Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BPA Lingers ...and Lingers and Lingers

Another snow storm, and it's a biggie.

Those sleuths out of Milwaukee are at it again. Susanne Rust continues to do her BPA homework and stay on the forefront of developing research. Now researchers (and these are the leaders in the USA) are finding that the half life of BPA in the body isn't what they thought it was. In fact, the levels of BPA actually don't disappear like previous studies showed. So either their previous equipment wasn't as good or sensitive, someone else did the testing, or we are being exposed to BPA beyond what the scientists are accounting for.

This is Susanne's usual excellent article. If you are new to the BPA scene, this is a great over view with the naysayers included. And BPA IS all around us. It is lined in every canned food (except a very minor few, more later) baby's formula cans and all,and I mean all, drinking cans, that includes organic vegetable juice too. What a waste.

Have you tried omitting all canned foods and all canned drinking containers? It ain't easy. If you want to see how precarious the canned food industry is, Organic Grace has also done some excellent sleuthing and has accumulated responses from the food industry. Trader's Joe at one point claimed to be BPA free but has since retracted the statement (see Organic Grace)

I have no idea what the delay in switching to BPA free canned is. Is it expensive? Do they not have a safe alternative? Have they committed to a contract they can't get out of? Do can suppliers have companies by the (@^!!$? Are they hoping this BPA stuff will go away? (not so long as Susanne Rust is around)

I know I, others and folks like Susanne are beating an almost dead BPA horse but we won't stop until things change for the safety of us all. Unfortunately the littlest ones are most vulnerable for many reasons but mostly shear lack of size, metabolism and stages of growing. Alarming research is coming out about BPA in infants and the consequences as such. Infant formula is suspect but so is the exposure during the hospital visit.

Yikes. The news about BPA isn't getting better folks. All the independent (that means not paid for by the chemical industry) research continues to whack us over the head to get us to notice. So take notice. BPA is a serious hormone disruptor. The Breast Cancer Fund does boldly connect BPA to breast cancer on their fact sheet. What more do you need to know?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Green Day for America - Here's Hoping

Cloudy, still, low hanging clouds; cold but not frigid.

Most environmentalists have been counting the days, even hours, waiting for today; the changing of the guard if you will. And we're hoping that this new President will actually guard us.

Guard us from what? Our own selfish selves basically. We, humans that is, have run our environment into the messy ground. For the last one hundred years we have taken, taken , taken with nary a look back over our shoulders. The environment is such a mess that looking back isn't necessary now because it's in front of you (careful, you'll trip), like the big gorilla in the room.

The new administration thankfully dares to use the "s" word, sustainability. They recognize that you can no longer keep using resources without adequately replacing what you have "taken". We can not continue on this current course without certain human destruction. And thank goodness, we have some folks who get this.

Oh come on now, right? Really? It's not so bad... let's review our basic needs:

1 - Water - "the governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency due to water shortages; salmonella contaminated municipal water in Colorado; and eight states ratified the Great Lakes Basin Compact, an agreement designed to ensure that Great Lakes water, nearly 20% of the world's freshwater, won't be shipped beyond those basins -- not even to nearby Minneapolis or Pittsburgh." Overseas: "Global water consumption has roughly doubled since World War II, and yet, according to the United Nations, 1.1 billion people still have no access to a clean, reliable supply. Eighty percent of disease and deaths in developing countries -- more than 2.2 million people a year, including 3,900 children each day -- are caused by diseases associated with unsanitary water. The cost of waterborne diseases and associated lost productivity drains 2% of developing countries' GDP each year." In addition, our waters are polluted with chemicals with known and unknown affects to human health.

2 - Air - World wide air pollution is the worst in human history. Witness China's juggle for the Olympics this past summer. Asthma, that barely existed 50 years ago, is common place. Winter ozone levels , that previously did not exist, are increasing, including the top of Mt. Everest. Great American cities continue to increase their polluted rankings.

3 - Energy - Most of our world energy comes from heavily polluting fossil fuels and nuclear. We've been down this road before, there is no such thing as "clean coal". Just take a look at the recent TVA spill. These are not, I repeat, not long term sustainable options for our very future existence.

4 - Food - Let's start with the basics, there isn't enough of it. Well, at least for millions of people. And maybe too much, for now, for some others. But in the meantime, we are making a mess of it. We have eroded soil, contaminated food supplies - with everything from toxic pesticides to salmonella, and reduced our biodiversity to the point of species extinction(like the banana believe it or not). Genetically modified crops have contaminated our corn to the point, that some scientists say, of no return. There's so much more on this topic, but hopefully you get the picture - this isn't sustainable.

The four basic groups that I just mentioned are pretty special, in fact, they are essential to life. We must make a u-turn in our destructive direction for this path is unsustainable. I believe this new administration under Obama can direct that u-turn with the help of dedicated scientists, enthusiastic environmentalists and eager entrepreneurs. Today is a day of renewal - a new green day for America - here hoping.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

Baby it's cold outside, and it hit a record - minus 22 degrees!

Not so fast, we still have climate change going on; the winters continue to be warmer than average. Heck, a truck just got hauled out of a lake the other week because the ice was too thin for this time of year. So, no need to go there.

But we are in a cold snap right now. So how do you stay warm in the cold? It's not so easy with an eco conscience. But we certainly aren't the first set of humans in recent history to fight frigid temperatures. Luckily we are far from the days of coals in bad pans, frost on the inside of the windows and seeing your breath...inside the house.

We have all the stylish sub zero outer wear to protect us for that quick moment from car to store. But we have a sense of entitlement when we walk into the house and expect tee shirt temperatures, some where around 70 degrees.

But those days are over for now. At least where I am, regular house with oil furnace and all. Yup, those mid-winter tee-shirt days are definitely over. The layered look is here to stay.

And the amazing thing is, it works! I always thought I had sufficient layering with my trusty heavy turtle neck and fleece, but in an attempt to "turn down the heat", I found myself shivering and seizing up. Surely another layer wouldn't make that much of a difference. But I'm here to tell you, it did.

Just one more layer, that did it. The layer wasn't anything fancy, no techie fabric or waffle underwear. Just another layer, close fitting helps, right against the skin to keep the air from flowing next to you. I'm a believer.

Sure beats the kind of layers they had to wear 200 hundred years ago. Basically, folks' indoor wear was what we call outdoor wear today. No fleece back then either, lots of heavy wool too.

I know lots of people who keep their place between 60 and 66 degrees during the day. We know the virtue of lowering the temperature to save the burning of fossil fuel, hence CO2. But it can be a shock if you aren't prepared. But now you can be - so go layer up, cause... Baby It's Cold Outside.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

National Day of Service - Make It Green

Beautiful sunny day, but that darn blustery wind.

He has spoken. Our soon to be elected President Obama has declared this weekend, and in particular Monday, January 19th, as National Service Day. January 19th is the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday or MLK Day.( and, yes, New Hampshire is finally the last state to make it a State Recognized Holiday) Colin Powell had the honor of announcing this call to action. But let's just make it the whole weekend. Since considering the Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet, Profit) includes Social Responsibility, I would like to think that community service is under the big green umbrella.

In the event that you are at a loss as to where to go and what to do, have no fear, the computer is here. Just go to this link: , plug in your zip code and voila, you can pick and choose what you would like to do. If you want just more information and a way to stay informed about service opportunities, go to: USA Service/HomePage. The Sierra Club is also promoting the idea of green service with their informational site:
Another website also offers service opportunity:

So go forth and serve. Remember: We're all in this together; Everything is Connected; We all live downstream; and " Mahatma Ghandi - "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Our Green Future is in Their Hands - Eco Agents to the Rescue!

Brrr - Very cold morning, luckily no wind. Snowy mountains in the distance.

Have you ever wondered why the Nordic countries have had a tradition for practicality and sustainability, and now lead the green movement? (remember Denmark was the number one country for reducing their carbon output, they actually take the mission seriously)

Well wonder no more. They have Eco Agents to set those who might stray back on track. Take a look at these adorable videos.

Imagine this showing at half time during the Super Bowl? Okay, let's get started! Let's get our own Eco Agents (or Eco Angels?) out there doing their job. Please forward this page, these clips are just too darn cute to waste. AND they might make an impact.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tennessee Coal Ash Disaster - Where is the Outrage?

Beautiful sunny day, crisp cold air.

In case you just woke up from a coma, there was a man-made disaster a couple of weeks in Tennessee where a 40 acre pond of coal ash sludge broke and gushed open. I know that the holidays might have taken precedent over the news, or the tanking economy and diving unemployment, but why this story isn't still on page one is beyond me.

Maybe you remember the Exxon Valdez disaster from 20 years ago (has it been that long?) which people are still talking about because it was such an ecological disaster. In a nut shell, a drunk Captain allowed his ship to crash which spilled 10.8 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska. That event was a huge story for years (for good earthly reason) which is pretty familiar to most Americans.

Here we have a man-made ecological disaster that is estimated to be 40-50 times bigger than the infamous Valdez ( that was 40-50, not just 4-5). Of course the follow ups from this disaster are saying that the spill was under estimated.(naturally) But still the news and followups are not even on page one. What the #*@&^%!

This thing is huge, massive, ginormous and where is the outrage? Oops, maybe "clean coal" isn't so clean after all? This is precisely why there is no such thing, as clean coal. From beginning to the tragic end, coal is dirty, unhealthy and toxic. Watch the video and keep in mind that ash is all the left over stuff laden with so many heavy metals and toxic chemicals, lead, mercury and arsenic are the top 3. And this being dumped into a flowing river already contaminating over 50,000 people's drinking water (very under estimated!). Oh my. Remember, we all live down stream?

Now they are talking about lining future ponds because of the toxic chemicals. (Yeah, more plastic) How do you line a 40 acre pond????

In case you are feeling helpless, there is always that email you can send to Washington so here goes. Tell them you want coal plants to stop now and that there is no such thing as clean coal: Spread the Word

With 50% of Americans (yes that is half of us) living within 30 miles of a coal plant, wouldn't you think this disaster would be getting more attention? Where is the outrage?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Great Green Tips to Start the New Year

Cold sunny still day, birds at the feeder.

I'll start off with my green tip for today which certainly is not an original thought on my part, but a good one - tis the season. So...

Clear all snow and ice from your car for better fuel efficiency. For everyone 100 pounds extra of anything (that includes the books and other things "stored" in the car), in this case snow (and ice behind the wheels), your car's fuel efficiency is reduced 1-2%. And that's just from the weight. Now add the loss of aerodynamics and who knows what percentage you are throwing out the window.

I've always been irritated by those lazy drivers who don't take the snow off their car's roofs only later to have it fly in your face. Either the fluffy snow slowly comes off like a constant white out or it flies off as a dangerous ice chunk. And if you have ever seen one of these ice sheets sailing in the air, you know that driving no where close to this person doesn't even work. You're still in danger.

So fuel efficiency adds a new dimension. So the green tip of the day: Take it all off!
Snow off your car that is.

And for other green tips? This is the best list and relevant links I have ever seen published. Lots of it is review, some are good reminders and some are just plain new. Please read:

77 Best Green Tips of the Year

Good stuff. Happy New Green Year.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Green New Year - 5 Green Wishes for 2009

Looks like any other beautiful day with a view, but Happy New Year anyway.

Good riddance to 2008, a year that will go down in history. The year started great in the green world. The green movement was really taking off, you could feel it , read it and see it. Then boom. The natural human greed down in Wall Street was finally exposed and the fast train had to finally pull into the station. Ouch.

And so too did the green movement seem to come to a halt. But now that the shock of the crash and the election is behind us, environmental headlines are creeping back in. Perhaps the environmental train can back on track.

Instead of looking behind, I would like to look forward and be hopeful for a greener world, greener footsteps and greener efforts. Here are my 5 Green Wishes for 2009:

1 - Sustainability becomes the new buzz word and over takes global warming and climate change. After all, it is the umbrella under which all environmental efforts rest.

2 - Zero Waste becomes the new goal of families and businesses, beyond recycling. (and if you aren't recycling yet, you are so back in the 20th century, so get with it)

3 - Eat local and grow local take off as urban and suburbanites grow their own food, or at least support and buy local. What a great way to learn to appreciate nature.

4 - Renewable Energy explodes and takes hold as the only long term, sustainable (there's that word again...sustainable) solution for humans.

5 - Corporate Responsibility becomes a status goal from the car industry setting us free to fair labor practices all along the supply chain.

Is this too much to ask? Okay, so it's a green wish list. Here's to green wishing for 2009. Happy Green New Year.