August 2012 - Our Daily Green

Friday, August 31, 2012

Milk Unleashed Giveaway!

As a busy parent on the go, one of Our Daily Green's recurring concerns is convenient, healthy, and eco-friendly food and drink. We are thrilled that our community now accepts TetraPaks and other paper cartons with our curbside recycling, which alleviates some of our concerns about the convenience and eco-friendliness of single serve containers.

We still had lingering concerns about the healthy choices available, until now. Several milk companies are offering single serve milk in recyclable shelf stable containers. Our Daily Green has been invited to offer a giveaway to a lucky reader and share this great app. To be eligible to win a 4 pack of shelf stable milk, leave a blog comment about your favorite healthy and convenient snack. One randomly chosen commenter will receive a complimentary pack. You may enter more than once, with as many suggestions as you wish, but spam comments will be deleted.

The giveaway ends on September 10, 2012 at midnight EST. We will announce the winner who will have 24 hours to email their shipping address to freshgreenkim@hotmail.com.

Thanks for participating, spread the word! Milk is Unleashed!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fryer grease as an energy saving coating (guest post)

Fryer grease becomes a coating to save energy


It has been known to the science community for a while now that old fryer grease, collected from restaurants, can be turned into alternative fuel. But what else does this seemingly useless waste product have in store for us? The most recent discovery helps not with cars, but potentially your roof! Yep that’s right; the grease that fried your potato skins last night could potentially become an energy-saving coating for your roof. So what is so special about grease and how does it work?

Have you ever noticed how roofs are different colors in different climates? For example, a roof in the mid-west is very different from roofs you see in Arizona or California. Places that have predominately hotter weather tend to build roofs that are lighter in color so that heat is reflected and keeps the house cool. In contrast, places where frigid temperatures are more frequent, dark roofs are built in order to absorb heat and keep a house warm. However what about those places where it gets both very hot and very cold? The solution to this problem may lie in the fryers around the world.

The idea was presented by Ben Wen during a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Ben says that waste oil from fryers can be turned into a high-tech polymer that can react to current weather conditions. This could change the way roofs are build all around the world, especially for those who see all four seasons.  First, fast food oil waste is processed into a liquid polymer and then, is applied to the area. The great thing about this roof covering is it can be applied to any kind of roof. After it is applied the liquid polymer then hardens into a plastic. At a certain temperature this roof covering will undergo a “phase change,” and switches from heat-absorbing to heat-reflecting or vice versa. After being tested, results showed that this new roof covering had a decrease in temperature between 50 and 80 percent during hot weather compared to those roofs made of asphalt, and an increase in temperature during the winter months.

Not only is this new discovery non-toxic, non-flammable and odorless but it provides a whole new way to re-use and re-cycle all of the millions of gallons of waste oil. Although testing has been done, more are on the way and experts say that this roof covering could be ready for consumer use within the next year or so.

Company Bio:Trying to stay green? Have you changed out your light bulbs yet? Inspired LED provides energy efficient LED lights. Get creative and set the right mood in your house with LED strip lights from Inspired LED.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

For the Love of Tomatoes!

Our Daily Green recently posted our 400th blog. (waiting for the applause to die down, with a self deprecating smile). As we reflect on some of our favorite topics over the past several years, a recurring topic is tomatoes, FreshGreenKim's favorite food, ever.

Oh I love tomatoes. I love love love them. I would eat them on a boat, in a moat, carrying a tote, or on a swimming pool float. It is usually an annual event for me to post about tomatoes in August, as that is the season. Today is no different, but with a twist.

Green Tomato Cake
Over the past year, I've become enamored not only with red tomatoes, but also green ones. I cannot believe I spent a lifetime ignoring green tomatoes. Last fall, in a desperate attempt to use up some unripened tomatoes, I found a great recipe for Green Tomato Cake, but I admit, I still was not convert. I wrote the article and sang the praises of green tomatoes, but as a novelty ingredient.

Then this summer, I visited the South. As in Low Country cooking... Savannah, Georgia South. Where green tomatoes are a staple. Green tomatoes as a dessert ingredient were reiterated in Chef Darin's 700 Kitchen cooking classes. He even knew where I found my recipe, when he asked during class if anyone had ever used green tomatoes in a dessert. There is a reason his class was recently named one of the TOP TEN cooking classes in the world by ABC news.
As a side note, I must take a moment to sing Chef Darin's praises. I contacted him prior to taking the class for local hints and tourist details. We exchanged a few emails and then when I arrived at the cooking class, he greeted me with a gracious Southern hug and welcome, like we were old friends. His class was hands on, he was approachable and humorous, and we learned quite a bit. Stay tuned for a bit more about what I learned from his classes in future blogs.
We dined at the historical Olde Pink House, where we joined the ranks of food celebrities like Aaron Sanchez who declared the "Best Thing I Ever Ate" to be their BLT Fried Green Tomato Salad.


Today, I only want to encourage Our Daily Green's readers to step outside their food comfort zone. Eat something that is healthy that you never tried. Food doesn't have to be unhealthy to taste good. Green tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, in fact, surprisingly higher than red ones! Our key to healthy eating is local, seasonal food. We encourage a moderate diet with varied ingredients. That includes bacon, (locally raised), fresh lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions. Enjoy local food in its bounty and celebrate the season.

In this case, green as in green tomatoes is our friend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Dark Side of the “Green Economy”

YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License

Why some indigenous groups and environmentalists are saying no to the "green economy."

BPsignsBIG.jpg
Photo by Ben Powless.
Everywhere you look these days, things are turning green. In Chiapas, Mexico, indigenous farmers are being paid to protect the last vast stretch of rainforest in Mesoamerica. In the Brazilian Amazon, peasant families are given a monthly “green basket” of basic food staples to allow them to get by without cutting down trees. In Kenya, small farmers who plant climate-hardy trees and protect green zones are promised payment for their part in the fight to reduce global warming. In Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest nations, fully 19 percent of the country’s surface is leased to a British capital firm that pays families to reforest.
These are a few of the keystone projects that make up what is being called “the green economy”: an emerging approach that promises to protect ­planetary ecology while boosting the economy and fighting poverty.
On its face this may sound like a good thing. Yet, during the recently concluded United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil, tens of thousands of people attending a nearby People’s Summit condemned such approaches to environmental management. Indeed, if social movements gathered in Rio last month had one common platform, it was “No to the green economy.”

Whose Economy? Whose Green?

Just a few years ago, the term “green economy” referred to economies that are locally based, climate friendly, and low-impact. But since the global economic meltdown began in 2007, the green economy has come to mean something more akin to the wholesale privatization of nature. This green economy is about putting a price on natural cycles through a controversial set of policies called “Payments for Ecosystem Services”—an approach to greening capitalism that some liken to a tiger claiming to turn vegetarian.
63 Cover
Click here for more articles from It's Your Body, the Fall 2012 issue of YES! Magazine.
Rather than reducing pollution and consumption, protecting the territorial rights of land-based peoples, and promoting local initiatives that steward resources for future generations, the approach is doing the opposite: promoting monoculture tree plantations, trade in pollution credits, and the establishment of speculative markets in biodiversity and forests, all of which threaten to displace land-based communities.
A report by Ecosystem Marketplace, the leading purveyor of “Payments for Ecosystem Services,” lays out the green economy argument: “Ecosystems provide trillions of dollars in clean water, flood protection, fertile lands, clean air, pollination, disease control. ... So how do we secure this enormously valuable infrastructure and its services? The same way we would electricity, potable water, or natural gas. We pay for it.”
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), among the chief proponents of the green economy, says this approach will result in “improved well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” The World Bank, also promoting the green economy, says, “Natural capital accounting would add to our national GDPs the wealth stored in our natural resources: minerals before they are mined, forests before they are felled, water while it is still in the rivers.”
But, for social movements, land-based communities, and indigenous peoples, the question is, who really pays? For what are they paying? And, most poignantly, since when has nature, the source of all life, been reduced to a service-provider?
One concern is that this new green economy is a form of “disaster capitalism”—a global effort to put the “services” of nature into the same hands that caused the global financial meltdown. And that seems like a very, very bad idea.
Increasingly, the evidence on the ground bears this out.
The reforestation plan in Mozambique has peasant farmers planting industrial monocultures of African palm for biofuel production, not native forest. The Kenyan farmers of the Green Belt Movement, while initially receptive to a World Bank-backed scheme that would pay them to protect agricultural soils, became discouraged when they realized the payments would add up to less than 15 cents per acre per year, and that they would have to wait many years for payment. In Brazil, the “green basket” of food staples adds up to 100 Reales per family per month—but cooking gas alone can cost 50 Reales a month, leaving families without access to the forest hungry and dependent on paltry state support.
And in Chiapas, where families in the Lacandon community are paid to protect the forest against their neighbors, the struggling campesinos from the Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Chol, and Mam ethnic groups are forced off the land and into prefab peri-urban settlements, where their customs and traditional livelihoods will be forever lost. 
Kari-Oca photo by Ben Powless
Signing of the Kari-Oca II Declaration at the indigenous gathering held prior to the Rio summit. The Declaration states the indigenous delegation rejects the green economy as a continuation of colonialism.
Photo by Ben Powless.

Carbon Dumps?

All of these initiatives are based on carbon offsetting—essentially, permission slips purchased by corporations and governments to allow them to continue dumping CO2 into the atmosphere in exchange for the ecosystem service provided by forests and agricultural soils in the Global South, which act as carbon sinks.
But, as Nigerian activist Godwin Ojo says, “Forests are not carbon sinks, they are food baskets.” Ojo tells of a rubber plantation near his home that has deprived hundreds of farmers of their livelihood under the auspices of the  United Nations Collaborative Initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a pillar program of the green economy.
“We find that most policies affecting indigenous peoples are designed without our participation,” Ojo says. “If this trend continues, it will lead to a vicious cycle of poverty and violence.”
If this is how the new green economy is playing out on the ground, it is no wonder that it has sparked resistance.
Social movements in the Global South do not mince words: The invitation for the People’s Summit in Rio declared, “Nothing in the ‘green economy’ questions the current economy based in extraction and fossil fuels, nor the patterns of consumption and industrial production, but extends this economy into new areas, feeding the myth that economic growth can be infinite.”
At the People’s Summit, spokespeople allied with smallholder farmers, women’s organizations, human rights groups, and others debated Achim Steiner, director of the UNEP.
Larissa Packer, a Brazilian lawyer with Terra de Direitos, an organization that works to secure land rights for landless communities, was among those who participated.
“Payment for environmental services,” Packer said, “posits that the actions of nature—the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the pollination of flowers by bees—are commodities, subject to the law of the market. In essence, such an approach implies the natural enclosure of these ‘services,’ and, when encoded in legal norms and property rights, the actual enclosure of the natural areas—forests, watersheds, wetlands. ... Such an approach is akin to the continued enslavement of nature.”
She then offered a clear summary of the economics at work: “In the current market,” she said, “prices are based on supply and demand, that is, on scarcity. As petroleum becomes scarce, its value goes up. The green economy will follow the same logic. ... If we put a price on forests, on biodiversity, on other common goods, those prices will be driven up by scarcity, So, for investors in these things, the greater the scarcity of ecosystem services, the greater their value. Where do we think this will lead?”
Steiner responded by saying that, while we may be frustrated with the state of the world, “whether we like it or not, economic thinking is dominating all our nations,” and we need to come to terms with this.
“When you say we give a price to nature and automatically it becomes a tradable commodity, I would ask, is it not useful to capture the value of an ecosystem also in economic terms? If countries began to understand how dramatic the value of our ecosystems and resources is to the future of our development prospects, then maybe we would enact laws to protect nature, we would increase protected areas, we would have far more indigenous peoples manage land and reserves, and we would pass far harsher laws to prevent the private sector from engaging in destructive practices.”
Steiner’s plea, however, left the social movements cold. Speaker upon speaker rose to denounce the green economy as the commodification of life, the final enclosure of the commons, and the largest land grab ever dreamed up by the corporate sector.
Tom Goldtooth, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, boils it down to “the difference between money-centered Western views and the life-centered indigenous worldview based on the sacred female creation principles of Mother Earth.”
Brazil's Indigenous Uprising
Occupy the Dam:
Brazil's Indigenous Uprising

In the Amazonian backcountry, tribes are challenging construction of the world’s third-largest dam—by dismantling it. Here’s what they can teach us about standing up to power.
On June 21, winter solstice in Brazil, a delegation of indigenous people from an encampment called Kari-Oca II near the Rio summit delivered a declaration to U.N. officials. The declaration, signed by more than 500 indigenous leaders and blessed in a ritual ceremony, took direct aim:
“The Green Economy is a perverse attempt by corporations, extractive industries, and governments to cash in on Creation by privatizing, commodifying, and selling off the Sacred and all forms of life and the sky, including the air we breathe, the water we drink, and all the genes, plants, traditional seeds, trees, animals, fish, biological and cultural diversity, ecosystems and traditional knowledge that make life on Earth possible and enjoyable.”

Life-Affirming Alternatives

What is especially offensive about this new green economy is that it removes from the table all of the positive, life-affirming approaches that the social movements of the Global South have been nurturing for decades:
  • The solidarity economies, where values and prices are set within a local, social context in order to create an exchange of goods and services outside of corporate-controlled markets;
  • Rights-based frameworks that protect women, indigenous peoples, and other vulnerable populations not only within the market, but from the market; 
  • The Rights of Mother Earth, which says that all of life has inherent and inalienable rights;  
  • Territoriality, the notion that land-based people are not stewarding “a piece of land like a piece of bread,” but a sovereign space to call home; 
  • Climate debt, the idea that northern countries, whose prosperity is built on resource extraction, slavery, and protectionism, must pay for what they have taken; and 
  • The Commons, that age-old notion that democratic governance of shared resources must happen in spaces explicitly protected from the dominance of the market.
In other words, rather than expanding the scope of markets to every domain of nature, a true green economy would do the opposite: reverse the tide of commodification and financialization, reduce the role of markets and the financial sector, and strengthen democratic control over the world’s ecological commons.
As the Kari-Oca Declaration was delivered at the Earth Summit, many of those present looked up to notice a condor circling over the ceremony. In a week filled with acrimony and heated debate, with the United Nations poised to sell off the very foundations of life and our common heritage, the moment was rich with significance. If the social movements are able to stand their ground, that condor, the wind upon which it hovered, and the life which its solstice flight affirmed will remain ever as it was that day—just out of reach and priceless.

Jeff Conant wrote this article for It's Your Body, the Fall 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Jeff is an interdependent journalist and author of A Community Guide to Environmental Health and A Poetics of Resistance: The Revolutionary Public Relations of the Zapatista Insurgency. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Swimsuit Green

Beachbunny, 1987
Quite a bit changes in 25 years, as evidenced by the photo on the left compared to the right. Two children, more concern about protecting my skin as well as my lungs, discovery of the ability of peroxide to cover my grey hair, and a lot more weight gained are some of the more obvious changes. Less obvious is the ability to airbrush a smile line or bulge that is a little less than flattering. Photo editing is my friend. Indeed, it's come a long way, baby!

eco swim by aqua green
Treehugger, 2012
However, one of the more innovative and exciting changes is the way some swimsuits have changed. When EcoSwim initially contacted me to review their suit*, the first thought that flashed through my mind is how little I wanted to model a suit online. I momentarily considered asking one of my teenage daughters to choose one until the idea of posting photos of my daughters in swimsuits online felt a little too much like a creepy reality television show.

I bit the bullet and agreed to choose a swimsuit from their line to model.

How is Eco Swim so different? For starters, the suit is made of 100% recycled nylon and plastic. I was intrigued by the premise as I knew that fleece and upholstery fabric could be from recycled materials, but wondered how swimsuit material would compare. Additionally, the suits are Made in the USA, reducing the carbon footprint of shipping them to the States as well as creating local jobs.

From their website:
REPREVE is a brand of fabrics made from 100% recycled materials. Using innovative technology, the company combines post-consumer waste (plastic bottles) and industrial waste (nylon) to create high quality yarn. The company is one of the leaders in the "upcycle" movement to find significant use for waste materials and used-up products.
The fabric feels exactly like any other swimsuit fabric and quality construction is obvious in every seam and the double lined front. The shirred waist flatters a 40something figure as does the flounced bottom. The sizing was true to my usual size, as well. They have an array of styles to flatter folks from teenage to adult as seen by the video from their Spring line. I am proud to promote the company as well as their mission:
Eco Swim by Aqua Green is where sustainability meets cutting edge design in the swim industry. We strive to provide fashionable, excellent quality, and planet-friendly swimwear, therefore reducing our carbon footprint in the sand. We’ve come a long way, and with every sunrise we try harder.
*Our Daily Green received the Eco Swim suit free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Avocado Green

Avocado isn't just to color of kitchen appliances from the 70s. Avocados are also one of the healthiest foods we can add to our diet. My lunch several times this summer has been half an avocado, a thick slice of tomato, light mayo and a sprinkling of smoked salt (which imparts a bacon-ey flavor w/o fat or nitrates), on either a rice cake or pita bread. Do you like avocados?

See the graphic for some more details about the health benefits of avocados. 
Special thank you to Visual.ly for this graphic. 

All About Avocados

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Good Greens Bar Green

good greens bars

Our Daily Green frequently encourages a healthy diet with as few processed foods as possible. We encourage organic eating and nutrient dense choices. But one of the challenges associated with encouraging that sort of eating is the convenience factor.

Our family is a busy one, with teenagers who are active in the arts as well as sports. Our door feels like a revolving one at times and taking time to get a healthy snack can seem overwhelming. We tried to stock our cabinets with granola bars and other sorts of seemingly healthy snacks (and tried to ignore the labels filled with processed non-organic ingredients), but honestly just chalked it up to our 80/20 rule of getting it right "most of the time".

A few weeks ago, a local company contacted us to review their Good Greens bars. We were excited to try them in theory, as they use USDA organic ingredients and are certified by the Natural Products Association. The ingredients were high in protein, probiotics, antioxidants and omega 3s, but the real test was whether they tasted good or not. Frankly, if something isn't tasty, it does not matter how healthy it is because it will not be a regular choice in a diet.
good greens flavors
Good Greens sent us 24 bars, four of every flavor; wildberry, chocolate chunk, chocolate mint, chocolate raspberry and chocolate coconut.* Each member of our family had a different favorite. My personal favorite was the chocolate coconut (reminded me of my favorite candy bar, Mounds!), my oldest daughter loved the chocolate raspberry, and my younger one liked the chocolate peanut butter. We knew that we were eating a vegan, gluten free, organic snack that was 100% of our daily fruits and vegetables.

Good Greens has a fruit and vegetable blend in each bar that includes 52 highly nutritious foods including wheatgrass juice, seaweed, acai berry, green tea, rose hips, spinach, rice bran, and ground flax among the super ingredients. But we didn't tell the kids that, we just let them taste it. The response was unbelievably positive.

Good Greens is committed to improving health around the nation. Just this week, they partnered with The Ohio State University to promote healthier snacks on campus. Each welcome package for incoming freshmen will contain a free Good Greens bar and they will be stocked in campus vending machines and snack bars.
“We’re excited to be working with Good Greens to help promote this product to our students!” said Abby Hertzfeld, Associate Director of University Residences & Dining Services for Ohio State University. “The Good Greens Bars fall right in line with our mission to be the healthiest campus in the nation, and our Healthy Campus Initiative.”
If you're looking to stock your pantry with a healthy, convenient, and tasty snack, we highly recommend Good Greens bars. Good Greens are available at several stores and online, click here for a store locator.



*Disclaimer: Our Daily Green received Good Greens samples to review free of charge. We only review products that we think will be of interest to our readers and our reviews are our honest opinions.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Shoewear Green

AP - Fair Trade Fashion and Footwear
One of the most difficult consumer items to buy in a conscientious manner is shoes. A plethora of cheap shoes, made in unsafe conditions floods our market. But with some diligence, Our Daily Green has discovered a few companies trying to change that.

converse-style sneakersAutonomie Project is a new Fair Trade fashion company that offers casual sweatshop-free eco-friendly footwear, clothing and accessories. Their sneakers are nearly identical to the popular canvas sneakers, in a variety of colors. Our Mini Green has the red pair and while the look is the same, the shoe was made under socially responsible circumstances. It's a shoe not just with a sole, but from a company with a soul. Instead of "athletic" shoes, they are "ethletic", an athletic shoe with ethics.

petroleum free rubber boots
Autonomie Project selects only small, independent cooperatives and Fair Trade certified facilities located in developing areas of the world. Their shoes use organic cotton, all natural rubber, and other eco-friendly materials whenever possible to reduce the environmental impact.

Their workers earn a fair wage but still gives the consumers a competitively priced product. Their shoes and shirts are stylish and hip for today's consumer, and always vegan , always eco, and always sweatshop-free.

To learn more about Autonomie Project and their mission, read founder Anne O'Laughlin's extensive interview with Green America

Friday, August 17, 2012

Live comfortably with solar heating and cooling (guest post)


Nothing has the power to frustrate in the peak of a summer heatwave quite like the sinking realization that, while outside the temperature has dropped to comfortable, ‘I think I need a cardigan!’ levels, inside your home it’s still a sub-tropical inferno. After a serious heatwave it can take a maddeningly long time to get your home back down to a comfortable temperature. Likewise, looking at glorious winter sunshine outside while shivering inside a cold home is a common and maddening scenario.

SolaMate ColdflowSolar cooling and heating has the power to alleviate these all too familiar seasonal frustrations. Both convenient and environmentally friendly, solar heating and cooling systems can make life more comfortable in every way. In summer, solar cooling will begin to take the edge off the heat of the day as soon as the sun goes down. By cooling your house at night in this way, you’ll be significantly reducing your cooling needs the following day. In winter, even on days when the sun makes only the briefest of appearances, solar heating will convert that energy to cozy indoor temperatures for your home.

We are living at a time where environmental pollutants are of grave concern to most people and allergies are at an all time high. Harnessing solar energy to heat and cool your home not only means you’ll be saving money come bill time, it also significantly reduces the levels of dust and pollutants circulating within your home. For the allergy prone or those with young families, this is an advantage that can’t be dismissed.

To learn more about how you can make winter and summer seasons to be enjoyed rather than endured, contact the team at Coldflow and find out how solar heating and cooling can change your life for the better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

From Green America: Clean Energy Savings Bonds

Our Daily Green first wrote about Clean Energy Victory Bonds back in 2010. They are a reality! Today, I received the following email. This is very good news for anyone concerned about renewable energy sources. By purchasing a bond, we can invest in our future. We encourage you to read the letter below and consider an investment. 


Clean Energy Victory Bonds
Dear Green American,
We have a bill!
On August 2, our Clean Energy Victory Bond bill was introduced in Congress. 
And as of today, the Library of Congress has published the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, the culmination of several years of hard work here at Green America, and the support of clean-energy advocates like you all across the country.
Just like World War II era victory bonds enabled ordinary Americans to raise billions of dollars for the war effort, these new bonds are projected to raise enough money to generate 1.7 million new jobs manufacturing, deploying, and maintaining renewable energy projects. This bill ends the financial uncertainty around current federal programs, extending the imperiled Production Tax Credit for wind energy -- and other renewable energy incentives -- for as long as a decade.
Big thanks to Rep. Bob Filner (D, CA), who is sponsoring the bill, along with 10 co-sponsors, and big thanks to more than 40 other organizations* who are backing the bill with us. Now we need to get this bill passed. Here's where your support is crucial. This is what we need you to do:
1. Call your representative -- Look up your representative's telephone number here, give their office a call, and tell them that you enthusiastically support H.R. 6275, the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012. If you would be willing to to buy some of these savings bonds (as little as $25 is enough), tell them that too. We need to rapidly bolster bi-partisan support for this job-creating, renewable-energy-boosting bill.
2. Pledge to buy the bonds -- If you haven't already signed on atcleanenergyvictorybonds.org as a future purchaser of the bonds after the legislation passes, please do so right now. We need to be able to show clearly that these bonds have the support of the American people in every congressional district in the country.  It's a win-win-win. You support clean energy and American jobs, you put some of your money away in a savings bond, and when they mature in 10 years, you’ll get back the purchase price plus interest.
3. Tell your friends -- This part is key! We need to rapidly spread awareness of this bill. Everyone who hears about this strategy loves it, because the bonds advance goals that both Republicans and Democrats can get behind. If you have ever thought about forwarding an e-mail from Green America to your entire address book, this is the e-mail to forward. Tell your friends to sign on atcleanenergyvictorybonds.org, and post a link to the site on your Facebook page. Tweet about it, blog about, tell your neighbor over the fence. However you communicate with others, please share the news of this bill.
This might just be the most exciting project Green America has ever worked on. Thank you so much for being a part of it.
Here's to a clean-energy victory,
Alisa
Alisa (signature)

Alisa Gravitz
Executive Director
Green America
P.S. Please consider a donation to our Clean Energy Victory Bonds campaign. With your help, we can pass this bill. 

*Thanks to all the organizations that are supporting this bill: 350.org, American Sustainable Business Council, Center for American Progress, ConservAmerica, Ceres, Calvert Investments, The Change, Clean Edge, Clean Yield, Cleantech Institute, Climate Bonds Initiative, Ethical Markets, LLC, Franciscan Action Network, Green Choice Bank, Green for All, GreenandProfitable.com, Kansas Energy Information Network, Kenergy Solar, EcoOptions, Ltd, Lazarus Financial Planning, Natural Investments, New Resource Bank, New Voice of Business, Pax World Funds, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, and Self Help. 

Kids 4 the Planet campaign

Our Daily Green has written about People Towels in the past, when we pledged to stop using paper products and start using cloth. One of the most innovative ideas we encountered was borrowed from the Japanese culture, the idea to Bring Your Own Towel. In other words, do not use paper towels in public areas, but instead carry a personal towel that only you will use. We were selected as an ambassador for People Towels last year and it is our honor to share their latest campaign.

People Towels is offering educational material as well as samples of their towels in the hope of getting towels to children in schools around the world. They are asking for sponsorship for their program and depending on the response, the more children they will be able to educate. Our Daily Green invites you to watch the short video and if you believe in their mission, share it and make a small contribution to help them save the trees.

Thanks again for your ongoing support and commitment to a greener planet.

We also are pleased to share a special discount for Our Daily Green readers. 
Save 10% off the purchase of 2 or more PeopleTowels.

Simply enter the code at checkout: ambassador4xivp.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Solar Necessity Green

A physics professor at University of California recently published a study on the United States energy use since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Tom Murphy analyzed all energy sources, from wood to nuclear, to fossil and sustainable sources, and showed a steady growth trajectory of 2.9% annually.

This analysis led him to realize that economic growth will not keep up with our energy consumption unless we start to begin to be more serious about sources such as solar energy panels. Professor Murphy personally has cut his home energy use by 80% through the use of solar panel, rain water collection and air drying clothing.

Solar panels are a simple investment to tap into energy that has an immeasurably endless supply. Solar panels integrate easily into existing electricity systems, negating the need for complicated retooling. Solar energy operates on the same system as current electrical companies.

The panels then direct the electricity into your existing meter box and at times the meter even goes backwards, as they generate more electricity than the home uses. Companies offer lease programs to offset the initial cost of panel installation. There are also a number of financial incentives and rebates for solar installation.

The time to choose solar is now and begin saving today, as well as into the future.

Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. Click Here to learn more about sponsoring a post on one of our sites. 

The Allergy Kit

My personal path to health and wellness began when I realized how truly harmful the steroids I was regularly prescribed for allergies were to my body. I found myself unable to lose weight, despite a careful diet and exercise regiment. I found my blood pressure creeping up. While it hadn't reached a dangerous level, I was concerned by the increasing numbers as I edged closer and closer to borderline hypertension.

In absolute frustration, I did what "everyone does", I searched the web! While that comment is somewhat self deprecating, I just wanted to do a bit of research so I was informed the next time I had to see my doctor for some allergic reaction. I wanted to intelligently ask about alternatives to the steroids that had become my default treatment. I had been prescribed steroids 8 times in a 12 month period.

I discovered The Allergy Kit, a do it yourself home treatment. It is natural and drug free. It sounded too good to be true, but I thought, it also couldn't hurt. I contacted the company directly and offered to test the product in exchange for an honest review, knowing what a great fit The Allergy Kit would be for Our Daily Green, a blog dedicated to green and healthy living. This statement also serves as my legal disclaimer. I received my kit no charge. But as a writer of integrity, I would not endorse a product that didn't work. I would have returned it and not written a review if it hadn't worked.

To explain the science behind The Allergy Kit, I want to explain a bit about how allergies work and how the body reacts to an allergen. According to HowStuffWorks,
As amazing as the immune system is, it sometimes makes mistakes. Allergies are the result of a hypersensitive immune system. The allergic immune system misidentifies an otherwise innocuous substance as harmful, and then attacks the substance with a ferocity far greater than required. The problems this attack can cause range from mildly inconvenient and uncomfortable to the total failure of the organism the immune system is supposed to be protecting.
The Allergy KitWhat The Allergy Kit does is systematically reprogram the immune system through a holistically based treatment similar to acupuncture. The Allergy Kit's natural allergy treatment helps your body reestablish a positive relationship with the allergen by using a laser or tapping to stimulate the acupuncture points that are reacting to the allergen. Concentrated homeopathic vials that represent the allergen are used to stimulate the body's response and reprogram it.

The Allergy Kit comes with seven vials of common allergens. It is important to use each vial in order and follow the instructions to the letter. I say this because I can honestly testify that it worked and I followed the instructions, so that is what I recommend.

If you suffer from food or environmental allergies, I cannot recommend The Allergy Kit enough. They offer a 30 day trial period, so even if it doesn't work, there is no financial risk. Just send the kit back. After the initial seven vials are finished, they can be repeated as needed, in no particular order. There are also supplemental vials for less common allergies to treat after the initial treatment.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Post: E-waste: The damage your gadgets do to the environment


India  processes over 800,000 tons of e-waste every year. The electronic gadgets that we use and take for granted everyday generally end up dumped in areas where they are not recycled or reused, contaminating the environment with toxic components. Considering the amount of iPhones, iPads, TVs and other electronic equipment we go through, it is a serious environmental concern that deserves greater attention in the wider media.
Image by curtis palmer via Flickr
photo: curtis palmer via Flikr creativecommons 2.0

In recent years especially, there has been a push among some organizations such as Greenpeace, non-profit Toxics Leak as well as other environmental campaigns to bring greater attention to the e-waste issue. It is gaining traction in both the United States and India where e-waste disposal is big business. There is a campaign in the US to pass a law that would make it the responsibility of the makers of smartphones, TVs and refrigerators to ensure their e-waste is cleanly disposed of after being used.

India has a far bigger problem. Places like China and the US have more high tech facilities to deal with e-waste. In India, its disposal in landfill is highly prevalent, along with the resulting damaging effects to the environment. It is a highly profitable business for those importing used gadgets for disposal in the country and the Indian government has attempted to ban the practice by making it illegal to import used computers into the country.

Many have gotten around the law by importing under the guise of "donations". The amount of e-waste which has been dumped in landfill is of increasing concern. Greenpeace India is working especially hard to help increase standards of e-waste disposal in the country to both protect the environment and the people who are working to dispose of toxic material.

It is often cheaper for large multinational companies to ship materials to India for disposal rather than deal with it through recycling or disposing of it in a more environmentally friendly way. With four million tons of e-waste placed in US landfills each year, it is clear that something needs to be done to make better use of the materials and electronic component parts.

A system has to be put in place so that wasted electronic components can be put to better use. The first part of any sorting process should be to reuse operational component parts by providing them to those who don't have the money for brand new gadgets and devices. If broken, a device that can be reused should be repaired or refurbished. When a device cannot be repaired, usable component parts can be salvaged. Any e-waste left over should be recycled if it can, or if not, disposed of in landfill which does not effect the environment around it. These processes are simple enough but yet an amazingly high amount of tech prodcuts are wasted, just for the sake of convenience. What more do you think could be done in the area of e-waste?
David Tully has written many articles on green issues, including Bright Green Talent, a popular resource for green jobs.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kiva free trial

Our Daily Green has written about microfinancing in the past. We have made a number of investments in start up entrepreneurs around the world.

Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Kiva gives you the chance to make small loans to borrowers working to start businesses and improve their lives. I’m already lending on Kiva and thought you’d like to join me with a $25 Free Trial.

Redeem your Free Trial while they last!

The Startup GameThere is no catch, the loans have already been sponsored by: William H. Draper, author of the newly released book, The Startup Game. William H. Draper, one of the West Coast's first venture capitalists and the founder of Sutter Hill Ventures. He is currently the General Partner of venture capital companies Draper Richards L.P., Draper Investment Company, and Draper International. He has generously contributed $250,000 to help entrepreneurs around the world start their businesses and jumpstart their futures.

Here's a a chance to try out microlending with no personal risk.
Please share this message with all your networks.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Drug-free allergy relief

For Our Daily Green's regular readers, our ongoing battle with allergies is well documented. Every member of our family, including our dog, has various allergies that we contend with from time to time. This spring, after personally receiving the eight separate doses of steroids to treat my allergies in a year, in absolute frustration, I looked for alternative treatments.

My opposition to steroids probably began as a vanity issue more than anything. Steroids cause weight gain as well as a number of other less than desirable side effects. According to the Livestrong site:

Weight gain is often the most dreaded side effect of prescription steroid use, although it is not the most serious, according to the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center . The weight gain is linked to several biological effects induced by the steroids. Steroids interfere with the balance between water and minerals resulting in fluid retention. Retaining fluid in the body can cause swelling, especially in the lower part of the legs.
Steroids also inhibit muscle and fat cells from taking up glucose,the main form of energy for the body, according to Colorado State University. Additional glucose in the blood results in high blood sugar, which can be dangerous especially for people with diabetes. Because the glucose is not able to be utilized by the cells, weight gain results.
Long term use of steroids also causes a redistribution of body fat, according to the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center. Steroids trigger fat deposits to move to the face, back of the neck and abdomen. Fat at the back of the neck is referred to as a "buffalo hump".
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/119473-side-effects-prescription-steroids/#ixzz22sAvJr00
With additional research, we learned that many environmental factors from what we eat, to what we breathe, to what we wear can cause an allergic reaction. Since it's impossible to avoid the slew of allergens surrounding us, instead, we began to learn about an alternative treatment for allergies.

Since late June, we have been testing The Allergy Kit, developed by Dr. Ynge Ljung. The treatment is based on energy healing and acupuncture. The kit contains vials of the allergen to be used with a laser to reprogram the body into processing the food and environmental allergens in a non reactive way. I admit that I was completely skeptical when I contacted the company, but still held out some hope. I figured it couldn't hurt so I decided to try it.

The process is a relatively simple one, utilizing one part faith, one part energy, and one part acupuncture. Yes, the power of positive thinking is at play and there is a mantra to recite before using each treatment. There are seven vials of "energized allergens" to use, sequentially, as they build on each other. The laser acts as an electronic sort of needle and stimulates the different points in the body that react.

I took a personal medical assessment prior to beginning the treatment and completed another one today. On June 26, my self reported health score was 51, based on a comprehensive list of neurological, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, respiratory, urinary, skin, and female symptoms. I did the same analysis today, about 6 weeks later, and report a vast improvement, to 31.

Now, what does this mean? For me it means I'm on the road to a cure. I have not changed anything else in my life, as it's nearly impossible to eliminate the allergens in my environment. I will continue to do "reinforcement" treatments and watch my improvement. I am not exactly where I'd like to be, but I'm getting there. I honestly believe The Allergy Kit accounts for the improvements in my allergic reactions. I will continue to provide ongoing updates as I try the additional vials and use The Allergy Kit on my children. I can even use it on my dog, according to the literature I received from the company!

Please stay tuned for my next post which will include additional information regarding The Allergy Kit.

In accordance with disclosure rules: The Allergy Kit was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. The company believed so strongly in their product that they sent me the kit to test. I received no other compensation for this review and would only recommend a product that honestly has helped me. Because I believe so strongly in what has helped me, I became an affiliate for their company. I receive commission on referral sales. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Water Consumption Infographic

world water usage
Infographic by Seametrics, a manufacturer of water flow meter technology that measures and conserves water.