Just like every Spring, emails and Facebook feeds are lighting up with news of this year’s Great American Gas Out.
For the small price of refusing to buy gas on this one arbitrarily chosen day (or sometimes chosen weekend), you effectively decrease the profits of oil companies.
Actually, you inflate your own sense of eco-righteousness. That is about all that you will accomplish.
Gas prices will stay the same (despite the false claims of previous years causing gas prices to fall $.30 overnight). This “event” is a total sham.
I have never played along with the gas out, even during my years writing this blog as “Green Grounded” when I yearned to be the most environmentally-friendly gal in town.
Why did I avoid this annual boycott?
Think about it. Who are we joking to think we are changing anything with this method?
Even the originators of this email suggest fueling up on the 14th, or on the 16th. Fuel away! Fill your car overflowing with glorious liquid gold (not the cheese) with abandon! The oil companies will feel our wrath on the 15th, however, when suddenly their sales are all dried up!
Gandhi said something about beingthe change, right? Not staging a one-day protest where you simply put off doing a chore you will happily oblige to the day after.
For years we have heard plenty about not using harsh chemical cleansers in our home. Vinegar and baking soda are supposed to be the magic cleaning agent in order to disinfect your home and keep your family healthy – and away from toxic fumes, carcinogens, and questionable ingredients.
Then Clorox paved the mainstream way of trying to convince us the make a truly “green” cleaning line, and names like Seventh Generation became everyday brands.
Living that middle ground as I do, I took several years and bought only Shaklee, Seventh Generation, Ecover, and the like. I spent bundles of Marc’s and my money toward these products, and often to find myself itchy, my dishes still dirty, and my bathtub still grimy.
This past with pricey alternative cleaners explains why I was at Wal-Mart (yes) this week buying Comet. Gimme that bleachy teal powder that would turn tar snowy white!
I grabbed the 2x Comet (twice the white and half the elbow grease!) when I saw it:
“Cleans your home without dye, perfume or chlorine”.
“Sprinkle Scrub Rinse!”
“Before cleaning turned ‘chemical,’ there was Bon Ami.”
They say they have a simple purpose, “to return your home to a natural state of clean.”
Biodegradable, hypo-allergenic (and those commercial cleaners you buy are NOT), Bon Ami is made of “five simple ingredients”:
Biodegradable Cleaning Agents (from coconut and corn)
Technically, would “biodegradable cleaning agents” not count as more than one ingredient? That reminds me of idiots on Pinterest who say their cake is only three ingredients… but one of them is a box of cake mix which has eight ingredients and multiple preservatives itself.
Anyhow, Bon Ami is still far less harsh and far more natural than what I showed up to buy. Plus, for less than a dollar, what do I have to lose?
I got both. No better way to test something out, right, than to have the tried-and-true on standby to make everything pearly if the natural product fails. I likely would have bought Bar Keepers Friend, which was between the two products, but it was sold out. I hear it is fantastic, too, though.
Any experience with this cute little chickadee?
PS. No, we still have no fridge. The old one is sitting in the middle of our kitchen floor, and we should have one by tomorrow night. Oh, I hope, because the random coolers and tote bins of food sitting on our porch is a little janky.
How do we live our lives, live as Christians, and live sustainable “green” lives simultaneously?
I know not everyone who will read this subscribes to Christianity, but as someone who does, I realized long ago that “living green” so often becomes it’s own version of worship.
The pride and arrogance over all I do to make the world greener, all I know that others seem to be figuring out, all that I teach other and judge them for not doing, and all the things I realized I still did not know that I had to gobble up to reach the pinnacle of green zen…
My search for “Green Grounded” was anything but grounded. I had made an idol of being green.
So where is the balance?
Another writer deals with this, too, as her family lives “on the crunchier side” as well as has a child that is allergic to plastic:
It’s avoiding all the baggage that comes along with it. It’s avoiding the dogma. The theology of the earth as giver and creator. The “save the earth!” slogans. The idea that more than one child per family is unduly burdening our ecosystem. The explicit understanding that we’re all part of one big cosmic happy place, and that anyone who subscribes to the idea that there’s one true way is just bringing everyone down.
How do we make our difference, live our truth, support the ecosystem and community, all while keeping our eyes and hearts focused on the bigger-yet picture?
I could subtitle this piece, “Don’t You Know Local Is More Important Than Organic?”
That was my experience looking for organic apples at the North Carolina Farmer’s Market here in Raleigh.
You see, Marc and I have gotten into making apple butter from scratch. It is so so good. He and Mama Bull are big fans of apple butter, as is my sister, but increasingly over the years, we have realized that finding apple butter without high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it is nearly impossible.
In fact, finding apple butter in stores at all is nearly impossible.
Apples have it rough in my world. Let me explain a bit:
I once enjoyed their crunch, but never could eat an actual apple again after having my braces removed nearly 15 years ago. I only drink their juice and eat them fully cooked now.
A college professor pushed how important it is that we buy organic apples anytime we buy apple products – the degradation of both our environments and our personal health otherwise is unforgivable.
Marc and I, like the majority of Americans, are in the pickle of trying to figure out better finances. If you aren’t able to save every month, you are going in debt. We really want to avoid our college days of ramen, though. Besides, those ramen packs are no longer 10 for a $1; it’s more like 3 for a $1!
We spend a lot on food every month. Years have past since ramen, and now we eat much more organic food and enjoy actual, whole coffee beans instead of instant. As we document our every expense on our fridge, though, we are always surprised that two people spend so much on food. Thus, we decided we need to find more frugal eating.
That is, frugal without cutting into our health. That is a debt I will not allow either. Despite my Dad trying to turn us to those Lipton noodle packets as pasta.
I am fairly adamant about what we eat (avoid eating, actually), and am very conscientious to leave any items with high fructose corn syrup (for one) on the shelves.
In the bread aisle, however, we always find a spark, however, ready to ignite us into a disagreement. The whole grain breads, hoagies, rolls and crackers can vary quite a bit in price, and often, the most expensive of them is the only one without HFCS. Marc, however, always hates that I’m squeezing more money out of his wallet when we could be saving some change. A $1.50 loaf certain looks better than a $3.50 loaf.
Those loaves of bread do add up. Especially when you are also looking at which ketchup you buy, which milk you choose, the OJ you pick up, and on and on and on. I get that. Yet HFCS is in nearly everything. I challenge you to look in your fridge at the ingredient labels.
Marc also gets why I care so much to keep HFCS out blah blah blah. So the battle between a cheap obesity/fat wallet and a healthy life/empty wallet rages on.
Yet the Corn Refiners Associate is working their magic to muddle what we know to be true. Jessica Gottlieb wrote an article on how the campaign to woo Moms and change the name high fructose corn syrup to “corn sugar” is a dangerous battle.
Yep, this propaganda campaign is brought to you by the same amazing marketing jerks team who provided us with the controversial commercials. (Click to view. They’ve disabled the embed feature from their commercials. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W40yHDFxkAY)
Our battle is in our negligence to demand honesty in our foods. Couple that with our laziness to buy, cook, and eat real foods, whole foods. We are left as a fatter*, sicker, and more medicine-dependent nation than ever before. Complacency that leads down a road of obesity, which already has our belts and wallets stretched beyond capacity, now adds extra burden (in infinite, immeasurable proportion) on the insurance and medical systems, funded by the companies that make the medicines we rely on for symptoms that we, as individuals, can end.
Politico and politi-faux alike need to think twice before they argue that the government should not make it mandatory for individuals to pay for health insurance, then turn and say in the same breath that the government should not ban foods or additives.
I agree. Government control is rarely an answer. Yet we cannot control ourselves, either. I only ask you to consider that there are no easy answers.
Then again, when it comes to health care, or splurging that extra dollar a loaf for the bread without HFCS, you cannot spend what you do not have. Though most of us have it. We just use it stupidly somewhere else (clothes, McDonalds, manicures, magazines).
The fact corn, however, has become such an evil, yet such a predominant part of our pantries… It’s sick.
Watch King Corn.
Or, better yet, right now, take one minute to see why you should be snorting cocaine.
*Fat is not a horrible word. It is a descriptor. One which I will honestly and happily apply upon myself a year ago this time. While I am a healthy weight now (read: “healthy”, not necessarily “skinny”), I was 20 pounds heavier this time last year. I was enjoying laziness and fast food a little too much for a number of years, before re-awakening.
For our wedding, we registered for an organic bedding set (to go on our 11-year-old, anything but organic or environmentally-sound mattress). And we got it (thank you Aunt Beverly and Uncle Tommy!). Amy Butler for Welspun from Bed Bath and Beyond.
The sheets, shams, and comforter are beautiful! Perhaps the first time our bed has ever looked pretty and inviting (and not too pretty – a guy is sleeping in it, after all).
According to the packaging, the sheet set is “100% organic cotton 400 thread count”.
I washed the sheets three times before I put them on our bed, though, because every time I pulled them out of the dryer, they were dense with a heavy, chemical odor. One I’ve never experienced before. Marc and I were stumped until I started thinking about the dye involved. No mention of them being “organic” or “sustainable”. Hmmm.
So I also checked the tags on the comforter and sheets.
Again with the 100% organic cotton. Recycled polyester fill (what IS recycled polyester fill? Post-consumer use, or just little blobs that ended up on the floor that they then reused instead of hurling in the dumpster?). No word on the dye?
My Father-in-law is a firm believer that there is no such thing as organic, particularly organic cotton… or dyes… or much of anything. I am more of a moderate than that, but still…
What do you feel about “organic” and “sustainable” home products? Truth in advertising? Or economic adulteration?
Sounds kinky (and maybe even fun for some of you), but what I am weighing is how environmentally-friendly latex balloons are. Or aren’t.
Five years ago I did a project for my fraternity, during which I found the fact that latex biodegrades at the same rate as an oak leaf: about 26 days.
Well, as I plan for a wedding that is in nine months, I am trying to weigh out different decorating options. You might know what I mean – what do I need to buy, what should I certainly avoid buying, what do the things I buy need to be made of or where… and the questions keep going.
original on Austin Wedding Blog
While I also have to debate the equally pressing question of how tacky balloons are as decorations for anything except a 10-year-old’s birthday party, I decided (at 3 a.m.) to Google how environmentally sound (or destructive) latex balloons are.
As with everything, that all depends on who you ask.
I found that many green bloggers out there have already questioned the same thing. Leslie Garrett over at Gaiam has the most comprehensive weighing of the issue that I have found, sharing the compounding issues such as latex’s slowing of biodegradable capabilities in certain temperatures, as well as her personal experience of constantly finding latex balloon remnants littering the ground.
Plus, what about the plastic ribbons knotted, tangled, and dangling from these balloons? Those are toxic. They get tangled around animals or eaten, right?
From an environmental perspective, some of my research showed promise that latex balloons can be used responsibly (like this and this). And everything concludes to Green Sexy’s final thought: Mylar balloons are always bad, so latex is the choice between the two.
Me though… pictures like this are all I needed to know that, as cute and whimsical as giant balloons are (SERIOUSLY check these cute wedding pics!), I have to decline.
Photograph by: ANDREW BIRAJ Credit: REUTERS
Just because I am blessed to live where I did not have to work in horrible conditions as a child to support my family does not mean I also have the right to buy products manufactured in such ways.
… in fact, it means just the opposite. It is our responsibility to create a better world for others too.
Sustainably yours, Ashley Sue
PS. A mere hour after writing this original draft, I went for a walk at Shelley Lake here in Raleigh, NC and spotted this balloon debris just off the path, washed up from flooding… Perpetuating the solid no of balloon use.
Gaiam is the new SIGG, in case you missed the BPA leaching heard ’round the world.
I am out on this one. Twenty-times the leaching level as SIGG Bottles (manufactured before August 2008), and Gaiam did, indeed, market themselves as “BPA-free”.
THESE companies are why no one middle-America does not give a shit about “green” or “BPA” or “environmentalism“. They feel they cannot trust the words or the promises. (Yes, I, who do not cuss, just went there…)
That is all you are getting from me regarding BPA.