I'm working on a list of resolutions for the new year. Many of them concern kicking my eco-awareness up a notch. What sort of things are on your list?
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Posted by Renee at 8:20 AM
I recently ordered this cotton bath pouff from Me Me's Knits on Etsy. It's lovey and luxurious...who decided rubbing plastic mesh all over your skin was a good idea? Best of all, it's machine washable, so you can use it forever and ever :)
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Take this quiz. I got a 74, which makes me an eco-ally. The quiz pointed out my eco-shortcomings: I need to audit my house for energy efficiency and make necessary repairs, and I'm too reliant on heat and a/c. The latter is a big issue for me. I like to be comfortable in my home. The summer is easier, because we have a wonderful attic fan and shade trees, but I can't stand to be cold. We don't have a fireplace, so we depend on our heater. I guess I need to work on this!
Posted by Renee at 10:31 AM
Monday, December 29, 2008
I'm happy to say that so far my family has survived flu season without incident (knock wood). An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...Here's what's been keeping us healthy:
- Herbal supplements - echinacea, elderberry and other immune-boosters
- Lots of handwashing
- Cleaning and disinfecting with my usual vinegar and TTO
We've all had a bit of minor congestion, but we're taking it in stride. We haven't yet reached for the medicine yet. Instead, we're treating the symptoms with these natural remedies:
- Essential oils. A blend of eucalyptus and other soothing oils with water sprayed on pillows aids nighttime breathing when congestion is at its worst. I put some full-strength oil on a cloth and hang it in MJ's crib. The same oil blend is fabulous in a bath or shower.
- The Neti Pot. The ancient remedy really works! You use it to pour saline into one nostril and it comes out the other...bringing out all kinds of nastiness. Gross? Yes. Effective? You bet.
- Garlic oil. When congestion leads to earache, garlic oil to the rescue! It will even stop an infection before you call the doc for antibiotics.
- Hankies. Skip the paper tissues for a more eco-friendly version. They're so much gentler on your nose too! I've got a fun handkerchief DIY project coming up...stay tuned :)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It's no secret that making changes to benefit the environment also benefits your family, and vice versa. No Impact Man reports on a new study from Indiana University which shows that a greener urban landscape makes for healthier kids.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Lush Cosmetics recently announced that their popular soaps and shampoos will no longer contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS. SLS is a synthetic surfacant that breaks surface tension and allows water to mix with oils, which makes soaps and shampoos foam. Though suspicions linking SLS to cancer have been disproven for now, we do know that it can cause serious eye problems and skin irritation. Traces have even been found to build up in our organs.
Losing the SLS makes Lush fantastic, healthy, ec0-friendly products. They use natural ingredients and minimal packaging.
I'll be stopping by the new store opening in a mall near me to pick up a shampoo bar, which I'll definitely review here. Each shampoo bar saves 3 standard size shampoo bottles!
Well done, Lush.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I caught up today with a college hall-mate on facebook. She asked what I was doing, and I told her that I stay at home with Marlee. Her response? "What?! I'm so disappointed in you. That's backwards, old fashioned, and anti-feminist. I can't belive you're the same girl I sat with in women's studies class."
Excuse me? There is nothing backwards about wanting to raise my child myself. About wanting to make a warm, loving home for her to grow up in. If anything, I feel empowered by the whole thing. Different strokes I guess.
I also got thinking about the word "homemaker." I much perfer this to "stay-at-home-mom." It's a more accurate description of what I do. I'm not a mom who stays at home. I work for my family, making our house a home. I like it, and I'm going to use it from here on out. I can only guess that the word disappeared for being un-PC.
I just wanted to toss it out there and see if anyone has come across this kind of mentality or has thoughts on it.
Check out the awesome cloth diaper giveaway on Baby Rabies.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This Christmas, I'm really hoping "Santa" brings Marlee some high-quality, safe, handmade toys. It's always a touchy subject with family. I don't want to be rude or ungrateful, but I also don't want another plastic toy that is 1. Loaded with chemicals 2. Noisy and overstimulating 3. Cheaply made so it will end up in a landfill and release said chemicals for eons. I generally approach the subject by asking people not to get her anything with noises or lights. That pretty much rules out the toddler section at most toy stores. I also created a wish list at one of my favorite toy sites Oompa.com. I sent an email with links to handmade toys at Etsy. I guess I can report back in two weeks and let you know if my tactics worked. How are you handling requests this Christmas?
When shopping for your little one or after the gifts are unwrapped, you can check the safety of specific toys at HealthyToys.org. It measures levels of lead, arsenic, mercury, and other toxins in toys, bottles, toddler dishes, and more. I check nearly every toy before opening the box.
As I mention, my ideal toys are handmade with love and care. Sadly, those toys are in danger.
In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.
The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.
All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers, however, the costs of mandatroy testing will likely drive them out of business.
* A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA.
* A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes dolls to sell at craft fairs must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.
* A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.
* And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.
The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.
If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered.
How You can Help:
Please write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys. Use the sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here .