Skin Care

I have long been a proponent of natural and organic skin care, knowing how unhealthy commercial skin care products are for us and knowing that the average woman uses 9 products on her skin before she leaves the house in the morning.

Day after day, week after week, applying chemicals to our skin, which is actually more effective in absorbing what is on it than our stomachs are with what is in them, takes many different tolls. Just look at the skin of most women who have worn make up daily since they were teenagers. That skin has so little opportunity to breathe, that it can’t help but not retain a natural glow.

Even more insidious is the effect of all the chemicals, many of which are either carcinogenics or endocrine distruptors. We all know what carcinogenics are, but just in case you don’t know what an endocrine disruptor is, it is a chemical that throws off our hormonal balance. From phthalates to the parabens, they can cause neurological and hormonal damage.

Ever wonder why more more women are having problems with menstrual cycles and with menopause? These chemicals that are found in the products and in the plastic bottles in which they are sold are hard to avoid unless you are buying natural and preferably organic personal care products. This video and article on Dr. Mercola’s site gives you more information and tips. He also sells an organic line of skin care, but even if you don’t want to purchase his products, his information is excellent!


Here’s to natural beauty!

While I wrote the blog extolling the virtues of lawns, that was a comparison to concrete, dirt, gravel, etc. While lawns do decrease pollution and heat (as long as you don’t use chemicals to fertilize and remove weeds), they can be a tremendous waste of natural resources.

What could be grown to provide food for you and/or for wildlife, instead of an expanse of green lawn? What trees could provide more food, shade, and homes for birds and squirrels. For that matter, what shrubs could provide both food and nesting areas for birds and butterflies? How could what you grow support the bedraggled bee population? How could you support biodiversity in your very own yard?

There are many answers to these questions, and it’s not my point to answer them here, just to ask the questions.

How much energy could be saved if you didn’t have a lawn that needed mowed every week from the late spring to early fall? And what if that same expanse needs water periodically, or daily, through the season, or year?

My suggestion? Keep enough for children to play in and let the rest go natural, be filled with visual interest, and better  support life!

The Lawn Advantage

The Lawn Advantage

At my favorite farmer’s market this morning, I picked up a little pamphlet, “How Green are Your Spaces?” by Project Evergreen.

Here are some of their great tips:

1) Just 3 shade trees can save you between $100 and $250/ year in energy consumption!

2) When you water your lawn early in the day, between 5 am and 10 am, that water is much better absorbed rather than evaporated.

3) One tree can remove up to 26 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year, the equivalent of about 11,000 miles of car emissions. What can they do for the quality of your air?

4) A tranquil and kid-friendly* yard helps both adults and children to be calmer, happier, more grounded and centered-especially when time is spent outdoors. Depriving children of significant outdoor time is not good for anyone’s health!

5) Grass and green landscaping reduces dust, dirt and air pollutants, cools your property, and maturely landscaping adds up to 20% to the value of your property.

*a kid friendly yard is one where natural products have been used to grow, fertilize and provide pest control. Google natural lawn care; you might be surprised! And don’t forget using either electric, or better yet reel mowers.

We can do so much, so easily to rebalance our world with greater health, beauty, love and peace. Our opportunites are endless!!

In the service of Life!


http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/blogs/editor/green/Why Organic Wine? My crowd loves it’s wine, but no one ever brings organic wine. I would venture that most of them have incorporated some version of eating more healthily and organically, yet, seem not to stretched out to organic spirits! I say this, since that turns out to be the case for most people who are taking responsibility for their health and the health of the planet. At least, it was the case in 2003. Since, 6 years later, there’s still this pattern in my circles, I suspect it’s still there everywhere else, though changing.

Here’s some of what I have learned from Natural Home (one of my most favorite magazines of all!).

Organic wine needs to breathe before it is consumed, so it’s good to let it be uncorked for 2 – 24 hours! before imbibing. Enzymes in organic wines are alive, making these wines even more healthy for us. Try tasting them 2 hours after being uncorked, then 4 hours, 6 hours, 12. The taste will continue to change as the wild bitterness of the alive enzymes tames. Good for our digestive system, yet they begin to vinegarize within one week.

Perhaps people avoid the organic wines because they assume they will not be as good, but even by 2003, organic vintners were beginning to win blue ribbons gold medals.

Did you know that conventional vintners add the sulfur dioxide or sulfites to “ensure stabilization and increase longevity, apply hundreds of chemicals to eradicate pests and prevent disease, and use animal products to clarify wine” (May/June 2003)? Organic wine growers create much healthier soil conditions that result in better tasting grapes, reduce groundwater pollution and soil erosion, and are much better for the farmers, and those who work the vineyards.

Did you also know (I didn’t ) that the EPA (that bastion of health consciousness–not!), says that 60% of all herbides, 90% of all fungicides, and 30% of all insecticides now used are carcinogeni (according to the townhall coalition’s website)! Any wonder that cancer seems rampant?

Even Giant Eagle now carries a few brands of organic wine: Daily Red, Bonterra, and Frey are all found there. Natural food stores often carry many more brands of organic wines.

So, what important reason can there be for not drinking organic wines?


As I anticipated another season of a landscaping company’s gasoline guzzling mini monster mowers zig zagging across my yard, I decided that this was the year that I said “no.” It would be a reel mower. I’ve wanted one forever. It so fits with my ideas of green living, to use a human propelled mower. I would be in greater congruence within myself; it would be great.

Research, though, suggested that my yard was too big for a reel mower. That’s if my yard is 8,000 sq. ft. or more, which while big is probably not that big. But the thought of how big my yard is and how hard it might be pushing it up the steep incline that spans about 150 feet, and suddenly, I lost my nerve.

But what about electric? So, I got myself a nifty electric mower and a weed eater, cords, and plastic string for the eater. And started mowing. A little over 2 hours later, I’m about 3/4’s done, but haven’t started the weed eating yet.

So, I’m not throwing gas smoke into the environment, but how much electricity am I using? And how much more eco-conscious is my decision? Turns out that depends on the power plant from which I receive my electricity. So, it may not be as environmentally friendly as I’d like AND, since it’s a small engine, then there are EMF’s (Electro Magnetic Frequencies) coming off of it as I push it (so I carried a resonator in my hand to harmonize the EFMs, so I’m not experienceing energetic pollution)  and I wonder as I trudge back and forth, is this worth it? I am getting exercise and not paying the wellness center $75 for the privilege. AND then there’s the savings of $250 or so a month (from not paying the landscaping company), but, I make over $100 an hour, so in addition to the $340 for the lawnmower, I’ve now spent $250 worth of my time and I’m just over half done. So, $590 and counting…

That’s a lot to not send dirty, polluted smoke into the air I breathe, my neighbors breathe, and the plants and animals breathe. Breathing, oh right! as I’m out pushing away, having spent all this money, and now I remember that I seem to be allergic to some of the weeds outdoors. Great! No problem, I’ll just get some homeopathic remedies for allergies.

Is it worth it? I think so.

Did you know that Americans burn more than 800 million gallons of gas yearly. AND every year, there’s more than 17 million gallons of fuel spilled — more than the Exxon Valdez leaked in 1989.

Gas-powered lawn mowers are responsible for 5 percent of the nation’s air pollution, (EPA), One gas mower running for an hour gives off as much pollution as eight new cars driving 55 mph for the same amount of time, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The pollutants include carcinogens from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide and smoke particles.

The next step is to replace grass with ground cover or gardens and then get that reel mower, and have the joy of mowing my lawn while listening to the birds and breathing deeply, remembering to have plenty of homeopathic spray on hand! Being a steward of this land is an honor.

On Tuesday, Inaugural Day, I hosted my first ever zero-waste celebration, called the “Music Lovers’ Green, Zero-Waste, No Paper (But The Tp!) Food Drive And Inaugural Ball.” I can’t tell you how excited I was to hold this party and to bring together environmental and social responsibility with service and celebration for what I consider to be one of the most profound events that has occurred in far more than our life times.

Expectations too high you say? But what I see is that the world changed the day we elected this man. We are everywhere rising to the best of what is and is in ourselves because this man calls us to be the best of who we can be. He can’t help it if he ever were insanely tempted to do so. This capacity in him is like what we find in rainmakers, people who create an energy such that good things happen to the people around them. He may do that, too, I don’t know. But this I do know: he is more than a politician, so much more than a brilliant orator, that the word “rhetoric” often used to describe his speeches falls woefully short of depicting what is being conveyed. He is a politician of a higher order, capable of bringing politics to what it can be about—the healthy organizing of a group of people to promote the highest good of both the individual and the community. Implementing strategies and policies that promote growth, inventiveness, creativity, service, while developing the infrastructure to give people access to what helps promote connection and prosperity, so that the people can feed, house, clothe themselves; can apply themselves to gaining and benefiting from the highest quality education, can be of greatest service to each other and to the greater world, can flourish and thrive finding their true vocations or missions for their own development and purpose in the world. He says this is not about him, but about us; and he is right. We have come to a place collectively where we are ready for collective transformational changes, and he, as he has said, ran for president because he thought that he had something to offer to the country at this time. He does; we all do.

We are all better everywhere because we elected him; because of the hope, dedication and service he inspires. The changes that had been gestating and were birthed the day he was elected will span weeks, months, years, decades and more coming to fruition, depending on what they are—and we can not know until they mature what many of them will be. But I am full of faith and knowing that we live in a different world, one in which life is better, more whole, more just, more free. As in saying a prayer knowing that it is answered as soon as it is asked, or in Plato’s idea of form; this is absolute truth, even though there are many ways we do not yet see it in actual physical form. The depth and the height of my gratitude for this transformation that we have all been a part of creating, is indescribable.

Right; back to the party. It was a great success and not much more demanding than the “convenience” of paper and plastic. Invitees were asked to bring their own tableware and glasses (it was a pot luck, too). Most of the food was vegetarian and scraps were suitable for the compost, but I had a bag for meat and dairy scraps that will be buried deeper into the ground once it thaws (until then I am keeping it in a freezer, so it won’t spoil. The napkins were all cloth, and since it was a buffet, there wasn’t the need to give everyone a napkin, and less people used them—many less than if they had been set at a place setting, and I can’t say that anyone of us was any less the clean for it, really. Thirty or more people, 5 hours, and no trash!!! What a great accomplishment!

Speaking of trash though, you’ve heard the waste generated by the Inaugural gathering. Now, I’m not really comparing my teeny, tiny party of 30 to the BIG party of 1.8 million. This would be comparing apples to oranges. But, given my efforts, I can’t help but to think of what Washington DC did and could have done.

The city service took away trash cans to increase safety (concerned, I suppose, that a skirmish could break out and they could be used as weapons), which only made the situation that much worse. 130 tons of waste were hauled away and more still to haul, when the normal amount of trash in a day in Washington DC is 3 million tons. Even 3 million tons a trash a day from one city is incomprehensible to me. But, 130+ MILLION TONS! Who would not be stunned by that? And what could have been repurposed from all that?

What if the city had had more foresight and less fear? They might have asked people beforehand to carry away and recycle the trash they generated. They may have had out more receptacles for recycling, more staff and volunteers available to encourage people to know what to do with their waste. They might have had places set up, maybe even receptacle where people could throw the memorabilia, the socks, the blankets, the sleeping bags, the thermoses, the hats, gloves, coats, table, chairs and more that were also left behind, and since, many of these things were left behind because they were forgotten, the city could have had a way to gather these to give to agencies for distribution to people in need. They might have created a day of service for people, who as they were leaving donated an hour of their time to help in the clean up. Spending $117 million for the Inauguration, they could easily have thrown in another million to support environmental responsibility.

Imagine the impact that would have made!!!

Imagine the impact it will make at the next Inauguration of Barack Obama!

Imagine what changes you can make to approach a zero-waste life style and how good it will feel as each of us becomes a more active participant in healing and caring for the world and all life!

Toxic Toys

Healthy Toys, part of the Ecology Center, a research organization in Michigan just released results of extensive testing of heavy metals and toxic chemicals in 1,500 toys, including lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, chlorine and PVC, among others. The findings: 1 in 3 toys has significant levels of toxic substances!

What can you do? Go to their website at healthytoys.org for results of this testing on 1,500 toys. In the store shopping? Text them. Type “healthytoys [name of toy], send to 41-411 to receive immediate information on that toy!

Have you already bought some contaminated toys? Consider returning toys to them. Tell the store why you are returning the merchandise as a consumer advocacy action that will reinforce their efforts to go green and make all children safer.

Many toys have some levels of heavy metals and toxic substances yet are not considered dangerous and one of the questions is how ingestive and dangerous is that level. Healthy Toys won’t provide evaluations on these questions; they can only give the significance of amounts of substances contained.

One of the worst findings? Children’s jewelry contains on average 5 times more lead than other products categories. And of these, Disney’s Hannah Montana jewelry is exceptionally high in lead, especially the 2 heart necklace. Other toys singled out: Road Races, LeapFrog’s Leapster2/Wall-E, Thistle Blocks, Little Tikes Bath Letters & Numbers and Circo brand shoes.

For those of you who want to go greener for your children and grandchildren, here are some toy manufacturers that insist on healthy products http://www.greentoys.com, http://www.underthegreenroof.com
http://www.ecomall.biz.toys.htm (links to 30 sites for green toys), http://www.magiccabin.com, http://www.toys-to-you.co.uk/acatalog/childrens_toys.html, and http://www.coolmompicks.com/safertoy07/.

Have a Merry and Greener Christmas!