6 Small Things to Make a Difference

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A Green Nursery on a Budget

We all want a safe haven for our babies and giving them an eco-friendly space of their own is surely at the top of any green mom’s list BUT…we all know green can also cost a lot of green.

Fortunately, with a little creativity, perseverance and time, you can give your bundle of joy safe, eco-friendly accommodations without spending a fortune and I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to get started!

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True Food Now

guidecover.jpgDid you know that genetically engineered food crops actually require more pesticides and herbicides than non-genetically modified food crops? This means we’re ingesting more toxic chemicals on genetically engineered or modified (GE/GMO) foods, which, incidentally, have never been proven safe for the environment OR human consumption. It’s also not labeled as GE/GMO  so we can’t even avoid it just by reading the ingredients. This is why the True Food Network’s True Food Shoppers Guide to Avoiding GE Foods was created — because you have the right to know what’s in your food!

The list, compiled primarily from direct communications with food producers, focuses on foods made with ingredients that are commonly derived from GE/GMO crops — the most widely grown being corn, soy, canola and cotton. The list also contains companies that have made a concerted effort to avoid GE/GMO ingredients and have company policies asserting their position on avoiding GE/GMO foods.

Download the list, print it out and keep it handy for when you’re grocery shopping or get the mobile app for your phone.* According to the New York Times, more than 70 percent of car buyers do some research before making a purchase. Shouldn’t we put at least that much effort into learning more about the food we eat?

*Get the mobile app for free on iTunes (for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) or Android Market by searching for “True Food.”

For more info on avoiding GMO’s, please read this article from Healthy Child, Healthy World.

Find It Here: The True Food Network

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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?

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NextWorth at Target

What: NextWorth electronics trade-in program

Features: NextWorth is a program based out of Target retail stores where you can trade-in your old electronics & media (cell phones, iPods, game consoles, cameras & more) for a Target gift card. There are currently over 165 stores offering the program with more stores being added each week. Find a Store

Green Factor: NextWorth resells the devices and media  it buys from consumers, which helps to keep toxic electronics out of the wastestream and protects our air and groundwater.

Bonus: Get a quote for your item(s) right now

Find It Here: NextWorth

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What: Ennovationz.com

Features: Ennovationz is a web site that provides invaluable information and advice on how to save energy and money while living green.

Green Factor: Greening your home to save energy can be costly—there’s no way to sugarcoat that fact—but one of Ennovationz.com’s standout features is the rebate section. Plug in your zip code and it will return results about ways to get money back for making energy-saving investments in your home. I did it and I was amazed at all the changes we can make that will yield a rebate or a tax deduction.

Bonus: See how your energy usage compares with similar local homes, sign up for free utility bill analysis and monitoring or get personalized energy-saving recommendations.

Find It Here: Ennovationz

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A Year’s Worth of Green

What: 365 Ways to Live Green: Your Everyday Guide to Saving the Environment book

Features: Is being more green one of your New Year’s resolutions? Not sure where to start? This book might be just what you need to get the year started off on the eco-friendliest foot possible! It also comes in an electronic version so you can download it to an e-reader and save a few trees.

Green Factor: It gives you a year’s worth of ways to live green every day!

Bonus: If you have an iPhone, there is a 365 Ways to Live Green app. Check it out here!

There is also a similar book just for kids (by a different author), 365 Ways to Live Green for Kids: Saving the Environment at Home, School, or at Play–Every Day!

Find It Here: Amazon.com

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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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Bye Bye, Jack!

Every year, one billion pounds of pumpkins are produced in the United States alone. That’s a LOT of organic material that will just go rot in the landfill if not disposed of naturally.

If you don’t have a compost bin, this is a great time to start one—with the remains of your holiday pumpkin! You can find directions on starting composting here.

If you already compost, here are some things to remember:

1) If you carved your pumpkin and got rid of all the flesh and seeds inside it, you don’t need to worry about that stuff. Just remember to remove any candles/wax.

2) If you didn’t carve your pumpkin, you should open it up and get out all the seeds because they can sprout in your compost bin/heap!

3) Cut or smash your pumpkin into pieces smaller than your fist, if possible. If your pumpkin had a thick, hard stem, it can take a long time for that to break down—you may want to leave the stem out.

4) Put the pumpkin pieces in your heap or bin and add some drier material like leaves or grass clippings.

5) Turn your compost as frequently as you normally would.

6) If you live in a cooler region, you may want to move your bin to a spot where it will get some sun every day.

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Cornucopia Reports

What: Reports and ratings on organic dairy and eggs from The Cornucopia Institute

Features: These scorecards rates companies that market name-brand and private-label organic milk and eggs based on numerous criteria that are important to organic consumers. The scorecard showcases ethical family farms, and their brands, and exposes factory farm producers and brands in grocery store coolers that threaten to take over organic livestock agriculture.

Green Factor: Organic farming is far better for the planet and it’s inhabitants. Knowing who is doing it right and who isn’t helps consumers make informed choices.

Bonus: The Cornucopia Institute site is full of useful information about agricultural/food legislation and reports on a variety of food issues that affect all consumers. There are also scorecards on soy and infant formulas.

Find It Here: The Cornucopia Institute

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Shop and Swap Kidswear at ThredUP

What: ThredUP

Features: ThredUp is a popular online service that helps parents everywhere swap kids clothing in a way that is super easy and convenient. No bidding and waiting to see if you win; no driving around to meet strangers from the classifieds. Get rid of what you don’t need and get what you DO need.

Green Factor: Clothing gets a second life with another child and the shipping boxes are reusable, too.

Bonus: Shipping is a flat $5 and ThredUP also swaps specialty items like costumes, sports gear, dance apparel and more. With Halloween coming up, it’s a great way to get costumes for practically nothing—find out more about National Costume Swap Day (typically runs through the month of October).

Find It Here: ThredUP

This Week’s Giveaway: Glee Gum

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Your Garden Show

Wgardenshow.jpghat: An online community and social network for gardening enthusiasts.

Features: Set up a free account and begin sharing your gardening experiences, ideas, photos, videos, inspiration and more with other gardening enthusiasts. The site also includes a blog and a forum for gardening questions.

Green Factor: Gardening is an excellent way to introduce kids to ecology, nature, science and sustainability.

Bonus: Your Garden Show features a vast 6,000 vegetable database and a 5,900 ornamental database.

Find It Here: YourGardenShow.com

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