Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Open Your Windows

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week was all about deforestation. It was an interesting challenge because it encouraged us to look at the origins of a product. For example, when folks dig into a juicy steak, they probably don't think about the acres of forested land which were cleared to open up grazing fields for cattle. Body care products, containing palm oil, don't come with information about the small farmer who cut down part of the rainforest in order to grow profitable palms. June's bride surely doesn't give a thought to the mining operations that provided her gold wedding band or the number of trees which were destroyed to make way for the mine. Here's the thing ... every product we buy has a beginning and when that beginning involves cutting down forests, we create a huge environmental problem. The solution is to avoid those items which contribute to deforestation. Once again, we see the power of our purchases.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Avoiding Palm Oil seems easy enough ... just read the label, right? But are you aware of all the names it "hides" behind? Check out Protect the world’s tropical forests, a fabulous post by Vicality!

Lois joined us and shared this: "Fantastic challenge this week. I avoid as much of these products as I can. The only paper product left in my house is toilet paper which I buy 100% recycled. I don't buy beef, avoid all products with palm oil and the only soy product I eat is organic edamame."

Alicia accepted the challenge and, as she was in the market for furniture, completed the task beautifully. Here's what she had to say: "We have been looking for a few pieces of furniture for several specific places in our home. After looking at new furniture we discussed it and decided to go the Craig's list way. We got better quality, only had to drive just a few miles to get the pieces and really felt good about purchasing used instead of new. We have to buy paper for the labels on our products but buy recycled. Pretty much only buy beef a few times a year!"

Suzanne stopped by and shared this: "This is a wonderful challenge and I hope more people take part in it. Thank you for providing this information, and challenging all of us to rethink our air quality in our homes and how it got there. I'm going to pin this to my Pinterest board to show more people!"

Cheryl is feeling a little guilty. Why? Read on: "I've been spying a new sofa to replace one that is hand-me-down ugly (in my mind). The new one is at a thrift shop in town, which will get the old one, so that's a win-win for everybody (especially since they can deliver and pick-up all at once and their charity makes money on TWO sofas!) I feel guilty for having some steak for dinner last night. Arizona is beef country and it was two ounces leftover from a dinner last week. And we totally fall down on the aluminum part of this challenge. Diet coke is nearly mandatory in this household--Gil is diabetic, type 1. Every can goes to a recycler (depending on the market, $1 or more a pound--thirty cans worth). Yes, we could buy cola in plastic bottles, but those get recycled into grocery sacks which eventually can only get tossed into landfills while aluminum cans get recycled into same. Great challenge on all levels. Cheryl"

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@alisha1234m @aussiemoose @authors_secret
@beatepdx @biggreenpen @blockmomnc
@brokeblokeblogs @bstoneblog @collegegogreen
@croydongardener @dieselelephants @eco_novice
@eshuth455 @freshcleanersaz @ginavalley
@greenageworld @greengympenge @greenqueenofmod
@gronavra @groovygreenlivi @herbgir1972
@innervationfit @justanotherhat @kaitlingarder
@kayelleallen @laalicia @lady_bren
@ladyjcmuses @littlewing_13 @mamasmoney
@marjoriemcatee @mdgblogger @mimibarbour
@moha_doha @momfindsout @msmoreau_guid
@nolafusion @pooja_y_jain @potnall
@rainyofthedark @rckweddings @realityarts
@rochelleforrest @ronchatterjee7 @rose_rambles
@rulesofgreen @snickerdoo2 @spafloating
@sustyq @theworld4realz @tiffanywashko
@timhemlin @treesgroup @turkishtravel
@wary12 @wencdj @wimpyvegetarian
@worldchangingme

My Final Thoughts:

Deforestation is a complex issue. While it may seem that it's simply about big corporate profit, there is a human side to the story. Whether it's the small farmer who grows profitable crops in order to feed his family or the miner who risks his health to make a living, the fact is that people benefit from deforestation. That human factor adds an emotional aspect to the situation. While we do need to find alternate ways for people to sustain themselves, we can't waiver on protecting the environment. After all, making a living won't mean much if we don't have clean air to breathe.

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

May's theme is: Clean Air

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Open Your Windows
Let the fresh air in!


Sometimes, green living is as easy as opening a window!



Here's your challenge ...


This week, open your windows and let fresh air in. Doing this blows out toxins and refreshes your environment.

OR ...

Visit AirNow to find out the quality of air in your community. Then, browse the site and review their tips for reducing pollution. If you live outside the US, check out the international link or search for your country's air quality database.

Are you ready to breathe deep? I know that you are!

Please join me in our mantra ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!





Monday, May 25, 2015

Specially For You

We, as consumers, have great power. Our purchases send a clear message to manufacturers about what we want ... and they, wishing to prosper, provide the products which we are willing to spend money on.

So if we support Eco-friendly products and companies, we encourage the market to provide more of the same ... and that's good for us and the earth!

Today I'd like to introduce you to the companies currently listed on our Special Offers Page. I don't receive any compensation for their listing, or this post ... I simply feel that it's important to support companies who are doing their best to protect the environment.

Of course, the most green option is not to buy. But when we need something, it's important to choose earth friendly items.

Even if you're not in the market for something new right now, I encourage you to visit these vendors and let them know that we appreciate their efforts.


ecolissa - eco friendly and vegan woman’s clothing and accessories
ecolissa
La Francesca Eco-Resort
La Francesca
Gina Jordan's Soft Cloth Shop - Reusable Paperless Towels, Baby Wipes, Cloth Napkins
Gina Jordan


ecolissa

Specializing in eco friendly and vegan woman’s clothing and accessories. Until December 31, 2015, you can get 20% off any purchase. Use code rf20 at checkout.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.

La Francesca Eco-Resort

Specializing in Eco-friendly vacations in Italy. Get a 5-15% discount until December 31, 2015, with discount code FOOTPRINTS.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.

Gina Jordan's Soft Cloth Shop

Specializing in reusable paperless towels, baby wipes, and cloth napkins. Use code ReduceFootprints until December 31, 2015, to get 10% off any purchase.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.



LustOrganic, Organic & Natural Bath & Body Products
LustOrganic
Sow True Seed
Sow True Seed
Funnest - Eco-Friendly Wall Decor
Funnest


LustOrganic

Specializing in organic, natural bath and body products. Until January 1, 2015, use code ReduceFootPrints to enjoy 20% off any purchase.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.

Sow True Seed

Specializing in open-pollinated seeds. Use code REDUCE10, until December 31, 2015, to get 10% off all seed packets.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.

Funnest

Specializing in Eco-friendly wall decor. Until September 1, 2015, you can get an additional 20% off any order (can be combined with other sales to get a maximum of 40% off), and free shipping on orders over $35, by using code footprints20.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.



Violet's Buds - Handmade Accessories For You & Your Little Flower
Violet's Buds
Nubila Services - Elegant, Unique Solutions For A Mindful Community Compostable Dinnerware
Nubila Services
Celadon Road by, Amanda Arkans
Celadon Road


Violet's Buds

Specializing in handmade accessories for you and your little flower. Save 20% on any purchase in the shop by using code ECO20. This offer expires on June 20, 2015.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.

Nubila Services

Specializing in elegant, unique solutions for a mindful community - compostable dinnerware. Enjoy a storewide 10% discount until May 31, 2015, using code SAVE10%.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.

Celadon Road by Amanda Arkans

Specializing in Eco-friendly body care and home products. Mention Small Footprints when enrolling in Amanda Arkans' team and get a personalized party-pack worth over $50. This business opportunity ends on June 30, 2015.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.



StopLittering.com
StopLittering.com
EartH2O
EartH2O


StopLittering.com

Specializing in a litter-free society. Between now and August 31, 2015, use code KAB to get $5 off any T-shirt in the shop.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.

EartH2O

Specializing in sustainability studies in Costa Rica. Save $100 off the program fee by using code REDUCE2015 through April, 2016.

Visit the Special Offers Page for more details.



I'd like to thank all of these vendors for their generosity and for their efforts to operate in an earth-friendly manner. We need more companies like them!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Smoking and Living Green

This month we've been focusing on clean air. Our first Change The World Wednesday challenge of May asked participants to stop smoking and/or not allow smoking in their homes.

So I wondered if "greenies" actually ban smoking from their lives. Here are the results of this month's survey:


Smoking and Living Green


Smoking and Living Green


Smoking and Living Green


Comments

  • I became a smoker when I was about 19 (my hubby at that time was too) but when I became pregnant at 20, I stopped cold turkey. He didn't smoke in the house but did think it was ok to smoke in the car if the window was open. My ex has stayed a smoker all these years while I never went back to the nasty habit. I had a few friends that smoked but no one ever did in our house. If they wanted to smoke, they were more than welcome to go in our garage or sit outside. It's always been the rule. No ifs or butts. Haha. I have two friends that use the e-cigs that I don't see very often but when they visit, they go outside, sit out on the porch, smoking the e-cigs while enjoyng the scenery and fresh air. ;)
  • When I was 18, I became a social smoker, as I called it. I smoked with my best friend, but that was it. Then I did start buying my own packs, but I'd only smoke 1 or 2 cigarettes & then throw the pack out. I'd always feel a huge amount of guilt, & I was also sick the next day after smoking a cigarette. I also have asthma - so this affected my breathing. I'd smoke once every month or two. Then in '94, when I was 24, I quit suddenly & haven't gone back to it since. I'm so very glad about that! It's a gross habit that makes everything smell & makes people ill. I can't even stand to be around cigarette smoke. I don't allow smoking anywhere near my doorway, although my friends can smoke elsewhere in the yard if they smoke. No one I spend any amount of time with smoke, but when I am with my smoking friends, they understand my need to not be with them when they smoke. :)
  • Although I've had cigarettes to my mouth when we were young and impressionable and thought it was cool, I can't say that I really inhaled--my lungs just didn't want to be bothered. I have an inordinate number of friends who smoke and they like nothing more than sitting in my yard, lighting up a few. I like hanging with my friends, but I always pay for it--the nicotine I breathe keeps me up at night, no question.
    My least favorite expeience with cigarette smoke has to be at restaurants with outdoor patios. I care not for the smell of smoke while I'm eating, or worse, having enjoyed a delightful meal in a restaurant, to be assaulted with smoke immediately upon exiting the establishment, as smoking is allowed out on the patio (and the only exit way).
    It's a habit I never acquired and surely don't understand. I am grateful that a couple of my friends are trying to quit and I know how hard that is for them. Now to work on the rest of them...
  • I was incredibly lucky - when I was about 15 and probably about to start trying cigarettes, my father was told to stop smoking for health reasons. I saw how difficult it was for him to stop, and so decided not to start. I'm glad I never did.
    I hate smoke, and won't have it anywhere near my home. I smell it a mile away.
    Plus, cigarettes contain formaldehyde - and who wants that around? http://www.ecofriendlylink.com/blog/avoid-formaldehyde/
    Not to mention that the very same argument methods that were used to dispel the "myth" that smoking is bad for you and may cause cancer, are being used today against the dangers of climate change.
    Ugh.

My Thoughts


100% of the 15 people who participated in this survey have banned smoking from their lives. That's great and I applaud them, especially since some of them tried smoking when they were younger and/or grew up in households where a parent smoked.

Are their responses typical of the green-living community? Maybe not!

I realized a flaw in these questions ... smokers probably didn't answer them. Since smoking is generally viewed as a "negative", there wasn't a motivation to participate in this survey. After all, no one is going to congratulate them for their actions and admitting their habit opens the door to a lot of bad "vibes".

In all fairness, the questions were one sided!

Not long ago, I met a man who was very involved in establishing alternative energy sources. He was passionate about the environment and cautioned everyone that "our" abuse of nature would cost us dearly. He admonished people to make changes now ... otherwise nature would fight back to our peril.

I learned that this person is a smoker. It boggled my mind that an environmentalist could be so passionate in one area but totally negligent in another.

My Conclusions


Living green is about educating ourselves and doing the best we can to protect the environment. Their are some grey areas. For example, many "greenies" struggle with buying Eco-friendly products which aren't made locally. And do we toss out a usable item because it isn't green and buy something new which is? Our choices aren't always clear cut.

In my opinion, however, smoking doesn't fall into the grey area. It's pollution ... period! And I further believe that true environmentalists embrace all green-living concepts ... not just the ones that suit them. Does that mean that we are perfect? Not at all! It means that as we learn about what does and doesn't hurt our world, we make every attempt to live by that knowledge.

Smoking hurts the environment. A true environmentalist will make every effort to ban the practice from his or her life!

Thanks to everyone who participated!