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Showing posts from 2017

Easter Without Plastic

Easter is one holiday in particular celebrated with a lot of plastic. Candy wrappers and hidden Easter eggs make for a lot of waste. I wish I would have thought to make this post before Easter, but until I had a plastic, candy filled egg in hand, I didn't think about it. One of the most important, and sometimes most difficult, ways of reducing plastic consumption is just to realize what roles it plays in your life. Yesterday, it was of holiday cheer, but there are definitly ways to celebrate without excess plastic waste.

1) Hard boiled eggs! Delicious, healthier than candy, and can be made just as colorful as plastic easter eggs. Yes, they take a little more work, but it's worth it to help the Earth. Hide them for all the fun of the Easter egg hunt!

2) While it's always good to be healthy, a big part of Easter is the candy. Instead of buying candies at the supermarket, make your own fudge, caramel hard candies, or chocolate/caramel covered apples! DIY is a delicious way to…

This is about Dildos

Thanks to my new crush on Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong, dildos have become relevant to my life again. Yep, I'm going to talk about environmentally friendly sex toys. Masturbation is perfectly healthy, good for sexual exploration, and is the way most people have their first orgasms (I learned that in my college sex ed class). However, as a society we don't really talk about it much, so fair warning, this post may be uncomfortable, but it's worth talking about. I mean, this blog is supposed to be an in depth examination of environmental health, right? Right. Here we go.

Most vibrators and dildos are made of either silicon or hard plastic, neither of which are biodegradable or good for the environment. Lessening plastic usage is one of my major goals, and this situation is no exception. But no one wants to give up sex toys, so what are the green alternatives?

One is to just use the sex toys you already have. Why buy a new toy when you have a perfectly good one? The e…

Disposable People

Our throw away culture is one of the major problems when it comes to the environment. From our oceans filling with plastic, to the rapid use of natural resources to make products, our society's attitude of dispose-ability is having many negative effects on our planet. However, today in my English class we had a discussion on the dispose-ability of people. About how our culture simplifies people down to commodities and throws them away once their "value" is gone. Obviously there are problems with this, starting with the fact that people are not commodities, but it got me thinking. I decided to go to the local mall and look at advertisements to see if they were really commodifying people, and if so, how. This is what I found.

The first things that caught my eye were the obvious. Over-sexualized images of women with lips slightly parted and eyes blank. Mostly found at Victoria's Secret--no surprise.

What they're selling is the model's beauty, the idea that this …

Opt Out

The other day, I went to Subway and saw this:

A fast food chain actively trying to reduce their waste? AND encouraging people to use less plastic bags? Heck yes!  However, I'm always sceptical of brands trying to 'greenwash' products. Making the salad bowls and napkins out of recycled materials is a great place to start, but if Subway really wants to make a difference, there's an important step they need to take. While it's great they have a poster saying to go bagless, there's a much easier way to get people to do so: don't hand them one.

Face it, we tend to take the path of least resistance. If it takes work to opt out of a plastic bag, odds are most people will take it just because they don't remember to say something, they feel embarrassed, or any other number of reasons. If Subway, or any cooperation for that matter, wanted to make a big difference, they could switch to an opt in system. Subway sandwiches could come without a bag. Still have them o…

Do It (Tomorrow)

I've been trying to use less plastic, eat healthier, and spend less money. Of course those are all goals I've been tempted to break--recently all at once. This week I had a coworker tell me about the new Chocolate Shamrock Shake at McDonald's. Now, I have always loved Shamrock Shakes, but mint and chocolate TOGETHER in one glorious milkshake? Yes, please!
Except McDonald's doesn't let you bring your own cup to fill, which would mean using a wasteful plastic cup. And what about that eating healthier thing? I'm all for a treat now and then, but there's no way that calorie monster could be considered in any way healthy. And it would be money I didn't need to spend.

Still, none of that was enough to dissuade me from getting one asap.

Then I actually got off work, it was late, and I just wanted to go home. There's not a McDonald's between my work and my house, so I'd just be lazy tonight and go get it tomorrow. But when 'tomorrow' came, I…

Plastic-free Spring Style

Thanks to fabrics such as Nylon and Polyester, a lot of clothes are made from plastic these days. With spring around the corner, a new season of styles is on the way. If you're looking for some new pieces, skip the plastic, and start a new trend with super cute wrap pants made from 100% silk!

I've loved wrap pants ever since I first discovered them, but now I love them even more for how eco-friendly they are. Made from 100% silk these pants are biodegradable--as if you'd ever want to throw them out. They come in all sorts of colours and designs, and all of them that I've come across are double sided, so each one can be switched up. Pair them with a plain, 100% cotton t-shirt and you have a beautiful, unique spring look that's plastic free. Even though they're pants, they're perfect through spring and summer because they are light weight and keep you cool. No more dying in jeans if I haven't shaved!

When I first found them I thought they all must be supe…

The Mascara Problem

As someone who is very blonde, I will never recommend giving up mascara, but as of yet I have not found a good plastic free alternative. Instead, I've come up with a compromise that works for me. It reduces my plastic consumption without forcing me to give up my favorite makeup tool.

Here's how it goes: On special occasions, important days, and those times I just feel like looking extra good, I go ahead and use mascara. On the day to day, just school and work, I skip it in favor of an eyeliner and eyelash curler combo.

After using both the eyeliner and the eyelash curler, I get a similar emphasis around the eye that looks perfectly fine for casual days. It uses less plastic, and still looks good.

Three Months Fluoride Free

A few months ago I decided to switch from a pretty average toothpaste to a fluoride free one to see what the difference would be. Would it feel the same? Would it be less healthy for my teeth? There was only one way to find out.

After using an entire tube of fluoride free toothpaste, right now I am brushing my teeth with the toothpaste I used to use. There is definitly a difference.

The first thing I noticed was the sting. Before my little experiment, regular toothpaste always made my mouth feel clean, nothing else. Now, I can feel a distinct stinging sensation on the inside of my mouth. It's weird how I never noticed this before because it's so clear now. Another thing I notice is that it feels like I'm scraping something off my teeth. I'm not brushing any different than before, but it feels somehow harsh.

Afterwards, my mouth doesn't feel minty fresh, it feels...chemical-y. I can't say for sure if it's the fluoride or the other chemicals in the toothpaste…

One Goal

I've been writing this blog for a couple months now and there's something I've noticed about my overarching topic. I chose my tag-line, "healthy living for our bodies, minds, and planet", because those were my three goals for myself; I wanted to be healthier physically, mentally, and be more environmentally friendly, and write about my journey on all three of them. It just happened to be the three things I was working on, and they were loosely correlated around health, so I figured they would work as a theme. However, the more time I've spent diving into them, the more related they seem to be.

It seems to me that the healthier something is for the environment, the healthier it is for human health as well, and vice versa. For example, eating organic food means chemicals don't go into the ecosystem, and it keeps those same chemicals out of our bodies. Another example is in trying to not buy as much stuff. It's good for the environment because not as man…

The Plus Side to Plastic Water Bottles

The difficult thing about opposing certain products, is that there is a genuine need for them sometimes. Example: Single use plastic water bottles.

Yesterday, without warning, my water went out. They were doing construction on the street and accidentally damaged a pipe. We couldn't make sure to collect some from the tap beforehand, and we had no idea when the water would be back. Before I got home from work, my mom called and said, "I know you hate plastic water bottles, but can you grab a few? This is an emergency."

I did what anyone would, and got some. (My work hands them out, so I just took a few from storage.)

Luckily, the water was back on by morning, but I still wouldn't have been able to brush my teeth or wash the makeup off my face if it hadn't been for bottled water. In situations like that, it's a good thing to have access to bottled water. Do I feel great about having to have used it? No. But like my mother said, it was an emergency. I'm 100% …

Miss Anti-Plastic Update

And the result is....NOT ME! Oh well, I didn't get a crown, but it was still a wonderful experience. I got to make new friends, and spread the word to at least a few people about plastic.

One thing I'd like to say, is that the stereotype of pageant girls as stuck up and catty, isn't true at all. They were some of the kindest people I've ever met, happy to give advice for my first pageant (and let me borrow some earrings). If you're interested in doing one, I'd say go for it!

However, this obviously means I won't get that platform to talk about this important issue. I'm not giving up though! This just means I have to somehow forge my own platform, which I fully intend to do. I've been in contact with the Plastic Pollution Coalition recently, and I'm really looking forward to doing all I can to bring awareness to this issue, and to solutions. Even if it just means nagging my friends about it. Hey, every little bit helps!

Miss Anti-Plastic

Today I am competing in my Miss Local Pageant, a preliminary to Miss America. If I win this today, I will go to my Miss State Pageant, and then possibly Miss America. I've just finished my interview, and have a few hours before the show starts. In order to enter, I had to write a platform essay, which talked about an issue I would want to address during my time serving, should I win.

I chose an issue near and dear to my heart: Reducing Plastic Consumption.

I want to bring awareness to this issue in as many ways as I can. We are surrounded by plastic, constantly producing more. Yet, people aren't really aware of the price of this decision. Should I win, and even if I don't, I'm going to continue doing everything in my power to spread awareness.

Wish me luck!

Please Reuse or Recycle this Bag

The other day my mom went shopping, and came home carrying her purchases in a plastic bag (I haven't gotten her on the reusable bandwagon yet). I didn't pay much attention to it, until I saw what it had printed on the side.

At first, I thought it was a good thing. I mean, if someone is going to use a plastic bag, at least that bag is encouraging them not to just throw it in the garbage. In pretty big print too! But...the more I thought about it, that just didn't feel right. Then I realized why: Keep America Beautiful. 
I'd heard about the organisation before, and how it was really a front by corporations who make commonly littered items to keep the blame off themselves (more information). While I don't think Keep America Beautiful has anything to do with this bag in particular, their ploy seems to repeat itself. By printing this on their plastic bags, the store takes responsibility for what happens to this bag off themselves. If one of their bags is ever found in …

When it Comes to Monetization

Yesterday I was talking with my dad, and this blog happened to come up. He suggested putting banner ads on the side so I could make a little money off it, and I firmly said no. I do not want this to come off as some form of moral superiority, there's nothing wrong with people monetizing their blogs as they see fit. However, I don't feel banner ads are the way to do so with this blog in particular. 
I've done posts about not spending money, posts criticizing certain businesses, and posts celebrating others. The thing about banner ads is that I have no control over them, and what they advertise to my readers. If I promote a product or company, you can trust that it's my honest opinion. I have full control of what is and isn't said about things. Banner ads, despite just being annoying, take this power from me. 
In the future, if I ever do sponsored content, I will still have control over exactly what is said. I'm not expecting anyone to ever want to pay me for thi…

A Greener Super Bowl!

Ah, Super Bowl time. Or, as I call it, the season finale of football. Personally, I don't care about it, and I don't watch it, but a lot of people do. If you do: Awesome! Have fun! May your team win!
But with a lot of TVs tuned to the Super Bowl, there's a lot of electricity being used. However, there is a wonderful way to have fun on Super Bowl Sunday and be a little greener as well.

Go to a Super Bowl party!

Or a sports bar that's playing it (they all are). The point is, the more people watching one TV, the less TVs that are on. Besides, you get to hang out with friends! Even better: carpool on your way there. If you live close and you're going to the same place, why not?

This strategy can be used for any number of events. You and a bunch of friends going to watch the Doctor Who season premier? Throw a Whovian party! Time with friends and being green? Great combo.

So enjoy the game, enjoy the party, and may your team win (as long as your team is the Atlanta Falco…

Green Product of the Month -- Jan 2017

Let's be clear about one thing: I LOVE Starbucks. Gold Card member and all. I so do not have the money to go there as often as I would like, but if I could I'd go every day. This month I was able to do so, and be green at the same time. Win-win! Which is why Starbucks Reusable Tumblers are my choice for January's Green Product of the month!
Now, even though there are many, many brands of reusable tumblers, I've chosen the Starbucks brand because of how they've incentivized being green. Top brands encouraging environmentally friendly action? Heck yes!

There are two tumblers in particular that have incentivized their use over disposable plastic cups. First, there's their January 2017 Refill Tumbler.

Despite the fact January is over, the idea to offer free coffee/tea for a cetin period if you have a specific reusable is a great way to get people in the habit of bringing their own. If you don't have the tumbler, you don't get the free drink. It makes you s…

The Silencing of the EPA

When it comes to the environment, the new presidential administration leaves a lot to be desired. The president is pro oil and drilling, and is trying to appoint Scott Pruitt, a Climate Change denier, as head of the EPA. Yikes. But more unsettling news has come out in the last few days.

As The Boston Globe reports President Trump institutes media blackout at EPA and as The Washington Post reports Trump administration tells EPA to freeze all grants, contracts.

The freeze on grants and contracts could have any number of unknown effects throughout the country, and is a step no other new administration has taken. While I understand the desire to review agencies, completely freezing them is a dangerous move. This could set precedent for longer periods of freezing the EPA, or any other agency. Many people aren't huge fans of bureaucracy, but these agencies do important work every day, and hindering that helps no one.

However, I am almost more concerned about the media blackout. If agenc…

Not Buying Into It

While there are a lot of wonderful green products out there, one of the best ways to go green is also a great way to save some green. Don't buy things.

Sounds impossible, doesn't it? Buying things is fun! And, after all, we need to buy some things. But if we live with what we have, only buy the essentials, with a little splurge here and there, we're seriously limiting the resources we use. And money. Speaking of which, saving money recently became a serious priority for me, and I still managed to mess it up in less than a week.

Long story short, a good chunk of my tuition will need to be paid a lot sooner than I thought. To achieve this goal, I decided to only buy what's absolutely essential (pretty much just food and gas). Then, I checked to see if I could pick up some extra hours at work. I was offered a shift in a different position I don't usually pick up from due to the fact that it's mind numbingly dull. But desperate times call for boring measures, so I …

Commander in Good Grief

Today, a man who believes climate change is a hoax got sworn into office. This is just one of the many problems with him, but one that is very disheartening to me personally. But now is not the time to stop pushing for legislation that protects the environment, or any other movement you believe in. If anything, it's time to make our voices stronger.
Democracy only works if the people are involved. The ones we elect are not our bosses, but rather our employees. It is their job to make sure the people's wants are what dictates policy. Some people think there's nothing that can be done until 2018 or even 2020 when we vote again, but democracy doesn't start nor end at the voting booth.
Today, we have more channels than ever to make our legislators hear us.
We cannot let any of the misinformation that will, and already has, stemmed from this presidency become accepted as fact, and, in turn, influence policy. As citizens it is our duty to maintain our democracy by demandi…

UVE Sparkling Black Cherry Lemonade Quick Review

So I've finally opened the next glass bottle of soda to review! This time it's UVE (pronounced oo-vay according to the bottle) Sparkling Black Cherry Lemonade!

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Fruit and Vegetable Juice (for color), WellTrim iG (IGOB131) African Mango (Irvingia gabonesis) Seed Extract, Stevia Extract 
Pros: No plastic bottle! Strong fizz   Cons:  Taste is too strong for my liking Nasty after tasteSome ingredients I don't reconize Anything that tastes sweet and doesn't have sugar concerns me Overall, I would not buy this product again. I kind of wish I hadn't this time. The flavor was seriously strong, and not particularly enjoyable. However, sometimes when playing League of Legends, I tend not to taste what I'm eating or drinking because I'm so focused on the game. I definitly tasted this. That's a plus, I guess?

TV Dinner Alternative

My college semester starts tomorrow, and one thing I know I won't have is a lot of time to think about food. Usually during my semesters I live off fast food and TV dinners, but as I'm trying to make some healthy and environmentally friendly changes, that just won't cut it this time. But I'm still going to have a job and a full semester to deal with.

The solution I came up with was to cook in bulk, making my own TV dinners. It's cheaper, healthier, and way more environmentally friendly than normal TV dinners. Though, you do have to be okay with eating the same thing several days in a row. Ah, downsides!

Now, one of my all time favorite meals is salad and pasta. I could eat pasta (with alternating sauces) forever and never get tired of it. Lucky me because it's SUPER easy to make in bulk. I make a big batch of pasta, split it up into individual portions, and have 5 meals in the fridge for the week. Then I just make a salad in a large bowl, and stick it in the fr…

Lawns Aren't Green -- Part 3: Alternatives

While there are many alternatives to the traditional lawn, I'm going to focus on my three personal favorites.

#3. Mondo Grass Mondo Grass, also known as Dwarf Lilyturf, is a wonderful lawn alternative that requires much less effort than usual turfgrass species used as lawns. On average, it only needs to be mowed once a year, if that. However, the downside is that using only Mondo Grass for your entire lawn will still cause a monoculture. Despite that, I find this alternative appealing as once it's in place, it doesn't need much water or effort, and makes for a unique looking lawn. 

(picture source

#2. Native Grasses  While a lawn made of grasses native to your area will need to be mowed more often than Mondo Grass in order to keep the trim lawn aesthetic, having a mixture of native grasses will eliminate the monoculture problem of lawns in favor of a more environmentally friendly landscape. Depending on where you live and which grasses are native to that area, there is a…

Lawns Aren't Green -- Part 2: The History

(Unless otherwise stated, all the information in this post comes from the book Lawn People by Paul Robbins.)

Lawns were literally designed to be a resource suck. I don't mean yards, houses have had land around them for centuries, but that was thought of as useful land. As I said in  Part 1, lawns are large patches of turfgrass just for aesthetics.
Remember in history class when they taught you about the French monarchs who got their heads chopped off for living ridiculously exorbitant lives while their subjects starved? Well, they're the ones that invented the concept of the lawn. They wanted to show that they were so wealthy they could completely waist land, water, and labor by growing a finicky, useless crop.

This idea spread when nobility from other countries visited, and took the idea with them. As the nobility around Europe popularized the lawn, anyone who wanted to show that they were well off would copy the idea.

After the industrial revolution, with inventions such as t…

Lawns Aren't Green -- Part 1: The Problem

You might be surprised to learn that the green swaths of land in front of our houses aren't actually eco-friendly at all. They take massive amounts of water, energy, and chemicals, to look how we want them to. Meanwhile, the majority of turfgrasses used aren't native to where they're being used. This replaces natural biodiversity with a manufactured, difficult to maintain, monoculture.
Unlike monocultures in farming (which do have their own problems) turfgrass monocultures are useless. They don't provide any type of food or usability, they're only for aesthetics. 
Over 15% of residential water use goes towards watering lawns and gardens, and as much as 50% of that water is wasted! (source)  Meanwhile, plants natural to a region rarely, if ever, need to be watered. This is a HUGE suck of water that's absolutely pointless. Especially in areas experiencing drought. This water isn't going towards food, or cleanliness, or hydration. This is a resource that'…

Virgil's Black Cherry Cream Soda Quick Review

While at the store today I came across a section of sodas and teas in glass bottles instead of plastic ones. Since they were on sale, I decided to test a couple and see how they'd stack up against their plastic wrapped counterparts.
First up: Virgil's Black Cherry Cream Soda

Ingredients: Purified carbonated water, unbleached cane sugar, vanilla extract, black cherry flavor, natural flavors, malic acid.   Pros:No plastic bottle! Tastes really good, has an interesting flavor that isn't too cherry, and has nice vanilla undertones. Bottle is made from 100% recycled material (how's that for green?)No Preservatives  Cons:  Still soda, which you know isn't healthy Difficult to find Overall, it was a nice treat. I like that it has a short ingredient list, and doesn't come in a plastic bottle, as well as having it's bottle made of recycled material. However, I don't plan on buying it again because (with an occasional exception, like this) I don't drink soda. …

When Celebrating

My New Year's Eve was spent at work. It wasn't bad; there was a spirit of festivities, we got to dress up in formal wear, and for the most part everyone was happy. We handed out hats, crowns, beads, and horns to our customers, and it was a fun evening at work. It wasn't until I got home that I realized something.

All these party goodies are probably going to get thrown away.

While the hat is cardboard, and I can toss it in the recycling bin, the horn and beads are not. These New Year's goodies are cheap, fun, and festive, but they're definitly not green. Using all the energy and materials necessary to make and distribute them, just to be used one night?
Sure, just one strand of beads, one hat, and one horn, aren't that much, but when everybody has just one it's not 'just one' anymore. With over 600 customers, we gave out a LOT of party goodies. As the person in charge of handing them out, I really got to see them add up.
But no one wants to be a dow…