It’s no secret the planet is awash in plastic trash, so anything we can do to avoid using single-use plastic items like bottles, straws, and bags is a win for both conserving resources and preventing pollution.
By using a shampoo bar in lieu of bottled shampoo, you’ll get beautiful locks while reducing waste, and saving both natural resources and money. And by making your own shampoo bars and soaps, you’ll save even more money, and feel great about the safe, food-grade ingredients you are using to cleanse your hair and body.
Simple & Natural Soapmaking
Soapmaking is a fun and practical hobby, as well as a valuable homesteading skill. Homemade soap also makes a gorgeous, affordable gift for almost any occasion.
But even if you just want to dabble, my favorite book on the subject, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, is a very thorough resource for any brand-new soap maker, with fun ideas for someone with more experience as well.
In her comprehensive guide, herbalist Jan Berry offers detailed tutorials and step-by-step photographs for making traditional cold-process soap and the more modern hot-process method with a slow cooker.
Salt has earned a bad reputation in recent years, so it may comes as a surprise to hear this ancient seasoning, consumed in moderation, is actually crucial for good health.
Humans are made up of about 72% water and 28% mineral salts and organic material (like bacteria, proteins and fatty acids.) As such, there are two “oceans” of water in the body. One ocean is held inside the cells of our bodies, and the other ocean is the sea of fluid existing outside of our cells.
Your good health depends on a delicate balance between the volume of these two bodies of water, and this balance is achieved by salt—natural, unrefined mineral salts.
A Grain of Salt
The differences between refined, processed salt (also known as “table salt”) and unrefined natural salt are as great as the differences between white sugar and freshly cut and dried sugar cane. These differences can have an impact on staying healthy, avoiding potentially toxic additives, and increasing your risk of diseases you want to avoid.
The typical modern, refined table salt can be compared to refined sugar or refined flour—it used to be a healthful, whole food, but our industrial food system has stripped and processed it to death.
The scorching summer temperatures make the thought of spending hot afternoons in an air-conditioned room very appealing. Unfortunately, air conditioning has a huge environmental impact that most of us are unaware of.
In fact, a typical room air conditioner, for example, uses 10-20 times as much electricity as a ceiling fan. Air conditioning also means more refrigerants, which in turn leads to potentially higher greenhouse gases.
While it may not be possible to completely cut out air conditioning from your lifestyle, here are some tips on how to keep your body cool this summer in an environmentally responsible manner, no matter where you happen to be…
1. Avoid Heat Emitters
In terms of household appliances, chores, and duties, avoid or modify those that emit heat during the summer. For example:
- Try to grill or cook your food outdoors, instead of heating up the kitchen with the stove or oven. Put the slow cooker in the garage to stew your dinner. Try your hand at making a solar cooker or outdoor wood-fired pizza oven!
- Allow dishes to air dry in your dishwasher as this reduces heat emission.
The majority of our days is spent at work. Even so, a surprisingly small number of us think about the environmental impact of our office lifestyles on the planet.
Although there are many reasons as to why management should adopt sustainable business practices (reducing bills being one of them), companies seem to struggle to implement green measures into their daily routine.
Thankfully, even if your company hasn’t “gone green” as a whole, there are things you can do and habits you can adopt as an employee to make your workplace more eco-friendly.
Green Your Commute
Research states that every working American spends approximately 47 hours per year commuting through traffic. This adds up to 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year.
Carpooling, using a bike, and using public transportation are some of the ways to reduce this stress on the environment (and on you, too!). Some companies even offer incentives for employees who bike or use public transport.
If you are in a position to change your ride, consider getting a compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle. Compared to gasoline, CNG reduces carbon-monoxide emissions by 90 to 97 percent — that’s a lot!
High in vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats, nuts and seeds are little powerhouses of nutrition. However, nuts and seeds also contain phytic acid and large amounts of enzyme inhibitors which protect them from sprouting until they have the rain and sun they need to grow. And unfortunately, these natural chemicals can be quite hard on the stomach.
So, if you’ve ever had tummy trouble after eating nuts and seeds, don’t give up on them yet!
Why Soak Nuts and Seeds?
In nature, a seed or nut normally gets enough moisture from rain to wash off the acids and enzyme inhibitors so it can germinate and produce a plant. By soaking nuts and seeds before you eat them, you imitate nature by neutralizing these toxic growth inhibitors, releasing the natural enzymes and vitality within them.
These enzymes, in turn, increase the vitamin content of your nuts and seeds, especially the B vitamins. Soaking also makes them much easier to digest and enables their many nutrients to be more easily absorbed by your body.
After you soak them, you can do one of two things:
- You could set them out to sprout for a few days.
I’ve never blindly trusted the chemicals in sunscreens. Why should I trade short-term protection for long-term harm, especially when there are safer alternatives?
Figs are coming into season here in Southern California, and trees all over the neighborhood are absolutely loaded with them. Here are two fresh fig recipes to help you enjoy the bounty of these special fruits.
While humans and our insatiable consumerism are the primary drivers of climate change, pets have a surprisingly large impact of their own.
With around one billion pet dogs and cats in the world eating billions of pounds of meat and GMO grains a year, and producing half a billion pounds of waste every day, Rover and Mittens have a massive effect on the health and sustainability of our environment.
So what can be done to make our pets more planet-friendly? Here are 8 ways to reduce the ecological “pawprint” of your cats and dogs…
1. Purchase Pet Products Wisely
Just as you try to avoid toxic plastics, flame retardants and noxious household chemicals for the sake of your own health, you should also consider your pet’s health when purchasing toys, bedding and grooming products.
Read labels! Buy organic bedding, and choose toys, collars and leashes made from natural materials or plastics that do not contain vinyl, phthalates or BPA. (A hemp collar and leash is an especially nice choice.)
Use eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners that are free from toxic chemicals and manufactured with natural ingredients. (Here are some brands to check out.)
And if your pet has an accident indoors, use eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products to clean up after them.
Every summer, millions of people world-wide travel far from home to enjoy holidays, vacations and family visits. All this moving around uses a lot of resources and generates a lot of pollution. Unfortunately, most travel today is far from environmentally friendly.
Here are some simple travel tips on how to have a great vacation with a smaller, more planet-friendly footprint…
Plan for Eco-Tourism
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) defines ecotourism as:
“Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”
From a traveler’s standpoint, ecotourism includes sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity. Such travelers practice conscientious, low-impact behavior.
Most people forego even trying to plan an eco-friendly trip, because they are under the misconception that traveling green involves sacrificing too many “regular” activities—especially those that make holidays fun.
However, there are many ecotourism companies all over the world offering fun tours and trips (sometimes to incredible places that can only be seen using low impact transport like walking, bicycle, canoe, or horseback)
Consider booking an eco-tourism trip if you want to have a fun vacation with the least impact on the surrounding environment.
Amanda Rich found the Harvard Extension School a perfect landing spot for her third degree.