Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #16

Greenwashing.

Greenwashing is misleading or giving false information to consumers or investors about the negative environmental impact of a company’s products and operations. It’s a form of false advertising.

This blog aims to alert consumers who want to be sustainability responsible and prevent being duped by false claims. If you are paying extra for something, make sure the claims are legitimate.

I was greenwashed in 2021 by Home Depot. They claimed by 2018, they would have completed phasing-out of neonicotinoids (neonics) in their plants. Yet in 2021, they were still selling plants with neonics (which I regret purchasing). The state of California is partly to blame because they have not, like some other states, banned neonics.

Another company that Greenwashes is Ikea. Their plastic packaging, illegal logging, over dependence on particle board use, and the disposable quality of their furniture need to be improved.

The little triangle with the number in the center imprinted on plastic products (e.g. ♶) is greenwashing. Currently, 95% of all single-use plastic ends up in landfills and oceans. The plastics industry uses these tricks to make consumers feel better about buying plastic.

Other examples of Greenwashing companies are: Volkswagen, BP, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Major Banks, Major Airlines, H&M;

The fishing Industry false claims of sustainability. According to Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, the sustainability certifications used by the fishing industry are a farce.

Check out this comprehensive list of Greenwashing companies from Truth in Advertising.

On a positive note, five brands that are not Greenwashing: Patagonia, Ben and Anna, Lucy and Yak, Dr Bonner’s, Pela Case, Fjall Raven.

This list will grow with increased consumer demand, education, and legislation.

Knowledge is power.

References

https://www.fjallraven.com/us/en-us/bags-gear/backpacks-bags/laptop-bags/norrvage-foldsack?recId=2107976435115

https://www.logically.ai/factchecks/library/9749b1bc

https://www.nurserymag.com/article/home-depot-mandates-neonic-tag/

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lucas-rhoads/will-californias-bees-get-break-neonic-bill-gov

https://www.pctonline.com/article/newsom-vetoes-ab-2146-neonic-bill/

Home Depot Announces Phase Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides

https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/plastic-recycling-decline-report

https://truthinadvertising.org/articles/six-companies-accused-greenwashing/

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #15

Sustainable Skin Products.

Jojoba plant

Remember – What you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body as if you ate it.

Natural, non-synthetic products are likely going to be more environmentally friendly. For instance, look for reef safe, chemical free sunscreens. 

Also, be mindful of the containers and packaging. Look for containers made from paper/cardboard, glass, metal, or post-consumer plastics.  Is the container refillable? 

Are ingredients sustainability sourced? Organic, not tested on animals? 

This is a partial list of unfriendly, if not outright toxic ingredients, found in topicals in the USA. The EU has stricter rules and has banned some chemicals still allowed in the USA. Avoid these ingredients as much as you can (nail polish has some of the worse ingredients) – nanoparticles (which can end up in our mitochondria, brain, and our ecosystem), parabens, artificial dyes. formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), triphenyl phosphate, aluminum, DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine), DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl, mineral oil, petrolatum, PEG (Polyethylene glycol),  Siloxanes, Synthetic fragrances , oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and avobenzone, animal fats, Phthalates, Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT), etc. This list is not extensive nor complete. Different countries have different regulations.

Ingredients of a typical skin lotion

Topical serums and oils packaged in glass jars, are usually the most natural and sustainable ingredients. A product that is readily available and meets the above criteria is Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis). It is a sustainable oil that resembles our own sebum. The Jojoba plant, a drought- tolerant shrub, grows in the Southwestern desert.

Bottle of jojoba oil

According to Healthline, it is

1. Moisturizing.

2. Antibacterial

3. Antioxidant

4. Noncomedogenic

5. Hypoallergenic

6. Controls sebum production

7. May help promote collagen synthesis

8. May help speed up wound healing

9. May help soothe eczema, psoriasis, and other drying skin conditions

10. Soothes sunburns

11. May help acne

12. May help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

13. May help minimize the appearance of scars

https://www.vogue.com/article/best-new-sustainable-beauty-products

https://bettergoods.org/pacifica/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4477780/

https://www.safecosmetics.org/chemicals/nanomaterials/

https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/duke-ewg-study-finds-toxic-nail-polish-chemical-womens-bodies

https://odacite.com/blogs/tohealthandbeauty/the-dirty-dozen-top-12-ingredients-to-avoid-in-your-skincare

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jojoba_oil

https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/jojoba-oil-for-face#products

https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8197201/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/chemicals-banned-in-europe-that-are-allowed-in-the-usa/

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #14

Time to clean up your in-box.

Composing, sending, receiving, and storing emails leaves a carbon footprint.

Even though email energy usage is 1/60th of paper mail, we send many more emails. If you take a long time to compose or read your emails or send pictures and videos, these all take additional energy.

In a year, for example, say you send and or receive 100 emails daily. This estimate includes spam and all those work emails you are cc’ed on. This level of emailing per day is equivalent to the CO2e* of driving a gasoline-powered 2020 Camry 260 miles or 1% of your total annual CO2e production.

According to The Good Planet, “nearly 107 billion spam emails were sent and received a day in 2019. If every person only deleted 10 of those emails, they could save 1,725,00 gigabytes of storage space and around 55.2 million kilowatts of power”. 

Checking my own situation, I have several different email addresses, each serving an assigned purpose. I had to separate incoming emails to various addresses. There were so many every day that, if not categorized, important emails were easily overlooked amongst the multitude of spam. I have an email address dedicated to personal emails from friends and family, another for personal business like health, banking, bills, etc., one for shopping and politics and finally, several for work.

Summing up my many years of undeleted emails, I am embarrassed to admit, that I have 100,000+ unread emails. It is impossible to keep up with my emails; literally out of control. Since learning about emails having a carbon footprint, I have been reviewing old emails and then deleting them if they no longer serve a purpose. If I delete 20 a day, it will take more than 13 years to clean up my in-boxes! Plus, more spam comes in every day. I feel like I will never catch up in my lifetime and, in the interim, will likely develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Lucky, I can offset my email carbon footprint by not consuming beef or dairy.

Each year, a single cow will belch about 220 pounds of methane. This amount is approximately 3.3 tons of CO2e, equivalent to driving 2020 Camry 7000 miles. In contrast, my 100,000 emails represent 70 miles of driving and hoping for less each day.

Additionally, we need to

  1. Produce electricity using sustainable technology
  2. Clean out our in-boxes by deleting read or unnecessary emails
  3. Unsubscribe and report and block spam emails
  4. Tech companies need to make #2 and 3 easier to complete
  5. Stop consuming cattle-related products
You’ve Got Mail To Delete
2020 Camry CO2e

*CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e) is a unit of measurement that is used to standardize the climate effects of various greenhouse gases. https://www.myclimate.org/information/faq/faq-detail/what-are-co2-equivalents/.

https://www.fueleconomy.gov

Calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent quantity of an F gas

https://www.gov.uk › guidance › calculate-the-carbon-dio…

 How do you calculate CO2 equivalent?

https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gases-equivalencies-calculator-calculations-and-references

kilogram of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram – Wikidata

https://www.wikidata.org › wiki

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/oct/21/carbon-footprint-email

https://www.greenmatters.com/p/do-emails-leave-carbon-footprint

https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/climate-change/global-warming/global-co2-emissions

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=74&t=11

https://www.co2everything.com/co2e-of/toyota-camry-2020

https://www.gorgias.com/blog/how-much-energy-is-needed-to-write-an-e-mail

https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/carbon-co2-emissions

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #13

Connecting with planet Earth.

To have a sustainable planet, not only do we need to take care of our Earth, we need to take care of ourselves. Both our bodies and our minds need to be sustainable.

By not connecting with the Earth, we can build up energy that makes us feel off balance.

We are ultimately containers of energy. We build up electrical charges in our bodies that are meant to be discharged and equalized with the Earth’s electrical charge. Connecting with the Earth is one of the ways nature naturally supports us.

Many of us walk around for days without touching the Earth. We walk on synthetic flooring materials such as carpeting, vinyl, plastic, etc. Our footwear has synthetic soles.

We need to physically touch the Earth or an organic material that is physically touching the earth.

Here are some methods to equalize our electrical charge with the Earth. Walk barefoot on a beach or lawn or lay down on the grass on a 100% cotton towel or other natural materials like a wool blanket. Avoid synthetics. Petting our dogs would also create an exchange of energy. Our dogs walk directly on the ground.

Another favorite earthing technique is hugging a tree.

Tree-hugging has the additional benefit of aligning our chakras which can help us feel more relaxed.

The first step to tree-hugging is find a suitable tree to hug.

Ideally, pick a tall, vertical tree with healthy, smooth bark, nothing peeling. Avoid dead bark. The idea is for the tree’s energy to balance your Chakras’ energy. Best to wear natural fabric clothing.

Old-growth trees that have been grounded deep into the Earth by their long roots are excellent choices.

Once you select your tree, you need to ask your tree permission if it wants a hug. It shows respect for the tree and nature.

Stand a few feet away from the tree, with your arms at your side, open palms facing the tree, and look up. Ask your tree if you can hug it. Wait until the answer is clear.

The tree in the photo is a Gingko tree. Gingkos grow straight and tall with smooth enough bark. Quite huggable.

Beware: one time, my friend did not ask permission from her tree. She got a spider bite right in the center of her forehead. That tree did not want to be hugged.

Proceed only when granted permission. Place your hands around the tree with one hand at your neck height level and the other hand at the height of your lower back. Put your third eye or forehead on the trunk. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and naturally.

Keep this stance until your third eye sees the color of the inside of the tree. This is the exchanging of energy with your front Chakras. The process of tree-hugging can be meditative and calming.

Once you feel the color of the inside of the tree, part one is complete.

For part two, turn around and put your back against the tree. Extend you arms backward to hug the tree, with your hands in loose fists. This is exchanges energy with your back Chakras.

The best time to tree-hug is early in the morning when the Earth’s energy is just waking up, and the sun’s energy is not yet shining on the top of your head.

If you can, practice this at least once a week.

Tree-hugging: a carbon-neutral way of sustaining your Body, Mind ,and Spirit.

Note that this blog is meant for entertainment and in no way meant to give any medical advice, diagnosis or treat. Everyone’s situation is different. Please seek help from your health care provider if needed.

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #12

Bars (not the drinking kind).

Please consider switching to natural ingredient bar soaps, shampoo, and conditioner.

Bar hand soap, dish soap, shampoo, and conditioner consumers, reduce plastic waste and fossil fuel consumption used during transportation. Weight for weight, and volume for volume, the bar products provide more washes, hence less fuel used during and for transportation.

For example, an 80 gm shampoo bar will last approximately 60 to 70 washes, depending on hair length. Whereas, if two teaspoons (10 ml) of liquid shampoo are used per wash, a 500 gm bottle produces only 50 washes. Less washes for more than 6 times the weight (assuming a density of 1). Plus, the bar shampoo container is smaller and made of more sustainable materials than the giant plastic bottle of liquid shampoo.

Video Using Bar Dish Soap at its final stages

As the bar dish soap wears down, it becomes more difficult to use by the above method. To use every last bit, the soap can be cut into hand soap size pieces or grated. The grated soap can be added to the dish water or your brush can be dipped into it. Cool not to waste anything.

Grated bar soap

Remember to click on the FOLLOW button….Thank you 🙂

We can do this!

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip # 11

Why leather alternatives.

Cows make 40% of the world’s most potent greenhouse gas, methane. It is hard to justify leather goods in an era of rapid global warming. Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

Vegan leathers that mimic natural leather are mostly plastics and petroleum-based. Unfortunately, not eco-friendly, does not feel like natural leather, and does not have durability. Other products made from pineapple leaves, cork, apple peels, other fruit waste, or recycled plastic make poor imitations too.  

Thanks to mushrooms, we now have plant-grown, carbon-neutral luxury fabrics with the feel of real leather. Being embraced by haute couture brands like Hermès and manufacturers like Lululemon and Adidas will hopefully set a new eco-friendly trend.

Human ingenuity created this mess. Human ingenuity can get us out of this mess.

Collaboration by Hermès and MycoWorks

The ultimate test is, will plant leathers make a good baseball glove?

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/this-mushroom-based-leather-could-be-the-next-sustainable-fashion-material-180979170/

https://www.mycoworks.com/introducing-sylvania-by-hermes

https://www.epa.gov/snep/agriculture-and-aquaculture-food-thought

https://www.verifythis.com/article/news/verify/environment-verify/cattle-cows-the-top-source-of-methane-emissions-in-united-states/536-8d5bf326-6955-4a9c-8ea5-761d73ba464c

https://www.edf.org/article/farmers-seek-solutions-methane-emissions-cows

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #10

Cartoon about laundry

Laundry.

Who doesn’t like fresh-smelling, soft, and clean laundry?

This luxury comes at a cost: water, detergents, softeners, energy, and plastics.

To reduce water use, use water efficient front loaders and wash a full load each time. To reduce pollution, use earth-friendly detergent sheets instead of pods. The sheets can be torn into smaller sizes to match smaller loads and reduce plastic waste. Even better, use detergent powder that comes in a cardboard box.

To reduce air pollution, use natural fragrance dryer sheets that are biodegradable or natural reusable lavender dryer bags. Consider skipping fabric softeners altogether.

Hang clothes on a clothesline or rack, either indoors or outdoors. Choose a spot with good air circulation – in temperate climates – dry near a hot air source. During the winter months, when our basement furnace was in use, we used to hang our laundry near it.

You naturally get that fresh outdoor smell that the chemicals in dryers sheets are trying to mimic when you hang laundry outdoors. The fragrances and chemicals of traditional dryers sheets create air pollution and carcinogens.

There are laundry products that are natural, biodegradable, and contain no plastics.

Consider brands like Seventh Generation, Earth Breeze, Trader Joe’s lavendar dryer bags.  Other options: 100% cotton clothes, when hung to dry, can feel stiff. Adding 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser may soften 100% cotton laundry such as towels. Note: Vinegar is an acid hence harmful to some fabrics. Most synthetic blend fabrics are still soft after being hung-dried.

Avoid fabrics that need dry cleaning. Please keep it simple.

I am asking you to be conscious of how your purchases affect the environment.

Sustainability benefits you personally.

Reusable Lavender Dryer Bags

https://www.brabantia.com/uk/inspiration/turning-rotary-dryers-into-trees/

https://www.healthline.com/health/dryer-sheets-toxicity

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/greener-laundry/

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip # 9

Change your diet to a plant-based. You can do this slowly, one meal a day or one day a week (meatless Mondays or at least avoid sugar, red meat, and dairy). Or jump right in and change 100% to a plant-based diet overnight like I did. It is good for your health, the planet, and the animals.

Eating whole foods, unprocessed plant-based diet will reduce your body’s overall inflammation. This will help clear up your skin, reduce pain and improve your cognition, amongst other things.

I will be posted some favorite plant-based dishes that my friends and I enjoy eating. I encourage you to buy organic for the same reasons – fewer chemicals, which is better for you, the planet, and the farmers.

My next few posts will be family tested recipes. Bon Appetit. Bonne Santé.

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #8

Those Who Plant Trees Under Whose Shade They Will Never Sit Understand Life

Plant a tree. What type of tree? Start with what grows locally and grows fast. Young trees absorb CO2 as they grow.

Trees cleans our air, absorb heat, prevents erosion, provides wildlife habitats, and rebalances our soil.

Tree canopy providing shade for many people

If planting a tree is not practical for you then contact your mayor’s office to plant some trees in parks, empty lots, or to line streets. If they say they don’t have the money then ask them to install solar panels over open parking lots to raise money to plant trees, with the added benefit of protecting your car and making clean energy.

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #7

What to say to the Climate Change Deniers

Cartoon image of a city.

Some people argue for the status quo. They demand to stay on the same course. They think the threat of climate change is BS. They claim that the history of our planet has naturally cycled through temperatures of highs and lows. Coincidently, many of the same people have a financial interest in fossil fuels. Many are older and they are uncomfortable thinking about a future in which they will not be participants. Ego-driven, with no skin in the game people, cannot see beyond themselves. Many cannot be bothered to consider the world they are leaving their grandchildren. Many cannot fathom the shift they would have to make because their cognition cannot cope. Sadly, it takes being near the end of life to realize that the whole concept of ownership ultimately is meaningless. Some are living a life in crisis mode and any shift will push them into the abyss. At least that is the fear. For whatever reason, they cannot see that sustainable ideas are to make the world better. They continue to deny what is happening around us. Extreme climate patterns, droughts, wildfires, temperatures so hot airplanes can’t take off or tolerate violent turbulence as a result of wind pattern changes, and destruction of wildlife.

But look at the data- never did the rate of temperature rise increase as quickly as it is now and at the same time, the planet has nearly an unprecedented 8 billion mouths to feed.

We have or will soon cross a boundary of no return. Fortunately, as time passes, the number of deniers will dwindle.

Hopefully, this will give you some talking points when someone denies climate change.

What gives me hope are the brilliant and dedicated younger generations who are fighting for their future. A new wave has started.

How long can you hold your breath while counting your money?

There is no planet B.

A NEW WAVE HAS STARTED

REFERENCES:

Gen Z, Millennials Stand Out for Climate Change Activism, Social Media Engagement With Issue

https://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/641775

https://pngtree.com/freepng/toxic-gas-emission-environmental-pollution_6249556.html

https://phys.org/news/2019-08-jet-stream-aircraft-turbulence-climate.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40339730

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #6

Save the Bees.

A few years ago, my lavender bushes used to be swarming with bees. But now it is bee-less. This disappearance is a wake-up call to everyone. Without the bees, the world will not survive as we know it.

Bees have been declared The Most Important Living Being on Earth. They are now on the endangered species list! What have we done?

IMG_2311

The disappearance of bees is real. Time to get active. Think Global. Act Local. Stop using pesticides and herbicides, especially neonicotinoids (neonics). Eat organic. Better for you, better for farmers, and better for the environment. Sure it might cost a little more. But when it comes to food, consider higher quality and lower quantity. The majority of the western world could eat less to abate the obesity epidemic.

Other factors, besides chemicals, that negatively affect pollinators are drought related to global warming, habitat destruction, lack of food, air pollution, and disease.

With all of these factors happening at once, our bees are overwhelmed. Like all living beings, the weaken bees become more sustainable to disease and death.

Here is how to help save our pollinators

  1. Plant organic plants that attract bees.
  2. Make your yard a pesticide/herbicide-free zone.
  3. Buy organic.
  4. Support sustainability initiatives.
  5. Become an Activist in your local area. Call or write to your mayor’s office to suggest organic green spaces and allow residents to keep beehives.
  6. Become a beekeeper. Keep your own hives. Bonus: free authentic honey.
  7. Support Honeybee research at the University of California, Davis by adopting a honey bee (Projecthoneybees.com).
  8. Live sustainability.
  9. Reduce fossil fuel consumption.

The bees can live without us, but we cannot live without the bees.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=JilYBVrFiLA&feature=emb_logo

Since writing this, some of my bees have come back!

Video of Bees and Lavender

Toxicity of neonics:

  • Widespread neonic contamination has gotten worse. According to the latest data from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), 93% of surface water samples in Los Angeles, [other], counties contain a neonic—up from 92% in 2019. In northern California, 67% of samples contained a neonic, a substantial increase from the 57% just a year earlier.
  • Pregnant women may be especially at risk of exposure. new study of 171 pregnant women tested, over 95% had neonics residues in their bodies. Neonics were most commonly found in Hispanic women, and neonics were detected more frequently—and at higher levels—over time. Widespread exposure among pregnant women is particularly bad news; neonics present significant risks to developing fetuses because they can interfere with the highly delicate development of the nervous system. Neonic exposure in the womb has been linked with birth defects of the heart and brain, as well as autism-like symptoms
  • There is new evidence of effects of neonics on testosterone. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers have linked neonic exposure with a 20% decrease in testosterone, fueling concern about neonics’ reproductive and hormonal effects. Similar studies also suggest possible connections between neonic exposure and changes to fat metabolism and insulin regulation, as the list of possible human health harms continues to grow.
  • https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lucas-rhoads/will-californias-bees-get-break-neonic-bill-gov
Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #5

Capsule Wardrobe

Inspired by Laura de Jong, a capsule wardrobe expert. She writes:

“WHAT IS A CAPSULE WARDROBE?”

A capsule wardrobe is based on the idea of having a limited number of quality garments in your closet. Items that fit you well, are timeless, fit your personality and fit your lifestyle. Fewer items doesn’t mean that you always wear the same outfits. Did you know that you can create approximately 80 outfits with ‘only’ 30 to 37 items?” Excluding underwear and accessories.

The fashion industry creates tremendous waste. The EU plans to counter this by setting new rules to discourage disposable fast fashion by 2030. But we can start this now as informed consumers.

Buy quality items in classic styles to last you many years. It costs more but is an incentive not to gain any weight! When clothes get tight, time to cut back on calories and portions.

Another bonus of quality clothes will be that they will survive a second or even third owner. See Sustainabilty Tip #2.

Ideas to start your Capsule Wardrobe:

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #4

Bank of the West Logo

When purchasing products, if you cannot find them pre-owned, check if the materials used are recycled or biodegradable. Check if the manufacturer is eco-friendly or socially responsible.

There are companies that plant trees for every sale made or make a donation to charity or nonprofits. Find corporations that are socially responsible.

Shop at stores and do business with corporations that support your beliefs.

Some examples: Patagonia, Cariuma , Suavs, Tentree, Earth Breeze, Chnge, Bank of the West, Brabantia.

Vote with your wallet to support what you believe. Power in numbers. Numbers count. Your actions matter.

Power in numbers. Numbers count. Your actions matter.

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #3

Commit to not buying any new clothes for a year or more. This will help both sustainability and curb inflation.

Be a Jane Fonda. She has made a commitment not to buy any more new clothes.

Jane Fonda, actress and activist, wearing a red dress, revealed that she hasn’t bought a new item of clothing since last fall

https://www.prevention.com/life/a34041085/jane-fonda-vowed-to-never-buy-new-clothes/#:~:text=Jane%20Fonda%2C%2082%2C%20revealed%20that,bringing%20awareness%20to%20climate%20concerns.

Sustainability

Sustanibility Tip # 2

Donate your clothes and paraphernalia that have served their purpose with you.

How do you decide which clothes to donate? Use this Marie Kondo method:

Take all your clothes and hang them on hangers with the hook facing out. After you wear them, hang them back with the hook facing in. Do this for a year.

After one year, look at the hangers still facing out. Consider donating the clothes on those hangers.

Remember one person’s garbage, is another person’s treasure.

Sustainability

Sustainability Tip #1

GO THRIFTING… Instead of buying new, buy it used. This action will reduce the amount of garbage on our planet. Producing new products generates greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Go shopping at a thrift store, garage sale, flea market, or eBay. Other benefits are, you can find beautiful retro or vintage clothes with even haute couture designer labels for a fraction of the price.

Thrift Shop Clothes

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-and-reusing-basics

Sustainability Tip #16

Greenwashing. Greenwashing is misleading or giving false information to consumers or investors about the negative environmental impact of a company’s products and operations. It’s a form of false advertising. This blog aims to alert consumers who want to be sustainability responsible and prevent being duped by false claims. If you are paying extra for something,… Continue reading Sustainability Tip #16

Sustainability Tip #15

Sustainable Skin Products. Remember – What you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body as if you ate it. Natural, non-synthetic products are likely going to be more environmentally friendly. For instance, look for reef safe, chemical free sunscreens.  Also, be mindful of the containers and packaging. Look for containers made from paper/cardboard,… Continue reading Sustainability Tip #15

Sustainability Tip #14

Time to clean up your in-box. Composing, sending, receiving, and storing emails leaves a carbon footprint. Even though email energy usage is 1/60th of paper mail, we send many more emails. If you take a long time to compose or read your emails or send pictures and videos, these all take additional energy. In a… Continue reading Sustainability Tip #14

Essays, Sustainability

Looking for a New Year’s Resolution?

Plant a tree. What type of tree? Start with what grows locally and grows fast. Young trees absorb CO2 as they grow.

If this is not practical for you then contact your mayor’s office to plant some trees in parks, empty lots, or to line streets. If they say they don’t have the money then ask them to install solar panels over open parking lots to raise money to plant trees, with the added benefit of protecting your car and making clean energy.

Some other activities you can do to help plant and save trees:

  1. Vote for candidates that support climate-saving initiatives. If you are not eligible to vote then volunteer to help those candidates.
  2. Eat less meat. Better yet, consume less animal products.
  3. Support businesses that will plant a tree for you. For example Tentree (https://www.tentree.com/pages/about)
  4. Donate to charities that support the Amazon Rainforest. I checked these out on https://www.charitynavigator.org* They all have 4-star ratings.

Amazon Watch (https://amazonwatch.org)

Amazon Conservation Team (https://www.amazonteam.org)

Amazon Conservation Association (https://www.amazonconservation.org)

Rainforest Trust (https://www.rainforesttrust.org)

This blog was inspired by the Netflix documentaries: Breaking Boundaries: The Science Of Our Planet and Kiss the Ground.

* Always check out your charities to make sure they are legitimate and at least 80% of funds raised do what they claim they do.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Essays, Sustainability

Zero-Waste Holiday Gift

Happy holidays my friends. This year’s gift-giving intention is pro-environment and zero-waste. These gifts are focused on reducing our plastic consumption.

Furoshiki Wrapped Gift

Instead of wrapping paper, tape and ribbon, I used Furoshiki wraps. These are square-shaped Japanese traditional wrapping cloths. To stay with the eco-friendly theme, I used 100% cotton fabric, purchased at JoAnne Fabric and Craft store (check their App for coupons). With the width of my fabrics being 44-45 inches, I was able to efficiently sew squares that were approximately 20 inches wide when finished. You can make the squares any size within the limiting parameter of the fabric width.

Sewing Cotton Furoshiki

On Youtube, there are multiple videos with step-by-step instructions on how to tie various styles of Furoshiki wrap.

My gifts are to initiate my friends to return to the use of natural bar soap with a self-draining bamboo soap dish. By avoiding the use of plastic pump soaps and plastic refill containers, we reduce a lot of plastic waste. The cotton wraps can be reused, repurposed as napkins, scarfs, etc. If I do this for all my gifts, my friends could potentially end up with a collection of mismatched napkins!

Bar of soap on bamboo soap dish

Start the holiday season and new year with a gift that sets the intention of a sustainable future.

Essays, Sustainability

Water Saving Holiday Gift Idea

Wrapped Gift Box

Conserving water is paramount.

If everyone made even one or two water-wise changes, it would help. Here are some examples of what you can do:

1. Bucket, pot or plastic garbage bin to collect shower water especially when you are waiting for it to warm up. This water can be used water plants or mop the floors.

2. Shorter showers. Even one minute shorter helps.

3. Do not leave faucet running when brushing teeth.

4. Install touch free photosensitive faucets. Turns on and off automatically. Plus more hygienic.

5. Use grey water from rinsing dishes or laundry to water yard plants.

6. Only run dishwasher or washing machine with full loads.

7. Put some river rocks into the toilet tank. This makes each flush use less water. Maybe unnecessary with newer water saving toilets.

8. Toilet Tank Top Faucet.

No. 8 is probably the most intriguing on the list. Here is how it works.

I purchased my easy to install Toilet Tank Top Faucet from Amazon.

This is how it works. Incoming water goes thru a sprout-like faucet before going back into the tank, This fresh clean water is ideal to wash your hands. My Toilet Tank Top Faucet took less than 20 minutes to install.

The amount of water it took to wash my hands was about 750 ml or 3 cups. If the toilet is flushed 10 times a day, then there is a savings of about 30 cups which is close to 2 gallons of water. Every little bit saved helps.

You do not want to wash any other material into the toilet tank besides the germs related to toileting. You do not want to create scum in the tank. You can scrub clean your sink but not likely the inside of a toilet tank.

A quick backsplash can be made with 3M Command Hooks to hang a towel.

A Toilet Tank Topper Faucet would be a wonderful Holiday gift.

Be conscious of how you use water. It is a precious resource that we cannot live without.

We are in this together. This earth is our only home. There is no backup.

How the Toilet Tank Top Faucet works

ADDENDUM

About once a month, I turn off the water source. Then after the next flush or two, tank will be empty. I pour in some white vinegar and let it sit in tank for 30 minutes or overnight. This helps to clear out residue and sanitize.

Sustainability

Mother Earth has Given Us So Much. It is Time to Take Care of Her

We have taken so much from Mother Earth. She has always provided and nurtured us. She has sustained us. It is time we take care of her.

We have used her resources. Her abundance has always been there for us. We took it for granted. We wasted and destroyed. It has caught up with us.

For example, every piece of plastic that I have ever used is likely somewhere still on the Earth. The amount garbage that we have produced has reached a critical threshold. But with our ingenuity and innovation, we can solve this.

40 Kilograms of plastic in this whales stomach. (The Leaders Online)

We need to get better at recycling, reusing, and buying products made from recycled and or compostable materials. For the most impact, let’s focus on the most common single use products found in the ocean.

National Ocean Service

The worse offenders are cigarette butts, bottle caps, straws, cups and plates, single use plastic bags, food wrappers, and beverage bottles.

Update 03/2021 The consumer plastic issue maybe duping us. The real problem with global warming is destruction of our oceans from fishing as discussed in documentary Seaspiracy, linked below. Lessons learned: fishing nets waste kill majority of the sea life and when investigating something, follow the money and eat a unprocessed plant-based diet.

Here is how we can easily reduce the use of these products:

  • Cigarette butts – the best solution is DO NOT SMOKE. But if you must, consider rolling your own or purchase brands without filters. The filter don’t provide any benefit.
  • Bottle caps – re-attach them to their original bottles and recycle them together. Avoid using plastic bottles. Bring the tops back to recycle centers.
  • Drinking straws- Many options for reusable straws (a subject of a previous blog) or switch to 100% compostable straws made from materials like cornstarch, wheat, avocado seeds, paper, bamboo, etc.
  • Cups and plates – use non plastic products that are 100% compostable made of same material as the straws above or better yet reusable dishes.
  • Single use bags – Bring your own reusable bags including those in which you put produce. Ask your grocer to use compostable bags.
  • Food wrappers – use beeswax food wraps, compostable wrappers, buy products in bulk.
  • Beverage bottles – use metal, glass or reuse your plastic one. See the links below as to how some communities are making use of the ones we already have on the planet… So innovative!
  • STOP eating seafood


Plastic Bricks
Plastic Roads

We need to create a thriving market for products made from recycled or compostable materials. There are products like clothes, shoes, rugs, household products, feminine sanitary items, etc made from recycled or compostable materials. When ever we can, we should buy these types of products. This will make recycling financially sustainable.

We can all participate locally. Bring our own bags, useable containers, straws etc. The worse plastic offenders are starting to be banned at the municipal level. You can engage in local politics to ensure this happens in your community.

Some other Earth friendly solutions: Put solar panels in parking lots. It keeps cars cool while generating carbon free electricity.

Plant and also protect as many trees as you can.

Human over population is the core cause. More people more garbage.

To be Green is to be Cool.

Sustainability

Reusable Straws

Headline: Los Angeles County to ban Plastic Straws. About time. These images of plastic straws polluting our earth’s water ways and hurting wild life are disturbing.

Since I last wrote about using metal reusable straws, I discovered silicone and bamboo straws. Straws are useful if you have sensitive teeth, want to keep your teeth from staining, have orthodontic work or unable to drink from a cup bc of health reasons. I like the silicone ones the best due to their “flexibility” but bamboo straws are 100% natural and biodegradable. The hole in the bamboo straw is smaller than silicone, so not useful for thick smoothies. The metal straws can feel harsh against your teeth.

I needed the longer the 11 inch silicone straw for my 20 oz stainless steel thermo container.

After use, the silicone straw tucks nicely into my container for storage until I get home. Otherwise a wet straw is a messy thing to handle. Checklist when purchasing a container:

  • dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • wide mouth so you can add powders and or pour smoothie into it easily and also easier to cleaning
  • an attached smaller lid so you won’t lose it.
  • the part that touches your mouth is completely covered by a lid to avoid contamination and dirt getting on it
  • if going to use in car, make sure not so wide that it will not fit into a cup holder
  • avoid plastic. BPA and BPS (the BPA substitute) are both bad for you
  • stainless steel and glass are the most neutral. The silicone covered glass more durable.
  • Double thickness containers insulate better so drinks can be kept either hot or cold longer. Plus the neutral temperature of the exterior of the container makes it more comfortable to hold onto.

Folding silicone straw into your container when finished

The silicone ones have the advantage of being folded into a small container like a pill bottle or extra orthodontic retainer container. This makes it much easier to carrier around with you.

To clean these straws: You can do by hand or put the silicone ones in the dishwasher. Since these silicone ones are larger, they do not fall threw the holes in the cutlery rack. I would not recommend putting the bamboo ones in dishwasher bc they might splinter and crack. The straws almost always come with a brush too.

Hand washing: Soak for minute or two in soapy water, make sure some of water gets into the center of straw. Wiggle it around a bit. Clean inside with brush. Rinse. Dry on a rack that drains.

Please leave me any comments or questions. I look forward to them!

Sustainability

Biodegradable Dental Floss

For proper oral hygiene, you need to floss daily. Ever wonder what happens to the plastic dental floss like Glide? I can just imagine it gets into our Oceans, resulting in choking and or strangling of marine life.

Now there are other options. Biodegradable silk or bamboo floss. They are a little thicker than Glide so it your teeth are tight, it could takes some time to get use to it. But it works. With the extra thickness, it removes more food particles per swipe! Give it a try. You help the planet, the planet helps you. Karma.

I bought these on Amazon.

Note: If you have short roots, I would not recommend. If you must use a traditional plastic product, and the floss remains in good shape after use, you can rinse the floss and let it dry and re use it again and again. 🙂