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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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A Gift of Hope

I know it’s two days before Christmas  but if you’re feeling the urge to make a difference this holiday season, I’ve compiled a few ways you can help people directly:

Heifer International is an organization that lets you (or a group of folks making smaller donations) buy gifts that will continue to help the recipients such as cows, sheep, bees, chickens, goats, trees etc. These gifts provide the recipients with eggs, wool, milk, honey, fruit and more plus proper training so that they can become self-reliant and in turn, sustain their families and communities for the long term.

Give Naked uses microdonations to help people in dire need of help. 100% of your donation will join the donations of others to fill an urgent need of a specific individual or family. If you like to know exactly how someone has been helped by your donation, Give Naked is a good choice.

Kiva is an organization that lets people make microloans of $25 to help entrepreneurs around the world, many of which are women, become self-sufficient. Loan repayment is part of the deal so when the loan has been satisfied, you will be repaid.  A small amount of money that many of us would spend on dinner out without a second thought could change someone’s life for the better and, for what it’s worth, Kiva was endorsed by Oprah on her 2010 Oprah’s Favorite Things show.

Bonus: If you give before January 1st, you can also take advantage of charitable deductions for the 2010 tax year!

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GoodSearch

What: A search engine portal

Features: When you use GoodSearch you can earn money for the charity or non-profit of your choice. Every search earns one cent which may not sound like a lot but every 100 searches = $1 and that can add up quickly! I have my GoodSearch set to earn money for Healthy Child Healthy World.

Green Factor: It’s a way to support your favorite eco-friendly charity without spending a dime or buying anything. What could be greener?

Bonus: GoodSearch has a toolbar you can download—the search form is right in your browser so you never forget to use it. Easy peasy!

Find It Here: GoodSearch

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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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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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MilkMuny

milkcarton_juicecarton.jpgWhat: Company that will pay for cardboard milk and juice cartons

Green Factor: MilkMuny keeps milk and juice cartons out of landfills. Considering that we throw away about 510,000 TONS of them away each year, anything that can lower that number is a big fat WIN in our book.

Bonus: Schools and non-profits can collect them and get 25¢ per carton PLUS prepaid shipping. You can also help support MilkMuny’s efforts by buying a nifty wallet made from those very same cartons.

Find it Here: MilkMuny

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Meat Free Mondays!

meatfree.jpgWhat: Meat Free Mondays

Features: The “Meat Free Mondays” campaign is getting worldwide attention as people become more committed to protecting the environment. Taking meat out of one day’s worth of meals is a simple way that we can help save the planet and adopt healthier eating habits, all at the same time

Green Factor: The UN has said that the meat industry dominates one-fifth of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Ouch! Going veggie one day a week or more would dramatically reduce those harmful emissions, and would save gallons upon gallons of water and gasoline

Bonus: The Meat Free Mondays web site is full of good stuff–there’s all sorts of information and recipes, including tips on which wine will best compliment your meal. Deee-lish!

Find It Here: Meat Free Mondays

On Our Blog: You Owe It to Your Kids to Care

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Reduce, Reuse, Renew

recycle.jpgWhat: Baby Earth’s Renew program

Features: Want to dispose of bulky baby gear without having it go to a landfill? Baby Earth’s Renew program is a great way to do just that! It’s simple: send them your unwanted strollers, car seats, high chairs and other big baby gear. You cover the shipping, and they take care of the rest!

Green Factor: Upon arrival, items are taken apart for recycling — fabric is sent to developing countries while metal, plastic and foam are put to good use via construction projects. If the item’s in really good shape, it’s donated to a family in need

Bonus: Use the Renew program and receive $5 off your next purchase; folks living in the Austin, TX area can drop items off at Baby Earth’s flagship store in Round Rock. Check their web site for more details!

Find It Here: Baby Earth

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Cell Phone Style for a Song

cases.jpgMade by women at a co-operative in New Delhi, these cell phone cases are fashioned out of antique saris that would normally be burned for their gold and silver. Each beautiful case is intricately detailed and completely unique. They’re equipped with a strap that can be hooked on to your purse, backpack or belt for safe keeping and are traded fairly from India. Choose from three colors – green, brown and turquoise.

Buying one of these cell phone cases is something you can feel good about. The women who create them earn the money they desperately need to raise their families and The Rainforest Site will preserve 1145.0 sq. ft. of land for each one purchased. So for just $16, you’re not only getting a one-of-a-kind case for your cell phone, you’re saving the lungs of our planet and putting gorgeous antique saris to good use.

Find It Here: The Rainforest Site Store

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Raising Green with Green

koru.pngHere in our household, we’re gearing up for back to school. My kids hit the hallowed halls this week and I’ll be back to packing lunches and blowing my children curb side kisses within a few days. My kids are excited for school to start and I’m looking forward to the year that’s awaiting them, but with one exception: the fundraising.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for raising money for the school, but over the last couple of years I’ve often wished there was a fundraising campaign out there for schools that was a bit greener. I mean, I want to raise money for my kids’ as much as the next mom, but does it have to be by selling plastic bags or wrapping paper?

Enter Koru, a fundraising platform that not only benefits schools and their communities, but the environment as well. Koru offers natural, organic products that are fair trade and non-toxic. Their goal? To lead by example to inspire the leaders of tomorrow. Seventy-five per cent of Koru’s products – which range from bracelets and cosmetics to spices, household items and pet toys – are $10 or less, and all of them are green. They’re original items, too – you won’t find boxes of chocolate bars or packs of Christmas cards in Koru’s catalogue. What you will find, though, are unique products that you can actually USE. And that? Is reason enough to suggest greener fundraising with companies like Koru at your next PTA meeting.

Find It Here: Koru Fundraising

More:  EcoLabel Fundraising, Ecobags Fundraising

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These Rejects Rock

rice-laptop-bag.pngWhen I buy Basmati rice, I get it in the big, ten-pound bags that are outfitted with handles, a zippered top and a colourful, festive elephant on the front. When I get home, I dump the rice in a reusable container and save the bag – they’re sturdy and durable, and they’re great for lugging groceries around in.

With that in mind, I love the thinking behind these factory-reject rice bags that have been re-fashioned into fun and funky laptop bags! The Child Health Site has seen the potential these awesome bags have to offer and have come up with a great way to stop the duds from winding up in a landfill somewhere. Why carry your computer around in a dull black bag like everyone else when you can have a bag that’s not only unique and stylish but recycled, as well?

Each bag is hand-held and has two zippered compartments and compared to other options that I’ve seen elsewhere, are reasonably priced at $22.95. They’re made and fairly traded in Thailand, and not only that—with each purchase, The Child Health Site donates 20 cents to The Bamboo Watch Ring, an organization that benefits children who are infected or affected by the HIV virus.

Find It Here: The Child Health Site

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Recycled Doggie Duds

scutteresized.jpgLet’s talk about clothes, specifically those of the canine variety. I’ve long thought that doggie attire was kind of ridiculous—there is nothing sillier, in my opinion, than the sight of Aunt Mabel’s preshus little Shih Tzu prancing around town in a little blue novelty sweater. I had to suck that opinion up last year, however, once I realized that my German Short Haired Pointer, Foxy, was going to need a sweater. With a coat as short as hers, it became apparent very quickly that she required some extra protection for walks during the winter months. I had no other choice but to tuck my tail between my legs and admit defeat as I walked out the pet store with a thick, fuzzy winter coat for Foxy.

Since then, I’ve changed my opinion about clothing for dogs, because let’s face it: some dogs truly need an extra layer (like Iggy, my in-laws’ beloved hairless rat dog Chinese Crested). But when nine million tons of clothing winds up in landfills on a yearly basis, I have a hard time with the idea of buying a  sweater for Fido when the chances are it’s going to become a part of that staggering statistic, too.

Enter Scutte (pronounced ‘scoot’), a new pet clothing company based out of San Francisco. The brainchild of Kira Stackhouse, Scutte creates unique sweaters, shirts and sweatshirts for dogs from vintage human clothing. Kira even recycles the leftover fabric, turning scraps in to cat toys and other accessories for our four-legged friends.

In addition to all of the aforementioned eco-friendly greatness, a portion of each purchase from Scutte goes to Muttville, a local senior dog rescue organization. So a purchase from Scutte not only helps prevent landfill waste, it benefits a rescue organization, too. Bow WOW!

Find It Here: Scutte

On Our Blog: Food, Inc ~ The Truth About What We Eat

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