Friday, January 31, 2014

Supporting "Green" Through Our Purchases

Supporting "Green" Through Our Purchases
The most Eco-friendly purchase is, of course, no purchase at all.

But sometimes we need stuff and when we do, it's important to research products and buy from companies who make an effort to minimize their impact on the environment. Supporting such companies sends a clear message that we insist on products which don't harm the earth through their manufacture, use, or disposal.

Sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, it's not.

Living green has become a trend; consequently, advertisers want to capitalize on our desire to live a more Eco-friendly life. They use words like "natural" to convince us that their product just sprouted from the earth. Unfortunately, the word is unregulated and can mean just about anything.

Another "trick", which I've seen, is the use of the word "green", typically on a package which includes the color green to reinforce their message. If you look a bit closer on the label, you won't find actual certifications from organizations like Green Seal, Rainforest Alliance, or Forest Stewardship Council. You also won't find information on why their product is safe for the environment.

Here are a few tips to ensure that we're buying earth-friendly products:


Look at the packaging of the product. It should have minimal, or no, packaging and what there is should be recyclable (make a point to find out what can be recycled in your area). Bulk products, free of any packaging, are usually good bets.


Read the label.
  • Avoid words like "all natural", "nontoxic", and "carbon neutral" which are non-regulated words and can mean anything.
  • The list of ingredients should be recognizable and safe. For example, in cleaning solutions chlorine and ammonia are not safe, baking soda and vinegar won't hurt you or the planet.
  • Are there hazardous use warnings? Typically a "green" product won't come with a lot of warnings and probably won't suggest that you call poison control if the product is ingested.
  • The label should backup the manufacturer's claims. Look for an explanation of why the product is green and any green certifications.
  • Watch out for big claims. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are.


Look at the item ... is it unusually white (bleached) or have a very bright color (dyed)? That might be a clue that it's not "green".


Is there a strong fragrance to the item? If a product comes heavily scented, it probably isn't Eco-friendly.

Research the company

Reputable companies typically want you to know what they are doing. Visit websites and look for sustainability policies. Here's one of my personal concerns: companies who mainly sell non-green items but, to accommodate the growing trend, have added a line of Eco-friendly products. In my opinion, they lack commitment and I find all of their products suspect.

These are just a few of the ways that can help us determine the "greeness" of a product and company. Unfortunately, they aren't "fool proof", but they do help us narrow down the choices.

Our purchases cast a vote for the earth. They also send a clear message to manufacturers who are driven by their financial bottom line. If we refuse to support them, they will either make a change in favor of the environment ... or watch their business die.

I'd like to invite you to check out our Special Offers Page. The vendors are trying their best to create products which are kind to the environment. And, they are graciously offering special deals to introduce their products to you. Check them out and let them know that we appreciate their efforts. Here are some of the great items you'll find:

Special Offers Special Offers Special Offers

Special Offers Special Offers

What is your strategy to ensure that you are supporting "green" through your purchases?

Sneak Peek: Winter is the best time to do a home energy inspection. Our next post offers some inexpensive ways to get it done.

Images courtesy of Grant Cochrane,, & vendors featured on the Specials Offers Page

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Survey Results and 7 Tips For "Greening" Your Celebrations

January's poll took a look at the holidays and whether or not we were able to keep them green. Here are the results:

How Green Were Your Holidays

Results of "How Green Were Your Holidays" Survey

We only had 16 respondents which isn't really enough for a scientific consensus. However, I found the answers very encouraging. When asked similar type questions in previous surveys, people rarely indicated that they were doing great. This time, the majority felt that they were either extremely green or very green. No one failed and only a few felt that they dropped the ball mid-way through the holidays.

I believe that we are becoming more aware of our actions. We no longer succumb to advertisements which encourage us to celebrate at the expense of the environment. Traditions and green-living walk together to create wonderful family moments.

Can we do better? Of course! Here are some tips:

7 Tips For "Greening" Your Celebrations
  1. Plan to stay home. If you must travel, choose the most Eco-friendly mode of transportation possible. If flying (one of the least "green" methods of transportation), consider a daytime flight which is more Eco-friendly than "red eyes".
  2. Encourage your guests to car-pool.
  3. Prepare local foods and minimize the amount of meat served.
  4. Avoid disposable items like paper napkins or plates.
  5. Use CFL or LED lighting.
  6. Decorate your table using natural items such as a bouquet of autumn leaves or a bowl of nuts.
  7. If gifts are included, choose Eco-friendly items with minimal packaging ... or make gifts. Wrap them using recycled paper, beautiful scarves, towels or clothing (T-shirts make the most interesting wrapping).
Any celebration can be green. It just takes a bit of thought and planning.

What are your green tips for celebrations?

Sneak Peek: Money talks! Our next post will discuss voting for green, with our green!

Image courtesy of stockimages, /

Also posted at Natural Family Friday

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Adjust The Thermostat

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week was so interesting and I learned a lot! Our challenge asked us to read a bit about GMO products and then either sign a petition in support of labeling or discuss food health issues of concern. A country which I thought had banned GMOs, changed it's mind and now allows them ... without labeling. Another country, currently allowing only GMO wheat for livestock, decided to ban all GMO testing in 2014, a switch from previous years. A GMO supporter offered quite a lot of information, via twitter, with some valid points. However, when asked his/her view on labeling, the response was "it's complex". As with many of our challenges, this one made me think!

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Lois wrote Change the World Wednesday, Small Footprints is Back!!!. In it, she talks about how some insects have become resistant to the pesticides and herbicides which have been genetically introduced to some GMO seeds. The proposed solution will shock you!

Mary joined us! She shares this: "What a fabulous article! I have to say that it is great to see more GMO-free advocate. I have been fighting the battle for over 15 years. Washington is a big one right now. I just talked to the Organic Consumers Association and I will be volunteering when they are in my area. I cannot wait. Hey, I have quite a few articles on GMO's that you might be interested in." She also shares a great article entitled GMO Labeling |The Right to Know. In it, you'll find out which companies are supporting labeling and which are not. The list is eye-opening. Want a hint? If you love Cascadian Farm, Larabar & Muir Glen products (which all fall under the General Mills banner), you're going to be greatly disappointed.

Katie joined us. She says, "I am so glad that you are featuring a challenge about food and GMO. I feel very strongly about GMO labeling and am happy to see such great coverage about it lately by fellow green bloggers." She went on to write an excellent article entitled Do You Know What You Are Eating? [#CTWW]. In it, she talks about her concerns, such as losing heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, and losing the ability to save seeds from one harvest to the next. Her article is very thoughtful!

Argentum Vulgaris (AV) wrote Change the World Wednesday – 22nd Jan. At one time, GMO products were banned in Brazil. However, in 2003 that changed. Unfortunately, the change didn't include labeling and consumers are, for the most part, unaware of the issue. AV talks about safety studies, conducted in Brazil, with disturbing results ... and yet, GMOs are allowed. If you have the time, head over and read the post ... you'll learn a lot. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the article for AV's update on why it's so hard to get labeling for GMO products.

Anuja posted GM foods: What’s all the fuss about? This article speaks to genetically engineered crops and their connection to solving world hunger. There are some very valid points to consider. In India, GMO labeling is mandatory; however, it is not standardized.

Melanie accepted the challenge and signed the petition. Thanks, Melanie!

Ann stopped by. Nice to see you, Ann!

Mary joined us and shared this, "We do deserve to know what is in our foods. Thank you for this post and for raising GMO awareness!"

This edition of Sunflowers & Edibles gave CTWW a nice mention. Thank you, @HerbGir1972!

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @anujasaw
- Why GMO Supporters Should Embrace Labels #CTWW @ramez

From @KrmbalClothing
- Hey look at this - Kashi has made a commitment to make their food more non-GMO #CTWW

From @GMOAnswers

From @HerbGir1972
- Genetically Engineered Foods May Cause Rising Food Allergies
- Freebie Fun: My collection of GMO learning resources in a download for you. Enjoy!
- Supreme Court refuses to hear historic food fight

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@89linz @a_kiasi @allnaturalkatie
@anujasaw @bethsegreen @biggreenpen
@bstoneblog @collegegogreen @como_water
@crazedkitchen @dieselelephants @dschvejda
@eco_novice @ginavalley @givetreegifts
@gmolessweek @groovygreenlivi @guayaba
@herbgir1972 @houweightloss @johnlundin
@jonsenior1 @justanotherhat @kayelleallen
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @lady_bren
@lowcarbongirl @madeinusablog @mamapoolecooks
@mizmeliz @mombloggerplr @momgamerwriter
@myzerowaste @nebulousmooch @nolafusion
@ourfavadventure @pinkladyapril @rckweddings
@realityarts @robpolka @ruralmoms
@sayhaytomeg @shannongrissom @socialhottweets
@theworld4realz @treesgroup @violetsbuds
@wellminded @wencdj @whopaysthepiper

My Final Thoughts:

The issue of genetically modified food is complex, to say the least. There are valid points in favor of their use, as well as legitimate reasons to ban them. Labeling, however, is not a complicated idea. We have the right to know what's in our food. In the same way that labels reflect trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, they must reflect GMO ingredients. GMO supporters will tell us that labeling is a concern because it will cost farmers and food manufacturers a lot of money. They warn that the cost associated with labeling will, in turn, be passed on to consumers. I have reservations about the truth of that statement; but, if that is the case, then so be it. I am willing to pay more for foods which are accurately labeled. The choice of what to put into my body, is mine. I do not, and will not, entrust that right to businesses or government whose interest doesn't rest with my health and safety.

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Lower the thermostat for Change The World Wednesday

Let's do something a bit different this week. Many areas are currently experiencing chilly temperatures and that tempts us to crank up the heat in our homes. Here's your challenge:

This week, turn down your thermostat by 1 or 2 degrees. That's 1 or 2 degrees lower than where you've had it during this cold season. If you get chilly, put on extra layers of clothing, cuddle under a blanket or exercise. PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU, OR SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSE, IS ILL, IT MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE TO ADJUST THE TEMPERATURE.

OR ...

If it's warm/hot where you're at, turn the thermostat up by 1 or 2 degrees.

OR ...

If you don't use a thermostat to control your home's temperature, please share the ways in which you keep comfortable.

Will you accept this challenge and save energy? I know that you will!

Sneak Peek: Planning a celebration or party? Our next post will help keep it green.

Until then ...


Image courtesy of foto76, /

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review & #Giveaway - Homemade Cleaners by Mandy O'Brien & Dionna Ford

Review & Giveaway - Homemade Cleaners, Quick-And-Easy, Toxic-Free Recipes
Have you ever considered making your own household cleaning solutions?

I have! Commercial varieties usually contain toxic chemicals which are bad for our health and bad for the environment. There are "green" cleaners available but one has to be careful about them because they aren't always as green as the label implies and, they tend to be expensive. Making my own just makes sense.

But here's my problem: The Internet is full of recipes and I don't always have the time to search out the "tried and true". When I do find ones that work well with minimal ingredients, and bookmark them, I have to turn on the computer to read them whenever I want to clean (yeah, there are important things going on in my brain and I don't have room to "store" recipes). Printing them out seems like a waste of paper and ink, and then there's the problem of where to put all these pieces of paper. So, you can see my dilemma. But there is a terrific solution!

I received a copy of Homemade Cleaners, written by Mandy O'Brien and Dionna Ford, from Ulysses Press. It is a wonderful book!

It starts out with a discussion about the safety of products you'll find at your grocery store, even so-called "green" products. This is an important section because, contrary to what we might have been told, items in our stores have not necessarily been tested for safety.

Next, the authors tell us about the ingredients necessary to thoroughly clean our homes. The list isn't long and contains items which I am familiar with (and can pronounce).

I must admit, however, that when I received this book, I first browsed the recipes. And WOW ... there are recipes for cleaning anything and everything in your home. Is the upholstery on your favorite chair dirty? No problem! Have some serious soap scum in your shower? Got you covered! There's even a section for cleaning the air. I found one recipe which came in very handy.

Last summer we got hit with a lot of rain, along with extremely high humidity. Since I avoid using air conditioning, we developed mildew around the windows. I tried cleaning it without much success. This recipe, from the book, worked well:



2 tablespoons borax
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

Add borax to warm water, and shake until borax is dissolved. Add vinegar. Spray on surfaces affected by mold or mildew. Let sit for a few minutes, and then scrub mold or mildew away with a sponge or scrub brush.

The book has a few more surprises; tips on composting, grilling, and keeping a healthy yard. And if you've ever been bothered by bugs in the summer, you'll love the section entitled "Bugging Out".

I highly recommend this book. It's packed with pertinent information, is well written and easy to read, and one can refer to it without turning on the computer.


Review & Giveaway - Homemade Cleaners, Quick-And-Easy, Toxic-Free Recipes
The lovely folks at Ulysses Press have graciously offered to give one lucky Reduce Footprints' reader a copy of Homemade Cleaners. This giveaway is open world wide. All entries are optional but, of course, the more you complete, the better your chances of winning.

Don't want to wait to get your copy? You can buy it, right now, by visiting Ulysses Press. Just scroll down to the "Buy It Now" section.

Okay ... the Rafflecopter Form is ready for you. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recipe and Book Cover Image Courtesy of Ulysses Press

Sneak Peek: Join us tomorrow for a brand new and exciting Change The World Wednesday Challenge.

I received a copy of "Homemade Cleaners" in order to write this review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and reflect my honest opinion of the material reviewed.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meatless Meals - How I got started!

Organic carrots
I have always loved vegetables. It might have started when my Great Uncle, who had the best vegetable garden in town, took me out to pick carrots. He didn't speak a lot of English and I didn't speak Italian, but we understood each other. He helped me select the perfect carrot, washed it off for me, smiled as I enjoyed the sweet snack, and then brought me over to his rabbit cages to "recycle" the green tops.

Of course, I also loved meat, especially my Father's famous garlic-burgers which he prepared once a year while my Mom went Christmas shopping.

As an adult, it never occurred to me to give up animal products. Do without cheese? Get serious! Forgo that pork roast? Sacrilege! And don't even talk to me about eating anything other than a cheese and mushroom omelet on weekend mornings. Yep, I loved my animal products.

My other half, aka Art Ist, wanted to try a vegetarian diet. I smiled, politely said "yes dear", and continued enjoying my bologna sandwich. Then, we watched a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) program about the typical American diet and how it was killing us. That program woke me up!

The host talked about common health issues, like heart disease and cancer, and their link to eating animal products. It surprised me to find out that most diseases are, at least to some degree, caused by the amount of animal protein we consume. He talked about a nutrient-rich diet which was low in fat and high in essential vitamins and minerals.

I don't know what the host's qualifications were. But what he said made sense to me.

Woman saying "Yes Dear"
So, I agreed to try a vegan diet for 30 days. After all, we can do almost anything for 30 days, right? In truth, even though the health benefits were convincing, I wasn't sure that I could give up a lifetime of eating a certain way. But, I did it for 30 days and enjoyed weight loss, increased energy, and a whole new world of delicious meals. More importantly, on my next Doctor's visit, my cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar numbers were perfect, a surprise since heart disease and diabetes runs in both my Mother's and Father's families. That was over ten years ago and I've never looked back.

Once the decision was made, I jumped in with both feet. Some folks like to add meatless meals gradually. Not me! I'm an "all or nothing" kind of person. My process started by going through the refrigerator and pantry, eliminating anything which contained an animal product. This was an enlightening activity as I read labels and learned about food ingredients. Once the products were removed from the kitchen (given to a friend), we began searching out recipes and new ingredients like quinoa and nutritional yeast. We learned about nutrition ... did you know that iron from raw vegetables, like spinach, is hard for our bodies to absorb? The simple solution is to add citrus to the meal ... a splash of lemon in your water, an orange for desert, etc.

It has been, and continues to be, a fun and exciting journey!

The path I've chosen

My decision to adopt a plant-based diet was all about health. Along the way I've become concerned about the plight of animals, raised commercially for food, and learned how my food choices affect the earth. I've vacillated between vegan, vegetarian and even pescetarian.

In the end, for me, a vegan diet is best.

Have you considered a vegan/vegetarian diet? How would you (or did you) make the change?

Sneak Peek: Are you interested in making your own, natural household cleaners? You won't want to miss our next post!

Images courtesy of Simon Howden, imagerymajestic, and graur razvan ionut /

Friday, January 24, 2014

Holistic Living - A Definition

Since receiving your comments asking for posts on holistic living, I've given the topic a lot of thought. While the way I live my life is holistic in many ways, I've never really thought about it or considered it's relationship to living green. To get us started, I'd like to share my thoughts on what holistic living means to me. It is, by no means, the absolute definition ... it is simply my definition and what I'll use as the basis for future posts. Ready to explore the subject with me?

Holistic Living - A headache can cause irritability.
Have you ever noticed how a very small ache or pain has the power to make your day less than enjoyable? A slight headache can make us feel irritable ... a hangnail can cause us to be grumpy. Why is that?

One explanation is that when we are focused on pain, we lose the energy to think clearly. When we can't think clearly, we feel a sense of being "off" or out of balance. In essence, when the mind is tied up with the body's discomfort, our spirit is low. The spirit is that part of our being which allows us to feel joy, happiness, and peace.

The mind body spirit connection of holistic living.
Holistic living attempts to find a balance between mind, body and spirit in a natural way. It takes a look at the whole person and their environment. Why natural? Perhaps because there is a natural order to life ... a system which is not determined by human beings and, when left alone, is perfect. When we respect it and live in harmony with it, our life seems to progress as it should. On the other hand, when we try to take control, life seems to be nothing but a struggle.

In today's world, convenience has blinded us to the connection between our life and nature. We can buy fresh vegetables at any time of year, flip a switch to make our homes warmer or cooler, and turn on a faucet to get a clean glass of water. These things are not necessarily bad, but they make it easy for us to ignore the cost to both nature and our health.

Our ancestor's understood the link between health and nature. Concepts like companion planting, preserving food and the solar orientation of our homes aren't new. Early people worked with these ideas to create a comfortable, safe life.

I believe that we can find a place, somewhere between today's convenience and yesterday's awareness of nature, where we can live a holistic life. My guiding principals, for every decision I make, will be to find balance between the mind, body, spirit and environment.

What is your definition of holistic living?

Sneak Peek: Considering a plant-based diet? In our next post, we talk about getting started.

Image courtesy of watcharakun & marin /

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vegan Recipe - Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf (Gluten-Free)

I love the holidays and all the associated culinary indulgences. By January, though, I'm ready to get back to healthy, clean food.

While on hiatus, I cruised the vegan boards on Pinterest and found a ton of recipe inspiration. I also discovered some great blogs like the Gluten-Free Goddess. Karina, head chef and blog owner, creates amazing dishes. All of her recipes are gluten-free and quite a few are also vegan (check out her Vegan Recipes Page).

Karina graciously agreed to let me republish one of her recipes here. It is a beautiful, healthy and delicious dish.

Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf

Vegan, Gluten-Free Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf courtesy of Gluten-Free Goddess

You can use either broth or water to cook this quinoa recipe, but for a hearty, flavor-rich quinoa pilaf, use your favorite broth.


Make your quinoa the easy way (how to here- using a rice cooker.)

You'll need roughly 2 1/2 - 3 cups cooked quinoa.

As the quinoa cooks, gather and cut up your vegetables.


Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small to medium yellow bell pepper, diced fine
1 small to medium green bell pepper, diced fine
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning (mint, lemon, basil, oregano mix)
2 scallions (spring onions) sliced- white and light green sections
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste


Toasted pine nuts, for serving


Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve. Drain. Place in rice cooker or pot with two cups fresh water. Cover and cook until all the water is absorbed.

When the quinoa is almost done, heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, yellow and green pepper; and stir over medium heat until slightly softened. Add in the mushrooms. Season with sea salt, and ground pepper, to taste. Add the Greek seasoning. Stir and cook until the mushrooms are tender.

Scoop the cooked quinoa out of the rice cooker and add it into the mushroom- pepper mixture. Add in the sliced scallions. Stir to combine. Squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the quinoa and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss to coat the quinoa.

Taste test and add more salt or seasoning if it needs it.

Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, if desired.

Serve immediately; or allow it to cool, then cover and refrigerate it to eat as a salad.

Note on chilling this quinoa: Before serving this quinoa cold, taste test again and adjust seasonings; chilling often dulls the flavors in these kinds of salads. I usually allow quinoa salad a few minutes out of the fridge before serving; letting it to come to room temperature helps the flavors. If making ahead as a salad, I'd use water instead of broth- personal preference.

Cook time: 30 min

Yield: Serves 4

You can find the original recipe HERE. For more amazing recipes, visit Karina at the Gluten-Free Goddess.

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please contact me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.

Sneak Peek: What is holistic living? How does it relate to green living? Find out in our next post.

Recipe and image courtesy of Gluten-Free Goddess

Also posted at Real Food Fridays

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - GMO Labeling

Welcome back to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Lois of Living Simply Free and Argentum Vulgaris (AV) of Eco Crap for keeping CTWW alive in my absence. Lois got busy and shared environmental good news each week. AV came up with interesting and unique challenges for his readers. If you haven't visited these Eco-Super Stars, please drop by and check out their blogs ... they have a lot of great things to say!

I'd also like to thank all of of the people who continued to tweet about CTWW ... I so appreciate your efforts!

We're going to jump right into a challenge this week. Next week I'll be back to publishing your comments, articles, tweets, etc.

Do you believe that you have the right to know what's in your food? I certainly do! The food industry is concerned that "we the people" are insisting on transparency ... and that concerns them. So they are proposing legislation which would make it impossible for consumers to know exactly what they are eating.

Here's your challenge:


Please visit Organic Consumers Association and read "Tell the FDA: No Watered-Down, Voluntary Federal GMO Labeling Rules!". For additional information on this topic, scroll to the bottom of the page for links. You can also visit this PAGE for recent articles. Read through the information to lean about the GMO issue.

THEN ...

If you live in the US and agree, sign the petition.

OR ...

If you don't live in the US, please find out what your country's policies are concerning GMO food and labeling. Are they accepted? If so, must they be labeled? If they aren't accepted in your country, are there any other food health concerns which you are facing?

This challenge gives us an opportunity to learn and to act. Are you up for the task? I know that you are!

Want an easy way to keep up with our challenges?
Just add the banner below to your blog by
copying the code & pasting it into your site!

Change The World Wednesday on Reduce Footprints

Sneak Peek: Looking for a delicious, healthy dish for your family's table? Tomorrow we will delight your taste buds!

Until then ...


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review & #Giveaway - Long Live Earth by Meighan Morrison

Do you teach your kids to live green?

Consider this: The average age of US presidents, when they take office, is 54 years. The US Constitution requires that senators be at least 30 years of age. Decision makers in other countries are probably similar in age. That means, potentially, that within the next 20-50 years, our children will be making decisions for the world and our environment. If we encourage a strong sense of environmental responsibility in them, and give them the tools necessary to protect the planet, then we have hope for the future. And it's never too early to begin the process!

Today I'd like to introduce you to a charming book, Long Live Earth by Meighan Morrison.
Review & Giveaway of "Long Live Earth" by Meighan Morrison

Ms. Morrison wrote Long Live Earth 20 years ago for her small son. At that time, there weren't many colorful, interesting books for children about the environment. So, she got busy and wrote one which would appeal to children of all ages.

The result is a beautiful picture book with a clear message.

The story starts out talking about the early days of our planet and how it eventually was able to sustain life.
First page of Long Live Earth by Meighan Morrison

It then explains how we have caused damage to the earth.

The last part of the book is very hopeful. It explains that we must all do our part and that, working together, we can make a difference.

Let me give you my impressions of this book. The illustrations are beautiful. Each one is a photo of a quilt square handmade by Ms. Morrison. They are enchanting and whimsical. The text is done in rhyme; the cadence is very appealing and, I believe, will become like a song which stays in the heads (and hearts) of readers. Some of the words may need a bit of explanation for younger children but most kids will have no problem understanding the meaning. The book is appropriate for all age levels, for reading alone or together, and would make a terrific gift. Adults will enjoy it, as well!

Here's another fact which, as "greenies", you're sure to appreciate: the book is printed on recycled paper by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified suppliers using certified environmentally-friendly ink. Yay!

I highly recommend this book ... for your kids, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, schools, etc. You can purchase a copy by clicking HERE.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Long Live Earth, Ms. Morrison has generously agreed to give away one copy to a lucky Reduce Footprints' reader. WhooHoo! If you don't have a child who might love this book, consider entering the contest and, should you win, giving the book to a local library or school. Or keep it for yourself ... we won't tell.

Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter the contest. There's one mandatory entry, to follow Ms. Morrison's site. The rest of the entry methods are optional ... the more you complete, the more entries you'll earn.

This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE ... thank you, Ms. Morrison!!

Good Luck, Everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Connect with Meighan Morrison here:

Meighan Morrison

Sneak Peek: Join us tomorrow for the first Change The World Wednesday challenge of 2014.

I received a copy of "Long Live Earth" in order to write this review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and reflect my honest opinion of the material reviewed.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Reduce Footprints Is Back!

Happy New Year & Welcome Back to Reduce Footprints Blog
Happy 2014 and welcome back to Reduce Footprints. I hope that you enjoyed the holidays, kept them green, and are ready for an exciting new year!

Before leaving for my hiatus, I asked you to give me your Reduce Footprints "Wish List": suggestions, ideas, and a general critique of the blog. Many of you obliged me with wonderful comments, which I have taken to heart. Here are the ideas which we are implementing this year:

Meet and Greet

The purpose of the Meet & Greet link-up is to grow our community, get acquainted with each other, and support green blogs and sites. It's also an opportunity to get a bit of blog visibility, both via visits from other participants and the possibility of a feature on Reduce Footprints. A weekly "party", however, doesn't seem to meet our goals. So, we're going to make this link-up a monthly event. On the second Monday of each month, we'll publish the link-up tool which will stay open for the entire month.


I love food! I love vegan food! Rather than offer you a recipe once a month, we're going to search out yummy dishes and publish recipes more often. Some will be my own creation and some will come from "guest chefs". If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please drop me a line ( And, as always, you'll find all of the recipes which we've published on the Recipes Page.


Image of a camera
Awhile back, I joined a photography club. Participating in discussions on how to improve our skills taught me a lot and encouraged me to see the world differently. Spending a day in nature with a camera and capturing the details which I notice is, for me, pure pleasure. Unfortunately, that pleasure doesn't seem to translate into images for this blog. Go figure! That said, I will make an effort to offer you interesting images with posts.

Holistic Nutrition and Wellness

This year we're going to discuss holistic nutrition and wellness, and how it ties in with green living. Stay tuned ... it should be fun!

Reviews and Special Offers

Some of you enjoy these pages ... others don't. Since some people find them helpful, and because I believe that supporting Eco-friendly products, services, and companies is an important element of living green, I'm going to keep these pages going. It should be mentioned, however, that the greenest option is always NOT buying. But when purchases are necessary, they should be as Eco-friendly as possible. My goal is to give you additional information about products which you might be thinking about ... and to offer you discounts, freebies, etc. Click on the tabs above to visit both the Reviews and Special Offers pages.

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)

We'll continue with our weekly challenges, hopefully finding new and unusual tasks to perfect our green-living efforts. If you have a challenge which you'd like us to take on, please let me know. The CTWW page contains the current challenge as well as previous activities and also offers tips and ideas.

Guest Posts

I will continue to accept guest posts this year. Green living is a vast, complex topic. Listening to people "speak" on their area of expertise broadens our understanding of the issues. At the very least, it gives us something to think about.

On Being Vegan

Many of you have expressed an interest in my vegan life. So this year I'll share more about how I became vegan, why I chose to do so, and how it works in my day to day activities. I'll talk about eating out, traveling, food choices, etc.

As always, I thank you for your ideas and suggestions. This should be a fun year.

Okay, let's get things started with a poll. I'm curious about how green your holidays were. Did you avoid waste or was your bin a little too full? Did you burn fuel traveling or did you conserve by staying close to home? Did you give Eco-friendly gifts ... or perhaps, avoid gift giving? Did you eat local foods or indulge in delicacies from across the globe? We want to know.

Please answer the poll and then, using the comments section below, elaborate on your answer.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sneak Peek: Children are our best environmental hope. Our next post discusses a charming way to encourage them to live a green life.

Images courtesy of Sura Nualpradid & Vlado /