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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. STARTING OCTOBER 13, 2014 A NEW TIME FOR THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM MEANS A NEW TIME FOR THIS SEGMENT… YOU CAN NOW STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 835AM (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: With winter fast approaching, make sure your indoor air is healthy. Finding ways to sustainablyKeep your indoor air as healthy as possible improve the quality of your indoor air will minimize your health risks.

Everything that’s in our home makes up our indoor air quality. The materials we’ve used to build our house, the paint on our walls, our furniture; all the pieces that make our house a home can potentially be harmful to our health.

Pollution from power plants, cars, and other transportation is a well-known contributor to outdoor air pollution, but our indoor air quality is often worse; it can be up to 10 times worse for you than the air outside. Microbial pollutants like mold, pet dander and plant pollen can combine with chemicals like radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to create a pretty toxic environment in your home; since we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors and 65% of our time inside our homes, according to the National Safety Council, that can add up to allergies, asthma and worse.

Source: Treehugger.com

Some ways to keep your indoor air healthy:

  • Maintain proper ventilation.
  • Minimize the use of harsh cleaners or cleaners with strong fragrances. Anything that is artificially scented pollutes your environment. The word “fragrance” on a label can mask up to 100 different chemicals, and synthetic scents have been found to trigger migraine headaches and asthma attacks.

Check out this University of Washington study to find out more information about why the word “fragrance” in products should be a red flag for consumers: http://www.washington.edu/news/2008/07/23/toxic-chemicals-found-in-common-scented-laundry-products-air-fresheners/

  • Garden and take care of your lawn without using pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. These toxic chemicals can be tracked into your home on shoes, clothes or paws.
  • Houseplants are some of the most effective air cleaners.
    • Aloe Vera soothes burns and removes formaldehyde from the air.
    • Corn plants remove benzene and cigarette smoke from the air.
    • Spider plants absorb carbon monoxide.
    • Peace lilies remove acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.
    • Dwarf date palms negate harmful effects from xylene (found in paints).

Source: Natural Health Magazine, July/August 2010

  • Avoid smoking indoors. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of indoor pollutants at high concentrations.
  • Don’t idle cars, lawnmowers and so on in the garage (especially attached garages).

For more tips on improving indoor air, visit Greenguard Environmental Institute.

Check out this really amazing air purifier – the ANDREA air filter. ANDREA employs both active plant filtration, along with water and soil to provide a multistage system that cleanses air from harmful toxins that can irritate and be harmful to your lungs. It naturally purifies air by drawing it with a whisper-quiet fan to propel it through the leaves and root system of a plant, then out through water and soil filtration and back into the room environment.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Greenguard Environmental Institute
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving human health and quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants. In keeping with that mission, GEI certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and provides a free resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments.

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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. STARTING OCTOBER 13, 2014 a new time for the christopher gabriel program means a new time for this segment… YOU CAN now STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 835am (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: October is breast cancer awareness month. According to a report by the World Cancer Brazaar - Bras on BroadwayResearch Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), a significant amount of cases (a minimum of 38%) could be prevented if we followed a few recommendations that were confirmed during their research.

None of these recommendations should be a big surprise. They are all things we know are building blocks of a healthy lifestyle… common sense. The choice is ours. To implement these recommendations into our daily lives or to ignore them. Especially when 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime and there are 230,000 new invasive breast cancer cases discovered each year.

Here are a quick look at some of the Cancer Prevention Recommendations from the report:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Convincing evidence shows that weight gain and obesity increases the risk of a number of cancers, including bowel and breast cancer. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity to help keep your risk lower.
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and limit your consumption of energy-dense foods (foods high in fats and/or added sugars and/or low in fiber). Translation: avoid process foods, soda and juices and eat whole foods.
  • Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans. Organic whole foods reduce the risk of breast cancer by modulating estrogen, a chemical that’s native to our bodies but a frequent precursor to cancer when present in the wrong amounts. For example, cruciferous vegetables—such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and collard greens—contain a compound that changes how estrogen is metabolized, making the body’s own estrogen less likely to promote cancer. Source: OrionMagazine.org
  • Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).Bras on Broadway 2013

And always remember do not smoke or chew tobacco.

For the complete list of recommendations and the full report, visit http://www.wcrf.org/.

What’s not covered in these recommendations, but we know are also contributing factors to cancer and other chronic diseases, are toxic chemicals. With more scientific evidence emerging all the time, it’s clear that the chemicals in our environment play a role in altering our biological processes. It’s also clear that our exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation are connected to our breast cancer risk (and other cancers and diseases but this month we’re focusing on breast cancer).

One big culprit when it comes to toxic chemicals is our personal care products.

In the U.S., major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put thousands of synthetic chemicals into personal care products, even if those chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility or birth defects. At the same time as untested chemicals have been steadily introduced into our environment, breast cancer incidence has risen dramatically. Source: Breast Cancer Fund

Following are some of the chemicals commonly found in our personal care products and how they impact our health:

Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance—both perfumes and fragrance ingredients in other cosmetic products. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Some phthalates also act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems. This class of chemicals has been linked to hormone disruption, which can affect development and fertility. Although some phthalates are being phased out of cosmetics under consumer pressure, diethyl phthalate (DEP) is still used in many products, including fragrance. In 2010, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found DEP in 12 of 17 fragrance products tested for their report, “Not So Sexy.” Product tests conducted by Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine in January 2007 found the phthalates DEP and DEHP (which is banned in Europe) in each of eight popular perfumes tested. DEP is a ubiquitous pollutant of the human body, found in 97 percent of Americans tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent epidemiological studies have associated DEP with a range of health problems, including sperm damage in men. Most fragrances don’t list phthalates on the label, but hide them under the term, “fragrance.”

Triclosan: Triclosan is used in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes to limit the growth of bacteria and mold. It is a common antimicrobial agent that accumulates in our bodies and has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics and antibacterial products. The chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. Along with its negative health effects, triclosan also impacts the environment, ending up in lakes, rivers and other water sources, where it is toxic to aquatic life.

To get the full list of chemicals you should avoid, visit http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/environmental-breast-cancer-links/cosmetics/.

To find out what is in the personal care products you and your family use every day, visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.

If you haven’t already, watching Annie Leonard’s, The Story of Cosmetics is a must see. She has an excellent way of getting to the heart of an issue in a really disarming manner. “Toxins in, toxins out.” To view, visit http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-cosmetics/

Locally, you can donate to Bras on Broadway, a fundraiser where every dollar donated stays in our region to help those who are fighting breast cancer. To find out more, visit http://brasonbroadway.com/.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Breast Cancer Fund

The Breast Cancer Fund works to connect the dots between breast cancer and exposures to chemicals and radiation in our everyday environments.

They translate the growing body of scientific evidence linking breast cancer and environmental exposures into public education and advocacy campaigns that protect our health and reduce breast cancer risk.

They help transform how our society thinks about and uses chemicals and radiation, with the goal of preventing breast cancer and sustaining health and life.

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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 start thinking about Halloween this year, make a conscience effort to make this fun holiday aHalloween 2010 little more healthy for your family and less scary for the planet.  

I don’t need to tell anyone how unhealthy and expensive Halloween can be. According to the National Retail Federation, “Halloween will be celebrated in record numbers in 2014, with more than two-thirds of Americans buying Halloween costumes this year. Total spending for the holiday on costumes, decorations, candy and more is estimated at $7.4 billion.”

Some really scary facts:

  • This generation of kids has a life expectancy that is shorter than their parents.
  • The EPA considers that 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides found in non-organically grown foods are carcinogenic.
  • Over 6,000 synthetic chemicals are used in the processed-food industry.
  • A 2004 study found that children’s behavior measurably improved after a one week diet without preservatives and artificial colors and dramatically worsened on the weeks they were given preservatives and artificial colors.
  • Coco beans used for chocolate that are grown in full sun (as opposed to shade) are susceptible to disease and therefore require heavy doses of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
  • The chocolate industry has engaged in the use of child slaves and other unethical treatments of growers.
  • Store-bought costumes, makeup and accessories may contain phthalates, cadmium, lead and other toxins.

Source: Green Halloween

USAgain Halloween

Here are some ways to make your Halloween a little more “EEK-o-friendly” this year. Focus on one area you could make a difference or freak out your family and do it all:

The Costumes:

Don’t spend money on poorly made plastic, unnatural fiber costumes that are thrown away before the last candy corn is devoured. Avoid costumes and masks made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Many children’s Halloween costumes and masks are made from PVC – the most toxic plastic on the planet. These products usually contain phthalates to make them flexible. Phthalates disrupt the hormone system and have been linked to adverse effects on reproduction and development, as well as asthma in children. Look for PVC-free costumes – or get crafty and create your own costume with items you already own. Or, take a trip to your local resale shop and let your imagination run wild.

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:

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, one 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 The goddesses' pumpkinhas 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.

Join the Prairie Roots Food Co-op and ensure that every year you, your family and our community will be able to buy local and organic pumpkins and squash.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Plastic Pollution Coalition at http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance of individuals, organizations and businesses working together to stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, the ocean and the environment.

Plastic Free Halloween

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY 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 WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Pediatric cancer is now the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children. Preventable childhood cancers are totally unacceptable so do your part to keep our children healthy.

In the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. A diagnosis turns the lives of the entire family upside down. (Source: American Childhood Cancer Association)

Check out Healthy Child Healthy World’s 5 Easy Steps to get you started:

  • Avoid Pesticides: Pesticides have been linked to a range of health problems, including asthma, hyperactivity and behavior problems, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive disorders, and compromised brain development.
    • Use non-toxic or least toxic pest remedies such as soapy water to kill ants and boiling water to kill weeds.
    • Prevent pests through good sanitation.
    • Remove shoes before entering your home to prevent tracking in pesticides.

Use these resources to help you make safer decisions:
Beyond Pesticides Alternatives factsheets
Pesticide Action Network

  • Use Non-Toxic Products: Think about all the products you come in contact with every day: personal care products, cleaners, computers, carpeting, cabinetry, cushions, cosmetics and much, much more. Do you know what’s in them? Many contain known carcinogens. Protect your health from this constant assault by making sure your products and furnishings are non-toxic. There are an increasing number of safe and healthy alternatives.
    • Read labels and ask questions about what chemicals are in the personal care and cleaning products, as well as furnishings, that you buy.
    • Look for products made from natural, rather than synthetic, materials.
    • Buy, or make your own, safer cleaning products.
    • Look for personal care products with certified organic ingredients and those with the fewest ingredients, or make your own.
  • Clean Up Indoor Air: We are breathing all the time so our air quality is very important. And, typically, the worst air is generally inside, where most people spend roughly 90% of their time.
    • The products we use are the source for a substantial portion of indoor air pollution. Because of this fact, it’s essential to know what’s in the products you buy and opt for the most natural and non-toxic choices.
    • Utilize plants to filter indoor air.
    • Open windows for a few minutes a day to ventilate rooms.
    • Wipe your feet on a doormat or remove your shoes at the door.
    • Check your homes vents, ducts, and heating and cooling filters.
    • Vacuum at least twice a week using a HEPA filter, and/or mop floors.
    • Change your vacuum bag, and be sure it has a clean filter to prevent the spreading of dust, which can be redistributed into the air.
  • Eat Healthy: Pound for pound, children eat and drink more than adults. Therefore, healthy eating is Community Garden harvestessential in order to safely nourish their growing bodies.
    • Choose to eat and prepare organic, whole foods rather than packaged foods whenever possible. The easiest way to eat healthier is to start making your food instead of buying prepared food and warming it.
    • Avoid genetically modified organisms (aka GMOs or genetically engineered foods).
    • Choose safer seafood. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website to learn more and print a pocket guide.
    • Read labels. Look for foods with few and identifiable ingredients. Avoid the top five risky additives: Artifical Colors (anything that begins with FD&C ), Chemical Preservatives (Butylated Hydroxyanisole [BHA], Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Benzoate), Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin), Added Sugar (High Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS], Corn Syrup, Dextrose, etc), Added Salt (Look at the sodium content and choose foods with the lowest amounts.)
  • Be Wise With Plastics: Plastics are everywhere and in most cases are very affordable and convenient. But, increasingly scientists are finding that a hidden cost may be our health. Some common plastics release harmful chemicals into our air, foods, and drinks.
    • Reduce the use of plastics, especially with foods and beverages. For example, opt for filtered water in a stainless steel reusable water bottle rather than single-use, plastic bottled water and reusable glass storage containers over plastic.
    • If you do buy plastic, chose safer plastics #2, 4 or 5.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Healthy Child Healthy World

Healthy Child’s mission is to help parents create healthier environments for our children. “With a growing body of evidence linking everyday environmental contaminants to asthma, learning disabilities, obesity, cancer and more, Healthy Child translates the science and inspires parents and caregivers to create healthy environments where families can flourish.” Their site in full of great information, tips and an awesome blog.

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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: Eating organic produce, meat and dairy is healthier for your family and the environment (and it tastes better). Products with a USDA Organic label were grown and processed without toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.  

Here are some money saving tips to help you eat healthier and stay within your budget:

  • Comparison Shop. You may be able to find less-expensive alternatives at different stores. Many major chains are coming out with their own organic brands but make sure it’s certified organic. According to Mark Kastel, the senior farm policy analyst at The Cornucopia Institute, ”Major food processors have recognized the meteoric rise of the organic industry, and profit potential, and want to create what is in essence ‘organic light,’ taking advantage of the market cachet but not being willing to do the heavy lifting required to earn the valuable USDA organic seal”. Products with a USDA Organic label were grown and processed without toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Certified organic production also prohibits sewage sludge, antibiotics, ionizing radiation, synthetic growth hormones and genetically modified organisms.
  • Check out the 2014 Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce and find out what produce is highest in pesticide residue.
  • Grow One Thing. Unless you have a lot of land, you’re probably not going to feed your family only from yourPeppers home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can produce a lot of tomatoes. Pick one (or three) things to grow in your yarn, on a balcony or in a sunny window.
  • Cook More. The more convenient the food is, the more expensive it is. For example, buying an organic frozen dinner may save you time in the same way a conventional frozen dinner would, but it costs quite a bit more than its non-organic counterpart and much more than a homemade meal. Buy organic items that are lower in price (such as produce), and make your own dishes from scratch.
  • Stock Up. Stock up on your favorite items when they go on sale. Or try something new that is on sale or is priced well, and you may find a new favorite.
  • Buy in Bulk. Buying in bulk will keep costs down. Look for many pantry staples often available in bulk, such as beans, legumes, rice, flour, nuts, chocolate chips and so on.
  • Organic Coupons. Keep an eye out in the Sunday paper and grocery circulars for coupons and, again, stock up to take best advantage of the savings. Organic bargains are everywhere so click on About.com’s Frugal Living page where you will find All Organic Links.
  • Shop in Season and Buy Local. Shop farm stands and farmers’ markets for the freshest produce and support local farmers at the same time. Purchasing in season produce from your grocer may also keep costs down. And you can also save money by becoming a member of your local food co-op.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative at http://prairie-roots.coop/

Prairie Roots Food Co-Op is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic and local food. A food co-op is a member-owned, member-controlled grocery store that operates for the mutual benefit of all members and according to common principles established for cooperatives. A food co-op provides community members with access to local, all natural, organic, and specialty foods. In turn, local producers gain broader access to the local market. Food cooperatives play an important role in helping to foster the relationship between local producers and community members.

THIS WEEKEND: Find Prairie Roots at Eco Chic’s Junk Market and Alley Fair

Find out more information about Eco Chic’s Junk Market at http://beingecochic.com/junk-market/.

Eco Chic Junk Market 2014 Find out more information about Alley Fair at http://www.alleyfair.com/. The Alley Fair is Saturday, September 20th, 2014 (Daytime Events) from 11am to 7pm and include an Artist and Makers’ Market, Harvest Market, food, games, live art demonstrations, music and performers.

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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: Instead of spending time raking and bagging up your leaves this fall, use them as mulch for your lawn. Leaves can be used to improve your lawn and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

We have talked before about grasscycling and the long term benefits to your lawn. This fall mulch your leaves back onto your lawn. Leaves can be used to improve your lawn and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers. Leaves also make great mulch, garden cover and rich compost. It’s good for your lawn and reduces the time you spend raking.

A Drawback of Leaving Leaves at the Curb: Phosphorus

Tree leaves are full of phosphorus. Piles of leaves can release large amounts of phosphorus into surface water run-off, ultimately resulting in high concentration in rivers, lakes, ponds and streams. This can lead to changes in animal and plant populations and degradation of water and habitat quality (exessive algae bloom).

To learn more about the effects of phosphorus on our water quality visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s website. Source: Pleasantville Recycles

Mulching Leaves On Your Lawn

Use your mower to cut leaves into small pieces, allowing them to fall into and under the grass instead of resting on top of it. This process results in increased surface area, which in turn makes it easier for insects and microbes to consume the leaves and get the nutrients back into the soil.

Lawns where leaves are mulched directly into the grass are healthier than the lawns with no leaves added and a healthier lawn has fewer weeds.

Compost Your Leaves

Composting is another great way to handle leaves at home. When you add leaves to your compost bin be sure you also add some nitrogen rich material to help the leaves (which are high in carbon) break down. Grass clippings, fruit scraps and vegetable scraps are an excellent source of nitrogen. You can also speed up the composting process by chopping up your leaves before you put them in the bin.

Some people like to keep a few bags of leaves to add to their compost piles throughout the year.

Source: City of Madison

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Ecosystem Gardening

Ecosystem Gardening is about teaching you how to become a steward of your own property and to begin making positive choices in your own backyard for wildlife and the environment. This site has great tools and resources to help you make a difference in your own outdoor space.

Conservation Begins In Your Own Backyard with Ecosystem Gardening

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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: A properly maintained vehicle will last longer, pollute less and save fuel.Baby Greek Goddess on her bike

There are many reasons to practice good vehicle maintenance and to take steps to reduce your vehicle’s impact on the environment and public health. A properly maintained vehicle will last longer, pollute less and save fuel.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Avoid excessive idling. Excessive idling wastes fuel and can actually reduce the life of your vehicle. Newer vehicles are designed to warm up in 30 seconds or less, even in cold weather. Turn your engine off if you’re waiting for an extended period of time. Contrary to popular myth you typically don’t use more fuel restarting your vehicle. If you wait over 10 seconds to restart your vehicle, you are saving fuel.
  • Don’t top off your tank. Fuel spilled when your tank is over-filled usually evaporates and pollutes the air. Topping off also produces excessive gasoline vapors that contribute to bad ozone days and are a source of toxic air pollutants such as benzene. Remember you pay for the gas that evaporates or is spilled on the ground.
  • Care for your tires. Keep your wheels aligned and your tires properly inflated to increase fuel efficiency and make them last longer. Studies show that a 7 psi under-inflation can result in 10% increase in rolling resistance. Under inflated tires can lower gas mileage up to 1 mile per gallon. Check the tire pressure once a month.
  • Combine errands to make fewer trips. Your vehicle burns more gas and pollutes more in the first few minutes after a cold start then when warmed up and operated for longer periods. Combine trips or seek alternative modes of transportation like walking, biking or public transit.
  • Watch your speed. The average vehicle loses nearly two percent in gas mileage for every mile per hour over 55. Driving at high speeds also causes tires to wear out sooner because rubber breaks down faster at higher temperatures.
  • Drive smoothly. Over-accelerating and braking quickly are hard on your vehicle. If you can drive smoothly, you’ll save up to two miles per gallon. Fast starts use up to 50 percent more gas than slower starts.
  • Travel light. Clear out the trunk. For every 50 pounds of stuff you’re carrying around, you lose 1/4 miles per gallon.
  • Don’t ignore the light. In newer vehicles, the check engine light on your dashboard will turn on if the on-board computer on tour vehicle senses something is awry with your emission control equipment. Visit your mechanic and have your vehicle checked. If you don’t have a check engine light but your car sounds different, is running rough or emitting smoke visit your mechanic sooner rather than later. Small inexpensive repairs can turn into large expensive problems if left unchecked.
  • Recycle your used car products. Most fluids from your car are toxic and must be handled carefully. You can dispose of many used and unwanted car products properly at a household hazardous waste facility. They’ll recycle them or dispose of them safely. Batteries, tires, antifreeze, gasoline, motor oil and oil filters, diesel fuel, brake fluid and automatic transmission fluid can be recycled.
    • Antifreeze is toxic to pets and harmful to humans. Don’t pour it down the drain. Store used antifreeze in its original container.
    • Batteries contain lead and acid that can be recycled. These materials can contaminate ground water if not disposed of properly.
    • Used motor oil can be recycled at the curb in the Portland area. Pour the oil into an unbreakable, see-through container with a screw-on lid like a milk jug. Never pour oil down a household or storm drain where it can travel directly into streams and underground water sources or disrupt waste-treatment facilities.
    • Tires can be recycled but services vary across the state. Never burn tires. Tires emit highly toxic and noxious smoke when burned.

Source: State of Oregon Department of Environmental Control, Fact Sheet, Save Money and Clear the Air

LOCALLY

For more information about the City of Fargo’s Hazardous Waste Facility, visit http://www.cityoffargo.com/CityInfo/Departments/SolidWaste/Householdhazardouswaste/. If you’re in the Moorhead, Minnesota area, check out http://www.ci.moorhead.mn.us/departments/operations/sanitation.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Be Car Care Aware at http://www.carcare.org/

The “Be Car Care Aware” campaign is a consumer education program about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. The site has great tips and information on things like Car Care Resources and Car Care Service Schedules. There is also a comprehensive Do It Yourself section.

Being kind to your environment through refined, renewed and resourceful living.

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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: Pack a zero waste lunch. You’ll save money and help the environment. The best way to Reusable Lunch Boxreduce garbage is not to create it in the first place.

We’ve talked before about using reusable products, Green Tip – Think Reusable NOT Disposable, let’s take it a step further and make our packed lunches both nutritious and environmentally friendly.

A zero waste lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits.The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it.

 

Tips for a zero waste lunch:

  • Use a reusable cloth bag or lunchbox. Avoid using disposable bags.
  • Use reusable containers (preferably ceramic or glass). Avoid using plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam.
  • Use a stainless steel bottle for drinks. Avoid using single-use cartons or cans. If sending a plastic bottle or can is unavoidable, make sure the container comes home to be put in the recycling bin.
  • Use cloth napkins to wash and re-use. Avoid using paper napkins but if you have to use paper napkins, look for napkins that use recycled content.
  • Use stainless-steel forks and spoons to wash and re-use. Avoid using plastic forks and spoons.
  • Only pack the amount of food you know will get eaten. Get to know what things are getting eaten at lunch time and what is being avoided. Ask your child to bring home lunch leftovers. Looking at leftover lunches is a great way to get information about your children’s lunch preferences. Find out why certain foods have come back uneaten. Did your child not like it? Was she not hungry enough to eat everything in the lunchbox? Was there a birthday celebration at school that day? Did she share someone else’s lunch instead? Maintain a dialogue without criticizing. Consider making a list of foods that your child likes to eat for lunch and update it regularly with input from your child. You may find that she prefers romaine lettuce to red leaf lettuce. By making this simple change, she might start eating salads more regularly. Providing a dip for carrot and celery sticks might make eating them more fun. Source: Waste-Free Lunches

Lunch Waste Facts

Eat a Rainbow

  • FOOD WASTE: A 2004 University of Arizona study reported that Americans throw away almost 50 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption. In round numbers that’s $43 billion annually on wasted food.
  • FOOD WASTE: Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) concluded in a 2009 study that each year a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (four percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
  • ALUMINUM FOIL: More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
  • ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS: Half of the 100 billion cans sold in the U.S. last year were landfilled or incinerated.
  • FOOD WASTE: Food debris in a landfill decomposes only 25% in the first 15 years. Compost that food waste instead of throwing it away.
  • JUICE BOXES: Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
  • PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS: It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP: Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • STYROFOAM: U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR.

Source: Scientific America and Global Stewards

We must shift our way of thinking, from what is the most “convenient” way to do something to how can we do something more sustainably. If we don’t, we are leaving a mess for our children and their children to clean up. Let’s leave our world better than we found it.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Waste-Free Lunches at http://www.wastefreelunches.org/

Several years ago, a group of eco-conscious moms in California decided to start packing waste-free lunches for their children and themselves.

When teachers, parents, and friends became interested in the concept, they started collecting waste-free lunch information that they could share with one another and with others who were interested. It soon became clear that families in other parts of the country were interested in learning more, so they decided to start putting the information on a website at http://www.wastefreelunches.org/.

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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 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) 2014 Back-to-School Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, up 5 percent from $634.78 last year. Total spending on back to school will drop slightly to $26.5 billion as the survey found there are slightly fewer students in households this summer.

Combined spending for back to school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion. To find out more information, check out their infographic on this year’s back to school numbers, https://nrf.com/news/infographic-top-2014-back-school-and-college-trends.

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:

Back to school

  • 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 http://chej.org/backyard-talk/ and make sure to download the Center’s Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies. They also have a convenient pocket-sized guide you can take with you while you’re shopping.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY 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 WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Your daily workout is another area that you can make more eco-friendly by hiking and Caleigh on the bridge over High Fallsbiking 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 EarthShare.org:

  • Whenever possible, get outside to get some exercise. 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. Check out garage sales or local thrift stores, 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 CG and his walking stick Lake Superiorencouraging 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.

See how this Sierra Club volunteer got gyms to clean up their acts. Visit http://ow.ly/A2bOA to read the article.

  • 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 like 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment and Play It Again Sports 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 Lake Superioran 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! Mowing your lawn, shoveling snow, raking leaves, vacuuming and dusting can be great activities for getting your body moving.

Source: EarthShare.org

Instead of a web pick of the week, this week My Green Side is highlighting a “green” activity:

LOCALLY: On Sunday, August 24th 2014, you can get your body moving at StreetsAlive! from noon to 5pm.

Activity Alley at 10th Avenue North, Fargo
Games and events for kids – street painting – hula hooping – active living theme parkCadence at Streets Alive 2013

Downtown Fargo
Pole vaulting, gymnastics and fencing demonstrations – outdoor yoga – slow bike races – street cafes – live music – Arts Partnership Chalk Festival

Davy Memorial Park, Moorhead
Healthy living exhibitors – healthy food vendors – farmer’s market

Three miles of streets through downtown Fargo and Moorhead are shut down to motorized traffic to encourage walking, running, biking, rollerblading, skating, dancing and other human movement. Start anywhere on the route!

StreetsAlive! works to inspire people and organizations to adopt and celebrate more physically active lifestyles – to help change our culture to make active living the status quo. It’s about embracing public spaces for activity and community engagement. It’s about encouraging people to walk and bike to work or school. It’s about connecting neighborhoods and people.

To find out more information, visit www.fmstreetsalive.org/.

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