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Plastic Free July is a movement designed to raise awareness of the problems with single-use disposable plastic and challenges people to do something about it. Over a million people around the world participate in Plastic Free July, a challenge to refuse single-use plastics for one month.

Join me and take the challenge! It’s easy… just choose to refuse single-use plastic during the month of July.


Visit Plastic Free July here to learn more.


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My brother-in-law is a (newly promoted) lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and he has served two tours-of-duty inCell Phone for Soldiers South Korea, one in Iraq and is still active duty. I also have numerous relatives, including both of my Grandfathers, and friends who are veterans. So, anything that helps members of our military, is near and dear to my heart. And an organization that helps our brave men and women while helping our environment, is nothing short of amazing… one such organization is Cell Phones for Soldiers.


Since its inception in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has worked to provide free communication services to active-duty military members and veterans. For a decade, the charity’s longstanding calling card program, Minutes That Matter has provided servicemen and women with an estimated 3 million prepaid calling cards, equating to more than 210 million minutes of FREE talk time.

Cell Phones for Soldiers fuels it’s mission through generous monetary contributions and the recycling of donated mobile phones. Newer or gently-used mobile phones from all service providers are accepted. Each $5 contribution, or donated device valued at $5, will provide troops with 2.5 hours of FREE talk time.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, Mass., at the ages of 12 andRob and Brittany Bergquist, Founders of Cell Phones for Soldiers 13. The organization has prevented more than 11.3 million cell phones from ending up in landfills.

“Cell Phones for Soldiers started as a small way to show our family’s appreciation for the men and women who have sacrificed the day-to-day contact with their own families to serve in the U.S. armed forces,” says charity President, Bob Bergquist. “Over the past few years, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of others. But, we have also seen the need to support our troops continue to grow as more troops are sent overseas for longer assignments.”

Why is recycling cell phones so important?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), electronic waste (e-waste) is accumulating almost three times faster than ordinary household trash and an estimated 100 to 130 million cell phones are no longer being used, many sitting unused in storage.

Recycling cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions, keeps valuable material out of
landfills and incinerators, and conserves natural resources. Cell phones and accessories are made from valuable resources such as precious metals, copper, and plastics – all of which require energy to extract and manufacture.

According to the EPA, if Americans recycled 100 million phones, we could save enough upstream energy to power more than 194,000 U.S. households for a year. If consumers were able to reuse those 100 million cell phones, the environmental savings would be even greater, saving enough energy to power more than 370,000 U.S. homes each year.

The EPA has targeted cell phone recycling because fewer than 20 percent of cell phones are recycled each year and most people do not know where to recycle them.

How can you help?

Donate your unused cellphones. Phones can be sent directly to Cell Phones for Soldiers’ recycling partner at the address listed below or can be dropped off at any of the Cell Phones for Soldiers official drop-off sites, find your local drop-off location at

To become an official Cell Phones for Soldiers drop-off location sign up at

Cell Phones for Soldiers
4500 Cambridge Rd, Dock Door 9/10
Fort Worth, TX 76155-2234

You can also give a monetary contribution, visit to find out more.

What happens to your phone once it’s dropped off?

All cell phones donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers are sold either to an electronic refurbisher or a recycler. Once the charity receives a donated cell phone, the device is quickly wiped of all personal information and checked to see if it is repairable. A cell phone that is repairable is sold to an electronic refurbisher who will repair the device and resell it in the aftermarket. However, cell phones that are either too old or completely broken are sold to recyclers who strip the devices of any salvageable components and/or rare metals and then responsibly recycle the remaining parts. The proceeds from the phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards for troops and provide emergency financial assistance to veterans.

While only one day of the year is dedicated solely to honoring our veterans, Americans must never forget the sacrifices that many of our fellow countrymen have made to defend our country and protect our freedoms.  ~Randy Neugebauer


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Eco Chic Boutique opened in June of 2010 as a home for eco-friendly products for baby, mom and home. It has Eco Chicbecome the go-to place for repurposed furniture, Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, locally made gifts, home decor, vintage decor and a place to go for DIY inspiration. Just walking in the door makes you want to redecorate, repurpose and paint things.

They also brought the Junk Market, the first ever “junkers” event of it’s kind, to Fargo.

The Junk Market is an event hosted by Eco Chic Boutique and it has grown so much that this May’s event will be located at the River River Valley Fairgrounds. It has multiple vendors all under one roof from around the area and its filled with reclaimed vintage furniture, home décor and JUNK!

Here are the details:Eco Chic Junk Market

Event Date:

Saturday, May 10th, 2014
8am to 10am  Early Bird Admission
10am to 5pm  General Admission
(Rain or Shine, it’ll be awesome!)


Eco Chic Junk Market early bird sold outEARLY BIRD ADMISSION: $20 SOLD OUT
Get the first shot at all the cool stuff!  You’ll get two hours of shopping (8am – 10am) before the doors open for regular admission. There will also be coffee and donuts.
Regular admission is $5.  Cash or check only please.
(Children 12 and under are free).
Sorry, no pets inside the event area. (Service animals only)


Red River Valley Fairgrounds
Hartl Ag Building
1805 West Main Avenue
West Fargo, ND 58078

The Early Bird Admission tickets are SOLD OUT but Eco Chic has generously given My Green Side a pair of tickets to give away! The tickets will be given away during the Simple Tips for Green Living radio segment on The Christopher Gabriel Program during the Earth Day (April 22nd, 2014) broadcast! THANK YOU!

You can stream the Simple Tips for Green Living segment at approximately 1220pm (CT) every Tuesday at, get the WDAY app on your iPhone or Droid or, if you’re in North Dakota or Western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

You can also try to win a pair of ticket over at The White House Boutique. Visit the lovely to find out more!

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GREEN TIP: Green this year’s back-to-school shopping by reusing last year’s supplies, buying items that contain recycled materials and packing a waste-free lunch.

According to National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2012 Back-to-School spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average of $688.62 for school supplies. College students and their families will spend an average of $907.22 on everything from dorm furniture and collegiate gear to school supplies and personal care items. Total combined K-12 and college spending is expected to reach around $84 billion this year.

Here are some ways to make your back-to-school shopping a little greener while helping you to be below average when it comes to your spending this year:

  • Reuse last year’s supplies. Go through the school supplies you already have at home before you hit the stores. Chances are, there are items that you can reuse. Backpacks, lunch boxes, magnets, locks and so on.
  • And while you’re going through your home stash of supplies, don’t throw away unwanted items, gather up extra pens, pencils, rubber bands, paper clips and the like for donation to a local elementary school or to nonprofit organizations that accept school supplies.
  • If there are supplies you have to buy new, make sure the items is made with recycled materials, including paper, backpacks and pencils, etc. Look for pens and pencils made with sustainably harvested wood or recycled content.
  • Avoid polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) plastic school supplies. PVC is unique among plastics because it contains dangerous chemical additives. These harmful chemicals include phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health. Look for PVC-free lunch boxes, binders, backpacks and other school supplies. Download the Center for Health, Environment & Justice’s (CHEJ) Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies.
  • Pack a waste-free lunch. Here are some tips from our friends at Litter Free Lunch:
    • Replace brown paper bags with a reusable lunch box or bag (remember to avoid PVC lunch boxes).
    • Swear off plastic bags and use stainless steel food containers.
    • Switch from disposable paper napkins to reusable cloth napkins.
    • Give up the habit of disposable water bottles and replace it with a reusable stainless steel water bottle. If you buy a plastic reusable bottle, make sure it’s BPA-free. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a hormone-disrupting chemical that can impact health at even very low exposures.
    • Skip disposable plastic cutlery and pack a reusable spoons or forks.
    • Save money by avoiding individually wrapped or packaged items like yogurt, cheese, cookies or crackers. Buy larger sizes and pack portions in reusable containers.
  • Organic apples, oranges, bananas and other fruits are healthy additions to any lunch and they come in their own compostable wrapping.
  • Create a weekly meal plan in advance so you can get everything you need in one trip, this will save time, gas money and reduce your carbon footprint. Also, keep a running list of needed items on the fridge, which will help you stay organized to avoid multiple, last-minute car trips.
  • Explore options to safely bike and walk to school or find a classmate willing to carpool.
  • Check thrift stores for reusable school supplies like binders and backpack and back-to-school clothes, giving good-quality, one-of-a-kind fashions a second life.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
The Center for Health, Environment & Justice is an organization that provides assistance to grassroots community groups in the environmental health and justice movement. The Center was founded in 1981 by Lois Gibbs, who helped win the relocation of over 900 families from their neighborhood which was contaminated by chemicals leaking from the Love Canal landfill in Niagara Falls, NY. Through this effort, people began to recognize the link between people’s exposures to dangerous chemicals in their community and serious public health impacts.

Visit their blog for insightful conversations about environmental health and justice at and make sure to download the Center’s Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies.

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GREEN TIP: Your daily workout is another area that you can make more eco-friendly by hiking and biking outdoors or encouraging your local gym to make greener choices.

There are numerous ways to green your daily dose of physical fitness. Here are some tips for energizing your exercise with a green boost courtesy of

  • Take it outside whenever you can. Instead of increasing your energy consumption via home and gym exercise machines, take advantage of hiking and biking trails in your area. One big advantage to the great outdoors – it’s free and always interesting.
  • Recycle your cross-trainers. After putting in all of that extra mileage, your new shoes are bound to lose their bounce. Instead of tossing them, give your shoes new life with Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program. Worn out shoes are used to build new tracks, basketball and tennis courts. Nike has collected over 25 million shoes since 1990.
  • Buy used workout DVDs. It’s a great way to recycle and save money.
  • Use refillable water bottles and avoid using one-time use plastic water bottles. It’s time to commit to using refillable water bottles for workouts and everyday hydration. Using a refillable bottle means less waste in landfills and more money in your wallet. According to the Container Recycling Institute, only 23% of plastic bottles are recycled in the U.S. which means 38 billion plastic bottles go into landfills each year.
  • Inspire a green makeover at your health club or gym. If the great outdoors just aren’t for you, consider encouraging your gym to make some eco-friendly upgrades.
    • Recycling bins and energy efficient machines.
    • Signage asking patrons to limit their towel usage.
    • A few large televisions generally run less electricity than individual TVs on every machine. A sign on the screen reminding users to turn it off after use could save a kilowatt-hour per unit, per day.
    • Turn the thermostat up a little in the summer, and down a little in the winter. Climate control accounts for far more energy than all the treadmills combined.
    • If you’re looking for a new gym, ask what they’re doing for the environment.
  • Join a neighborhood gym that’s within walking distance to where you work and/or live. Support your local economy and save gas at the same time.
  • Looking for some new workout clothing or gear? Organic cotton and bamboo threads are a great place to start for sweat-friendly green fabrics. For eco-conscious equipment choices, check the web or a local sporting goods shop for great deals on secondhand bikes and weights. For new clothing or gear, be sure to check out Gaiam and Natural Fitness Inc. Both companies are practicing some pretty innovative manufacturing techniques and are utilizing recycled rubber and materials to produce their workout goods.
  • Get creative with your workout routine. It’s not always easy to find time to head to the gym or commit to an after-work jogging schedule. Try to throw in an extra walk or bike ride during your lunch break for a calorie-burning boost. Another great way to supplement your gym routine: Try knocking out some house or yard work by attacking the job with gusto! Shoveling snow, raking leaves, vacuuming and dusting can be great activities for burning off a greasy business lunch or the sins of the holiday season.


My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Gaiam’s site focuses on personal development, health & wellness and global consciousness. It’s full of inspirational media and solutions for healthy living, environmental wellness and renewal of spirit. Their blog has great articles and tips on everything from 5 Ways to Save Money on Organic Foods to Quick and Easy Arm Workouts.

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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 Tuesday at or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: April 22nd, Earth Day, is fast approaching. This year find new ways to celebrate Earth Day and include your new green habits all year long.

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, brought together millions of people from all walks of life who were concerned about the environment and they wanted our government to pay attention. The idea was the inspiration of a Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson.

“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”  ~Gaylord Nelson

For more on the origins of Earth Day, read “Earth Day: How It All Began.”

Some ways you could celebrate Earth Day this year:

  • Plant a tree in your yard. Make it a fun family activity for Earth Day. Not only will it look beautiful in your yard but planting trees help to lower greenhouse gas emissions and they provide a habitat for a variety of other plants and animals. Or plant two trees… National Arbor Day is April 27th.
  • Start composting. For more information, read Green Tip – Composting 101. Locally, the City of Fargo has a wonderful compost bin you can purchase at a reasonable cost. For more information call 701-241-1449.
  • Start recycling. Find out what you can recycle though your local recycling program. Here’s an excellent article about recycling and how to get started: Project Recycling by Amanda Peterson. To quote Amanda, “It’s all about being aware of what you consume and finding ways to minimize the waste left behind”.
  • Plant flowers at a local non-profit organization, school or church, remember to contact the organization before you start planting. Most are thrilled when someone offers to beautify their grounds.
  • Go on a nature hike. Nature hikes are a great way to appreciate the details of our beautiful earth. Pick a park or nearby trail or visit a new place every year on Earth Day.
  • Clean up litter around your neighborhood, at a local park or school. Litter detracts from the beauty of nature and can be dangerous to people and animals.
  • Cook a special Earth Day meal using whole, organic and non-processed foods. Invite friends and family over to share a healthy, home-cooked meal.
  • Attend an Earth Day event. Earth Day events are held across the nation, and are full of fun activities for both you and the kids. Pick a place close to you, events can be seen at

Local events in the Fargo Moorhead area:

Mindful Living Gathering on Thursday, April 19th from 6pm to 730pm. In honor of Earth Week, Carrie Brusven, a business and home eco-consultant in Fargo, and Laura Caroon, Frozen Music Studios Photography and Midwest Junk, will host a workshop design to teach you more about environmental health and toxins. The workshop will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Moorhead.

Prairie Roots Food Co-op is fast becoming a reality. The Board of Directors and Volunteers of Prairie Roots Food Cooperative are hosting a Founding Membership Drive on Friday, April 20th, 7:00 PM at the Bluestem Center for the Arts, 801 50th Ave SW, Moorhead, MN. There are only a few (FREE) tickets left so hurry over to and reserve one for yourself. This is your chance to learn more about the co-op, meet their Board of Directors and become a Founding Member of Prairie Roots Food Cooperative! They also have a Facebook page: Prairie Roots will also be at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead on Saturday April 21 from 12 – 4. Stop by if you want to hear more or become a member.

F/M Food Not Lawns has their first official meeting on April 22, 2012 from 3pm to 5pm at the Red Raven Espresso Parlor in Fargo. Do not miss this opportunity to meet action oriented gardeners in our community, share ideas and knowledge and discuss possible future projects.

Here’s a wonderful video about the Food Not Lawns movement:

For more information, visit F/M Food Not Lawns at

Remember you don’t have to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, you can celebrate Earth Day each and every day of the year.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Food Not Lawns

Food Not Lawns was founded in Eugene, Oregon in 1999 and today is a global community of gardeners working together to grow and share food, seeds and knowledge. Visit their site to discover how to participate.


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

GREEN TIP: Today is America Recycles Day, take the “I recycle” pledge and commit to recycle and learn about what can be recycled in your community  at

America Recycles Day, a program of Keep America Beautiful, is the only nationally-recognized day and community-driven national awareness initiative dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Since it began in 1997, communities across the country have participated in America Recycles Day on November 15 to promote recycling awareness, commitment and action. Last year, 2 million people celebrated recycling at more than 2,000 events across the nation on America Recycles Day.

Some Recycling Facts from

  • Recycling one aluminum can will power a 46 inch LED TV for 3 hours.
  • Plastic bags are recyclable, but usually not at the curb. However, many retailers across the country have drop-off collections for plastic bag recycling. Other bags that can be recycled as well are: drycleaning bags, bread bags and newspaper bags.
  • Only 8 percent (by weight) of all mobile phones no longer in use in 2009 were collected for recycling. However, reusing by donating or passing along to a friend or family member is the most popular way to “dispose of” consumer electronics.
  • A glass container can go from a recycling bin to a store shelf in as few as 30 days.

Some Ways YOU Can Take Action This Year:

1.  Give Back To The Planet On America Recycles Day With HopeLine From Verizon

Through HopeLine from Verizon, you can easily recycle wireless devices, batteries and accessories in any condition, from any wireless provider, to your local Verizon Wireless Communications Store, or drop them in the mail using HopeLine’s simple instructions. The program then donates no-longer-used phones to victims and survivors of domestic violence who need a line of support. If the phones are unable to be reused, they are then disposed of in an environmentally sound way.

Wondering what happens to the personal info on your phone once it is out of your hands? Stumped on how to scrub your wireless phone clean? Check out our tips on how to wipe your wireless device free of information before you send it off for recycling:

All it takes is one simple action and a quick trip to your local VZW store or post office to make a big difference for our environment!

2.  Know your local recycling system, visit to find out what and where to recycle in your area.

Using their Recycling Location Search is simple:

  • Choose a category to see a list of materials that you can recycle.
  • Select one or more materials.
  • Enter your zip code or select a major city from the list to see locations.

3.  Make sure you’re always recycling your cans.

Metals are among the most valuable materials in the waste stream. Aluminum and steel cans are always welcomed by recyclers, and most metals can be recycled indefinitely with no loss of quality.

4. Teach your children about how and why to recycle.

Involve your kids in recycling and make it fun. Learning how to recycle early will help our next generation of environmental stewards form good habits now.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

America Recycles Day
Visit America Recycles and pledge to reduce your personal waste by recycling.

Reminder: 100-Mile Thanksgiving Farmers Market coming up later this week!

Locally, you can find a number of wonderful ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal and celebrate local foods at Concordia College in Moorhead. This year marks the 3rd annual 100-Mile Thanksgiving Farmers Market at Concordia.

Where: the Atrium, Knutson Campus Center at Concordia College
When:  Thursday, November 17th, 2011 at 330pm to 630pm

Some of the farmers and producers of the fresh, local and seasonal foods:

There will also be some fun activities for kids of all ages. For more information, contact Dr. Gretchen Harvey at

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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: April 22nd, Earth Day, is fast approaching. This year find new ways to celebrate Earth Day and incorporate your new green habits all year long.

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, brought together millions of people from all walks of life who were concerned about the environment and they wanted our government to pay attention. The idea was the inspiration of a Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson.

“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”  ~Gaylord Nelson

Read the full story of Earth Day at

Here are some things you can do to celebrate Earth Day this year:

  • Bring your used flip flops to Old Navy:

WHAT: Old Navy and TerraCycle Partner in “The Flip Flop Replay”

In an effort to further reduce waste, TerraCycle, Inc. and Old Navy are partnering in a month-long drive to collect used flip flops and recycle them into four public playgrounds around the country. The community is encouraged to participate by stopping by an Old Navy store to deposit used flip flops in designated collection bins. This is the first time a nationwide retailer has initiated a large-scale effort to collect and recycle flip flops.

WHEN: April 22, 2011 (Earth Day) through May 21, 2011

WHERE: All Old Navy stores across the U.S.

ABOUT TERRACYCLE: TerraCycle, Inc. is an international upcycling company that takes difficult to recycle packaging and turns it into affordable, eco-friendly products. Founded in 2001, TerraCycle is the world’s leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste. TerraCycle works to collect used packaging and products that would otherwise be destined for landfills. The waste is collected through TerraCycle’s Brigade programs, which are free fundraisers that pay schools and non-profits for every piece of waste they collect and return. For information on TerraCycle please visit

  • Bring your used writing instruments (regardless of brand) to Office Depot:

WHAT: Sanford Brands, Office Depot and TerraCycle, Inc. are offering customers a unique recycling opportunity during Earth Month. Customers can bring used writing instruments, regardless of brand, to any Office Depot store nationwide. In exchange for ten pens, pencils or markers, customers will receive a coupon toward a new Sanford product. The collected instruments will be sent to TerraCycle, the pioneering upcycling and recycling company, to be turned into new office-supply products ranging from trashcans to desk organizers.

WHEN: April 17th through April 23rd

WHERE: All Office Depot stores across the U.S.

  • Clean up around your neighborhood. As the snow melts (and hopefully we’ll stop getting new snow), you can see all the liter that was lurking underneath.
  • Start recycling. If your community doesn’t have a curbside recycling program, find your nearest recycling center. Here’s two to get you started:

WHAT: Recycle your old phonebooks by taking them to the special recycling drop off sites available now through May 6th. Only phone books with glued bindings will be accepted.

WHEN: Through May 6th

WHERE: The Fargo/Moorhead area

WHAT:Electronics Recycling Event

In an effort to keep lead and other toxics out of the landfill, the City of Fargo holds an annual electronics recycling collection for households and businesses each spring. They accept one computer and television per household at this event at no charge; businesses should contact for rates.

WHEN: The 2011 Electronics Recycling Event will be Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: Bring your items to the Solid Waste Facility at 2301 8th Ave. N. Call 701-241-1449 for details.

For more information, visit the

  • Take the bus.

WHAT: MATBUS celebrates Earth Week by inviting residents to Get Your “Can” on the Bus. Your bus ride is free when you donate one aluminum can.

WHEN: April 18th through April 23rd

WHERE: The Fargo/Moorhead area

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day []
Discover the story behind Earth Day and Gaylord Nelson, the visionary who began it all. This site is full of history and great information about the environment. You’ll also find wonderful quotes and great resources.

“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”  ~Gaylord Nelson

“We declare that the proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it.” ~Barry Commoner, 1970

“The fault lies not in the science and technology as such but in the sense of values of the contemporary world which ignores the rights of others.” ~Indira Gandhi, 1972

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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: When you’re traveling remember to use the same sustainable practices that you use when you’re at home like conserving water and electricity.

According to Traveling the Green Way these are the Environmental Top Ten Traveling Faux Pas:

1. Don’t litter.
2. Don’t purchase illegal souvenirs or food produce.
3. Don’t waste water in destinations which face shortages.
4. Don’t leave lights on.
5. Don’t leave the air conditioning on in hotel rooms when you’re not in them.
6. Don’t purchase mineral water in plastic water bottles when the hotel provides drinkable water.
7. Don’t stand on coral reefs. It takes approximately one hundred years for one inch of coral to grow.
8. Don’t disturbing wild animals by getting as close as possible for a better picture.
9. Don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground.
10. Don’t forget to recycle when offered the facilities to do so.

Source: Traveling the Green Way

Another fabulous source, National Geographic Traveler, has an Ultimate Guide To Sustainable Travel which includes the following:

1. Before you even leave for your vacation make sure you turn off and unplug any appliances, computers, TVs to avoid wasting energy while you’re away.

2. Bring Your Own Water Bottle.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, more than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away in the United States each day. Recycling or reusing those bottles instead would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for an entire day in 15 million households. Travelers can help by recycling and reusing existing water bottles, and refusing to purchase or accept new bottles; instead refilling a single bottle or other dishwasher-safe, reusable bottle with filtered water.

3. Use the Right Gear.
Choose environmentally friendly clothing and travel gear made from recycled, reused, organic, and sustainable natural materials such as cotton, hemp, and bamboo.

4. Bring a Reusable Shopping Bag.
Packing a basic canvas tote, or other similar sturdy, washable bag, in your luggage is an easy way to help keep trash out of landfills and off roadsides, conserve energy, and protect marine life. Use the bag—instead of the paper or plastic bags provided by stores—to carry souvenirs and other purchases made during your trip.

5. Shut Off the Lights.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

National Audubon Society
Audubon’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

For more than a century, Audubon has built a legacy of conservation success by mobilizing the strength of its network of members, Chapters, Audubon Centers, state offices and dedicated professional staff to connect people with nature and the power to protect it.

A powerful combination of science, education and policy expertise combine in efforts ranging from protection and restoration of local habitats to the implementation of policies that safeguard birds, other wildlife and the resources that sustain us all—in the U.S. and Across the Americas.

Local Audubon chapter in Fargo-Moorhead:

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Have a fun, safe, healthy and green Halloween.

I don’t need to tell anyone how unhealthy and expensive Halloween can be. Let’s endeavour to make it fun, safe, HEALTHY (or, at least, healthier) and GREEN this year.

The Costumes:

Don’t spend money on poorly made plastic, unnatural fiber costumes that are thrown away before the last candy corn is devoured. Instead create your own costume with items you already own. Or, take a trip to your local resale shop and let your imagination run wild. Once Upon A Child, for example, has gently-used costumes for sale.

More resources:
I blogged about making your own costumes, Make Your Halloween Green.
Jenn Savedge with Mother Nature Network has some great ideas for easy eco-costumes, Green Halloween costumes.
Greenfeet has some great ideas for a Green Halloween including some great homemade costume ideas.

The Treats:

To lessen the possibility of a sugar overload, before you head out for tricks and treats, give your kids a full, healthy meal. And, when you’re handing out the treats, instead of unhealthy candy, hand out organic candies, pencils, stickers, crayons, fake tattoos or small toys.

Local places to find organic treats and fun alternatives:

More resources:
Beth Swanson at Kiwi Magazine unmasks The Scary Side of Halloween.
Halloween’s Hidden Impactsby Julie Starkel, MS, MBA, RD

The Trick or Treating Bags:

Your Trick or Treat bag could be anything. Use your imagination. You could use a bucket, purse, basket or cloth bag that you decorate to enhance your costume. For example, last year my littlest went as an adorable piggy (note: costume was a gift from Grandma for our oldest daughter many years ago). The treat “bag” she used was a little decorative silver bucket that we use for storage, it looks like a farmer’s feed bucket. Perfect.

The Decorations:

Use natural decorations like pumpkins, squash, gourds and hay bales. And when, for example, your pumpkin has done it’s duty as a jack-o-lantern, toss it in the compost bin. Or buy decorations that can be used year after year. You’ll save money and the environment.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Green Halloween
Green Halloween is dedicated to offering fun, healthy, affordable, not-too-time consuming ideas that will support your goal of creating a Halloween that is happy and healthy for your kids and the planet we all share.

In 2010, Green Halloween became a program of EcoMom Alliance, a 501 (c) 3 with members worldwide. EcoMom Alliance works to inspire and empower women to reduce global warming and propel an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future. To do this, EcoMom Alliance utilizes the historically proven power of education, mothers and community action, and in this way create a global network of change leaders – an EcoMom Alliance.

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 1020am (central) every Wednesday at

NOTE: Starting September 22nd 2010, Simple Tips for Green Living will air Wednesdays at 1220pm (central).

This article was previously published October 7, 2009.

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