22 Days Of Earth Day – Take The Daily Challenge

EarthDayOnline_50years EarthDayChallenge_2020 EarthDayOnline_2020
“While we collectively take action as individuals to bend the curve and reduce the spread of coronavirus, we cannot lose sight of the bigger picture — our global climate crisis. The intrinsic connections between human health and planetary health sparked the first Earth Day in 1970, and today, we must rise to meet these dual crises again as Earth Day marks 50 years.

In the face of a challenge that forces us to stay apart, we’re bringing challenges to bring the world together.

Join us for the Earth Day Daily Challenge, a 22-day series that will allow people to connect through challenges to take action right now, and every day, for our planet.
Each challenge will be posted daily on Earth Day Network’s social media channels (@earthdaynetwork). Participants can get involved by following the channels and adding their actions with the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE.”
Find out more here.

Green Action – Be BPA Free

Recently the Maine Legislature approved a ban on the use of bisphenol-A  (BPA) in packaging for baby food and infant formula. Has your state banned BPA’s yet?
BPA is found as a chemical compound in epoxy resins and metal-based food and beverage cans since the 1960s.  Many of these resin are used in food packaging.  These chemical enter our bodies when we eat the food which has been packaged in containers made with these chemical.  It is estimated that over 90% of the general public has BPA in their bodies at this time.
The effects of long term exposure to BPA’s are unknown at this time.  Animal testing has shown a high probability of impacts on the brain, behavior and prostate glands effecting unborn and young children.
In cooperation with the National Toxicology Program, FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research is carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the risks of BPA.
In the interim:
•    FDA is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. These steps include:
•    supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market;
•    facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and
•   supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.
•    FDA is supporting a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA.
•    FDA is seeking further public comment and external input on the science surrounding BPA.
Read more about harmful BPA’s here
Read the FDA Update on BPA here
Find more resources that will help you take action now here.
Find environmental organizations to support here.

Green Action – Get Involved In Earth Day 2013

This past year the world faced many extreme weather events from record breaking flooding in Australia to deadly cold and snowfall in Europe and severe drought and devastating hurricanes in the US.  In the face of this extreme weather Earth Day 2013 organizers around the world are working toward a united theme: The Face of Climate Change.
Monday April 22 is the 43 annual Earth Day. It is estimated that over 1 billion people around the world will take part in an organized effort to bring this years theme to life. Together we need to call on our leaders to make key changes to protect our fragile world.
What are you doing for Earth Day?
Get involved here
View a 2012 weather timeline here
Find more resources that will help you take action now here.
Find environmental organizations to support here.

Green Action – Limit Light Pollution

Be more green!
You can make a difference today!
Make many small changes to make one big change!
And you’ll save a lot!
Take action now!
Here’s one idea.
Limit Light Pollution
Did you know that we could save electricity,live healthier and save wildlife by just flicking a switch?
New studies have suggested that light pollution has started changing the behavior of many nocturnal animals.  Many birds not only navigate by the magnetic north but they also find their way by following the night stars during their nocturnal migrations.  Unfortunately with so much outdoor lighting in any of the worlds countries – these bird groups are  becoming increasingly confused and flying into tall buildings and towers. in   In 1981,the light drenched smokestacks at the Hydrox Generating plant in Ontario, Canada. caused the deaths of 10,000.00 birds.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 4 million to 5 million birds die this way every year.
This environmental danger is not just restricted to wildlife.  It has been discovered that many people  suffering with sleep disorders, depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and cancers stem developed their diseases from the alteration of the circadian clock caused by night-time lighting.  Other studies including two that were done in Israel have concluded that there is a correlation between breast cancer and outdoor lighting. these showed that women living in highly lite areas had a 73% higher risk of developing cancer then women from living in less outdoor artificial lighting areas.
So what happens when we start limiting our outdoor lighting?  Starting this July the French Government will become the world leader in preventing light pollution. With the hope of saving approximately two terawatt/hours of electricity per year the country will be mandating all commercial interior lighting to be turned off one hour after the last worker leaves. This, in conjunction with the turning off of all storefront and window lighting by 1am should save enough of electricity to light 750,000 homes.
Read more about the health effects of light Pollution here.
Read more about the wildlife toll of light pollution here.
Find more resources that will help you take action now here.
Find environmental organizations to support here.

Green Action – Recycle your Old Cell Phones

Be more green!
You can make a difference today!
Make many small changes to make one big change!
And you’ll save a lot!
Take action now!
Here’s one idea.
Recycle your Old Cell Phones
We have all heard the call to recycle our old cell phones.  We have heard that doing so can save us energy, resources and keep dangerous materials such as like lead, mercury, cadmium, brominate flame retardants and arsenic out of landfills and ultimately our precious  groundwater.
The fact are staggering. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans discard 125 million phones each year, creating 65,000 tons of waste.  With the average person in North America changing out their cell phone every 18-24 months, the waste generate from these upgrades have caused cell phone waste to become the fastest growing segment of manufactured garbage in the nation.  Sadly, only about 10 percent of the cell phones used in the United States are recycled. If Americans recycled all of the 130 million cell phones that are tossed aside annually in the United States, we could save enough energy to power more than 24,000 homes for a year.
There are several ways to recycle our old phones.  One is reuse.  The market for refurbished cell phones has grow over the last few decades.  Many organization reuse this old equipment for help with their charity and safety programs.  Other markets reach out to smaller developing countries to provide phones where they would be otherwise unaffordable.
Cell phones are filled with valuable reusable materials all of which can be recovered and reused to make new products.  For every one million cell phones recycled, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,274 pounds of copper; cell phones also contain tin, zinc and platinum. Many of these metals when reclaimed from old phones can be reused in jewelry making, electronics and auto manufacturing.   This reclamation saves valuable resources and rescues these metals from landfills.
When the rechargeable cell phone batteries are no longer able to be reused they are able to be recycled to make other rechargeable battery products.  The overall recycling of just one cell phone saves enough energy to power a laptop for 44 hours and recycling one million cell phones could save enough energy to provide electricity to 185 U.S. households for a year.
The next time you upgrade to a new cell phone, think before throwing your old one away or tossing it into a drawer.  The area for recycling and reuse of these old phones is growing every year.  Answer the call and recycle!
Find more resources that will help you take action now here.
Find environmental organizations to support here.

Green Action – Limit Your Use of Antibacterial Soaps

Be more green!
You can make a difference today!
Make many small changes to make one big change!
And you’ll save a lot!
Take action now!
Here’s one idea.
Try Limiting Your Use of Antibacterial Soaps    
 We are heading in the holiday season which comes “hand in hand” with the cold and flu season.  We have all been told to sneeze into our sleeves and wash our hands often to keep the germs at bay.  There is a whole industry built on keeping people safe and germ free. Consumers in the United States spend almost $1 billion per year on “antibacterial” soaps and other products, often believing these products will protect their families from harmful germs and illnesses. So one would think, with all these special wipes and soaps we should be protected.  Recently, new research has some scientists concerned that we might be harming ourselves as well as endangering our environment by using these antibacterial soaps.
Let’s look at the facts.  Most of us use these products to prevent cold and flu viruses.  When actually these antibacterial products kill bacteria, not viruses. These soaps are made up of two major antimicrobial’s, Triclosan, and Triclocarban.  These antibiotics soaps and wipes were originally created in the 1960’s for use before surgical procedures.  They were commercialized in the 1980’s, and by 2001 over 76 percent of liquid hand soaps contained these chemicals.  Most scientific research has proven that the over-use of these chemicals can reduce the overall effectiveness of antibiotics.  The more we use these chemicals the more resistant they become to bacteria, the more difficult it becomes for us to fight off disease.
When we wash our hand these chemicals are absorbed into our skin and contaminate our blood and urine.  One study found that 97 percent of all US women showed levels of triclosan in their breast milk.   According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), levels of triclosan in humans have increased by an average of 50 percent since 2004. Initial studies found that human blood levels of triclocarban spiked after using soaps containing the chemical.
The effect of these chemicals does not end after we wash our hands. Most of these product are washed down the drain thru urine or waste water during washing.   Triclosan is one of the most frequently detected chemicals in streams across the U.S. It has even been found in the bodies of wild bottlenose dolphins. Both triclosan and triclocarbon are found at high concentrations in treated sewage sludge (also known as biosolids) that is often applied to agricultural fields as fertilizer. Because triclosan has been shown to accumulate in earthworms living in these fields, there are concerns about these chemicals also moving into plants and wildlife. In 2002, the USGS published a landmark study showed 80 percent of 139 streams sampled from across 30 U.S. states were found to contain measurable levels of organic wastewater contaminants. Triclosan has also been found to inhibit photo-synthesis in diatom algae.  These algae are responsible for a large part of the photosynthesis on Earth.
While we know very little about the other long term effects of these chemicals that we are using, what we do know is that these chemicals may not help us or our environment stay healthier.
There are alternatives, many are organic and far less harmful to us and our environment.
What can we do to limit our use of these chemicals?
1) Wash your hands carefully and more frequently with natural soaps.
2) Use organic products that contain olive oil, honey, and candula oil.
3) Stay away from products that contain harsh ingredients ie: chlorine, ammonia or glycol ether.
In general, be careful of not only what you put on/in your body but also of what you wash down the drain or put in landfills.
Find more resources that will help you take action now here.
Find environmental organizations to support here.

Green Action – Compost

Be more green!
You can make a difference today!
Make many small changes to make one big change!
And you’ll save a lot!
Take action now!
Here’s one idea.
Welcome to Fall!  A time of harvest and preparation for the winter season ahead.  A time also for cleaning up and raking the colorful leaves that sometimes overwhelm our lawns.
Yes, Its the time of year where we get inundated with organic waste, leaves and, garden clippings not to mention pumpkins, hay bales, and cornstalks!
With all this organic waste overwhelming us, let’s think about the time and energy we waste bagging and carting it off to the dump when we could put it where is belongs… back into the soil.
Did you know that over 27 percent of the US municipal solid waste stream is made of of yard timings and food residuals? That’s over one quarter of the total waste we send off to land fills across America. The Environmental Defense Fund says that around 18 percent of the waste an average family in the U.S. produces comes from the yard and garden. When you recycle your yard and garden waste, you reduce the amount of energy used to send this waste to the dump. Add your organic kitchen scraps to your yard waste and you’re significantly decreasing your waste.
According to the EPA…In 2010, more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated, more than any other material category but paper. Food waste accounted for almost 14 percent of the total municipal solid waste stream, less than three percent of which was recovered and recycled in 2010. The rest -33 million tons- was thrown away, making food waste the single largest component of MSW reaching landfills and incinerators.
Composting can not only cut your waste energy costs and help reduce the waste stream in your community it also benefits your yard.  Composted soil retains more water and air, improves the soil structure and stimulates root growth in plants.  It can also reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
What can you safely compost?  Here is a just small list.
Animal manure
Cardboard rolls
Clean paper
Coffee grounds and filters
Cotton rags
Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
Fireplace ashes
Fruits and vegetables
Grass clippings
Hair and fur
Hay and straw
Nut shells
Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
Plain cooked pasta
Plain cooked rice
Shredded newspaper
Tea bags
Stale bread
Stale saltine crackers
Stale cereal
Used paper napkins
Wood chips
Wool rags
Yard trimmings
Find more resources that will help you take action now here.
Find environmental organizations to support here.

Green Actions – Use Natural Pesticides on Pets

Be more green!
You can make a difference today!
Make many small changes to make one big change!
And you’ll save a lot!
Take action now!
Here’s one idea.
Use Natural Pesticides on your Pets! 
The warm sultry days of summer are now upon us in the northern hemisphere.  Known as the “Dog Days of Summer” for astrological reasons I have always felt these long lazy days, are perfect for taking my dog out for a extended hike.  He loves the exercise and play time and I enjoy the relaxing down time outside with him.
Most of us here in the studio are dog owners.  Some of us even own more than one of these furry little ones, and all of us own a cat or two.  Across the board our pets are important to us.  The down side is when we go out and enjoy the great outdoors with them, they often bring back a pest or two.
Fleas and ticks are pervasive this time of year. They thrive in warm, moist environments and climates. Their main food is blood from the host animal which include dogs and cats and their human friends. Fleas and ticks primarily utilize mammalian hosts (about 95%).  An interesting fact is that it’s the flea saliva which contains an ingredient that softens, or “digests” the host’s skin for easier penetration and feeding that is irritating and allergenic, and the cause of all the itching, scratching, and other signs seen with Flea Allergy Dermatitis, or FAD.  Ticks also spread their diseases through their saliva, leaving a dark black patch of dead tissue on their host.
The adult female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day or 500-600 eggs over several months. Fleas can, in rare cases, carry disease. Also, if ingested they can cause tapeworm. The flea has been found to carry the plague and murine typhus to humans.
In some areas Deer Tick population has been found to exceed more than 10,000 ticks per acre.  In some areas, as many as 90% of the ticks are carrying the Lyme bacteria.  And, Lyme Disease is not the only infection that can be spread by these ticks.  Babesios, Ehrlichiosis and some viral infections have also been found in Deer Ticks.
So how do we protect our pets and ourselves from these pests in a healthy way?
Yes, we can use many of the ointments available from our vets and pet stores.  Most of these contain hazardous and harmful chemicals such as tetrachlorvinphos, carbaryl and propoxur as active ingredients.  These chemicals however are dangerous to use on pets and humans and dangerous to the environment as well.  The EPA has classified each of these ingredients as either a “likely” or “probable human carcinogen”.
The good news is that there are several effective and natural alternatives to the chemical pesticide approach.
Cedar Oil is one.  We all know that cedar repels moths.  The cedar oil aroma actually repels and kills most insects by causing a respiratory blockage and suffocation.  The EPA feels there is no human environmental risk posed by cedar oil making this what is commonly referred to as a mechanical pesticide.  Diluted cedar oil products are available in spray on form for cats and dogs.  On humans cedar oil is also effective on repelling mosquitoes.
Another mechanical pesticide that is gaining popularity in the pet world is Diatomaceous Earth.   Pure food grade (not Pool Grade!!) Diatomaceous Earth is the powder like fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton and is almost pure silica.  Under a microscope Diatomaceous Earth looks like shards of glass.  Sprinkle a bit of DI over your pets dry coat and your pet within a few hours your pet will be at peace with himself.  Do your best not to breathe DI in, or have you pet breath it.  Remember it only works well when it is dry power, it is the mechanical rubbing of the insects body against the sharp dry silica that kills the pest.   For humans this product is harmless, in fact we eat it.  Diatomaceous Earth is added to grain based foods to keep bugs from infesting our food stock.
So get outside and enjoy a long walk with your pet and have a wonderful pest free summer!
Find more resources that will help you take action now here.
Find environmental organizations to support here.

Green Action – Clean Your Beach

Be more green!
You can make a difference today!
Make many small changes to make one big change!
And you’ll save a lot!
Take action now!
Here’s one idea.
Clean your Beach! 
It’s summer here in Maine and the temperatures are rising.  Like anywhere else in the world when it gets warm – we head toward the water.  Be it an ocean beach, a river bank or a lakeside retreat we grab our snacks, beverage bottles, and towels and head toward the cool embrace of our local watering hole.
With approximately 80% of the worldwide population living near water, that translates into millions of tons of bottles and snack wrappers ending up on the worlds beaches.
We all know the importance of clean water, but more often than not, the full weight of this responsibility seems unfathomable.  Lets look at some numbers…  The total length of the worlds coastline is estimated to be close to  217,490 miles, or to put it visually, roughly equal to the distance from the Earth to the Moon.  The United States alone has more than 250,000 rivers equaling to 3.5 million miles of shoreline.  These numbers can become overwhelming in terms of tonnage and clean up.
But it can be done.
On September 15 for the last 26 years, the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup has held a volunteer clean up day for ocean and waterway health.  Each year these indefatigable volunteers not only scour our shores and waterfronts but additionally keep a running total of each specific type of item collected.
During the 25th anniversary Cleanup on September 15, 2010 nearly half a million volunteers combed the shorelines around the world to collect a total of 9,843,121 items of debris.  Some numbers are overwhelming…  980,067 plastic bags; 75,168 balloons; 1,094,921 plastic beverage bottles; and 1,892,526 cigarettes or filters are amongst a myriad of other refuse from vacuums to baby bottles, and washing machines.
What can you do?
Start with leaving the beach in better condition than it was when got there.  Leave no trace that you have been there, take all your garbage, any neighboring debris and your belongings with you.
Volunteer to clean up your local beach and get your friends and relatives involved.  Many local communities ask for help with clearing debris.
Don’t feed the birds!  The more food they receive means the more they hang out on the beach which increases the amount of bird droppings on the beach.
Don’t leave debris near storm drains.  Most of these drains run directly into the waterways without any filtration. After taking a swim in the nearest waterway these debris will most likely end up on the beach.
So grab those snacks and beverages and remember to clean up your area after you enjoy the cool clean water!
See you at the beach this summer!
Find more resources that will help you take action now here.
Find environmental organizations to support here.