiative. Below are some of the posters the middle schoolers made. Good luck to the Canfield Village Middle School's 2012 Cans for Canfield Campaign!

Cans for Canfield

Recycling cans

ruby red slippers

recycling is courageous

aluminum recycling

wizard of oz

canfield village middle school

tin man

scarecrow yellow brick road

cans for canfield

recycling aluminum cans