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Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Giving your pet a greener life will keep them healthier and benefit our planet. It’s the least you can do when they’re working hard to make you happy and healthy. And, something to think about, the percent of pet owning heart patients who survived serious heart attacks is 28%, compared with only 6% of patients without pets.

Here are some great tips on How to Green Your Pet from

  • Get your pet from a shelter.

There are 5,500 puppies and kittens born every hour in the United States.

  • Spay or neuter your pet.

Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by eliminating the possibility of uterine, ovarian, and testicular cancer, and decreasing the incidence of prostate disease. And, as I mentioned above, there are 5,500 puppies and kittens born every hour in the United States.

  • Keep your kitty inside.

Two out of every three vets, according to the Humane Society of America, recommend keeping cats indoors, because of the dangers of cars, predators, disease, and other hazards. The estimated average life span of a free-roaming cat is less than three years; an indoors-only cat gets to live an average of 15 to 18 years.

Another reason to keep kitty inside: There are 39 million birds killed annually by domestic cats – in Wisconsin alone (The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service).

  • Give your pets the best food possible.

Most conventional pet-food brands you find at the supermarket consist of reconstituted animal by-products, otherwise known as low-grade wastes from the beef and poultry industries. In fact, the animals used to make many pet foods are classified as “4-D,” which means they are “Dead, Dying, Diseased, or Down (Disabled)” when they line up at the slaughterhouse. Unless the pet food explicitly states that it contains FDA-certified, food-grade meat, you should know that its contents are considered unfit for human consumption–but apparently good enough for your cat or pooch.

Since nutrition is one of the key determinants of health and resistance to disease, ideally you’ll want your pet’s food to be comparable in quality with what you would eat.

Natural and organic pet foods use meats that are raised in sustainable, humane ways without added drugs or hormones, minimally processed, and preserved with natural substances, such as vitamins C and E. Certified-organic pet foods must meet strict USDA standards that spell out how ingredients are produced and processed, which means no pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, artificial preservatives, artificial ingredients or genetically engineered ingredients.

  • Clean up their poop.

Pick up your doggie doo in biodegradable bags.

Cat owners should avoid clumping clay litter. Not only is clay strip-mined (bad for the planet), but the clay sediment is also contains carcinogenic silica dust that can coat little kitty lungs (bad for the cat). Plus, the sodium bentonite that acts as the clumping agent can poison your cat through chronic ingestion through their fastidious need to groom. Because sodium bentonite acts like expanding cement–it’s also used as a grouting, sealing, and plugging material–it can swell up to 15 to 18 times their dry size and clog up your cat’s insides. Eco-friendly cat litters avoid these problems.

Here’s more information on how to avoid clumping clay litter:

  • Give them sustainable stuff.

There are toys made from recycled materials or sustainable fibers (without herbicides or pesticides) such as hemp. A hemp collar (with matching leash) is a great sustainable accessory for your dog. You can even get pet beds made with organic cotton or even recycled PET bottles.

  • Use natural pet-care and cleaning products.

Don’t use toxic-chemical-laced shampoos on your pet instead look for natural pet-care products. And, clean up their messes with non-toxic cleaning products that are gentle on the planet and your pet.

  • Use pet-safe products to melt the ice.

Use a child- and pet-safe deicer such as Safe Paw’s environmentally friendly Ice Melter. Rock salt and salt-based ice-melting products, which kids and animals might accidentally ingest, can cause health problems, while contaminating wells and drinking supplies.

For more tips on How to Green Your Pet, visit

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Great Green Pet

Great Green Pet is a shopping blog devoted to the green, eco-friendly, pet owner. We comb the web and find environmentally friendly products for you and your pet.

You can find inexpensive, eco-friendly pet carriers, non-toxic flea treatment for your home, natural hemp dog leashes and much more.

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GREEN TIP: When the little trick-or-treaters knock on your door this Halloween, give them healthy treats that also treat the environment kindly.

Eco-friendly Candy

There are a number of different eco-friendly candies now available at your local grocery stop, health food stores or co-ops. These organic candies can provide Halloween treats that are a little friendlier for your trick-or-treaters and are produced using methods that are gentler on the environment.

Where you can find them locally:

Sydney’s Health Market: My number one choice for all my healthy shopping needs. They have organic fruit snack, fruit strips, lollipops, organic juice boxes and many other options.

Cash Wise: They have a wonderful organic section which include a lot of organic candy, boxes of organic raisins and bars.

Hornbachers: Their natural and organic sections has a number of organic treats.

Or Avoid Candy Altogether

Another option is to avoid candy altogether and to give your trick-or-treaters useful treats, such as colorful pencils, small boxes of crayons, or erasers in fun shapes.

Other ideas:

  • Fun magnets
  • Seed paper/bookmarks for planting or reading
  • Wash off tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Craft kits (Michael’s has fun craft kits for $1.00)
  • Adhesive bandages with fun themes
  • Barrettes or other hair things
  • Mini pumpkins or gourds
  • Fun toothbrushes
  • Unfinished wood items

Where you can find them locally:

Eco Chic Boutique: You will be able to find tons of useful trick-or-treat treats like soy crayons shaped like rocks and other eco-friendly art supplies.

Pout Baby Boutique: They have a large eco-friendly section including Piggy Paint Nail Polish.

Be Sure to Reuse and Recycle

If you don’t already compost, Halloween is a great time to start. You can add post-Halloween jack-o-lanterns to your compost bin, along with fallen leaves, food scraps, and other organic, biodegradable yard and household waste.

Compost creates excellent soil for your garden. You might even use the compost from your backyard bin to help grow the pumpkins that will become next year’s jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pies.

If you are interested in composting, your local hardware store, garden center, county extension service, or waste disposal agency should be able to help you get started.

Locally, the City of Fargo has a wonderful compost bin you can purchase at a reasonable cost. For more information call 701-241-1449.

Instead of throwing away your Halloween decorations each year, store and reuse them year after year, just as you do decorations for many other holidays. Source:, Environmental Issues

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Go Green Blog
The Go Green Blog is a great place to find information and facts about the environment. You can also learn easy tips & tricks, as well as find some awesome eco-friendly products to incorporate into your everyday routine.

Check out 6 Eco-Friendly Halloween Crafts for Kids if you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend with your kids.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at

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Christmas is almost upon us and if you’re like me you haven’t yet completed your holiday shopping. I’ve compiled a list of some awesome eco-friendly gifts and some links to some other wonderful Holiday Gift Guides to make your life a little easier and put a smile on the face of your loved ones.


ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover’s Road Map to Losing ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary MedicineWeight, Preventing Disease, and Getting Really Healthy by John La Puma and Rebecca Powell Marx

Practically Green: Your Guide to Ecofriendly Decision-Making by Micaela Preston

Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure by Jennifer Taggart

Food IncDVD:

Food Inc.

Starring: Eric Schlosser, Director: Robert Kenner, Rating: PG

This is a powerful film that anyone who eats should watch!

Gift Basket:

Fair Trade Mixer Gift BaskeEqual Exchange Fair Trade Mixer Basket: This fair trade gift includes a variety of Equal Exchange products in a fairly traded kaisa grass basket imported by Ten Thousand Villages from Dhaka Handicrafts, a non-profit that works to improve the lives of children and rural families in Bangladesh. This would be a great holiday gift idea – one that truly gives back.

The Fair Trade Mixer Basket is on sale for $47 until Dec 15th. Also find other fair trade gifts that support small-scale farmers, ranging from $27-$75. Order online and get 10% off your order and receive free shipping on orders over $75. Use coupon code: giftme10 during checkout. Coupon expires 12/31/09.

For Her:

Reclaimed pottery necklacesReclaimed Pottery Necklaces

These pretty pink and blue necklaces are handmade from the broken remnants of 1960s-era Willow dishes. Also know as “Willow Ware,” this china was produced throughout the 1900s and is highly sought after by collectors for the beautiful, detailed images telling an ancient Chinese love story.

A lovely link to the past, the china is salvaged from the Pennsylvania Amish Country in an effort to help the environment and protect wildlife by removing this hazard. Each piece still maintains the original Willow pattern and is finished with sterling silver wire. Handmade in Pennsylvania by artist Laura Bergman. Includes a card detailing the story of the china.

Secret Garden Lunch Kit

This lovely little lunchbox set includes:Secret Garden Lunch Kit

  • 1 handmade, machine-washable bag
  • 5 machine-washable napkins, so you don’t have to wash them every day!
  • 1 pair of eclectic utensils
  • flap closure secured with a vintage button
  • 1 Lock & Lock lunchbox (for more information: Lock & Lock)

Between the disposable cutlery, bags and napkins, packing a lunch can be pretty wasteful. It doesn’t have to be! And GlueandGlitter has constructed the bag and napkins from vintage linens and organic hemp.

For Him:

Recycled Tire Inner Tube Men’s WalletRecycled tire inner tube men's wallet

Good-looking, tough, practical, good for the earth and El Salvadorian artisans. If the rubber was strong enough for a car or truck, it’ll surely be able to carry your cash and plastic.

Description: 6 credit card slots and full length paper money compartment.

For the Kids:

Jasmine the Butterfly Girl DollLittle Humbugs

The Little Humbugs are based on the engaging book series that involves children on a quest to help The Little Humbugs protect the Natural World.

Designed and created by award winning children’s author and illustrator Marghanita Hughes this engaging collection of Butterfly Girl Fairies and Dragonfly Boys will delight and Lucy the Bird Keepercaptivate a generation of nature loving children.

  • Butterfly Girl Dolls
  • Childrens Books
  • Dragonfly Boy
  • Personal Care
  • Sleepover Kit
  • Felt Bead Kit
  • Gemstone Collection
  • Butterfly Girl Birthdays
  • Kids Gardening
  • Prints

Other People’s Fabulous Green Gift Guides:

As I was compiling my Green Shopping Guide for this Holiday Season, I came across a number of really wonderful guides. Here are a few of my favorites:

2009 Holiday Gift Guide: From Love Earth Always, a fabulous downloadable guide containing high quality products from online retailers with fair trade Earth-friendly products.

A Few of RYD’s Favorite Things: Green Gift Guide 2009: Our friends at Recycle Your Day have compiled their first official eco friendly gift guide and it’s fabulous!

A Great Big List of Other People’s Best Green Gift Guides: Twilight Earth brings you the Best of the Best Green Gift Guides, by Jennifer Kaplan, author of Greening Your Small Business.

Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide ‘09: Mambo Sprouts have gathered up a bunch of eco-savvy goodies and have broken it down into categories to make shopping easier for you – like Babies & Tots, Learn & Play Naturally, Foodies & Cooks, Gifts That Give Back, and many more.

Gifts to Green the Earth: Loving Nature’s Garden has compiled a list of gifts which make our homes, families, communities and planet a better, and more sustainable, place, a greener Earth.

Stocking stuffers for sustainable foodies: Robin Shreeves at Mother Nature Network brings us an assortment of small gifts that your foodie will love – all under $20.

The Ultimate Meaningful Gift Guide: Gifts of Efficiency from Energy Circle: This wonderful guide brings you some really fabulous gifts and stocking stuffers.


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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: When you go shopping for back-to-school supplies, WDAY Green Tipsbuy recycled products whenever possible.

Last week we talked about avoiding school supplies that are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl). Hopefully everyone is now armed with their own Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies created by The Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ). This week we are taking it a step further. As you prepare for this year’s back-to-school shopping for your child’s supplies avoid PVC and look for recycled products.

According to, more than 75 million students are enrolled in the U.S. education system, and if each child used just one recycled item every school year, that would mean 75 million fewer pieces of garbage deposited in our landfills.

There are recycled, eco-friendly versions of nearly every classroom supply.

Pens (try Pilot Be Green or Zebra brands, both available at Staples, Office Max and Office Depot)

Pencils (try Zebra brand, available at Staples, Office Max and Office Depot, or Paper Mate Earthwrite brand, available at Office Max and Office Depot)

Highlighters (try Zebra brand, available at Staples, Office Max and Office Depot)

Folders in assorted colors (try the Office Depot brand or the Essette brand, available at Kmart)

Subject notebooks in assorted colors (try the Staples brand or College Rule brand, available at Target)

Manila file folders (try Essette brand, available at Office Depot and Kmart)

Box of tissues (try Marcal brand, available at Staples and Office Depot, as well as grocery stores)

Remember using even one recycled product this school year can have a huge impact on our earth.


This could even extend to back-to-school clothes shopping. Considering buying “recycled” clothing. Shop at a resale clothing store for some of your back-to-school clothes.

Once Upon A Child
Plato’s Closet
City of Fargo, Area Thrift Stores

My Green Side’s weekly web pick: provides teachers, administrators and parents with action plans for creating greener, healthier, more socially responsible schools and children.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a different favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  Drive smart and safe.  You’ll get to your destination in one piece and will be more fuel efficient. 

As I endeavor to live the green life while living within my financial constraints, I have been trying to make our current cars as fuel efficient as possible.  While I would love to run out and purchase a smart fortwo car, Prius Hybrid or Ford Escape Hybrid (maybe in vista blue metallic), I can’t just yet so I’m doing the next best thing by devouring every study on gas efficiency I can get my hands on.  One of the most comprehensive study I have come across is by (although curiously, they didn’t include My Green Side’s tip about gas caps). 

First test, Aggressive Driving vs. Moderate Driving.  Enter one of my top ten pet peeves:  Maniac drivers.  Aggressive motorists who dart here and there, slamming on the breaks one moment and gunning it to tailgate the next.  The testing discovered driving like a safe, conscientious, normal person can produce a fuel savings of up to 37 percent.

Second test, Lower Speeds Saves Gas.  Another highway annoyance, those drivers who meander along five to ten miles under the speed limit but when you try to pass them they kick it into warp drive.  Just go the speed limit!  According to the test results your fuel savings will be up to 14 percent and you wouldn’t incur any of those other pesky charges.  Like speeding tickets.

Third test, Use Cruise Control.  Using your cruise control is a surprisingly effective way to save gas and can produce a fuel savings of 7 to 14 percent. 

Fourth test, Air Conditioner On with Windows Up vs. Air Conditioner Off with Windows Down.  This test was a wash.  It doesn’t matter which way you go, they just recommend being comfortable.  Well, I may need some therapy to digest this finding.  I vividly remember some very sweaty road trips with my family when I was young and knowing that discomfort was all in vain… well, those scars will take some time to heal!

To summarize, stop driving like a lunatic and not only will you save money and gas, you”ll be doing something good for our planet.

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