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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Look for sustainable ways to enjoy your summer.Bird Watching

Here are some simple ways to enjoy your summer while doing something good for the environment:

  • Eat local and organic. Purchase local groceries from your farmers’ market, sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program or choose local food at the grocery store. You’ll be supporting local farmers and lessening transportation energy.
    • LOCALLY: Join the Prairie Roots Food Co-op to ensure that we always have a place to purchase local, organic produce. For more information, visit http://prairie-roots.coop/.
  • When landscaping, plant native plants. According to Wild Ones,

Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so can survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they require no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to most pests and diseases. Thus, native plants suit today’s interest in “low-maintenance” gardening and landscaping.

Americans spend $27 billion a year on lawn care, 10 times more than we spend on school textbooks. The average lawn requires 9000 gallons of water per week, and 5-10 pounds of fertilizer per year, more than the entire country of India uses for its food crops. With natural landscaping many of these costs are weeded out. Best of all, these landscapes demand less routine maintance so people can spend more time enjoying and feeling connected to the wonders of nature. Simply stated, natural landscaping is designed to work with, rather than against, nature.

  • Get a rain barrel and use the water for your garden. A rain barrel on a 2,000 sq. ft. home can capture as much as 36,000 gallons of water a year.
  • Make your yard a pesticide-free haven for birds. Hang up a bird feeder, build a bird house.
  • Wash your car at a car wash. Washing your car in the driveway sends soaps, oils, toxic metals and chemicals into nearby waterways and is harmful for downstream drinking water. Use a commercial car wash instead. They are required to send water to the sewer system for treatment before being released.
  • Avoid purchasing new stuff. Instead check out a garage sale. You’ll be reusing and saving money at the same time.
  • Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bike or walk whenever possible. You’ll be doing something good for your body, the environment and your wallet.
  • Avoid too much harmful UV radiation. The best defenses are protective clothes, shade and timing. Read these tips from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) before applying sunscreen:Sunshine
    • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
    • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
    • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
    • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
    • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

For more sun safety tips, visit the EWG’s 2014 Sunscreen Report at http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/top-sun-safety-tips/.

  • Put up a clothes line and use it.
  • Replace parts of your lawn with no mow grass or groundcovers and mulch around plants to cut down on evaporation.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

PlantNative.org

PlantNative.org is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices. The sites contains:

  • Directories for local nurseries, community services and professionals
  • A detailed and engaging tutorial with an introduction, step-by-step descriptions of how to create a native plant landscape, and examples
  • Regional native plant lists
  • Recommended books for each region of the country

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Look for sustainable ways to enjoy your summer.The goddesses and cousins

Here are some simple ways to enjoy your summer while doing something good for the environment:

  • Eat local and organic. Purchase local groceries from your farmers’ market, sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program or choose local food at the grocery store. You’ll be supporting local farmers and lessening transportation energy.
  • When landscaping, plant native plants. According to Wild Ones,

Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so can survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they require no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to most pests and diseases. Thus, native plants suit today’s interest in “low-maintenance” gardening and landscaping.

Americans spend $27 billion a year on lawn care, 10 times more than we spend on school textbooks. The average lawn requires 9000 gallons of water per week, and 5-10 pounds of fertilizer per year, more than the entire country of India uses for its food crops. With natural landscaping many of these costs are weeded out. Best of all, these landscapes demand less routine maintance so people can spend more time enjoying and feeling connected to the wonders of nature. Simply stated, natural landscaping is designed to work with, rather than against, nature.

  • Get a rain barrel and use the water for your garden. A rain barrel on a 2,000 sq. ft. home can capture as much as 36,000 gallons of water a year.
  • Make your yard a pesticide-free haven for birds. Hang up a bird feeder, build a bird house.
  • Wash your car at a car wash. Washing your car in the driveway sends soaps, oils, toxic metals and chemicals into nearby waterways and is harmful for downstream drinking water. Use a commercial car wash instead. They are required to send water to the sewer system for treatment before being released.
  • Avoid purchasing new stuff. Instead check out a garage sale. You’ll be reusing and saving money at the same time.
  • Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bike or walk whenever possible. You’ll be doing something good for your body, the environment and your wallet.
  • Avoid too much harmful UV radiation. The best defenses are protective clothes, shade and timing. Read these tips from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) before applying sunscreen:
    • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
    • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
    • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
    • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
    • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

For more sun safety tips, visit the EWG’s 2013 Sunscreen Report

  • Put up a clothes line and use it.
  • Replace parts of your lawn with no mow grass or groundcovers and mulch around plants to cut down on evaporation.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

PlantNative.org

PlantNative.org is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices. The sites contains:

  • Directories for local nurseries, community services and professionals
  • A detailed and engaging tutorial with an introduction, step-by-step descriptions of how to create a native plant landscape, and examples
  • Regional native plant lists
  • Recommended books for each region of the country

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GREEN TIP: Sustainable laundry practices will keep your family healthy and looking great while saving money and the environment. Look for eco-friendly laundry products, conserve energy and be good to your clothes.    

Our Six-Year OldThe main problem with laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers is that they contain petroleum, phosphates and synthetic chemicals that leave residue on the clothes. These ingredients cause allergies, irritate the skin and eyes and carry other severe health risks.

Then they get washed down our drains and into our waterways polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas and are toxic to fish and wildlife.

Look for Eco-Friendly Laundry Products

Consider using eco-friendly laundry products. Always read labels and pay attention to what you’re buying, just because a product claims to be “natural” doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic.

Look for labels that indicate that the product is readily biodegradable, made with plant- and vegetable-based ingredients (instead of petroleum-based), contain no phosphates, and no allergy-inducing scents.

Ingredients you should avoid are butyl cellosolve (dangerous toxic chemical), petroleum, triclosan and phosphates. Also try to avoid chemicals known as phthalates that are used in detergents with fragrances, they have been linked to cancer.

If you must use bleach, try a non-chlorine product, use an oxygen-based cleaner instead, it is better for the environment and for your health. Or, I found a recipe for a safer bleach alternative at Grit.com.

Here’s the recipe:

12 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Mix. Add 2 cups per wash load or put in spray bottle and use as a household cleaner. For all the details, visit http://www.grit.com/blogs/Safer-Bleach-Alternative.aspx.

Conserve Energy

About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water and use cooler water.

Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

o  Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
o  Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
o  Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
o  Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
o  Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
o  Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
o  Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
o  Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Be Good to Your Clothes

The folks at Green Living Ideas have some great tips for extending the life of your clothes:

o  Limit dryer use to save energy, money, and threads. Your dryer can wreak havoc on clothes by fading the colors and affecting the quality of the fabric.
o  Add a couple of teaspoons of table salt in with your detergent to make your clothes brighter and prevent colors from running.

For more tips about using salt in the wash, check out HowStuffWorks: Uses for Salt: Doing the Laundry.

Also visit 5 Tips for Fresher Laundry.

o  Add baking soda or distilled white vinegar to detergent to clean, deodorize, and brighten clothes.
o  Turn your clothing inside out in the washer and dryer. This prevents the outside from getting worn out.
o  Switch to cold water wash—doing so not only saves energy but also prevents colors from bleeding or fading, which tends to happen with hot or warm water.
o  Make sure to button and zipper up your clothes. This prevents snags that could ruin your clothes after several washes.
o  Keep lights, darks, and delicate clothing separate to keep colors bright and clothing in good shape.

Source: Green Living Ideas

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As you know, I am passionate about non-toxic and sustainable living. It can be a little overwhelming and very expensive to wade through the products that say they are healthy and to find the ones that really are healthy, natural AND effective. So My Green Side is SO excited to partner with Ecocentric Mom as part of their blogger team. Ecocentric Mom takes the time, money and guesswork out of researching products, brands and ingredients so you can discover and try different products that are safe for you and your family. Here’s how they work:

Ecocentric Mom offers 3 specifically tailored types of membership boxes. The best fit for you will depend on your stage of motherhood. They offer a Mom box (for Moms of all stages), the Mom-to-Be box (to help pamper you during this wonderful time) and the Baby box (for newborns to 18 months). Each box is filled with items specific to the box type. Please visit The Boxes page for more detailed information about each box type.

To celebrate my new adventure with Ecocentric Mom, I am offering My Green Side readers a 10% discount on any subscription plan you choose. Just be sure to sign up here and enter code ECOMOM10 at checkout.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: When grilling during the summer (or any time) use these simple tips to reduce waste and keep your grilling a little greener.

  • Use a Better Grill.
    • Conventional charcoal burns dirty and produces greenhouse gases. If you have a charcoal grill, look for organic or natural lump brands. Natural gas is the most energy-efficient; however, infrared grills are the greenest as they heat quickly, use the least energy, and use less gas than regular gas grills.
    • Grills made of cast iron or stainless steel are the safest because they remain non-toxic at any temperature. Watch out for models made from chrome-coated aluminum, which can become toxic if the aluminum oxidizes. Stay away from lighter fluids, which release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.
    • Buy an a grill that is sized to fit your needs. A larger grill uses more energy because it takes longer to heat.
  • Non-Toxic Cleaning.
    • Before you turn on your grill, clean the grate with baking soda instead of store-bought chemicals. Use a wire brush and a paste of equal parts baking soda and water.
    • After your cookout, take a halved onion and rub it over the grate to get rid of excess food. Brush olive oil over the grate afterwards so the food won’t stick the next time you grill.
  • Set a Sustainable Table.
    • When serving your guests, go with reusable cutlery, glasses and plates. Use cloth napkins instead of paper. If you can’t use reusable dishware, cutlery or napkins, choose biodegradable, recycled , or unbleached picnicware.
  • Serve Sustainable Foods.
    • Fill your menu with greener options by choosing USDA certified organic or local grass-fed meat. If you’re a vegetarian, try certified organic soy hot dogs and burgers. Instead of using tomatoes and onions sprayed with pesticides, shop at your local farmer’s market to pick up your produce. You’ll also find pesticide-free meat products.
  • Recycle & Compost. 
    • Make it easy for guests to recycle by placing recycling bins next to the trashcan. Make sure each can has a label clearly marked: paper, plastic and aluminum. If you have a lot of leftover food scraps, compost the proper foods. Remember to never compost dairy or meat products.
  • Prevent Pests. 
    • To keep pests from plaguing your cookout, throw sage and rosemary on the hot grill. Mosquitoes hate these plants and will stay away, and the herbs add a pleasant aroma to your get-together. Another mosquito prevention trick is to set out a cup of sugar water. The mosquitoes will flock to the sugar water and stay away from your guests.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Grilling Addiction

GrillingAddiction.com is an excellent place to find grilling tips, tricks, techniques and recipes all year round. One of my favorites is Grilled Pizza Margherita and the Cedar Planked Potatoes with Rosemary and the… I could go on and on.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: As you travel this summer, make sure you’re using the same sustainable practices that you use when you’re at home. For example, continue conserving water, recycling and reusing even when you’re away.

Here are some sustainable tips to remember when you’re traveling this summer:

  1. Don’t litter.
  2. Don’t purchase illegal souvenirs or food produce.
  3. Don’t waste water in destinations that face water shortages.
  4. Don’t leave lights on.
  5. Don’t leave the air conditioning on in hotel rooms when you’re not in them. Most hotels have systems that are designed to quickly respond to make sure you’re comfortable when you return to your room.
  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.

Here are some more tips from National Geographic Traveler from their Ultimate Guide To Sustainable Travel:

  1. Before you even leave for your vacation make sure you turn off and unplug any appliances, computers and TVs to avoid wasting energy while you’re away.
  2. Bring your own reusable 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. Shut off the lights. When you leave your hotel room, turn off the lights, television, and radio to save electricity. In the summer, close the blinds and/or curtains to reduce heat gain in the room. In the winter, open the blinds and/or curtains on sunny days to let in the sun’s warmth.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
For more sustainable travel tips from National Geographic Traveler, visit http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/sustainable-travel-tips.

More sustainable DO’s for your green vacation:

  • Eat Local. Find local restaurants during your trip that source their foods from local farmers. You will get better tasting, fresher food and you’ll be supporting the environment at the same time. Visit the Eat Well Guide and search their extensive database to find local, sustainable and organic food at http://www.eatwellguide.org/.
  • Buy Local. Buying keepsakes from local artists and businesses who have local products will give you something that is truly reminiscent of your vacation destination. But buying locally also supports a reduction of emissions because you aren’t purchasing an airbrushed t-shirt that shipped from some far away location.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

SustainableTable.org

Sustainable Table celebrates local sustainable food, educates consumers on food-related issues and works to build community through food. The program is home to the Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainable products in the U.S. and Canada, and the critically-acclaimed, award-winning Meatrix movies – The MeatrixThe Meatrix II: Revolting and The Meatrix II½.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: “Green” living is being practical, frugal and thoughtful in your day-to-day life.

Since we’re celebrating the 90th Anniversary of WDAY 970 AM, I wanted to look at sustainability from a different perspective, from the perspective of the early 1900’s.

“Green” living may seem like a relatively new movement, but the concepts behind it are not new. Here’s a look at some practical, frugal, thoughtful things that people during that time were doing on a day-to-day basis:

  • Returning empty bottles to get back their deposit (recycling).
  • Reusing everything. Our ancestors wouldn’t throw away anything they thought they could use again.
  • Harvesting rainwater. Collecting rainwater is a great way to reduce your water bill while conserving one of our most precious resources.  According to Mother Nature Network, a rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.
  • Hanging clothes out to dry. Our clothes dryers use a lot of electricity especially compared to the old low-tech option – the clothesline. Clothes dryers have come a long way in energy efficiency over recent years, but the average home clothes dryer has a carbon footprint of about 4.4 lbs. of carbon dioxide per load of laundry. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “the biggest way to cut the environmental impact of cleaning clothes is to stop using a clothes dryer.”
  • Growing their own food, preserving their harvest, saving their seeds and making their own food. Victory Gardens were very popular during World War II, but even before that, people relied on their organic backyard gardens to supply their fruits and vegetables. And when you grow your own food, you’re less likely to let anything go to waste. Back in the day, produce was dried or canned to create a winter food stock.
  • Buying second hand. Today we can use garage sales, Craigslist, Freecycle and swap meets to find gently-used items we might need. By shopping second-hand, we can reduce the waste associated with the production, packaging and shipping of new products.
  • Making their own clothes from natural not synthetic materials.
  • Mending their clothes when they wore out then, when mending wasn’t an option, using the material to make quilts or cleaning rags.
  • Mending their shoes when they wore out.
  • In general, the trend was to fix things when they wore out or broke, not throw them in a landfill and buy a new one.
  • People used and reused cloths for dusting and cleaning. They also made their own cleaning products out of non-toxic household items like baking soda, white vinegar, soap and water.

Fun tip from the Old Farmer’s Almanac (1914):

A room or house containing a fireplace that has been unused for a long stretch of time will sometimes start to have a sooty odor from drafts circulating through the house. To freshen up the air crumple old newspapers, put them in the fireplace, and sprinkle ground coffee on top of the newspapers. Light a fire and allow it to burn.

The coffee scent will clear the sooty odor and you won’t be breathing in the neurotoxins commonly found in commercial air fresheners.

Another great tip:

Save your cooking water. When you prepare pasta, potatoes or other vegetables, don’t pour the hot water down the drain. Remove the food with tongs or a slotted spoon and when the water has cooled use it to water your house plants or save it in a large container to take out to your garden later.

The phrase “Waste not, want not” from back then has today become “Reduce, reuse, recycle.”

 

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Frugally Sustainable

Frugally Sustainable is a site full of tips and information about being frugal and living a sustainable life because usually the two go hand-in-hand. You’ll find tips on making your own natural remedies, gardening, recipes and more. “It’s about returning to forgotten skills, reviving old wisdom, creating something amazing, and finding happiness”.

“Home is where the great change will begin. It is not where it ends.” ~Shannon Hayes, Radical Homemakers

 

 

 

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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 approximately1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Look for sustainable ways to enjoy your summer.

Here are some simple ways to enjoy your summer while doing something good for the environment:

  • Eat local and organic. Purchase local groceries from your farmers’ market, sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program or choose local food at the grocery store. You’ll be supporting local farmers and lessening transportation energy.
  • When landscaping, plant native plants. According to Wild Ones,

Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so can survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they require no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to most pests and diseases. Thus, native plants suit today’s interest in “low-maintenance” gardening and landscaping.

Americans spend $27 billion a year on lawn care, 10 times more than we spend on school textbooks. The average lawn requires 9000 gallons of water per week, and 5-10 pounds of fertilizer per year, more than the entire country of India uses for its food crops. With natural landscaping many of these costs are weeded out. Best of all, these landscapes demand less routine maintance so people can spend more time enjoying and feeling connected to the wonders of nature. Simply stated, natural landscaping is designed to work with, rather than against, nature.

  • Get a rain barrel and use the water for your garden. A rain barrel on a 2000 sq. ft. home can capture as much as 36,000 gallons of water a year.
  • Make your yard a pesticide-free haven for birds. Hang up a bird feeder, build a bird house.
  • Wash your car at a car wash. Washing your car in the driveway sends soaps, oils, toxic metals and chemicals into nearby waterways and is harmful for downstream drinking water. Use a commercial car wash instead. They are required to send water to the sewer system for treatment before being released.
  • Avoid purchasing new stuff. Instead check out a garage sale. You’ll be reusing and saving money at the same time.
  • Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bike or walk whenever possible. You’ll be doing something good for your body, the environment and your wallet.
  • Avoid too much harmful UV radiation. The best defenses are protective clothes, shade and timing. Read these tips from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) before applying sunscreen:
    • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
    • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
    • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
    • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
    • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

For more sun safety tips, visit the EWG’s 2011 Sunscreen Report

  • Put up a clothes line and use it.
  • Replace parts of your lawn with no mow grass or groundcovers and mulch around plants to cut down on evaporation.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

PlantNative.org

PlantNative.org is dedicated to moving native plants and naturescaping into mainstream landscaping practices. The sites contains:

  • Directories for local nurseries, community services and professionals
  • A detailed and engaging tutorial with an introduction, step-by-step descriptions of how to create a native plant landscape, and examples
  • Regional native plant lists
  • Recommended books for each region of the country


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And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!”~from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess

GREEN TIP: Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. This extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra ton of garbage per week. Give the planet a gift, take control of your waste this year.

The Use Less Stuff Report offers a checklist of simple things you can do to reduce waste while you eat, drink, and make merry this holiday season. Here are a few:

  • Turn down the heat before your holiday guests arrive. You’ll save energy while the extra body heat of your guests will warm up the room.
  • After your holiday parties, don’t throw away the leftovers. Put them in containers and send them home with guests.

At least 28 billion pounds of edible food are wasted each year – or over 100 pounds per person. Putting one less cookie on Santa’s plate will reduce his snacking by about 2 million pounds.

  • During the nation’s busiest shopping season, bring your own shopping bags.
  • Consolidate your purchases into one bag rather than getting a new bag at each store on your shopping rounds.

If each household canceled 10 mail-order catalogues it would reduce trash by 3.5 pounds per year. If everybody did this, the stack of canceled catalogues would be 2,000 miles high.

  • Plan your shopping in advance. Consolidating your shopping trips saves fuel.
  • Rather than piling up “stuff” under the tree, think about what friends and family really want or need. Try giving gift certificates if you don’t know what someone wants, or simply make a donation in his or her name to a favorite charity.
  • Give gifts that encourage others to use less stuff, like a book about making crafts from reusable items, a cookbook for leftovers, a reusable tote bag and so on.
  • For kids, start a savings account or give stocks or bonds. It’s fun to watch money grow and it teaches children the value of financial conservation.
  • Donate unwanted gifts, along with last year’s gifts that the kids have outgrown, to charity.
  • When buying electronic toys and other portable items that are used regularly, remember to buy rechargeable batteries to go with them.
  • Make new tree ornaments out of things you already have around the house, or from materials you might find in the backyard: twigs, bark, flowers and herbs, pine cones and so on.
  • Old clothes and jewelry make a great dress-up box for kids.
  • Tools and gadgets make a great idea box for a young inventor.
  • Give the gift of an experience: tickets to concerts, tickets to a museum, tickets to a sporting event, gift certificates or even gifts of your own time.
  • Tie a bow around oversized gifts like bicycles or CD racks, instead of wrapping them in paper.
  • Wrap gifts in old maps, newspapers, Sunday comics or fancy holiday gift bags. Kids’ art work is a perfect wrapping for presents to proud grandparents.
  • Use brown paper grocery bags to wrap small-to-medium size boxes that have to be mailed.

If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.

  • Compost your food waste. Fruits and vegetables and their peels, pits and seeds are all perfect for composting – a great natural fertilizer.

Source: Use Less Stuff

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Saving Naturally
An awesome site that aspires to help all of us live healthy and sustainable lives while living within a budget. Their daily posts are filled with deals on bulk groceries and natural living products, coupons relevant to a whole foods diet, frugal living tips, and all other manner of bargains that fit with your healthy and organic lifestyle.

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 WDAY.com.

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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 WDAY.com. NOTE: SIMPLE TIPS WILL AIR ON TUESDAYS BEGINNING OCTOBER 25 2011.

GREEN TIP: Try to plan a more sustainable Thanksgiving. Plan ahead for perfect portions and leftover packaging. At least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year – more than 100 pounds per person.

Use Less Stuff has 42 Ways to Watch Your Holiday Wasteline (pun intended). They’ve created a convenient list of approximate food portions for your Thanksgiving meal:

  • Turkey- 1 pound per person
  • Stuffing- ¼ pound per person
  • Sweet potato casserole- ¼ pound per person
  • Green beans- ¼ pound per person
  • Cranberry relish- 3 tablespoons per person
  • Pumpkin pie- 1/8 of a 9 inch pie per person

Locally, you can find a number of wonderful ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal at Sydney’s Health Market. If you not been there yet, head over this Saturday, November 13th 2010 for their Healthy Holidays Celebration from 10am to 3pm. Sign up for door prizes, samples some treats and soak in their warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Go to Sydney’s Health Market’s website for more information.

Talking turkey:

According to Sustinable Table, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey is different today than it was 50 years ago. Today, 99% of all turkeys raised in the U.S. are the “Broadbreasted White” variety (sometimes also referred to as the “Large White”).

These birds are raised in confinement in extremely crowded conditions on factory farms. They live in unnatural, uncomfortable conditions and are fed a steady diet of grain and supplements like antibiotics, rather than the grubs, bugs and grasses they should eat.

They are produced because of their large, white meaty breast. The breasts of these turkeys are so large that they are unable to reproduce naturally. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, without artificial insemination performed by humans, this variety of bird would become extinct in just one generation.

Industrial turkeys are often injected with saline solution and vegetable oils in an attempt to help improve the taste and texture of the meat. These factory farmed birds tend to be dry and tasteless, so cooks have developed a variety of methods to try to improve the taste. Turkeys are now marinated, brined, deep fried and covered with syrups, spices and herbs.

You have other options. You can order a heritage turkey, or you can look for organic and/or sustainable birds at butchers, specialty shops and at farmers markets around the country.

Locally: Pre-order your turkey at Sydney’s Health Market. They have local, free-range, organic birds available for $2.99 per pound. Head on over to 810 30th Ave S in Moorhead or give them a call at 218-233-3310.

On to the leftovers:

You know you’re going to have them so make a plan. The Alternative Consumer has a wonderful suggestion in their green Thanksgiving guide.

Avoid plastic wrap. Most plastic wraps contain PVC which quickly winds up in landfills and has been linked to harmful environmental consequences. Use aluminum foil or, even better, send family home with glass or ceramic storage containers that they can return to you.

Or, call your guests and ask them to bring their own container if they’d like leftovers.

Above all, relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving, remember why we are celebrating.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Sustainable Table
Sustainable Table
was launched in 2003 to educate consumers about issues surrounding the food supply and to encourage individuals to switch to healthier, more sustainable eating habits.

Sustainable Table is also home to the Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainable products in the U.S. and Canada.

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