For Father’s Day… help him “go green”!

dad super wordSunday is the day to celebrate fantastic fathers! Our Sunday will be spent celebrating my amazing husband…”fab dad” to our kids!!!  As always, he’s literally asked for “nothing” and just wants to spend time with me and the kids… likely fishing, picnicking and enjoying what’s slated to be a wonderful “weather day” (Phew!).  Every year he just wants to enjoy the pleasures of the great outdoors and, of course, his family! 🙂

Hopefully you already have some terrific plans in the works, but if you are pressed for that last minute gift idea, here is my list of “great green ones” that are easy to find (or “do”) and he’s sure to love:

  • Plant a tree – it’s amazing to watch them grow over time, so add a special one to the yard. (We have one in its ninth year… it’s just incredible and we have loved watching it grow and bloom!)
  • Make a gift – recycle, upcycle and reuse!  Your own home is the perfect place to find supplies to create something that says “I cared enough” to make this for you!fshing
  • Electronic solar charger – free power from the sun!  And dads love their electronics.
  • Bamboo knives or grilling set incredible bamboo is sustainable and this is perfect for the grill master!
  • Organic brew – ideal for accompanying him at the grill!
  • Organic coffee – for his morning (or all day) pick-me-up!
  • Reusable water bottle – to keep him hydrated while he’s working hard or working out!
  • iTunes – no more CDs to eventually end up in the trash.
  • Solar powered landscaping lights or a solar flashlight – (are you seeing the trend?) again, free energy!
  • Adopt nature and animals in his name or give a membership to a nature center or arboretum – my list of favorites is in a previous post here.
  • “Give your time” and get outdoors – make him king for the day and hike, bike, picnic, fish… whatever makes him happy, your time will make him the happiest!

Jim kuk picWith that I simply want to wish my amazing husband another wonderful Father’s Day! He is the best husband, the greatest dad ever, a dedicated son, and works so hard so that I can be home with our kids.  He single-handedly supports our family AND he’s a published author (with more on the way!) and I am so very, very proud of him!  Add to that the fact that he tolerates ME, goes along with my green ways and encourages me (always!)… I couldn’t ask for more.  We love you, honey!

Happy Father’s Day to every amazing dad out there!  We celebrate you! And for every dad that is joining this mom in her journey to going green… THANK YOU!

Happy Mother’s Day (to Mother Earth too!)

hrt greenMother’s Day is a few days away! I could give you a long list of ideas but I happen to be a mom too(!) and I’m going to go easy on myself today (yes, I’m taking some time off!).

In the past years I’ve gotten everything from a “dogtag” necklace with my children’s names and birthdates (made of silver recycled from film {from Mommy Tags}) to a stainless steel water bottle to a rain barrel!!! (Who knew a barrel could be so exciting!)  This year I’ve asked for NOTHING! I have everything I could possibly need and the thing that makes me happiest is just spending time with my kids and husband.mom tgs

If you ARE still looking for ideas, I assembled a pretty decent list in my Valentine’s Day post and all are very appropriate for this holiday, so no need to reinvent the wheel.  But if you want those ideas just click here and take a gander.

For this Mother’s Day, whether you are being celebrated, celebrating your Mom or another special lady in your life, mother earthjust remember to keep Mother Earth in mind too. She is quite extraordinary and she shares her gifts with us every day of the year.  Just like all other moms, she never takes a break!

And finally, I wish a very truly Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms who constantly join me on this journey… we all “work” so hard for our families and keep Mother Earth in mind all along the way too… and THAT is quite extraordinary as well!

Enjoy & I hope you feel the love…

Keep the sweet smell of Valentine’s Day chemical free!

flowr valValentine’s Day… the holiday of LOVE! There might be someone you would love to shower with romance and affection, but while you put together the lovey-est of treats, you want to be sure to make the best choices.

I’ve written about all of the ways to keep it eco-friendly – from chocolates and candles, to wining and dining (and you can read that entire post here).

But Valentine’s Day is a hugely popular holiday for flowers.  The problem?  About 70% of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported and grown using highly toxic chemicals, including pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides. It doesn’t sound so pleasant to take a big “whiff” now, does it?!  This is a danger to us as consumers, workers cultivating the flower crops and florists working with them daily.  It also pollutes the land and groundwater and creates an unhealthy environmental effect.

This Valentine’ Day consider organic flowers! These farms instead use environmental and sustainable practices (without toxins) to insure that everyone in the chain, including the environment, isn’t put at risk.  And it also simply supports local, domestic farming. Diamond Organics, California Organic Flowers and Organic Bouquet will help put you in the right direction to locate a florist that offers organic flowers or buy online if you want “green” blooms.veriflora

You can also look for the VeriFlora label or ask your florist if they are VeriFlora certified and you will know you are buying an organic and sustainable product.

Be assured you’re NOT bringing those toxins into your home or sending them to someone you actually love (or at least like a LOT!).

The scent of organic flowers is pure (non-toxic) sweetness!

The A to Z Guide for a Green 2011!

hppy nw yr 2010Well, Hello 2011! For some of us, you couldn’t have come soon enough!

It’s a new year with a new chance to make a new beginning… our chance to make a real difference!

If you’ve been “putting off your greening”, I’m going to give you the A to Z list to get the ball rolling. (I think I’ve put together quite the extraordinary list, if I do say so myself!  Be sure to click on the orange links to learn more!)

Hold onto your “green” party hats, and let’s go!…

AAppliances, Animals – Buy energy efficient appliances when you need to make a replacement.  If you’re looking for a ‘cause’ that needs your assistance, donate to help save an endangered species.
BBamboo, Biodegradable, Baking Soda – Buy sustainable bamboo products (everything from towels to furniture).  Think biodegradable for all product choices (detergents, bath products, cleaners, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.).  Use eco-friendly baking soda for everything from health & beauty to cleaning your home.spry bttl
CCFLs, Cleaners, Compost, CSAs – Replace your lights with compact fluorescents.  Skip the chemicals in traditional, commercial cleaners and opt for eco-friendly choices. Start composing food scraps and other biodegradable materials.  Consider buying into a CSA for the freshest, organic produce.
DDonate, Disposable, Dry cleaningDonate your usable but no longer needed clothing, books, toys, household items and furniture to organizations that support the less fortunate, so they can be reused.  Eliminate anything intentionally disposable from your purchases. Look for an eco-friendly dry cleaner to avoid toxic chemicals.
EEnergy, EnvironmentTurn off electronics, computers, lights and all household appliances that aren’t in use.  Consider the effect on the environment in everything you do.
FFood – Make healthy choices of organic and natural foods instead of those filled with preservatives, artificial ingredients and chemicals.  Help your kids learn to make great choices too!
GGlobal warming, Glass, Greywater – Accept that global warming is real and we’re the only creature on the planet that can do something about it.  Recycle all glass (it can be recycled indefinitely!). Learn all the ways to put your greywater to work.
HHeating, HomeTurn down the thermostat.  Excess energy equals an excess of pollution. Make your home safe and clean, and simultaneously non-toxic, by cutting out all chemicals.
IIdeas Share what you know and learn with others.  It can have a fabulous snowball effect!  The ideas from our grandparents are excellent principals to follow as well.farmers produce
JJourney – Give yourself credit for the things you are doing and accept that going green is truly a journey!
KKidsGet your kids involved.  When they learn to respect the environment early in life, that lesson will stay with them forever.
LLandfills, Local – Remember that everything you toss in the trash winds up in a landfill, polluting the soil and water.  Buy local at every opportunity and, especially for produce, get the most out of your food.
MMattresses, Meat, Milk – When you replace a mattress, consider organic.  Traditional mattresses are filled with harsh and harmful chemicals.  Choose organic meat and milk to avoid antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones.
NNewspapers – When you need to keeps something hot or cold in transport, newspaper is an amazing insulator.  When you’re done, recycle them, always!
OOrganics, Outdoors, Oceans – Buy as many organics as you can… simple as that.  Getting outdoors will remind you of this beautiful world we are trying to preserve, and even if you can’t see an ocean from where you live, never forget how crucial they are.  Remember that allowing them to be polluted (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the Gulf Disaster) must be prevented.
PPlastic, Paper, Palm oil – Avoid the excessive use of plastics or at least make sure the plastics are truly recyclable.  Same goes for paper.  Be conscious not to be wasteful and recycle every unneeded piece of paper that comes your way.  Learn about palm oil and purchase only products that use the sustainable variety.nature kid
QQuit procrastinating and take the next step!
RRecycle, Reusable Bags, Rain barrels – NOT recycling is inexcusable.  Recyclables should never be thrown in the trash.  Invest in reusable shopping bags and stop contributing to the ‘one trillion plastic bags used annually, worldwide’ statistic.  Set-up at rain barrel to capture water for use around your yard.
SSchools, Shopping, “Shoes off – Get  involved at your children’s schools and put together programs to help them embrace recycling and the environment. Realize that every purchase you make has a greener option… it’s up to you to know the difference and choose wisely.  Adopt the “shoes off” rule and avoid tracking toxins and chemicals through your home.
TTrash, Trees, Travel – Make a conscious effort to reduce your weekly trash by not buying over-packaged products or buy only products in recyclable packaging.  Don’t cut down healthy trees… they are more valuable than just their visual beauty (think air quality, soil preservation, wildlife habitat… the list goes on and on). Don’t leave your green principals at home when you travel, take them with you!
UUn-green, Upcycle – When you see a “wrong”, you can make it “right”.  Speak up, help others and make a change that can make a difference.  Before you throw anything away, consider if it has a secondary use and upcycle.
VVinegar, Volunteer – The uses for distilled white vinegar are endless.  Buy some for cleaning, cosmetic uses, deodorizing, and pest and weed control.  Volunteer your time for an environmental cause.preserve wildlands
WWater, Water Bottles, WildlifeConserve water… contrary to belief, the supply is not endless.  Buy a stainless steel, reusable water bottle to avoid BPA and stop contributing plastic bottles to landfills. Contribute to causes that protect the habitats of wildlife and consider what you are doing to their “home” in your every action.
XXenagogue, Xeriscape – The definition of xenogogue is “guide”, so simply guide others and become a steward of both your home and the earth, and make informed choices.  Xeriscape in your yard by planting only native trees, shrubbery and flowers to prevent the need for excessive watering.
YYou – (YOU knew that one was coming too, right?) but sincerely, the changes you make in your daily life are all up to you.  Take what you know and put it to good use.
ZZoos, Zero-Waste – Support zoos that dedicate themselves to conservation and education.  Buy kits and containers that can be reused for lunchtime (or anytime) so that you don’t contribute to the approximate ‘67 pounds of annual trash created by a child’s lunch’.

globe_treeThere it is: A to Z (and I feel like I only scratched the surface!) But the main mission is to simply get started.  Don’t wait for tomorrow, and don’t expect you have to do it all at once, but do admit that we can all make little changes that amount to one enormous difference!

HaPPy NeW YeaR and cheers to making it (and keeping it) green!

The Post-Holiday Green Guide…

christmas storageNow that we’ve stopping scurrying around in preparation for the holidays, we’re all liking looking around and seeing plenty yet to be done in the wake of a hectic season.

The tree, the lights, the presents, the boxes, the bags and bows, the piles of Christmas cards!… WHAT to do now? Well, let me help…

Here is a very simple list of things you can do to curb the waste, make the most of the season and keep it green!:

  • The Christmas tree – if you had a live-cut Christmas tree, check out Earth911 to find a drop-off so it can be turned into mulch or composted (if your community doesn’t offer the service).  If you have a wooded area near your house, give it back to nature for a wonderful winter habitat for animals.  If your tree is artificial and you’ve considered a replacement, donate your old tree.  Many organizations and needy families would love them for next year.christmas tree artificial 3
  • Packaging and boxes – everything from gift packaging to the shipping boxes the gifts arrived in… either recycle them (if they aren’t usable again) or save them (along with the reusable packing materials) for when you need to ship something.  If you have more than you can handle, list and sell them through Box Cycle.
  • Gift bags, ribbons, bows and tissue – simply fold, flatten and/or store.  They can all likely be used again (and again!).
  • Lights – if you have strands that have permanently gone out, take advantage of clearance sales and stock up on new LEDs for next year’s energy-efficient decorating.  You can also check out HolidayLEDs.com… they’ll accept old incandescents and give you a 25% discount on a new LED purchase.
  • Clear it out! – make way for new gifts by cleaning out what is no longer needed and donate them to charity.  Clothes, toys, books, household items… everything is useful for someone, or an entire family, in need!
  • Christmas cards – ever heard of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children?  Well, they’d love to receive your Christmas cards!  This non-profit organization cares for abused, abandoned and/or neglected children.  They accept used greeting cards (including Christmas, birthday and even “Thank You” cards), the children remove the fronts and attacchristmas cardsh them to a recycled paper backing.  They turn them into new greeting cards… and then sell them!  Bundle them up and mail them to:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

As you get your post-holiday life back in order there is some work to be done but, rest assured, there are plenty of wise, green choices that can be made as we bid the year farewell…

(Tree photo: Christmas Lights Etc.)