Happy Earth Day! Have some links

April 22nd, 2011

First, the bad news:

Your iPhone Is Poisoning The Planet

Earth Day Enemies: Greenpeace Slams Apple, Facebook, Google Data Centers

Pesticide Exposure in Womb Affects I.Q.

And now for some good news:

First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money

IBWA shares good news on plastic water bottle packaging on Earth Day

How you can help the planet today:

Help The Nature Conservancy Win $5,000 to Plant 5,000 Trees

A Billion Acts of Green!

12 Last-Minute Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Link: Save Your Dishwasher, Save the World

September 16th, 2010

We use new and improved dishwashers and washing machines that are more efficient, yet we use these machines in the same manner as older, less efficient models.  These old methods are bad for your new machine and bad for the environment as well. 

For the Dishwasher’s Sake, Go Easy on the Detergent

Cool New Site Displays CO2 Emissions

August 19th, 2009

This realtime simulation displays estimated CO2 emission for each country, along with their birth and death rates.  Information is pulled from the CIA World Factbook and UN Statistics Division.

http://www.breathingearth.net/

Deciphering the US Organic Label

July 8th, 2009
Image linked from http://www.organic.org

Image linked from http://www.organic.org

Lately, people have begun to question the worth of the ‘organic’ label as more and more questionable items are added to the list of acceptable items.  This is largely due to pressures from big business.  Consumers want organic goods (the dollar signs prove it), so if more items can be termed ‘organic’, then businesses make more money.  It is our job as consumers to make sure politicians don’t cave into the lobbying efforts of industry.

Read the full Washington Post article here.

Now, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) has refuted this article on AllGov.com and on their website.  However, I just can’t fully trust the OTA.  Despite their name, which leads one to believe they are true supporters of the organic movement, really this is primarily a business association, the exact businesses that want more synthetic ingredients to be labeled as okay to put into organic fare so they can make more money.

In the meantime, what does the USDA’s organic label really mean?

“100% Organic” – must show an ingredient list, the name & address of the handler, and the name & seal of the organic certifier.  These products are what we think of when we see any kind of organic label.  In other words, they should contain no synthetics, pesticides, or genetically modified substances.

“USDA Organic” – must contain at least 95% organic products.  The non-organic ingredients must be on an approved list (which is growing all the time to include more items).  The label must identify both organic and non-organic ingredients, and the name of the organic certifier.

“Made with Organic” – must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.  The label must identify both organic and non-organic ingredients, and the name of the organic certifier.

When was the last time you saw a label saying 100% Organic?  Were you paying attention?  Probably not, because so long as the label says the word ‘organic’, we assume that means one-hundred percent.  Next time, take a closer look.

REFERENCES:
Washington Post Article Disputing Integrity of Organic Label
Can USDA Approved Labels be Trusted?
Organic Trade Association Website
Deciphering the Organic Label

Personal Note: Indoor Urban Composting

June 16th, 2009

I am currently working on an ‘experiment’ in what I’d like to call micro-composting.  Basically, I’m attempting to create a really tiny compost container for my kitchen that doesn’t stink and doesn’t use worms.  I have no idea if this will work.  It probably won’t, but the compulsion to do it anyway is strong.

First I took a cardboard box.  Being heavy internet shoppers, there is always a plethora of various boxes waiting to go to recycling in the apartment.  This one is truly tiny, probably just over half a cubic foot in volume.  This is the container for my compost.  I hope to be able to seal it up and, instead of turning the compost, I want to shake the box vigorously.  Obviously, the box can’t be full as the contents will need room to move around.

Next I took stuff from my paper shredder.  While I know office paper is supposedly terrible for composting, it is what I had.  Besides, because I shred junk mail with stickers and little plastic labels included, my shredded paper is not suitable for recycling.  The only thing to lose is garbage.

This layer was topped by a layer of soil.  Ideally, you should use organic soil with manure mixed in.  The only manure we have around here is human and that isn’t exactly hygienic to use, so I skipped adding manure.

Then it was time for the food bits, mostly cut up pieces of dried or rotting greens from my fridge, plus a few pieces of orange peel and what I thinned from my two potted plants.  It was thinning the plants that started the experiment idea.

Next another layer of soil, and another layer of shredded paper.  I sprinkled a touch of water on the mix and set the box on my windowsill.

Cross your fingers, everyone!  I will update this post later as the compost situation develops.

REFERENCES:
http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2009/04/making-a-small-indoor-composting-bin/
http://www.itsecotime.com/composting
http://www.naturemill.com/
http://kitchencomposter.org/

Top 5 US Cities for ‘Clean Technology Companies’

June 14th, 2009

FULL ARTICLE: Want to Start a Cleantech Company? Consider These 5 U.S. Cities

Cleantech companies are those that produce earth-friendly products, or companies that work to develop the technology necessary to make renewable energy more affordable and efficient.

Don’t feel like reading the full article?  Here are the top five:

  1. Boston
  2. Denver
  3. Seattle
  4. Austin
  5. San Francisco

Green Wonders That Aren’t So Green

June 5th, 2009

Want to know the truth about clean coal?  Well, it isn’t clean at all and the technology to make it totally clean doesn’t exist yet.  I recommend reading the following Kingston story.

http://www.truthout.org/060409EA


The EPA is rethinking the idea of recycling tires by shredding them and using them for playgrounds.  Apparently, all that rubber is quite possibly toxic to children.

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2009/2009-06-04-091.asp


But don’t despair!  Here’s a list of green things you can do today and please remember that every little bit counts!

Green Your Daily Routine

Eco-machine Makes Toilet Paper Out of Office Memos

June 4th, 2009
Nakabayshi Toilet Paper Machine

Nakabayshi Toilet Paper Machine

Japan, home of every crazy tech invention, has created a way to recycle office paper right in the office — by turning into toilet paper. Now you can finally put those stupid memos to good use.

The machine is a new innovation by the Nakabayashi corporation and is set to be released for sale in August. The price is around $95,000.

This was just so quirky I had to share it.

REFERENCE:
http://dvice.com/archives/2009/06/eco-machine-tra.php
http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/06/01/covert-documents-to.html

Miracle Water or Eco-Danger?

May 21st, 2009

Electrolyzed water cleans, degreases — and treats athlete’s foot. The solution is replacing toxic chemicals.

Full article at LATimes.com

I’m skeptical, but then I’m always skeptical.  If it kills bacteria of the harmful kind, wouldn’t it also destroy good bacteria?  Wouldn’t this lead to the kind of ‘resistant baddies’ we’ve all come to know about through the overuse of antibiotics and heavy duty cleaners?  And then it is supposed to be safe to DRINK!?  I don’t want to wipe out my gut flora, thanks but no thanks.

That and you can’t make it at home.  I’ll stick to vinegar and peroxide.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Information on electrolyzed water is also available at Wikipedia.
For information on how to make your own cheap, eco-friendly cleaning solutions using vinegar, visit Vinegar as a Disinfectant

Fight to save the ‘Amazon of the oceans’

May 10th, 2009

Fight to save the ‘Amazon of the oceans’

With its pleasure boats dipping on the horizon and clustered tourist restaurants, the Indonesian island of Nusa Lembongan looks little like the edge of a great wilderness.