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Nemo, Non-GMO Valentine’s Day & More Winter Fun

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
February 13, 2013
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Family, Food, Holidays, Lifestyle, Projects, Sustainable Practices, Transportation

When did we start naming winter storms, and who the heck came up with this name anyway? Hard to think about a cute little colorful fish whipping the Northeast into such a frenzy. I don’t generally panic when it comes to snow storms – have lived in NJ or New England for my entire life. I feel like an old geezer, “I remember the blizzard of ’93 . . . we had 3 feet of snow and there were 7 foot snow drifts up against the doors and windows . . . ”

My husband and I LOVE a good snow storm, so we were almost disappointed that we only got a foot of snow!

The only bummer is that I’m in the middle of a week-long test drive of the adorable and surprisingly lovable Ford C-Max Energi and while I’m not the least bit worried about driving in the snow – in MY OWN car – I didn’t want to take any chances with someone else’s car. Not everyone is confident or skilled at driving in the snow and even if I am a particularly good snow-driver, there are those times when the dope with the rear-wheel tank applies the breaks at the wrong time and you find yourself helpless as you see one of these vehicles with their driver’s wide-eyed surprise sliding sideways towards you . . . ahhhhhh. Nope. Keeping this little cute car safely parked till we get the roads cleared up properly.

But, before Nemo, we had a particularly awesome show with an all-girl Green Diva studio. Unfortunately Green Dude Eco-Ed Schwartz, who was supposed to be IN the studio with us for the first time, couldn’t make it because he was too busy driving the porcelain bus (icky flu and we thanked him for not trying to be stoic and for staying home!). Sorry Ed! Feel better soon! But we got to talk to Green Diva Correspondent Maggie Miller from Georgia about the amazing eco-community of Serenbe near Atlanta.

Just before the show, we all got a treat and got to go cruising in the Ford C-Max Energi GD Meg’s been sporting around in this week.

Our only hit of testosterone came in the form of our wonderful friend and green dude, Rodman Schley, host of the TV series, The Urban Conversion. Rodman called in to talk about their fantastic adventure to the White House!

Listen to the full podcast of this week’s Green Divas Radio Show 2.7.13

or read the highlights below

Want to avoid V-Day candy with GMOs?

With Valentines Day upon us its pretty hard to escape all those heart-shaped, pink and red candies. While they may seem temping, many of them contain GMOs. GMO Inside is leading the push to get Hersey and Mars to stop making candy with GMOs in 2013, or at least to start labeling their products as containing GMOs.

GMO Inside is a coalition of businesses and organizations that support a healthy, GMO-free food system. Their most recent campaign is aimed at Hersey and Mars, that combined comprise nearly 70 percent of the U.S. chocolate market. Both companies have also spent more than a million dollars to oppose GMO labeling in California in the November 2012 election.

Because GMO corn, sugar and soy, which are commonly used for many of Hershey’s and Mars candy products, it may be wise to avoid them if you are trying to minimize or eliminate your consumption of GMOs.

Here are a couple of popular Valentine’s Day candies that contain GMOs:

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Filled Hearts – BUMMER*
  • Hershey Hugs
  • Valentine’s colored M&M’s
  • Valentine’s Snickers

GMO Inside released a Valentine’s Day Villains shopping guide for consumers who want to avoid giving GMO treats to their honeys.

*GD Meg makes her own – here’s her favorite recipe for homemade GF peanut butter cups

Read GD Meg’s post with 9 Ways to Have a Healthy, Green & Low-Stress Valentine’s Day– whether you are in a relationship or not!

Green Diva Correspondent: Maggie Miller

Our Green Diva Correspondent this week Maggie Miller, who called in from Georgia. GD Maggie is a fabulous artist who’s philosophy is to keep her art eco-friendly and sustainable. Some of her designs are in the form of reclaimed and beautifully painted old furniture. See her work on her Etsy site.

GD Maggie told us about the wonderful and interesting town of Serenbe in the heart of Chattahoochee Hill Country, which is about 40,000 acres of rural Georgia and pretty much the last undeveloped stretches of land in the Atlanta area. The founders of Serenbe realized that they had 1,000 acres, which would allowed them the opportunity to create a conscious community — an eco-village that harkins back to the simpler days and is designed for small community living.

This community bases itself on being completely sustainable. According to their website they hold the notion that a community is a living part of its natural surroundings, not something to be at nature’s expense.

One of the coolest parts to this eco-haven is Serenbe Farms — a 25-acre working, organic farm which provides organic produce throughout Atlanta and also to the local restaurants of Serenbe.

The Green Divas Go Cruisin’

GD Meg’s had a special ride this week from the smart folks at Ford, who thought she would look adorable and probably fall in love with their new C-Max Energi. This C-Max is a plug-in hybrid and indeed Ford will have a hard time taking this car back!

Check out GD Meg’s posts her experience with this Ford C-Max Energi:

Green Diva Road Trip- Ford C-Max Review 1: First Date

Green Diva Road Trip- Ford C-Max Review 2: Getting to Know You

Today the rest of us Green Divas got to join in on the fun.  Green Diva Mizar took the wheel and went joy riding around Boonton Township. Green Diva Meg, Mizar, and Jamie all agreed that this was one cool car.

Video of GD Mizar Driving the Ford C-Max

The car also drove well — it had great pick up and was super quiet. The coolest feature was its backing up camera which shows you through lines exactly where to go and to not go. So, for all you people who can’t back up to save their lives this is the car you need to get.

Fun GD video of Ford C-Max Reverse AssistanceReverse

 

 

GD Mizar’s DIY: Coat Rack from Fallen Tree Limbs

This week Green Diva (and re-purposing queen) Mizar gave us a great way to use all those fallen tree limbs — thank you new stormy climate! This has been the year of the storms and trees suffer many casualties. GD Mizar’s DIY this week offers one solution by giving instructions on how to make coat racks out of fallen branches. To learn more see GD Mizar’s latest DIY post on making a coat rack from fallen tree branches.

Listen to the fun 5-min podcast about this GD Mizar DIY coat rack project!

Feature Interview: Rodman Schley

The host of Urban Conversion (and one of our favorite semi-regular guests), Rodman Schley called-in this week to update us on his recent trip to the White House. Rodman along with his wife and kids were given a tour by the White House Assistant Chef, Sam Kass who is also the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives at the White House. Rodman informed us that only a small portion of the vegetables and fruits grown in the White House Garden are served to the President and his family. Most of it is donated to Miriams Kitchen, a local D.C. soup kitchen. The idea is that everyone should have the same access to the same kinds of food no matter what their socio-economic background is.

Rodman and The Urban Conversion will be screening the one hour White House episode at the Environmental Film Festival in Colorado on February 22. Episodes of The Urban Conservationist will be airing this Spring on PBS.

Listen to the full podcast of this week’s Green Divas Radio Show 2.7.13

 

 
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5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint in 2013

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
January 3, 2013
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Environmental Concerns, Family, Holidays, Home, Lifestyle, Products, Recycling, Sustainable Practices, Waste Reduction

I had a an exceptionally fun morning Christmas Day on the set of Good Day NY on FOX 5. I talked with Dave Price and Anna about keeping it green in 2013 . . .

Watch GD Meg on FOX Good Day NY

1. Remember those reusable bags . . . because . . .

  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures a year
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas and it’s floating somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. It weighs 3.5 million tons and is 80% plastic
  • If everyone in the United States tied their annual consumption of plastic bags together in a giant chain, the chain would reach around the Earth’s equator 776 times!

2. Get rid of vampires and phantoms . . . no, not Edward the dreamy teenage vampire . . .

An energy vampire or phantom load is the electricity consumed by an electronic appliance when it is turned off or on standby

  • According to the Environmental Defense Fund, 65% of pollution attributed to global warming (or climate change) comes from generation of energy and its use
  • 5 – 20% of our home electric bill comes from vampire or phantom energy use

Shed light on those vampires and expel them!

3. Just say NO to bottled water

  • National Geographic estimates that 17 million gallons of crude oil is used on an annual basis to produce plastic bottles.
  • If you fill a water bottle ¼ of the way with oil, this is about how much oil is used to manufacture that one bottle!
  • It is estimated by the Container Recycling Institute and ReusableBags.com that 22 billion water bottles end up in landfills every year.
  • Although many plastic bottles are being recycled for good re-use as a variety of materials, National Geographic Kids states that only 1 in 6 plastic bottles makes it to the recycling bin!
  • According to Environmental Working Group’s scientific study on bottled water vs. tap water, bottled water contains distinfection byproducts, fertilizer residue and pain medication

Check out Green Diva Mizar’s water purification systems, Pur2o!

4. Buy less, Recycle more

In general, I really want to just be more mindful about buying ‘stuff’ I may not really need – I’ve been on this kick for a couple of years and it saves money and reduces the amount of junk I need to throw out from packaging, etc. I always ask myself now, do I really need this or do I just want it . . . or, do I have something at home I can use instead.

  • About 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable, yet our recycling rate is only 28%!
  • Recycle as much as you can
  • Avoid buying things are excessively packaged
  • Buy in bulk (food, cleaning products)

5. Get local/Eat Local

  • Reduce carbon footprint by reducing “food miles”
    • A typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table
  • Support local farmers – enjoy farmer’s markets
  • Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – find a CSA, farmer’s market or food coop near you - LocalHarvest.org
  • Stimulate local economy
  • patronize restaurants that buy from local farmers
 
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Greener Holidays: Eco-Friendly Foodie, Gift & Decorating Fun

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
December 19, 2012
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Eco-friendly Decorating, Entertaining, Family, Food, Gifts, Holidays, Home, Saving Money, Sustainable Practices, Waste Reduction

I had fun doing some of my earth-friendly holiday schtick on Ebru Today last week – details about what I discussed on this timely, silly green holiday TV segment.

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

As always GD Mizar had some wonderful DIY ideas. This week she talked about some creative and greener holiday gift wrapping ideas. Check out GD Mizar’s It’s a Wrap post for all the deets! Or listen to the fun five-minute podcast of GD Mizar’s DIY holiday greener gift wrapping segment.

Green Dude Eco Ed on LED holiday lights

Listen to the 5-minute Green Dude segment featuring Eco Ed Schwartz all about LED holiday lights and learn why they are such a great idea!

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 . . .

  1. They have to be energy-efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  2. The product must reduce its water usage
  3. Products that claim to be organic must be certified by the USDA
  4. The products may not contain artificial colors, flavors, processed sweeteners, preservatives, and other chemicals or highly processed additives

 

 
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5 Ways to Have a Less Expensive and Earth Friendly Holiday

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
December 12, 2012
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Eco-friendly Decorating, Entertaining, Family, Gifts, Holidays, Home, Sustainable Practices, Waste Reduction

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

  1. 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)
  2. Remember to use your own bagsRemember 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
  3. 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!
  4. Wrap it with something useful, recycled, or repurposedHalf 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
  5. When buying a gift, consider it’s lifecycle and footprintAsk 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?

10 Easy DIY Gift Ideas for the Non-Crafty Green Diva (which includes the link to instructions for my teacup candle shown in the Ebru Today segment)

Green Diva Mizar’s DIY decorated upcycled  glass tea light holders (at the bottom of the 12.6.12 GD radio show post)

 
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Easy DIY Gift Ideas for Low-Stress Holiday Giving

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
September 26, 2012
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Gifts, Holidays

I’m not the craftiest green diva, but I have been so inspired by some of my creative friends lately. Pinterest has become a visual buffet of craft porn and I’ve been having this urge to stop everything, run to Michael’s for supplies and get creative with so much of the old stuff lying around here. This trend in upcycling virtual garbage into nifty useable items has caught on. Yes, every year for the past decade (or two), I’ve come up with something to make for holiday gifts, but there seems to be more inspiration than ever from sites like CraftingAGreenWorldEcoKaren and GlueandGlitter – three of my favs.

But if you are like me, you get inspired, you click, and then you look at the instructions (if there are actually instructions behind that pin) and get immediately overwhelmed. So, my awesome intern, Jamie and I have done some homework and found some DIY gift ideas that seem fairly simple and have enough information to get us non-crafty green divas into the game. Our criteria was to find things that were EASY, relatively eco-friendly, low-cost, and would  make great gifts. See if any of these inspire you!

 

Scarf Watch Band

Seriously? This one is so simple it makes me feel stupid. And if you don’t have an old watch that has a crappy band that you can take off, they are so easy to find – and cheap. And the scarf thing? C’mon if you don’t have a scarf or two that you could part with, you might have some fabric you can cut accordingly or again, go to a vintage or thrift store and get a few (with the watches perhaps) for a small handful of dollars. Visit CountryLiving.com‘s site for a mess of great green DIY gift projects, including this one.

 

Teacup Candles

This one is a green-diva-tested AND approved project. I happened to have a lot of random teacups, but I also found some inexpensive ones in vintage and antique shops. I made a couple of dozen of these for holiday gifts a few years back and kept the one you see in the image here for myself. ;) I found some good instructions for this on Martha Stewart’s site.

 

Ornaments Out of Salt Dough

Here’s an easy way to make some salt dough ornaments. You can get creative in finding shapes, making impressions, finding words, using pretty ribbons . . . wide open with endless possibilities here and couldn’t be much easier. In fact, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry already! This one comes from a great site, MakeItGiveIt.

 


Altoid Tin Turned Biz Card Holder

This one might have sparked this entire post. Our sister site, CraftingAGreenWorld.comon the Important Media network offered this one recently. I liked it because you can customize it so easily – and of course, ‘easy’ is the key, right?

 

Placemats from Used Plastic Bags?

My buddy Becky Striepe is the queen of creating upcycled crafts! Who else would’ve thought of this one! This fun idea can be found with simple to follow instructions (yea!) at her wonderful site GlueAndGlitter.

 

for 5 more EASY DIY gift projects for the non-crafty Green Diva, go to TheGreenDivas.com

 

 
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