Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

There is a movement to ban dangerous and possibly cancer and birth defect causing chemicals from personal care products. These products include aftershave, skin lighteners, hair dye, nail polish, chemical relaxers and hair gel. These are products that are frequently used by African Americans. I have provided a link to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' list of companies that signed a pledge to not use toxic chemicals in their products. Please consider switching to products used by these companies, especially if you have children or planning to have children. My personal favorite for female and male personal care products is The Body Shop. The company has a history of supporting women owned businesses from around the globe, using fair trade ingredients and not using animal testing. The products are pricey, but are of the highest quality and enjoyable to use. Burts Bee's also puts out a fine line of natural and safe products.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Black Hair Care Product Warning

Just found out that some of the stuff we are rubbing on our scalps could be killing us. This includes relaxers, conditioners and sheen products. Many of these contain estrogen like hormones which are linked to breast cancer. The rate of young (under 40) African American women being diagnosed with breast cancer is rapidly increasing, so arm yourself with this information and pass it on to your friends and family. Read those labels! This information is tied to research coming out the the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Environmental Oncology, founded by Dr. Devra Davis.

Center for Environmental Oncology

Meet Dr. Devra Davis, founder of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Environmental Oncology. I have included a link to an interview in which she provides some alarming information about dangerous chemicals in personal care products, cosmetics and certain plastics. Folks, not only do we have to read our food labels, we need to monitor labels of everyday products. Sometimes ignorance is bliss-at least temporarily.

40 Days of Balanced Living

The Lenten season is fast approaching. If you are looking for spiritual inspiration and reflection to help you live a greener life, subcribe to this 40 day devotional series put out by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This should be a nice way to start your morning along with a steamy cup of java or tea.

Living on Earth

I just discovered through the blog of the African American Environmentalist Association, that there is an award winning African American host of a radio program that addresses environmental issues. Steve Curwood hosts the show, "Living on Earth". It airs on Public Radio International. Mr. Curwood has been a journalist for almost 30 years and active in environmental causes. You can determine if the program airs in your area on the show's website. For those of you that learn best by listening, tuning in to this show could be a good way to stay informed on ecological issues that affect you and the world.

Grandma Goes Green?

Got a wake up call from my grandmother this morning that started out like this - "Macaroni and Cheese, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Roast Chicken, Green Beans and Pound Cake - what time will you be over?" Darn it! Just when I was trying to make some headway into a vegan like lifestyle, I get this call. Of course, I had to oblige being that I didn't want to hurt her feelings. Right? I did go and ate all of the delicious items, but only a tiny portion of the mac and cheese and chicken. Not bad, as I am notorious for my appetite over there. My plate was 70% vegetables (she always has several veggie sides) and felt quite satisfied. Anyway, not wanting to arrive empty handed, I brought some fluourescent lightbulbs to change out some of her old incandescent lights. To my surprise, she already had switched out the majority of her bulbs! Turns out my father, being the dutiful son and mindful of her fixed income made the switch several months ago. I was able to find a few more that needed replacing, but I was very proud of both of them for making this change. Proves that you don't have go look very far for inspiration after all. Are you doing your part?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Recycling Basics

Recycling is a very simple way to start living a more eco-conscious lifestyle. The average American citizen produces one ton of trash each year. Where in the heck is all of it going once we toss it? A toxic landfill near you? How much energy are we using to produce all of that stuff? Why do we have a ton of stuff we are using much less throwing away? Often though, with few role models in many of our communities and fewer resources, one doesn't know much about recycling. I found an easy to follow recycling primer that covers the when, where and how of reducing trash that goes to landfills. I will also include a recycling link in the Eco-Links section.

Reduce your Cancer Risks by Going Green

I am a 9 month cancer survivor. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer. Life changing to say the least. Being a research driven person and a big believer in controlling what I can, I read as much as I could stomach on the topic. Most of my research was nutrition and lifestyle based. I have always been a strong advocate of eating healthily and exercising frequently, hence my shock at the cancer diagnosis, not having a strong family history of the disease. Well, as in the case of my discovering that my carbon footprint was sizeable, I discovered that I needed to take my nutrition and exercise to the next level. This was confirmed by a cooking class that I recently started taking at The Gathering Place that was developed by The Cancer Project. The Cancer project is an organization that studies cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research. The four basic tenets of the program are as follows:

  • Low-Fat (An average of 10-15% of your calories should come from fat-this takes work)
  • High Fiber (30-40 grams daily) Preferably from food not Metamucil
  • Non-Dairy (Even organic dairy contains naturally occurring growth hormones)
  • No Meat Products (Animal flesh has no fiber and is generally high in fat)

In a nut shell...Vegan. Not what I wanted to hear. I knew that one day I would adopt a vegan lifestyle, but I figured that would be when I retired to my farm in Oberlin and became a black hippy. But these were themes that over the last year, that I had found in my research, though not summarized in this manner. Anyway, while I am incorporated most of these principles in my diet, I have yet to totally eliminate flesh and dairy products. I have cut back quite a bit on both. I am going to set some goals for myself in this area. Its the only way I get anything done.

Carbon Footprint- Size Does Matter

Okay, I thought was doing at least a decent job of reducing my carbon footprint, until I used some of the calculators provided in this blog's Eco-Metric section. I was totally shocked (to be fair, I was warned in advance by two sites). One calculator determined that I am using almost 6 planets worth of resources and another one indicated that I use 9 tons of CO2 each year (above average in both cases). Although, I am doing many of the things noted on this blog, I apparently need to crank it up a bit. The biggest contributors to my environmental impact were in the area of transportation and consumption of animal products. As a salesperson, I log a lot of miles on the road. I will cut back on miles or at least be more efficient by going on joint calls with another banker. I will also try to use public transportation more often. When I am ready to purchase a new car, it will definitely be a hybrid. In the meat eating department- I currently only eat organic chicken, fish and dairy products, however, I will have to cut back on those items to reduce my footprint and for other reasons (refer my next post). Oh well, in both cases, I will be contributing to a positive bottom line for our planet and my pocketbook. It's all good.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Something Smells Fishy- Toxic Seafood

For some of you, one of your resolutions for 2008 was to eat less fatty red meat and more chicken and fish. Not so fast. Some fish are better for you than others and some are just downright toxic. I found this article on Yahoo! Green that highlights some of the dangers of eating certain species of fish and addresses shortages of other types of fish and seafood. There are a lot of good informational tools linked in this article that you can use when shopping. So think consciously before ordering that Friday fish special at your favorite take-out spot. Read further here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

I am positive that Dr. King would be an active member of the movement to live a socially responsible and conscious life. As a Christian and an advocate for racial justice and human rights, the goals of preserving God's creations and ensuring that all humans have clean air, water and food, would align perfectly with his values. Have a great MLK Day and keep the dream of a clean, safe and just existence for all alive!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Old Electronics and Appliances Disposal Ideas

We all have a house full of old cell phones, televisions, computers and related gadgetry. For those of use who are environmentally conscious, it usually accumulates in drawers, closets, under sofas and in the garage. Read this article for eco-friendly and socially responsible ways of disposing of these items. Disposal


As an anti-apartheid student activist in the 80's, the term eco-apartheid caught my eye today. In researching for my post today, I found the term several times in various web searches. It speaks to the lack of visibility of African Americans and Latino's in the green movement. This touched me because as an African American, when I think of enviromentalists or the green movement, I usually have visions of young white college students protesting or suburban housewives shopping at Whole Foods. I recently attended a Bioneers Conference and was definitely in the minority, although there were one or two other African Americans among hundreds of participants. One would think that blacks have no interest in the topic of sustainability at all. I was pleasantly pleased to discover Van Jones of Oakland, California and his interest in applying the green movement to solve some of our communities economic problems. I discovered Majora Carter, MacArthur Fellow and founder of Sustainable South Bronx, and organization that develops community based sustainable economic development projects. I picked up some great tips from Damali Ayo, an artist and fellow treehugger. I would encourage all of my fellow eco-conscious sisters and brothers to become more vocal and more visible not only among our families and friends but in our surrounding communities and community organizations.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tap Water Vs. Bottled Water

Tap water is full of nasty chemicals, bottled water leaches nasty chemicals...what is person to do? My dentist encouraged me to drink more tap water for the fluoride to prevent cavities, but recently I am reading that fluoride can be bad for your health. I have actually switched to tap water and using a Brita pitcher filter. Works pretty well, the water tastes better, less bottles in my recycling bag and I am saving lots of money. (I have not totally eliminated bottled water from my purchases, but I am working on it). I found this article on the web today that addresses some concerns in the ongoing debate and makes some good suggestions.

Reduce More Than Your Waistline at the Gym

Never thought that your workout habits could be disrupting the universal order of things eh? Click on this link at Yahoo! Green to find out you can be a greener and healthier athlete.;_ylt=AleWU0OTUuK9AjM8umVnIuOAV8cX

Lights Out!

This article provides some good information on fluorescent light bulbs. I suggest you read it because the government has mandated the phase out of incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012. There are also some videos on fluorescent light bulbs you can view in the video section below.

Auto Industry Shows off Green Cars

In the market for a new car? Take a look at the newest eco-friendly autos on the market and in development. Look good, save the planet and save money! Now thats a trifecta!

Should Blacks Go Green?

Found this piece by Ishmael Reed, which raises the issues of some of the obstacles faced by some African Americans attempting to live a eco-conscious lifestyle.

Free Eco-Publicity-New Link..As Seen on TV

I'm not one to freak out over celebrities, but they do have their place in keeping the masses entertained (me included) as well as promoting new ideas and initiatives. I have included on this blog a couple of sessions devoted to celebrities and their eco-activities. Perhaps you can convert some of your star-struck friends to the cause. One of the celebrities not listed is Kerry Washington., but I have read that she is eco-friendly. I am going to track down a more diverse list of celebrities that are environmentally conscious.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Its Gettin' Hot out Here (but keep on all your clothes)

A Global Warming Fact- The winters are getting warmer in the northeastern U.S and we are getting less snow. Check out this link-

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Upcoming Features on Black&n2Green

Thank you all for the great comments and feedback! They are very much appreciated and will keep me motivated to update this blog more often. Some of the features that I will incorporate over the next week (or two).....Green Fact of the week (thanks Greengurl), Top Ten Green Easy Green Things to do Today, Socially responsible or eco-conscious companies or funds to invest in, expansion of existing links and addition of new link categories, photos and cool eco-fashions.

Please continue to nourish the blog with your comments and feedback and watch the Green Blog grow!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Your Car Smells Delicious!

For about $1500 you can convert your automobile to run on vegetable oil. There is a gentleman in Oberlin, Ohio, Stephen Merrett, that is saving a ton of money on gas by using recycled oil from restaurants. He has converted over 100 diesel cars and trucks. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that he also has a service station that offers the waste vegetable oil for $1.99 per gallon. Wow! There are several entertainers that have vehicles retrofitted for this as well. With oil prices at $100 a barrel and pump prices hovering over $3 a gallon this is something that justifies a closer look. He apprenticed under Ray Holan, author of a book on vegetable fueled cars. Ray's has a blog titled

Mow Less, Save Time, Money and Energy

Hey! I just read that there is a grass mixture that is being tested for use by some cities and organizations that reduces the amount of mowing required for lawns. Normal grass grows up to 24 inches, this grass grows to an average of 8 inches. This would be a great gift to give for those of us with neighbors that don't know what a lawn mower is...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Cleveland Clinic Health System

Well, my question on the healthcare's interest in sustainable operations was partially answered today. I came across an article in "Balanced Living Magazine" that recognized the president of Huron Hospital, (part of the Cleveland Clinic Health System) Dr. Gus Kious and his materials management manager, Gabriele Olinchic as 2007 Champions of Sustainability. The honor was given by Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S) a non-profit organization of entrepreneurs that supports sustainable business practices. Anyway, in the article I discovered that the Cleveland Clinic Health System (CCHS) actually has a director of the Office for a Healthy Environment, Christina Vernon Ayres. She nominated Dr. Kious and Ms. Olinchic for their work in reducing waste and chemical use, energy conservation and creating safe work environments. It is notable for Huron Hospital to be recognized because it serves a predominately African American population. For more information on the awards and the hospital's environmental efforts click on

Friday, January 4, 2008

Green Healthcare

Just an observation on the last few months of exposure to the world of hospitals and doctor's offices....there is a lot of waste in those environments. I am sure that there are health reasons to be so wasteful, but I wonder if there are any hospitals, medical practices or medical supply companies that are trying to practice medicine or produce goods in a more sustainable manner. Will have to look into this.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Fresh and Green New Year

One of my goals for the year was to start a blog. The theme of this blog will be around my efforts to reduce my carbon footprint, be a more responsible world citizen in protecting the environment, and supporting safe and sustainable work environments for others. I think that my upbringing in the 70's on the west coast influenced my beliefs around sustainability and being considerate of the world that we share with others, humans and animals. I don't hear too many African Americans or Hispanics speaking about these kinds of issues, although, I have read stories of activists rallying against environmental racism. That is why I titled my blog Blackann2green. I like that name also because it can also because green can be interpreted as nature, environment and money. Black can be interepreted as being in the black or being profitable. We can respect, conserve and save the environment while also saving money.