Easy Ways To Green Your Life

by Madoline Hatter (guest post)

Going green in your life doesn’t mean you have to make massive changes. Some of the greenest things you can do are the small ones. Making everyday changes to your life is easy to put into place one small step at a time. Here are some simple ways you can make your life greener and more eco-friendly:

1. Shop Seasonally and Locally – When you buy your food it is easy to pick the brands and products you are familiar with. However if you think about it many of these items must be shipped a long way to get to your grocery store’s shelves. Instead, why not pick up some locally grown or made foods. Not only are they usually cheaper because of a reduction in shipping costs but they are also better for you and for the environment. Buying locally grown or made food means fewer carbon emissions from transportation. It also supports the local economy. Not only that, but produce that is grown locally is also grown seasonally meaning it is better for you and tastes better too. Eating seasonally helps you to keep a variety in your diet and you can even try new foods that you may fall in love with. It is also cheaper to buy foods in season.

2. Go Back to the Basics of Cleaning – In the old days there were not a lot of cleaning products on the market. Basic items like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, backing soda and pine oils were about your only selections. Today you can embrace the classics and clean green with these same items. Instead of polluting the environment and your home with noxious chemicals, stay clean and healthy and breathe easier by cleaning with natural products. Hydrogen peroxide is a great natural anti-bacterial agent and whitener. Baking soda works to scrub off tough stains and get into the cracks and crevices of your home. Vinegar helps to neutralize odors and get rid of tough stains. Pine oils and other essential oils like orange and lemon are great for cleaning and shining wood surfaces. Pine oil is also anti-bacterial!

3. Reduce Your Water Use –Cutting down on your water use does not mean you can only bathe once a week or never water your lawn. It is simple to cut down your water use and save yourself money as well as saving some strain on the environment. Cut off a minute of your shower time by turning off the water as you shampoo, condition and shave. Turn off the water as you brush your teeth. Do the dishes all at once. If by hand, wash the cups and utensils first and the pots and pans last. That way the water will stay cleaner longer and you can get it all done in one sink. If you use a dishwasher make sure it is completely full before you run it and run it on the fastest setting. In the yard you can water early in the morning or late at night to reduce evaporation. Run it low and slow to reduce run off as well.

4. Plant Local Flora – Speaking of saving water, planting local flora instead of grass is a great way to save water and time in maintaining your yard. Local flora is accustomed to the rainfall and temperature of your area. Not only does it require less maintenance but it is also more resistant to disease and predation by local fauna. You can even set up a wildlife area and attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your yard!

5. Natural Fertilizers – Instead of filling your yard with fake food, why not go the natural way? Not only is it better for your yard and the environment, but it is more affordable too. It only takes a small effort to set up your own compost pile and get to making some nutritious and delicious dirt for your plants. Everyday trash can go into the pile. Items like banana peels, orange peels, egg shells and other organic waste make for great compost. Cut down on the trash sent to landfills and get free dirt all in one step!

6. Recycle – As much as recycling has become a part of our lives there are still some of us who don’t do it as regularly as we should. Make it easy on yourself by setting aside special bins for different kinds of recyclables. Glass, plastic, paper and so on can all be recycled easily. Many garbage collectors often will take recycling as well. Or take it up to your local school or recycling center. Even items like Christmas trees can be recycled. If you drink a lot of canned beverages you can save those up and get money back at an aluminum recycling center. Don’t forget that old appliances can be recycled as well and sometimes you can get money back on those too. Old computers can often bring in some cash from their expensive parts as well.

7. Climate Control – One of the biggest expenses and biggest polluters in our homes are the climate controls. Heating and cooling costs are astronomical and the electricity they use is equally so. Cut down on your cooling costs during the summer by running fans, sealing cracks and covering windows. The sun shining in those windows can create more heat than you would think. Cracks can allow cool air to escape and hot air to take its place. Fans help to keep you cool more affordably than air conditioners by dispersing the heat around your body so that even a warm room feels cooler. In the winter, those cracks should still be filled. Cold air can blow in and warm air escape easily. Windows should be covered at night to avoid the chill factor and uncovered when it is sunny to capture that heat. Keep warmer by bundling up and using other heating elements, like leftover heat from cooking.

8. Cooking Green –Speaking of cooking, you need to be mindful of how you cook as well as what you cook. As I mentioned it is a good idea to cook using high heat during the winter. Using the oven and stove top to cook during the winter helps to heat the entire home and keep down the electric bill. However the same concept does not apply in the summer. Try to avoid using the oven and stove and instead opt for cooking in a slow cooker, outside on the grill, or even eating cold foods. A great way to cut down on pollution and cook your food in the summer is a traditional method in many countries.

Burying your food with hot coals to cook it low and slow is a great way to cook in the heat. Do not just cook a little bit either. Make a whole bunch of food and then save a portion of it for some other meals. That way you can just cook once and then heat it up quickly when you need it.

9. Drink More Water, But Less Bottled –Last but not least I’d like to talk about what we drink. Many of us drink a lot of sugary, artificial beverages that are not good for us or for the environment. Those plastic bottles add up as does the transportation and manufacturing costs. Instead, drink more water. Not the bottled kind but the filtered kind. A filter can give you the same great taste and quality of bottled water but without the high cost or environmental impact. Filtered water is better for you too than drinking
from plastics that can seep toxins into the water. Try using glass or proper containers for drinking water and make sure you don’t cause leeching by putting other beverages in those containers like lemon juices or tomato juices which can be very acidic. As you can see it is not very hard to make small changes in your everyday life and live greener.

It only takes a little bit of thought to change your habits and make a positive impact on the environment. Going green starts one small step at a time, so try out some of these ideas in your home today.

Author Byline:

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com.

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PoweRocks Mini Portable Charging Devices

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by Green Blog Network

Portable electronic devices are lifesavers.  Who can live without their SmartPhone or cell phone these days? Apparently not 2.3 billion of Planet Earth’s people.

In more tangible terms, more people have access to a portable phone today than to a toilet.
But when these little buddies – portable electronic devices – lose power, they’re about as useful as dead wood.
Now, however, you can throw your worry out the window. Because Powerocks has invented the genius PowerBank and Magic Cubes.

 
These design-friendly, compact, colorful little devices charge your iPhone, your tablet, your SmartPhone, your cell phone and many other portable electronic devices quickly and efficiently. The PowerBank is equipped with both male and female USB connectors and it also comes with a multiple connector cable good for most devices. And each comes with two output cables so you can recharge two devices simultaneously.
A charged PowerBank is good for about an hour and can go all the way up to 12000 milliamps. It takes only about an hour to charge your PowerBank either directly from an electrical outlet or your computer. The charged PowerBank can last up to a reported 3-6 months. You can find them in many colors – from purple to silver to leopard print – and three power flavors: 6000 mAh,.9000 mAh and 12000mAh. This last one stores enough juice to recharge your iPhone up to 6 times.
You can pick one up for anywhere between $29 to £109. In Canada these stores have them available, perfect for stocking stuffers : )
Canadian Tire, Bell, Rogers, Telus, Bestbuy.ca, Telephone Booth, CostCo’s Wireless, Futureshop.ca
These rechargers are also much more eco-friendly than the standard battery as you can get as many as 500 charges, at least, from one device.

“The Attitude of Free Life”  i.e. never be in an emergency or miss a call when away from home.

Online you can find these cylindrical little lifesavers at Powerocksusa.com

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Greening Your Microbusiness’ Environmental Footprint When You’re on a Micro-budget

Guest post by Susan Chambers

On more than one occasion over the last couple of years, I’ve heard heart-centred business owners declare that they’d love to make a positive difference in the world through their business—if they only knew how to get started transforming their business into a socially responsible entity. I’ve also encountered microentrepreneurs who express fears that going green will send them broke, and yet others who believe that their companies are too small to make a positive difference in the world.

I believe that everyone has the capacity to be a change agent and lead by example when (1) they have the information and resources (a network of like-minded individuals to call on for support or inspiration) to guide their actions, (2) they start from where they are and with what’s available to them, and (3) they make changes through small, incremental steps. I also believe that with some thoughtful planning beforehand and along the way, adopting more planet-friendly business processes ultimately contributes to the overall value of a business; it enhances the sustainability of both the company and the planet.

You wouldn’t set out on a journey without doing some planning beforehand, and the same wisdom applies to greening your company’s environmental footprint (the overall impact your business has on the planet as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, waste production, and usage patterns for resources such as energy, water, renewable and non-renewable resources). Yes, the information gathering, decision making and planning take a bit of time, but in the long run it will keep you within your budget and on track, contribute to some small and encouraging successes, and keep you engaged in the process. Here are a few strategies to get you started.

1. Do a mini appraisal of your business so you have a clear idea of your motives, readiness, and capacity to go green. What financial, material, intellectual, and human resources do you have available to you? Are your investors, partners, employees, customers, vendors, etc, on board with your decision to green your business operations?

2. Do an inventory of the environmentally friendly business processes you already have in place. Give yourself some recognition and appreciation for what you’ve already accomplished: it’s a better motivator than focusing on what you’re not doing or dong well.

3. Measure your environmental footprint. You can either take DIY approach, or call in an expert to do the assessment, depending on the type and location of your business.

4. Based on the results of your actions in steps 2 and 3, write a list of the green business practices you want to implement, then look at the resources (money, time, people) that are currently available to you right now. Based on the resources available to you right now, choose two or three actions that are easy to implement immediately, won’t cost you a cent, and will help you to start saving resources and money. (For example, using less energy translates into lower electricity bills; banishing bottled water saves both money and precious resources.)

5. You may discover that you have one or two “big ticket” items on your list that are not affordable in the short run—and you’re not so sure how you are going to afford them in the longer run, either. If this is the case, set up a “green fund”: direct the money saved from the cost-saving green strategies into a specially designated savings account, and use the money saved in that account to pay for those big ticket items.

Start from where you are, and take small steps that will yield some early successes on your path to greening your company’s footprint. You’ll find that the small steps add up to big changes– and you didn’t go broke in the process. So, are you ready, now, to step up as a change agent and lead by example?

Susan Chambers is the author of Small Business, Big Change: A Microentrepreneur’s Guide to Social Responsibility (Night Owls Press / 2012).

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Eco-Chic Aikiou Pet Feeders

The interactive dog feeder improves on the original design with reversible toecaps that allow customers to modify the pressure needed to open the food compartments, thereby making it more challenging and exciting for your pet. The new design also makes it easier to fill the dish and is slightly shorter which allowed for a 15% reduction in production greenhouse gas. The Aikiou dog bowl helps with weight control, digestive issues and stimulates your dog’s brain. It is suited to dogs of all sizes.

For Dogs

The Aikiou Junior is a 3-in-one product serving as a food bowl, slow feeder and puzzle for your pet.

The BPA-free Aikiou Junior has six food openings and lets dogs use their sense of smell to find the food. This allows Fido to eat in a way that is more natural to him.

Because your dog has to “hunt” for his food, it encourages slower eating patterns that help reduce bloating and overweight issues in dog.

For Cats

The Stimulo feeder improves on the original design with an easier to clean base and a new tube design that makes it even more fun for cats to get their food. The product is made using only food grade BPA plastics.

The Stimulo is designed to allow cats to be their natural predator self and “hunt” for food. The prior version of the Stimulo bowl was featured on Good Morning America and won Best in Show at the Global Pet Expo in 2012.

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Sirius XM Satellite’s Green Is Good Radio Features Paige Donner, Founder Local Food And Wine

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Paige Donner, journalist, blogger, eco-activist, actor/filmmaker and more, returns to the show from Paris to discuss her passion for local food and wine. Donner became more interested in the marriage of regional wines and local food when she was in British Columbia to cover the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Three and a half years later, her Local Food And Wine media platform and blog has spanned the globe, covering the world’s great winemaking and local food producing regions. As her knowledge of the globe’s wine regions grew, so too did her concern for how climate change could potentially impact viticultural areas.

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Paige Donner

Founder, Local Food And Wine

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“Wine grapes have long been recognized by scientists as being the most sensitive agricultural crop in terms of climate change,” Donner reveals. “What you see happening in wine regions [could preview] what is coming down the pike for other agricultural regions.”

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Swimming With Sharks – Finding My Place In The Ecosystem

Variables: Kimi Werner shares her philosophy on freediving and spearfishing

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EcoLuxuryStyle – Weddings

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PlanetSolar Launch 2013

February 28, 2013, Monaco Marine Shipyard – La Ciotat (France)

2013 will illustrate the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s numerous practical applications

In 2013, PlanetSolar intends to demonstrate the practical applications of the largest solar boat ever built. It will move beyond its role as mobile ambassador of solar energy and become a multi-functional tool, just like a Swiss Army Knife.

PlanetSolar

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PlanetSolar Press Release, for immediate distribution

PlanetSolar takes the plunge again!

After over six months of maintenance and optimization, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is back in the water and preparing for its 2013 solar campaign! The recent improvements will expand and diversify the ship’s applications, and enable it to navigate to the northernmost part of the Atlantic for the first time. A scientific expedition along the Gulf Stream, a waste collection campaign in European waters, and even educational events, this is a brand new crew that will be leading the largest solar vessel ever built on its 2013 campaign, which will be officially launched on March 18 in Monaco.

The success of the first trip around the world powered exclusively by solar energy has demonstrated the maturity of the prototype’s photovoltaic technology. Those two years of solar navigation were instructive for PlanetSolar and led to an initial assessment of the vessel’s performance. This assessment indicated where optimizations were needed to make the ship more efficient and maneuverable. These improvements will expand and diversify the ship’s applications and uses; notably, enabling it to navigate to the northernmost part of the Atlantic, near the Artic, for the first time.

Six months of dry-docking were necessary for PlanetSolar to carry out the ship’s maintenance work and optimizations, such as refurbishing the cabins, creating a sundeck on the bridge, reinforcing the mooring cleats, increasing water tank capacity, and improving the rudder. The most substantial optimizations were made to the propulsion system—the surface propellers were replaced by a completely immerged system, and more powerful electric motors were installed on the bow thrusters. Now that this maintenance is complete, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is back in the water to begin a navigation phase test that will reevaluate its performance, and primarily its speed—a key element in the successful completion of its 2013 campaign.

2013 will illustrate the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar’s numerous practical applications

In 2013, PlanetSolar intends to demonstrate the practical applications of the largest solar boat ever built. It will move beyond its role as mobile ambassador of solar energy and become a multifunctional tool, just like a Swiss Army Knife.

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will officially begin its 2013 campaign on March 18 in the Principality of Monaco. It will then leave for the Atlantic, where it will attempt to break its own world record speed for a transatlantic crossing that is powered only by solar energy (26 days in 2010).

From May, in collaboration with the University of Geneva, the ship will become a platform for scientific research in the framework of the “PlanetSolar DeepWater”expedition. Led by Professor Martin Beniston, climatologist and co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, an onboard scientific team will collect new data along the Gulf Stream. The ship will follow the ocean current from Florida to the Far North and will put into port in Miami, New York, Boston, St. John’s, Reykjavik, Bergen, Oslo, and Paris.

In the summer, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar will be called upon to clean up floating waste in European waters. In collaboration with the Waste Free Oceans Foundation, the ship will be equipped with an ingenious trawling net that can collect up to 8 tons of marine pollution. In the fall, the catamaran will continue its solar energy promotion campaign and sail to the cities of Izmir and Istanbul. These stopovers will be unique opportunities to meet with local populations and promote photovoltaic energy. Instructive events aimed at young audiences will be organized aboard the ship.

A brand new crew for the 2013 campaign

The crew that successfully led the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar on its first solar-powered trip around the world has left the ship to return to civilian life. The Swiss solar vessel will host a brand new international crew for its new missions. The crew members will be introduced on March 18 in Monaco during the official launch of the campaign.

About PlanetSolar

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, built in Kiel, Germany, is a catamaran that runs exclusively on solar energy. After two years of design and construction, PlanetSolar is responsible for many technological advances, notably in the domain of composite material manufacturing and solar energy storage. On May 4, 2012, after sailing for 584 days and travelling over 60,000 km, PlanetSolar completed the first solar-powered trip around the world in history. PlanetSolar SA’s trip around the world was primarily funded through private and institutional partners. Innovative routing software was developed specifically for this expedition.

Funding for PlanetSolar SA’s 2013 campaign is provided by Université de Genève, Ciel électricité, Switcher, Association suisse des AOC-IGP, Younicos, GoPro, BCCC Avocats, Tempur, Hempel, Présence Suisse, Energissima, Waste Free Oceans
http://www.planetsolar.org

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Canada Blooms and Landscape Ontario Events Calendar ’13 – ’14

Canada Blooms 

March 15 – 24, 2013 Direct Energy Centre

100 Princes’ Blvd, Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6K 3C3

www.canadablooms.com

Canada Blooms is a not-for-profit organization that gives back to the community throughout the year by funding community garden projects around Ontario. 

Canada Blooms is also dedicated to providing the community with horticulture expertise, education and resources on an ongoing basis.

Canada Blooms was founded in 1996 by Landscape Ontario and The Garden Club of Toronto. Each year it is supported by a committed group of partners, sponsors and volunteers.

Canada Blooms has been named One of Ontario’s Top 100 Events by Festivals and Events Ontario and One of North America’s Top 100 Events by the American Bus Association. Canada Blooms is also the recipient of the 2011 Garden Tourism Award for “Garden Tourism Festival of the Year”.

Garden enthusiasts delight in stunning floral creations at the standard judged flower show featured at Canada Blooms. Interested non-professional exhibitors as well as members of Horticultural Societies and Garden Clubs are welcome to enter these classes. For information go to www.canadablooms.com 

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Landscape Ontario’s Expo, Garden and Floral Expo

October 23 – 24, 2013

www.loexpo.ca

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Tofino Has New, Green Mayor | COMMUNIQUÉ: Une nouvelle mairesse verte à Tofino

 

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