A Happy Birthday… to the old chickie they say I am.

Okay, this has nothing whatsoever to do with being green … and hold the cheers, because yes, it’s my birthday, but it’s one of those crappy milestones that I choose not to acknowledge in my own head!

And you want to know what I got?  An email from AARP!!! What? … What the HELL, actually!

Okay, I admit that I’m not ‘green’ from lack of years and experience, and I’m only green from a choice of environmental consciousness and healthy living, but come on!!!  AARP!?!  I still have decades of years ahead of me before I’m a candidate!  I think someone got a digit in my birth year wrong!!! I know it can start at 50, but not in THIS decade!  Sheesh!

Want to know what I got after that?  An email for an anti-aging, anti-wrinkle cream… are they serious?  Is this really happening?

Augh! Forget the green. Now, I feel blue… and especially wrinkly too.  Fabulous.

Knock, knock…FDA?! Are you awake?

The scenario:  Sunday morning.  Breakfast table.  Family eating.  Kids giggling.  Coffee drinking.  Newspaper reading.  (cute little picture, huh?)

Then, a small snippet in the newspaper gives me a bigger jolt than my coffee.  The Canadian government has banned BPA in baby bottles because it is deemed toxic.  Well, round of applause for Canada, but what in the heck are they looking at that the US refuses to see?

I’ve mentioned my fear of BPA (bisphenol A) so many times, but it continues to rattle me.  The FDA needs a vigorous shaking to wake up and ‘taste’ the danger. Of course, the chemical industry maintains that bottles contain little BPA and are safe for use – sure they want us to believe that… what else would we expect them to say.

But Canada based this decision on 150 (150!!!) worldwide studies.  How much more evidence do we need?  Well, would you believe the FDA says they are awaiting word from yet another scientific panel expected to deliver an independent risk assessment later this month.

Wow.  So do you really think they’ll change their tune after assessment 151…!?!  Don’t count on it.

(*Don’t wait for “studies”. If you are looking for BPA-free baby bottles, check here.  It’s a great list!)

Wastin’ away again in Starbucks-ville

Ooooo… Starbucks.  Shame on you.  You’re busted.

I just read on Environmental Leader (as reported by BusinessGreen) that Starbucks has a standard practice of continually running a water tap, non-stop, in ALL of their stores. Really?  And I constantly yell at my husband and kids to turn off the water!

They claim the dipper well for utensils requires a constant stream of running water because it “keeps the utensils clean, prevents bacterial growth and stops allergen cross-contamination”.  Again, oh please.  It’s wasteful and shameful.  Get a dishwasher! Maybe they don’t think it’s important that this practice wastes 23.4 MILLION liters of water each day!

We may not have the power to conserve like they do, but here are some simple things we CAN do, in our homes, to conserve water in our daily lives:

– run only full loads of laundry or dishes
turn off the water when you brush your teeth or shave
– take showers, not baths – turn on music and limit yourself to two songs
– fill and tightly secure two plastic bottles with sand or pebbles and submerge them in your toilet tank
don’t defrost food with running water
capture water while you wait for the temperature you need and use it to water plants
– replace your shower head with a low-flow version
– keep a cold water container in your fridge instead of running your faucet until it gets “cold enough”
check for leaks in your plumbing and toilets
– if you hand-wash dishes, use your double basin – wash, transfer to a rack on the other side and then rinse everything in a second phase

This list could go on and on, and it doesn’t even consider conservation for outdoors (watering lawns and gardens, washing the car, etc.). I just want us to consider the fact that just because the water runs every time we turn on the faucet doesn’t mean we should let it! One day, maybe that won’t be the case.

Save water.  Don’t be a Starbucks.

(And by the way, after extensive testing, Environmental Working Group just reported that bottled water is no better for us than tap water.  All 10 major brands tested contained chemical contaminates – and let’s not forget that wonderful BPA!  Read it here.)

What a little eco “pucker” you are!

I’ve never really been a girly-girl (in fact, in my college days, my husband referred to me as “goth lite”), but I always wear make-up, lipstick, all that “presentation jazz!”

Because I’m a daily lipstick wearer I find that, at the end of the day, I need to put something on my lips or they just feel dried out and naked.  My husband uses lip balm (am I allowed to disclose that?) and our kids are always grabbing our stuff and putting it on too!

Now that winter is around the corner (ugh!) I’ve been thinking more and more about what we put on our lips and the need to keep our mouths healthy.  Our daughter is notorious for licking her lips and they get super chapped… and this is where my concern comes in.

Too many products on the market are made of the stuff we really don’t want to ingest or have absorbed into our bodies.  I read the label on a bunch of our products – ingredients #1 thru 3: petroleum and waxes.  They don’t even protect your lips and I’ve seen research calling some ingredients potentially carcinogenic… Oh, that’s not good.

So, I found a great line of lip balm products that will accommodate our entire family – Eco Lips!  Their ingredients are organic, natural, nutrient rich, cruelty-free and even made in a solar powered plant!  They have a tinted version for me (made with natural mineral pigments), a scented version for the kids (they’re 100% edible, though not encouraged!) and a sport version (that can be waved about by Mr. Man!).  And they really work!  Plus, they donate a percent of profits to environmental initiatives.  Bravo!

It may seem really simple, but when you consider that our lips are the most absorbent part of our bodies (and all of the synthetic ingredients contained in the more common products) it’s really quite a big deal that you keep your lips protected, healthy and NON-toxic.

See, I got you thinking.  Now you, too, will reconsider what you put on your precious little pucker!

Battling my own peeps

One of my greatest frustrations is when I feel like I’m fighting the green battle against people I feel a bond with.  Whether it’s family, friends or groups I associate with, it can be really difficult to be the wave maker… well, I’m about to battle… enter: waves!

Our daughter brought home a letter from school that announced a special school program focusing on proper nutrition and making healthy food choices.  Sounded like a great program to me!  They’re setting aside a day where students can sample healthy foods and snacks. Still, a big thumbs up!

Then, I got to the part that asked for parent participation.  They asked for volunteers to send in apples (okay!), granola bars (can do!) or bottled water (no!  Say it isn’t so!)

So, while we’re teaching 400 kids about eating properly, we can give them a chaser of BPA laced water and bottles that will go into the school’s trash cans and create our very own space in a landfill.  Augh, I think I’m going to scream.

Now (since I am the Recycling/Environmental Programs Chair)  I get to contact all those in charge and ask “why” and “what can we do?”  I hate these confrontations, but I have to do it.  I’m expecting that “convenience” is the reason, so I will probably have to be content with the idea of pushing for a special bottle receptacle.  Sadly, we don’t have a plastics recycling program in the school.  It’s something I’m working for, but we aren’t there yet.  (You wouldn’t believe what it takes to get something so simple in place).

So, as I sit here, I’m preparing my approach to people that are trying to teach the right nutritional choices, but using bad environmental choices.  I have no idea how this is going to end up, but I don’t like where it’s starting!

I can see it now… Wednesday recycling pick-up is going to be crazy at my house after I lug 400 plastic bottles home and they later come flying out of my recycling can… and my neighbor’s…and the neighbor’s next to them….