Author Archives: Guest Contributor

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The Green-Eyed Monster

No one ever said that attempting to live an eco friendly lifestyle makes you a better person. It doesn’t give you super powers. (Too bad; I’d love to be able to freeze time!) And it doesn’t make you rich (at least for most of us).

So why do people treat you differently when they find out?

Recently I was invited to go in on a holiday gift; however, when I found out that the suggested gift was an extremely frivolous luxury item created in another country, I could not participate. I politely explained that I try very hard to buy only locally produced environmentally friendly gifts that perform multiple functions.

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What You Can Do to Get Rid of Hormone Disrupting Phthalates in Your Household

pregnant womanIf you have been paying attention to the news reports on buying safe toys this holiday season, you’ve probably heard about phthalates.

Pronounced tha-lates (or sometimes thay-lates), this group of chemicals has been shown to disrupt hormones in laboratory animals. Fetal exposure to phthalates has also been linked to reproductive diseases later in life in baby girls. Fetal exposure has also been associated with decreased ano-genital distance in baby boys, leading the lead researcher to charge phthalates with causing the “feminization” of baby boys (this research has been challenged by other scientists).

A recent study found occupational exposure to hairspray by pregnant hairdressers and others doubled their risk of having baby boys born with the genital defect hypospadias (where the opening for the urinary tract is not located at the tip of the penis).

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Green Resolutions Anyone?

It dawned on me today that since summer ended time seems to be moving in fast forward and the new year is fast approaching. What better time for me to meditate on my New Year’s Resolution!

As cliché as it sounds, the Type A side of me loves to make goals and see them come to fruition. Let’s see, in 2008 I tried to share my true feelings instead of sugar coating. (Some would say I do it really well now!)

After some thought I decided that my resolution for 2009 will be to eat only organic foods, with a focus on locally grown products.

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Taking The Next Step

After my son’s first surgery in January, I stepped back and took a good long look at all facets of my life, which resulted in an epiphany of sorts. Days later I quit my job and started my own eco-friendly business to devote more time to my kids.

Once I walked away from the rat race my creativity soared and I started to invest more time researching how to be more environmentally conscious. I took the next step. And then another, and another, until I was making as many improvements in our daily lives as I was to our home.

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Avoiding Flame Retardants In Cozy Children’s Pajamas

boy in pajamas with teddy bearWith the turn of the seasons and the cold weather, you might be looking to buy your children new pajamas. Or, if you are like me, new pajamas are given the night we decorate the tree.

But if you are concerned about being green and your child’s exposure to toxic chemicals, you might be wondering whether those new pajamas have been treated with flame retardants? And does it matter?

Whether or not it matters is a decision you’ll have to make yourself.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) considers chemically treated pajamas safe. In the 1970s, it banned brominated Tris and removed chlorinated Tris from being used on children’s pajamas after they were found to mutate DNA and identified as probable human carcinogens.

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Shop Responsibly this Holiday Season

For many people, Christmas has become a very commercial holiday. It has shifted from being a season of giving, to being a media circus and it has become a season of excess. This year tailor your shopping to be a bit more responsible and ethical in the items that you buy.

Shopping conscientiously doesn’t stop at being more frugal when making purchase decisions. We also need to think of the global implication. Every purchase we make is essentially a vote for the world we want. We need to look at the people behind the products that we invest our monies with.

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Voluntary Simplicity in a Bad Economy


One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about living simple or living in a frugal manner is that it means great personal sacrifice.

Yet the idea behind simple living, or voluntary simplicity as it is also called, is not to live as cheaply as possible, but instead to see just how well you can live on less. It is entirely possible to be perfectly content and have all of your needs met and satisfied by living in a simple and frugal manner, no great sacrifices required. A vow of voluntary simplicity can bring a sense of inner peace and certainly less financial pressure.

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Green Gratitude

Autumn brings not only a rash of holiday events, but birthday parties for my two sons. So when I started thinking about presents, favors and hostess gifts, I tried to put on my thinking cap (Sister Carolyn would be proud!) and get creative.

Halloween was a breeze. Despite my husband’s protests, we gave out locally produced apples from Nichols Farm purchased at our local Green City Market. Whew! Something I could believe in, an item my kids actually prefer over candy, and used dollars to benefit a local business. Perfect! No plastic crap made in another country to mindlessly buy to give.

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Sometimes, I’m a Big Green Hypocrite!

I am, by no means, perfect when it comes to green living.

There are many, many things I know I can easily replace in my home that consume energy. I can easily do more.

So why don’t I? Because I’m used to convenience. I like my food processor and my coffee maker. I love my vacuum and my lawnmower. I had once made a vow to begin replacing items in my home with green equivalents, if or when they broke down or got used up. Old habits die hard. My first instinct is to head to Walmart and pick up a replacement at a very low, low price.

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The Undertow of Materialism

Trust me, I know how it is. You feel like you can just dip your toe into that ocean of consumerism this holiday season and walk away unscathed. Keeping it simple this year, you say? Not that many gifts or toys or decorations, you promise? And then one turns to two which turns to ten and whoosh! You are swept away. Just like that.

And in that rip current of consumerism, there aren’t only dollars floating into oblivion, there is waste.

Think of all the things thrown away during the holidays: wrapping paper, tissue paper, special little note cards, holiday cards you mail, tape, that do-hicky that holds the tape on your wrist (this includes all those other “helpful” plastic gadgets), shopping bags, receipts, fuel, gas, electricity, food, decorations and the list goes on and on.

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