Had an excellent ramblin holidaze show this week in the Green Divas Radio Show studio and am thrilled we were able to record AND podcast finally! Even though I was on the tail end of the flu and was perhaps a bit fuzzy (at least vocally), we managed to get some timely, useful and relevant information in. We may have had more fun than format, but hey, we’re all getting into the spirit – or at least trying to – right? If you want some free entertainment with your green holiday ideas, please listen to the latest podcast of the Green Divas Radio Show.
Otherwise, here are some of the highlights . . .
Green Diva Foodie Fun
Green Divas Mizar, Meg and Jamie each offered one of their family favorite holiday recipes. GD Jamie talked about her father’s traditional latke recipe. GD Meg offered up her warm red cabbage salad recipe. And GD Mizar got us really hungry with her creme caramel recipe . . . Check out the full post for all the Green Diva Foodie Holiday Fav Recipes!
Green Diva Mizar’s DIY: Earth-Friendly Holiday Wrapping
Feature Interview: Sarah Finnie Robinson of Practically Green
This week we were thrilled to have Sarah Finnie Robinson of PracticallyGreen.com on the air with us. PracticallyGreen.com is a digital tool that makes being sustainable easy, fun and stress-free. They offer common sense ways to be more eco-conscience without having to go to crazy extremes.
One great feature of the site is the ‘Actions’ feature, which provides users with really simple and practical (practically green, right?) ideas for making green changes.
PracticallyGreen also offers a product section, where they do extensive background homework on every product, so that us consumers can have some confidence that their ‘green’ purchase isn’t green marketing hype or green washing.
Some criteria for the products found on PracticallyGreen.com . . .
They have to be energy-efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The product must reduce its water usage
Products that claim to be organic must be certified by the USDA
The products may not contain artificial colors, flavors, processed sweeteners, preservatives, and other chemicals or highly processed additives
It’s that time of year. No matter what holiday you celebrate, it is all about home, hearth, family, sharing, reflection, renewal, giving and charity . . . and being bombarded by insane marketing hype! For me bringing light into these long, cold and dark days means minimizing the commercial aspect and being more thoughtful about what I really want to share, give and how to let my close ones know how much I appreciate them. I’d say momma earth deserves a little appreciation as well, but we seem to be hardest on her during the few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years . . .
According to the EPA in the time between turkey and Auld Lang Syne, we here in the U.S. produce a whopping 25% more domestic waste than the rest of the year, which translates to over 1 million TONS of extra crap going into landfills every week!
I was on Ebru Today talking about a few ways to lessen the negative impact of our holidays on the environment. Watch the segment than see below for links to find out more details on what we discussed.
Here are 5 things to consider when gift-giving during the holidays – or any days!
According to the Center for a New American Dream, 70% of Americans would welcome less emphasis on gift giving and spending
Make it and wrap it yourself - 1/4 – 1/3 of all domestic waste is packaging. The estimated waste from gift-wrap and shopping bags in the U.S. is about 4 million tons (fun, easy DIY gift ideas below)
Remember to use your own bags – Remember to bring your reusable bags for holiday gift shopping, and tell helpful cashiers that you don’t need one for very small or oversized items
Send an eCard – The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high, and while we’re still into math, if we each sent one less card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper – that’s a lot of trees folks! My favorite place to send free ecards from is Care2.com – send free cards and do good while you’re at it!
Wrap it with something useful, recycled, or repurposed - Half of the paper America consumes is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. I like using new dishtowels or cloth napkins, but here are some other fun ideas we came up with - 13 Ways to Wrap Cheap, Have Fun & Save Money
When buying a gift, consider it’s lifecycle and footprint – Ask yourself a few questions like: What is the item made of – is it made from recycled materials? Where does it come from – has it traveled very far? It is recyclable or will it sit in a landfill for an extended period of time after its current use? It is durable? Can it be used more than once?
We had a little fun this week getting settled into our new Green Divas HQ. In this video, we talk about Green Diva Lisa’s travels, having a relatively eco-friendly move and why I’m celebrating having bats in the belfry!
Here is an excerpt from my recent post about bats:
Important Things You Should Know About Bats
Bats & Agriculture
Bats are key pollinators in many parts of the world – over 75% of the world’s crops rely on animals and bats are an important pollinator.
Bat-dependent plants include: Bananas, plantain, breadfruit, peaches, mangos, dates, figs, and cashews. Bats also provide a wonderful source of natural fertilizer for cave ecosystems and agricultural systems as well. In some countries, bat guano has become a major business.
A single mouse-eared bat, which is widespread in North America can capture 1,000 or more mosquito-sized insects in JUST ONE HOUR!
Busting Bat Myths
Bats seldom spread disease – less than 1/2 of 1% of wild bats have rabies.
Bats do NOT want to get tangled in your hair! They have extremely good radar and will not encounter a human by choice.
We are moving Green Diva Headquarters (which also happens to be my home!) in two weeks. Very exciting stuff, if not exhausting! We started painting this week. We’ve been researching this for a couple of months. We started back when we did a Sleeping Naked is Green segment with Chris Murphy of Smart Little House, who talked to us about the difference between low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), zero-VOC, and non-toxic house paints.
What we learned back then was that the VOCs that impact our health are not regulated - WHAT?!? Only the ones that are harmful to the ozone are regulated. There are a lot of other chemicals in house paint that are NOT researched or regulated. So, while the big paint companies are busy lowering if not removing some VOCs from their paints, there are a lot of other VOCs and hazardous compounds that have not been well researched or regulated. Many of these are suspected to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic, hormone disrupting, and can cause asthma and illness to humans and animals as well as generally bad for the environment. ICK!
For this reason, my husband and I have chosen to go with Mythic Paint, which they call ”zero-toxic.” According to Chris Murphy, we can paint with the windows all shut and we won’t smell it, and even a very chemically sensitive person can be in the room with no ill effects. Psyched to try it! I’ll definitely report back in. So far, Chris is NOT exaggerating – the paint is benign on the nose and looks gorgeous on the walls!
So, I got to chat with GD Lisa who is traveling and is in Austin, TX right now, and here’s a brief video with more details on this topic as we play with paints and get ready to move out here in NJ!
Our very own Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D) from NJ is sponsoring a the Safe Chemicals Act to regulate not only new chemicals coming into the market, but existing ones that are suspected to be toxic and tend to be pervasive in a variety of products, including household paints. I will vote for Frank again! Please read up on the act and if you agree with its intentions, please contact your own senators to help gather support for the Safe Chemicals Act!
Why Should We Care? by Green Diva Meg
These posts will explore a myriad of topics relating to green, sustainable and healthy living by offering simple and clear information from the fun and quirky point of view of the Green Divas. Each post will also strive to provide practical information on What Can We Do to make a difference.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE… ABOUT USING LESS WRAPPING PAPER THIS HOLIDAY?
The Clear Air Council figured out that we generate about 4 BILLION tons of wrapping paper garbage every holiday season.
Holy deforestation Batman! And wrapping paper is just one of those things that tends NOT to get re-used very often, unless you are my Nana, who used to take an excrutiatingly long time to open a gift, being careful not to inflict one tear anywhere lest this gorgeous commodity be rendered less than re-usable. She was totally right to consider it a wonderful luxury resource to be thoughtfully reused and reused and reused, but when you are a little kid and you have to WAIT for that gift to be opened it is hard to see the big picture. …read more of 11 Ways to Save Green, Save Trees & Have Fun Wrapping Those Holiday Gifts here