Author Archives: Guest Contributor

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Filtering For Change

I’m not ashamed to admit I’m blogging for The Man.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been offered the opportunity to blog for Brita’s “Filter For Good” campaign for the next few months. What makes this job sweeter is that for the first time, I’m making money writing about what I love. Every little bit counts, and even though the NINE PAGE contract I signed freaked me out a bit, I felt empowered by my skills as a writer, and felt my passion could be used to influence the masses (or at least, my readers) into taking their green living a step further by pledging to bring filters instead of disposable bottles in their homes.

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Think Green and Party On!

Autumn signals party time in our family. Since our sons attend preschool programs specifically designed for children who have birthdays that miss the September cut-off date, not only do my children celebrate birthdays in October and December, so do all their friends.

Now add the other parties for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah and Christmas, and we are double booked solid each week! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the social aspect, getting together with friends to play dress up and catch up; however, I abhor the waste of it all. We’ve already started using better choices for the things we can control like the hostess gifts and wrapping, but what about all the disposables you see at parties?

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Hide Those Plastic Bags Quick! The Green Police Are Coming!

green police carShhhh . . . the green police are coming.

I had a party to celebrate my 40th birthday and invited several of my “green” friends. I was so excited for them to come – some of them I only knew from blogging and was thrilled to meet them in person. But, what did I do in advance of the party? Did I clean arrange flowers, set out decorations? Not really. I did do some of that. But what I spent most of my time doing was hiding stuff. The not so green stuff we have.

I have always leaned towards green.

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A Very Merry Green Christmas

Christmas is probably the number one most wasteful holiday. We go crazy on gifts, food, decorations, partyGreen Christmas supplies, etc. So what can we do to GREEN up the holiday?

Here are ten eco-friendly tips:

1. Buy a quality fake Christmas tree and use it forever or buy a live tree to plant every year.

2. Send digital Christmas party invites and Christmas cards or buy ones that are made from recycled paper.

3. Make your own Christmas tree ornaments using natural and/or edible materials like gingerbread cookies, popcorn, and candy canes.

4. Instead of purchasing the usual lights for decoration, think about using LED lights.

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Fall Cleanup With A Little Elbow Grease And Manpower

Leaves blowing around the yard may be a discouraging sight to the tidy landscaper, but with the right lens, leaves covering the ground can be seen as ample opportunities.

Many outdoorsy folks look forward to the fall as an opportunity to work in their yards during comfortable weather and to get outside and play. Last week, Amy, also known as the Crunchy Domestic Goddess, shared a few tips on how gardeners and composters may make use of fallen brown leaves to create a nutrient-rich compost throughout the year.

When it comes to managing fall leaves, you may also wonder how to remove leaves from your yard in an environmentally friendly way, and whether or not it makes sense to remove leaves at all.

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What’s on Your Reading List this Winter?

If you’re a homesteader like I am, or even just a beginner or veteran gardener, chances are, you’ve got some books on your list to dive into now that the outdoor growing, harvest and preservation season is just about over. (Of course, I am speaking for those of us who live in climates where we cannot outdoor garden year round!) It’s important to find new ways of doing things on your homestead, or just refining what you already know. This is why I’ve got quite a few books on my list and my night stand to read during these long winter months.

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Hard To Be Green When You Need To Dry Clean

Help! My healthy, green lifestyle has produced a serious conundrum. On one hand, I am making genuine progress with my health. Acupuncture and massage have improved my sense of well being while giving up dairy has alleviated my chronic sinus condition allowing full, relaxed breathing. Much better.

On the other hand, I am a big admirer of fashion and although I have a very meager wardrobe in comparison to the typical woman, I am left with a tough decision. Where to take my dry cleaning? Although I have many clothes made from eco friendly, organic materials that are able to be laundered, I have a variety of vintage and second hand items that genuinely require dry cleaning.

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When Good Food Gets Wasted

stock photo

Have you ever wondered what kind of stuff people find in dumpster bins? Think it’s all rot, filth and mold? Better think again! I thought I was in the know about all the different lifestyle choices out there but I learned a new word the other day – Freegan. Perhaps you know of one?

The term Freegan is coined by combining the two words, vegan and free. According to one Freegan site “Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources.”

In order to free themselves as much as possible from the ethical issues that come along with participating in the conventional economy, a Freegan opts for only eco friendly transportation such as bikes, train hopping and veggie oil vehicles, squatting or low cost housing, community gardening and reclaiming green spaces, and minimal to no employment.

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All The Brown Material You’ll Ever Need For Your Compost Bin

At my house there is never a shortage of green material (also known as wet or nitrogen-rich matter) – orange peels, corn husks, dinner food scraps, yard waste, etc. – for my compost bin, but when it comes to finding brown (also known as dry or carbon-rich) material, in the past I’ve often ended up coming up short. The trick, of course, to getting compost to work and breakdown into that coveted nutrient-rich soil is to have the right combination of both green and brown matter.

About a year ago, however, I posted my first Green Tip of the Week suggesting that my readers keep a bag or two (or three) of their dry fall leaves to use throughout the coming year as brown material to add to their compost pile or bin.

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Does Anyone Want My Lexus? IGO Car Sharing!

Car payments, leases, insurance, gas, parking, washes, maintenance, I-Pass… it all adds up. Before you know it, you are in over your head. When I look at all the extras in owning our car, I always come back to the basic philosophy our family recently adopted. We want less.

However, this simple life strategy isn’t quick or easy to achieve. Take for example, the 2007 Lexus parked in our garage. Thank heavens it is leased so that in a couple months (don’t say years, it sounds too long) we can happily hand it back to the dealership and politely say no thank you to their pitch for the newest model.

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