Category Archives: Clean Air

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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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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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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Green Your Ride: Family-Friendly Eco-Cars

Family-Friendly Eco-CarsWith gas prices at all-time highs, who couldn’t use a few less trips to the pump? Of course, the absolutely best way to save gas is not to drive at all. Walk, ride bikes, or carpool instead.

But if you need to drive, the next best thing you can do is to make sure that your ride is a green as possible…and if you think that means riding around in a veggie-oil powered tuna can, think again! The market for environmentally-friendly cars has exploded over the past few years, so there is now an eco-savvy option for every family. These cars release fewer emissions into the air and help you go further on each tank of gas.

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Paradise Lost, Garbage: Found

Need physical proof we are daily polluting our most valuable and natural resources? Look no further than the Hawaiian islands.

Lapping lazily in a relatively stationary section of the North Pacific Ocean, in between San Francisco and Hawaii, accumulated waste swirls in a never-ending circle, pushed along by the North Pacific Gyre, a large-scale vortex of ocean currents. Comprised primarily of various plastics, it has been estimated that 80% of the garbage comes from land-based sources, and 20% from ships at sea.

Charles Moore was sailing in a Los Angeles-to-Hawaii sail race when he and his crew first saw the dense mass of trash, floating in what he calls “one of the most remote regions of all the oceans.” He explains:

“Throughout the race our strategy, like that of every other boat in the race, had been mainly to avoid the North Pacific subtropical gyre-the great high-pressure system in the central Pacific Ocean that, most of the time, is centered just north of the racecourse and halfway between Hawaii and the mainland.

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Hitting the Wall

In an effort to get in better shape and create a more pleasurable commute, my husband bought a bike. Since he is one of those lucky people who has a knack for picking up new skills with ease, he assumed that riding a bike would be as easy as swinging one leg over his bicycle, pushing the pedals, and riding away.

During his first week riding with the new bike, my husband arrived home each day in good spirits. Partly because he was proud of himself for getting active, but he also enjoyed the post-exercise adrenaline rush. Biking was simple, accessible, and practical.

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Let it rot!

These days, I see a lot of “R”s added to what was originally the sacred trinity of green living: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. My personal favorite is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot,” used to encourage folks to compost their food scraps and yard waste instead of consigning it to the burn pile or the landfill.

Many of us will get our first frost of the season within the next month (I know, where did August go?), which means that yard clean-up is right around the corner. In fact, I’ve already been trimming a lot of spent blossoms and pulling out the end of the spring radishes and lettuce (to replant, of course, with fall veggies!).

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Around the Greenosphere: Weekly Link Roundup

More inspiration for the weekend:

-An inspiration post about biking from One Green Generation (with amazing photos).

-Run DMT is talking about why organic produce really IS better.

-What gets us buying the latest and greatest? No Impact Man reminds us that the zero sum game (i.e., I get everything, you have nothing) is how we are persuaded into unhappiness.

-Burban Mom encourages us to go green with our deodorant, and I second her 9 months on/3 months off plan!

-In her journey to eating locally, Simple-Green-Frugal tells us how you can eat out and still be green.

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No Idling!

How to ban school bus idling

I can vividly recall riding the school bus when I was a kid. I remember the ride as being very long, very boring, and very stinky. And while I was probably exaggerating the long and boring parts (my ride lasted about 15 minutes) I now know that I wasn’t imagining the stink…

A recent Yale University study found that children who ride a school bus are exposed to up to 15 times more particulate pollution than average. Researchers estimate that this increased exposure is due to the idling and queuing of school buses. In other words, as school buses line up and wait in front of the school, they fill up with harmful (and stinky) particulate pollution that will stay with the kids throughout their ride.

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Our Journey with Food Allergies and Asthma

Soon after my oldest son decided he was done breastfeeding, he began to have fits in his sleep where he would thrash back and forth and bang his arms and legs against the crib. After receiving my videotape of Jack sleeping, Dr. Weissbluth assured me that Jack would not hurt himself and we continued to monitor him closely. He recommended a pediatric dermatologist that informed us how to change our daily routines and environment to accommodate Jack’s newly diagnosed eczema. I followed every single one. This is where I first got up close and personal with organic products. Remove everything artifical in everything!

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