June 27, 2010

The Oil Spill

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Children, Cleaning, Health, Money, News, Travel, Weather tagged , , , , , at 6:46 am by Liliana

http://www.oilism.com/oil/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/oilspill0.jpg

"Make my hands respect the things you have"

There is a great environmental tragedy happening in the Gulf of Mexico and it affects our entire planet.

I wanted to address the issue, to acknowledge the unprecedented affliction, torment and suffering, but my words feel inadequate and shallow.

What can I say that hasn’t been said? What wisdom can I offer?

I will let this beautiful Native American Prayer speak for me. It says everything, and much more, that I wanted to express.

Native American Prayer

Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.

(translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)

Source: http://www.sapphyr.net/natam/quotes-nativeamerican.htm

May 15, 2010

Open Your Windows!

Posted in appliance parts, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cleaning, Health, Home, RepairClinic.com tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:02 am by Liliana

Open Your Window

Open Your Windows

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies indoor air pollution as one of the top risks to public health in our environment. Often, the air inside is more polluted than the air outside. What can we do to keep the air in our home fresh, clean and healthy? EPA offers a few easy to follow suggestions:

Open the Windows and Air Your House Out
Every day, even in winter, it is a good idea to open as many windows as you can in your house. The cross breezes will purify the air and make your house smell fresh and feel comfortable.

Keep Houseplants
Green houseplants not only clean the air in our homes by removing toxins but look beautiful and refreshing as well.

Candles and Air Fresheners
Most candles and air fresheners contained phthalates. These chemicals, used to spread fragrance through the air, are believed to cause birth defects, hormonal abnormalities, and reproductive problems. Burn only beeswax and soy-based candles.

Combustion Gases
Gas stoves produce open flames, and places where open flames reside (kitchens, living room fireplaces, furnace rooms, or basements) nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide have a chance of building up. It is important to check  and make sure that your gas appliances are properly adjusted. All should have a blue flame; a lot of the yellow or orange color are a sign of higher pollutant levels. If this is the case in your home, you should alert your gas company to adjust the setting. If you are buying a new appliance, select a model with a pilot-less ignition; this type does not have a continuously burning pilot light.

Dust Mites
Although not deadly, dust mites (hiding in bedrooms, linens, sofas, carpets) cause a number of allergies and  may be responsible for stuffy noses and itchy eyes. They could also make asthma symptoms flare up. Cover your pillows and mattresses with tightly woven “allergen protector” covers. Vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter; or even better, select wood flooring for your home. It is much easier to keep dust free.

PBDEs (Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers or Flame Retardants)
These dangerous chemicals have been linked to thyroid and liver cancers, as well as neurological and immune disorders. Many Mattresses, upholstery and electronics are made with them. Mattresses made from wool (a natural fire retardant) are a healthier choice. Electronics manufacturers such as Apple, Dell, and Sony are starting to phase out certain PBDEs. IKEA is one of the furniture manufacturers that has stopped using these chemicals (as they have been banned in Europe.)

Formaldehyde
This chemical emits toxic gases that can cause nausea and dizziness; in severe cases, it may harm the liver and the kidneys. Formaldehyde can hide in adhesives in furniture, flooring and cabinetry. Particleboard products have a lot of adhesive, so buying solid wood furniture and flooring instead may help you avoid this harmful chemical.

Mold
Anywhere that there is water (refrigerator, washing machine, shower walls) there is potential for mold. Mold causes itchy eyes, runny noses, asthma, and other respiratory disorders. In order to control mold, it is important to control indoor moisture levels (those levels can easily be measured with an inexpensive humidity meter – a hygrometer.) Don’t forget to regularly clean the spots in your home that hold standing water – the drip trays beneath your refrigerator and the bucket on your dehumidifier. Run a cycle without clothes on your washing machine once a week with 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to prevent mold from invading there.

Pesticides
These chemicals can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, coughing, and dizziness and over long periods of time have been linked to central nervous system damage. They accumulate on floors, plants, pets, bottoms of shoes. Be careful of what kinds of chemicals you spray on your pets and plants to ward off pests and insects. Removing shoes before entering your home, can significantly cut down on the amount of lawn fertilizer tracked inside.

Every bit counts. Keep the air in your home clean and healthy. Keep those windows open.

April 26, 2010

RepairClinic.com – Advice on Living Green

Posted in appliance parts, Health, Home, Money, RepairClinic.com tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:12 am by Liliana

 Drink Tap Water

Drink Tap Water

Whether going for a walk or taking kids to soccer, many of us habitually reach for a plastic water bottle to take along. Our society seems to be addicted to the availability of a bottle filled with water at all times.  What cost is our environment paying for this convenience?

According to the Earth Policy Institute, transporting bottled water for long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Nearly a quarter of all bottled water is transported by boat, train, and truck. In fact, due mainly to packaging and transportation, it costs more to drink bottled water than to put gas in your car – up to five times more.

And this is not the only cost.

The Container Recycling Institute reports that eight out of ten plastic water bottles used in the US are not recycled.  They end up in landfills or as litter in parks and along roads. According to Sierra Club, about 66 million bottles are being disposed of every day!

What can you do?

  • Stop buying bottled water.
  • Use tap water instead – it is healthier and better regulated (local municipalities must comply with strict government standards from the EPA for water purity, while most water bottling companies are regulated by the FDA with  fewer restrictions.)
  • Save money – water bottle companies are charging as much as 300 – 1000 times what that same water would cost if you just turned on your own faucet.
  • Buy a filter – if worried about the purity of your tap water, a water filter will help. Most recently designed refrigerators already have a filter in their water and ice dispensers.

Every person makes a difference. It feels good to do one’s part.

April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Posted in Weather tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 7:27 am by Liliana

Earth Day 2010

On the official Earth Day website, these were some of the suggestions people sent for helping take care of our planet:

  • I will not litter and I will help the environment.
  • I want to use recycled papers rather than new ones so I can save a tree from being cut.
  • I pledge to recycle and be as energy-efficient as possible.
  • We recycle, use canvas shopping bags and garden organically.
  • I will take shorter showers and use a water-saving shower head.
  • I will walk, ride my bike, and take public transportation instead of driving.
  • I will use a reusable water bottle and bring a mug to the coffee shop.
  • I’ll be sending this message to all my students and save more energy.
  • I will bring my own bags to the grocery store.
  • I will pay my bills online instead of receiving bills in the mail.
  • Drying clothes on a rack instead of in the drying machine.
  • I’m becoming a Vegetarian today!
  • My four-year-old sister and I are growing beans to add green to our Earth.
  • I will call the local utility company and check if they offer a green energy program to power homes with wind and solar.
  • I will organize a clean-up in my school and pick up litter whenever I see it.
  • I will remember to turn off the lights in my office every time I leave it.
  • My class will be planting trees and vegetables around our school.
  • I will use the stairs for up to 5 flights.
  • I will work against destruction of forests in India.
  • I will use rainwater in my vegetable garden.
  • I will pick up the trash on the beach.
  • I will use all natural products with no chemicals.
  • I am going to make a butterfly garden.
  • I will grow a tree…

What will you do? Send us your ideas!