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.
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!
It seems that wherever in the world people and planet are exploited for the sake of the easiest profit, you’ll find a Big Bank in partnership with a corrupt regime.
Ah, weddings! Generally extravagant and lavish affairs, couples often consider their wedding as one of the most special days in their lives. Weddings, however, aren’t easy to plan, and often involve a high level of stress. Due to this, even people who are environmentally and socially responsible in their everyday lives can forget to adhere to their principles while planning a wedding.
Sadly, our special days can have many environmental repercussions, and that’s why it’s important to try and keep these wonderful occasions as eco-friendly as possible. The consequences of our environmental neglect are steadily building up—not only in terms of physical changes such as rising sea levels and drought, but also in terms of economics where experts have found that environmental neglect contributes to overall recession and job loss.
Here are some tips you can follow to make sure your wedding is sustainable. Implementing these ideas is actually quite easy. By taking these seemingly small steps, you will not only have a wonderful wedding, but also help sustain our beloved environment.
Send invitations and envelopes made from recycled paper. Recycled paper can be very beautiful, and this way, each guest will receive a one-of-a-kind invite, since you can find recycled papers that are unique in shade and texture.
Every individual is perfect in their own way, but that doesn’t mean that occasionally you won’t feel the need for a rosy cheek, a smokey eye, or a glossy lip! The majority of cosmetics contain chemicals and toxins that could potentially harm you, your skin, and age you ahead of your years. So why are we condoning toxic products that’ve been tested on animals when we can have our own makeup, and eat it too!
I challenge you to substitute at least one product in your makeup bag for one of these all-natural and organic makeup alternatives for one week! Using ingredients from your kitchen and local farmer’s market you can make and replace everything in your makeup bag!
More Than Skin-Deep
So what do you really have in your makeup bag? Have you ever thought to check the ingredients per product to see what they mean? Believe it or not the effects of makeup on your health are more serious than you may think.
Your makeup bag holds everything from asbestos to lead, and even more horrors in between! You will find that several of the ingredients in your makeup bag act as stabilizers for industrial cleaners and pesticides.
We know now, more than ever, that our daily choices directly affect the environment, and the health and safety of future generations. We’ve gotten better about recycling, bringing reusable bags to the store, and even using less water.
But there’s one area that needs improvement, and that’s the food we waste.
Did you know that the food you throw away plays a big role in the health of our environment? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, we waste about 40% of all the food we produce. That equates to throwing away $165 billion dollars each year.
What a shame because cutting our food losses by just 40% would be more than enough food to feed the 50 million Americans that go without enough to eat every year.
Food Waste and Climate Change
If wasting food that hungry people could eat wasn’t sad enough, wasted food is now the largest contributor to landfills, where it produces methane—a gas with 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
Global methane emissions from landfills make up about 20% of all methane emissions, and are the third largest human source of methane (even greater than animal manure, which is fifth).
Several years ago, when compact fluorescent (CFL) lightbulbs came onto the market, I was really happy. I was even happier when their prices came down and their warmth and quality improved greatly, because they really do save a lot of money, energy and natural resources.
But then I became a mom.
Fluorescent light bulbs break sometimes, and when they do, they release mercury vapor into the air, and must be carefully removed and disposed of like toxic waste. You just can’t put CFLs or other fluorescent bulbs in the trash—ever. Yikes!
It only took breaking one of them—and having to rush my child out of a room till it could be ventilated of one of the most toxic poisons known to humanity—to ban CFLs from all but the most remote areas of my house.
But even more important than the tiny amount of mercury released by one broken bulb is the huge amount of mercury used in the manufacture of all CFLs. This has far greater impact on the health of everyone, especially those who manufacture these bulbs.