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7 Ways to Become a Water Conservation Hero

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
December 5, 2012
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Environmental Concerns, Health, Home, Public Safety, Waste Reduction

We had a fun show last week. Thanks for some kind of satanic tech vortex we were unable to record the show and get the podcast out (but we do have some good notes, including a fun and easy DIY gift idea from GD Mizar - check out the show post for deets.). . . but by some miracle, we had an excellent show! Our Green Dude Segment was with Green Dude Antonio, who is a water purification expert with Pur2o. I’m always surprised by how much I actually don’t know and probably don’t want to know! Anyway, that segment inspired this post about water and water conservation.

Step 1 – Admit there is a problem

  • According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Water use has been growing at more than the rate twice of population increase in the last century
  • By 2025, 1 800 million people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions
  • According to the World Water Assessment Programme (of the UN), half of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1900
  • In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply
  • Projected increases in fertilizer use for food production and in wastewater effluents over the next three decades suggest there will be a 10-20 per cent global increase in river nitrogen flows to coastal ecosystems (not exactly sure what this means, but it doesn’t sound good!)

Step 2 – Educate yourself

One of our favorite regular guests on the Green Divas Radio Show is Jessica Arinella from the What You Can Do video series. She is also a water hero. She has produced several very educational short videos that help us understand not only why, but how to help conserve and create healthier water suppliesHere’s a link to a Green Divas Radio Show featuringJessica Arinella talking about water conservation.

I would also recommend the UN page on water statistics.

Step 3 – Don’t be part of the problem

Once we acknowledge that there is indeed a problem not only with water resources diminishing, but also in terms of contaminants and the need for safe, clean, accessible drinking water for everyone; then we need to be more aware of how we interact with water and start making changes.

Step 4 – No more bottled water

  • According to MSNBC, the use of water bottles increased dramatically from 3.3 billion sold in 1997 to 15 billion in 2002
  • National Geographic estimates that 17 million gallons of crude oil is used on an annual basis to produce plastic bottles
  • According to Environmental Working Group’s scientific study on bottled water vs. tap water, bottled water contains distinfection byproducts, fertilizer residue and pain medication . . . ahhhhh! Seriously – read this article.
  • Get a water filtration system and make your own bottled water using glass bottles! Check out our Green Dude Antonio’s excellent system, Pur2o and learn about the differences in systems and what you should be looking for.

Please check out my post on 7 good reasons to give up bottled water with all kinds of details.

Listen to the Green Divas Sleeping Naked is Green 5-minute segment about No More Bottled Water.

Step 5 – Conservation starts at home

  • Turn off the faucet! This seems like a no-brainer, but it takes a while for some of us to remember to shut off the water during times like brushing teeth or washing dishes or food preparation.
  • Flush less - If everyone in the United States flushed the toilet just one time less per day, we could save the equivalent of a lake full of water about one square mile and four feet deep every day
  • Check laundry water levels - First, be sure to wash only full loads; second, make sure that you set the machine to the appropriate water level needed
  • Power shower - Some of us love to linger in a lovely hot shower, but please take only 5 minutes in the shower and if you need to run water for a time to get the temperature right, consider capturing that water with a bucket and using it to water plants or something else.
  • Update water appliances – consider getting more efficient toilets and shower heads or at least when it is time to get new ones make sure to get the most water-efficient kind!
  • Use biodegradable cleaning products – I did some research on this and it is scary what toxins lurk in our cleaning products and how bad they are for us AND our environment, particularly our water systems. My post on non-toxic cleaning.

Step 6 – Help those that do not have clean, safe water

  • The UN suggests that each person needs 20-50 litres of water a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning
  • More than one in six people worldwide – 894 million – don’t have access to improved water sources
  • Today 2.5 billion people, including almost one billion children, live without even basic sanitation. Every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation. That’s 1.5 million preventable deaths each year
  • According to the UN, in developing countries, 70 percent of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply
  • One way to help is join Matt Damon and others in finding solutions and making safe water accessible to millions through the efforts of Water.org.

Step 7 – Educate others

As you educate yourself and change your water habits, you can help others by the power of example. You can be like my sister, Green Diva Lisa, who is the water police and has been known to lunge at sinks to turn off water in other people’s kitchens. Talk about it. Write about it. Don’t be shy about it. But, please try to be diplomatic and friendly to those that are still on the learning curve – lecturing and making people feel guilty isn’t very effective.

 

 
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Why Organic Food Rocks

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
September 19, 2012
File under: Environmental Concerns, Food, Health, Public Safety, Sustainable Practices

This green diva has to weigh in on all the buzz and banter about the latest study from Stanford about the lack of nutritional benefit from eating organic food. There is a lot of evidence that I wasn’t the only one irritated and quite surprised to see how this study was spun into a pro-chemical pesticide and fertilizer piece. Clearly an anti-organic slant, the article about the study on Stamford’s website states, “Organic foods are not necessarily 100 percent free of pesticides. What’s more, as the researchers noted, the pesticide levels of all foods generally fell within the allowable safety limits.”

Here’s where I see the fly in their ointment and question the premise of their spin. Do I really trust the FDA or whoever is setting “safe limits” for pesticide residue in my food? My answer is a quick and resounding NO. There are a thousand reasons for my feelings on this, not the least of which is my conspiracy theory that chemical and biotech lobbies have a strong foothold in the FDA and can manipulate standards to suit their needs rather than the true safety of the people they are designed to protect. For those who have an unlimited amount of time and energy and the inclination to root them out, here’s a list of lobbyists that are lobbying the FDA.

Further muddying the waters of this study is evidence that Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, which conducted the study has accepted funding from companies like . . . wait for it . . . Monsanto! Not really shocking and it pretty much makes sense that a company looking to thwart Proposition 37, which is all about GMO labeling in California, might find it helpful to have this study come out right about now. NOTE: Monsanto is the single largest financial donor in the fight AGAINST labeling food with GMOs in CA under Prop 37. The Cornucopia Institute did a great article about the biotech funding that may have tainted this Stanford study.

If I’m going to put any emphasis on a study regarding organic food, I’m going with the University of Barcelona’s study published in June of this year, that proves how and why organic tomatoes have higher antioxidant levels.

Two Good Reasons Why Green Divas & Dudes
Prefer Organic Food

1. Sustainable Agriculture Rocks

. . . and I mean REAL sustainable agriculture, not biotech companies like Monsanto that say they are (their tagline is, A Sustainable Agriculture Company) (?) . . . In my humble opinion, sustainable agriculture is all about creating smaller regional farming systems and communities that grow food responsibly without harming farm workers, soil, water, food or the people who eat it. I know people will argue that we can’t feed the world on small farms, and perhaps that would be true today, but I dream of a world where we are nourished by local farms and regional farming systems, which do a lot less damage to the environment (and perhaps people) than giant factory farms. The more we support our local farmers, the closer we come to this reality.

To see more about why Sustainable Agriculture Rocks go to GD Meg’s original post on Why Green Divas & Dudes Prefer Organic Food

2. Pesticides Suck

No matter what this Stanford or any other study says about acceptable amounts of pesticides and chemical fertilizers or GMOs in my food, I just don’t want to eat them. Our awesome new intern, Jamie Bachar, did a bunch of research this week on pesticides and their effects on humans and the environment – ahhhhhhhhhh. I feel fully justified in wanting to minimize these in my diet even more now!
In response to this Stanford organic food study, Charlotte Vallaeys, Director of Farm and Food Policy with the The Cornucopia Institute said, “Consumers should not lose sight of the important impacts of organic agriculture, which produces foods without the use of toxic pesticides that have been linked to an array of health problems, including cancer and ADHD in children. This study confirmed once again that organic foods contain significantly lower levels of pesticide residues, and that alone should be enough reason for every family to consider exclusively purchasing organic foods.” Yea, what she said!

To see more about why Pesticides Suck, including definition of pesticides, health reasons to avoid them, what pesticides the USDA found in ground water, and more, go to GD Meg’s original post on Why Green Divas & Dudes Prefer Organic Food

Organic agriculture includes non-food crops like cotton.
Listen to the Green Divas 5-min Sleeping Naked is Green segment about why we should buy organic cotton.

eat. blog. be merry!

 

 
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Mariel Hemingway on GMOs and Why We Need to Stop Monsanto

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
September 5, 2012
File under: Environmental Concerns, Health, Public Safety

I was introduced to a wonderful new film project that Mariel Hemingway is behind called Stop Monsanto. I’m excited about the film and hope you will be too. I had the opportunity to correspond with Ms. Hemingway about the film and the issues behind it (GMO/GE food). But first, let’s just do a little GMO 101 . . .

What are GMOs?

One of my very favorite writers, Nancy Dreyfus, did a guest post for TheGreenDivas.com, which is a thorough 101 on GMOs, called Waiter There’s a Fish in My Tomato. I HIGHLY recommend reading this well-researched and documented article. In the meantime, here’s her definition of GMO:

A genetically modified organism (GMO, also called “genetically engineered”) is a plant, animal or microorganism (eg, bacteria) that is created by means that overcome natural boundaries. Genetic engineering involves crossing species that could not cross in nature.

If you haven’t heard about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or Genetically Engineered (GE) foods or Monsanto‘s

mariel hemingway

role in all of this, I hate to be the one to rupture your bubble, but this is a big issue and we all need to get educated about it. I’m not a scientist, farmer or bioengineer, but I am a foodie. I love food and have been in love with sustainable agriculture concepts and practices since the 80s. I’m also not a news journalist and don’t pretend to be one, so I’ll be clear about my opinion right up front – I prefer to NOT to eat GMO/GE foods, and I doubt anyone could convince me otherwise.

Find out more about #StopMonsanto from Mariel Hemingway in her Q & A with Green Diva Meg . . .

 

 
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7 Really Good Reasons to Give Up Bottled Water

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
March 15, 2012
File under: Diet, Eco-Friendly Activities, Environmental Concerns, Health, Home, Lifestyle, Public Safety, Recycling, Sustainable Practices, Waste Reduction

Why Should We Care? by Green Diva Meg
These posts explore a myriad of topics relating to green, sustainable and healthy living and offer simple and clear information from the fun and quirky point of view of the Green Divas. Each post provides practical, no nonsense information on What Can We Do to make a difference.


Why Should We Care About Plastic Water Bottles?

Other than my beloved tea, there is really only one other fluid I drink on a daily basis and that’s water. Embarrassingly, I succumbed to the marketing hype about bottled water years ago and became afraid to drink tap water – perhaps for good reasons in many cases. But, a few years back, I realized I was amassing these crazy piles of plastic bottles for recycling every week. Well, at least I was recycling them . . . So, I got busy and found a good water filter and bought myself and everyone in the family a healthy stainless steel re-usable water bottle. It really wasn’t so difficult, and I feel so much better about not having to recycle so many plastic bottles!

7 Good Reasons to Quit Drinking Bottled Water

…read more of 7 Really Good Reasons to Give Up Bottled Water here

 
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5 Reasons to Think Twice Before Reaching for Hand Sanitizer

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
November 15, 2011
File under: Cleaning, Environmental Concerns, Family, Health, Personal Care, Public Safety

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 NON-TOXIC HAND SANITIZER?

Anyone that knows me, knows I’m part Howard Hughes – not the uber-rich part, the part that was germaphobic.  I am a bit of a pathological hand-washer. You could easily conclude that I love hand sanitizer, but once I learned that most conventional brands have some nasty ingredients that are NOT good for us (endocrine inhibitors can’t be a good thing!) or our ecological system, I’ve opted for good ole handwashing or the organic and non-toxic brands I’ve found.

…read more of 5 Reasons to Think Twice Before Reaching for Hand Sanitizer here

 
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