Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Week in Green

I decided that there is so much "green" news out there each week that I would update you on what I think are the most interesting stories and topics.  So each week I will publish "The Week in Green."

If there is something that you think is interesting, topical or important, please post it to the comments here, on my Facebook Group (Green Luvin') and/or my Facebook blog, Green Luvin'.  You can also follow me on Twitter @Green_Luvin.

The Week in Green...

Be Green and Vote:  In most states you have until the end of the week to register to vote in the Presidential election.  Some say "why should I vote"?  No matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, an environmentalist or a creationist (not sure why anyone would be), you MUST exercise your right to vote.  In this week Grist, Umbra Fisk wrote a piece called Citizen Bane: On the importance of voting.  A must read for all and if you have not registered to vote go to Declare Yourself to find out your state's deadline and all you need to register.

Bush's Environmental Record:  In a week that has once again exposed the incompetence of the Bush administration, the Republicans have boycotted a review of Bush's environmental record, as reported by the Environmental News Service. All of us know this administration has failed the American people on environmental and health issues while letting big business run rampant without oversight.  "For six years the administration sat by while oil imports increased, gas prices rose and global warming became more and more threatening," said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. "It refused to set higher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles even when the data showed that the current trajectory was actually hurting the U.S. auto industry, desiccating its market share."

Fast Food is transforming the waistlines of the Greek: Our fast and highly process foods are making the U.S. a nation of the overweight, sick and obese. We have been told that the healthful Mediterranean diet — emphasizing olive oil, fresh produce and fish -- is the way to go. But as reported in the New York Times this week, the Greeks have succumbed to our ways and are now seeing increased negative health effects from the change in their nation's diet.  So much so that the government has began lectures on nutrition in schools.  As stated in the article, "In Greece, three-quarters of the adult population is overweight or obese, the worst rate in Europe “by far,” according to the United Nations. The rates of overweight 12-year-old boys rose more than 200 percent from 1982 to 2002 and have been rising even faster since."  

The reusable shopping bag, green or not?:  If you're reading this, and you are, you probably have about a half a dozen or so reusable shopping bags.  Those of us who do, proudly bring them to the supermarket making our statement that we are taking one step in reducing waste and helping the environment. According to a story in the Wall Street Journal this week entitled "An Inconvenient Bag," reusable shopping bags are the new "it" freebie.  Sales are up 76% from this time last year.  Wow, what a business, but is it a green business? "Many of the cheap, reusable bags that retailers favor are produced in Chinese factories and made from nonwoven polypropylene, a form of plastic that requires about 28 times as much energy to produce as the plastic used in standard disposable bags and eight times as much as a paper sack, according to Mr. Sterling, of Natural Capitalism Solutions.

Reclaiming Cow Shit for Energy:  So many people dis on the cow because they feel that bovines are a leading causes of global warming.  They burp and fart methane. Well, a farm in Vermont is now taking the waste from their cattle and converting into clean burning natural gas to create a new and recurring source of green energy. The Green Mountain Dairy in Shelton, Vermont is part of an alternative energy program that converts methane from cow manure in to electricity.  Check out this interesting and progressive program by reading  Electricity From What Cows Leave Behind in the New York Times, The Business of Green section.

By the way, please don't print these stories out to read them.  Save the paper and read them online.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A little Green Luvin' PR

Every once in a while we all need to do our own public here I go.

I am now officially a "green parent". Well, sort of....check out a blog called The Green Parent: Your Kid Friendly Guide to Earth-Friendly Living.  They interviewed me about what is means to me to be green.  

Also, Green Luvin' is now on Facebook. So all you Facebook fans can read my posts there and have real time discussions on the green issues that interest you most. Click here to join my blog, or if you are not a member of Facebook (isn't everyone?), then click here to join -- then of course, join my blog network and don't forget to rate it (five stars of course)! (If for some reason the link to my blog on Facebook is not working -- it's tempermental -- then search for Green Luvin' in the Facebook blog network.)

I'm also syndicated. Green Luvin can be read on Eco-Chick, a blog written by women who care about the environment, and Diet Detective, the health and fitness network.

Finally, if anyone is interested in a Green Luvin' t'shirt, let me know and I will have one made for you -- printed on organic cotton for $23. I would LOVE for you to wear and promote my blog. My family absolutely loves theirs, and you'll love one too.

Thanks for reading and stay green!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New study finds that you don't have to overeat to become obese.

Pollution contaminates our water, air, and land. It has been proven to cause asthma, allergies, cancer, emphysema, and whole host of other diseases. It causes global warming, kills our wildlife and now scientist from the Environmental Epidemiology at the Institut Municipal Investigacio Medica in Barcelona discovered it causes OBESITY.  

So in addition to fast foods and processed foods, pollution causes obesity? The Spanish study revealed that children who were exposed to a range of common chemicals and pesticides in the womb increased the childs chances of becoming obese. 

As reported in the journal Acta Paediatrica, scientists looked at the concentration of hexachloreobenzene (HCB) in the umbilical cord blood of 405 children born in Menorca from mid-1997 to mid-1998. Among those data point collected post birth, scientists looked at infant height and weight.  Feeding practices were reported by mothers in interviews at six months and one year after birth.  Additionally, the children’s height and weight were measured when they were 6.5 years old. The study revealed that children with the highest exposure to HCB were 2.5 times more likely to be overweight. The researchers also reported that these children were three times more likely to be obese than those with lower exposure levels. 

So, what is HCB? Hexachlorobenzene is a fungicide formerly used to treat seeds to control fungal disease. It was banned globally in the '90s under the Stockholm Convention which banned chemical substances that accumulate through the food chain, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment. HCB has been banned in the US since 1965 but can still be found in our environment in 84 Superfund sites in the US and all across the world. It is a known animal cancinogen and a probable human carcinogen. Studies have found that HCB accumulates as your move up the food chain. Just like mercury, as it goes up the seafood food chain, HCB concentrations increase. Therefore, if you eat a large fish like tuna or swordfish that has been contaminated up the food chain, the concentrations of HCB would be extremely high.

So what else have children been exposed to prior to being born, and what impact might it have on my kids?

Previous studies have linked bisphenol A exposure to obesity in animals, and other studies have linked phthalates to obesity in adult men. As reported in the Telegraph in the United Kingdom, "The report's authors are now calling for exposure to similar pesticides to be minimised, including bisphenol A (BPA), used in baby bottles and cans of food, and phthalates, found in cosmetics and shampoos." Tests have shown BPA is found in 95% of Americans, while 90% have been found to be exposed to phthalates in the womb.

Between BPA, HCB, and phthalates, I'm frustrated and concerned. I would prefer to screw my kids up on my own and not worry about what their sippy cups or shampoos are made of, or what banned fungicides are in their foods.

What's keeping you up at night?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Junk mail, other than the annoyance, what's the problem? Lots...

If you're like me you love getting mail. The holiday cards, the thank you notes, etc. There is little more exciting than the sound of opening an envelope and reading a real piece of mail. But what I hate is the junk mail. Specifically the catalogues that clog my mail box and pile up day after day.

Well it turn out that more than 19 billion catalogs are mailed to households in the United States every year. That's 63 catalogs for each man, woman and child in the US. Well I wanted to put an end to this flood of useless mail.  I knew my family was getting a ton of these unwanted, unrequested catalogues from companies like LL Bean, Lands End, Victoria Secrets, Restoration Hardware and a whole host of other companies, well actually for me, eight-two companies. Eighty-two, that is how many different companies have sent me a mail-order catalogs in the past 2 months.  That is more than one catalog a day not including repeat catalogs! Wow that's a lot of junk mail.  

How do I know it is eighty-two?  About two months ago I began using Catalog Choice, a free service that contacts mail-order companies for you to remove your name from their mailing lists.  I knew I received a lot of catalogs but I had no idea that is was SOOO many.  

Using the Environmental Defense Fund paper calculator, Catalog Choice calculated the impact of all these catalogs on our environment. More than 53 million trees are need make 3.6 million tons of paper and 38 trillion BTUs of energy are need to produce the paper (enough to power 1.2 million households per year.) This process emits 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide equal to annual emissions of 2 million cars -- significantly contributing to global warming. More that 53 billion gallons of wastewater is discharged to create the catalog paper -- enough to fill 81,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  This doesn't even take into account the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the US Post Office from delivering these useless pieces of paper.

Since its launch last year, almost one million people have joined Catalog Choice and already opted out of 13,117,365 catalogs.  More than 1,000 companies have joined in to help people opt out of getting their catalogs but there are a few that have decided not to participate.  Out of the 82 companies on my list just Garnet Hill, Metropolitan Museum of Arts Store, Nordstroms, and Title Nine are not participating.  To date, 22 companies on my list have confirmed the opt out and Catalog Choice is still working on the rest.  

Catalog Choice is not the only service out there. For a fee, GreenDimes and will get rid of unwanted junk mail and catalogs. will stop unwanted credit or insurance offers. Even the Direct Marketing Association offers ways to remove your name and address for mailing list.  

It is so easy you have to try.  All you have to do is input them in and Catalog Choice does the rest.

Let me know how many catalogs you get rid of!