Valentines Day

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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: Surprise your Valentine with an experience, handmade gift or card, fair trade chocolate, PVC-Crayon Heartsfree gift certificate or organic flowers this Valentine’s Day. Show your love (or like) this year with a gift that says you care about the long-term impact of your actions.

Too often we buy things just to buy things on “holidays” like Valentine’s Day. If you feel like giving your sweetie something meaningful this year, I have some suggestions:

EXPERIENCES

  • Any busy person would appreciate a handmade certificate for a homemade dinner, doing laundry for a week (hint, hint) or any other task you know would be a delight to have done by someone else.
  • Dinner and a movie. Either take your sweetie out or have a theme dinner and a movie at home. Dinner at Mezzaluna in Fargo would be an excellent local selection. For more information and menu offerings, visit http://dinemezzaluna.com/.
  • Plan a trip to an art gallery or museum. Some local options: Plains Art Museum in Fargo, for more information visit http://plainsart.org/ and the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead, for more information visit http://www.therourke.org/.
  • Get creative. You know your loved one better than anyone so really make the day special.

Some local experiences to consider:

The Fourth Annual Unglued Craft Fest is coming up on February 21st and 22nd, 2014. Getting tickets for Friday’s Unglued Craft FestGala event would be a wonderful gift for your crafty, artistic Valentine (hint, hint). For more information, visit http://www.ungluedmarket.com/.

A membership to the Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is a gift that lasts a lifetime. With very affordable membership options, this would be a perfect gift for your sustainable Valentine. For more information, visit http://prairie-roots.coop/.

The Fargo Film Festival is coming up on March 4th through 8th, 2014. Great gift idea for your Valentine. For more information, visit http://www.fargofilmfestival.org/.

GIFT CERTIFICATES

  • A gift certificate for an experience like a trip to a local spa or restaurant. Most local (non-chain) stores and restaurant still use paper gift certificates instead of plastic cards made from PVC.

The folks at GiftZip.com have a wonderful tip. The next time you’re purchasing a gift card go for the electronic (and paperless) option, an eGift card. Each year, 75 million pounds of PVC is dumped into landfills from plastic gift card waste (Plenty Magazine). That’s an astronomical amount of waste for something that can easily and conveniently be sent virtually. We’ve talked about PVC before. PVC is notoriously difficult to recycle and cannot be tossed into the recycling bin along side your other household items. You must send those pesky plastic cards to a PVC recycling plant, the only one I know of is EarthWorks. For a directory of retailers that offer an eGift card, go to GiftZip.com.

CHOCOLATE

If you’re buying your Valentine some chocolates, make sure they are fairly traded and organic. This way you can be certain you are supporting sustainable agriculture and worker health and rights and, at the same time, giving your Valentine a eco-sweet treat.

ORGANIC FLOWERS

Organic flowers, organic chocolate and even organic baked goods. Thanks to my friend Melissa Hincha-Ownby, I discovered OrganicBouquet.com.

Organic Bouquet offers sustainably grown flowers fresh from their partner farms. They promote and live up to the highest social and environmental standards—developing the most eco-friendly floral packaging, initiating the industry’s first carbon offset program, and growing their flowers in a way that is gentle on the earth and that safeguards the ecology and the well-being of wildlife and farm workers.

Do you have any other ideas for greening someone’s Valentine’s Day?

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

The Daily Green

TheDailyGreen.com is a consumer’s guide to green living. The site is packed with daily news, tips, recipes, features and more. In 2011, TheDailyGreen.com joined forces with Good Housekeeping.

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

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

We talk all the time about ways to live sustainably, here are 10 ways to show your love to the planet this Valentine’s Day:

  1. BUY LOCAL WHENEVER POSSIBLE – Consider the amount of pollution created to get your food from the farm to your table. Whenever possible, buy from local farmers or farmers’ markets, supporting your local economy and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are flown or trucked in.
  2. WASH YOUR CLOTHES IN COLD OR WARM – If all the households in the U.S. switched from hot-hot cycle to warm-cold, we could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day. And only run your washing machine when you have a full load of clothes.
  3. START RECYCLING – If you’re just beginning to recycle, start with one thing. For example, recycling just the Sunday papers would save more than half a million trees every week. There are 63 million newspapers printed each day in the U.S. Of these, 44 million, or about 69%, of them will be thrown away.
  4. BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITHOUT RUNNING THE WATER – You can conserve up to five gallons of water per day by turning off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth. Daily savings in the U.S. alone could add up to 1.5 billion gallons.
  5. RETHINK BOTTLED WATER – Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health. The EPA’s standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA’s standards for bottled water.
  6. TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER AT NIGHT – By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year.
  7. ADJUST YOUR THERMOSTAT – Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter. Each degree less will save about 10% on your energy use. In addition, invest in a programmable thermostat which allows you to regulate temperature based on the times you are at home or away.
  8. GIVE IT AWAY – Before you throw something away, think about if someone else might need it. Either donate to a charitable organization or post it on a web site designed to connect people and things, such as Freecycle.org.
  9. AVOID PLASTIC BAGS – Each year the U.S. uses 84 billion plastic bags, a significant portion of the 500 billion used worldwide. They are not biodegradable, and are making their way into our oceans, and subsequently, the food chain. Stronger, reusable bags are an inexpensive and readily available option.
  10. USE COTTON SWABS WITH A PAPERBOARD SPINDLE – Some brands of cotton swabs have a paperboard spindle while others are made of plastic. If 10% of U.S. households switched to a paperboard spindle, the petroleum energy saved per year would be equivalent to over 150,000 gallons of gasoline.

Source: Wire & Twine presents, “50 Ways to Help the Planet.”

If you’ve already mastered these simple ways to help the planet, click over to EWG.org and read Your Guide to Going Green.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Sustainable Baby Steps

The creators of Sustainable Baby Steps are dedicated to guiding you to go green, save money and live healthy. Their goal is to guide you into a more sustainable life without stress, without spending lots of money and without overwhelming you with information.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~John Muir

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

GREEN TIP: Surprise your sweetie with an experience, PVC-free gift certificate or organic flowers this Valentine’s Day. Really show your love this year with a gift that says you care about the long-term impact of your actions.

Too often we buy things just to buy things on “holidays” like Valentine’s Day. If you feel like giving your sweetie something meaningful this year, I have some suggestions:

EXPERIENCES

  • Any busy person would appreciate a handmade certificate (on recycled paper) for a homemade dinner, doing laundry for a week (hint, hint) or any other task you know would be a delight to have done by someone else.
  • Dinner and a movie. Either take your sweetie out or have a theme dinner and a movie at home.
  • Plan a trip to an art gallery or museum.
  • Get creative. You know your loved one better than anyone so really make the day special.

GIFT CERTIFICATES

  • A gift certificate for an experience like a trip to a local spa or restaurant. Most local (non-chain) stores and restaurant still use paper gift certificates instead of plastic cards made from PVC.

The folks at GiftZip.com have a wonderful tip. The next time you’re purchasing a gift card go for the electronic (and paperless) option, an eGift card. Each year, 75 million pounds of PVC is dumped into landfills from plastic gift card waste (Plenty Magazine). That’s an astronomical amount of waste for something that can easily and conveniently be sent virtually. We’ve talked about PVC before. PVC is notoriously difficult to recycle and cannot be tossed into the recycling bin along side your other household items. You must send those pesky plastic cards to a PVC recycling plant, the only one I know of is EarthWorks. For a directory of retailers that offer an eGift card, go to GiftZip.com.

ORGANIC FLOWERS

OrganicBouquet.com offers sustainably grown flowers fresh from their partner farms. They promote and live up to the highest social and environmental standards—developing the most eco-friendly floral packaging, initiating the industry’s first carbon offset program, and growing their flowers in a way that is gentle on the earth and that safeguards the ecology and the well-being of wildlife and farm workers.

You can even find responsibly grown bouquets from mass retailers like FTD.com and Costco. So talk to your florist and ask questions about their flowers.

Why organic flowers?

More than 400,000 boxes of flowers are shipped from Ecuador to the United States in the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Workers in Ecuador and Colombia, usually women, work from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. during this time of year. Most do not work again until Mother’s Day approaches. Not only is the work hard and the pay unfair, governments do not restrict the use of dangerous pesticides.

They work around 100 varieties of pesticides, many outlawed in America, without protection.

For example, a 2006 Harvard study showed that children born to women working in the Ecuadorian flower industry had impaired brain development due to prenatal pesticide exposure. Do you think those pesticides have magically disappeared when your sweetie is smelling the blooms?

The story is the same in Thailand, Malaysia and Zambia – anywhere February isn’t frozen over and poor people are willing to work for pennies.

Source: Environmental Working Group and Wholeliving.com

JEWELRY

Make sure your jewelry is purchased from a sustainable source. Companies like Ruff & Cut offer socially responsible luxury, which means gorgeous jewelry, sustainable and humane mining practices and recycled metals.

Do you have any other ideas for greening someone’s Valentine’s Day?

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Wholeliving.com
Wholeliving.com
is an online magazine full of great tips and articles about living your whole life more healthy, happy and sustainably. They offer natural solutions for stress, sleep, allergies, and more. Living a green, stylish life is easy with their sustainable ideas. Healthy, delicious recipes are a click away (including desserts). Customized fitness (for body and mind) can be achieved with yoga, Pilates, strength training and cardio routines. Beauty — from healthy skin care to at-home spa techniques complete the radiant new you.

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

GREEN TIP: Surprise your sweetie with an experience, PVC-free gift certificate or organic flowers this Valentine’s Day. Really show your love this year with a gift that says you care about the long-term impact of your actions.

Too often we buy things just to buy things on “holidays” like Valentine’s Day. If you feel like giving your sweetie something meaningful this year, I have some suggestions:

EXPERIENCES

  • Any busy person would appreciate a handmade certificate (on recycled paper) for a homemade dinner, doing laundry for a week (hint, hint) or any other task you know would be a delight to have done by someone else.
  • Dinner and a movie. Either take your sweetie out or have a theme dinner and a movie at home.
  • Plan a trip to an art gallery or museum.
  • Get creative. You know your loved one better than anyone so really make the day special.

GIFT CERTIFICATES

  • A gift certificate for an experience like a trip to a local spa or restaurant. Most local (non-chain) stores and restaurant still use paper gift certificates instead of plastic cards made from PVC.

The folks at GiftZip.com have a wonderful tip. The next time you’re purchasing a gift card go for the electronic (and paperless) option, an eGift card. Each year, 75 million pounds of PVC is dumped into landfills from plastic gift card waste (Plenty Magazine). That’s an astronomical amount of waste for something that can easily and conveniently be sent virtually. We’ve talked about PVC before. PVC is notoriously difficult to recycle and cannot be tossed into the recycling bin along side your other household items. You must send those pesky plastic cards to a PVC recycling plant, the only one I know of is EarthWorks. For a directory of retailers that offer an eGift card, go to GiftZip.com.

ORGANIC FLOWERS

Organic flowers, organic chocolate and even organic baked goods. Thanks to my friend Melissa Hincha-Ownby, I discovered OrganicBouquet.com.

Organic Bouquet offers sustainably grown flowers fresh from their partner farms. They promote and live up to the highest social and environmental standards—developing the most eco-friendly floral packaging, initiating the industry’s first carbon offset program, and growing their flowers in a way that is gentle on the earth and that safeguards the ecology and the well-being of wildlife and farm workers.

Why organic flowers?

More than 400,000 boxes of flowers are shipped from Ecuador to the United States in the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Workers in Ecuador and Colombia, usually women, labor from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. during this time of year. Most do not work again until Mother’s Day approaches.

They work around 100 varieties of pesticides, many outlawed in America, without protection.

The story is the same in Thailand, Malaysia and Zambia – anywhere February isn’t frozen over and poor people are willing to work for pennies.

Source: Environmental Working Group

JEWELRY

Make sure your jewelry is purchased from a sustainable source. Companies like Ruff & Cut offer socially responsible luxury, which means gorgeous jewelry, sustainable and humane mining practices and recycled metals.

Do you have any other ideas for greening someone’s Valentine’s Day?

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Trees Instead
Trees Instead
offers an awesome way to tell your Valentine you love them. Make your Valentine gift sustainable and dedicate a tree to honor your sweetie. You can have one tree planted, half or even a full acre of trees planted in any US State, Canada, Africa and Israel.

As our love grows, so will the tree.

Portions of this article were originally published January 13, 2010 at MyGreenSide.org.

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We spent an afternoon making crayon hearts for Little Greek goddess’s classmates for Valentine’s Day. A friend of mine suggested the craft because she knows how I love to reuse and my aversion to sugar. We were so pleased at how they turned out… they’re adorable!

Crayon Hearts

Here’s all the information in case we’ve inspired you to make this cute and practical Valentine’s craft:

Materials

  • Crayon pieces (Tip: dip crayon pieces in warm water to make removing the paper a lot easier)
  • Heart-shaped metal cookie or muffin tinLittle Greek goddess making crayon hearts
  • Scrap paper
  • Double-sided foam mounting tape
  • Scissors
  • Colored card stock (try to find card stock with recycled content)
  • Marker

Instructions

Heat the oven to 250°.

Fill each mold with crayon pieces and bake until the crayons melt, about 10 to 15 minutes (Tip: Place a sheet pan under the crayons to catch any drips).

Once they’re cool, remove the hearts from the molds and smooth any rough edges by rubbing them on a piece of scrap paper.

Bake at 250Use small pieces of foam tape to stick each heart to circle, heart or square piece of card stock, then add your message.

Suggested messages:

You color my world

Valentine, you make my heart melt

Have a happy Valentine’s Day, for “crayon” out loud!You Color My World!

Source: Family Fun


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by Wendy Gabriel

You may remember the Equal Exchange Fair Trade Mixer Basket mentioned in the 2009 Happy Valentine's DayGreen Shopping Guide from My Green Side. The folks at Equal Exchange are full of great fairly traded products and are giving us more Special Offers, this time to help you green your Valentine’s Day.

Equal Exchange Organic Chocolate & Coffee Pairing Gift Bag. This kit includes a Chocolate & Coffee Pairing Gift Bagvariety of organic coffee and chocolates and packaged in a 100% Recycled Printed Gift Bag. This gift is perfect for a chocolate or coffee lover – and very economical at $34.95 each. (FYI – Their other chocolate bars are currently on sale until February 14th)

This is an amazing deal. The lovely people at Equal Exchange gave me a sample of their Organic Chocolate & Coffee Pairing Gift Bag and all I can say is YUM! The presentation is adorable (and 100% recycled) and the coffee and chocolate are unbelievably delicious. It’s a gift you’d be proud to give to anyone on your Valentine’s sweetie list.

Organic Dark Chocolate Minis GiftAlso, share the love with Equal Exchange’s fairly traded (Vegan and gluten-free) Organic Dark Chocolate Minis (55% cacao content). These deliciously rich, bite-sized chocolates are crafted using the best quality organic cacao (cocoa beans) from small-scale farmer co-operatives in the Dominican Republic and Peru. Swiss-made with only the purest ingredients, and soy- and gluten-free! Despite their small size, these minis have big impact. By choosing Equal Exchange fairly traded chocolate, you help provide small-scale farmers the resources and opportunities they need to build a better future for their families and communities. Price is $5.49 each.

Special Offers: Equal Exchange chocolate bars on sale until February 14th. We also have a “free shipping” code running until February 14th as well. The code is “chocolatelove”. Free shipping is for UPS ground within the contingent USA only.

I’m going to hurry on over to shop.EqualExchange.com and place my orders. See you there!

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Surprise your sweetie with an experience, PVC-free Remember the planet this Valentine's Day!gift certificate or organic flowers this Valentine’s Day. Really show your love this year with a gift that says you care about the long-term impact of your actions.

Too often we buy things just to buy things on “holidays” like Valentine’s Day. If you feel like giving your sweetie something meaningful this year, I have some suggestions:

EXPERIENCES

  • Any busy person would appreciate a handmade certificate for a homemade dinner, doing laundry for a week (hint, hint) or any other task you know would be a delight to have done by someone else.
  • Dinner and a movie. Either take your sweetie out or have a theme dinner and a movie at home.
  • Plan a trip to an art gallery or museum.
  • Get creative. You know your loved one better than anyone so really make the day special.

GIFT CERTIFICATES

  • A gift certificate for an experience like a trip to a local spa or restaurant. Most local (non-chain) stores and restaurant still use paper gift certificates instead of plastic cards made from PVC.

Remember the planet this Valentine's Day!The folks at GiftZip.comhave a wonderful tip. The next time you’re purchasing a gift card go for the electronic (and paperless) option, an eGift card. Each year, 75 million pounds of PVC is dumped into landfills from plastic gift card waste (Plenty Magazine). That’s an astronomical amount of waste for something that can easily and conveniently be sent virtually. We’ve talked about PVC before. PVC is notoriously difficult to recycle and cannot be tossed into the recycling bin along side your other household items. You must send those pesky plastic cards to a PVC recycling plant, the only one I know of is EarthWorks. For a directory of retailers that offer an eGift card, go to GiftZip.com.

Wonderful local spa to consider:
Elements Skin Clinic and Spa
4955 17th Avenue South
Fargo, ND 58103-3372
(701) 277-4581 

Elements also provides services from the Sweet Banana Spa Room, massage therapy, Youngblood mineral makeup and gift items from Voluspa, Paper Treats as well as handmade jewelry from Bead Unique. They offer great gift certificates to ensure everyone the most private and comfortable experience. Their skin care line Tre’SkinRX is fabulous! It’s made with organic aloe and all of the ingredients are pure. They also use only earth friendly cleaners and laundry soaps in the spa.

ORGANIC FLOWERS

Organic flowers, organic chocolate and even organic baked goods. Thanks to my friend Melissa Hincha-Ownby, I discovered OrganicBouquet.com.

Organic Bouquet offers sustainably grown flowers fresh from their partner farms. They promote and live up to the highest social and environmental standards—developing the most eco-friendly floral packaging, initiating the industry’s first carbon offset program, and growing their flowers in a way that is gentle on the earth and that safeguards the ecology and the well-being of wildlife and farm workers.

Do you have any other ideas for greening someone’s Valentine’s Day?

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Grist
Grist.org has a must read article: How to have a Valentine’s Day with a conscience.

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 (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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