it's about how to save our planet from global warming.
Why?? cause not just ME stay in this planet there are YOU, THEM, OUR KIDS AND MANY BEAUTIFUL THING. so come on let's save OUR PLANET!!

Jul 30, 2009

Cleaning "Green"

Toxicity. Do we really know what this means? Can you even say it ten times really fast? What ever it is we know it has become a way of life.
It is a fact that we are exposed daily to an incredible array of toxins in our normal lives. They are "toxins" and each one has a certain degree of toxicity to it. Toxicity can be determined in a variety of ways.
With an interest in a sparkling house you need to know a little bit about it to protect yourself, your family and anyone else whose house you clean.
The next question then becomes how can you respond and what can you do?
Well, you can do a lot as a dedicated house cleaner. First, limit your exposure. Read labels carefully. Use nontoxic cleaning products. Avoid using indoor pesticides.
Secondly, limit the exposure of the people around you. Happily for you and your house there are plenty of effective, earth-safe cleaners that you can buy or make. Borax mixed with lemon juice will take out toilet-bowl stains. White vinegar is useful for disinfecting bathrooms and kitchens. Bon Ami, a borax-based powder cleanser sold in supermarkets and hardware stores for more than 50 years, safely cleans pots, pans, sinks, oven interiors along with other corroded surfaces.
Using these alternatives will reduce the toxic load in your house and beyond. Using environmentally friendly cleaners will also safeguard your health and that of the community. It reduces air, water and ground pollution in the big picture.
So why isn't everyone doing it? The reality is, few people actually check labels. Start now. Take time to read the lable. Distinguish yourself as a "green cleaner." You can start a trend. You can actually become a product toxicity home specialist.
The first thing to know is that not all "green" products are created equal. Again, read. Catch the ones that have been prettied up with essential oils. Check labels for irritating chemicals such as chlorine, ammonia and artificial fragrances and dyes.
Many people who "think green" are just now applying their philosophy to the dirt at hand. "Eco-friendly cleaning and laundry products are the next frontier of environmentalism," says Marci Zaroff, former publisher of Macrocosm and CEO of Under the Canopy, an organic-fabric clothing company. "It's an inexpensive, easy and effective way to protect our planet and commitment to life." -Joy Jackson

Painting - Think Green

When we say; “think green” we are not talking about the color of the paint that you are planning to use on your kitchen walls! A “green” remodel is an environmentally friendly approach to any home renovation project. Thinking green not only improves the look of your home but it is a healthier home with less maintenance and lower utility costs. Plus you are contributing to a making our planet a better place for future generations.

As with all remodel projects, good planning is the key to success and cost efficiencies. If you plan green, you will obtain a wide range of additional benefits that include, comfort and convenience coupled with beauty and efficiency and all of these will be structured on environmentally sound conservation policies with a view to increasing the health of you and your family.

Most people when tackling a painting project go to the paint store and collect a quantity of color swatches, go home and concentrate their decision on what paint to buy based on color. Little consideration is given to the type of paint, its gloss factor and to the surface preparation, both of which must be taken into account if you expect to end up with a quality finish. A professional painter will tell you that more than half of the time required on a painting project is used for surface preparation, primarily cleaning. Paints do not adhere well to dirt, dust and grime.

In thinking green you must consider the entire project from initial surface preparation to the final paint coat.

Often in order to clean the surface a simple solution of soap and water will remove all of the dirt and grime. For greasy areas increase the soap to water proportion. If your surfaces require something stronger look for the least toxic and choose a cleanser that in non-chlorinated and non-acid. Avoid cleaners with hazard warning labels such as “Poison” or “Danger”.

If sanding is necessary wear a dust mask, and eye protection. -Bill Prudehome

Jul 29, 2009

Help The Planet While You Eat

Eating healthy and at the same time contributing in sustainable development, is not a notion that cannot be succeeded with today's vast choices of food consumption. Actually, the people's need to grab something to eat, enjoy every bite and at the same time help the planet, has evolved over the last decade into a multimillion dollar business, as U.S. grocery chains, like that of Whole Food Markets, are offering organically cultivated and fresh products at considerably lower cost than before.

"Green" convenience foods, which promote themselves as environmentally friendly, are now well-priced and their assortment of fresh or canned products are extremely tasty. Ready to cook pizzas, pesto sauce in glass containers, a variety of handmade pasta and chili, and apple pies are just an example of the choices a consumer has to taste the unexpected thrill of being environmentally conscious and stay within the household grocery budget. These kinds of stores have introduced another type of culinary experience and some carry their own brands that are well-prepared and approved by the FDA. Meals created with the use of organic ingredients that come in recycled packaging, offer to customers the opportunity of spending their income on foods that not only are healthier and tastier, but also environmentally friendly.

The other choice one has is to dine out at "green" restaurants. Instead of being offered the usual menu choices from their local fast food or nationwide restaurant chain with the typical and most times classic menu, "green" type of food businesses indulge the visitors to experience another kind of tasty bites, ranging from coffee houses, delis, restaurants and more. These eating establishments are checked out and regularly conserve energy, recycle and generally contribute in protecting our environment.

Finally, if you decide to continue eating at your preferred fast food chain, which you should know is not the best choice you could make if you want to consider yourself environmentally conscious, you should better do your part in protecting our environment. Instead of taking the food with you, sit down and eat it at the fast food premises. This will save another paper bag and you will create as little trash as possible. Do not select the super-size menu choice for two reasons. First for your silhouette and second for the leftovers you will have to throw out later. Say no to the huge portion of napkins you are offered when receiving your order as you will probably will not need to use more than two. If the drink is huge, share it with your friends and instead of using two cups, use two straws. If you want to avoid the straws, then just drink it from the paper cup directly and save the planet from yet another waste. -Kadence Buchanan

Green Air Filters For Your Car

Alright, all you soy sipping, yogurt eating, diet doing, hybrid driving, environmentally eccentric folks from Vancouver: listen up. You may be causing more damage to the environment than you already know. How so? Your Audi's air filter, that's how. Yes, it is true: if you keep your car long enough you will be performing under-the-hood maintenance which will include changing your air filter at least once a year. Keep that same car for ten years and that is ten years of stuff clogging North America's landfills. And you call yourself earth friendly? Tsk, tsk!
All kidding aside, there is an environmentally friendly way whereby if you follow just one small, but important step you can achieve oneness with nature, if not with your wallet: replace your car's disposable air filter one final time with a reusable air filter.
Reusable air filters, or performance air filters as some like to call them, are a true "green" item. No, the air filter isn't green itself, but the result is the same effect: you can replace your car's air filter one final time with a reusable air filter that should outlast your car. Environmentally friendly air filters are on the market and they have several key benefits to them, including:
You replace your car's disposable air filter once and for all with a reusable air filter.
Environmentally sensitive landfills are permanently rid of an extra ten or more disposable air filters that you would have used.
Your reusable air filter will cost approximately 2 or 3 times the price of a disposable filter, however you will get that money back and ultimately save in the long run.
Your car will actually perform better as reusable air filters help your engine breathe better. Better breathing for your engine means better performance.
You may realize a slight increase in fuel mileage as a better performing engine means a more efficient engine.
All in all, you can show yourself to be environmentally responsible and save yourself some many in the process of doing the right thing. Reusable air filters are truly a green friendly product and are worth being placed in your car the next time you change your air filter. -Matthew C. Keegan

Jul 28, 2009

The Cosmic Microwave

Global warming is the heating up of the earth’s temperatures. This has been studied in great detail during recent times and scientists are trying to find ways to slow down or stop global warming.

The main issue with global warming is how off balance it will throw the world. With the temperatures steadily getting hotter and hotter it can start to melt the icecaps and let harmful UV rays from the sun in. These effects will cause massive damage to the earth and the way we live life.

Before you get scared of all this you should know there are solutions. The first solution comes in the form of fossil fuels. We use gasoline and diesel to power our cars, boats, planes, trains and most any moving vehicle we have. The problem comes when the fossil fuel is being burned and the exhaust hits the atmosphere effectively destroying it. This also applies to homes, businesses, and anything that requires electricity.

The best way to fight these negative effects is by using alternative fuel sources. By using these alternative fuels we are helping fight the effects of global warming while still proving the power we need.

If global warming isn’t stopped it could lead to some disastrous problems we will face in the world. Imagine having to wear sun block just to get your mail or for a quick run to the grocery store.

Not all of the problems associated with global warming are caused by us. Volcanoes are also helping to cause this warming effect on the earth. However, we cannot prevent a volcano from erupting. What we need to do is take action against the little things that humans personally cause to create global warming. If everyone takes small steps it will help us all make a big leap in preventing global warming in the future. -Gabriel Adams

How to Make Homemade Eco Friendly Soap Scum Remover

Most bathrooms are regularly afflicted with soap scum. Soap lather combined with minerals in hard water cling to bathroom surfaces, causing the filmy white or gray grime that rings a bathtub or coats shower walls and doors. It is important to clean soap scum promptly so it does not cause staining or discoloration, but that does not mean toxic chemicals need to be used. Fortunately, eco-friendly cleaners can be made safely and inexpensively at home.

Things You'll Need:
  • 1/4 cup baking soda 1/2 cup white vinegar 1 cup ammonia 1 gallon hot water Rubber gloves Pail or other container Sponge Nylon scrub brush
  1. Put on rubber gloves. Pour warm water into a pail or container. Add baking soda, vinegar and ammonia. Swish the mixture with your gloved hand and a sponge.
  2. Wet the sponge thoroughly with mixture and dampen the scum-afflicted surface thoroughly. Do not ring out the sponge prior to wiping the walls or tub.
  3. Allow the mixture to soak on the area for fifteen minutes, wiping with more of the mixture as the surface dries.
  4. Wipe down the area one more time after soaking. Scrub the scum away using a nylon scrub brush.
  5. Rinse the area well with warm, clear water. Repeat the process if necessary.
Tips & Warnings
  • Applying a layer of natural lemon oil after removing soap scum will help prevent future build up.
  • Never mix ammonia with bleach; it will cause a poisonous gas.
-Tricia Goss

Jul 27, 2009

5 ways to save energy and still stay warm

With temperatures still low in many places and heating still high most everywhere, it is time to consider ways to save money and still stay warm. Most homes rely on costly fossil fuels for heat, but there are ways to reduce your energy costs, have a "greener" 2009, and stay warm all year long.

Here are five easy ways to stay warm and use less energy this winter:

1. Install a programmable thermostat
These will automatically reduce your heat setting while you are at work or at night while the family is asleep. You can set temperatire adjustments for multiple time periods throughout the day and the week. With a programmable thermostat, your heating bills can go down without much effort at all.

2. Winterize
Check weather stripping around all doors and windows and maybe even invest in some heavy, draft-reducing, curtains. Make sure you have proper insulation in your walls, attic, and basement as well. Install insulated coverings for your hot water heater and any pipes that may need it.

3. Let the sun shine in
Solar panels are expensive but you can still warm your home with the sun's rays by opening blinds and curtains on south and east facing windows and doors. This simple concept of letting the sun shine in (when it is actually shining) can really warm up a house. In addition, cut back trees and shrubs that may be blocking the sun from shining through your windows.

4. Blankets and sweaters
The easiest and most affordable way to stay warm is to put on a heavy sweater or fleece while at home. Turn the thermostat down two degrees and then use throw blankets to keep warm while reading or watching television. Don't laugh it off this simple concept - it can produce big savings if practiced consistently.

5. Electric space heaters
If one or two rooms in your home are colder than the rest, use an electric space heater while in those rooms instead of turning up the thermostat for the entire house. Modern space heaters (electric only) are energy efficient, safe, and fairly inexpensive. You can also use a space heater in the bedroom at night, to give the furnace a break from heating the entire house.

Quick and easy changes can make a big impact on your energy bills over the course of a season - especially a cold winter season. With a little bit of effort you can find yourself with more money in your wallet and feel good about the positive environmental impact that came along with those savings. -ecowisdom

How to Recycle Glass

Each day nearly 13 million glass jars and bottles are recycled in America, but not all types of glass can be recycled. Most soda bottles, food containers, beer, wine, and liquor bottles, and juice containers can be recycled - either through curbside recycling programs or community drop-off centers.

Things You'll Need:

* Recycle Bins

  1. Check with the county you live in by calling the department of public works to determine what type of glass to recycle and where.
  2. Call 1-800-CLEANUP for state recycling information.
  3. Rinse and recycle bottle glass of any color, including green, clear and amber through your curbside program if you have one. Most communities do not vary in the type of bottle glass they recycle unless it is a mixed color.
  4. Throw out anything ceramic, as it will contaminate the glass as it is being recycled.
  5. Discard mixed color and broken glass - it is hard to sort and can't be recycled. Also leave out mirrors, windows, Pyrex, light bulbs and glass tableware.
  6. Find out about your state's bottle-deposit laws to see if you can return beverage bottles for cash.
Tips & Warnings
  • The rule of thumb in most communities is to put any color of bottle glass together in the recycling bin. Sometimes glass is even thrown in with tin, aluminum and foil.
  • Be sure to leave off the aluminum lids of glass bottles when recycling.

Jul 26, 2009

Using Steam

There are various steam cleaning machines on the market. Since today’s machines range in price from $400 for a residential model to $3,200 for a commercial model, people wonder if they’re worth the extra expense. There are many benefits to using steam instead of hazardous cleaners around your home.

Steam cleaning is cost effective because it only uses a little bit of water and electricity. It is efficient because the high temperature kills germs and mold spores that may be hiding in your home. It is environmentally friendly because there are no chemicals involved.

When thinking of using steam to clean, most people are likely to think of the steam cleaners that are commercially available for carpets. However, steam cleaners can be used for other areas of your home besides carpeting.

While most steam cleaners look like vacuum cleaners, there are also smaller, hand-held versions on the market which are maneuverable enough to reach even the tightest corner. The cleaner can sanitize and deodorize virtually any surface you might have in your home.

Today’s steam cleaners use very little water (most of them use less than one gallon of regular tap water) and are designed to be easy to operate and maintain. They create steam that is low in moisture, and that’s what carries the heat to surface that needs to be cleaned. Because there’s so little moisture used, the now-clean area dries almost instantly.

Most steam cleaners on the market have various accessories so they can be used for multiple applications and on almost any surface. These accessories allow the heated vapor to reach the surface to be cleaned, and often includes a brush to help agitate and release the dirt.

The heat from the machine is what doe the work for you because the steam is over the boiling point (between 240 to 280 degrees). It’s hot enough to burn your skin, so you’ll need to be extremely careful when using one. It’s also vitally important that you read and follow all the instructions that come with the machine before you use it.

Some of the benefits of using a steam cleaning system include, but are not limited to:

• The equipment is easy to use. The attachments make it easy to reach the small space and corners that might not be accessible with traditional cleaning methods.

• No chemicals are used, so you don’t have to worry about the hazards that come with most cleaning supplies currently on the market. Since no chemicals are used, there is no chemical residue after you’re done cleaning.

• Steam kills the mold spores that might be hiding in your bathroom or kitchen.

• You don’t have to work as hard when cleaning. The steam does most of the hard work for you by softening the dirt and making it easier to remove.

While the steam cleaning systems that are on the market today may seem a little expensive to begin with, just look at the money you can save in the long run by not buying all those chemically-laden cleaners. You’ll also have the peace of mind knowing that you have a clean home, and you didn’t have to use chemicals to get it that way. -ecofriendlyliving

Stain Removal the Natural Way

How many moms have put their little angel in a new outfit, only to have them drop something messy on themselves? You might be able to get the stain out if it can be treated immediately. But what happens if you can’t get to the stain right away? Are there natural ways to remove stains once they’ve begun to set in?

What about the friend that drops a dark liquid onto a light-colored carpet? Will the same tricks work to remove the stain from the carpet, as well?

To begin with, be prepared to give whatever product you use a chance to work. You cannot expect a product, any product, to work immediately. Once you put a product on the stain, give it at least 15 to 30 minutes to work into the stain before trying to remove it.

Removing stains begins with quickly addressing the problem. Begin by blotting the fabric with a damp cloth to remove as much of the spill as possible. It’s important to blot the fabric, rather than rubbing, to prevent substance from going deeper into the fabric.

Next, do not use heat on the stain until you have removed as much, if not all, of the stain from the fabric. Using heat, especially from a dryer, will set the stain and make it impossible to remove.

For those times that you’re away from home and you, or your child, drop some food down your front, hurry to the closest bathroom. Clean the majority of the food off but do not rub. Gently dab a little bit of soap onto the spot. Again, do not rub, no matter how much you’re tempted to do so. Let the soap set and then launder as usual when you get home.

If you’ve spilled red wine, dripped a cherry Popsicle® in your lap, or had some other red food stain your clothes, immediately remove the majority of it. Do not rub the spot. Get a clean cloth and blot cold water onto the spot until you can get home to treat it properly. When you get home, make a solution of half hydrogen peroxide and half cool water. Take the garment off and soak it for 30 minutes. This treatment may take more than one time to completely remove the stain.

To brighten your whites without bleach, add one-half to one cup of hydrogen peroxide and your detergent to the washer prior to adding the clothes. Let the washer fill up and then turn it off to allow the clothes to soak for 30 minutes. After the clothes have soaked for 30 minutes, run the load as usual. For additional freshness, add one-quarter cup of baking soda to the final rinse.

Stains can happen to anyone, at any time, and in any place. Don’t let them ruin your day. Remove the source of the stain, blot with cool water and soap, and then deal with it when you get home. And, if you have a tendency to drop things, you might also want to carry a spare change of clothes, just in case. -ecofriendlyliving

Jul 24, 2009

Conserve water and save money with rain barrels

With droughts making headlines every summer in various parts of the nation, water conservation is on the forefront of many people's minds. If you are living in a drought-prone area, your local municipality likely has asked that you take conservation measures on your own.

In some cases, when drought conditions are severe, mandatory water restrictions are enforced by penalty or fine.

Even if you live in an area that is not prone to droughts, you may be interested in conserving water for the benefit of your pocketbook or for the betterment of the planet. With so many reasons for conserving water, it pays to invest in a rain barrel.
What is a rain barrel?

A rain barrel essentially captures the rain that flows from your roof and down your gutters, collecting it in a giant barrel. The barrels have a spout at the bottom, allowing you to attach a hose and water your lawn or garden later when the ground is dry and in need of additional water.

Most barrels also feature a netting at the top to keep debris from entering the water as well as to ensure they don't become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

You may be inclined to think that rain barrels will take some significant rainfall to fill up and be of any use to your lawn. This is not true. In fact, one inch of rain falling on a surface area of a 1,000 square foot roof yields 623 gallons of water.

The average residential rain barrel holds 100 gallons. However, many homeowners have connected multiple rain barrels together or have installed rain barrels on various sides or corners of the house to collect as much rain as possible during rainy periods.

In the past, barrels have tended to be an eyesore, a big, bulky container sitting awkwardly on the side of a house. Today, many have a beautiful, aesthetic appeal that can be incorporated into your outdoor decorating scheme quite nicely. Prices for rain barrels range from under $100 to several hundred dollars depending on the size, features, and appearance of the rain barrel.
The benefits for plants

Plants thrive on rain water. Water from the tap has often been enhanced with fluoride, chlorine, and other additives that plants don't need. When you water your plants naturally with rain water, you are providing them with fresh water the way nature intended, straight from the sky.
The benefits for the community

Most communities get their water from aquifers and reservoirs. When rain barrels are implemented across a wide area, the water levels in these aquifers and reservoirs will remain higher during periods of drought and high water consumption periods, such as hot summer months. This means more drinking water is available for the community as a whole.

Further, as rainwater rushes across roadways, lawns, and so on, it collects fertilizers, oils, and other pollutants. This polluted water ends up in our streams, rivers, and lakes, resulting in problems with algae as well as clarity issues with the water. When heavy rainfall runoff is controlled by capturing rain with rain barrels, the amount of pollutants entering our natural bodies of water can be limited.
The benefits for you

You likely see a large increase in your water bills during hot summer months. You may turn on the water hose to keep your flowers from wilting, to keep your grass from turning brown, and/or to keep your vegetable garden thriving. These additional uses of water for outdoor needs inevitably drains your pocketbook, and needlessly so. Everything your plants need falls from the sky.

A rain barrel simply provides you with the means to control the amount of natural water your lawn and gardens receive. With a rain barrel, you will see far fewer significant swings in your water bills from season to season while still maintaining a lush, green lawn and fruitful gardens.

Take advantage of the many benefits for you and the world around you by implementing a rain barrel into your landscape. -ecowisdom

How to Unclog a Drain...Naturally

It never fails! You’ve spent the last half hour or so getting ready for a very important meeting or date with your spouse. You look into the sink, and there’s a clog. You really don’t want to pour a chemical product into the sink to get rid of the clog, so what can you do?

Many people will say you should never use a chemical product because they just don’t work. So what are your options? Those options will depend on how quickly you have to be out the door, and the amount of effort you want to expend.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to move a clog is to use a plunger to try to move the clog out of the way with pressure. If you have previously used chemicals in the drain to remove the clog, make sure you use rubber gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself.

Following the plunger method, you could try plain, boiling hot water. Plug off the overflow holes and start pouring boiling water slowly down the drain. Leave the water in the sink for at least a half hour. The clog may dissipate on its own.

If you haven’t used a commercial drain cleaning product recently, you might consider using this solution. All of these items would commonly be found in your kitchen.

Pour one-half cup of baking soda into your drain. Carefully pour one-half cup of vinegar over the baking soda and cover the drain, if at all possible. At this point, the two will begin bubbling just like a child’s volcano experiment for school. After a few minutes the bubbling should stop.

Pour at least a half gallon of boiling water over what’s left of the baking soda and vinegar. Then follow that with hot running water to flush it all down the drain. This process may have to be used more than once to clear the stubborn clog.

If after you’ve tried the vinegar and baking soda and the clog is still there, you have other options besides chemicals. Do you have a “snake?” This is a 25-50 foot metal wire with a bulb at the end. You push the snake into the drain. When it hits the blockage, you just keep twisting until the drain runs free.

So you’ve tried a plunger, vinegar and baking soda, boiling water, and a snake. What happens if your drain is still clogged? It might be time to bite the bullet and call a licensed plumber.

While home methods will sometimes work on the first or second try, there may be more of a problem than you realized. It is at those times that you will want to allow a professional to take over. Not only will they be able to get your drains running again, they might save you a bigger problem in the future. -ecofriendlyliving

Jul 23, 2009

How to Recycle Motor Oil

Once used oil is properly recycled, it can be turned into fuel oils or used as a raw material for the refining and petrochemical industries. Used oil can be recycled at community oil collection centers, service stations, car dealers or other maintenance facilities, and, in some areas, through local curbside recycling programs.

Things You'll Need:

* Oil Filter Wrenches
* Motor Oil
* Oil Filters
* Adjustable Oi Filter Wrenches
* Used-oil Container Or Gallon Milk Jugs

  1. Check with your county or state government office for recycling centers in your area.
  2. Place your car's drained oil into a leakproof container with a secure screw-on top. Use a clean container that has not held any type of household chemical. A plastic milk jug works fine. Areas that have curbside pickup for used motor oil often provide containers just for this purpose.
  3. Consider purchasing from an automotive store a special container designed to hold used motor oil.
  4. Label the container "used oil."
  5. Take the oil to an oil collection center, a local service station, a car repair shop or a car dealer.
  6. Contact Earth's 911 at 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687) for the nearest collection centers in your area. Type in your zip code when you are prompted to do so, and the locations will come up almost immediately.
  7. Contact a Jiffy Lube, Pep Boys or Kragen Auto Parts in your area to see if it recycles used motor oil. Many offer this service through their shops across the United States.
Tips & Warnings
  • Be sure to keep used oil out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Avoid mixing used motor oil with antifreeze, as the oil will become contaminated.

Simple and inexpensive ways to make your home more energy efficient

With energy prices at high levels, making sure your home is energy efficient is now more important than ever. Poor ventilation, drafty doors and windows, and insufficient insulation can result in paying higher gas and electricity bills. Too much inefficiency can even result in an energy shortage as a result of having to run your thermostat at colder/hotter temperatures for longer periods of time.

The U. S. Department of Energy estimates that, depending on where you live, the average homeowner can save anywhere from 200 to 800 dollars per year in energy bills by making their homes more efficient. In addition to saving money, making your home more energy efficient benefits the environment as well.

While you may think that improving your energy efficiency will involve massive and expensive repairs, there are actually some very cheap and easy methods to reduce the amount of energy you consume at your home.

Here are some simple steps you can use to take your home more environment and wallet friendly:
Make Sure Your Windows and Doors Are Properly Sealed

Remember those days when your mom would tell you to stop leaving the door open because you were "letting all the air out?" While that was definitely sound advice, some people have doors and windows so drafty that they might as well be leaving them wide open.

Heat and air conditioning lost from doors and windows cost homeowners a considerable amount of money, especially during periods of extreme heat or bitter cold. It is estimated that unprotected windows and doors are the number one cause of poor household energy efficiency.

If you are not sure whether or not your windows and doors pass are giving you your money's worth, try this simple test: the next time it is windy outside, walk around the house with a string or ribbon or other lightweight object. If the string or ribbon moves with the wind when you are near certain areas of the house, then that is a pretty good indicator of where the where drafts are. You can also use a lighter, incense stick of lighted candle—if the flame goes out, then you have found a draft.

If you want a more professional approach, you can hire a technician to come to your home and perform an energy audit, which usually involves performing diagnostic tests that will precisely identify areas in your house that need better insulation.

Once you have located your problem areas, you will now need to seal those air leaks. Weatherstripping your windows and doors will prevent excess air from seeping out, which will prevent excess heat and air conditioning from seeping out of the house. The type of weatherstripping that will work best for you will depend on the location, climate, amount of foot traffic and wear and tear you anticipate in the areas you want to seal.

If you plan on installing the weatherstripping yourself, make sure you apply it to clean and dry surfaces, take accurate measurements before actually cutting the material, and affix it evenly and tightly on both sides. For windows, apply weatherstripping only between the frame and sash. For sealing air leaks in doors, you want to make sure you pick the right door sweeps and apply the weatherstripping snugly on all surfaces, or else the door may not close properly.

You can also use decorations to help conserve more energy. Curtains, blinds and other window decorations help to insulate areas prone to drafts.
Adjust Your Thermostat Accordingly

For maximum energy efficiency, a general rule of thumb is to set your thermostat at 78 degrees during the summer and 68 degrees during the winter. Most thermostats also have a "power save" option that automatically shuts off once the defined "optimal" temperature has been achieved.

This is a much more efficient option then just letting the heat or air conditioning run full blast all day. You may also want to consider turning off (or at least reducing) your heat or air conditioning when you are going to be out of the house for extended periods of time.

If the idea of coming home to a freezing cold or sweltering hot house does not appeal to you, there are a wide variety of programmable thermostats on the market that you can use. These thermostats actually allow you to set what time you would like the heat or a/c to be turned on. For example, if you usually get home by 5, you can set the thermostat to activate itself at 4:30 and the house will be nice and comfortable for you by the time you get home.
Pay Attention to Your Water Heater

While most water heaters are already insulated, you can greatly reduce the amount of heat that the unit loses by adding on to it. The materials for insulation kits can be found in just about any hardware store, and they are usually very reasonably priced.

You can also conserve heat simply by adjusting the thermostat to the heater itself. You can lower the temperature of the thermostat or you can purchase a thermostat that is equipped with a timer, allowing the heater to automatically shut itself off when water is not being used.
Watch Those Appliances

Technology and modern conveniences have without question improved the quality of our lives, but it has come with a price. It may surprise homeowners to learn that everyday household appliances like washer/dryer units and refrigerators account for a whopping 20% of all the energy that is used by your home. If you are looking to conserve, try to look for appliances that do not use as much water and electricity.

If that is not possible, you can still conserve by performing household tasks like cooking and doing the laundry during off-peak hours (preferably in the morning or evening). Wait until you actually have enough clothes to fill a whole load before doing laundry, and don't forget to empty out the lint tray every time you use your dryer. -ecowisdom

Jul 22, 2009

The Best Ways to Use Vinegar in Your Cleaning

Most people are trying to live healthier lives today. One way they’re trying to do that is to cut down on the myriad of chemicals that they’re subjected to on a daily basis. Vinegar is just one eco-friendly product you can use to replace those chemically-laden products in your home.

Everyone knows that a splash of vinegar is great on a salad, and that it can be used as a tenderizer for meat. However, not everyone knows the many ways vinegar can be used around the home to clean without the use of chemicals.

Not only is vinegar versatile for cooking, but it is also a versatile cleaning product that can be used in any room of your house. These are just a few of the ways that vinegar can be used to clean around the home.
  • Freshen and clean your automatic coffee maker by filling the reservoir with vinegar and then running it through a brewing cycle. Follow this up by running a rinse cycle of water. (Please check the owner’s manual for instructions for your particular maker.)
  • Boiling a solution of one-fourth cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water and inside the microwave will help clean and deodorize your microwave. The moisture from the boiling solution will loosen the splattered food and make it much easier to remove with a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Clean brass, copper, and pewter by creating a paste. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of plain salt in a 1 cup of vinegar. Stir in enough flour to make a paste. Then use the paste on any metal surface and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Make sure you rinse with clean warm water and then polish until it’s dry.
  • Forget about using the window cleaners from the stores. The cheapest and most effective way to clean windows is to combine half water and half vinegar. Put it in a mister, and spray it on the windows. Dry the window with a soft, lint-free cloth. Your windows will sparkle and be streak-free.
  • Remove stubborn toilet bowl stains by spraying them with vinegar. Use a little elbow grease and the stains will come off. You can also add 3 cups of vinegar to your bowl to help deodorize it. Let it sit for one-half hour and flush for a fresh-smelling bowl.
  • Do you have baby clothes that aren’t as clean and soft as they used to be? Add one cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of the load the next time you wash. The vinegar will help break down uric acid and soapy residue. Clothes will come out soft and fresh.
  • You can also add a cup of vinegar to the last rinse cycle of your normal load of clothes to help dissolve the alkaline base of soaps and detergents.
  • How many of us hate the deodorant and antiperspirant stains on our clothes? Before laundering, lightly rub white distilled vinegar onto the areas where the stain would be. Toss it in the wash as usual.
  • Soak clothes that have never been washed before in white distilled vinegar to help set the colors.
Reducing the chemicals we use in our homes has never been easier. And, it doesn’t require buying multiple products to clean the home, and keep it chemical-free. All it takes is a bottle of vinegar, and a little know-how. -ecofriendlyliving

Using Essential Oils to Clean and Disinfect

With the desire to keep our homes clean and safe for our families, along with wanting to protect the environment, more people are turning to essential oils to accomplish both tasks. But what exactly are essential oils, and how can they be used to clean and disinfect our homes?

Essential oils are concentrated liquids that contain the “essence” and aroma from the plants from which they are made. Essential oils are used in perfumes, making incense, flavorings, and in cleaning products. However, it must be noted that one should never use essential oils directly on the skin. They are too concentrated and must be combined with a carrier oil such as olive oil, or mixed with another product.

One of the most popular essential oils of late is Tea Tree Oil. This oil is taken from the Melaleuca tree, native to Australia, but found in other areas as well. Tea Tree oil can be used in a variety of ways:
  • Add tea tree oil to water to use as a cleaner, disinfectant, and purifier during cold and flu season.
  • Add a few drops to the laundry when washing cloth diapers to help clean and disinfect them.
  • Dilute with water to clean and disinfect your floors, toilets, and all areas of your kitchen
Eucalyptus is another essential oil that has disinfecting properties. When added with lemon oil and distilled water, it is an effective antibacterial spray that can be used throughout your home.

Orange essential oils, pressed from the peels of ripe oranges, can be used in a variety of ways in your home.
  • When added to a carrier oil like olive oil, orange essential oil is great for cleaning your wooden cutting board.
  • Use it as a deodorizer. Put a few drops of the essential oil on a cotton ball and leave it in your cooler after you’ve finished using it for the season. When you open it the following season, you’ll find a fresh orange scent instead of a musty odor.
  • Orange oil is often added to furniture polish to clean, polish, enhance, and protect wood with out leaving a wax build-up.
Another essential oil that is good for household cleaning is lavender. Not only does it help clean your house, the aroma is very pleasant and relaxing.
  • You can make a laundry softener that will rival anything you can purchase at your local store. Carefully combine 32 ounces of white vinegar with 32 ounces of baking soda over a sink (the mixture will bubble). Stir in 64 ounces of distilled or purified water and a half ounce of lavender essential oil. Use one-fourth cup in each per laundry load. Rinse as usual.
  • If you add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your dishwashing liquid, not only will you add the fragrance, but you’ll also improve the antiseptic quality of the soap.
When cleaning your home, there are many products on the market. However, if you add an essential oil to things you already have, such as vinegar, water, or economically friendly dish soap, you will increase their effectiveness and leave a nice smell throughout your home. -ecofriendlyliving

Jul 21, 2009

Five Things You Can Do with Tea Tree Oil

Experts say that there are at least five to ten pounds of chemicals found in cleaning products per household. If that estimate is true, it is important to try to find cleaners that will actually clean your home without using chemicals to do so. One option is to use Tea Tree oil while cleaning.

Tea Tree oil, taken from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree in Australia, is a wonderful, non-chemical essential oil. The Aboriginal people in Australia have been using the oil, found in the leaves of the tree, for thousands of years for killing bacteria, to help with achy muscles, and other health-related uses.

Tea Tree oil has antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. (Tea Tree oil should not be ingested.) Recently, however, Tea Tree oil has been touted for more than just medicinal uses. Following are five non-medicinal uses for Tea Tree oil.
  1. Since Tea Tree oil does have antiseptic properties, it is a great addition to your warm mist vaporizer to help disinfect the air after someone has been ill in your family. Adding six to eight drops to the laundry when washing the linens following an illness is another good idea.
  2. You can make a homemade all-purpose cleaner that will rival any store-bought, chemical cleaner. One such recipe is to combine three or four drops of Tea Tree oil with two tablespoons of vinegar and one tablespoon of borax. Add this mixture to a 12 ounce spray bottle and fill it up with warm water. Shake to combine and use as you would a store-bought cleaner.
  3. Adding a drop or two of Tea Tree oil to your soap dispenser in your dishwasher prior to adding soap will help to disinfect your dishes, as well as getting them clean.
  4. To kill germs in your laundry, add a few drops of Tea Tree oil to each load of laundry. Not only will it disinfect your clothing, it will leave them clean and fresh smelling, as well.
  5. Do you have household pests such as ants? When you find a line of ants, follow the line back to the point of entry. Place a few drops of Tea Tree oil where the ants are entering the house. This will deter the ants from returning through that same point of entry. Wiping down cupboards with a solution of Tea Tree oil and water will also deter roaches, should you ever find them.
These five ways for using Tea Tree oil around your home are just a few available. Yes, Tea Tree oil is natural, but like any other natural substance, just because it’s natural does not mean that it’s safe. Research has shown, however, that Tea Tree oil, if used properly, will help make your home the cleanest it possibly can be. -ecofriendlyliving

Natural Teething Remedies

Teething can be a horrible time for babies. Not only does a new tooth cause pain and discomfort for your little one, it also can be scary to have something new growing inside their mouth. While there are lots of products on the market, such as baby Tylenol and teething gels, these products can be dangerous for your child. Before you go shopping at the pharmacy aisle, try some of these natural remedies to stop teething pain.

What most people don't realize is that not all babies are in horrible pain while teething, they're simply uncomfortable and scared. The option many people skip to cure teething pain is to distract the baby with a toy. Focusing on the pain can make it worse, so try to give them something else to think about.

Another natural cure for teething pain is giving the baby something to chew on. Pressure on their gums will not only feel good, it will distract them from the pain and discomfort by giving them something to do. Here are some ideas for what to give your baby.
  • Frozen teething ring. While the cold helps numb baby's sore gums, freezing normal rings can make them hard and uncomfortable. They now make soft teething rings that stay soft when you freeze them. Just be careful; soft rings can break open if chewed to hard. Make sure the ingredients inside wont harm your baby.
  • Frozen washcloth. Just wet it down and pop it in the freezer. It has all the benefits of the teething ring, but it's softer for more sensitive babies.
  • Food. Frozen bananas can be something new and different for a baby that doesn't want their teething ring. Plus they taste good too. Just don't give a baby with teeth since they can break off and choke on.
  • Teething Biscuits. While the teething biscuits that your mother gave you contain chemical you probably don't want baby to have, they do make new organic biscuits you can give. Just be sure to check that they'll dissolve in your mouth before giving them to your child so there's no risk of choking.
If you've tried all these options and nothing's working, don't worry just yet. There are natural products and herbs you can give your baby before turning to medicines. Here are just a few that others have found helpful. Check with a doctor before giving anything to your child.
  • Natural teething tablets. The best one's to use contain Chamomilla for irritability and Belladonna for inflammation. They come in a form that dissolves in your child's mouth so there's no risk of choking.
  • Clove oil. This is pretty potent stuff; so you want to dilute it. Just mix a few drops with 2 tablespoons of safe, edible oil and rub into baby's gums. The rubbing action will also soothe them as well.
  • Vanilla extract. Rubbing a little bit on baby's gums not only feels warm and soothing; the vanilla also has a calming effect.
If you've tried all these remedies and nothing has worked, take your child to their pediatrician. A common problem is that parents may miss signs of an illness because they think the crying and fussiness is caused by teething. The most important thing to remember with a teething baby is patience. When you get upset and frustrated, you child gets upset and frustrated too. -ecofriendlyliving

Jul 20, 2009

How to Make Natural & Eco Friendly Soft Scrub Cleaner

Soft scrub cleaners come in handy when cleaning things like sinks, toilets, tubs, tiles and even counters! Save yourself some cash and try this eco friendly and natural soft scrub cleaner!

Things You'll Need:

* baking soda
* salt (optional)
* peppermint, tea tree or rosemary essential oil (optional)
* water
* castile soap, bar or liquid
* bowl or pot
* wide mouth jar with lid

Instructions :
  1. Grate about a third of the bar of castile soap and place in a saucepot. OR add 4TB of liquid castile soap to a bowl.
  2. Add 2 cups of water to the grated soap, and allow to melt and dissolve. This will get kind of soupy, which is exactly what you want!If you are using liquid castile soap, just add the water to the soap and mix well.
  3. Once the soap is melted\mixed, add baking soda to the soap\water mixture until it forms a thick paste. Once the paste is formed, you can then add 5 drops of essential of your choice and mix.For extra cleaning power, add 1 TB of salt to the baking soda and mix. Keep in mind that salt can scratch certain surfaces, so isn't recommended for porcelain. Always test first!
  4. Once your paste is mixed through, put it in your jar! Now, just dab a rag into the mix and scrub! Remember to keep the lid on so it doesn't dry out. If, by chance, it DOES dry out, simply add more water and stir!
Tips & Warnings
  • If you wish to make a version of this thin enough for a squeeze bottle, simply add more water or less baking soda to make a thinner paste, and shake before using. Just make sure to keep the lid on the bottle, and if it dries up, simply add hot water and shake!
  • Always test a surface before using this, surfaces react differently to different products!

How to Make Your Own Eco Friendly Tile Floor Cleaning Solution

Tile and vinyl floor cleaning solutions can sometimes be harmful to the environment and one's health. There are eco friendly alternatives out there; however, they can be expensive. The alternative to both of those options is to create your own eco friendly tile/vinyl floor cleaning solution. This article will explain how to make your own simply by using items that you probably already have stocked in your home. It will also provide floor cleaning tips to get the job done right!

Note: This eco friendly homemade tile floor cleaning solution is safe for ceramic tile floors and vinyl flooring.

Things You'll Need:

* 1 to 1 1/2 gallons of hot tap water (depending on the size of the area that you need to clean)
* 1 1/4 cups of white vinegar
* 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
* 1 bucket
* 1 long stick or long mixing utensil to mix the cleaning solution
* pair of rubber gloves (optional)
* Additionally after the floor has been cleaned with the homemade eco friendly floor cleaning
solution, a clean bucket of hot water will be needed to complete the final step

Instruction :

1.Put on your gloves (if you choose to wear them).Obtain the 1 to 1 1/2 gallons of hot water from
the tap and pour it into the bucket.
2.Pour 1 1/4 cups of white vinegar into the bucket of hot water.
3.Add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to the bucket and mix the solution with a long stick or long
mixing utensil.
4.Dip your mop into this solution and clean the floor. Make sure that you wring out the mop
often for optimum cleaning results.
5.When finished, dump the dirty mixture out of the bucket and fill it with hot tap water.
6.Dip the mop into the bucket of clean hot tap water and mop the entire area of the tile flooring
clean.Make sure that you wring out the mop often for optimum cleaning results.

Tips & Warnings
-Make sure that you wring out the mop often for optimum cleaning results.
-Remember, this eco friendly homemade tile floor cleaning solution is safe for ceramic tile floors
and vinyl flooring.
-Do not use this solution on stone tile flooring.

-Christine Bruness, eHow Member

Jul 19, 2009

How to Get Rid of Ants the Eco-Friendly Way

Ants can be a definate pest when they enter our homes and gardens. If you're allergic to pesticides and sprays, or just want to get rid of your ants in an eco-friendly way, here are some natural ways to rid yourself of those tiny pests. You probably have some of these items in your home already!

Things You'll Need:

* Citrus, herbs, spices (depending on which you prefer)

Instructions :

1. Clean first! Make sure the area you are about to work in is free of standing water or food
Do Some Sleuthing
One thing that will help you get rid of ants is to figure out why the ants are coming in. What are they after? Maybe they are seeking out crumbs next to the trashcan or water dripping from a faucet. Cleaning these areas is a good first step towards ridding yourself of these tiny creatures.

2. Many of these herbs listed are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase. A lot goes a long way.
Dry Solutions
The following dry ingredients can be sprinkled in ant-infested areas to discourage further ant
-Mint (Spearmint)
-Cayenne Pepper
-Chili Powder
-Coffee Grounds
-Bay Leaves
-Black Pepper
-Cucumber Slices

3. The acids in citrus burns the ant's feelers. Try using whatever you have in the fridge.
Wet Solutions (Sprays and Such)
You can mix a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and douse ant-infected areas. You can also make a solution of water and citrus rinds (Like orange, lemon,
lime, etc.) and put that in a spray bottle. Peppermint oil can also be effective. If the infestation
is small, sprinkle a few drops in the area.

4. Go to the Source
If you've really got a vendetta, you can go straight to the source of the problem. The best recommendation is to pour boiling water into the anthill. One solution that I have heard that I
have not tried personally is to put grits on the ant hill. I think the theory is that the ants will
eat the grits and that they will then swell up. Poof!

Tips & Warnings
  • Some of these solutions are going to work for you and others may not. Most of these ingredients are cheap and are better than spraying chemicals in your home. Experiment with different combinations and see what works for you!
  • The reason many of these ingredients work is because they contain some type of natural acid that burns the ants feelers. If none of these work, try another food that contains a strong, natural acid.
  • Don't be afraid to use coffee grounds outside. It can also act as a natural fertilizer!
  • Be careful if you have pets. You might want to try and keep them away from the area you are working on so that they don't eat your ingredients!
-Katharine Ann

How to Go Green at Starbucks

Some people think Starbucks is a way of life, part of American culture, or simply a tempting treat. Regardless of your beliefs, when you purchase and sip a tasty Starbucks beverage it leaves an impact on the environment. So, next time you are at Starbucks store, show your passion not only for delicious drinks, but also for a healthy planet!

Instructions :
  1. Imagine eco-impact of Starbucks disposable paper cups! Show that you care for the environment and bring your own, reusable coffee mug next time you go to Starbucks store. Many Starbucks stores encourage this practice and even offer discount on your beverage when you bring your own cup. This one simple step can help conserve the environment, reduce use of paper cups, and eliminate a lot of waste.
  2. If you need to use Starbucks bathroom while waiting for your drink, make sure to embrace an eco-friendly attitude. You can help make the planet greener by turning off lights when exiting the bathroom, ensuring there are no drips in the faucet, and avoiding wasteful paper usage.
  3. Show your determination to decrease the environmental impact of your coffee drinking habit by declining the use of cardboard insulating coffee cup sleeves, napkins, and plastic lids. Always recycle and remember that even small changes can have a big impact on our enviroment!

Jul 17, 2009

How to Create an Eco Friendly Diaper Changing Station

Turning your baby’s diaper changing station into an eco friendly area is pretty easy to do. Yes, there are nifty products available to help you with the ‘green’ makeover, but spending a ton of money on environmentally safe baby gear is absolutely not necessary. In fact, depending on your usual diaper changing practices, you may even end up saving money by going green.

Interested in creating an eco friendly diaper changing station? Here are the simple steps I took to ‘go green’.

Things You'll Need:

* cloth diapers, wipes
* a safe changing area
* a waterproof mat

  1. Choose a comfortable area to designate as your diaper changing station.Really, you can skip the expensive diaper changing furniture purchase. The floor (which is the safest place), a bed, or a couch works will all work just as well. Just have a waterproof mat handy under your baby to avoid dirtying the changing area. And besides, if you have back problems, the twisting you’ll have to do with the typical diaper changing furniture could wreak havoc on your body.
  2. Unplug the electric wipe warmer.Yes, that electric wipe warmer can be a nifty product to have for your baby’s diaper changing station. But then again, so is your hand. Using the heat from your hand as a natural wipe warmer is more eco friendly than using up electricity for the plug-in variety.
  3. Have cloth diapers and wipes handy.The thought of a lifetime of my baby’s disposable diapers and wipes sitting in a landfill was enough to get me to switch to cloth. If going the cloth diaper route is not for you, then maybe try just switching to using cloth baby wipes dampened with water. Every eco friendly change, no matter how insignificant it may seem, helps out in the long run!
  4. Skip the baby powder.Talcum powder usage in a diaper changing station is dangerous if the fine particles of the powder find their way into you or your baby’s lungs. Instead, gently use a clean cloth to pat your baby’s bottom dry and use diaper cream if need be. As a mother who has avoided using baby powder on her kids, I can attest to the needlessness of putting this product on a baby’s bottom during diaper changes.If you feel strongly about needing to use baby powder, then make the more eco friendly switch to cornstarch. It’s less irritating to a baby’s lungs.

Why Should I Use Eco Friendly Diapers?

Every mother to be or new mom will be well aware of the need for nappies for their little one. Nappies, or diapers as they are more commonly known in the United States, are one of the biggest necessities for families with young children, but they can also be one of nature’s greatest enemies! That conflict is a big reason why more and more parents are turning to the old style cloth nappies in an attempt to reconcile their family with their beliefs.

Nappies have been around in cloth form since the Elizabethan era in England. Although they were only squares of linen back then, they have been used ever since. If you are over the age of forty then the likelihood is that you wore cloth nappies when you were a child, but from the 1970s onwards more and more children wore disposable nappies. They were actually introduced in the 1940s but were not affordable for the average family until thirty years later. Now, they are more common than ever and brand after brand adorns the supermarket shelves, but why should we regress and use cloth nappies in the 21st Century?
  • There are a number of reasons why you should use eco friendly cloth nappies over disposables on your children. Whilst many of them relate to the environment, some also relate to the well-being of your child:Disposable nappies take, on average, 500 years to decompose. This is hotly debated because many experts have predicted that they will take much longer than that, but when you consider that disposable nappies actually account for one full black bin bag’s worth of trash every week per child then you get an idea of just how big a problems this is. 90% of nappies will end up in landfill sites so we are degrading the earth.
  • Washing a disposable nappy 400 times is comparable to the manufacturing of one nappy in terms of the amount of energy that is used in both processes. This makes the cloth nappy far more energy efficient and in keeping with a greener lifestyle.
  • The average baby will use over a thousand disposable nappies in one year, but would only need between twenty and thirty cloth nappies for the same period of time. Of course, some families would purchase more to accommodate physical growth, but the number is still nowhere near as large. In terms of the financial and environmental burden that the former brings, cloth nappies seem infinitely preferable.
  • You can purchase environmentally friendly cloth nappies that are made of hemp, wool and organic cotton now so even the material that they are made with will not damage the environment! Not to mention the fact that they would be extremely kind on your little one’s skin.
  • Finally, baby faeces that are left as rubbish for two weeks contains around 100 viruses on average. If you think about the fact that the faeces is not going through a proper sewerage treatment plant but is instead filtering through the groundwater system. It could actually make its way into your own water supply at a later date. You may want to seriously consider using cloth nappies. They are better all around for you, your family, and the environment in general so they are by far the better choice!

Jul 15, 2009

Losing Weight by Eating Organic Foods

Right now, it seems like everyone is looking for the secret to losing weight. They take pills and go on the latest diet looking for a quick fix. The truth is, there’s no miracle diet that will help you take off 20 pounds overnight, but there are things that can give you that extra boost to finally take the weight off once and for all. One great “extra boost” is organic food. These are foods grown without pesticides, hormones, preservatives, and other harmful chemicals. They are designed to work naturally with the environment around them and within the body of the person who eats them. Eating healthy with organics can help you finally take off those excess pounds naturally.

When the nutrients in each organic fruit or vegetable are compared to their traditional counterparts, they’ve been found to have significantly more beneficial substances. In some cases, there was as many as three times the amount of certain nutrients. In one study, organic oranges were half the size of the traditionally grown oranges and still had more vital nutrients. You may just consider taking a multivitamin; this isn’t going to give you everything your body needs to function, but eating appropriate amounts of organic fruits and vegetables can.

If you doubt that organics are healthier for you, think about the fact that the artificial chemicals they contain have only been eaten for a small fraction of the time humans have been around. These chemicals stress your liver and cannot be filtered. This causes them to build up in the fat stores of your body and has been linked to storing even more fat. If you’re concerned about getting these chemicals out sooner rather than later, you can go on a juice fast just prior to starting an organic diet, but this should be supervised by a nutritionist or medical professional.

So I’ve said that the amount of nutrients and lack of harmful chemicals helps your body function more efficiently, but you’re probably wondering how this helps you to finally lose all that weight. First of all, by digesting food quickly and efficiently, you’re not only increasing your metabolism (which is essential to weight loss), you also able to gain the full energy potential of your food. This means you’ll be less fatigued and ready to get up and move. That way you’ll have all the energy you need to get moving and burn off even more calories. Studies have also found that rats who consume organics sleep better. That means you’ll be even more rested and ready to conquer the day, and maybe even a morning run.

Another advantage to your body working properly is that you’re less likely to get sick. Staying healthy gives you system more energy it would normally be using to fight off infection. You’ll also be more motivated to stay on your diet if it keeps you feeling healthy.

While switching to an organic diet is a great way to lose weight, you should also remember to eat the right organic diet. Try to eat fresh, unprocessed foods that contain a lot of fiber. This will keep you feeing better and help you lose even more. -ecofriendlyliving

Ozone Hole Reduces Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Uptake In Southern Ocean

Does ozone have an impact on the ocean's role as a "carbon sink"? Yes, according to researchers from three laboratories(1) attached to INSU-CNRS (2), UPMC, CEA, IRD, MNHN and UVSQ. Using original simulations, they have demonstrated that the hole in the ozone layer reduces atmospheric carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean and contributes to the increase in ocean acidity.
These results, which are published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, should have a considerable impact on future models of the IPCC (3), which, for the moment, do not take ozone variations into account.

The increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere due to human activities is partly responsible for global warming. By absorbing almost 15% of anthropogenic carbon released every year, the Southern Ocean is one of the main sinks for atmospheric CO2. But its effectiveness is decreasing, even as the level of atmospheric carbon has continued to increase over the last few years. Until now, the saturation of the carbon sink in the Southern Ocean has not been correctly simulated by the climate models used.

In order to improve these simulations, a collaborative team of climatologists, modelers and oceanographers was set up. Their objective: to develop a model that more accurately simulates the Southern Ocean's ability to act as a carbon sink. To do this, the researchers based their studies on the IPSL's coupled ocean/atmosphere model, which integrates the carbon cycle (and thus the evolution of greenhouse gases, such as CO2). The key novel feature of this model is that it takes into account changes in the concentration of stratospheric (4) ozone from 1975 until the present day. As Nicolas Metzl, LOCEAN/IPSL researcher and OISO (5) coordinator, points out: "The simulations obtained with this model more accurately reproduce the oceanic observations obtained in the field over the last few years".

Above all, this study highlights two major phenomena with regard to the Southern Ocean: a significant reduction in CO2 uptake, which is not compensated in the other oceans, as well as an acceleration in the acidification of high southern latitude oceanic water. Between 1987 and 2004, around 2.3 billion tons of carbon was not taken up by the oceans. This corresponds to a relative reduction of nearly 10% of the global oceanic carbon uptake. The simulations thus reveal how perturbations to the upper atmosphere (in this case, the ozone hole) interact with greenhouse gases and the oceanic carbon cycle: they lead to stronger westerly winds in the Southern Ocean, which in turn lead to surface oceanic water being mixed with deeper water, rich in CO2, thus limiting the absorption of atmospheric carbon by surface water.

This is the first time that the impact of the ozone hole on the oceanic carbon cycle has been simulated in a global climate model. These results suggest that the climate models used until now have overestimated oceanic carbon uptake and underestimated ocean acidification. They underline the importance of taking ozone into account in future modeling, particularly by the IPCC, which will make it possible to improve future climate predictions. The Southern Ocean is a region that is particularly sensitive to global warming.

Predicting the consequences of such changes more accurately is fundamental, not just with regard to the global carbon balance (saturation of air-sea fluxes) but also marine resources (impact of acidification).

This work was supported by the National LEFE/Cyber/FlamenCO2 (INSU-CNRS) Program and the European CARBOOCEAN Program, which aims to better evaluate and understand oceanic carbon sources and sinks.

(1) Grouped together within the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL), the three laboratories concerned are: the Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et Approches Numériques (LOCEAN, UPMC/CNRS/MNHN/IRD), the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (LMD, UPMC/CNRS/ENS Paris/Ecole Polytechnique) and the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE, UVSQ/CNRS/CEA).

(2) Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers of the CNRS.

(3) IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

(4) The stratosphere is the second major layer of the Earth's atmosphere, situated between about 6 and 30 miles altitude. It contains the famous "ozone layer".

(5) OISO - Indian Ocean Observation Service, created around ten years ago thanks to the support, in France, of INSU-CNRS, IPEV and IPSL. -ScienceDaily

Jul 14, 2009

How to Clean Your Bathroom In an Eco-Friendly Way

Eco-friendly cleaners do not have to be expensive. Most of the ingredients for eco-friendly cleaners can be found right in your own pantry. Your bathroom is one of the most important places that you should keep clean and germ free. Here is how you can clean your bathroom with an eco-friendly cleaner.

Things You'll Need:

* Water
* Baking soda
* Vinegar
* Toilet brush
* Sponge
* Cleaning rag
* Bowls

  1. Mix water and baking soda together in a bowl to form a paste. Take a sponge and dip into the paste. Use this eco-friendly cleaner on your fixtures and tile in your bathroom.
  2. Make sure to get into the tile and fixtures well with the cleaner. Then take a wet cleaning rag and wipe up the paste from the bathroom tile and fixtures. Be sure to get in the small crevices to get the cleaner out of them.
  3. To clean your toilet with an eco-friendly cleaner, sprinkle baking soda in the toilet bowl. Add a small splash of vinegar to make the baking soda fizz.
  4. Use the water and the baking soda mixture in the toilet bowl to scrub the toilet with a toilet brush. Make sure to get all of the toilet bowl with the brush.
  5. Flush your toilet once to get the baking soda cleaner washed down and the sides of the toilet washed.
Tips & Warnings
  • These eco-friendly cleaners are not harsh to you or your bathroom surfaces. They can be used on a daily basis if you wish.

Cleaning Your Wood Furniture the Eco-Friendly Way

Most people will own wood furniture at some point in their lives, for the beauty and because it’s a natural product. With wood furniture comes the need to treat and care for the wood to beautify it and lengthen its life.

Wood cleaners and polishers on the market today are often filled with chemicals. They aren’t always good for the wood, and may be hazardous to your home and your family. Are there any eco-friendly methods to clean and care for your wood without jeopardizing your family’s health?

Ask any woodworker or furniture maker and they will tell you that you need to care for your wood. Cleaning and caring for it can lengthen the life of your furniture. It will also help the furniture to look great for years to come.

While wood furniture loves moisture, it’s not a good idea to clean wood furniture with water. If you must use water on wood furniture, make sure you follow that with an oil or polish. So, if you’re not supposed to clean wood with water, what would be the best thing to use?

If you’ve left a glass on your table and it’s caused a water mark, you can rub toothpaste onto the wood to remove the water marks. Follow the toothpaste with a combination of two teaspoons of lemon oil and one pint of mineral oil. Spray this mixture onto the table, rub it in, and then wipe it clean.

One of the best products you can use to polish wood furniture is beeswax. This will give the wood a beautiful shine, and will develop an antique patina to the wood. A mixture of beeswax and olive oil is one of the best ways to polish your furniture, but you should be careful when combining the ingredients. Melt one ounce of beeswax then add one cup of olive oil. Use this mixture to polish wood furniture or wood floors.

Another wood cleaning combination that you can make at home also includes olive oil. Mix one part lemon juice with two parts olive oil. Use a soft, dry cloth and rub this mixture into the wood. Your wood furniture will love you for it. It will be bring out the natural beauty of the wood and will protect it as well

If you have light colored, unpolished wood furniture but would like to brighten it up, use this eco-friendly alternative. Wipe down the furniture with cold tea. This will bring out the grain of the wood, and will also darken the wood slightly.

Cleaning wood furniture isn’t difficult to do. The products you use can be friendly to the environment, and your family and they will beautify your furniture for a long time to come. -ecofriendlyliving

Jul 13, 2009

How to Use Fresh Strawberries as an Eco-Friendly Face and Body Exfoliate

Containing loads of antioxidants, rich in folic acid and Vitamins A, B, K and C, strawberries are not only a nutritious summer fruit, but an esthetically useful one as well. With just a few easy to find ingredients, strawberries can replace expensive, chemical-laden body scrubs. This quick and easy exfoliate can be used from head to toe, is cheap, eco-friendly and smells...well, downright delicious.

Things You'll Need:

* 10-12 fresh strawberries
* 2.5 tablespoons of extra light olive oil
* 1.5 tablespoons of salt (sea salt or coarse salt is best)
* bowl to mix and mash ingredients
* small container to hold your exfoliate (optional)
* large pestle and mortar OR fork OR small holed potato masher

Instructions :
  1. Wash the strawberries thoroughly and pat dry.
  2. If you'd prefer an "all red" exfoliate, remove the leaves and stems from the berries. Leaving the leaves on is another option to add color and textural variation.
  3. Place your strawberries into the mixing bowl and mash them completely into pulp. A pestle and mortar works best for this, but a fork or potato masher can be used as well.
  4. Stir in the olive oil until the mixture is uniform.
  5. Add the sea salts (or coarse salt) and mix together evenly.
  6. You've now got a great -all natural and eco-friendly!- exfoliate that you can use as a face, hand, foot or full body scrub.
Tips & Warnings
  • Use the exfoliate within a couple of days, preferably right away for full benefits.
  • There are a huge variety of sea salts available. Experiment with different aromas and grains to further personalize your exfoliate.
  • If you've ever experienced an allergy to fruit or strawberries in particular, or if you have extremely sensitive skin, do a skin test on a small area before applying to the face or body.
-Anne Edwards

How to Recycle Aluminum

Of the 102 billion aluminum cans manufactured in 1998, 62 million were recycled. Even if your community does not have curbside recycling, you should be able to find a drop-off center nearby where you can take your aluminum to be recycled.

Things You'll Need:

* Yellow Pages
* Recycle Bins

Instructions :
  1. Check with your county's Department of Public Works to determine where to recycle aluminum, tin and foil.
  2. Rinse and place aluminum/tin cans, caps, lids and foil in the same recycle bin. Most counties with curbside recycling programs will pick these up together.
  3. Drop off aluminum/tin cans, caps, lids and foil at drop-off centers if your community does not have a curbside recycling program. Most centers will be listed in the yellow pages under recycling.
  4. Avoid recycling spray cans or cans containing paint or hazardous materials. Contact your local recycling program or Department of Public Works to learn where these can be recycled.
  5. Get in touch with the local buy-back center if you live in an area with bottle/can deposits and plan to drop off a large number of aluminum cans for cash.
  6. Call 1 (800) CLEANUP for state recycling information.
  7. Contact the Can Manufacturers Institute for more information on recycling.
Tips & Warnings
  • Sometimes aluminum, tin and foil can be recycled in the same bin with glass. Contact your local Department of Public Works for information regarding sorting requirements.
-eHow Health Editor

Jul 12, 2009

How to Reduce Household Waste

Every year, landfills across the world are packed with thousands of tons of unnecessary trash. Each person in the United States produces an average of 4 pounds of trash every day. You can cut down on the amount of trash your family produces in a few simple ways that only take a little bit of thought and effort.

Things You'll Need:

* Reusable tote bags
* Cloth napkins and cleaning rags
* Compost pile

Instructions :
  1. Buy whole foods that don't come with packaging. Increasing the amount of fresh produce you eat is healthy for your family as well as the planet. In addition to produce, you can purchase cereal, grains, spices, dried beans and many other grocery items in the bulk section of natural food stores. It's an inexpensive way to stock your pantry, and you can keep it all fresh by storing it in canisters.
  2. Use reusable tote bags for your purchases every time you go to the store. If you still accumulate plastic bags here and there, many grocery stores have recycling bins for them.
  3. Buy household products such as laundry detergent, hand soap and cleaning sprays in bulk. By purchasing a few large containers of each product instead of many small containers, you can cut down on the amount that needs to be thrown out.
  4. Purchase products made of recycled or recyclable materials. These products not only reduce the amount of waste heading to the landfills, they also keep reusable materials in the economy, conserving precious resources.
  5. Use washable cleaning rags and cloth napkins rather than paper towels and paper napkins. You can make cleaning rags more convenient to use by placing two baskets under your kitchen sink–one for clean rags, and one for dirty rags.
  6. Check every single package for a "recyclable" symbol before throwing it out. You might be surprised at some of the things you can recycle these days.
  7. Make a compost pile in your yard for kitchen scraps instead of throwing them away. You'll have extremely rich fertilizer for your garden, at no cost. You can also add yard waste to your compost pile.
  8. Think before you toss-your trash may be another person's treasure. Online trading communities allow you to trade items of all kinds with other people in your community (see Resources below). You can also donate used goods to local charities.
-eHow Home & Garden Editor

Jul 11, 2009

How to Make an Eco-Friendly Face Mask for Oily Skin Using Cucumber

Oily skin? Looking for an eco-friendly do-it-yourself face mask that is cheap, easy will refresh, refine and tone? Look no further, this recipe is sure to please.

Things You'll Need:

* 3/4 of a whole organic cucumber
* 2 1/2 tbsp of plain yogurt
* 2 (small) egg whites (or 1 large egg white)
* small container to store egg yolks
* small container to hold egg whites until needed
* 1 3/4 tsp lemon juice
* blender
* spatula
* small container to hold mask
* face cloth and/or hand towel
* cool or warm water
* a light moisturizer (optional)

Instructions :
  1. Separate 2 small eggs (or 1 large one). Place the yolks (covered) in the refrigerator. Keep the whites nearby in a small container.
  2. Thoroughly wash the cucumber and cut off approximately 3/4 of it.
  3. Put the 3/4 cucumber (with skin) in the blender and puree it. Cucumber skin can be sharp--err on the side of caution when pureeing, and give it an extra minute or so.
  4. Add the plain yogurt, lemon juice and egg whites; continue to puree until the paste is of uniform consistency.
  5. Pour the paste mixture into a container. Use a rubber spatula to pull out what is stuck to the sides.
  6. Unscrew the bottom of your blender and get any remaining mask that may be under the blades out by knocking them firmly and carefully on the container.
  7. If you prefer a chilled mask, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  8. Using warm water and a face cloth, give your face and neck a quick wipe to remove any excess oil or dirt.
  9. Apply the cucumber mask to your face and neck with your fingers, avoiding the eyes and hairline.
  10. Wait approximately 25 minutes, then using warm water, rinse it off completely.
  11. Pat dry and apply a light moisturizer (if desired)
-Anne Edwards

Jul 10, 2009

How to Make an Eco Friendly Face Mask

Using natural ingredients for a face mask is a great way to soften and purify skin without all the additives and chemicals, and it can be done with everyday items that are bound to be in the kitchen. Easy to make at home, eco friendly face masks can be made with a variety of ingredients and in different combinations. Read on to learn how to make an eco friendly face mask.

Things You'll Need:

* Exfoliating ingredients such as oatmeal, brown sugar and blended almonds
* Moisturizers including olive oil, avocado, yogurt, cream and honey
* Blended fruit including apples, strawberries and banana

  1. Choose different ingredients that can exfoliate, moisturize and tighten skin and mash them together in a bowl. Some combinations for eco friendly faces masks are: avocado, honey and brown sugar; banana, oatmeal and honey; oatmeal, olive oil and strawberries; and honey, oatmeal and avocado.
  2. Add the mashed ingredients to the entire face, applying a generous amount.
  3. Let the mask sit on the face for 10 to 15 minutes, and rinse with warm water. For additional pampering and cleansing, fill the sink with very hot water and allow the steam to rise up onto the face. The steam can open the pores, allowing the natural ingredients to soften, smooth and clean the face.
  4. Apply moisturizer to the face after it has been slightly dried to retain some of the moisture in the skin from the rinse.
  5. Apply the multi-purpose mask two to three times a week to keep the complexion fresh and soft.
Tips & Warnings
  • Use different combinations of honey, fruit and oatmeal for any kind of eco friendly mask
-Laura Leiva