November 2012 - Our Daily Green

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Digital coupon savings

One of Our Daily Green's sponsors is a coupon search widget found on the top of the left side of this blog. We've written many times about the importance of not just saving the planet, but also saving money while doing it. We've shared about coupon sites that donate to charity as well as how to find coupons for organic products. We found a fabulous infographic that reiterates our points about coupons.

Digital couponing is on the rise, and one of the easiest ways to search for discounts on items you already are purchasing. We strongly recommend searching for a coupon on any product before you pay. I keep a pile of  paper that is blank on one side next to my printer (old papers, school notices, etc.) and take a few minutes before every shopping trip to search for coupons for what I'm purchasing. For me, it's much easier than shuffling through files and folders of coupons to see if I have a coupon. Instead, I know before I shop.

Additionally, a lot of coupons are available electronically only, through a store's loyalty program. For example, if I log onto my regular grocery store's site, check the items I want to save on, when I use my store card, the coupon is automatically deducted without a single piece of paper.

Coupons aren't just for grocery stores, either. Nearly every retailer has discount codes or coupons available. Check. It's as simple as typing in the name of the retailer on the widget.

This may lead you to wonder why stores don't just lower prices. It's good business to rely on the percentage of folks who don't use coupons to raise the profits. It's up to us as consumers to be the consumer who does use them. I generally save around 5-10% depending on the items purchased. In this season of rampant consumerism, take a few moments to be a smarter consumer. Find the coupons first.

Digital Coupon Use Up 30.5%
by supermarketnews.Browse more infographics.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Solar Christmas Lights

Tis the season to decorate, get frustrated, untangle wires, and trip over cords while hanging the outdoor Christmas lights. Then watch your electricity bill soar to keep the lights lit. What if this year you tried solar Christmas lights? There is no need for extension cords or electrical outlets, simply hang them and your done!
Earthtech products also has solar wreaths, outdoor trees, and other accessories to make your decorating earth friendly and convenient.

disclaimer: Our Daily Green receives commission from any sales generated as a result of this post. We just think these are really cool lights! 

Watch at this short video and see how they twinkle. They are just beautiful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday: a day to give back


Today is the first official Giving Tuesday. From the site:

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help create #GivingTuesday™, the giving season’s opening day.
On Tuesday November 27, 2012 charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.
It’s a simple idea. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters. Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.
And together we’ll create ways to give more, give better and give smarter.
12 Days of Charities
Forbes magazine's Caroline Mayer provides an excellent resource to ensure the charities you donate to will be able to use your donation to the maximum effectiveness.

A few years ago, Our Daily Green compiled a list of coordinating charities for the popular carol, the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was one of our most well received posts, and was syndicated by Your Olive Branch positive news site. In that same spirit to commemorate Giving Tuesday, we present a reprise of that original inspired post, with suggestions for charitable contributions to match each verse of the song.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

DrumsForCures promotes cancer health, education and survivorship support :: through rhythm. We produce the annual cancer health festival, drumSTRONG, showcasing resources available to address cancer concerns and drumming for ridiculously long periods of time… BEATing cancer! 

Eleven Pipers Piping

Ear Candy Non-Profit Music Organization provides youth with access to music education through instrument drives, play it forward mentoring programs, and backstage passes to music events.

Ten Lords Leaping

Action for Healthy Kids® fights childhood obesity, undernourishment and physical inactivity by helping schools become healthier places so kids can live healthier lives. We partner with a legion of dedicated volunteers - teachers, students, moms, dads, school wellness experts and more - from within the ranks of our 34,000+ constituency to create healthful school changes.

Nine Ladies Dancing

The National Dance Education Organization envisions a nation that affords every citizen equal access and opportunity to quality dance arts education regardless of gender, age, race or culture, socio-economic status, ability or interest. 

Eight Maids Milking

CowParade events have raised over $20 million for non-profit organizations worldwide since 1999. The CowParade auctions are conducted like traditional art auctions with live bidding. *note CowParade is an event that raises charitable funds, not an actual charity, but it was too fun to not include in this list!*

Seven Swans Swimming

Colin's Hope Athlete Ambassadors from around the world have raised over $100,000 to help raise awareness for water safety.  These amazing individuals have swam, biked and run to help prevent childhood drowning.  Join the wave and become a Colin's Hope Athlete Ambassador today and help us realize our vision of a world where children do not drown.

Six Geese Laying

The World Wildlife Fund protects wildlife around the planet, including geese. The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

Five Golden Rings

Gold is the biggest source of conflict mineral trade in Congo and is most responsible for the ongoing bloody conflicts. Gold has soared in price on the commodity markets in recent years, and Congo is literally sitting on a gold-mine worth tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars.HEAL Africa partners proactively with communities to transform the status of women and bring village life back into balance. HEAL Africa works with individuals and communities to restore health, build hope, and help create a better future for all people of the DR Congo. 

Four Calling Birds

Phones 4 Charity works with many charitable organizations whose works have benefited hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. There are so many charities that need help with their causes that it is hard to choose which ones to work with. Because of this, we have set up our program with a few charities that we strongly believe in and we have also implemented an open door policy that lets you decide directly where your money will do the most good. Our open door policy enables you to give us your favorite charities name and information so that we may contact them about our cell phone fundraiser program so that they can start benefiting from this revolutionary means of fundraising as well.

Three French Hens

Almost every week brings more news of food contamination or foodborne illness outbreak. What’s going on? Our industrialized food system is the root cause of many of these outbreaks. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) is a non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy membership organization established in 1997 for the purpose of challenging harmful food production technologies and promoting sustainable alternatives. CFS combines multiple tools and strategies in pursuing its goals, including litigation and legal petitions for rulemaking, legal support for various sustainable agriculture and food safety constituencies, as well as public education, grassroots organizing and media outreach.

Two Turtle Doves

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located in West Park on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises more than 600 birds representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary works to inspire respect for nature through an appreciation of birds.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

American Forests, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country, advocates for the protection and expansion of America’s forests. Since 1990, they have planted more than 40 million trees. American Forests restores watersheds to help provide clean drinking water. They replant forests destroyed by human action and by natural disasters.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cheese, Glorious Cheese!

Over the holiday weekend, as many folks gave thanks over palatial buffets of food, Our Daily Green was able to share some artisan cheese we received from the Affinage Cheese Shop after winning a Twitter promotion. We became interested in this small independent business in New Jersey after mutually tweeting about a great recipe for spinach & shrimp risotto, which featured goat cheese.

Real Yorkshire Wensleydale
Ocean Spray Cranberries
Affinage Cheese Shop specializes in sustainably produced cheeses from around the world. Working with small farmers and artisans, they offer a selection of small batch cheeses that are not found in big box grocery stores. After winning their promotion, we received a lovely sampling of unique gourmet cheeses, shipped overnight.

What could be more suitable, yet different, for Thanksgiving than an English cheese with cranberries? Their comprehensive website describes the cheese: Wensleydale Creamery handcrafts their cheese using milk from local farms. Crafting this artisanal cheese by hand allows for the Ocean Spray Cranberries to be more dispersed throughout the cheese and adds the perfect complement to the slight saltiness of the cheese. 
Morbier with Ash, PDO

Another favorite cheese was the Morbier with Ash, with has the protected design of origin seal. That means that this cheese is from a very specific region in France. From the website:  The milk supply to make Charles Arnaud Morbier is coming from (only) 20 farmers and from the Montbeliarde cow. This cheese is known for its sweet, rich, nutty flavor, and creamy texture. 


The last cheese we sampled was a Teahive, with black tea and bergamont. Originating in the United States in Utah, this cheese is made from cow milk. Bergamont is what gives Earl Grey tea its flavor. This unique cheese was also a favorite.

Affinage's selection of cheeses do not contain hormones, the milk comes from small dairies, not factory farms, and is not mass produced. They offer a selection of cheese from around the world and ship within 24 hours. Their cheese is handcut to order. We were also impressed that the cheese was not wrapped in plastic. Meats and cheeses should never touch plastic, as the petroleum used to manufacture the plastic will leech into the food.

Their website also offers a number of organic compliments to the cheese, including unique non-alcoholic natural wine sodas, an assortment of artisan crackers, honey (including some of my favorites from Savannah, GA), and accessories to suit any cheese aficionado. We appreciate food produced the slow way with local ingredients and crafting.

If you also appreciate such food, we encourage you to follow their shop on Facebook. When Affinage Cheese Shop reaches 900 fans (only 7 away!), all their followers will receive a special promotion. They also have weekly giveaways for their fans to receive a package very similar to the one Our Daily Green received.

Disclaimer: Our Daily Green received the complimentary package we described above. We have not been compensated in any other way for this review, but instead like to promote businesses we appreciate that follow practices we respect. We are thrilled to tell you about this great local company with unique offerings from around the world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Talkin' Turkey

The Anatomy of a Factory Farmed Turkey
via Ethical Ocean - eco friendly products, fair trade and vegan shopping.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hurricane Relief Green

A few weeks ago, Our Daily Green received two plushbeds natural latex pillows to test for our blog. We received the pillows the same week Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. As we looked at our brand new pillows, we realized that it was more important to donate them to the folks who lost everything in the hurricane, since one of the items most requested was NEW (obviously not used for the germophobes everywhere!), pillows. 

As a result, we want to thank our sponsor for graciously agreeing to let us pass on reviewing the pillows and instead send them on a truck for hurricane relief.

We will use this opportunity to share a number of relief efforts that are still ongoing. The devastation a hurricane wreaks doesn't go away in a few weeks, but the effects are lingering. As of today, there are still folks without heat or power or homes. We encourage you to look into the different relief efforts, such as Goodwill,  The Salvation Army, or the Red Cross.

We also want to thank today's blog sponsor, Plush Beds.
Thank you for sharing your pillows, which are free with the purchase of a mattress. 

Botanical Bliss™ Latex Mattress

Bright lights, less energy

In Our Daily Green's disclaimer, we state that we generally don't accept articles about light bulbs, thinking there just isn't anything left for us to say about them. We like them to be efficient, personally. Incandescents have not been banned (contrary to alarmist rhetoric), but instead have had to meet energy efficiency standards. In other words, we use the light bulbs of our choosing, perhaps as a political statement, or perhaps as a way to save money. But... unless we're reading with candle light or oil lamps, light bulbs are a necessity. And they occasionally burn out.

Dimmable LEDThis is where we mention the innovations in replacement light bulbs. We liken the CFL bulbs to lighting what cassette tapes were to music. A good bridge. The energy efficient choices are gravitating to LED bulbs. They don't have the curly cue bulbs, and they turn on immediately. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and some of them can even be dimmed.

Light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs use semiconductor material instead of a filament, like traditional incandescent bulbs. They last much longer, burn more efficiently and stay cooler to the touch. While the upfront cost is higher, their efficiency, versatility and long life makes LED bulbs a smart buy.

So if you're searching for a replacement bulb of any sort, shape, size, wattage, or configuration of light bulb, it is still legal and available. Being a green blog, we encourage bulbs that use less watts in the LED or CFL family. If you're concerned about mercury, invest in the LED and don't worry about replacing a bulb for 20 some years.

And now... we think we've said everything there is to say about light bulbs. A special thank you to our sponsor for this opportunity. While we accept sponsored posts, all opinions expressed are our own and we only share information that we think is useful to our readers. Shine on. 

Very cool, very green, very local gift

In June 2011, Our Daily Green first wrote about the innovative nPower Personal Energy Generator, which is produced by Cleveland, Ohio's Tremont Electric Company.  After some refinement, the product is finally available to the public! We are so excited to share this news with you. What could be cooler than charging your phone, iPod, or other hand held electronic by walking? That is exactly what the nPower PEG does. It's a perfect gift for the college student to stay fully charged as they walk around campus, or the outdoorsman who uses a GPS while hunting, or the business traveler who walks miles around an airport trying to find a place to charge the electronic devices. We even can envision it becoming an exercise motivator for younger children. Tell them they can play their video games as soon as they charge them up! 

Our Daily Green has partnered with Tremont Electric to offer our readers FREE shipping. Just enter the code on the flier when you check out.  This is a great opportunity to support a local company with an innovative product. 
Personal Energy Generator

Friday, November 16, 2012

H2O at Home Review

H2O at homeA few weeks ago, Our Daily Green was contacted by the direct sales company, H2O at Home, to review some of their products. Founded in France thirteen years ago, this company has recently celebrated their first year in the United States.

Our Daily Green received an assortment of their products to test and review as their company values closely align with this blog. From their website:
Cleaning your home should not compromise your family’s health, which is why we create products that clean with just water or plant-based ingredients. These non-toxic solutions will keep your home sparkling without harsh chemical fumes, because your home is a retreat and should be the safest place for you and your family.
We strive to create products that are friendly towards the environment. We use environmentally friendly packaging, create forward-thinking solutions that reduce waste by cutting down on water usage, and stay away from ingredients that could cause pollution. We are constantly working to create products that will preserve our environment without compromising any results.
Upon receipt of their package, the first thing we are happy to report is the lack of unnecessary packaging.  It is a personal pet peeve when something like a piece of fabric is vacuum sealed in layers of plastic then bubble wrapped... apparently to protect it? during shipping? 

Instead, their products were neatly placed in a recyclable cardboard shipping box, with paper tape. The labels were simple recycled cardboard with nice identification sticker. So our first thought was how nice to see a company that actually practices what it preaches.

The assortment of home and personal care products we had to test was amazing. We had great microfiber cloths for cleaning the house, a special cleansing and exfoliating wash cloth for all skin types, laundry detergent, and our favorite cleaning product, the Natural Clay Powder.

This cleaning powder is unlike anything we've ever used before and it REALLY works. We used it in the "man-cave" bathroom in order to get the spare bathroom "mother-in-law" clean. (yes, you know what that means... it means spotless, sterile, and safe). It gently removed all the soap scum from the fiberglass shower, without leaving scratches, we used it on the glass doors, then the baseboards, the floor... we became a whirling dervish of cleaning. The smell is pleasant, void of chemicals and the powder works into a nice lather when moistened.

Another favorite product was the microfiber face cloth. The best description I can offer is that it's like a chamois for the face. The fiber gently exfoliates and stimulates my skin, without soap or harsh chemicals. Simply water and a well designed cloth are all that is needed to make my face glow.

Overall, we are extremely impressed with the product line. They have many items for all areas of the home that are natural, organic, and safe to use. H2O at home is available from their website or sales consultants around the nation or as a potential career of your own in the Direct Sales field. They have lovely products that make some of the least lovely chores in the home easier and safer. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Net Zero’s Net Worth: How Renewable Energy Is Rescuing Schools from Budget Cuts (reprint from YES! magazine)

Educators across the country are finding millions of dollars in savings through cheap and simple forms of renewable energy.
Richardsville classroom-SCB-555.jpg
Classrooms at Richardsville Elementary School feature a daylight “clerestory,” light shelves, and a blue "learning wall,” which combine to deliver an optimum learning environment at minimum energy consumption. Photo by Sherman Carter Banhart.
As the new Richardsville Elementary School rose from its foundations on a rural road north of Bowling Green, Ky., fourth-grader Colton Hendrick was watching closely.
He would climb to the top of the playground equipment across the street and watch construction crews hauling in bamboo flooring and solar panels.
“He wants to be an architect some day,” recalled Manesha Ford, elementary curriculum coordinator and leader of the school’s energy team. “He would sit and draw, draw all the different aspects.”
Richardsville Elementary actually earns $2,000 a month selling excess energy to the local power company.
But Richardsville Elementary would not only capture Hendrick’s imagination—it would come to inspire his classmates and school districts around the world. When Richardsville opened its doors in fall 2010, it was the first “net zero” school in the nation, meaning that the school produces more energy on-site than it uses in a year.
Solar tubes piping sunlight directly into classrooms eliminate much of the school’s demand for electric light, while a combination of geothermal and solar power cut down on the rest of the energy bill. Concrete floors treated with a soy-based stain don’t need buffing. The kitchen, which in most schools contributes to 20 percent of the energy bill, houses a combi-oven that cooks healthier meals and eliminates frying. This means an exhaust fan doesn’t pipe the school’s temperature-controlled air to the outdoors all day long. Meanwhile, “green screens” in the front hall track the school’s energy usage so kids can see the impact of turning off a light in real time.
These and other innovations make Richardsville better than net zero. It actually earns about $2,000 a month selling excess energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
But building a green school isn’t enough, according to architect Philip C. Gayhart, principal in the architecture firm Sherman Carter Barnhart, which built Richardsville and has helped the Warren County School District achieve Energy Star ratings for 17 of its 24 schools.
Three factors are essential to making a green school work: First, you need the participation of the community and the local power company; second, you can’t forget that a school is a dynamic learning environment; and third, you need to speak the language of money.

Green by necessity

Since the economic recession began in 2008, school districts have suffered. Local tax bases were shaken as property values plummeted, and states have cut back on funding to districts, which were pushed to cut funds wherever they were able. Addressing energy use made a lot of financial sense.
Few states have been harder hit than Arizona, where the 21.8 percent decrease in per-pupil spending was the highest in the nation.
By the end of the first year, energy use had been cut by 15 percent district-wide. 
Sue Pierce, director of facility planning and energy with the Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix, watched as teacher positions were cut, furlough days were scheduled, and $6 million in annual facilities funding disappeared.
“We saw that energy was really an area where we could perhaps save money by simply changing behavior,” Pierce said. “I approached the superintendent and asked permission to develop a program.”
The district’s new energy policy aimed to cut energy consumption district-wide by 10 percent in the first year and 40 percent over the next five years. As part of the program, Pierce began to distribute monthly reports on energy usage, which included every school in the district.
Some schools took to the program more quickly than others.
“Just by changing behaviors, they were showing 10 and 15 percent reduction the first or second month,” she said. The reports then fueled a competition between schools, and by the end of the first year, energy use had been cut 15 percent district-wide.
Since that time, the district has hosted a pilot program that, for the first time, demonstrated the feasibility of geothermal power in Arizona. Another pilot used smart water sensors to cut outdoor water use, and was so successful that the cost of the sensors was recouped in less than three months. The district even won funding to build two “green schoolhouses.”
Including grants the district has won, Pierce concludes the district has saved more than $15 million.
And while the district’s commitment to environmental consciousness has never been stronger, Pierce thinks that broaching the issue as a financial concern, rather than an environmental one, was the smartest approach.
The school district initially adopted the changes “as a way to save money, to save jobs for teachers,” she said. “What started out as a way to save money for the district—and it has—has evolved into a commitment to sustainability.”

A foundation without a footprint

While Washington Elementary School District and many others like it were just kicking off their energy programs in 2008, Richardsville Elementary and the rest of the Warren County School District were already five years ahead of the game.
Richardsville students-SCB-185.jpg
Richardsville Elementary School student Colton Hendrick works at a station about recycling. Students completed their activities after reading “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. Photo by Manesha Ford.
The district had kicked off its district-wide energy campaign in 2003 under the direction of a forward-thinking superintendent, according to district Public Relations Coordinator Joanie Hendricks. The district was growing by about 400 students per year, and construction projects seemed to be always on the agenda.
So Warren County became one of the first districts in Kentucky to hire an energy manager and was able to save $560,499 in the first year by making small changes.
That first year of savings inspired the ambitious plans that came next, Hendrick said. “When you save half a million dollars in just changing your mindset, it just becomes a simple idea.”
Since 2003, the district has offset more than $7 million in energy costs. That equates to 45 teaching positions. It’s a number that really speaks to people.
“It makes you think twice when you’re going out the door to turn around and turn the light switch off,” Hendrick said, “when you know that could save somebody’s job.”
By the time Warren County decided to focus on greener schools, the architects at Sherman Carter Barnhart had been incorporating newer and greener materials in their plans for years.
“The perception is—and it’s not all wrong—is that it’s more costly, and we think if it’s done correctly it’s not really more costly,” Gayhart said. “I think the real ‘green’ is the dollars you can save the client in the life of the building. That’s the legacy you want.”

Learning gets greener

In 2005, Alvaton Elementary in Warren County opened using 36 kBtus of energy per square foot annually. That’s less than half the national average for schools, which is 73 kBtus. A few years later, Plano Elementary was using 28 kBtus, and today, Richardsville and two net zero-ready schools in the district use only 18 kBtus per square foot.
Net zero-ready schools have everything a net zero school has, minus the solar panels, which Richardsville was able to afford with the help of federal stimulus grants that have since run dry. Bardstown City Schools Finance Director Pat Hagan said although his district is implementing energy-saving measures, the up-front cost of solar doesn’t make financial sense right now.
Bardstown, situated in north central Kentucky, has two schools with geothermal systems.
“When they built [Bardstown] High School in ’59 I don’t think anybody thought about energy at all,” Hagan said.
“They’re a little more expensive to put in but you get your money back pretty quickly,” Hagan said.
Still, all options are on the table for a new school in the planning stages for Bardstown, which expects to see a bid from Sherman Carter Barnhart.
“When they built [Bardstown] High School in ’59 I don’t think anybody thought about energy at all,” Hagan said. “Nobody thought about it even from a cost or environmental view. Now, that’s the first two things you ask.”
For the next generation, this outlook may become a way of life. The schools described in this article have all integrated environmental and sustainability components into their curriculums, and students have adopted these issues passionately.
“For the students, it’s the learning opportunity” said Ford, leader of Richardsville’s energy team. “It’s something that’s going to be a part of their life for a long time, so we’re teaching them and we’re having them become the teachers.”
That energy team leads visitors from schools around the world on tours of Richardsville, and has audited just about every appliance in the building.
“They’ll leave a note that says, ‘Mrs. Jones, you have a cell phone charger plugged in and you’re not using it. That’s going to cost us $5 a week,’” Joanie Hendricks laughed, “and you know, there’s nothing more powerful than getting a note from a kid.”

Erin L. McCoy wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Erin worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer in Kentucky for almost two years. She is now a Seattle-based freelance writer specializing in education, environment, cultural issues, and travel, informed by her time teaching English in Malaysia and other travels. Contact her at elmccoy [at] gmail [dot] com or on Twitter @ErinLMcCoy.
YES! Magazine allows Our Daily Green to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Fruit" snacks petition

In an effort to give kids healthier options and avoid candy, moms across the country sometimes opt for fruit snacks.  However, although these snacks are marketed to moms and kids, they are no healthier or safer than conventional candy. Fruit snacks come loaded with artificial dyes – chemical concoctions linked to children’s behavioral problems and even cancer!

To give families access to healthier options nationwide, we teamed up with superhero moms & health experts Erica Reid and Latham Thomas to petition Kellogg’s to take artificial dyes out of children’s fruit snacks.To learn more, watch  our video about why Erica and Latham decided to petition Kellogg’s to take out fake dyes.

We are only 4,513 signatures short of reaching our goal of 75,000! 

Help us get Kellogg’s attention by signing our petition. 

Hurricane Sandy's Wakeup Call (op/ed reprint)

Sandy is only the latest and most devastating incident in a pattern of extreme weather that's become impossible to ignore
Michael Brune
I've been working on solutions to the climate crisis for a long time, but I never really expected that it would hit home for me quite the way it did.
Chadwick Beach, the small New Jersey town where I grew up and where my parents still live, was one of many communities in Superstorm Sandy's path.
It was an idyllic place to grow up. My wife and I still take our kids back home each summer. It's where I fell in love with the ocean and, by extension, all of nature, from redwood forests to alpine meadows.
Fortunately, my parents weren't home when the storm slammed into the Garden State. The damage along the shoreline is so severe that they haven't been able to get back to their house to learn its full extent.

But my uncle's house is flooded, the restaurant where I bused tables has been destroyed, and neighbors' houses have been spotted floating in the bay. I've seen photos online that show the homes just a few blocks from ours completely inundated, and the damage reports from friends are numbing. No one has seen anything like it before.
I wish I could say we'll never see anything like it again in our lifetimes, but that's not how the wind is blowing. The frightening consequences of climate disruption that scientists have warned us about for decades are already here. Sandy is only the latest and most devastating incident in a pattern of extreme weather that's become impossible to ignore.
Our nation suffered through a record-high 14 weather events last year that caused at least $1 billion each in damages. So far in 2012, we've seen a drought that devastated Midwestern farmers, historic wildfires that laid waste to homes in Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, and beyond, and thousands of heat records broken across the nation.
"In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods — something our city government had never done before," wrote New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable."
He's right.
The connection between climate change and catastrophes is now painfully obvious to scientists and insurance companies alike. It's getting clearer to the American people, especially my friends and family on the Jersey Shore.
And climate change is about more than just temperature. It's about disrupting the basic weather patterns that affect almost everything in our lives — from our water supplies, to how we grow our food, the kinds of diseases and insects prevalent where we live, and our ability to keep our families and homes safe.
Our addiction to coal and oil threatens the future of our planet, hurting families now and putting our children and grandchildren at risk. We deserve strong action from our leaders — not only to help the communities hit by disasters recover but also to reduce the likelihood and severity of future disasters.
Making changes that will reduce climate disruption now is less expensive than just staying the course and dealing with mounting climate-related chaos later. By reducing our use of dirty fossil fuels and investing in clean energy and energy efficiency, we can cut power and fuel costs, create millions of jobs, clean up our air and water, and combat climate disruption at the same time.
It's time to end our dependence on fossil fuels and invest in clean energy. We must demand that our leaders accelerate our transition to clean energy and adopt aggressive efficiency measures to reduce our energy use.
Michael Brune is the executive director of the Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States.
Distributed via OtherWords (

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Green alternative solutions for garden control

Many people get nervous about what living green really means, unsure of what one will have to give up in order to live a green life and this at times can seem like everything. However, most of our daily used, main stream products already have green alternatives that actually work better than those products that are not green. Choosing to purchase, use and immerse you and your family in a green lifestyle has many benefits beyond saving the environment, but will also help reduce the amount of chemicals we humans come into contact with.

Gardening and garden up-keep usually involves a long list of chemicals found in weed killers, fertilizers, and insect and animal control sprays. A common misconception of green gardening is that you no longer can control things like this, forced to let weeds take over your garden, bugs to roam as they please and deer to eat as many flowers as they want. This is all false. There are many products out there that are safe, naturally occurring and get the job done.

natural pest controlVinegar has many uses and benefits; probably more then you could have ever imagined and it’s because of this that it has become a huge part of organic living. 10% White vinegar is a great choice for non-selective weed control.  To make a white vinegar herbicide what you will need to do is first purchase a gallon of 10% white vinegar. For each gallon of herbicide you choose to make add 2oz of orange oil and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap. So what is the difference between this and commercialized chemical weed killers? Most chemical potent weed killers contain large amounts of salt, bleach, black plastic, and other toxic chemicals that kill soil life, contaminate soil long term and leaches into the water stream.

So what about those pesky bugs that just love a freshly grown garden, there is no way a non-chemical bug spray will work, right? Wrong again. In the recipe for making an organic, green friendly herbicide you may recall we used a teaspoon of orange oil, orange oil can also be used to fight bugs off. Orange oil along with vinegar is an important ingredient in many organic, green household products. So how does it work for bug control? Mix 2oz of orange oil per gallon of water into a pump sprayer, orange oil naturally degrades the waxy coating on the ectoskeleton of insects causing dehydration and asphyxiation, leaving your plants bug free. For best results make sure you spray your plants during the cooler part of the day to prevent any burning plant foliage.

Looking for other ways to turn your life green? Get Inspired LED lights. Using energy efficient LED lights will not only save tons of energy but will save you tons of money on your electric bill and lighting costs. The average LED light bulb lasts up to 50,000 hours or 13.7 years based on an average of 10 hours a day.
This post has been brought to you by one of our sponsors. To learn more about sponsoring an article on Our Daily Green, contact


Friday, November 2, 2012

Chance to win Neem!

Earlier this year, Our Daily Green posted about one of our favorite products for the skin, Neem. Neem's healing and soothing properties are unbelievable for someone who suffers from skin problems, like rashes or eczema.

Triple Neem OintmentNeem is a botanical extract from India and contains antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Neem also has  anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to aid against skin ailments of all kinds. We are thrilled to partner with The Olive Parent and Organix South to offer a great Organic Neem Skin Care Pack by Organix South that includes:
  • Neem Moisturizing Lip Stick
  • Neem Maximum Strength Soap
  • Triple Neem Care Ointment
We have used all the products in this giveaway and highly encourage you to enter to win. You'll love Neem as much as we do!

Limited to US residents, 18+ Ends 11/24/12 midnight EST. Entering into the giveaway indicates you understand its terms & conditions. 

Follow this link to enter:
Rafflecopter Giveaway