Hey! Retailers! …Leave our cash alone!

Going green certainly ISN’T an inexpensive choice.  If I could only cultivate that money tree in my backyard, I wouldn’t have a reason to complain… however, the tree isn’t doing so well, but my pursuit of “green-ness” continues.

My friend recently asked me to explain the reasons for higher priced organics, eco-products and all of the things that dub themselves ‘green’.  I can explain some… for others, there just isn’t an excuse.

Starting  with organic foods —  Although studies find them to be a healthier choice, the government isn’t supporting that suggestion.  Traditional agriculture is subsidized by the government, but organic farming isn’t.  (How does that make sense?) … Without a doubt, we definitely need a change there.

So, these small organic farms must first wait years for the land to be cleared of toxins and certified.  Then, because they are often smaller operations, the costs of turning out an organic product and getting it to market is “ex-pen-sive”!  Add to that, the intensity of compliance with the Department of Agriculture’s standards for certification… and yeah, costly!

When it comes to other green/eco-friendly products, we need to realize that it’s more expensive to assure that everyone involved in the chain uses environmental practices.  So yeah, more money.  I’ve also heard the law of supply and demand come into play…

Another acceptable reason I’ve heard is that many environmentally-conscious companies donate a portion of their profits to eco-, earth and environmental causes.  That, I can still accept.

However, the absolute MOST bothersome reason for higher eco-product prices… retailers.  They simply take a higher margin on organic, eco-friendly, green products because they can.  THAT really angers me.  They take more from consumers, because they CAN?  (Example:  Retailer sells Windex Window Cleaner for $1.99 per bottle.  Retailer sells Method Window Cleaner for $3.29 per bottle.  Yes… simply because they can! And we’ll pay!)  I say they’re taking advantage of the situation and our desire to buy ‘green’.  That is just crappy… and, to me, dishonest and greedy.  Shame on them.  They need a fierce “timeout!”

Unfortunately there is a cost to being environmentally responsible.  I’m sorry we have to bear that burden but, for now, it’s a burden I guess I need to be willing to bear…

NTP says there’s BPA in your H2O!

So, who hasn’t heard about BPA in plastic bottles?  I think everyone has because it’s mentioned in the news constantly… and rightfully (frightfully) so.

It’s no surprise that my family drinks a lot of water (because I mention that constantly too) and the more that comes to light about BPA the more bothersome that becomes.

In a nutshell, BPA is Bisphenol A – an industrial chemical used in bottle manufacturing. It mimics the female hormone estrogen (all guys are scared now) and causes all sorts of health problems.  As much as I hate animal testing (they previously only tested on mice) they are now being tested on monkeys (since they are physiologically so close to humans) and some nasty stuff is being discovered (including behavioral problems, brain development issues, cancers and a whole slew of other debated conditions).

Does this scare anyone else?  Sure scares me.

Now the National Toxicology Program (the NTP – a division of the National Institutes of Health) issued an alarm giving it a designation of “some concern” (equivalent to ‘3’ on a scale of ‘5’).  As if I wasn’t alarmed enough.  I could give you a whole list of scary, ugly stuff about BPA, but let me just say it’s bad, bad, bad.

Last Mother’s Day my favorite gift (besides crazy amounts of hugs, kisses and love) was a Sigg bottle.  It’s a shocking thing when your water actually TASTES like water, instead of plastic.  But Siggs are expensive and unaffordable for some.

I’ve discovered an alternative bottle that is just as good, but affordable.  They’re from CynerGreen.  They’re BPA free, eco-friendly and the kid’s version already comes with the drink spout you need.  They even have a sippy cup.  Right up a green mom’s alley! And they start at just $7 a bottle. We have one and we love it!

I’m just so frustrated that the FDA doesn’t regulate this chemical, even though the CDC estimates that 92.6% of Americans, age 6 and above, have measurable BPA in their bodies.  The bottom line is there is just too much third party research that tells us all this stuff is bad news.

So I’m not waiting to find out… gather your plastic bottles, chuck them in the recycling bin, buy a few stainless steel or aluminum bottles and don’t look back…

Great “green-ifying” with the GoodGuide

Going green can be a long process…it certainly doesn’t happen overnight, in a week, or even a month, without massive changes and a lot of expense.

You can’t just take everything from the cupboards, cabinets and under the sink and toss them.  (Wouldn’t that be contradictory… just blobbing it all down the drain!) And sometimes it’s really difficult to leave behind those products that you’ve given your loyalty to for so long.  But don’t you just wonder… what have I pledged my allegiance to?

My dear husband (yes, he’s finally catching on… if I could just get him to turn off that perpetually running faucet!) told me about a brand new fab site he discovered called the GoodGuide.

They have researched, reviewed and rated over 61,000 (!) personal care and household chemical products for safety, health and green criteria, so they’re making it easy to find products that are right for you and good for the planet. Can you believe no one else has done this! You can “verify” manufacturer claims, “identify” the content and make a “green-ified” decision… Finally, a central resource for seeing what’s behind the label instead of trusting what the label tells us we need to know!

And they don’t just pan some products…they actually give you alternative choices. It’s really hard to explain how much great info they give you, but they even rate the companies that manufacturer the products – if their products are good, but their business practices stink, they let you know.  You really have to try it…

Isn’t it great to sometimes land on the ground floor of something new and cool.  Congratulations… you have landed!

(if you feel compelled, this is a video of the creator of GoodGuide talking about the site at TechCrunch50 earlier this month — Click here.)

NO! Not you TOO!

So, you may remember my frustration with “My neighbor – the tree hater!”  (She chopped down a dozen healthy, beautiful trees in her backyard!) Well, this weekend the saga continued.

I was snuggled up with our daughter (who had planted herself in the middle of our bed) in the early morning, enjoying “snooze-land”,  and my eyes nearly popped out of my head at the sound of blaring chainsaws.

I could not believe my ears.  First of all, it was way too early for chainsaws.  Secondly, I thought “how could she find more trees to kill…they’re all GONE!”

Lo and behold, it was my OTHER neighbor, on the other side!  Has everyone in my neighborhood lost their marbles?  They were taking down two trees and I truly can’t imagine why, except that they were squarely in the middle of a section of yard…and they probably had a selfish reason I don’t want to know about.

Our kids were mortified.  At first they wanted to go over there themselves and tell them to stop, “because cutting down trees is mean to the earth.”  When I told them they absolutely weren’t going over there, they demanded that I go!  When I tried to explain that it’s their yard and I can’t tell them what to do, they actually seemed disappointed in me!  As bothersome as that was, it actually made me proud of them for being so passionate.

If nothing else, it gave us the opportunity to discuss how important trees are – for providing oxygen and shade, improving air quality, conserving water, preserving soil and supporting wildlife (as both food and habitat) and so much more.

This additional ‘loss of nature’ has me wanting to plant trees!  Better yet, for our next gift-giving occasion, let’s all give someone a tree.  Seriously.  The National Arbor Day Foundation has made it very simple.  It’s their “Give-A-Tree” project and it helps to replant our national forests for a very small donation.  They even give you a nice little card, that explains the project, to give to the recipient.

Oh no.  I just realized I need to buy 14 of them…

An “11th Hour” kick in the gut

Have you ever watched a movie that felt so real, it kind of left you feeling dizzy when it was all over?

Well, we just watched a movie that left me feeling like I was in a tornado… and the worst part?  — it was real.

The movie is called “The 11th Hour.”  It’s all about global warming, sustainability and the environment, and it spews out some serious, hardcore facts that come from scientists, environmentalists and all kinds of big-brained people.

Truth be told, it disturbed me because it really laid out how critical the climate crisis has become.  I almost didn’t want to watch because it felt so out-of-control and upsetting (because there’s only so much I can personally do to change things).

One of the things that really hit me was the realization that people rally around the fact that they want to “Save the Earth” when in reality, it’s not about saving the earth…it’s about saving ourselves.  The earth will survive…WE are the ones in jeopardy.  If we turn our planet into a place that’s uninhabitable, we’re simply risking our own existence.  Sheesh. That gave me chills all over again.

As one expert pointed out –  99.9999% of life that has existed on earth has become extinct.  It really IS a frightening prospect.  And pretty profound when you think about it that way.  I wish I could talk to everyone who thinks global warming is a hoax and beg them to open their minds.

The bright side is that they didn’t conclude without offering hope.  And we all need hope, or it would be pretty depressing.

I don’t have a witty conclusion for this post, but I think this film said it all… “the hope is you.”

(there are great resources for ideas and solutions at: 11thhouraction.com)