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What’s the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a growing problem in the northern Pacific Ocean and one that could dramatically alter life on our planet within the next 20 years.

“I remember the first time I felt it; I was paddling out on my surfboard and noticed a mushy, plastic-like substance sliding through my fingers. That’s what started my obsession with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” says charity fundraiser and environmentalist Veronica Grey. “The patch is located between Hawaii and California in the northern Pacific Ocean, where millions of small bits of plastic have gathered in a vortex of ocean currents known as a gyre.”

“Fifteen years ago The Patch was the size Texas, but now it’s the size of the continental United States,” says Grey, who used her iPhone to shoot the documentary, which features renowned scientists, journalists and environmentalists.

Grey paired her professional skills with her personal passion for the ocean, creating the award-winning documentary “Aqua Seafoam Shame,” (www.Pacific-TV.com), which spotlights the mess in the ocean that has garnered precious little media attention, she says.

Plastic in the ocean has far-reaching implications that, if not addressed within 20 years, could change life on this planet, she says. To date, 177 species of sea life are known to ingest plastic; other species feed on those creatures, extending the chain of damage.

“People eat the seafood that eats plastic, and the planet gets its rain from the oceans, which are being polluted at an exponential rate,” she says. “We use significantly more of our planet’s surface as a dump than for growing food; this has to change.”

To begin addressing plastics pollution, Grey encourages people to use alternatives:

  • Americans buy 2 million bottles of water every five minutes; ditch disposable plastic bottles and carry reusable, refillable bottles.
  • Carry a cost-effective canvas bag instead getting disposable plastic bags at the grocery store. We waste 10 billion plastic bags every week!
  • Do not line your trash cans with plastic bags. Use paper bags or nothing.
  • Skip the lid on your to-go drinks. The paper cup is normally recyclable but the lid usually isn’t.
  • Remember that each and every time you flush; it all ends up in the ocean. Be mindful of what you toss in your toilet!

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BPA Marketed to Children? Take Action!

In their new report, BPA in Kids’ Canned Foods, the Breast Cancer Fund has discovered BPA in six popular canned foods marketed directly to kids.

BPA, an endocrine-disrupting hormone, leaches from the lining of cans into canned foods and has been found in Elmo, Toy Story and Disney Princess Campbell’s soups, Chef Boyardee products and even in some organic canned foods like Annie’s Homegrown and Earth’s Best Organic.

This is very disturbing when you consider that BPA has been linked to early puberty (as well as breast cancer, obesity, learning disabilities, infertility, and more).

The physical and mental ramifications of early puberty are substantial. Girls who begin puberty at an early age are more likely to experience low self esteem, poor body image, and depression. Physical side effects include an increased risk for breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and elevated blood pressure.

And it’s not just girls who are affected. in 2010 Barack Obama’s President’s Cancer Panel acknowledged the links between BPA and undescended testicles and the penile birth defect hypospadias in newborn boys and infertility and erectile dysfunction in men.

So WHY is this clearly dangerous chemical found in the can liners of foods made for and marketed to children????

I hope you are as outraged as I am and will join us in telling these top canned goods manufacturers to stop marketing the dangerous BPA to our kids.

Let your voice be heard by signing this petition from Momsrising.org and then send a link to friends and family so they can sign it, too!

Learn More: Outrage! BPA is in Canned Foods for Kids, Even Organic

 

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Tell Kraft No More Artificial Dyes!

All across America, artificial food dyes can be found in everything from packaged macaroni and cheese to breakfast cereal and practically every processed food product in existence.

Artificial food dyes have been linked to cancer, ADHD (hyperactivity) in kids and serious food allergies and in response to enormous consumer pressure, multinational manufacturers like Kraft Foods voluntarily removed these artificial food dyes from products they sell in OTHER COUNTRIES, but not from the same products they sell in the US.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Take Action: Demand Chemical Safety Reform

Most Americans assume that chemicals used to make ordinary products are tested for safety…but guess what? They’re not. Since 1950, over 70,000 new chemical compounds have been introduced into our environment—less than TWO PERCENT have ever been tested for human safety.

Over 150 chemicals commonly found in homes have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological/neurological abnormalities and the EPA has reported that nearly 30 cancer-causing chemicals were detectable in the fat tissues of literally every American today. Even more shocking (and morally unacceptable), innocent babies are now born with as many as 200 different chemicals and industrial pollutants IN THEIR CORD BLOOD.

From baby bottles made with bisphenol-A (BPA) to carpets containing formaldehyde, these dangerous chemicals are everywhere—in our homes, places of work, and the products we use every day. With each new scientific report linking toxic chemical exposure to a serious health problem, it becomes more apparent that the law intended to keep harmful chemicals in check—the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 is outdated and simply NOT working.

Right now, we have the chance to fix this problem—and to protect future generations from serious harm. By updating TSCA, Congress can create the foundation for a sound chemicals policy that protects public health and the environment. To be effective, TSCA reform should:

  • Take immediate action on the most dangerous chemicals
  • Hold industry responsible for the safety of their chemicals and products
  • Use the best science to protect all people and vulnerable groups

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 can be the change we need, but without your support; without making YOUR voice heard, industry influence will very likely weaken these regulations and put us right back where we started, if not further behind and further endangering ALL citizens.

Senator Frank Lautenberg has introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, which would be the first major overhaul of America’s dangerously weak toxic chemicals law.

We need YOUR help to make this happen. Please take a moment to let your voice be heard by following the link below.

Take Action: Urge your Senators to cosponsor the Safe Chemicals Act

If you need more convincing, this video by The Environmental Working Group is extremely informative.

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Making Every Day Earth Day

I say this each year and 2011 is no different… Every day is Earth Day around here. Of course we like the idea of a special day to draw attention to our home planet and all the reasons we need to better care for it but it’s a 365 day-a-year job, folks. One day of acknowledging mother Earth and teaching the kids about what it means to love her isn’t enough. If we really want to save this planet, we need to incorporate all the things we all do and talk about on Earth Day into our everyday lives lives.

Of course, every little bit helps, but it helps a lot more when it’s a lifestyle change, particularly en masse, rather than an annual nod. That said, I’m asking everyone who reads this to think about one thing you don’t do regularly and turning it into something you do all the time.

It can be as simple as:

• no longer using plastic bags because you make a habit of bringing your own.

• buying only recycled toilet paper (This one is big folks…do you know how many virgin forests are mowed down for toilet paper every year? Trees=oxygen. Oxygen=life)

• packing yours or your kids’ lunches with reusable containers instead of disposable baggies. (This one saves money)

• carrying a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go so you are less compelled to buy a plastic bottle of something when you get thirsty. (This one saves money, too)

These are just four examples of simple and relatively painless lifestyle changes that could make a huge difference if every person incorporated them into their lives. Commit to them and then reward yourself by bringing your reusable mug to Starbucks for some free coffee!

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Lower Your Family’s BPA Exposure by 60%

So, if you’re not familiar with BPA (bisphenol-A) by now, I’ll give you the condensed version…it’s a chemical. It’s found in lots of things like can linings, baby bottles, pacifiers, food containers, receipts, dental sealants and more and it does lots of bad things to your body—BPA has been linked to breast and prostate cancer as well as obesity, early puberty, cardiac disease and lowered sperm counts, even at the low levels. Research indicates it’s best to be avoided, as evidenced by most of the civilized world banning it from baby bottles.

Canada took it a step further and declared it a toxic substance. Yay Canada! Here in America, however, we have a huge chemical lobby that has convinced our government representatives (yes, the ones who are supposed to be representing citizens, not chemical companies) to not ban BPA from baby bottles or anything else.

So, what are we supposed to do?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Change Flows!

Did you know that almost every American lives within one mile of a river or stream? Did you know that 40 percent of America’s rivers and streams are too polluted for basic uses such as fishing or swimming?

Today you can help change that by simply choosing a region in American that you think is most in need of a river cleanup via “liking it” on Facebook—the region with the most “Likes” will receive a river cleanup sponsored by Cascadian Farm, in celebration of the company’s dedication to sustainability. It will only take a second so c’mon and “LIKE” some water!

Voting ends April 30, 2011 at 11:59pm. The region with the most votes will be announced on or about May 2, 2011.

Find It Here: Cascadian Farms

This Week’s Giveaway: Win: Peekinz with Pockets

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Tell Washington to Dump Bottled Water

In the first three months of 2010 alone, the House of Representatives spent $190,000 taxpayer dollars on bottled water. Some quick math tells me that Congress is spending about $760,000 of our tax dollars a year on bottled water.

That’s a lot of money—money that could pay a lot of teachers’ salaries—so that our elected officials can sip on a product that’s both unnecessary AND bad for the planet.

Bottled water is not safer or healthier than tap water, and often comes from the tap anyway. It’s up to a staggering 1,900 times more expensive than tap water, and the energy needed to produce the plastic is enough to fuel nearly 3 million cars for a year. Additionally, nearly SIXTY BILLION plastic bottles are discarded as litter each year, ending up in landfills, lakes, streams and in gargantuan garbage whirlpools found in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Read the rest of this entry »

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Does YOUR Juice Have Lead In It?

Green Mom Action Alert!The Environmental Law Foundation tested numerous juice samples earlier this year and found that 85% contained lead.

YES, LEAD—the stuff that damages the central nervous system, including the brain, and can produce anemia, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, hearing loss and permanently lower IQ’s! Children are especially susceptible to lead as their bodies absorb more of the heavy metal.

To be fair, minute amounts of lead are found throughout the food chain, but I still find leaded juice completely unacceptable. Unfortunately, I’m not sure of a solution other than simply drinking more (filtered) water and less juice.

Please download this PDF and see if your brand(s) are listed and check how they ranked. Bear in mind that not every brand on the market was tested so if yours is not listed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe.

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Action Alert: Toxic Susbtances

All children should be able to have a healthy start and yet too many are exposed to harmful chemicals in everyday products. The US is long overdue to modernize our chemical policies—it’s been OVER THIRTY YEARS. Thousands of new and unregulated chemicals have been created in that time and they’re all around us.

Our outdated system and weak chemical policies leave children exposed to countless toxic chemicals every day that put our families at risk for cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and more. Tell Congress to get moving and update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). The health and welfare for our most vulnerable citizens MUST be a priority.

Take action by clicking the link below and filling out the form to quickly send a personalized message to your Member of Congress and Senators based on your address. It couldn’t be easier and will only take a minute of your time. Thank you!

Take Action Now: MomsRising

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The Story Of Cosmetics

Important links to learn more and take action:

The Story of Cosmetics site
Safe Cosmetics Act Action (letter to House)
E-card to tell your friends about The Story of Cosmetics
Safe Cosmetics Act main info page

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Recycling Unwanted Electronics: It’s Easy!

best-buy.jpgWhat: Best Buy’s electronic recycling program

Features: Did you know that Best Buy will take pretty much any electronic item off of your hands for recycling? From cell phones and video game consoles to big screen TVs, Best Buy will accept it. The web site offers program variations for each state, as well as information on how to dispose of the few items the program doesn’t accept. All US stores, (and stores in Puerto Rico, too!) run the program.

Green Factor:  Last year, Best Buy repaired, refurbished or recycled over 60 million pounds of old electronics. Recycling electronics helps keep toxic waste out of our landfills and water supply.

Bonus: Best Buy has several recycling programs in place as well as an informative FAQ page on their electronics recycling program. Check their web site for information,

Find It Here: Best Buy

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