Caring about the environment is patriotic.
July 28th, 2011
I just got back from a trip to Boston, where I was blown away by all the cool happenings on the city’s green scene. My brother and his wife live there, so via frequent visits I’ve been able to witness the city’s eco evolution since I myself went to school there a decade ago.
Back then, the only thing happening on the sustainability scene was the small health food store where I checked groceries. That’s now Whole Foods. Look at all the other green goodness I uncovered on this trip (click on photo to learn more):
Tell me, Beantown tree huggers — what did I miss?
July 25th, 2011
Since learning about the possible link between genetically modified food and children’s food allergies, I’ve been especially vigilant about avoiding GMOs at the grocery store. This isn’t easy to do, of course, because there are currently no mandatory labeling laws for GM products in the US.
I know enough to always look for organic (i.e., non-GM) versions of the big four — corn, canola, cotton, and soy — but for everything else, I’m left either looking up ingredients one by one via the Non-GMO Shoppers’ Guide or making my own best educated guess.
Now, the GMO guessing game is about to get a lot more difficult, thanks to a new crop of GM crops — including sugar beets, cabbage, wheat, and alfalfa — coming to market, reports Tom Webb of The St. Paul Pioneer Press:
Add me to that list of skeptics. I’ve already written about how GM alfalfa could end organic as we know it. Could someone please tell me why we need genetically modified coleslaw? And what will GM wheat mean to the already increasing population of people with gluten intolerance (four times more common today than in the 1950s)? That we are unleashing these products on the world without any kind of long-term testing is a travesty.
July 18th, 2011
One of my closest friends had a beautiful baby girl over the weekend. I haven’t heard the whole story yet, but rumor has it she had a miraculous two-hour labor. This, without giving a real thought to having a natural birth; she had decided against a doula, was totally open to the idea of having a C-section, and delivered at a big metropolitan hospital.
It made me think back to my own plans last year for a medication-free birth for my daughter, which I prepared for with hypnobirthing therapy, a doula, and a midwife. I wound up having an epidural after 24 hours of hard labor. My own doula confessed to me after the birth that she herself had had a hospital transport after she couldn’t make it through a planned home birth.
With the C-section rate in the US at over 30 percent, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try to go the natural route if you can, but it just goes to show you: When it comes to “green” birth, nothing is guaranteed.
July 12th, 2011
It’s expected that the House will be voting today on the BULB Act, a misguided piece of legislation that would repeal the bipartisan light bulb efficiency standards signed into law by President George W. Bush. Contrary to popular belief, the law, if it avoids repeal, does not ban incandescent light bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of CFLs — it only requires that incandescents become 30 percent more energy efficient by next year.
Manufacturers have already developed these light bulbs. There will be no disruption to the consumer, other than lower energy bills. What’s more, all of this information is readily available.
So why am I receiving alarmist press releases in my email inbox from an organization called The Heartland Institute, warning me about the dangers of CFL breakage and mercury contamination and ostensibly urging a “yes” vote on the BULB Act?
You don’t like CFLs; that’s great. Well guess what? You don’t have to use them. You can use the freedom of choice you’re so vehemently in support of to buy a more energy efficient incandescent.
And, by the way, if you really did care about the heartland, you’d realize that with a near 10 percent unemployment rate, most Americans welcome the idea of paying 30 percent less for their lighting.
July 7th, 2011
Maybe it’s that there are so many more dire forms of pollution now — oil spills, nuclear meltdown — but it seems like you never hear about noise pollution anymore. The term itself hadn’t crossed my mind for years, until last night, when my new neighbors decided to blast a Steve Miller Band medley between the hours of 9 and 11.
But it is for real, and it is still a real problem, at least according to EPA:
Maybe it’s time to bring back those old Woodsy Owl PSAs. Anyone else nostalgic for the above?
July 1st, 2011
Apologies for the sporadic posting lately. If you saw my last post, you know that I’ve been in the midst of an arduous move, made more so by the fact that the original apartment we were supposed to move into had some serious problems, so we had to pull out the day before moving day and find another place — a week before we had to give up our old one.
Maybe I should have taken it as an omen that the apartment manager was a global warming denier.
Now that we’re moved in though, pulling our place together has been slow-going. That’s because admittedly, I’m trying to do everything eco. Whereas the old me would have rushed out to buy curtains and drawer organizers and all those little knick-knacks you never realize you need until you move into a place with all sorts of funny corners and cabinet drawers and empty space to turn into something fabulously useful, the new me is considering everything.
What shower curtain can I buy that’s PVC-free and also biodegradable? Can we score an amazing dining table at the flea market instead of buying one made from new materials? And what’s worse: lining my kitchen cabinet shelves with foam grip liner, or having to buy all new dishes in the event of an earthquake?
Am I crazy? After working so hard to give us a clean slate (we either Freecycled or sold everything extraneous) I want to make sure I do it right this time.