Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Salt Lamp

Mom always thinks she is the last one to find out about all the cool stuff in the world. This is simply not so. She finds things and then forgets about them, so this is a memory thing, not a first to know thing. She loves these lamps, but when she first saw them last year she didn't tell me about them. Duh! How can I blog about them if I don't know about them?

Salt lamps don't just look beautiful, they are even good for you. The salt comes from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains which is on the other side of the Earth. Salt lamps generate healthy negative ions that cleanse the air, kind of like how the air changes after a good rain. The change in the air is due to negative ions and that is exactly what these lamps give off. The best parts is that they don't lose their power over time.

But why do you need negative ions in your air? Negative ions help purify the air of allergens, dust, smoke, bacteria and more yucky stuff. Not only is this lamp a source of light and a natural air purifier, it can also help people who have various respiratory ailments. Mom has asthma, so now that she told me about these lamps, I am going to remind her to buy one for her office. See if the negative ions help cleanse your air by buying a salt lamp at http://www.natural-salt-lamps.com/.

Eco'brella
Mom always has umbrella issues. I just don't get it. Why go out when it rains anyway? Just wait until the rain stops and then go out. Silly humans!

If you must go out in the rain, shield yourself in style with this great Eco'brella from Totes that is made of 70% recycled components. The canopyis made from 100% recycled PET bottles, the fram is made from 70% recycled steel and aluminum, the handle is made from bamboo, and the handle strap is made from waxed hemp. It features a cool recycled symbol on it so that everyone knows you are doing the right thing. This is a must have for all those springtime showers, so head on over to http://www.totes.com/ to get yours today.

Dung Bunnies

Okay, I thought this was a joke when Mom first told me about it, but then she showed it to me and I couldn't stop laughing. Dung bunnies? Just what every pug needs!

Susan Bell is a Denver artist who one day wondered what to do with all the manure produced by her two horses. Then the light bulb went on over her head and Dung Bunnies was born. These days she doesn't just make bunnies, she also makes duck, pigeon, frog, and cats
sculptures. Hey, no pug sculptures? I am going to e-mail her and tell her that I will gladly model for a pug sculpture.

The sculptures are made entirely out of horse manure so they are perfect in the garden as decoration but also as fertilizer because they decompose slowly over a period of a year or so.
They don't even smell because the manure turns to compost in 2 years at which point it is ready to be turned into bunnies and more (soon pugs). The more you have in your garden, the healthier your plants will be. Mom cannot wait to get her dung bunnies and she is glad that these bunnies won't leave any poop in the yard. Head on over to http://www.dungbunnies.com/ to get yourself a bunny or two.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Farewell My Subaru

Mom got this book from the library last week after deciding that it was finally time to read it. She has seen it last month, thought it looked good, but decided that it wasn't the type of book that she was looking to read at the time. I don't know why it is the right time to read it now, but it is. I don't argue with Mom when it comes to books because she loves them and I don't. I prefer to get all the info I need through osmosis.

Farewell My Subaru is about a guy, Doug Fine, that leaves the good life behind in Manhattan to move to a ranch in New Mexico to see if he can reduce his carbon footprint by living off the land. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong and the book is an attempt to bring humor to serious issues regarding global climate change. Doug has to grow his own food (including animals), use only the sun to power all his electronic gadgets, and consume little to no fossil fuel for an entire year. Sound difficult? You bet it is, considering he had never raised chickens or grown beans before.

The theme of the book is self-sufficiency and how you can cut-back on or eliminate the consumption of fossil fuels. America has become so dependent on fossil fuels that it is killing us - literally. No one wants to give up their way of life and neither does Doug Fine. In order rid his lifestyle of fossil fuel, he has to install solar panels on his house at the Funky Butte Ranch and get rid of his beloved Subaru, the LOVEsubee, in favor of a vegetable oil-powered truck.

Doug also vows to shop locally and finds this very challenging due to the remoteness of his ranch. The only store around that has everything he needs is Wal-Mart. There are so many people in the U.S. who only shop at Wal-Mart because they can get everything they need there. This is a good and a bad thing. We are fortunate to live in an area where stores abound and where Wal-Mart is not the go to place for us. Shopping locally does not mean purchasing everything you need at Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart is a global conglomerate. Mom doesn't know what Doug ultimately decides to do about his shopping issues, but so far not good.

Anyone who is looking to make changes in their lives by moving toward a more sustainable, renewable, off the grid existence, should read this book. There are even recipes in the book and Mom can't wait to see what they are. Sidebars in every chapter contain facts about going green that you never even would have thought of. Some of the best sidebars are:

Every year, the average American adds four tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere based on food choices alone. (This is Mom's favorite.)

The average tomato travels 1,500 miles from the field to the table. (Yikes!)

Household use accounts for 1% of water use in the U.S., while irrigation accounts for 39%. (Most irrigation usage is for crop feed.)

I'm not suggesting that everyone up and move to New Mexico to do an experiment like Doug, (though Mom would because her and Dad visited last year and loved it), but I am asking everyone to take a look into making small changes in their lifestyles. We really shouldn't use all the resources we do and we don't have to. We can live with less and still live a comfortable existence. We must make changes now to ensure a future for tomorrow.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Animals Save the Planet!

Does this guy look a little upset? This is Cyril and he is one of the animals featured in short clips from Animal Planet called "Animals Save the Planet". Mom thinks that Cyril is a pug, but I don't think so.

Cyril does have a curly tail, but it's hard to tell if he has a BTOT. His bio reads "Lacking in ambition and devoid of any serious goals, Cyril enjoys chasing his tail all day before falling into a deep, dream-filled sleep. Too bad it's not that easy, little dog." Um, lacking in ambition - check. Devoid of any serious goals - check. Chasing his tail - check. Falling into a deep, dream-filled sleep - check. Okay if you just read his bio you may think he's a pug, but then you see the video and you shake your head no because he's sleeping in a dog bed at night. Everyone knows that pugs sleep in bed with their parents, not alone in a dark room in a dog bed - yuk!

Cyril is upset because all the electronic devices in the room where he is trying to sleep are on standby and humming as he is trying to sleep. He tries everything he can think of to silence the noise, but in the end he finally pulls the plug on all the devices. His message is to turn off what you don't use. If electronics are on all the time, they create greenhouse gases that in turn are harmful to the planet.

Cyril is one of nine animals with a message. All the messages are important, especially as Earth Week comes to an end. Please do your part to help the animals save the planet. Check out all of the short clips at http://www.animalssavetheplanet.com/ after watching poor Cyril 'the maybe pug'.

video

Friday, April 24, 2009

Your Hair Can Help The Environment

When Mom first told me about this idea I thought it was a little crazy, but I agreed to look into it to see if it was for real. It is and I think it is a great idea. This is definitely something all of us (pugs included) can get involved in to help the planet.

Matter of Trust is a nonprofit that matches businesses' donations to smaller, needy nonprofits. It began a cutting edge donation program in 2000 that collaborates with thousands of salons around the U.S. as well as abroad, that donate their hair clippings to help soak up oil spills. Lots of oil spills occur each year, but you don't necessarily hear about them because most are not that high profile. Each and every oil spill has an impact on the environment and must be cleaned up right after it happens, but how exactly do you clean up an oil spill?

Phil McCrory, a hair stylist Alabama, first discovered how hair could help with oil spills while watching news coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. He noticed how the fur on Alaskan sea otters were completely soaked with oil. Instead of just watching in horror and sympathizing with the little guys, he began testing how much oill he could collect by just using the hair clippings from his salon. Viola - a great idea was born! He invented a hairmat that could be used to clean up oil spills, but that can only be used by flower growers due to hair providing a slow release protein.

According to their website, the U.S. has over 300,000 hair salons and each cuts an average of a pound of hair a day. Wow! Salons, schools, and even individuals can participate in the hairmat program. Donations from salons or groups work best because hair in bulk saves on processing time. Donated hair can be any length or type, but it must be clean. They even accept pet hair, and though it doen't work as human hair, dog groomers can still participate in the program.

Hair is shipped to a warehouse in San Francisco that Matter of Trust shares with San Francisco Carpet Recycling. This great partnership combines resources, reuse, and even provides green collar jobs. Once at the warehouse, loose hair is stuffed into nylon stockings which they double up and tie together to make "booms" that surround and contain, as well as soak up oil spills. They also send hair to nonwoven needlepunch factories to make the hairmats that are used for emergency oil spills and for oil bird and mammal cages. They are continuously fundraising to purchase their own needlepunch machine so that they can make hair mats. With this machine, they can provide jobs and training to at risk youths transitioning out of foster care.

How can you get involved? Please tell your hair salon owner and/or dog groomer about the program. Give them the website http://www.matteroftrust.org/programs/hairmatsinfo.html and ask them to join the program. For teachers or for those with children in school, please contact the school to start a collection program. This program provides the opportunity to teach so many educational messages to young people everywhere. The more I learned about this program, the more I understood the need for it. We need to help all living creatures and this is just about the easiest way to do it. We may never end oil spills, but we can help clean them up. Like Mom always says, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Be part of the solution today by getting involved in Matter of Trust.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year! The day the whole world comes together to celebrate Mother Earth. I love how everyone starts thinking about changes they can make to save the planet and become a better steward of our one and only planet. Education is the key to changing the bad that has been done and just remember to spread the word.

In honor of Earth Day, I am spreading the message about a new film. A film that makes its debut, very appropriately, today. Earth is a film by Disney Nature that follows the lives of three animal families - polar bears, African elephants, and humpback whales - and their amazing journeys across the planet. What? No pugs? Sorry, they did not make the cut. But that's okay, because this movie focuses on endangered animals and pugs, thankfully, are not endangered.

James Earl Jones narrates the film as it captures the most intimate moments on our planet. Even if you have seen movies or documentaries like this before, it is still worth going to see this film. Mom always says that you learn new things whenever you seeing something again. Plus a film like this, with spectacular footage of some of our planets most endangered animals, never gets old. This film is about educating everyone about the plight of animals in peril. These animals are running out of time and may not be around forever.

If you purchase tickets to this film during its opening week, Disney will plant a tree in your honor. Wow! What a great thing to do. Advance ticket sales for the film have already exceeded 500,000 so there will soon be that many more trees on planet Earth. The trees will be planted in critical areas of biodiversity, including Brazil's Atlantic rain forest which is one of the most endangered in the world. So many plant and animal species that haven't even been discovered live in rain forests, not to mention the thousands that have. Everyone needs rain forests for their survival and once they are gone, well it's not going to be pretty. Kudos to Disney for helping out in such a huge way and for setting an example for all to follow.

So get out and see this film, learn from it, ask questions about it, and take action now before it's too late. Pugs are lucky they are not endangered, but not all animals are. You can make a difference, not just on Earth Day, but every day, because every day is Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reynolds Wrap Recycled Aluminum

This product is a must have for every eco-kitchen. Hey, wait. Isn't every kitchen eco-friendly? Well, if yours isn't, this is the perfect opportunity for you to start moving in the right direction.

Reynolds just introduced Reynolds Wrap Foil made from 100% recycled aluminum and it you can try it out for free. Yes, free. But quanitities are limited so you must act fast.

How do you get it for free? Via a rebate that will be available for download only on Earth Day (that's tomorrow!) starting at 4:22 am EDT. I know that most of you won't be up at this hour (I know that I will be sound asleep, snoring like a sailor), so put this on your to-do list for first thing tomorrow morning.

If you are worried about using aluminum that has been recycled, rest assured that this stuff is okay for you. It is made from a mix of pre and post consumer aluminum (think scraps and leftovers) with the packaging and core made from 100% recovered paper. Even the inks used on the product packaging are water-based. YEAH!

This is a one day only offer, so don't miss out on this opportunity to begin your eco-kitchen transformation. What a great way to kick off Earth Day!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just Say No to Phosphates!

When I heard about people in Spokane County, Washington traveling out of state to purchase cleaning supplies, I wanted to know why. When I found why, I wasn't shocked, but I wanted to scream. I think you will understand what I mean after I tell you what is going on.

Since last year, Spokane County has had the nation's strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates. Traditional detergents contains about 9% phosphates while those sold in Spokane County can only contain 0.5%. People tried brands like Seventh Generation, Ecover, and Trader Joe's, but they found that they didn't cut the grease and that they left dishes encrusted with food. All of this caused residents to rewash dishes by hand and soon they had had enough. Their solution? Travel to Idaho to purchase Cascade or Electrasol! What residents soon learned was that the problem wasn't with the soap, it was with the hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap. But people didn't listen so the smuggling continues.

Most people are not afraid to tell others that they travel to Idaho to purchase dishwasher detergent. They refuse to live with dirty dishes - who can blame them? - but they are not addressing the real issue, which is the water, not the products. Mom uses Seventh Generation and Ecover, and has never had any issues with either product. We do not have hard water and that could be the reason, but I really think that people don't want to be told what to do. I don't really blame them, but the government is doing it for their own good - really.

The ban on phosphate laden detergents is a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. Phosphates may break down grease, but the chemicals in them are difficult to remove in wastewater treatment plants. So what happens then? The phosphates often wind up in rivers and lakes, where they promote the growth of algae - yuk! Algae gobble up all the oxygen in the water that the fish need to survive, so if there is a too much algae, there won't be any fish. If there aren't any fish, well you get the idea. It's a domino effect, but it can be control if everyone plays by the rules.

The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, this at the same time similar laws take effect in several other states like here in Illinois. A ban on Capitol Hill would impose a nationwide ban. Phosphates in laundry detergent have been banned nationally since 1993.

In the meantime, people continue to travel to Idaho and load up their cars with phosphates. They aren't really breaking any laws, since the ban applies only to the sale of phosphate detergents, not its use or possession. They aren't breaking the law, but they are hurting residents of the county that are doing the right thing. What one person does affects us all and that is just the fact. Please do your part and stop using cleaning products made with phosphates. The lakes, rivers, and streams thank you in advance, as Mother Earth breathes a sign of relief.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

CFL Light Bulb Giveaway Today!

In honor of Earth Day and to show their support for the environment, Home Depot is giving away 1 million CFL bulbs. Simply stop in one of their stores today and you will receive a free EcoSmart 14w bulb. For those of you who haven't made the switch to CFL's yet, this is the perfect chance to start.

CFL's use 65% - 75% less electricty than traditional light bulbs and they last up to 10 times longer than traditional light bulbs. All of this means that you won't have to change bulbs as often, thus saving money in the long run. But not just money is saved by using CFL's because you are also saving precious fossil fuel resources which are dwindling as we speak. Most electricity in the U.S. is produced by coal-fired power plants and for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated by a coal-fired plant, the EPA estimates that 1.43 lbs of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. By switching to energy-saving CFL light bulbs, you lessen greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The impact of CFL's is best shown in numbers. If every U.S household switched just one traditional bulb for a CFL bulb, the energy saved would be like taking 1.3 million cars off the road. That's a huge savings that everyone can realize today. So watt are you waiting for? Head over to the Home Depot and do something good for yourself and your future.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Turn Old Gadgets Into Green

Everyone has old electronic gadgets laying around the house that need to be recycled. You know what I mean - old cell phones that have been replaced by shiny new ones, cameras that have seen better days, laptops that have worn out their welcome, etc. If for whatever reason, you haven't recycled these items yet, head over to Radio Shack to check out their trade-in program.

Simply take your products and/accessories to Radio Shack and a sales associate will appraise them. If you accept their offer, you receive a Radio Shack gift card for that value that you can use right away. How simple is that?

If you don't want to go to Radio Shack, you can go www.radioshack.com to find out how much your items are worth. They will even provide you with a pre-paid shipping label for you to print, so it won't cost you a thing to ship your items. They will mail you a Radio Shack gift card and you can use it online or in their stores.

Okay, now for the 'catch'. It's not really a catch, but all products must be in working condition. What does that mean? It means that they must be able to 'power on' during the appraisal process. The items that you are offering to them might not be the same as the ones that you would take to your local recycling facility, but if you have electronics that are working that nobody wants, this is a good option.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Look What Came in the Mail Today!

Are they kidding? It's time to go back to visit my 'friends' at the animal hospital? No way - I'm not going. They wasted their money sending this little friendly reminder because when Mom showed it to me I shook my head 'no' and put on my pouty face.

Look, it even has my name on it with a note of the exact nature of my visit. I think I'm busy on May 4th anyway. Yeah, I think I have to wash my hair that day or something like that. I may even be out of town. I am a super busy pug who does not have time to visit the crazy people at the animal hospital. I really don't need an exam/semi-annual consultation. What do they need to consult me about? I feel fine. Please, save it for the dumb dogs of the world because this pug is way too smart to be fooled by you.
This is the inside of what I like to call the 'invitation'. Looks kind of slick doesn't? Don't be fooled by the wording - "You want you dog to grow strong and be healthy. We want that too." No you don't! You just want to torture me, poke and prod me with strange instruments, and then stick needles in my delicate little arms to suck the blood out of me. Nope, not happening this time. You have fooled me one too many times and now I am putting my paws down.

The real issue is that the first animal hospital I went to when I was a baby was not a good one. They took my manhood away, but I am over that by now. The problem I had with them is that they did not treat me like Stubby. They would just call me dog. The doctors did not have good bedside manners and once when I got a shot and then almost passed out on the way home, they seemed bothered by the fact that Mom was hysterical and wanted to bring me back there. Hello! I almost died people! I had a reaction to the cocktail of medicines they gave me and Mom was ready to kill herself for letting them almost kill me. I was just a little guy when this happened, about 1 year old. Needless to say, we left that animal hospital and started to going to another one where I fell in love with my doctor.

Dr. Lisa was the best vet ever. She took such good care of me and always called me by my name. She would scratch me behind the ears and talk to me, yes me, before examining me. She had such a calming nature about her that made me feel very warm and fuzzy inside. She was the first vet to clean my teeth and she called Mom as soon as I woke up from the sleepy medicine to inform Mom that I had not died during the procedure. I loved Dr. Lisa so much, but she moved away. And I cried.

I continued going to the same animal hospital and soon was taken care of by Dr. Lovell. He was very nice to me, but he was no Dr. Lisa. He also cleaned my teeth, but I had some complications when I woke up from the sleepy medicine. Dr. Lovell eventually left the practice and so did I, which is how I ended up with Dr. Barten at my current animal hospital.

When I first saw Dr. Barten he told me I was fat. Me, fat? No really, I told him. It's just winter weight. He wasn't buying it and ever since then, I have not liked him. I only saw him a couple of times before I started seeing one of his new colleagues Dr. Cheung. She is nice and she didn't tell me that I was fat, but she did tell Mom that I needed to lose weight. She even gave Mom some diet medicine to give to me. I guess she is okay, but I need to find a really great doctor like Dr. Lisa.

So here I am, dreading a trip to see Dr. Cheung. I still have my winter weight, but hey, it's only April and the snow just melted a couple of weeks ago. I know that I have to go because Mom says I need a checkup and of course I need to have a fecal exam. The bag for my fecal came with my invitation. I can hardly wait to fill it up.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Make Your Own Cereal

Mom loves this idea and can't wait to make her own cereal. I'm sure she's not going to make a cereal that I would like, but hopefully she will at least let me try it.

With [me] and goji, you design a cereal from 50+ all natural and organic ingredients. They mix it by hand at their shop in New England, then ship it off to you in its own custom made cereal capsule. Their website walks you through the cereal creation process, from starting with a base and then adding fruits, nuts, seeds, and more. Simply drag and drop items into the cereal bowl and viola - your very own creation. You even get to name your cereal. I'm not sure what Mom is going to name hers, but I think Nut Job would be appropriate. Check out [me] & goji to get a one of a kind breakfast delight at http://meandgoji.com/.

The Body Deli

You guys know how Mom is always looking for natural skincare products and this company has all the right stuff she's looking for. The name of the company is cool and their products are very different from what you see all the time.

The people at The Body Deli were inspired by the concept of living foods when developing their products. According to their website, all their products are designed to provide nutrition for the skin, both inside and out. Handmade in small batches, their products incorporate raw, fresh, natural, and organic ingredients. Some of their products even have to be refrigerated so they don't spoil.

Mom is interested in the Blueberry Fusion facial scrub. It is supposed to be the ultimate exfoliant and it's made with fresh blueberries, in additional to a host of other good ingredients. I wonder if it is edible. Maybe Mom will put some on me, not that I need any exfoliation, thank you. Click on over to http://www.thebodydeli.com/ to check out their yummy products.

Eco-Friendly Sandals


I don't wear sandals (or any type of shoes for that matter), but Mom loves to wear sandals all summer long. When I found these eco-friendly sandals for her the other day, she told me that she was going to treat herself to a pair later this week. I don't know why she is treating herself - did she win an award, save a life, or win the lottery this week?

zoe&zac is a new line of affordable, stylish, and eco-friendly shoes and accessories from Payless ShoeSource. This cute little sandal (perfect for walking the beach) features an organic cotton and eco-friendly faux leather upper. You will never guess what the elastic slingback is made from - recycled soda and water bottles! How cool is that?

The entire line is under $30 and through May 4, when you buy 1 you get another one at 1/2 off. If those weren't reasons enough to pick up a few pairs, Payless will contribute $1 to The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees Campaign for each zoe&zac product sold. Head on over to http://www.paylessshoesource.com/ to shop online or to find a store near you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Return To Origins Recycling Program

I know that everyone has been saving caps to take to Aveda and some of you may have already dropped some off. Thank you for doing your part to protect Mother Earth. If you do not have an Aveda store near you and/or you do not have an Aveda recycling program at a school near you, I found another opportunity for you to recycle those caps and even more.

Just last month, Origins started their 'Return to Origins Recycling Program', a unique recycling program that is a first of its kind in the cosmetic industry. They will be accepting cosmetic tubes, bottles, jars, lipstick covers, and caps regardless of the brand, at their retail stores and department store counters nationwide (excluding Nordstrom, Canada and Puerto Rico). This is so great! I can't believe that someone hasn't started a program like this before.

But what are they going to do with all this stuff and why are they recycling it instead of us? A lot of cosmetic packaging doesn't even end up in household recycling cans and those that do are usually not recycled because recyclers can only accept items made from materials that they can recognize as PET (soda and water bottles) or HDPE (milk or detergent bottles). Origins wants to make sure that these items don't end up in landfills, so they have committed to recycle them for us or to use them for energy recovery (energy that generates electricity and/or steam from waste). Yeah!

Origins hopes that this program will encourage other companies to follow their model nd start recycling programs of their own. In these tough economic times, I am happy to see companies forging ahead with green ideals. We really need all the help we can get and we need to get everyone involved.

So clean out your empty tubes, jars, bottles, lipstick covers, and caps and head on over to an Origins location near you. To thank everyone for their committment to the environment, Origins will give you a free sample of their products when you drop your recyclables off. Nice going Origins and keep up the great work. You inspire all of us to do the right thing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Take the Pledge to Get the Tote

Pledge to sustain yourself, sustain the planet.

Mom loves this tagline because it appeals to her sense of helping others. Like she always says, we are all in this together - my actions affect you and vice versa. We can and we will make changes in our lives, not only for our health, but for the health of the planet.

In the spirit of doing the right thing, Earthbound Farm has come up with the Sustain Yourself, Sustain the Planet Pledge. Sun icons are displayed in a very pretty kitchen and by clicking on each icon, you learn about ways to sustain yourself and the planet. For example, when you click on the roll of paper towels, the pledge 'I will choose reusable or recycled instead of disposable' appears. This is the pledge you are agreeing to, along with a checkbox at the top of the pledge for you to check. There are also tips on how to live the pledge and facts on the difference this pledge will make in the world.

After clicking on and agreeing to the each pledge that you are going to make in your life, simply click the submit my pledge link. You can print out your choices as a reminder of your pledge. Sometimes we need to be reminded about the things we are trying to do to make a difference. It's like taking reusable bags to the store. In the beginning when you pledge to do this, sometimes you forget. After a while, taking the bags becomes second nature and you never forget again (the trick to not forgetting is to leave them in the car).

If you are one of the first 10,000 people to take the pledge each week in April, you'll win a beautiful Earthbound Farm reusable shopping tote. How cool is that? No more excuses for not having a reusable bag ever again. So what are you waiting for? Take the pledge today at http://www.ebfarm.com/AboutUs/SustainYourselfSustainThePlanet/index.aspx#pledge.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I hope you have a great Easter!
I am not searching for eggs today (because Mom didn't hide any), but I'm having eggs for breakfast. After breakfast I am going out in search of the Easter Bunny and if I find him I will take a picture of him.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sea Turtle With One Flipper

Mom's friend Carole told her about this story today. Carole volunteered at an aquarium in NJ and the sea turtle they had there came from the same place this turtle lives, Sea Turtle, Inc. in South Padre, Texas. I love a happy story and this one definitely made my day.

Allison is a 5-year-old green sea turtle who lost three flippers during a shark attack in 2005. She was giving little chance of surviving, but she recovered from her injuries and soon found a place in the hearts of her rescuers at Sea Turtle, Inc. Since arriving there, she has been swimming in circles because that's all she can do with her right front flipper. She could never be released into the wild with one flipper, but the people that work with her wanted to increase her quality of life in captivity. What could they do?

Tom Wilson, a 21-year old intern at Sea Turtle, Inc. came up with the idea of building a wet suit for Allison. He designed a black neoprene suit with a carbon-fiber dorsal fin on the back that would allow her to glide through the water like other turtles. The fin acts like a rudder, thus providing her with stability, and she can change direction by varying the strokes of her lone flipper. On Wednesday, researchers put the black neoprene suit on her and she swam like a regular turtle once more. She was finally set straight and is now an ambassador for her endangered species.

Here is a video of Allison in action. She is really a trooper and I hope I can visit her in Texas one day. Until that time comes, I will watch her video and be reminded that there is hope for sea turtles everywhere.

video

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Messenger Bag

Mom already has too many bags, but she doesn't have one like this. This messenger bag is made from 100% organic cotton and is really heavy-duty. Built to hold quite a load, it has room for books, binders, water bottles, snacks, and more.

You can only find this great bag at Green T, an environmentally friendly company. Not only are all their products made with certified organic or sustainable eco-friendly fabrics, but they only do business with companies that follow Fair Trade or Sweatshop Free standards. This is defintely the way to run a profitable business and feel good about doing so. Check out the messenger bag and other cool items at http://www.egreent.com/.

Recycled Paper Necklace

I think it is so cool how people come up with different recycling ideas. Mom is quite handy and creative, but even she will admit that there are far better ideas out there than hers.

The beads on this cool necklace are made glossy paper found in old calendars and brochures. Add a few glass seed beads in between the recycled beads and viola!
The necklaces are made by young women would are part of the Teenage Mothers Association of Kenya (TEMAK). TEMAK is an organization that offers job training in many areas to unwed mothers, girls, and others in a slum community in Kenya. Many of the young women make crafts to earn income to support themselves and their families. You will look great wearing this necklace while you feel good about helping out those in need, so head on over to http://www.giftswithhumanity.com/ to pick up one today.

ChicoBag

Not all bags are created equal are they? Mom and Dad use Whole Food Bags made from recycled content when they are out shopping, but I think they could use more bags. If they decide they don't need any additional bags, I am going to buy some bags for my friends because the bags have a story to tell.

The ChicoBag rePETe (get it?) is made from 99% recycled content, but it also has messages written on it. The handles say "This bag is made from 7 plastic bottles!" and a list of the recycled materials used in manufacturing the bag is printed on the inside of the bag. How cool is that! Each bag comes with a stuff pouch so the bag takes up very little room in your purse or car. The bags hold 25 pounds - that's more than I weigh! I guess I could fit in the bag, but that wouldn't be a good idea, would it? These bags would make great Earth Day gifts, so visit http://www.chicobag.com/ soon because Earth Day is only 14 days away.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crash Course - Environmental Data

Have you ever heard of Chris Martenson? Me neither, until today. Mom found his website while doing some research and she thought you might be interested in hearing about him. He has put together a series of videos (20 of them) which represents his best attempt to explain exactly how we got into the economic crisis we are currently in. The videos are free and he is offering them to everybody who wants to view them on his website http://www.chrismartenson.com/. But who is Chris Martenson and why should I care about what he has to say about anything?

First of all, Chris Martenson is not an economist. He was trained as a scientist with the intention of teaching, but learned along the way that teaching at the collegiate level was not going to pan out. He switched gears, got an MBA, and then worked in the corporate world in finance. You can read about his before and after story on his website, but the most important thing to know is that he figured things out, on a personal level, and changed his lifestyle. As he says "... most importantly, I now know that the most important descriptor of wealth is not my dollar holdings, but the depth and richness of my community." Powerful words, huh?

Okay, now back to the video portion of this blog. I am not into economics, but the economy does affect me. The video that most interests me of the entire series is chapter 18 which deals with the environment. He explains how our resources are being depleted as the fasted rates ever and how this ties into economics. He also talks at length about overpopulation and the demand for fossil fuels, which are not infinite like some may think. The take away from this chapter is that it is so important for everyone to understand that our natural resources must be carefully managed for not only our environmental future but also for our economic future.

I tried several times to upload this video so that you could view it on my blog, but received error messages every single time. Maybe it is too big, I don't know. The video is 16 minutes and 22 seconds long, but it has such great information that you will be glued to the screen during the entire video. Please click here to view it and let me know what you think about it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More Ways to Recycle From Terracycle

Last month, Terracycle rolled out collection bins in stores to make it easier for people to recycle. The bins are in places you shop all the time like Petco, OfficeMax, Best Buy, and Home Depot, but for now they are just in the New York and New Jersey area. This three month pilot program is just the beginning of a nationwide plan to have bins in 10,000 retail locations nationwide by this time next year.

Each store will have bins specific to their items. This just makes sense since you would not be recycling something at Petco that you bought at Home Depot. Terracycle also only wants specific items that they can use now or that they are developing a need for.

As you can see from the photo above, Home Depot will be accepting caulking tubes, paint brushes, saw blades, nursery pots and furnace filters. These are all items that we have around the house and that most likely would end up in a landfill if it weren't for this program. Can you guess what Terracycle is going to do with these items? Well, the saw blades will be turned into clocks. Mom tells me that she has seen clocks made from saw blades at craft fairs. The plant pots will be shredded and turned into sturdy pots in response to complaints from gardeners. Petco is collecting pet food bags and along with plastic shopping bags (yuk!) that will be accepted at all the stores, will be turned into tote bags.

Additionally, Terracycle still has spots open for a lot of their recycling programs. For those of you who are not aware of how these programs work, Terracycle will pay you for your waste. That's right - this is not a typo. They will pay you for drink pouches, cookie wrappers, Frito Lay chip bags, Bear Naked bags, and more. Participation in the program is completely free and all shipping is paid for by Terracycle. In most cases you will receive $.02 per item, but it all adds up. The money gets donated to the non-profit organization or school of your choice and the items get recycled instead of ending up in landfills. This is a great way to do a fundraiser with very little effort. For more information about Terracycle, visit them at http://www.terracycle.net/.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mom's Mini Road Trip

Mom and her zoo buddy Zina took a little road trip to Milwaukee yesterday. I, of course, was left at home because: a) Mom's new car is a "pug-free" zone and b) they don't allow pugs in museums. Whatever.

Mom and Zina first stopped at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Mom suddenly became interested in art after visiting Santa Fe, NM last year and now she is obsessed with Georgia O'Keeffe. The Milwaukee Art Museum has a large O'Keeffe collection because O'Keeffe was born in Wisconsin. There was also a special exhibition going on called 'Out of Rembrandt's Shadow - Jan Lievens' that they wanted to see. Mom said the exhibit was excellent and that she learned a lot.

On the way back home from Milwaukee, they stopped in Racine to visit Upurea. Upurea is a green beauty destination that has had an online presence for a few years, but only recently opened a brick-and-mortar store last fall. Mom has wanted to visit this store since it opened and she didn't waste any time once she got inside.

Mom is constantly researching green beauty products because the traditional drugstore and department store brands are full of chemicals. In her search she has uncovered many great brands and Nvey Eco is one brand that she has been dying to experience in person.

Mom purchased Nvey Eco Organic Lip Lustre in Coco Honey. According to their website 'lip lustre's fusion of nature and color is a dual purpose lip color and moisturizer, enriched with organic elements and orange essential oil flavor.' Just what Mom needed. I'm so glad she bought it. Zina bought some Nvey Eco eye shadow because she says that her eyes are always bloodshot. I have no idea what she means, but I hope she looks good in her new eyeshadow.

Nvey Eco is from Australia and in the three short years it has been available in the U.S., it has really proved to be the best organic makeup.

Mom has been having some dry facial issues lately, so she has been on the lookout for a new moisturizer. She hadn't heard of Trilogy prior to stopping in at Upurea, but she ended up purchasing their Energizing Face Lotion. The website describes it as 'a light nourishing face lotion, brimming with vitamins and pure plant extracts. It is uniquely designed to firm skin and boost moisture levels, whilst allowing the skin to breathe freely.' Hmm. Skin that breathes freely? Doesn't all skin naturally breathe freely? I know mine does and I don't even use anything on it.

Trilogy is from New Zealand and is only available at a handful of stores. Mom is anxious to try it out because if it works like it's suppose to, then her other 'green moisturizers' that don't work will be banished to the back of the medicine cabinet.

As you can see, Mom did not buy anything for me yesterday. Nothing. I am a little upset that I didn't get anything, but the weekend is coming up so I am hopeful that a little something is going to come my way. In the meantime, if you are looking for great green beauty products, you don't have to go to Racine to buy them. Just head on over to http://www.upurea.com/ and pick up some of your own goodies. All of their orders are packed using 100% biodegradable cornstarch peanuts and post consumer packaging, so not only are their products green but their business is green as well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday Wag Out!

Eco Twine Rug

Mom was hard at work last week putting away the household winter stuff and replacing it with spring stuff. She put out the bunnies in the family room, changed the flags outside, and even changed the rugs. She is always looking for new rugs but she never finds anything she really likes. When I showed her these rugs she gave me a big kiss and could not stop thanking me.

These stylish rugs are made from recycled soda bottles, candy wrappers, and plastic labels. Yep, these are trashy rugs. Instead of going to the landfill, they are transformed into beautiful rugs by women in India. They weave the plastic twine into one-of-a-kind creations that are sure to last well beyond this season. By purchasing this rug you will not only have a true work of recycled art in your house, but you will also be enabling the women of India an opportunity to earn a living while working at home. Everyone needs a piece of art under their feet, so head on over to http://www.vivaterra.com/ to get your very own rug today.

Book Journals

Everyone knows how much Mom loves books, but did you know that she is always looking for ways to recycle books? When I came across this neat product, Mom couldn't believe her eyes. Why hadn't she thought of this?

Book Journals are paper journals made from recycled book covers. Each journal is contains about 75 sheets of acid free, blank paper for you to draw in or jot down personal notes. Anything that was in the inside cover, like a library due date sheet, inscription, or illustrations is intact, so each journal is truly unique. They have lots of styles to choose from including lots of Dr. Seuss books and they also do custom orders. Mom is thinking about getting some turtle book journals, but in the mean time she is heading over to http://www.bookjournals.com/ today to pick up a cookbook journal.

Rebagz

This is another idea that has been around for a while, but is still very cute and stylish. With spring upon us, who doesn't need a new bag?

Rebagz are handmade bags made from recycled juice packs and nylon rice sacks. They have many different styles to choose from including wallets, cell phone bag, shopping bags, makeup bags, and even laptop carriers. The woven bags are made from recycled juice packs so they are very colorful and unique. The nylon rice sack bags feature designs from many different types of rice sacks. There is even a blue bird bag that Mom likes.

The founder of the company got the idea for Rebagz during a trip to the Phillipines. He found a foundation that recycles plastic juice packs and weaves them into all kinds of cool things. He also noticed that some rice bags had really colorful designs on them and viola, Rebagz was created. These bags are a great alternative to the 'status quo' bags of today and they are good for the planet. Get your new bag for spring today at http://www.halftheskydesigns.com/.