Saturday, May 30, 2009

BPA Industry Seeking to Clean Up Image - Are They Serious?

Beautiful still morning, birds chirping away.

Fair warning, this is a rant..I couldn't believe the headlines today - BPA Industry Seeks to Polish Image. I thought maybe it was a joke or some silly reporter trying to use a clever title. But this is one of those articles that I read with my jaw hanging down nearly the whole time, in between some expletives and a sips of coffee (Larry's Beans).

My imagination has these corporate guys sitting around in a smoke filled room trying to figure out how to manipulate the public (they did meet in a private DC club) to thinking that BPA isn't so bad. They concluded that their own paid for "science" results weren't working and perhaps more drastic measures needed to be taken.

So they picked on pregnant women to start. These geniuses actually have a vision of a pregnant spokeswoman touting the benefits of all the products with BPA, including canned formula. Mama will also ask you if you want your baby to no longer have access to food. (are you scared yet?) Maybe they'll stick a cigarette in her hand and a beer in the other as her toddler sucks on a polycarbonate bottle. Are these guys fore real?

The poor is the other prey. Tell the world that the poor, Hispanics and Blacks will starve without canned foods. (this is where city gardens come in) Oh, and while they're at it, they'll (the chemical industry) tell the world that cans without BPA will spoil faster and so you may get sick, very,very sick, and maybe die from bacteria. (nail biting, eh?)

Wait, there are more folks they intend to target - Union workers. If Connecticut passes the BPA ban, the gloves are off and you'll be hearing how factory workers will lose their American dream job.

If you've been in the wings about this issue and still consider BPA controversial, then the chemical industry has been doing its job. The science is darn clear about BPA. (see previous blogs about BPA) It is because of the powerful plastics and food industry that it has been able to stay in the "controversial" category. (Fast Company wrote an amazing briefing on BPA) But because of good, independent science, people are making up their own minds, including politicians who are taking steps to protect citizens because the chemical industry is only concerned about making money. And these companies don't like it.

And some of the heavy hitters at this meeting were: "Coca-Cola Co., Alcoa Inc., Crown Holdings Inc., the North American Metal Packaging Alliance Inc., the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Del Monte Corp. and the American Chemistry Council". Need I say more?

You think I'm exaggerating? No, really. I'm not. Read the article: BPA Industry Seeks to Polish Image. We all owe a special thanks to consumer activist reporters who seek this information about what goes on behind the scenes. Without them, we'd all be sucking on cigarettes and downing martinis in our 8th month of pregnancy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where Does E-Waste Go? 60 Minutes Tells Us Where

Lovely cool spring morning, clear sky.

E-Waste, short for electronic waste, includes our every day gadgets, which most of us find now necessary, such as cell phones, ipods,and computers. I suppose most anything electric beyond the simple toaster. In case you are having a hard time imagining what does happen to your E-Waste, 60 Minutes came to the rescue with a graphic depiction of e-waste reality. And yes, it is graphic, appalling and disgusting.

60 Minutes - Electronic Waste

It's like most things - what's under the hood? What's behind the scenes? What's in the ingredients? These are questions we do not ask often enough, nor do we take the time to search for the answers. Because sometimes we don't want to know the answer.

Electronics are usually filled with lots of toxic chemicals that come with fairly substantial carbon footprints to boot. Apple is at the forefront of tackling this huge problem. This topic is for another blog. Watching this 60 Minutes video will give you the basics of the toxic ticking chemicals that makes things work.

Spring cleaning is often used by many as a time to purge their homes, get ready for yard sales or clean out closets. During this time of setting yourself free, please remember that your "stuff" doesn't just "go away", vaporize or head to Pluto. Something happens to it. Right now there are 2 options - your e-waste gets truly recycled and the toxic chemicals are reused or disposed of properly or... it goes to places like China or Africa where it is dumped, burned and leaches into the water ways (and remember, that all goes down stream eventually into our oceans and circulates around the world)

So please be responsible about your e-waste. Ask the questions and investigate the facilities. Search for a recycling center near you. You can also make do with what you have, repair it or... go without? Okay, maybe too drastic for some of you. But...
Please watch the video... Electronic Waste

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Earth Clock - Time to Wake Up

Nice gentle rain.

The Earth Clock is pretty darn neat. And pretty creepy at the same time. Maybe the stats aren't perfect but they are apparently from reputable up-to-date sources. Even if they were to vary a little, one still gulps while watching the digits go by. The Earth Clock is a good wake up call.

THE EARTH CLOCK go ahead and click, very cool.

If after watching Earth Clock you're a little down, there is hope at another website:


And yes we can solve it...but time is ticking.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day - I Think

Very windy morning, after a tremendous storm.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers and to the mother of all mothers - Earth.

My favorite thing to do on Mother's Day is to clean my garden. It's true! I do the cleaning and pruning and the kids cart away my mess to the compost pile. I will also pick most of my daffodils that are left and make large bouquets of lilacs. The house will smell divine.

While picking the lilacs is a wonderful thing, it does leave me unsettled. You see when I was growing up, okay so back in the 60's and 70's, I picked lilacs for my birthday which is at the end of the month. Lilacs were considered the Memorial Day Flower. This year I picked my first bouquet on May 2nd. Ouch.

Only 30 years later, lilac blooming is a steady 2 weeks earlier, at least from my unscientific stand point. And this new schedule is not a fluke, it's been pretty steady now. I have science to back me up too. UNH has studied the blooming of plants and confirms a new "natural Spring". Scary stuff.

To add to my unsettledness today is the after math of an unusually violent storm that ripped through here last evening. Since we aren't Kansas, we just are not used to these quick severe storms passing through. Not in May at least. That's more like July or August. Hmm.

So today, despite my wondering concerns, I will go about day, enjoying my children and my garden. (and a cooked meal with no clean up!) What could be better?

Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Green Mother's Day - 2 for 1

Rain just finished, sun coming out. Beautiful.

This Sunday, May 10th is Mother's Day. There is lots of advice for what to do for your chosen Mom. From a green perspective, you might consider gifts that are organic and/or fair trade or gifts that might jump start more green behavior - like a compost pail.

Part of the green movement is to not over consume so when it comes to gift giving time, people are often more considerate in their choices. Practical green products seem to do very well, soaps for instance or nice foods one might not normally buy for themselves - like chocolate, fancy nuts or olive oil. (organic and fair trade natch)

What's nice is when considering greener gifts , you happen to be having a lesser impact on the earth as well. A 2 for 1 if you will. And why not? I see it as a win-win for all. I think considering Mother Earth all the time is a great idea; the original giver of life.

Other ideas are the gift of time, maybe an I.O.U. For me? I've ask for help outside in the garden and flower beds. I love to do all the pulling and cleaning and have someone else cart it away to the compost area. Oh, and a home cooked meal and clean up at the end of the day too.

It's pretty easy to come up with a green Mother's Day. Why consider any thing else?

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Is National Vinegar Month - Green Spring Cleaning Anyone?

Passing rain storm but we need much more.

Did you know that May was National Vinegar Month? I didn't until a few days ago. (just curious who thinks up these things) But it is and it is time for spring cleaning of course, and green cleaning at that. But what makes it such a good cleaner?

Well it's because vinegar is an acid (french word for sour wine) and it magically dissolves minerals, which is a lot of dirt, including what's on windows. Vinegar and newspaper are still the first choice for cleaning windows in the UK. How we got on this ammonia kick I'll never know. Vinegar, combined with some other products, really will clean 99% of what you need to do. This is a wonderfully comprehensive site for all your cleaning needs, and more information about vinegar. (be careful, it will give you ideas you might not want to know about) Who needs all those fancy high specialty cleaners anyway?

The Vinegar Institute

So where does vinegar come from? Vinegar can be made from a whole host of things. Basically anything that can sour - from apples to grapes to rice to barley. For cooking you have all these wonderful options like Red Wine Vinegar, and Balsamic and Rice Wine Vinegar. You can flavor your own by adding herbs and garlic. For cleaning, it is best to stick to white distilled vinegar which is mostly made form malt barley.

Vinegar is suppose to be good for you too. Many medical claims are associated with vinegar.

Sounds like something so simple is a little miraculous. Well it is. Since it is National Vinegar Month I suppose exploring all the virtues of vinegar is in order. I'm looking forward to it.