Sunday, April 27, 2008

Curbside Garden

This garden survived another winter onslaught of salt, asphalt and snow! This summer there will be less grass for me to mow! Can I have some finger snaps for that one?
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Eco Flowers

Found these at Giant Eagle grocery store at the same price for non-sustainably grown flowers. Keep buying organic stuff as you can afford to and you will find that the increased demand will make them more affordable! The markets are watching and taking note of our more responsible preferences.
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Another Reason Not to Drink: Cancer Risks Go Up

I continue to read about the link to breast cancer from alcohol consumption. Here is yet another article found in the Washington Post that highlights this issue. I have not had a drink since before my son was born over 14 years ago, but like many other college coeds, I did my fair share of drinking and partying back in the day. Basic highlights from this article:

  • Limit alcoholic beverages to one a day (even then you increase your risk by 10%)
  • Early exposure to alcohol can impact your risk years later
  • Consume lots of leafy green veggies as they contain folate which helps reduce your risk
  • If there is a family history of breast cancer, it's best to avoid alcohol
  • Alchohol produces excess hormones, hormones contribute to breast and prostate cancer
  • Avoid drinking if you are on hormone replacement therapy (which you should avoid like the plague)

Please share this with a black woman or teen in your life that drinks even if it is modestly, as we experience more aggressive forms of breast cancer and have higher mortality rates from this disease. In the meantime, eat lots of veggies and fruits, work that body, be positive and have fun for a long healthy happy life!

Coming Soon: The Mutha of all Green Event Calendars

Are you planning a green event and want to put everyone on notice? A new green calendar event service is being developed by Envirovents that will put your green activity on the map in a big way. Conversely, it will help you seek out with greater acuity, green events and like minded souls in your area. Some of the many features of the service promises to provide include:

  • Integration with other internet calendars
  • Promotion across social networking sites
  • Sponsorship of your green event
  • Cell phone integration
  • Online event registration
  • Maps, weather service, traffic reports
  • Widgets and RSS feeds to promote your event
  • Green event planning assistance

This green mothership of calendars was supposed to launch on Earth Day, but has apparently experienced some delays. That's okay, even NASA doesn't always take off on schedule. I'm sure this calendar will be worth the wait.

Big thanks to the reader that informed me of this upcoming service!

Grocer Hosts Toxic Food Talk

Whole Foods is hosting a series of nutrition education events. Two pediatricians will discuss toxins in our foods. How informed is your doctor about environmental health issues? Look for an enlightened physician at www. Psr. Org.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hook Up Wanted: Urban Individual Seeks Local Comfort (Food)

Do you live in an urban area with limited grocery selections? Or perhaps you would like the convenience of having fresh local food delivered to your office or home? Maybe you are thinking about Mother's Day and want a creative and healthy gift idea. Check out Local Harvest for an easy to use directory of local food sources in your area. Type in your zip code and you are on your way to hooking up a healthy, earth friendly lifestyle.

Bon Appetit!

Green Grocery Shopping in Action

Hey! I'm back from Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods). My goal on this trip was to make more eco-conscious food choices. Shopping responsibly wasn't as difficult imagined. Here is what I did well:

  • Purchased organic and fair trade items
  • Bought from the bulk vs. canned and prepackaged beans/grains (need to bring my own container next time to avoid using plastic bags)
  • Put fruit and veggies directly in the canvas bag vs using plastic bags
  • Opted for fruit and beverages that came primarily from Ohio and nearby states
  • Purchased items to make my own vegetarian Greek burgers vs prepackaged soy burger
  • Picked up lots of fruits, veggies and high fiber grains and legumes
  • Bought some Banana Fudge Rice Dream frozen dessert to satisfy my sweet urges
  • Packed it all up in reusable bags

Here are my not so eco-friendly choices:

  • Picked up two packages of cookies and Ben and Jerrys Cookies and Dream ice cream for my sweet toothed son
  • Got some sweet juicy organic Gala apples from Chile although I bought some from the state of Washington as well (apples have cancer fighting properties)
  • Bought several chicken and turkey items as well as cheese (flesh demanding teenager to blame - although I will be grubbing right with him for now)

Hey nobody's perfect, but we can certainly strive to get better every day.


Saving Money Reducing Carbon Footprint

Purchasing my first batch of chickpeas from the bulk section. Cheaper and uses minimal chemical leaching, petroleum based packaging.
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Hot Lunch Takes on a New Meaning: Is Your Diet Contributing to Global Warming?

I found an impressive cool green cafeteria in the National City Bank building last week. The cafeteria has taken several steps to reduce its carbon footprint, including serving more organic, fresh and healthy food choices, discouraging waste, and educating customers on how to make more sustainable food decisions. The food service company, Bon Appetit Management Company's motto is "food services for a sustainable future". The company is using the site, Eat Low Carbon in it's education efforts. You drag and drop typical menu items onto a virtual pan and see how you are contributing to climate change. It's pretty cool and easy to use. For those of you that are always on the go, you can text 69866 with the letters LCD followed by the name of the food you are about to purchase and you will get a scientific assessment of your choice. Here are a few food related tips offered by the company to reduce greenhouse gas contributions:

  • Don't waste food - (are your eyes bigger than your stomach?) in landfills, food waste releases methane gas. Buy and prepare only what you expect to eat
  • Make "seasonal and regional" your mantra - greenhouse grown food uses lots of energy
  • Move away from beef and cheese - livestock creates 18% of world's greenhouse gas
  • Stop flying fish and fruit - the best quality seafood is usually processed and frozen at sea
  • If it's processed and packaged, skip it - choose fresh local fruit, small quantities of nuts and delicious homemade alternatives. Snack foods, most juices and even pre-packaged veggie burgers consume a lot of energy (Help! I'm in need of a good veggie burger recipe)

Okay, so I'm headed to Whole Paycheck, let's see if I can apply these principals in my food selections. I did go to the farmer's market this morning, so I'm off to a good start!

New Lead Poisoning Danger: NYC Police Force

I am so absolutely disgusted by the Sean Bell verdict. These kinds of blatantly racist and insensitive incidents truly make me feel like a second class citizen. The black man is constantly under threat, whether it be from early exposure to lead ingested and inhaled as a child or lead taken in the head or heart from another black man or those commissioned to "serve and protect" all people. We must be proactive and selective in electing officials who will serve and protect the rights of all citizens. In Cleveland, Ohio, is a tool used to help us make good choices in judicial elections. Contact your local black bar association at to see if there is such an option available in your community.Whatever you do, do not vote for someone that you don't know, especially judges, which often hold the future of our people in their hands. We must get beyond the "smiling and profiling" of all candidates and make decisions based on real policy issues that affect our community on a daily basis -racism, poverty, dangerous living conditions, despair, violence, sexual diseases, health and self-hatred. These are the kinds of questions that need to be asked of the candidates when they come riding into town seeking our votes. What specifically will these individuals do to address these specific issues? What is their record on these issues? We have it easy in 2008- no dogs, no water hoses, no threats of losing our jobs - Google, YouTube, Facebook and Yahoo! provide unprecedented access to tools and information to empower our vote.

In the meantime, let's use our collective disgust to send a message to judges, mayors and governors, that in the next round of elections, we're using ballots to fight the bullets.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sleeping with the Fishes!

Got Dunkleosteus terrelli, a 360 million year old armored fish watching my back while I sleep at the museum of natural history tonight! This giant catch was a resident of the Great Lakes back in the day. The states surrounding the Great Lakes are trying to protect the water from being piped south and south west to states being threatened by climate change induced water shortages. Water is becoming the new oil folks. You need to pay attention to water issues and policies in the next few years.
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Night at the Museum

I'm hanging out with the artifacts at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History tonight at the Happy Healthy Hominid Camp. The museum will soon undergo a major renovation and expansion which will include a regional center for sustainability. Check out www. Cmnh. Org for more info.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Green Organizing Tip: Reusable Bags

Living a life of reusing and recycling can take its toll on household neatness if you are not also reducing. I found this post from Unclutterer on Reusable Bags that extols the virtues and clutter free appeal of replacing plastic bags from the store with reusable bags. There are several suggestions for very cool looking bags, including Baggu which I have available on this site. But hardcore reducers or those of you just trying to save money in this tight economy, consider the alternatives to buying reusable bags as suggested in the comment section of the post.

  • Keep reusing the plastic bags that you get from the store until they fall apart, they are also tiny enough to keep in your purse or pocket for light trips to the store
  • Look for quality canvas bags at a thrift store like Goodwill or the Salvation Army
  • Go "shopping" in your closets and cabinets for various canvas bags that you already own

As for organizing my reuseable bags, I just keep most of them in my trunk, folded (aka stuffed) inside the biggest bag. I keep one in the front seat of the car as a reminder to take one with me when I go to the store. Sometimes I still forget the bag, so I think keeping an old plastic bag or a Baggu in my purse as a backup is something I will implement.

I know one thing, my pantry is a lot neater without all of those plastic bags cluttering up the place!

Happy Earth Day! Reasons to Celebrate

Yahoo! Green posted an article on the earth friendly accomplishments made in the past year. Check them out!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tulips Taste the Toasty Sun

A liberal sprinkling of cayenne pepper kept deer away long enough for these tulips to see the light of day!
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Recycle Those Crocs

While I have yet to be brave enought to slip my size 10's into a pair of Crocs, millions of others are wearing these things like crazy! For you Croc lovers out there like my beautiful cousin, I found a way for you to do the right thing when you finally wear them out. Click here on Earth 911's blog for more information on how to recycle your Crocs.

God bless you Croc wearers. Please let me know when they come out with some sleek and sexy, but comfy Crocs. I might also be open to trying them if they come in my favorite color - leopard print!

Last Minute Earth Day Ideas

Earth Day is coming and you are running out time and or ideas? Check out Earth 911's comprehensive list of things you can do to make your mark. You can also check out the Global Events Calendar on this site for a Earth Day activities.

Plants Like This Fertilizer

This plant is growing like crazy at the Adam Joseph Lewis Center For Environmetal Studies at Oberlin College in Ohio. It sits in water that is part of a living wastewater filtration system.
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tips for A Really Green Luscious Garden

The week leading up to Earth Day was so eventful- George Bush admits that climate change is a problem, Al Sharpton and Pat Buchanan join forces to warn about a planet in peril, alternative fuels spark food shortages, I got to hear in person at the Oberlin College climate change conference, the dynamic black prince of the green economy, Van Jones-yet, I choose to write about greening your garden. Why? Because gardening is such a simple, pure, relaxing, stress relieving and rewarding activity. It's also easy for me to write about as I have 13 years of hard earned experience digging in the dirt. Being a single parent I found it was an outdoor activity that could replace running until my son grew older. I started out as most gardeners using chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, only to find out later that some of these things are carcinogenic. I watered like crazy, purchased tons of roses for my shady garden, rototilled the soil to death and immediately cut down any plant that didn't look like anything I saw in the garden center. Over the years I saw the light and became an organic gardener and today although there is still a lot to learn, I have a beautiful thriving garden. Here are some of my tips for a lush, healthy, earth friendly garden:

  • Take your time with it - a beautiful, healthy garden, like a relationship, takes years to establish
  • Go natural - there are chemical free organic alternatives for resolving your gardening problems. Look for these products at the garden center or home improvement store
  • Know your soil - is it clay, sandy, wet or loamy? Is it acidic or alkalinic? Very important
  • Mix it up - Every year enhance your soil with homemade or store bought compost
  • Know the light conditions of your property - shady,sunny or partially shady? Select plants that grow in those conditions. This makes a big difference
  • Get familiar - Contact your local extension center to get a list of plants that are native to your region. These plants being adapted to your climate, are tough, cheap to grow and attract birds and butterflies like crazy
  • Get buck wild!! -Wildlife in your garden will bring dimension, music and balance, while eliminating many of your pesky pest problems
  • Use your hands - machines in the average sized garden are for wusses! They are noisy and do more harm than good. Enjoy the physical benefits of gardening and just go for it with some old school tools likes pruners, hedge clippers, rakes, edgers, shovels and spades (Confession: I am a wuss when it comes to cutting the grass and chopping leaves)
  • Water wisely - water early in the morning or early evening, buy drought tolerant plants, use a rain barrel to capture water coming off of your gutters, use leftover kitchen water for your potted plants. Mulch, Mulch, Mulch...retains moisture, blocks weeds
  • Get help - take free classes at the garden center, call the master gardener in your area, join a garden club, volunteer in a community garden, talk to the vendors at the farmers market, check out books from the library, ask the neighbor down the street or have the family gardener come over and share their green wisdom
  • Have fun - be crazy, creative and experimental, if something doesn't work you can always pull it out and start over with something new

Gardening is a great way to feel connected to the earth, especially if you approach your natural area as something to be one with and not won over. So please take the time to educate yourself on earth friendly gardening practices and you will be rewarded with great beauty and enjoyment for years to come. The compliments you'll get aren't bad either!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Earth Hour: 60 Minutes a Year Not Enough

I swear, ten minutes ago I was just thinking of how much I enjoyed reconnecting with my teenage son during Earth Hour last month. We didn't do much, just chatted for a bit and then he trounced me in a round of Mancala. I was just trying to figure out a way to recreate that quiet and enjoyable one on one time we had on a regular basis, when I came across an article that said that Canadians are thinking the same thing! Many Canadians enjoyed Earth Hour so much, that they would like to unplug and reconnect at least once a month. What does this say about our need to to just enjoy one another without the distractions of the computer, television, radio, video game, cell phone...whatever? I think a good solid hour of uninterrupted attention to your mate, children, friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, neighbor, or other relative would go a long way to building happiness and harmony in our lives. Instead of seeking pleasure in things, we will find a much richer source of contentment and joy for the small fee of 60 minutes a month.

What do you do to enjoy the company of another human being without the distractions of the modern world?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

More Earth Day Party Tips: Budget and Music Ideas

Many of you have probably received an online invitation from Evite at some point in your lives (at least in recent years). After checking out the site for eco-friendly party ideas, I see why so many people use the service. It's features are great for the organizationally challenged like myself or the fastidious, type A party planner. You will find a couple of calculators, a budget estimator and a drink estimator. There are party checklists for various types of events, including baby showers, bridal showers, cocktail parties. Evite provides email invitations and ideas for any holiday or party theme that you can think of. There is even a carpool feature that your guests can use to reduce the carbon footprint of your event. Here are some ideas and materials that you might like from the Earth Day and Eco-Friendly party ideas:

  • Incorporate a green music playlist and throw in some world music to add some flava
  • Go old school with your green playlist
  • Promote eco-friendly concepts into the party- recycle, compost food, use real plates and silverware or compostable paper plates
  • Host a viewing party of your favorite, most impactful environmental video
  • Hand out environmental fact sheets
  • Organize a street beautification program or email writing campaign on an environmental policy
  • Show your neighbors a video of how you are going green
  • Talk about green economic opportunities in your community (okay this is my idea)
  • Give earth friendly gifts - tote bags, flourescent light bulbs, recycled paper products, natural beauty products, organic fruit, seeds packets of native plants

This will be the last Earth Day party post this year. I may share last minute ideas late next week for those of us that like to live on the edge!


Recycle Your Old Running Shoes

It is that time of the year for me again. Time to take on the great outdoors, hope for low smog levels and pound the pavement. This spring I am experiencing a bit of soreness in my hip flexor after my runs. I decided to blame the problem on my running shoes and not my age (smooth). My podiatrist and several other sources stress the importance of changing your sneakers every 300-400 miles. Deciding that I have more than enough sneakers that have been reincarnated into gardening clogs, I wondered about recycling options. There are many organizations around the world that are accepting your old shoes and using them to create sport surfaces for communities. Most of them require you to call or email for more information. The most prominently marketed program is operated by Nike, click here for a map of their shoe drop off locations. Unfortunately, there are no drop off locations in Ohio, so I have to do a bit more sleuthing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Green Your Career: Interview with Career Coach

If you are tired of sitting on the sidelines of the green economy and want to be a player instead, listen to this Get Unstuck interview of Deshannee' Johnice, for tips on being in the starting lineup of a successful green career. She is the author of "Everybody Else's Guide to Green and Socially Responsible Careers". Ms. Johnice is an experienced human resources professional who has coached everyone from college students to Fortune 100 executives. The interview focuses on career change in general, with topics from the book covered near the end. Listen to the entire interview, because the tips provided are still valuable in helping you to "upgreen" your career. Ms. Johnice uses this term in reference to not having to chuck your existing skill set and experience and start over, but using your knowledge and converting it to a greener career.

See the "Currently Reading" section of Black and Into Green, for a link to "Everybody Else's Guide to Green and Socially Responsible Careers". You can also download the book here.

Dream Reborn: Blacks Unite for Environment

If you missed the largest gathering in the nation of blacks concerned about the environment, the green economy and youth, don't fret. Click here for videos of the inspiring Memphis event which attracted 1,100 people from all over the country.

You are not alone in the fight for our youth, our families, our world.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More Earth Day Party Ideas: Get Your Grub On!

If you really want to get your grub on during Earth Day, check out these wonderful ideas from EatGrub, one of my favorite green and soul food sites. EatGrub authors suggest a few things for a memorable and soulful Earth Day.

  • Invite an interesting mix of folks with varied backgrounds and opinions
  • Keep it local- try to support local businesses for your food and beverage needs
  • Have each guest share a gift, poetry, an idea, a skill- the best gifts come from the heart
  • Involve children, let them see adults having a great time in a positive atmosphere
  • Keep it going- stay in contact with your "grubby" new connections

There is a how-to guide and tasty recipe book provided. You can truly savor this site over a cup or glass of your favorite beverage and some snacks.

Now this seems like my kind of party!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Earth Day Party Ideas

Every time I look at the Earth Day countdown clock on this site, I get a little nervous because I know I need to think of an activity to do on Earth Day. I'm thinking of having a get together, but haven't had the time to plan anything. So, I decided to get some ideas from the web and share them with you. Here is the first one I found from Diane's Big Green Purse.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wanna Get Some Green Like Oprah?

In the most recent issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah writes of the connection between passion and profits. She decided early on after a few dud jobs, that she would only do what exhilarated her, even if the pay was underwhelming. As we all know, Oprah found that excitement and passion in communications and the profits have followed. Are you excited about saving our environment, helping communities thrive, sharing a healthy lifestyle? The timing is right to think about pursuing that passion professionally. The terms "green economy" and "green jobs" roll off the lips of local, state and national politicians on a regular basis. Alternative energy industries are the great green hope of cities around the globe. Corporations are hiring Sustainability Managers. Colleges and universities are offering Sustainable MBA, Environmental Design and Green Technician programs. Take a look at this Yahoo! Green article to learn more about eco-friendly jobs and where to find them. It is never too late to start living the rest of your life the way you want. Go for it!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Living Greener Living Longer: Breast and Prostate Cancer Prevention

Wow, I just found an interesting blog Slave Food that led me to another site featuring a report titled Breast Cancer Deception. I'm still tripping on the some of the tough messages conveyed by both sites. But that's okay because sometimes we all need tough love. Slave Food teaches us that not all soul food is good for the soul. Looks like the last post was written in November of 2007, but there are some interesting links still on the site that you will find helpful.

The Breast Cancer Deception report really hit home, while the primary topic is breast cancer much of the advice applies to cancer prevention in general, including prostate cancer. There are some aspects of the report that I strongly disagree with, one being that mammograms cause breast cancer. I am alive today because of a mammogram. Many women are dead or dying because they did not have a mammogram and have never had a mammogram. I haven't had a chance to read what screening measures Mike Adams (the author) is recommending as an alternative to mammograms. Self examinations are extremely important, but by the time you have felt a lump, often the cancer has progressed to a point requiring more intense and toxic treatment.

Key takeaways from the report:

1. Diet, Diet, Diet - low fat, organic, chemical free, primarily fruits and veggies (variety of colors)

2. Exercise and sunlight -turn off the friggin tv, get up from your laptop and take a long walk, stop driving every darn where - bike, run, skate.

3. Relax, breathe - yoga, deep breathing, laughing- keeps cells oxygenated, relieves stress

4. Go Green - use products with natural ingredients in your body, on your body and around your body (ie. cleaning products, detergents, aerosol sprays)

5. Go Green - avoid plastics, use glass and stainless steel containers, buy in bulk

5. Drink tea - Black, Green, Red its all good (another excuse for me to drink like a maniac!)

6. Vitamin D - 20 minutes of sunlight 100% requirement; supplements; foods high in calcium and D

7. Get out of Toxic Relationships - Stress kills, is he or she worth your life?

I'm not sure if Mike Adams is trying to hussle vitamins or videos, but much of the information on his site I found in other sources per my research when I was diagnosed with cancer last year. There was a lot of new material presented that I found helpful and at least worth further investigation. Please share this information with a loved one, co-worker or neighbor.

Live each day as though it were your last. Choose happiness! Go Green!

Furniture from the Motherland: Afro-art Designs

I can't attest to how "green" these furniture pieces are but they come straight from the motherland according to the website Afro-art Designs, so they couldn't be to0 juiced up on formaldehyde and toxic glues. I will inherit from my grandmother some cool throne-like chairs that are each carved out of one tree trunk from Ghana, no glue or nails. I will include a photo later for you to check out. Anyway, hopefully you will find something you like from this urban design and art store based in Brooklyn, New York.

Trash Talk from NPR: Recycling Information

For those of you wondering about where all of our trash goes and wanting to learn to create less and recycle more, but don't have the time to read a bunch of articles-have I got some trash talk for you! Click on this link and listen to a series of special trashy programs developed by National Public Radio. There is some good information about the amount of e-trash or electronic trash that is increasingly showing up in our landfills.The audio feature is great because you can listen and learn while doing some other cool stuff. Remember to turn up the volume so you can hopefully influence family and friends to be kinder and gentler to the environment.