Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stop Insanity Island!

Mom's sea turtle buddy Carole e-mailed us this morning about a meeting she attended on Tuesday. The meeting was sponsored by Clean Ocean Action, whose mission is to improve the degraded water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey/New York coast. What a great idea! These guys really have their work cut out for them this time because Atlantic Sea Island Group, ExxonMobil, and Liberty Natural Gas are trying to build man-made islands off the New Jersey/New York coast that would bring us an unwanted, unneeded, foreign fossil fuel...Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). YUK!

Carole went to the meeting as a concerned citizen and an ocean lover. Over 500 people were at the meeting in Eatontown, NJ, showing once again that there is power in numbers and that we can make a difference. Almost 100 people testified and all but two opposed the project. One of the most compelling statements was made by 9-year-old Peter Donnelly, seen below, who said, "The Coast Guard's job is to protect our waters. I look to you for leadership. How can you ever think of approving this disaster? Our President said we would find clean power through wind and sun-not LNG. It's Un-American. It's time we think about the future, not just the now. The world already has put a lot on our shoulders...please don't add any more." Doesn't this just break your heart?

Carole witnesses the beauty of the ocean almost daily and she will not let anyone, big business or otherwise, destroy it. Please read what these business are proposing and then click the link to go to the Care2 Petitionsite to sign the petition. My little ocean buddies are in big trouble if these fake islands get built.

Petition to Save Our Ocean from Attacks by Big Oil
Target:New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine & New York Governor David Patterson
Sponsored by: Clean Ocean Action

Three industrial port facilities for liquefied natural gas (LNG), a polluting, climate-changing, expensive, foreign fossil fuel, are proposed just off the south shore of Long Island, New York, and the New Jersey shore, threatening our beaches, marine life, and economy--in short, our way of life. Alternatives exist and we do not need this foreign fossil fuel.
1) Atlantic Sea Island Group: ironically called, "Safe Harbor Energy," this insane proposal by a private investor firm seeks to build a massive manmade island for a LNG facility by dumping millions upon millions of tons of unknown material in the open ocean.

ExxonMobil: one of the most notorious oil polluters is out to use our ocean as a lab rat with "BlueOcean Energy," a plan to build an experimental massive floating LNG terminal. A similar project was rejected by NY and CT. Also, California Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed this type of project due to threats to air quality and marine life.

3) "Liberty Natural Gas" Project: Excalibur Energy (a new conglomerate of Canadian Superior Energy and Global LNG) proposes an LNG importation facility for 15 miles off Asbury Park, NJ. The source of the LNG is drilling and extracting off Trinidad and Tobago. Thus supporting this facility would promote offshore drilling in a country that already has environmental problems with oil pollution on beaches.NY Secretary of State and Connecticut's Governor and Attorney General rejected the LNG project from Long Island Sound, and instead said to dump it off the south shore of Long Island, NY, and the NJ shore.We, the undersigned, oppose fossil fuel facilities in the ocean off New Jersey and New York, and support the Clean Ocean Zone, which would prohibit polluting and destructive activities and facilities, such as "Safe Harbor Energy," "BlueOcean Energy," and "Liberty Natural Gas."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Food and Water Watch

This is the mission statement of Food & Water Watch:

"Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

Food & Water Watch works with grassroots organizations around the world to create an economically and environmentally viable future. Through research, public and policymaker education, media, and lobbying, we advocate policies that guarantee safe, wholesome food produced in a humane and sustainable manner and public, rather than private, control of water resources including oceans, rivers, and groundwater."

I really think that the mission statement says it all. Everyone wants clean water and safe food, but did you know that it is up to you to get it? Yes, you. You are in control. You need to be informed so that you can make decisions about the water you drink and the food you eat.

There is so much great information on this website. The food section alone is worth a visit. Food safety is a huge concern these days with the peanut recall, but did you know that there are food safety issues that occur everyday? It is a wonder you don't sick everyday from the food that you eat.

Don't even get me started on factory farming. This is THE worst thing for the planet. From methane to polluted rivers and streams to the mistreatment of animals, this is one operation that must be stopped. There is a very interesting factory farm map that lets you see the number of animals and number of farms per state. This is a great way to see where the damage is being done.

Another big issue these days is seafood. The health benefits are continuously touted but you never hear about how bad overfishing and farm fishing is for the environment. If something is bad for the environment then it is bad for you - period. There are other foods you can eat to get the same health benefits that you supposedly get from seafood. Please leave my little ocean friends where they belong - in the ocean.

The water crisis is being compared to the fuel crisis. Water is a far more precious commodity than fuel in most parts of the world and that is just pure fact. Most of the world's population does not have access to fresh water. Isn't that awful? This is a basic human right and most people cannot even realize it. Moving forward, we must do all we can to ensure that everyone, rich or poor, has access to clean water.

Water conservation is another hot issue. There are many places in the U.S. that faced severe drought last summer. These places simply did not have water. We always see the good in face of the bad, so the one good thing that came out of that horrible situation is that people in these areas no longer take water for granted and neither should you.

Okay, enough already. Check out the facts, watch the videos, and take action at Please share this information with your family and friends so that everyone is in the loop. We can make a difference and we will. We are all in this together.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

A Lot To Say

I am not really sure why Mom likes this t-shirt. I mean I like the message, but the big word 'virgin' is just too much for me. Mom says that the word is big so that it attracts attention, gets people to notice it. Oh, I get it now.

A Lot To Say has lots (pun intended) of great t-shirts, from edgy environmental to political scene. There is defintely something for everyone here. These t-shirts were also in the swag bags at this years Sundance Film Festival. Haven't you always wanted celebrity swag? Now you can own what the celebs own by visiting And if I see you on the street with the 'virgin' t-shirt, I now know that it refers to plastic.

Toilet Tank Bank

I am all about saving water, but this thing is too funny looking. "Deposit and save water & money"? Are they kidding? Absolutely not!
Everytime you flush your toilet, you are literally throwing money down the drain. It's not just about the money these days because water is becoming the hottest commodity on the planet.

Some older toilets use as much as 4 gallons per flush. What a waste! If you have one or more of these toilets, then the Toilet Tank Bank is for you. Simpy fill the tank bank, put it in the toilet tank and leave it. That's it. So simple a pug could do it.

So how does it work? Because it takes up the space of water, your toilet works just as it normally would, but it keeps your toilet tank full so it doesn't have to refill with new water. You are actually tricking your toilet tank into thinking it is full of water. You can save almost a full gallon with each flush.

Please do your part to save both both and water by purchasing the Toilet Tank Bank at

Bike Chain Bowl

Mom is a big fan of both bicycling and recycling, so this bowl is right up her alley. This is another item that would make a great gift for anyone who loves recycled products.

This bowl is the brainchild of the guys at Resource Revival. They collect tons of discarded bike parts every year from all over the U.S and craft them into lots of cool products. This is a great example of 'closing the loop' with recycling. You must purchase recycled products to fully realize the closed loop process.

Mom thinks this is one cool company. She loved this quote from their story page - "We envision a sustainable future where commerce flourishes in a world powered by renewable energy, and where consumers are conscious of the origin of the food they eat, the energy they consume, and the products they buy." Amen to that! Stop by and check out the bike chain bowl along with other great items at

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Green Garmento

Mom loves this idea! She can't believe that someone didn't think of this sooner. Heck, why didn't she think of it? All I can say is that it's here now, so start spreading the news.

The Green Garmento is a reusable dry cleaning bag. Duh! No more plastic - ever! According to The Green Garmento website, 350 million pounds of plastic dry cleaning bags are dumped in landfills each year. Yikes! This makes Mom completely crazy. These bags are rarely recycled and they never completely break down in landfills, so they are with us forever. It also takes lots of energy to produce these one-use bags, energy that is ever dwindling.

The solution to all this plastic bag mess is The Green Garmento. It is made from recycled material and it looks really cool. You will be doing your part to help the environment by purchasing The Green Garmento. But wait. You can get a free Green Garmento right now.

To help get the word out, The Green Garmento is giving away free bags. If your drycleaner or local eco-retailer does not sell The Green Garmento, simply send The Green Garmento their contact information and they will send you a free bag. How cool is that? You will have to pay $8.00 for shipping and handling, but that's a small price to pay to do the right thing.

Head on over to The Green Garmento to get your free bag. If your drycleaner already sells the bags, kudos to them. Please purchase one and use it religiously. Less plastic in the world makes everyone smile, especially me, and who doesn't love a smiling pug?

Monday, January 26, 2009


Mom started reading this book the other day and so far she really likes it. Despite what people may think, Mom likes cats, but not as much as she likes dogs. Mom had a Siamese cat when she was little and it lived a long time. The cat was very aloof and kept to itself, but Mom liked it anyway.

I like cats too and I have lots of cat friends. I really don't get the whole cat thing - furballs and such - but the older I get the more Mom says I act like a cat. I really didn't understand what she meant until she explained it to me and then the little lightbulb went off. I sleep a lot - like all day long. Mom says that this is what cats do and that some of them sleep up to 20 hours a day. Hmmm. I sometimes sleep that much but I never really thought about it until Mom mentioned this whole cat thing to me.

Dewey is a cat that lives in a library. Mom would love to live in library where she could be surrounded by books 24/7. I'm thinking that I've got it pretty good at home, so no libraries for me. I think I once went through the library drive-thru with Mom when she was dropping off books, but of course I cannot go in the library.

Dewey lives in the library because someone puts him in the night book drop on the coldest day of the year. That is just so cruel! Dewey's adventures, life in small town Iowa, and the daily goings on of the library are all in the book.

Mom told me that there is a list of Dewey's likes and dislikes in the book, so I decided to make my own list. I didn't make it for any reason other than to remind Mom of things I don't like. Dewey created these categories so many of them may not seem very applicable to me, but hey, I am going to play along.

Stubby's Likes and Dislikes

Loves: Popeye's, bacon, luncheon meat, french fries, cheese, pickles, carrots, oranges
Hates: Anything with ketchup on it

Place to sleep
Loves: In bed with Mom and Dad
Hates: Alone

Loves: Buddy dog or Big Mikey
Hates: Toys that won't fit in my mouth

Time of day
Loves: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nap time
Hates: I love the whole day!

Body position
Loves: Curled up on my side
Hates: I love all body positions!

Loves: Between 70 and 75 degrees - perfect!
Hates: Winter when it is freezing cold and hot, humid days

Hiding place
Loves: Behind the sofa
Hates: Anywhere on the hardwood floors

Loves: Eating, sleeping, riding in the car
Hates: Going to the vet and getting a bath

Loves: On my belly
Hates: My tail

Loves: Stove, refrigerator, microwave, computer
Hates: Vaccum cleaner, luggage

Loves: Dogs, cats, bunnies, geese, fox
Hates: Mosquitoes

Loves: Digging in my ears
Hates: Having my nails clipped

Loves: Heartworm, Tramadol (for arthritis pain)
Hates: Ear drops

Loves: Peeing where everybody else has peed
Hates: Let's make Stubby pee in the cold!

Loves: Almost everyone!
Hates: People who are mean to me and people who don't pet me

Loves: The refrigerator door being opened, the frying pans being taken out
Hates: Thunder, fireworks, motorcycles

Loves: The Tao of Pug
Hates: George W. Bush: Portrait of a Leader

Friday, January 23, 2009

Costa Rica Longline Fisherman Saves 4 Leatherbacks

Finally a story with a happy ending. All of this could have been prevented if longline fishing was illegal globally. Please stop eating fish because it is so bad for all my little friends that live in the ocean.


Selfless Act Of Marine Conservation By Costa Rican Fishermen Will Result In Thousands Of Potential Turtle

(January 14, 2009 San José, Costa Rica) – Captian Rafael Fallas and his crew aboard the fishing vessel “Don Christopher”, based out of Playas del Coco, Costa Rica, have freed three female leatherback sea turtles and one male leatherback this season, all of which were snagged on fishing hooks. The selfless act of marine conservation has cost the captain and crew hours of their own time and money as they wrestled the massive reptiles onboard and untangle their shells and flippers from the fishing lines. Female leatherbacks can grow up to two meters in length and nest four to five times a season from October to March on the Pacific coast. They lay an average of 80-90 eggs per nest, meaning the time Captain Fallas and his crew took to release the snagged turtles will potentially yield over a thousand hatchlings this nesting season alone.

“Four leatherback turtles hooked in a single year, this is something I haven’t seen in a long time”, said a surprised Fallas, a veteran fisherman of more than 20 years. “Leatherbacks are only rarely caught nowadays, they are almost extinct, which is why we do everything we can to save these endangered animals and release them unharmed”, informed Fallas.

Four adult leatherback turtles represent a significant percentage of the Eastern Tropical Pacific’s leatherback population, which has declined 95% during the last decades, and now face possible extinction in the next 5-30 years if current disruptions to their migratory routes by the fisheries industry and destruction of nesting habitats from beachfront development projects and poachers are not addressed. Captain Fallas’ altruistic act highlights a change in the Costa Rican fishing community’s awareness to protect this species along the Pacific coast.

“For years, Costa Rica has focused its attention on protecting the leatherback’s nesting beaches, but now it´s time for Costa Rica to work more actively on protecting the leatherback at sea”, advised Randall Arauz, President of the Costa Rican NGO Pretoma. “This will require proper zoning of fisheries activities in coastal and pelagic waters during leatherback migrations, and major political lobbying in international forums for regional agreements”, said Arauz.

With its populations devastated by habitat destruction and unsustainable fishing practices, Costa Rican leatherbacks have been the epicenter of marine turtle conservation efforts for over a decade. “We’re seeing the results of years of research projects and educational campaigns aimed at children as well as the fishing community”, explained Andy Bystrom, Pretoma’s communications coordinador. “Captain Fallas and his crew are excellent examples of how individual fishermen hold the power to help save a species from extinction, and I hope other fisheries, for example foreign fleets that traffic shark fins, will work in solidarity to do the same”.

Costa Rica’s Pacific leatherbacks swim thousands of kilometers along their migratory routs each year. Their arrival in coastal waters represents the culmination of this arduous journey. “Fishermen like Captain Fallas, who take the time to release a snagged leatherback, play a crucial role in the species’ survival by ensuring that these animals successfully complete their journeys and nest on Costa Rica’s Pacific beaches”, said Andrés López, Pretoma’s Fisheries Coordinator. “These fishermen are also taking time to release other endangered species unharmed, such as small sized sharks, which is very encouraging now that Shark Action Plans are being implemented in the region”, said an enthusiastic López.

Press release courtesy of

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!


Mom is always looking for ways to make her life more efficient and this little gadget looks like it will do the trick.

The Scoopeeze claims that it is the urban canine waste scooping system. Wow! What a mouthful. But what is it and how does it work? It is a way to pick up dog waste without the mess of smelly non bio-degradable bags. It's a really simple concept. The scoop looks like a plastic mouth. Press a button, the mouth opens, and you scoop the poop. When you snap it closed, the liner closes. Simply open the Scoopeeze, remove the liner, and toss it in the garbage. Viola! No mess. The liners are made from plant material so they are fully bio-degradable.

Don't you wonder how you've lived without this great invention for so long? It's time to get on board and join the Scoopeeze revolution at

Recycled Dog Collar

This is another eco-friendly pet item. I love how more and more companies are taking old, worn out items and turning them into new items. Most items can be recycled and even upcycled.

These are dog ecollargy collars. They are made in Colorade from retired advertising billboards. What a great idea! The billboards were destined for the landfill until the people at Itzadog came along and save them. Many people have been making tote bags from billboards, but making dog collars is a completely new idea.

Each collar is one-of-a-kind which will make your dog stand out in the crowd. It is so cute how each collar has a tag that says "I used to be a billboard" on it. When you wear your collar everyone will know that you are doing your part to help the environment.

These collars would make a great gift for that special dog in your life. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Mom is sure to order me a red one. Get yours today at

Hanging Dog Feeder

Mom is absolutely crazy about these feeders! I have to admit that I make a mess when I eat - though I typically clean up after myself. This feeder will help keep my food and drink area clean, and it looks cool too.

The feeder hangs on the wall. Mine is going to attach to the side of a cabinet where my current bowls are. According to their website, elevating the bowls off the floor lets you create an ergonomic dining experience. I love it! My dining experience really doesn't last long enough to be non-ergonomic, but I am willing to give this a try. The stainless bowls are removable for easy clean up which Mom likes.

I am getting the one that you see here, but they have lots of dog breeds and colors. If you don't see your breed listed, you can check on the breeds that they are working on.

Another great gift idea, this feeder is sure to last a lifetime. Visit These Creatures to read about how they give back to the world and to order your feeder at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Introducing President Barack Obama!

Today is a brand new day for America and for the world. We were told that change is going to come and today it arrived. As the world watched our new president being sworned into office, we proudly embraced the change and welcomed the dawn of the beginning of this new presidency. Barack Obama is the new leader of the free world and I couldn't be happier. Well, I could be a little happier, but that's just me.

The one thing that would make me really happy is if the Obamas decided to get a pug to join them in the White House. I know that they are considering a Labradoodle or a Portugese Water dog, both good choices, but a pug would be perfect.

I am of course biased by the pug since I am a pug, but I know that a pug is the best choice to be the first dog. We are very low maintenance because we don't need to be groomed. A bath once in a while and a nail clipping, and we are good to go.

Pugs love everyone, so anyone that happens to visit the White House would be warmly greeted by the first pug. The first pug would love the White House not only because it is so spacious, but because of the, how should I say it, food choices. I personally know that pugs require a varied diet and the chefs of the White House are the best in the world. The first pug would not only have the best food available, but it would also be at his/her beck and call. Ah, what a life!

The front lawn is just the right size for the first pug to romp and play on. Melia and Sasha are the perfect size playmates for the first pug to play with and I'm sure they wouldn't mind the first pug in their beds. The first lady does such a great time taking care of the family that taking care of the first pug would be a piece of cake.

I myself am not available to be the first pug. As much as I would love to live in the White House where I would be waited on paw and foot, I just can't do it. Mom could never live without me. No way, never. Who would cuddle with her at night? Who would greet her when she comes home? Who would kiss her tears away when she is sad? Nope, there is just no way she could give me up, not even to Mr. President.

I am so proud of my fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama today. Today he showed the world that anything is possible. From such humble beginnings to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - he is a remarkable man who has accomplished so much. Chicago is a great place and I hope he doesn't forget where he came from. Maybe he will come back here to get the first pug.

We had Obama, we have Oprah, and soon, hopefully we will have the Olympics. God bless you and God bless America!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Smiling Dogs

Mom did something today that she has talking about doing for a long, long time. I wondered when she was going to get around to it and for some reason she decided today was the day.

Mom sent my picture to the people at The Bark magazine. They have a section of the magazine called 'Smiling Dogs' where people send in pictures of their dog smiling. I smile all the time and Mom has many pictures of me, so why not send one in?

It was difficult to find just the right picture. There are pictures of me smiling in the sun, at night, in my Halloween costume, in the backyard, on Mom's lap, etc. You get the picture (pun intended) - Mom has lots of pictures of me. She was going to send the picture of me that you see at the left of my blog with the caption "Am I Cute Or What?" because she said that picture really embodies who I am. I don't know what that means, but I like that picture. I look relaxed, happy, and warm. Ah the warmth. Will it ever return?

Mom also likes the picture of me in my purple legs warmers, but I told her that in that picture, despite what she believes, I am not really smiling. I was in pain, remember? If you are not familiar with this picture please click here.

The pictures of me in my Halloween costume are cute, but it's January. I don't have any pictures of me smiling in the snow because the snow is cold. I don't like the cold, snow, or ice. I think I am becoming more of a warm weather dog the older I get.

This is the picture Mom finally decided on sending. She took this in the summer when I had my special collar on. I really think that this picture embodies who I am. What do you think? Is this me or what?

Now it's your turn. Get your cameras ready and take some pictures of your dog smiling. I know that Henry's mum has lots of pictures of him smiling and I am sure that Lady Jicky is sure to take some pictures of her new puppy Kenzo smiling really soon. Even if you don't get selected to appear in the magazine you could be selected to appear on the website. Or maybe in even in their new book. Hopefully all of our pictures will appear somewhere and we will become famous!

Send your picture to Your dog's name must be in both the subject line & as the title of the photo. Make sure to include your name/address in the message. Good luck to everyone and keep on smiling!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lower Your Electricity Bill

We get our electricity from ComEd and we are pretty happy with them. Mom tries not to use electricity unnecessarily and is always yelling at Dad to turn off the lights and tv when he leaves a room. Mom knows that changing all the bulbs in the house from the traditional bulbs to CFLs also helps save energy, but she always wonders what else she can do. When a letter arrived in the mail today from ComEd, she knew that what it had to say was just what she was looking for.

It's called real-time electricity pricing and businesses have been participating in this program for years. ComEd is now offering this program to residential customers and it sounds like just what Mom has been looking for.

With this program, the price you pay for electricity varies from hour to hour based on fluctuating wholesale market prices, which is different from the fixed-price rate you currently pay. While Com Ed cannot guarantee that you will save money with this program, if you change the way you use energy-hungry appliances to lower-price hours, it could definitely make a difference in your bills. Think you don't have energy-hungry appliances, think again. Air conditioners, dishwashers, and laundry machines are all energy hogs. Simply running these appliances at times when electricity is priced lower, like evenings, nights and weekends, will save you money. According to ComEd, the majority of customers who participated in the program had annual savings from 7 to 12%.

There are other benefits from the program as well Even if your electricity bill doesn't decrease, you will reduce your carbon emissions and ease the stress on the distribution systems. These benefits alone are worth signing up for the program because as all of you already know, we are all in this together.

Okay, so what does Mom have to do to register for the program? The first thing is to log on to She will enter our zip code, our account number, and our meter number. That's it! So easy, even a pug could do it.

Enrollment in the program does require a new electric meter, because the old traditional meter does not record electricity in hourly intervals. ComEd is offering a reduced monthly lease fee for the first 110,000 participants, so hopefully Mom qualifies for this discount. Mom will have to remain in the program for 12 months, but after that, she is free to leave. The coolest part of the program is that Mom will receive notifications by e-mail after 5 p.m. when predicted day-ahead hourly prices are expected to reach or exceed 14 cents per kilowatt-hour for any numbers during the following day. She will know almost instantly when she is saving money. The website also shows the current price, so she can track it this way too.

Mom is always trying to do anything she can to help the environment and this program is no different. By spreading the word, hopefully other people who can participate in this program will. If your electricity provider offers this type of program, please consider signing up for it. If your electricity provider does not off this type of program, please contact them to ask if they have plans to implement a program like this in the future and/or to inquire about programs that they do offer.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mom's Birthday Gift

This is what I bought Mom for her birthday - isn't it cool? Mom has a really old bike (older than me) and even though Mom loves it, it makes a lot of noise. When I am in my buggy attached to Mom's bike, I can hear her bike rattle and clank, and it makes me crazy. I thought that a new bike would be a perfect gift for her birthday and so I went shopping to find just the right one.

This bike is made by Specialized and is called Carmel. I thought it looked pretty cool and that my buggy would look neat hooked up to the back of it. It is a lot lighter than Mom's old bike and should be easier to lift on and off the bike rack. Plus, this bike has suspension in the front and on the seat, which will make the ride much smoother.

The bad thing is that it is way too cold to bike ride today. It is currently -9 degrees. That is the air temperature and with the wind, the temperature feels like -35 degrees. Yikes it is so cold! The only good thing is that it is sunny, so sunny that you need to wear sunglasses.

I am going to stay in today and catch up on my sleep. Maybe I will dream about warm weather, warm enough that Mom can ride her new bike with me in my buggy, the wind blowing in my face. Ah, spring is just around the corner, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Save Your Lips Lip Balm

Mom always tells me that she can never have too much lip balm, especially with the sub-zero temperatures we are currently experiencing. When she found this lip balm, she put it on her list of products to try this year.

This lip balm is made with moisturizing ingredients and essential oils. Of course it is paraben free, contains no animal products, and it is not tested on animals. It's packaged in recyclable packaging which makes Mom love it even more, but there is even more reason to love this stuff. For each tube sold, 1 acre of rainforest is saved for 1 year. Isn't that a great conservation mission? Check out the lip balm and this great company at

Tsi-La Perfumes

Mom swore off traditional perfumes late last year and when she found Tsi-La Perfumes, she had to try them. Traditional perfumes contain so many bad things, including the "fragrance" itself. Didn't you ever wonder why the manufacturers just list "fragrance" on the list of ingredients instead of the actual ingredients? Hmm, makes you wonder.

Mom got the 4 scent collection from Tsi-La and her favorite is Ilang-Ilang. She rolls it on everyday and the scent really lasts. These perfumes are a blend of organic and natural ingredients, that come from essential oils and plant botanicals. No bad things here for you. Try the 4 scent collection or get a full size scent at

Peel and Stick Slate Chalkboard Sheets

This is one of those products that makes you think, hey what a
great idea. We have a chalkboard in our kitchen, so I don't know where Mom is going to put these, but I'm sure she will find a place for them.

If you don't have a chalkboard in your kitchen then you will need to get these. Just peel off the backing and apply to your cabinet door. Viola! You have a chalkboard to write recipes on, keep your grocery list on, or just to leave silly messages to your family. The best part is that you can remove them and stick them somewhere else whenever you want. These even come with chalk and Mom suggests putting the chalk in a cute little basket that you can hang on the cabinet knob. Start writing on your cabinets after you pick up these chalkboard sheets at

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

It's time to party because it is Mom's birthday. Yippee! Put your party hats on and get ready to dance!

I cannot tell you how old Mom is, but she is old enough to drink but not old enough to retire. She is named after a Beatles song, so that may give you a little hint (wink, wink).

Mom was born on a Thursday in a Chicago hospital and is the youngest (and cutest) of four. Most of you already know a lot about Mom either through this blog or by knowing her personally, but I have some things to share with you that you may not know about her.

Mom had a lot of birthday parties that were cancelled because of blizzards. It's true and she is scarred for life. Her tenth birthday party was supposed to be at an indoor amusement park named Old Chicago, but there was a blizzard and everyone called to cancel. Mom was devastated to say the least. She really hasn't been the same since then.

Dad took Mom to Mexico for her birthday when they were first dating because of her tenth birthday fiasco. It was the best birthday ever until Dad took her to the Galapagos Islands a few years ago for her birthday. I don't know how he is ever going to top that.

Mom loves sea turtles, but did you know that she used to be crazy about penguins? Yup, it's true. She got hooked on them when she was about 13 years old and wanted to work with them so bad. Mom even passed out flyers in school educating people about the plight of penguins during the war in the Falklands. She was a conservationist in training way back then and didn't even realize it.

Mom loves disco music, but I bet none of you know that she considered a career in music. She has always loved to sing (and still sings to me everyday) and she wanted to sing in a rock band (think Heart). She auditioned for a rock band when she was in high school, but didn't get the gig. Mom still sings but mostly when no one is around.

I bet you're wondering what I got Mom for her birthday, but you will just have to keep wondering. I will keep you in suspense until at least tomorrow. We don't have any really big plans for Mom's birthday because she has to work this afternoon, so we will probably have a big celebration this weekend.

I am lucky to have such a great mom who loves me so much. Even if I didn't get her a real birthday present, she still has me. I am really the only gift she needs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 - Year of the Gorilla

Last year was the Year of the Frog and we raised a lot of awareness about the amphibian crisis that is currently happening around the globe. This year is the Year of the Gorilla and boy have we got a lot of work to do.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as the Bonn Convention is the group that declared 2009 the Year of the Gorilla. There are several partners in this campaign including Great Apes Survival Partnership, in cooperation with UNEP and UNESCO, and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

So why is the gorilla so important? Three of the four gorilla species are listed as 'Critically Endangered' in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Gorillas are also listed on Appendix I of the IUCN.

The three species of gorilla that are critically endangered are mountain, cross river, and western lowland. Eastern lowland gorillas though not critically endangered and still a threatened species.

The main threats to gorillas are hunting for food and traditional medicine, habitat destruction through logging, mining and production of charcoal, the effects of armed conflicts and diseases like Ebola.

The campaign will work for the implementation of the CMS Gorilla Agreement, which is an agreement for the conservation of gorillas and their habitats. Additionally, funding and training of rangers, support for scientific research, and awareness training will be part of the campaign.

So what can you do? First, learn about gorillas. Gorilla DNA is about 97.7% the same as humans! I wonder how close it is to dogs. Most people think of that humans came from gorillas, but that is not correct. Gorillas and humans share a common ancestor, with gorillas breaking off and starting to evolve independently about 7.5 million years ago.

The second thing is to learn about gorilla habitats. Find our where gorillas live and what types of habitats they live in. Learn about the threats to their habitats like the ones listed above. Why are gorillas hunted and who eats them? Why is there so much logging in their habitats? Why are people producing charcoal and how does this effect gorillas?

The third thing to do is to see gorillas up close and personal. I am not suggesting that you visit them in wild, but visit them at the zoo. Mom's zoo has western lowland gorillas, which is the species that all U.S. zoos exhibit, and they have had 54 gorilla births at her zoo since the 1970's. Wow! That's a lot of babies.

Since I cannot go to the zoo, I rely on Mom to teach me about gorillas, their habitats, and their fight for survival. I look at their pictures and think that they really do look human. I understand their social structure and know what they eat. I really like gorillas and I think you will too once you get to know them.

Let's make the Year of the Gorilla as successful as the Year of the Frog. Join me in raising awareness and educating people about the plight of gorillas. For additional information, please vist

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Primer on Recycling Symbols

Despite the bad economy, I hope everyone is still doing their part by recycling. I have been reading about how the cost of raw recycled materials has declined dramatically and I am hoping that Barack Obama will subsidize recycled material for manufacturers to use. We really need to use what we already have instead of producing new things.

In the meantime, I thought I would refresh everyones memory about recycling symbols. These symbols are typically found on the bottom of products, so please look for them and take the appropriate action.

Number 1 Plastics - PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) This is found in so many products that you probably use a number 1 plastic container every day. Soft drink bottle, mouthwash bottle, peanut butter containers, salad dressing and vegetable oil containers, and even ovenable food trays are made from this plastic. Commonly used for single-use beverages due to being inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to recycle, it poses a low risk of leaching breakdown products.

This plastic can be recycled into so many things that it is a wonder that more manufacturers do not use more post-consumer waste plastic. Polar fleece (like REI), fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, and occasionally new PET containers can be made from this type of plastic.

The good news is that this plastic is picked up through most curbside recycling programs. So if this plastic can be recycled pretty easily, why are recycling rates for it low - around 20%?

Number 2 Plastics - HDPE (high density polyethylene)
This is another plastic that is found everywhere. It is found in milk jugs, juice bottles, bleach bottles, detergent bottle, household cleaner bottles, shampoo bottles, some trash and shopping bags, motor oil bottles, and butter tubs. Whew! This is quite a list. HDPE is used a lot for packaging because it is so versatile. Thankfully, it carries a low risk for leaching and can be recycled into many products like laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pen, recycling containers, floor tile, picnic tables, fencing, and lumber.

The good news is that this type of plastic is picked up through most curbside recycling programs, though some only allow containers with necks. I wonder why this is. It must have something to do with sorting.

Number 3 Plastics - V (Vinyl) or PVC
This is another type of plastic that you probably use everyday. It is found in window cleaner and detergent bottle, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, and windows.

The good news is that it can be recycled into decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutter, flooring, cables, speed bumps, and mats, but it is rarely recycled. Some plastic lumber makers will accept it, but they are few and far between. So what is the problem with PVC?

For all the good it does, like being tough and weathering well, it contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release dangerous dioxins. There are already enough dioxins and toxins in the atmosphere, so what can we do with it when it is no longer useful?

Number 4 Plastics LDPE (low density polyethylene)
Most people will use something made of number 4 plastic every day. It is found in squeezable bottles, bread bags, frozen food bags, dry cleaning bags, shopping and tote bags, clothing, furniture, and carpeting.
This type of plastic can be recycled in trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, and floor tiles. As you can see, it is a flexible plastic that has many applications.

Hopefully your grocery store provides a container to recycle plastic shopping bags (not that you use them), but most curbside recycling programs do not accept LDPE. Some communities are starting to accept it, so let's hope that more communities got on board soon.

Number 5 Plastics - PP (polypropylene)
This plastic is found in some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, and medicine bottles. As America ages, expect to see more of this plastic.
It can be recycled into signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, pallets, and trays. It has a high melting point and is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid.
Some curbside recycling programs accept it and it is gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers. Lucky for us, Aveda has a cap recycling program, so don't forget to take your caps to an Aveda store near you.

Number 6 Plastics -
PS (polystyrene)
This type of plastic is found in one of Mom's biggest problem item - egg
cartons. You should never buy eggs that come in polystyrene, in fact you should avoid this plastic as much as you can. It is found in disposable plates and cups (which you don't use), meat trays (which you shouldn't use), carry-out containers (another reason you should eat at home), aspirin bottles, and compact disc cases.

This plastic can be recycled into insulations, light switch plates, more egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, and of course more carry-out containers.
Some curbside recycling programs accept number 6 plastic and it is slowing gaining acceptance.

Because polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products, you may know it as Styrofoam. You may also know that it can leach potential toxins into foods when heated. There is so much Styrofoam in our waste stream that most environmentalists hate it because it is difficult to recycle, thus most of it ends up in landfills.

Number 7 Plastics - Miscellaneous
It seems like there is a miscellaneous category in everything, doesn't it? If you own a computer like most people, then you touch number 7 plastic every day. It is also found in three and five gallon water bottles (which most people don't need), sunglasses (which everyone needs), DVD's, iPod cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, and nylon.
This plastic can be recycled into plastic lumber, but that's about it.
The bad news is that this type of plastic has not traditionally been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them.

It is important to note that a wide variety of plastic resins that don't fit into any other category are usually lumped into number 7, and only a few are made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate, which has been in the headlines a lot lately, is number 7, and is the hard plastic that can leach potential hormone disruptors.

As always, if your local municipality does not have a recycling program for any of the above mentioned plastics, please visit to find a recycler near you.

Information and images courtesy of

Saturday, January 10, 2009

350 Challenge - Get On Board Now!

You may have notice something different about my blog today. I added the 350 Challenge badge so that the world can see that I am helping to fight climate change You can add the badge to your blog too, but what exactly is the 350 Challenge? I'm glad that you asked!

Brighter Planet asked and bloggers delivered! 350 bloggers rose to the challenge, offsetting over 122,500 pounds of CO2. Because of the great success of the program, they decided to keep the campaign going. When you post the 350 Challenge badge on your site Brighter Planet will offset 350 pounds of carbon in your name! 350 pounds! Wow! That's like flicking off 100 lightbulbs for a day. Or going two full weeks without your car!

Yes, it really is that simple. This is really a small, simple way to show your support to fight climate change. The best part is that the more that get the badge, the better. Some people do not realize that climate change could be the biggest problem we face today and in the future, so by posting the badge, you will alert all your blogging fans that this problem belongs to everyone and is a true reality.

So why the number 350? 350 is the parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere that we must aim for if we want to keep the planet relatively safe. Relatively safe? That sounds scary to me. I want things totally safe, so what is the totally safe number? If you know what this number is, please post a comment letting me know.

Another question, why carbon offsets? I mean, why not something else? According to the 350brighterplanet webiste, carbon offsets play a crucial role in building a sustainable society. Many renewable energy projects are well suited to produce energy and meet stringent standards, but lack sufficient financing. Oh, I get it now. Projects need money and carbon offsets fill the void by investing in those projects. This is pretty smart stuff. But, what types of offset projects am I supporting?

Brighter Planet has renewable energy projects all across the U.S. that decrease our national dependence on carbon-emitting energy sources. These are dirty energy sources, or as I like to think of them "old school" sources like coal burning power plants. No one is arguing that coal burning is not an effective source of power, but it is really bad for the environment. In the way back day, people were not aware of the true costs of burning coal, but now we know and we must act.

Some of the renewable energy projects are wind power in public school districts or open lands. Other projects are cow power on family farms. Huh? Cow power? I need to find out more about cow power because maybe we can use it at our house.

Now that you have the information, get busy people! Go to and follow the steps. Step 1 is post the badge and step 2 is complete the form. If you don't have a blog yet you can still spread the word and share this info with everyone you know. And when you do get a blog you can post your badge to let the world know that you are fighting climate change.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Where Should Billy Live?

This is Billy. He is a 23 old Asian Elephant that lives at the Los Angeles Zoo. He has lived there for the past 20 years and since May 2007, when his companion Ruby was relocated to the Performing Animal Welfare Society's 75-acre sanctuary in San Andreas, CA, he has lived alone. And the problem is?

Elephants live in herds and scientists believe elephants have emotions, much like humans. Elephants have a strong sense of family and death and if you have ever watched Animal Planet, you know that when an elephant dies in the wild, the herd will stay with the body for several days. Researchers believe these elephants stay to mourn the dead. Elephants form friendships that last a lifetime and they need companionship. They cannot live alone because it is not natural to them.

That being said, the L.A. city council is currently debating on whether or not to have Billy continue living at the L.A. Zoo or be sent to a sanctuary. The L.A. Zoo is currently building Pachyderm Forest, a state-of-the-art elephant habitat.that will span nearly six acres, which is almost seven times the size of their current elephant space. This exhibit will be one of the largest of any urban zoo in the U.S. And the problem is?

Construction on the Pachyderm Forest has been halted over concerns not just over cost (an estimated $42 million), but also Billy's well-being. Councilman Tony Cardenas conceived the motion to stop construction of the exhibit and move Billy to a sanctuary.

Hmm, if you are from Chicago this story may sound familiar to you. At Mom's zoo, there are no elephants. There were elephants at one time, with the last elephant, Tatima, dying in transit to a zoo in Utah in 2005. The death of this last elephant (part of an original herd of 3, including Peaches and Wankie) drove people from PETA to protest outside the elephant habitat. And then the city council got involved. In the end, the city council passed an ordinance that in order to keep elephants in captivity, an institution must have 5 acres per elephant. 5 acres may not seem like a lot, but Mom's zoo is only 35 acres total. So in order to exhibit elephants, Mom's zoo would have to get rid of a lot of its animals. That is just wrong!

As all of you know, I have never been to a zoo. I cannot go to the zoo because only service dogs are allowed at zoos. I know, I know. I provide a service to Mom and Dad just by being me and also by having this blog, but I still cannot get in. Mom tells me all about the zoo every time she comes home from on Fridays. She says that it is a great place for everyone and a place not just for learning about animals, but also about learning about conservation.

Since the late 1980's, the L.A. Zoo has participated in the Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that links zoo nationwide in breeding programs to ensure that elephants not only survive but thrive. Most AZA accredited zoo participate in SSP's for several species and what most people do not realize is that there are many animals that do not survive in the wild and if it weren't for zoo programs, these animals would be extinct.

Elephants are a vital part of the L.A. Zoo’s animal collection, not only as a valuable educational resource, but as a flagship species for promoting wildlife conservation. In addition, Pachyderm Forest will not simply be an elephant exhibit, but according to the Zoo's website a "visitor experience that will address
the conservation challenges elephants face in Thailand, Cambodia, India, and China. We are concerned that effective conservation programs take place in these native habitats." Additionally, the zoo has spent $53,000 to conservation biologists in Southeast Asia and their hope is that Pachyderm Forest will encourage visitors to contribute to elephant conservation programs as well.

So what can you do to help? That's a great question, but not one that I have a good answer for. The most important thing to do is educate yourself about the plight of elephants, learn about the great conservation work that zoos do, realize that zoos are places where education is a primary objective, and most of all understand that zoos do care about their animals. Most zookeepers care more about animals than they do about themselves and would rather see something happen to them then to the animals under their care. Zoo animals serve as ambassadors for what once was and what could be again.

The L.A Times is currently taking a poll on whether Billy should continue to live at the zoo or be sent to a sanctuary. Please cast your vote and read what people have to say about this delicate issue at

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cosmetic Safety Database

Have you ever wondered what was in the products you use on your body? The contents of these products should be as important to you as the products you put in your body. Most products that we use are loaded with chemicals and these chemicals are absorbed into the skin, which can cause major health problems. Since products labels are so difficult to read, we have a solution for you.

The Environmental Working Group created Skin Deep, the Cosmetic Safety Database, to help you weed out the good products from the bad. According to their website, the mission of the Environmental Working Group is "to use the power of information to protect human health and the environment". Everyone repeat after me "Thank You".

Skin Deep was launched in 2004 and since then has been providing consumers with the information they need to make smart choices about the products they put on their bodies. Can you believe that the government doesn't require companies to test products for safety before they're sold? It's true. And it's a damn shame, don't you think? Thousands of toxic substances work their way into your life via your shopping cart everyday and no one is policing them. What's a person to do? Be educated. Be informed. You will find the information you need and even some that you wish you didn't know about all with the click of your mouse.

The website is easy to use, with safety ratings for almost a quarter of all products currently on the market - 40,900 products containing 8,283 ingredients. You can search makeup, skin care, hair care, eye care, nail care, baby care, oral care and fragrance. Simply put in the name of the product or the name of the company that makes the product to find out how your product ranks. Each search will show a product score range from 0 - 10, a product count, and ingredient count. Products with a score of 0-2 are low hazard, 3-6 are moderate hazard, and 7-10 are high hazard. You will be surprised by the scores when you search products you use every day.

So head on over to to check your products. When you find that a product you use is a hazard to your health, please search for a safe product that will do the same thing. I have posted and will continue to post products that are safe for you and your family. And if you currently use a safe product that you would like to tell everyone about, please leave a comment. We are all in this together.

Wednesday Wag Out!

Today's post is all about products that Mom is going to try this year. I had nothing to do with the product selection, so don't blame me when you are shaking your head saying "What is she thinking?"

Olive My Body
This will be the must have multi-use body care product of the year and not just because of its cute name. You can use this balm on nails, knees, neck, lips, cuticles, and anywhere else on your body that needs to be soothed. There are many organic ingredients like olive fruit olive, shea butter, beeswax, and castor oil. The rest of the ingredients are natural and good for your body.

Those of you who are not familiar with Kiss My Face products, none of them are tested on animals, most of them do not even contain animal products, they do not contain artifical colors or unnecessary chemicals, and you will be hooked on them as soon as you try them. Mom has bad cuticles, dry skin, and chapped lips, so hopefully this stuff will help. Maybe it is the miracle product that she has been looking for. This product is selling out quick, so get yours while you can at

Pit Putty
This product may have a funny name, but people really swear by its effectiveness. Most deodorants contain chemicals that have been known to cause cancer. This deodorant is chemical free and it supposedly works better than what you are currently using. The ingredients are all natural: organic arrowroot powder, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic lemon essential oil, organic cloves essential oil. That's all that's in there and it's all good stuff. The lemon oil and clove makes you smell fresh, while the arrowroot powder absorbs wetness naturally.

Mom frequently has odor issues because she sweats so much. She tried a crystal deodorant stick over the summer, but it really didn't work that great, so she is excited to finally try something natural that will really work. She is going to order some today and suggests that you do too. Head on over to to get your very own Pit Putty. I just love saying Pit Putty! And once again I am glad that I am dog because I don't have pits, so I don't need this stuff.

Diva Cup
This is one of those products that you have to see to believe. I don't really understand how it works, but hey, I don't have to because I am a dog!

Landfills all over the U.S. are filled with single use feminine hygiene products. Each year American woman throw away 12 billion sanitary napkins and 7 billion tampons, in addition to the dioxin-producing chlorine and pesticide heavy cotton used to create these products. So what is the alternative?

The DivaCup is a non-absorbent menstrual cup that simply collects menstrual flow. It is as simple as that. No more environmentally wasteful products, the Diva Cup is used over and over again, eliminating the need for traditional feminine hygiene products forever.

The DivaCup sits at the lower base of the vaginal canal, and is easy to insert and remove. It can be worn for up to 12 hours before emptying, washing and reinserting for use another 12 hours.

Okay, enough about the Diva Cup already, Mom! To learn more about the Diva Cup, check it out at Mom is going to buy one today at Whole Foods, so wish her luck with it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Funny Title, Great Book!

Mom cannot say enough great things about this book. She was totally obsessed with it when she got it from the library, and she wouldn't put it down until she was finished reading it. Of course, I can't read, but I feel as if I read this book because Mom told me all about it.

First of all, Mom does not allow herself to read fiction books that often. Allow herself? I really don't understand this concept because I allow myself to do what myself wants. If I want to go outside, I go. If I want to sleep all day, I snooze to my heart's content. If I want to eat until I puke, they eating I will do. My list goes on and on, but this post is not about me - it's about this book.

When Mom does read fiction, she almost never reads anything like this book. But all the reviews that she read forced her hand and before she knew it, she was reading it. The story is very fascinating and is written as letters. The main character Juliet, receives a letter from a man, Dawsey, who found a book that Juliet owned. Dawsey wants more information about the author of the book, Charles Lamb, and Juliet and Dawsey begin to correspond.

Juliet is an author who lives in London and Dawsey is a pig farmer who lives on the island of Guernsey. The book is set in 1946 and Juliet soon learns about the German Occupation of Guernsey. She begins to correspond with other people from Guernsey and then visits Guernsey. I don't want to give too much away, but the book is a peek inside what life was like for the people of this little island during and even after the war. It is a heartwarming book that everyone is sure to enjoy.

Another interesting thing about the book are the authors. When Mom first picked up the book and checked out the back flap she thought that it was interesting that the book had two authors. Maybe one did the research and the other wrote the actual text? Wrong. The main author is Mary Ann Shaffer and she kind of stumbled upon the story while researching another book. Mary Ann gets while writing the book and her niece, Annie Barrows, steps in to finished writing the book.

I guess I am lucky that I don't read because Mom either reads to me or summarizes the books she reads. Both are good options that I allow for myself.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Unscrew America!

If you are looking to make changes in the new year and need a resolution, I have the perfect resolution for you. I am talking about making a small change that will make a big difference.

Unscrew America is a campaign to raise awareness of CFLs and LEDs. The campaign was started by one of the producers of An Inconvenient Truth along with the founder of GSD&M's Idea City. The website is totally interactive with great information about the campaign, videos, and even additional information about things you can do to save energy.

The idea of lightbulb replacement sounds simple, right? There are so many places to buy CFLs, from your local grocery store to the hardware store down the street. Don't have time to run out and buy CFLs? There are lots of places on the Internet to purchase them. The bottom line is that there is no reason to not change your lightbulbs.

So, why CFLs? CFLs produce the same amount of light as traditional lightbulbs, but use 80% less energy. CFLs also last 10-15 times longer. Despite the additional initial cost of CFLs, they pay for themselves in five months. Remember to purchase Energy Star - approved bulbs with the same output as those you are replacing.

The most important thing to remember about CFLs is that you cannot simply toss them in the trash when they burn out. CFLs contain mercury, so the bulbs must be disposed of properly. Check your town's website or for collection programs.

So what are you waiting for? Go to right now! Get all the information you need about CFLs and LEDs, then get shopping. Even if you don't live in America, you can and should still visit the website to determine if you can participate in the campaign. This is a change we can all make as we unscrew America and the world!