Monthly Archives: April 2012

Get Your Green On This Earth Day!

Earth Day, this Sunday the 22nd, is a great time to dive in if you’ve been on the edge of getting into green, make a stronger pledge if you’re further down the spectrum, and CELEBRATE!  Earth Day is your chance to honor the hard work we’ve made happen so far, learn new ways to go forward, and make commitments to keep change moving. It’s also a just great day for a party!

One of my first teenage Earth Day celebrations included a concert at the Meadows in CT, two years ago I planted trees in Staten Island, and this year I’ll be at Ocean Beach in SF cleaning up trash. You can get involved wherever you live! Check out an ED festival, volunteer with a group, or do something at home. The EPA’s list of Earth Day events and volunteer opportunities  lists ways to get involved in each state (just click on your region)! This is the best list I’ve found so far, although Sierra Club does have some cool events in a few cities as well.

If you’re in SF you should definitely join me at SF Earth Day at the Civic Center!

How will you celebrate?!

Easy Ways to Go Greener at Home—This Earth Day!

Plant a tree. This is one of the easiest and best things you can do to make an impact. You’re taking carbon out of the air and providing oxygen and habitat!

Garden! Start an herb garden or just get planting. It’ll be amazing to feel soil between your fingers, I promise.

Get on your bike or go for a walk to do your errands and get some exercise in the process!

Buy that reusable water bottle, now it’s seriously time.

Time to purchase that Energy Star certified appliance you’ve been craving?

Is there a farmers market close by you can check out?

REUSE! Check craigslist, go to second-hand stores and tag sales, or look to borrow before purchasing something new.

Teach your kids about the Earth, recycling, and not wasting. We are definitely going to need their help!

Swing and a Miss: Compostable Sponges Suck.

A friend told me that she tired out Leah’s ‘cup’ and had a hard time with it, but didn’t want to comment about something ‘not working’. I told her to comment away because the things that don’t work are the ones we need to focus our energy on! Sometimes you might need a different explanation, and often the product itself still needs a little tweaking, but that’s how we’ll get to real change. Learning and trying things, seeing how they work, and advocating to make them better. I do try pretty hard to find something that does work in a ‘green category’ before I post, but I often go through a few losers on the way.

One such category is coming up all losers. I still haven’t found a compostable sponge that doesn’t suck. Sponges are one of those annoying trash items that I know must have a suitable green option. I envision all the sponges I’ve used in my lifetime sitting in a landfill in Pennsylvania (because that’s where NYC ships their trash), and it irks me. But, I’ve gone through a few of these bad boys and they’re all completely useless. They tend to absorb water and can clean things that don’t have any build up on them, but a dirty pan after it’s been in the oven, no chance. Or the pot we used to cook rice (I know I need a rice cooker), scrubbed and scrubbed; still nothing.

I’ve tried microfiber, I tried this adorable gem from a farmer’s co-op (thanks Mary!), and I’ve tried Trader Joe’s cellulose sponges. Fine to clean off a non-sticky item, but when it comes to the hard stuff (even if I soak it), fail, fail, fail.

The search will continue and I hope to post an update someday. If anyone finds something that works, let me know!

GUEST POST: Green Mascara

Hey, I’m Jen. I had a professor who once had us stand up in front of everyone to introduce ourselves. She asked the class to take out anything we had that could describe us without words. While my peers fumbled through notebooks, backpacks and purses for iPods and books, I swiftly pulled out a tube of mascara and held it up.

Maybe not the best first impression to give my teacher, but mascara is a big part of my life. Yes I love books, movies, and my family, but mascara is something I just can’t live without. Seriously… I would consider going naked before leaving the house without my beloved cosmetic.

I remember the glorious day I first put it on. It was my first day of seventh grade, my big year, and I needed BIG lashes to go with it.  My hair was half up, half down, my purple bedazzled Gap tee was looking fresh and my eyelashes were skyscrapers. It was the first time I looked in the mirror and didn’t feel like a kid.

From that day on I was hooked. And twelve years later, I’m still in love.

In 2008, I made the decision to only use cruelty free products, priding myself on such a conscious decision about makeup. But it wasn’t until I watched a little documentary that I realized how mistaken I was.

The “Story Of Stuff” Project is an amazing tool that helps us realize what we are doing to the planet, our environment and ourselves. I watched their “Story Of Stuff: Cosmetics” and my head almost exploded.  The makeup we are putting on our bodies is not safe!

The average woman uses 12 products a day. Those 12 small products contain hundreds of chemicals, less than 20% of which are inspected by the FDA. In fact, include elements that are known to cause cancer, asthma, learning disabilities and infertility. Think about putting that on your face for the next 60 years.

The documentary taught me that there are no regulations on makeup in our country. Since words like “natural”, “herbal” and “organic” have no legal definition when it comes to cosmetics, I set out on a mission to find a beauty line that can help me make the right choices for the planet and my body.

And I did.

I found 100% Pure Cosmetics, a company that uses no chemicals or harsh dyes. Their make up is 100% vegan and is even more surprisingly reasonably priced. 100% Pure offers cosmetics, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, and skin care, and is totally committed to the idea of unadulterated products.  Since as much as 60% of topical skin-care products are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, 100% Pure has taken on the task of cosmetics with no synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins.

As I looked further into 100% Pure I found that they not only had amazing products but great gift sets. I purchased the FRUIT PIGMENTED 3-pc KIT, which includes a tinted moisturizer, the renowned coffee bean caffeine eye cream and the thing I was most looking forward to: black tea mascara. These three full sized products came to $50.00 with free shipping, which I consider reasonable, especially for the quality and peace of mind.

The tinted moisturizer is sheer yet covers small imperfections. It offers SPF, which is so important if you expect to be outside a lot during the day, and provides a quick way to smooth out your complexion. The Coffee Bean Caffeine eye cream smells delicious and has been featured in a bunch of magazines. It’s not an everyday item for me, but on my tired or hung over days it definitely saves me from looking like an extra on “The Walking Dead”.

The black tea mascara was something I was so excited to try and oddly nervous about at the same time. Now that I know how horrible other brands are, what if I didn’t like it? How could I ever go back?

Thankfully, 100% Pure did not disappoint.

This is the perfect daytime mascara. The black pigment is totally there, the lashes are definitely lengthened, although it does take a few coats to get the volume I like.

Overall, I think I’m in LOVE with 100% Pure. I just can’t help myself from trying more and more make up! In fact, I am expecting more 100% Pure in the mail while I write this. I just purchased their “All You Need” gift set and it is pathetic how often I track the shipping.

So if you’re as blind as I was before, make sure you know what you’re putting on your body. Now, I am constantly on the hunt (pun intended) for better and better green makeup products, and if I find any more I promise to share them with Sarah and the world.

About the Author: Jen and Sarah have dabbled in yoga, gone on a few hikes, and seen a lot of improv together. Jen is a teacher, a student, and as you can see from this post, into cosmetics. She grew up in New England but transplanted herself to Los Angeles where she’s started composting, trying out meatless Mondays, and attempting to walk in heels.

Reusable Water Bottles & What WWD Is All About

Well, I kinda blew it by not posting anything on World Water Day. But celebrate, I did. I celebrated by not taking a shower, doing the dishes in the most water-conservative way I know how, and really thinking about water.

Though the official water day has passed, here are some photos, facts, issues, and ideas to keep water on your mind, and in your actions.

If you don’t have a reusable water bottle, it’s time to buy one. Do it for WWD, do it for convenience, just do it. Plus then you can use the cool new water-refill stations popping up at airports near you (this one @ SFO)! My favorite reusable is the stainless steel Klean Kanteen. Easy to clean, dishwasher safe, light but durable, and BPA free. BPA (bisphenol A) is a polycarbonate plastic that’s been linked to heart disease, diabetes & liver failure in humans, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Try to steer clear of aluminum knockoffs. aluminum, as opposed to steel, isn’t FDA food-grade safe so these bottles are coated with plastic or epoxy liners (read chemicals) = bad news.

My brother rocks the BPA-free plastic CamelBak. These are great IF you have a dishwasher, but without one, the rubber nozzle fills with spit/bacteria and gets super gross. That happened to mine, but his is fine since he puts the nozzle in the dishwasher regularly. Another high-class glass version is from LifeFactory, who also makes sustainable (glass) baby bottles.

Fun SF find: Global Tap water fountains are showing up around town. Love them and their ‘water is a human right, not a privilege’ slogan!

Now onto WWD, which focuses on the amount of water used in food production. This is one of the reasons I’m a vegetarian. It takes 1500 liters of water to produce 1 kg of wheat, but takes 10 times more to produce 1kg of beef due to the need for water in livestock feed production, slaughtering, and meat processing (UN). It’s pretty crazy when you think about the numbers: 70% of blue (drinkable) water withdrawals at a global level go to crop irrigation, not to human needs (UN). Humans all over the globe suffer from a lack of water, because this water is diverted and prioritized to give us steak. This water should be instead allocated to the 1.5 MILLION children who die yearly from diarrhea caused by severe dehydration (WHO).

Lastly, we’ve all be there. You share an apartment with your loved one or have a date over that you want to continue to find you attractive. Bathroom business (read #2) is not attractive, so you run the sink or the shower while probably also making coughing noises. Well, accomplish this and waste water no longer!  Check out this app alternative (thanks Ame 🙂

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