Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Short Message from the False Advertising Industry

A comical but sad look at the world of food label marketing

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ripe for the Picking

What a fabulous idea, hopefully many other cities will follow Seattles lead. I recall living in the San Fernando Valley outside LA in the late 1970's close to Northridge University who's campus had apparently at one time been a commercial avocado orchard. Many of the trees had been left on campus as landscaping and there were literally thousands of avocados "ripe for the picking". Granted, how much guacamole could one eat but it was wonderful filling up bags of the fruit fruit. Way to go Seattle!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The ‘No More Tears’ Shampoo, Now With No Formaldehyde

According to a New York Times article The ‘No More Tears’ Shampoo, Now With No Formaldehyde ( Johnson and Johnson has now removed all formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing preservative chemicals from it's "No More Tears Baby Shampoo" in addition to 100 other products! This is the same shampoo that caring trusting mothers have been pouring over their babies heads for generations. For those unaware, formaldehyde is the main ingredient in EMBALMING FLUID, yep, the same liquid they use to pickle and preserve you after death. I don't know about the rest of you all but I don't fancy this chemical poured on my skin just 2 inches from my brain on a daily basis, I think I'll leaving the embalming until AFTER I'm gone. While this is a tiny step in the right direction for one big company, most other major cosmetic and body care manufacturers use and expose unaware consumers to the exact same chemicals. So until they all get with the program and remove these toxins from their products, it has always been my philosophy to take control of what goes on or in my body and whats goes into my environment. 3 ways to do this are:
1) Read the labels and educate yourself as to what the ingredients actually are. Other hidden names for formaldehyde are: quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1, 3-diol, imidazolidinyl urea, Methyl aldehyde, morbicid acid, oxymethylene and many more
2) Make your own (I will be including DIY recipes in future blogs)
3) Buy from a natural foods store or vendor (but still read their labels)

The Environmental Working Group is a great site to check out the toxicity of any ingredient in the products you buy. While you may not want or be able to eliminate all the toxic chemicals in the products you buy, at least you can make an informed decision about what goes on and in your body and home and extended environment.

Then & Now

So, it's been a long time since I started this blog and almost as long since I posted anything, 2009 to be exact. Since that time a lot has changed with me, most specifically, I have started a small cottage industry crafting and selling all natural organic skin care, bath, body and home goods on and at local (Phila/PA) craft shows. Although it would seem like a natural course of action for me to take after being in the "green" movement for almost 44 years and after making and using my homemade products for myself and my home all that time, I balked at the idea mainly due to lack of confidence. It was my granddaughter who finally convinced me I could do it. So I started my little business in 2011 and it has been growing slowly but surely ever since. I also started a second shop on Etsy selling vintage housewares and costume jewelry, what better way to "Reduce-Reuse-Recycle"? I have found that most of the items I find and buy to resell are made of higher quality materials than those available today in the current plastic throw away society. Other changes, sadly, were a decrease in my community activism (Sustainable 19125) with regard to local environmental issues, something I intend to rectify very soon. A new grand baby, work changes, major house renovations and my 2 new business ventures have all distracted me for a while but now I'm baaaaaaack and with a vengeance! So with the new "me" comes a more in-depth blog. In addition to the previously seen climate and environmental facts and musings, I will be including "home and personal environment" news, facts and recipes because all planet issues start with us the consumer and with what we buy, use and pour down our drains.
Earthwise Naturals (
Retrofit (

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Eco Fact

There are only two manmade structures on planet Earth which are large enough to be seen from outer space: the Great Wall of China and the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island New York.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Biggest Little Litter Problem in the World

If you were to stop and ask the average person on the street what the biggest litter problem in the world is you would probably receive the reply of "oh it would have to be plastic water bottles". That answer would be a good one because here in the USA we throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour totaling about 38 billion each year, bottles which required 1.5 billion barrels of oil to produce. Although a recent and monumental problem, plastic waters bottles are not the biggest little litter problem.

Another answer you might receive is "soda cans". That would be another good guess, with sixty-five billion aluminum soda cans being used each year and no exact count as to how many are thrown away on beaches and highways. Only about 65% of aluminum cans are currently being recycled.

Other good answers would be: plastic bags, candy and bubble gum wrappers, beer bottles and car tires and the list could go on forever. While all of these are huge litter problems that need to be dealt with, they are still not the answer to the question.

So what IS the answer to what's the biggest little litter problem in the world? CIGARETTE BUTTS.

Worldwide, smokers toss over 4.5 TRILLION cigarette butts each year with about 30% ending up as litter. After the butts gets flicked onto the street, buried in the beach sand or dumped out of car ashtrays while drivers are sitting at red lights, wind, rain and waves carry them into the sewers and ocean. Once in the sewers and oceans, the approximately 4,000 toxic chemicals the cigarette filter was designed to trap leak into and poison our water supplies. While the actual tobacco and paper components decompose rather quickly, the plastic cellulose filters do not break down easily and are mistaken for food by birds and marine life who become poisoned and die by the concentration of toxic chemicals in them.

How can we help change this? Well for starters, where there are particular problem areas in your neighborhood, signs can be posted informing offenders of the effects tossed cigarettes have on the environment. If you personally see someone tossing, try to politely inform them and say something like, here, give it to me and I'll dispose of it safely for you, thanks.

If you use Altoids, instead of tossing the empty metal can, carry it in your pocket to use as your own personal ashtray and later empty into a proper trash receptacle or when you get home.

Check out these sites for personal portable ashtrays that fit right in your pocket or purse, you can buy these for yourself or give as holiday gifts :

ButtsOut Personal Ashtrays

The Swiss Tray

Or get organized in your own communities to purchase these inexpensive outdoor models to place at bus stops and busy corners:

The No Butts Bin Company (variety of styles for outdoor use)

With a little effort we can kick this problem in the sorry, but I HAD to say that, I simply couldn't resist! Please stop groaning......

Monday, October 5, 2009

Eco Fact

Most typical supermarket laundry and dishwashing detergents are made from petroleum.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fading Gardens

Well, it's that time of year again when the gardens are going to sleep for the winter. Because I live in a small home, with a postage stamp size yard, I belong to a community garden here in Philly and am waiting for the inevitable email informing me the garden will be closing for the season and that we all need to get together to do the final fall cleanup. This year hasn't been real good in the garden with all the rain we had for so long but now that things have finally dried up and the sun is getting through, the plants are giving one last effort to produce some fruits and veggies so I am hoping the fall cleanup email comes later rather than sooner.

The reason I joined the garden group was to plant and harvest 100% organically grown veggies. With the economy the way it's been and the high cost of buying organic, I thought I would give growing my own a try. In the past I've grown the typical patio tomatoes and string beans and green peppers in pots and crevices out back, but this year I went all out at the community garden with watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, red beets, brussels sprouts, mixed salad greens and more. One of my most surprising harvests was in late spring and early summer after I planted snow peas. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would reap almost 8 pounds of the little darlings! I mean, how many snow peas can 2 people eat? But I am grateful because the few times I have purchased non-organic snow peas at the supermarket, they cost anywhere between $4 and $6 per pound, basically green gold. So my $2 seed packet yielded over $32 worth of produce. I still have a watermelon waiting to be picked and a few cantaloupes and the last of the string beans but all the rest of the plants are done. Soon, I will be starting to plan what I'm going to plant next spring and definitely altering my choices for next year based on this years experiences.

So now is a good time to begin thinking about if YOU might like to try your hand at growing your own organic veggies next spring. I have often heard from people that say they wished they could eat less pesticide sprayed produce but that the high cost of organic was not in their budgets. Well for a $2 pack of seeds, you can have a dozen cantaloupe and for a $3 seedling tray, you can pick strings beans all summer and fall. It doesn't take a big yard or even a yard at all for that matter, many veggies can be grown in pots. Aside from the environmental and financial benefits, another reason to grow your own is it's just plain FUN. It's hard to describe how much pleasure can be derived from seeing seeds you planted sprout and turn into huge plants that bear vegetables you can pick and eat. And kids get an even bigger kick out of it. I let my granddaughter help me plant the carrot seeds on Mothers Day and even though she doesn't like most veggies, carrots included, she was nevertheless fascinated when she saw what she had planted pulled out of the ground, ready to be cooked and eaten.

Try it, I guarantee you'll like it!