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Final Earth Week Reader Tips Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Just as a reminder – I’m giving away another copy of Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating A Cleaner, Greener, Safer World courtesy of the Healthy Child organization. Email me if you’re interested and I’ll draw the winner this weekend –

And today’s our final wrap-up for Earth Week. I’ve had reader tips filtering in for several days now; many of them I’ve covered last week in my entries. But here are a few more for you to chew on:

My friend Rebecca sent a link to a recipe for an easy chemical-free cleaner: click here to get it. I particularly like that the recipe uses essential oils that are natural anti-bacterial agents.

After hearing I was having trouble finding children’s books, my friend Nikkie asked the librarian at the school where she teaches for some recommendations for kids’ books on taking care of the environment, and here’s the list the librarian put together – keep in mind she’s a high school librarian, but several of these look great:
This is my Planet: the Kids Guide to Global Warming by Jan Thornhill
Recycle: A Handbook for Kids by Gail Gibbons
The Great Trash Bash by Loreen Leedy
Where Does the Garbage Go? by Paul Showers
Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming by Laurie David

And my friend Karina sent in several great tips (though how you have time to do this with that new baby, Karina, I’ll never know!):
1.In addition to cloth diapers, we also use flannel wipes. If you're already washing cloth diapers, might as well wash the wipes as well! Use regular water to wet the wipes. By not using store-bought wipes, you will reduce waste as well reduce the amount of chemicals typically found in wipes.
2. Buy natural cleaning products - we use Seventh Generation laundry detergent, dish detergent, tissue paper, toilet paper, cleaning solution, and paper towels. We use Mrs. Meyers handsoap. (Jennifer’s note: I know I’ve mentioned natural cleaning products before but it bears repeating: they’re better for your health, and better for the environment. On every bottle of Seventh Generation, they print statistics like “If every household in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of 32 oz. petroleum-based all-purpose cleaner with our renewable resource based prduct, we could save 7,100 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 400 U.S. homes for a year!”)
3. If you can't buy all organic fruits and veggies due to cost, consider the produce that will make the most impact. For example, potatoes are one of the most consumed vegetables in America. By purchasing organic potatoes (not that much more expensive than regular potatoes), you are supporting a large part of the vegetable economy while supporting organic farmers and reducing the amount of chemicals in our soils. (Jennifer’s note: potatoes are one of the worst culprits for absorbing pesticides into their skins, and potato skins are one of the most common produce skins we eat.)
4. In going along with buying locally, look up your local CSA (community supported agriculture). In NYC, various neighborhoods sponsor organic farms and those who buy a share get weekly vegetables, fruits, eggs, or flowers from that farm during the growing season. We love supporting a specific farm, and we get delicious produce and beautiful flowers all summer and fall.

Carol from Ohio wrote in to remind people to put their outside lights on timers, for those of us who forget to turn them off when we go to bed. Save some energy and save some bucks at the same time.

Finally today, I’ve had three or four readers write in and ask about candles and their impact on our health. My friend Rebecca sent me a greatlink to read about typical candles and their negative effect on our bodies if you want to read up. A wonderful, healthier alternative for those of us who are addicted to scented candles is to go the soy candle route; they don’t release carbon or give off black soot residue, and most soy candles use all-cotton wicks instead of the conventional ones with lead, so there’s no need to worry about lead inhalation either. Pacifica Candles carries their full line in soy as well as the usual paraffin, and their natural scents are to die for.

And thus endeth Earth Week (ok, Earth fortnight!) Doing this research has really challenged me to be more diligent in my habits, and to practice what I preach. Baby steps make a difference!


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