Friday, July 31, 2009
Tour de Turtles is a fun, educational journey through the science, research and geography of sea turtle migration using satellite telemetry. Created by Caribbean Conservation Corporation, with help from sponsors and partners, this event follows the marathon migration of ten sea turtles, representing four different species, from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds. How cool is that? Learning about sea turtle migration is important in determining conservation initiatives. Scientists need to know where the turtles go so that they can protect these areas. What better way to do it than with a race?
The Tour de Turtles follows each sea turtle as they complete a marathon migration of 1,628 miles. Wow! That's really far. I hope they don't get tired. Each turtle is swimming for a cause to raise awareness about a specific threat to sea turtles. The turtle I'm following (and rooting for) is Squirt. Did you see Finding Nemo? If you did, then you know Squirt was the name of the little turtle in the movie. I have loved that little guy ever since I saw the movie and was so excited when I saw there was a turtle in the race named Squirt.
This is Squirt. Squirt is an adult loggerhead sea turtle that was encountered nesting on May 21, 2009, in the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, Florida. So Squirt is a girl. Her shell (curved) length measured 107.5 cm. That may seem big, but Mom tells me that this is about average size for an adult female. Mom measures turtles when she goes to Wassaw Island so she should know about this stuff. A satellite transmitter was applied to Squirt's shell after she finished nesting so that she could participate in the Tour de Turtles.
So you may be thinking that I picked Squirt to follow because of her name. Wrong! I picked her because of her cause. She is swimming to raise awareness about the threat of commercial longline fisheries. You guys know how I feel about longline fishing, so it only made sense to follow Squirt. She is sponsored by the Academy at Ocean Reef which is in Key Largo, FL.
All the causes the turtles are swimming for are important. You can watch short video clips about some of the causes and release videos of the turtles on the Tour de Turtles website. Squirt doesn't have a release video - she wanted her release to be private. You can also check out Squirt's migration map, where you can follow her along as she swims.
So go check out the race, meet the turtles, and learn about their causes at http://www.tourdeturtles.org/. You can also learn about sea turtle migration and the science of tracking turtles on the website. The coolest part of the website may just be the turtle player, but I'm not going to tell you what it is - you will have to check it out for yourself. And remember - while we may not know which turtle will swim the distance first, one thing is certain: Saving sea turtles - it's a marathon, not a sprint!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
So what is the program? It's a reusable bag challenge! 31 mountain towns in the Western U.S. (mostly Colorado) are giving people an extra incentive to bring their reusable bags with them when they shop. Participating stores will tally the use of every reusable bag used or purchased by customers at checkout and the winning town will be determined on a per capita basis by which town uses the most reusable bags during the challenge. The prize? The winning town will win a solar panel installation on their public school. Wow! What a great prize!
Even though plastic bags are recyclable, most are not recycled. An estimated 4 billion plastic bags worldwide end up as litter ever year. Wow! That's gross! If we tied all these bags end to end, we could circle the Earth 63 times. Yuk! I see plastic bags stuck in trees when I am driving with Mom in the car. It makes me sad to know that people don't even care what happens to the plastic bags and mad that people use them at all.
This type of grassroots effort can be realized in communities across the country. By engaging in a campaign that encourages citizen activism, we can get everyone involved in something that matters to them. That is really the only way to get people interested - it has to mean something to them. Raising awareness of the effects of plastic bags and giving something back to people is a win-win for everyone.
I hope this campaign inspires you to think about ways you can help in your community. Mom is plotting a way to take this idea to the local chamber of commerce. Maybe I can dress up in plastic bags and be the mascot. Anyone want to join me?
Monday, July 27, 2009
George is the last known Pinta Island tortoise and he's shown little interest in reproducing over the years. He has been in captivity for the past 36 years after conservationists discovered him on Pinta Island. Scientists have been trying to get George to mate since 1993, when they introduced two female tortoises of a different subspecies into his pen. He mated last year, much to the surprise of his keepers, but the eggs laid by one of his female companions turned out to be infertile.
Mom and Dad visited George three years ago and Mom told me that George is a superstar. There were so many people around George's pen taking pictures it was like he had his own paparazzi. Visiting George and the other tortoises at both the Charles Darwin Research Center and in the wild was a highlight of their trip. They actually saw tortoises in the wild mating. They took a video of it and Mom tells me that it sounded like cows mooing.
When keepers found the five eggs in George's pen, then were in perfect condition. They were taken and placed in an incubator where they will be incubated for 120 days to find out whether they are fertile. Keep your fingers and paws crossed that the eggs are fertile and that George will be a daddy.
Galapagos tortoises were among the species Charles Darwin observed to formulate his theory of evolution in the 19th century. They were hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen almost to the point of extinction, while their habitat has been eaten away by goats introduced from the mainland. There are still some 20,000 giant tortoises that still live on the Galapagos and they are fully protected from poachers.
I cannot visit Lonesome George because they don't allow dogs at the Charles Darwin Research Center, but if you have the opportunity to visit him please do. Mom is going back to see him at the first chance she gets (don't tell Dad) and she hopes that she will get to meet his children. Even if George never has children, conservationists are working to ensure that all the other subspecies of Galapagos tortoises never go extinct.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Greenpeace Australia has a really cool campaign where you can join the swell of international pressure by sending a virtual origami whale to the Japanese prime minister to ask him to stop whaling. Japan is notorious for whaling and they claim that they do it for research purposes. Right. And what do they do with the meat? Nothing! There is no market for it. What a total waste and we must work together to stop it now!
This is how you can help. Simply sign the petition and create your own custom whale to send to Japan. When I made my origami whale earlier today, there were 118,317 whales swimming to Japan. Wow! There aren't that many real whales swimming in all the oceans of the world. The more whales that join the pod the bigger the impact when they arrive in Japan.
Once I finished making my whale, I watched it swimming with the pod. Every whale looked different and had a different name with a different message. My whale is named 'Stubby's whale'. Real original, huh? Mom is going to make one tomorrow and I have no idea what she is going to name it.
I can even click on the map and see where my whale is. Since I just made it today, today is my first day at sea. I'm leaving Australia and heading for Japan. Only 8,504 miles to go! I can even check back and see where my whale is by entering my e-mail address. How cool is that? I can even see the other whales in pod that are swimming around me.
So head on over to http://www.send-a-whale.com/sendawhale/landing.php and create your own whale to send to Japan. We need all the whales we can to make sure our voices are heard. This is your chance to stop whaling once and for all.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Can you believe this? This is an outrage! I am totally humiliated! How could she do this? What is she thinking? Have you been drinking again Mom?
Mom saw people putting sunglasses on their dog's butts and decided to try it on me. Fortunately for me, I wasn't really playing along.
To add insult to injury, Dad said I looked like an elephant. What! An elephant? I can't help it that my tail doesn't always curl. Don't make fun of me!
Mom thinks this picture looks like a smiling elephant. Great. Make fun of me all you want. We'll see whose laughing when I pee on these sunglasses.
Even Dad refused to help me. Here I am pleading with him to get the dumb sunglasses off of me and he is ignoring me. Hello! I need help down here! I'm being tortured!
HELP! I can't take it anymore. I don't really look like an elephant in this picture, do I?
Okay, maybe there is a slight resemblance to an elephant in this picture, but it's a stretch. I think these sunglasses make by butt look big. They barely fit around me. Come on Mom. Put the camera down!
I have had enough! I'm curling my tail and taking my cute butt out of here! There will be no more making fun of Stubby tonight!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Mom likes this bracelet because it is red, white & blue, but there are lots of different colors to choose from. This one is one size fits all and can be bent and shaped to fit your wrist. The silver is even recycled and each bracelet is handcrafted.
They even have bracelets made from guitar strings that your favorite guitarist used. Mom has here eye on a bracelet made from Ben Harper's guitar strings, but I think she may put this on her Christmas list and let Santa bring it.yours handcrafted from recycled fine silver and guitar strings used and donated by the artist you select. The artists bracelets are sized and each one comes packaged in recycled DVD cases with certificates of authenticity. The profits are even donated to charities selected by the artists. How cool is that?
Mom has lots of door mats, but she doesn't have one like this. Master of the obvious maybe, but a conversation piece for sure.
This recycled rubber doormat is made from 100% recycled truck tires. Millions of truck (and car) tires are thrown away each year and people are starting to come up with some really creative ways to use them so they don't end up in landfills.
The doormat has durable nylon flocking and is washable. Mom likes that you can wash this doormat because let's face it, all doormats get dirty. You can use it indoors or outdoors but wherever you use it you are bound to get compliments.
This would also make a great gift, so check it out at www.re-modern.com. They have lots of cool items so I won't be surprised if you find many things you like. Mom may add this to her Christmas list.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
One of the stores in the pilot program is the CVS store in our town. Mom is a little upset that our local grocery store is not in the program, but other grocery stores within this chain are participating. I'm not sure why some stores wouldn't want to participate. Wouldn't you as a store owner want to reduce your costs by having to purchase less plastic bags? Not to mention the environmental implications and press your store would receive.
In case you are unaware of the plastic bags and film that can be recycled, here is a list from plasticbagrecycling.org:
• dry cleaning bags
• bread bags
• produce bags
• toilet paper, napkin, and paper towel wraps
• furniture wrap
• electronic wrap
• plastic retail bags (hard plastic and string handles removed)
• grocery bag
• zip lock bags (remove hard components)
• plastic cereal box liners (if it tears like paper do not include)
• Tyvek(no glue, labels, other material)
• diaper wrap (packaging)
• plastic shipping envelopes (no bubble wrap/remove labels)
• case wrap (e.g., snacks, water bottles)
• All clean, dry bags labeled #2 or #4
I know that most of you use cloth or other reusable bags when you shop, so you don't have any traditional bags to recycle, but if you do come across a clean bag somewhere, please drop it off where it can be recycled. You can visit http://www.plasticbagrecycling.org/ to find plastic bag drop-off locations near you.
How many of you knew that you could recycle the plastic in the above list? All of us learn something new every single day. Now that you know these items can be recycled, please take the time to recycle them so they don't end up in a landfill. If everyone does their part, the world will be a cleaner place. Spread the word - recycling is where it's at!
Monday, July 20, 2009
So why exactly is Dad doing this again? I think it's because of a conversation he had with Mom while they were out to dinner with friends on Saturday night. They got to talking and I think Dad may have felt a little guilty about eating all the meat he does. I do not feel guilty about all the meat I consume because I am a pug and I eat meat - always, every day. As you know, Mom has meatless everydays since she hasn't eaten meat in what seems like forever.
Things started out bad right from the get go this morning. Dad's breakfast? Cereal with blueberries, boysenberries, and raspberries. Where are my eggs? I asked. Where is the delicious pork sausage? I cried. Sorry Stubby. We are going meatless today. NOOOOO! I threatened to run away and Dad gave me a tiny piece of lunchmeat. Not exactly a substitute for my normal breakfast, but at least it was something.
Lunch was a disaster. Dad had a salad. Yuk! Nothing for me this time despite my pouty face. Mom was gone all day - not that she would have given me any meat - so I didn't even have anyone else to hang out with. I have no idea what Dad plans on having for dinner but if I don't get a hot dog or something I'm outta here.
I think Dad is really going meatless on Mondays for health reasons. According to the Meatless Monday website, going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. Dad has type 2 diabetes already and he could stand to lose some weight, so I think this is his way of getting back on track. Mom is all about reducing her (and everyone else's) carbon footprint and saving precious resources so she is happy Dad is meatless today. I guess I am happy that he is making changes to his diet but why does it have to affect me?
Mom thinks meatless Mondays are a great idea. It's not just about the things I mentioned before but also about the animals that are spared because people are not eating them on Mondays. Hmmmm. Sounds like brainwashing to me, but Mom may be right about this. She does like and appreciate when people don't eat meat, but there is no chance ever of Dad becoming a vegetarian. Never. Bet the house on it.
Monday will be over in a little more than 6 hours so I'm hoping I can stay awake to see what Dad has to eat once the clock strikes twleve. I vote for Popeye's chicken, but that's what I always vote for. Dad may not even be awake at midnight and of course I may not either, so both of us may just have to wait until breakfast tomorrow to have a real meal.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
This week nine shark survivors from around the country joined animal advocates in Washington to show their support for the Shark Conservation Act of 2009. What exactly is this act? The act would strengthen the ban on shark finning, eliminate loopholes, and encourage shark conservation programs all over the world. The act was introduced by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) in April and passed by the House of Representatives later that month. We need sharks just like we need snakes, but we need to educate people about the role sharks play in the ecosystem before it's too late.
Sharks have been around for over 400 million years. They are the top predators in the marine ecosystem and without them the marine ecosystem will collapse. These fish are feared by most people and Mom thinks it really got started when the movie Jaws was released back in the summer of 1975. People were suddenly scared to go into the ocean, fearing sharks were going to eat them alive. Right. Did you know that you are more likely to be killed by lightning than by a shark? It's true.
So why do we need to protect them from shark finning? Shark finning is even worse than longline fishing and you already know how horrible that is. Large boats take to the oceans looking for schools of sharks. When they find them, one by one the sharks are pulled from water, their fin is cut off and then they are dumped back into the ocean to die a slow death. How cruel! How wrong! How can we let this continue?
Greed is definitely at work in the shark finning business. The market for shark fins, which are used in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup, is the major driving force in the overfishing of sharks. I say overfishing because over 70 million sharks are killed around the world each year. 70 million! That's a lot of sharks. And remember, no sharks, no marine ecosystem.
Each ecosystem needs a top or apex predator and the food web is dependent upon the role these apex predators play. Their job is to keep all the other species below them in check by essentially managing their numbers - not allowing for too many of any one species to dominate and overfeed. We are seeing a breakdown in another food web staple these days with the overpopulation of jellyfish. But why so many jellyfish? Not enough leatherback sea turtles to feed on them. The marine ecosystem and really all ecosystem are really delicate food webs. These food webs had been great for so many millions of years until we came along. The time is now to make changes. Before it's too late.
You may be asking yourself how it is that we even allow such a practice like shark finning in the U.S. It is banned here, but loopholes in the law hamper it effectiveness. I'm not sure what the loopholes are, but I'm working on finding out. Many other countries still allow shark finning which is not surprising because many countries also allow longline fishing.
So if over 70 million sharks a year are killed, what exactly is happening to the populations? Sharks are long lived fish, but there isn't any firm data on how long exactly they live because it is hard to study them in the wild and extremely difficult to keep most sharks in captivity. A recent report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classified 35 out of 64 known pelagic (open ocean) shark and related ray species around the world as Threatened or Near Threatened with extinction. This is not good news, but I believe there is still time to turn things around. This is exactly what the shark attack survivors are hoping to do. Their hope is to make a difference using their unique experiences to get the message out.
One survivor from Raleigh, North Carolina who lost his arm after being bitten while surfing in Florida in 1976, runs a shark attack survivors network and also tags and releases sharks for research. This is what is called turning a negative into a positive. This guy could have been bitter and hated sharks forever but he learned that sharks deserve our respect, especially when we are in their territory.
Other survivors who are speaking include a woman from California who was bitten in the leg off of Maui in 1999. She realizes that overfishing sharks is a serious issue and that we must take steps to stop it. Another guy who had a run in with a shark in Hawaii (Kauai) and now surfs with a prosthetic leg understands that everything in the in the oceans depend on the survival of sharks. Yet another shark survivor, a man who was bitten on the arm, tells people that just because you don't want to swim and play with them doesn't mean we should kill them. Amen to that.
But what can you do? Educate yourself about sharks and the role they play in the marine ecosystem. Educate others about sharks. So few people know anything about sharks, other than what they see on tv or in the movies that any information you can give them is great. Don't eat at restaurants that serve shark fin soup. By not eating at these establishments, we are speaking volumes to the restaurant owners who only see profits, not suffering. Get involved in shark conservation and let you voice be heard. We can and we will stop shark finning. It's just a matter of time. We will not let these great beings be lost to the world forever. Not just because it means the collapse of the marine ecosystem, but because it's just not right.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Check out this cool looking bag. Can you believe that Mom had it filled almost to the top with bottle caps? She sure did. Well, truth be told, most of the caps were from Dad. Mom stopped drinking soda from plastic bottles at the beginning of summer, but Dad still loves his soda in 2 liter bottles.
Just look at the variety of bottle caps in the bag. She has all different styles and colors. For those of you unfamiliar with the Aveda recycling program, they accept caps that are rigid polypropylene plastic, sometimes noted with a 5 in the chasing arrows recycling symbol. This includes caps that twist on with a threaded neck such as caps on shampoo, water, soda, milk and other beverage bottles, flip top caps on tubes and food product bottles (such as ketchup and mayonnaise), laundry detergents and some jar lids such as peanut butter. Mom usually doesn't see a number 5 recycling symbol on the caps, so she just throws all caps that twist with a threaded neck into her pile.
We have a little basket on our counter in the kitchen so that we remember to remove the caps before putting the bottles in the recyclable container. When the little basket gets full, the caps are moved to a larger basket that is tucked into one of our cabinets. When the larger basket gets full, it's time to go to Aveda.
Mom thinks that most people twist caps back onto bottles before throwing them into recyclable containers. This is not good because the caps are made from a different type of plastic than the bottles. Most bottles are #1 and #2, but the caps are #5. Since the two different types of plastic are 'mixed', one contaminates the other, reducing the value of the material or requiring resources to separate them before processing. So what happens? These bottles get set to the landfill! Say it isn't so! Some recycling programs do accept plastic caps, but only if they are off their containers completely. And only if your recycling program accepts #5 plastic.
Aveda recognized that most caps end up in landfills, so they started this great program. The caps get a second life as packaging and caps for Aveda products. How cool is that? The caps stay out of landfills and waterways where they can hurt wildlife.
Schools can also get involved in the program and set up collection boxes in classrooms. Mom told this program to the biology department at the college and they set up a collection box at their Earth Week events. A full collection program should roll out this fall at the college.
Mom has been thinking about starting a "Remove the Caps!" campaign to raise awareness of this plastic bottle cap issue. So many people are not aware of it and like Mom always says, everything starts with education. Cap collection boxes could be placed next to plastic bottle collection bins everywhere. She's not sure if Aveda could handle all the caps that would be collected via the campaign, but she's hoping that it would at least raise awareness of the issue and that people, even if they didn't take the caps to Aveda, would put them into their curbside recyclable container.
Please spread the word about plastic bottle caps. This is a serious issue that we have a solution for, we just need to educate people about it so that everyone is on board. To find an Aveda location near you, visit www. aveda.com.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
HOW TO SUBMIT COMMENTS: Public comment ends August 3, 2009!
1. Click here (Rule Number: 0648-AW49- Hawaii-based Shallow-set Longline Fishery)
SAMPLE COMMENT LETTER (cut and paste into text box)
I strongly oppose the expansion of the Hawai'i -based shallow-set swordfish fishery as proposed. Doing so would triple the number of sea turtles allowed to be captured. Every death or injury of a sea turtle in this fishery has serious consequences for the future survival of the species. The expansion would allow 4 million or more deadly hooks to be set in the ocean that are certain to accidentally catch and harm leatherbacks, loggerheads, humpback whales, false killer whales, seabirds and several types of fish. Even holding the line on the existing fishery as proposed in the "no action" alternative is unlikely to be protective enough. All other alternatives proposed in the regulation are completely unacceptable. I urge National Marine Fishery Service to reject the expansion of the Hawai'i -based longline fishery as proposed.
My little ocean buddies and I thank you for taking the time to make their voices heard. Longline fishing is the most irresponsible and least sustainable form of fishing on the planet. If you must eat fish, please know where it came from and how it was caught. Let's work together to preserve the ocean life that has been around for millions of years. We need it and it needs us.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Mom gets a lot of catalogs in the mail. Some of them she wants to receive, but most of them she doesn't. She is always talking about contacting the companies that send her the unwanted catalogs but she never does. Now she doesn't have any excuse for the unwanted catalogs that the mailman delivers because the people at Catalog Choice have created a system that Mom can use to stop receiving the unwanted catalogs. It's like a one stop shopping site to stop the catalogs. What a brillant idea!
Catalog Choice is a project sponsored by the Ecology Center. According to the Catalog Choice website, their mission is to reduce the number of repeat and unwanted catalog mailings, and to promote the adoption of sustainable industry best practices. This is great not only for consumers but also for merchants because it them millions of dollars in manufacturing and shipping costs. They also save millions of trees because fewer catalogs means less paper means more trees.
So how does it work? This is so easy, even a pug could do it! Simply log on to www.catalogchoice.org and fill out their online registration form using your name and primary mailing address. You then find and set mail preferences for your catalogs, using the Catalog Choice search facilities. Catalog Choice then contacts the catalog providers on your behalf, requesting that your preference be honored. It can take at least twelve weeks to process your request, after which time your mail preference should be in effect. How cool is that? Mom made one purchase from the American Girl company a long time ago for my cousin and she still gets their catalogs all the time. This catalog is on the top of her list to stop.
Did I mention that this service is free? It sure is. It is funded through several foundations and funds via the Ecology Center. There is no cost to you so there is no excuse not to do it. You don't have to wait for a rainy day to stop those unwanted catalogs, but don't waste another day receiving catalogs you don't want. Mother Earth thanks you in advance for saving her trees and other natural resources. I thank you in advance for doing the right thing.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
DiscsForDogs is a program from the Erie County, NY SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). If you have unwanted CDs or DVDs just lying around your house collecting dust, put them to good use by sending them to DiscsForDogs. They will turn around and sell them, for just $1.00 each, with 100% of the money donated to their local SPCA. How cool is that?
DiscsForDogs used to have a brick-and-mortar retail store where they sold the CDs and DVDs in a special used and abused bin, but as of last November it closed. All donated goods are now sold at Frizb's CD Exchange in Kenmore, NY. The owner was kind enough to take over the program to ensure that dogs and cats get the care they need. How cool is he?
So how does it work? DiscsForDogs has made it so easy that you'll have no reason not to part with those old Wham! CDs. Just gather up your old CDs and DVDs that were either destined for the landfill or for never ending storage. I'm sure you can find some CDs that you were wondering why you even purchased to begin with. I know that Mom has some, but she won't tell me what they are or where they are. I think she's too ashamed to admit she has a Milli Vanilli CD somewhere in the basement. Please do not send more than 2 copies of any one title if you have multiples. When Mom and Dad first got together, they were amazed at how many duplicate CDs they had. Can you say get rid of the Tiffany CDs right now?
Once you have your CDs together (don't forget the Men At Work ones), rubberband them together in small stacks, put them in a box, and use some packing material to fill in the empty spaces in the box so things don't get damaged. Please refrain from using packing peanuts unless they are made from cornstarch. Newspaper is probably the most eco-friendly packing material since it can be recycled upon arriving at its destination. You print a shipping label on the DiscsForDogs website and then you are ready to take your box to the post office.
Ask the post office to ship the box via Media Mail. This is special shipping rate used for CDs and DVDs. Make sure you write your return address very clearly on the box or better yet, enclose a note inside the box with your return address. Why do they need it? Because they are going to reimburse you for the shipping costs! How cool are they? That's right. It isn't costing you a thing to send those old Debbie (now Debra) Gibson CDs to them.
Once they receive your box, they will send you a check in the amount of the actual shipping costs. If you don't want to be reimbursed for the shipping costs, they will send the money directly to the SPCA instead. If this is the option you prefer, write this on the note you placed in the box.
So get your Culture Club CDs ready for a new home. And while you're at it relax and don't forget to pack up the Frankie Goes to Hollywood CDs too. Someone in Erie County will surely enjoy them just like you did in the 80's. For more information, log on to http://www.discsfordogs.org/.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Made from 100% natural rubber, wearing these flip flops by Feelgoodz will lessen your impact on the environment. Most flip flops are made from synthetic rubber and petrochemicals that are bad for the enironment and non-renewable. These cool looking flip flops are 100% recyclable and biodegradable, and are made with all-natural, non-toxic dyes. Yeah! They even mold to the shape of your foot, which is unusual in a flip flop but great for your feet.
Head on over to http://www.feelgoodz.com/ to get your flip flops today. While you're there, check out how these guys are giving back while making a great product by giving 3% of their revenues to Ashoka.org to support social entrepreneurs.
Eco Friendly Nail Polish
Mom always says that if you are a woman and you wear sandals, you must have pretty piggies. I'm not really sure what that means but I think it has to do with painting your toenails. I don't paint my toenails, but if you do, please check out this nail polish.
If you are using regular nail polish please stop. There are so many toxic ingredients in nail polish and those ingredients are absorbed directly into your bloodstream via your nails. Yuk! These ingredients wreak havoc on your body and they have been linked to cancers and birth defects.
This is another alternative to traditional nail polish. This eco friendly nail polish from Kaia House is free of toluene, phthalates, and formaldehyde, and is never tested on animals. If you must paint your piggies, please paint responsibly. Check out the cool colors and the 'free of bad stuff' nail polish remover at http://www.kaiahouse.com/.
Mom has been looking for a bicycle basket forever. Everytime she thinks she's found one there is a problem with it. When I found this basket by Basil there wasn't anything Mom could find wrong with it. She loves it and so will you.
This throwback design bicycle basket not only looks cool, it is cool. Why? Because it's made from recyclable fiber instead of traditional wicker. What a great idea! Mom likes it because it has carrying straps so she can remove it from her bike to take into the store when she shops. Luckily for me, Mom has no plans to put me in the basket.
Just in time for summer bicycle rides around town, get your bicycle basket at http://www.seattlebikesupply.com/. I really don't think it will hold a pug, especially not a full sized guy like me, but you never know.
Monday, July 6, 2009
How many of you remember DDT? Some of us are too young to remember it, but we still hear about it when talk of pesticides are discussed. DDT was used in the second half of WWII to control mosquito populations, thus decreasing the risk for malaria. After the war it was touted as the agricultural insecticide and was used everywhere. Banned in the U.S. since 1972, it you were born prior to this time, you many still have traces amounts of DDT in your system. This is not a good thing. Despite the banning of DDT worldwide for agricultural use, it is still used in certain parts of the world to control mosquitoes.
DDT is also famous for its depicition in the 1962 book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (Mom's hero). Ms. Carson was the first to question the use of DDT into the environment. The full effects of DDT on human and animal health were not known at this time and its ban is said to have been a major factor in the comeback of the bald eagle in the lower forty eight states.Okay, now back to pesticides. They are everywhere. Not only are they on our food when we first purchase it, but even after washing, many pesticides remain. Pesticides are also in our bodies for years after exposure. They are also in our environment and just because you don't live near a farm that uses them doesn't been they are not near you. They can travel many miles on wind, water, and dust, setting up their home close to your home. So what can you do to limit your exposure to pesticides? Educate yourself!
The big question is how much pesticide exposure is too much? This depends on the pesticide, the person, and the type of pesticide. Even though everyone is different, there are amounts of each pesticide that are considered safe to consume. But according to their website, pesticide regulations in the U.S. are well behind much of the rest of the industrialized world. This does not surprise me one bit. Big business is too deep in the pockets of people in Washington and these same people do not care about your health and well being. Time for you to take charge of you!
What' On My Food? is just the tool you need to make informed decisions about the produce you consume. This searchable database is designed to expose the problem of pesticides and to make it easier for you to understand your risk. It works by linking pesticide food residue data with toxicolog information for each chemical.
You simply log on to www.whatsonmyfood.org to find out what's on your food. There is a list of produce on the right hand side of the home page and just click on a food to get the dirt on it. Mom had an apple this morning (locally grown, not organic), so I checked it out on the website after she ate it and this is what I found:
42 Pesticide Residues Found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program
5 are known or probable carcinogens
19 are suspected hormone disruptors
10 are neurotoxins
5 are developmental or reproductive toxicants
There was also a toxicity legend and a list of all the pesticides with a symbol from the legend next to each indicating what type of toxins it is. The list also tells you how often the pesticide is found in apples and how often it is found on a conventional apple versus an organic apple (both domestic and imported). Mom's domestic (local) apple is the worst in every category. Uh oh.
I know that there is such a thing as information overload, so take all of this information with a grain of salt. I just want you to be aware of what is on your food, not freak out about it. In order to make informed decisions you need to have the information available to you. Instead of having to search through many websites or dig through books, What's On My Food has done all the work for you. Check it out today before you do anymore shopping. Your body will thank you.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Dad is making some of my favorite foods for the party - burger, brats, and pulled pork. Yummy! He is also making veggie burgers for Mom and her vegetarian peeps. And don't forget about the delicious side dishes - couscous salad, black bean and corn salad, three bean pasta salad, and corn on the cob. A veritable feast fit for a pug!
My aunts are bringing the desserts and I can't wait to see what they bring. Oh, and I almost forgot about the appetizers. What party is complete with chips and salsa, and chips with sour cream and onion dip? When people start drinking food mysteriously ends up on the floor and you know what they say - food that hits the floor is for the pug. Yep. Since I will be the only pug at the party, all the floor food will be mine!
So as we celebrate this most special of holidays, let us not forget the true meaning of the day. Our independence is something we hold near and dear to our hearts. The triumphs and tragedies of many men and women who fought so hard for our freedom will never be forgotten. Do not take your freedom for granted for as we have seen around the world, it is ever fleeting.
To my many friends who are not Americans, we as Americans, welcome you with open arms like our forefathers did so long ago. America is a place for everyone - to live, to prosper, to become. We know that you celebrate your freedom alongside us on this our 233rd birthday and that together we are one people.And as the Statue of Liberty opens her crown for all to ascend to for the first time since the events of September 11, let us not forget that she is the very essence, the very symbol of freedom. For what it means to be an American is so perfect in prose at her feet: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of you teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Sustainable Futures could be the poster child for the new America. We all need to take care of one another, provide jobs and training for the disadvantaged, and lessen our impact on the planet. This company is a non-profit out of Boise, Idaho and they provide vocational training in 'green-collar' jobs to members of the underpriviledged in Boise. If you are unfamiliar with the term 'green-collar' job, this is how Phil Angelides, a venture capitalist from California defines it: "It has to pay decent wages and benefits that can support a family. It has to be part of a real career path, with upward mobility. And it needs to reduce waste and pollution and benefit the environment." These are the types of jobs that everyone wants!
According to the Sustainable Futures website, their main focus is on seeking out and bringing forth the hidden value in the disposable items that compose our landfills, while at the same time bringing forth the hidden value in the analogous people who fill our correctional systems. I love it! Taking throwaway people and throwaway items to bring forth a product that is marketable, while providing new lives for those that were once without hope.
Their main project deals with garbage which is so near and dear to Mom's heart. They are particulary focused on closing the glass waste stream in Boise. Hallelujah! These guys are definitely doing the right thing. By focusing on wine and liquor bottles, they employ incarerated women and then teach them how to turn these bottles into beautiful new glassware. The employees learn how to clean, cut, grind, polish, and sandblast the glass, thus providing life long skills that can be transfered to any glass business.
But who buys the glassware? This is the cherry on top of the sundae - the glassware is sold to restaurants in Boise that support the program. What a great idea! Involve local businesses in the project and spread the word. This is a big win-win for everyone in Boise! The glassware that isn't sold to local restaurants is available for you the consumer to purchase via their website.
Imagine if no more virgin glasses were ever produced. I'm not suggesting that we put the glassware companies out of business but that they refocus their efforts on upcycling discarded bottles. I know that the upcycled glassware would initially cost more, but once they became mainstream the price would drop and they would be as affordable as virgin glassware is today. I am hoping for the day that this happens because there is only so much of everything to go around and there are so many bottles that end up in landfills.
You can read more about the great work that Sustainable Futures does by visiting them at www.sustainable-futures.us. They are also involved in teaching their employees life skills to survive in the real world which makes me smile. And don't forget to check out their great looking glassware. I think they would make an excellent gift. I wonder if they could etch a pug on the glasses.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Mom is loving this flag! Not only is it made in the good old U.S.A. but it's also made from recycled water/soda bottles. How cool is that? The flag is even packaged in a 100% recycled box so you can be sure that this is the lowest carbon footprint flag on the market. Flying this flag shows that you are not only committed to the star and stripes but also to the planet.
Flags are not just for flying on the holidays like the big one this Saturday. There are so many occasions when flying the American flag is simply the right thing to do. Seeing the flag waving in the breeze makes Mom feel all patriot and her patriotism rubs off on everyone around her. Get your own recycled flag at http://www.letsgogreen.biz/ and remember that you can never have too many flags.
This is another one of those must have products for the summer. Despite Mom applying liberal amounts of sunscreen on her body while she was on her turtle trip last week, she still came home a little sunburn. Hmmm. There must be a better way than keeping track of the time via your watch or the sun to know when your sunscreen has worn off. Wait! I have the answer and you won't believe how simple it is to use.
The UVSunSense wristband is just the ticket for knowing when to reapply sunscreen as it alerts you to potential excessive exposure to harmful UV rays. Just put the wristband around your wrist, apply sunscreen on your body and over the band. As soon as you are in the sun, the band turns purple. This indicates that it has been activated. When the band is no longer purple, this is your indicator to reapply sunscreen. If you don't reapply, the words on the band will disappear and this means you must disappear from the sun as well. How simple is that? These bands are one time use only, which generally makes Mom mad, but they are made from number 5 plastics which can be recycled through many curbside programs. Yeah! Head on over to http://www.uvsunsense.com/ to find an online retailer today so that you can have lots of fun in the sun without the worry of sun damage.
All American Soap
Let's hear it for the red, white, and blue! What's more American than a nice, clean soap? You will feel clean all over when you shower with this 100% vegetable based pure castile soap. Tons of lather will ensue as you are surrounded by its lightly scented olive oil fragrance. Showering with this is sure to keep you fresh all day long, so check out the All American Soap Company at www.vashonorganics.com.