Friday, January 22, 2010

As I mentioned earlier this month, I have a book coming out soon. Charming the Devil. It’s not the worst book ever written. Romantic Times gave it a K.I.S.S. and a Top Pick! I should tell you all about it, but something’s been bugging me lately. Lately being for the last forty years or so. It’s pollution. I know…such a downer subject, but it’s so…prevalent: An abrupt increase in respiratory diseases caused by bad air, eggs growing in male fish found in contaminated water, a plastic island floating in the middle of the Pacific.

Recently I read a book (loaned to me by our Earth friendly Michele Hauf) called No Impact Man. It’s about a little family in New York that tried to be as environmentally friendly as possible. I highly recommend it. It made me decide to set some parameters on my own life…such as how many new products I can purchase and how far I’m allowed to drive in a week. The book also made me wonder what other ideas are out there. Who’s doing what, that sort of thing.

So, to keep this blog from being simply another boring harangue to green up, I’m including pictures of pretty men. :) And in an effort to pretend they’re somehow related to my topic, I offer you only men who have tried to make an environmental difference. (But, don’t get me wrong, women still make up the majority of people who are instrumental in eco causes.)

Voila--eco friendly hunks:

Viggo Mortenson, an outspoken advocate for reducing our dependency on dirty fuels, also takes an active part in ensuring a safe haven for wild horses and donkeys.

"The best advice I got from my aunt, the great singer Rosemary Clooney, and from my dad, who was a game show host and news anchor, was: don’t wake up at seventy years old sighing over what you should have tried. Just do it, be willing to fail, and at least you gave it a shot. That’s echoed for me all through the last few years."

Brad Pitt, long interested in architecture, joined with Global Green USA to promote the rebuilding of New Orleans, which remains devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Pitt headed a jury for Global Green's Sustainable Design Competition for New Orleans Neighborhoods that selected the top 5 ecologically sound designs for rebuilding that city. The designs required energy-efficient building materials and green building stratgies. Pitt has since moved with his family to New Orleans.

Matt Damon has joined an organization that attempts to halt the tons of junk mail delivered to American homes each day. He's reconciled his famous forces with website in an effort to endorse environmental efforts to avert and ultimately save the trees used for junk mail letters and envelopes from being chopped down. Damon says, “For an estimated dime a day they can stop 70 per cent of the junk mail that comes to your house. It’s very simple, easy to do, great gift to give, I’ve actually signed up my entire family. It was a gift given to me this past holiday season and I was so impressed that I’m now on the board of the company.” The organization also plants a tree for every new member.

Last fall, Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law to cut the state's greenhouse-gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and followed with an executive order requiring a dramatic drop in the carbon content of transportation fuels. He has vowed to fight attempts to reopen the California coast to offshore drilling.
(I would have included this pic even if I couldn't have found
something eco friendly that he'd done cuz...yikes.)

In many ways Redford has become the public face of the NRDC; he now sits on the organization’s Board of Trustees. “I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?”

So there you have it, a bunch of pretty faces...and other pretty stuff...who are trying to make a difference

And now I ask you, what can we as individuals do to make Mama Earth happier?

I’m offering a copy of my newest book to a commenter who's willing to give us a viable suggestion.


Laurie said...

1) Bring reusable cloth bags to the grocery store or where ever you shop. Try not to use the plastic or paper bags.

2) Turn off the water: while you're
brushing your teeth, after rinsing dishes, while showering when you are soaping up or shampooing your hair. Wash your car less often. Do not leave the water on the whole time. Do wash less often. Do full loads. Air dry your clothes.

Water your lawn in the early morning or after dark. Also water less frequently.

3) Turn off your lights.

4)Turn off your computer, TV.

5) Walk or bike if you have a destination that is not too far away. Car pool.


Twisted Sister Meg said...

Teach your children how to make a difference--my mother did and so did I. Maybe it was growing up in Austin where preserving nature was so important (to us at least)

Teach by example. If everyone changes one or two things, then we will all see a difference.

Cindy Gerard said...

I was in the 6th grade when I wrote a paper on conservation. The title was: "Pitch in or Conserve your Conversation." I thought it was pretty catchy.
Still practicing after all these years and passing it on the the grandkids

lois greiman said...

Laurie, you go girl. In Minnesota we hardly ever see people walking to/from destinations. Our cities are designed for cars. I'm afraid we're going to have to change our mindset and our streets/sidewalks.

Plastic is probably my biggest pet peeve. Evvvvvery store in the universe now sells refusable bags, but if you walk down the Cub Foods aisle, maybe one our of fifty people are actually using them. Instead, they're using those horrible plastic things right underneath the reusable. Sigh. And it's everywhere.

My daughter was just in India where cows roam the streets. She said that in the animals tested 100% of them had plastic in their rumens. I think we need some strong incentives for stores to quit offering plastic bags.

lois greiman said...

Cindy, I so appreciate it that you drive a hybrid. You're cool.

Michele Hauf said...

Well if those hunks don't make at least one of us want to start recycling (on their behalf) then I don't know what will. :-)

I added a link to No Impact Man's blog because you all just need to read what he has to say. He put out a documentary as well. I don't think it's on DVD yet, though.

Terry Odell said...

We've been recycling since the 60's. We compost our veggies. Hubster takes used batteries to a place that actually recycles them properly. He also saves all the paper type stuff that our county doesn't accept for pickup and takes it to his office where they recycle it (even now that he's no longer working, he still takes stuff by).

I reuse paper when I'm printing anything that "doesn't matter."

If you don't really need to go out, don't. Combine trips. I try to limit my car outings to once a day unless there's no avoiding it. I have a low-emission vehicle, so I don't feel too bad.

Hubby will bike to the Y if weather permits.

Now that we're selling our house, it kills me to go around turning ON all the lights before we leave if we have a showing. But we use the fluorescent bulbs wherever we can.

CrystalGB said...

What my family does:
We use a Brita pitcher instead of bottled water.
We wash our clothes in cold water to save energy.
We use manure instead of chemical fertilizer on our garden.
We recycle.
We turn out the lights and unplug appliance when not in use.

lois greiman said...

Terry, I'm in love with your husband. :) Thank him for mama earth will you?

lois greiman said...

Thanks, Michele. It really is an interesting and inspiring read.

Kathleen Eagle said...

What can we do? My answer comes from an old song: Teach your children well. Lois, you're exemplary. And ditto everyone's suggestions. I don't compost anymore, but I know I should try try again now that we have our raised bed in place. I'm obsessive about recycling, clean do those cans and bottles have to be? Do I have to use a bottle brush?

Good taste in hunks, m'dear. These are some of my very favorites.

Maureen said...

One of the things I do is purchase organic produce and other products. They have a bunch of it at Walmart and on this DVD we watched recently called Food, Inc. one of the people interviewed made the point that every time you make a purchase of 'green products' it's like you are voting with the thing the companies understand, money. I also have been trying to cut down on the amount of chemicals used to clean. A lot of cleaning can be accomplished with baking soda, vinegar and castile soap.

lois greiman said...

Crystal, a water filter instead of bottled water is huuuuuggge, because even if we recycle it takes a lot of energy to turn them into some reusable item. Much better to skip the process altogether.


lois greiman said...

Soda and vinegar, I KNOOOOW. I'm washing my hair with baking soda now and I love the results. Thanks Maureen.

I Heart Book Gossip said...

1) Using cloth tote bags for grocery is great, no more plastic bags.

2) Unplugging the hairdryer when you leave the house.

3) Making your own compost.

Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

LSUReader said...

Recycle--if your neighborhood trash pick-up doesn't include recycling, ask why. And find out who in your community does take recylables--newspapers, aluminum cans, plastics, etc. Frequently, elementary schools or grocery stores will make recycle bins available.

Thanks for a great post.

Anna Dougherty said...

My house is definitely doing our best to be green and we are teaching our children to grow up to be responsible about this planet. In fact, I've recently been converting my brother- he's always been on board but sometimes couldn't see that the little things matter.

Ways we conserve:
1. Use towels, napkins and sponges that are made from bamboo. No paper.
2. Use cleaning products that are natural, like our grandparents used.
3. Limit plastic. We have a Brita pitcher, stainless steel bottles. I'm trying to find corn made products for storage but for now I use glass.
4. Buy local and organic when possible. It's sometimes more expensive and can be time consuming to find local items but definitely worth it.
5. Take public transpo, walk, bike and when you have to drive...plan your route so that you can get as much done as possible.

The most frustrating part about being green is that it can be more expensive and we have a tight budget. It takes planning and commitment. I also wish that people would stop buying in to the hype and use common sense. Just because a product says environmentally safe doesn't mean that it's actually ok. Look at the packaging, look at the total carbon footprint because a product that has to travel around the globe, or across the country isn't necessarily the best. Local is key.

Okay, sorry, off the soapbox!

KylieBrant said...

Hmmm, feeling sort of like a slug. With a pick up and a Suburban, we have the carbon footprint of a Yeti. But my husband needs the pickup for the farm and the Suburban represents a massive tax deduction for me. So what to do?

We do turn off water while brushing and we recycle. The only lights on are in the room we're in. There's just two of us so that helps. Showers 99% of the time, which conserves more water than baths. We've switched to those eco-friendly light bulbs and I'm going to be politically incorrect and say how much I hate them! These old eyes need enough light when I enter a room that I don't fall over something.

I think one of the most meaningful things we can do is lobby our politicians to change laws to help the environment. Iowa has filthy waterways and yet we never seem to make a real commitment to changing things. It's going to take legislation to challenge companies to stop polluting our environment with hazardous chemicals and come up with more eco-friendly products.

Helen Brenna said...

I think everyone's mentioned things we do here at our house. It takes a while for new things to become habit, but eventually you get to the point where you don't even think about it anymore. It's all good.

My suggestion - could you put up more pics of Viggo, please? lol

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read the new book.
I am a re-cycler from way back and I learned a long time ago that you only need 3 fairly inexpensive items that are eco-friendly to clean anything. Those are white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and a bit of elbow grease. If you doubt me, look up the uses for these items on your computer.
Growing up, I used baking soda to brush my teeth with and didn't start using toothpaste until my 20's and have beautiful teeth that are really white.

Silvia said...

It has all been said before.
But I walk or cycle if the distance is acceptable.
I recycle plastic and cans and bottles. I tell people about how to save energy and the importance of recycling. Also not to waste food. Don't buy tons of veg you throw away. It took time and natural resources/energy to grow.
I give stuff I no longer use or want to charity instead of the landfill.
I use old cleaning products like that soda and vinegar too. Let me add that nothing makes a window shine like an old newspaper rub!
& I have my family wear extra clothes and snuggle under my homemade quilts this cold season instead of putting the heat up till we have some sort of tropical greenhouse humidity.

catslady said...

I do so many of the things mentioned above and have for many years so trying to think of some different things that I do.

I rewash and reuse plastic ziplock bags. One can last for months.

After using paper towels to wrap vegetables, I will save them and reuse them for cleaning up spills or hairballs (I have 6 cats lol)

Junk mail makes for all my scratch paper - turn them inside out too.

Buy in bulk - less packaging.

I use empty cat food bags as trash bags.

Repair whenever possible.

Thanks for a great blog!

chey said...

Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle.

Virginia C said...

A wonderful post! A few more "Eco-Hunks": Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan and Ted Danson.

I do believe in reusing and recycling for my economy and the world's ecology. I try to get at least one more use out of many items before they are discarded. My favorite tip: Save the heavy inner plastic bags from cereal, biscuit mix, cake mix & etc. Straighten them out into sheets and shake off any cereal crumbs or powder from the mix. Fold the sheets and store them in a large ziploc bag. When you need to roll out any type of dough, use one of the saved plastic sheets instead of waxed paper.

I also now use my old newspapers in the cat litter box instead of buying expensive cat litter. I have asthma, and I had to buy better quality "no dust" litter. Now I just recycle the newspapers a different way. No muss, no fuss, no dust : )

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Great comments from everyone!

Since this is a mostly female site I'd like to add a period tip:

I bought a Diva Cup last year and I LOVE it. I heard about Toxic Shock Syndrome and I have always hated using stupid tampons and pads with all of their bleach, adhesives, and wrappers.

There are several different brands of cups, everyone I know who uses them loves theirs. As I said, I use a Diva Cup, but I've also heard of the Luna cup and others.

I know it sounds icky but I STRONGLY recommend that everyone look them up online. They're reusable, cleaner, make less waste, and are safer for your body (you wouldn't drink bleach, don't put it in any of your other orifices).

If you're not ready for the cup, there are non-bleached tampons and pads available, I think 7th generation offers them, among other brands. You can also get tampons without the insert tubes which are just extra trash.

There's quite an online movement for more eco-friendly feminine products, including one for making your own pads.

susan said...

RECYCLE...cloth bags for store use instead of plastic. I even keep envelopes that comes with my bills to reused by putting address labels over the companies's names,,I pay at the office or by phone so the envelopes would not get used otherwise. Cloth dust clothes instead of paper towels and also rags from worn out clothes. I Use newspaper to wash windows. These are a few of the things I do. susanL.

chelleyreads said...

like i told my kindergarteners: reduce, reuse, recycle :)

lois greiman said...

Man, you guys are doing GREAT!! Thank you. I had to check out for a few hours and I'm thrilled with your comments.

Virginia C--love the kitty litter idea.

Susan, good point about paying on line. Why use envelopes if you don't have to.

lois greiman said...

Anonymous, I was a little leery about commenting on the sanitary cup thing, but I use one, too, and it's great. Soooo much waste is avoided and I feel cleaner and richer. :) I mean, I can't even remember what I used to spend a month on pads/tampons, but it adds up.

Thanks for being bold.

Virginia said...

Wash and re-use water bottles will help. Use vinigar, water, and dish liquid for cleaning. Vinigar is an awesome cleaner.

Linda Henderson said...

I have been recycling for years, but I have quit buying bottled water and now just use a filtered pitcher. That way I don't have all those plastic bottles. I also use green cleaners. Old batteries go to a battery warehouse for recycling, and all cardboard and paper (including junkmail) goes to my grandson's school bin where it gets recycled and they give the school money.

lois greiman said...

Chelley, thanks for starting the little ones recycling. I'm hoping they'll make a more respectful generation.

robynl said...

dh and I are downsizing and this is what we are doing:

1)the cardboard gets flattened and goes to a recycle dumpster
2)I use Green cleaning products
3)I make rags from old worn out clothing
4)we pay our bills on line and do banking on line
5)taking all(and there are numerous items)computer items such as computers, monitors, keyboards to Sarcan(recycling place. These are the old ones that no longer work with Windows 7 or whatever.

Minna said...

Instead of always buying new stuff and throwing old stuff away, I swap stuff all the time. Most of the time I try to swap many items for one item that I do need and which is about the same value as all the things I want to get rid of. There are all kinds of swapping sites on the internet.
And try to find stuff that isn't wrapped in plastic. As hard as it is. Why do we for instance buy liquid shampoo in plastic bottles?

Family on oil -and plastic- diet:

I have listed a couple of swapping sites here:

Helen Brenna said...

Never heard of the Diva cup! How cool is that? I'm getting one.

Laurie said...

Turn down your thermostat at night or when you are not at home.

Check your water heater temperature. Replace when corroded before it leaks!

Buy new energy efficient light bulbs.

Don't use AC unless you really have to, home & car.

Barbara E. said...

I've been replacing regular light bulbs with energy efficient ones, I use cloth grocery bags, turn off the water while brushing, use cloth towels instead of paper towels as much as possible, have a programable thermostat, use water filter on refrigerator instead of bottled water, and I recycle everything that is allowed in my recycle bins. Try to find new ways to live green whenever possible.