Friday, May 30, 2014

Vegan Recipe - Thai Tempeh & Vegetable Red Curry

I'd like to introduce you to our guest chef, Emma, of Coconut and Berries.

As a child, Emma didn't like food. By her late teens, food had become the enemy. Fast forward a few years when, at university, Emma was first introduced to veganism. A plant-based diet appealed to her and turned things around. In fact, Emma credits a vegan diet for her personal recovery.

Emma now embraces healthy, vegan food. She loves to cook and shares her unique, and delicious, creations on her blog. I found "drool worthy" dishes like a stunning Rustic Beetroot Galette and beautiful Raw Mango Coconut Tartlets. How about Polenta Porridge with Apricot for breakfast or a snack of Summer Rolls. Each recipe includes beautiful photos and clear instructions. Emma often provides a few additional tips, like how to sprout beans and legumes for the summer rolls.

I enjoy visiting Coconut and Berries and have learned a lot from Emma. I hope you'll stop by and check out her blog.

Emma has graciously allowed me to repost one of her recipes here, on Reduce Footprints. I've tried this dish and it is lovely!

Thai Tempeh & Vegetable Red Curry

Serves: 2

Vegan Recipe - Thai Tempeh & Vegetable Red Curry


  • 1T Coconut oil (divided)
  • 1/2 8oz Pkg tempeh, cut into triangles or cubes (Emma used a variety with sea vegetables, hence the black bits…)
  • 1 1/2-2T Red curry paste (check the label for shellfish!)
  • 3/4C/1/2Can Coconut milk
  • 1/2T Tamari
  • 1/2T Coconut sugar
  • 1T Lime juice
  • 100g/3.5oz/1 1/2C Halved mushrooms
  • 100g/3.5oz Sugar snap peas
  • 100g/3.5oz Baby corn, halved lengthwise
  • Handful of Thai basil (you could also use fresh coriander but Thai basil is really really good!)


  • If you’re cooking rice, make sure to get that going before you do anything else.
  • Sauté the tempeh in 1/2T Coconut oil over medium-high heat, flipping to get it brown on all sides.
  • Heat the remaining 1/2T coconut oil in a pot over medium heat and add the red curry paste. Stir for a minute just to toast the spices and bring the flavours out.
  • Stir through the coconut milk, tamari, coconut sugar and lime.
  • Add vegetables, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, just until vegetables are tender.
  • Stir through the Thai basil leaves.
  • Serve with brown rice, rice noodles or another grain.

You can find the original recipe HERE. Be sure to read the entire post ... Emma includes some great tips for getting meals on the table fast.

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.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Emma at Coconut and Berries

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Monarch Butterflies

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:

Junk Mail! The name says it all ... it's junk! Last week we took action to remove it from our lives. That's not an easy task since our names and addresses are regularly sold to marketing firms. I learned a few interesting things last week. First, our "do not mail" requests expire. So, if it's been awhile since you first registered, chances are that your address is no longer on the list. Second, junk mail is associated with an address so if you move, you'll have to re-register. Third, if you pay county taxes, shop online, or in any way make your address public, your information can be sold to marketing firms. The good news is that taking steps to eliminate junk mail does work. I have successfully eliminated catalogs, phone books, and most advertisements. Yay!

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.

From our previous "good news" challenge, Katie shared Converting the Husband to Cloth Diaper, or Not [#CTWW]. While she wasn't able to fully convince her husband to use cloth diapers, her approach did bring about a happy compromise. In my opinion, the true good news was how Katie worked with what she had and made living a bit greener easy for everyone! Nicely done, Katie!

In Change the World Wednesday: Eliminating Junk Mail, Lois talked about her biggest junk mail problem, Red Plum Flyers. What is most interesting is why she isn't able to stop them from being delivered. Check it out ... the reason might surprise you! Later, Lois offered this update: "I had stopped all my junk mail besides the Red Plum Flyers and one we get weekly from a local car dealership. I tried calling the car dealership, they passed the buck telling me they hire a marketing firm to handle those but wouldn't tell me the name of the marketing firm. Finally, hearing my neighbors complain as well I saved the weekly flyers for a month from my mail and my neighbors mail, some with plastic do-dads that contained a battery and lit up to tell you a secret number that gave you a discount. Then took them down to the dealership set them on the secretaries desk and informed her that if she didn't see to removing our addresses from their mailings we were prepared to tell everyone this dealership was not a good place to do business with. None of us have received a piece of mail from them since. :-) " Oh nicely done, Lois!

Wow ... there's just the briefest hint, in Change the World Wednesday – 21st May, of Argentum Vulgaris becoming vegetarian. What could make this devout carnivore even hint at the idea of converting? The dreaded lurgy! Check out his post to learn about that and to find out how he deals with junk mail in Brazil!

Jenna joined us and shared this: "Great post- whatever the reason may be it is so hopeful and refreshing to see individuals and companies getting on board for a more eco-friendly lifestyle! Thanks for sharing!"

Betsy accepted our challenge and said this: "Here are my 4 steps for eliminating junk mail: Easy Eco-tip Tuesday: Unjunk Your Mail Box. Stopping credit card offers/ checks is a great way to protect against identity theft. I have to cancel catalogs every few months and am STILL getting ones from the last tenant (almost 2 yrs. after we moved into our home). It's really a constant battle, but once you do the initial stuff, it's upkeep and not so bad. At least my mailbox is no longer stuffed to the brim everyday with grocery circulars." Betsy even offers a sample letter in the final "episode" of this series. Thanks, Betsy!!

Alicia joined us and shared this: "We have eliminated most of the junk mail but still receive some periodically. We especially get things from small locally owned businesses in the area.We have a large bag that we put paper items in and then when it is full we take it to the recycling center. It takes it a long time to fill up which is a good thing! I have found that looking online at catalogs is not only Eco Friendly but more convenient and easier to read!" Great tips on the catalogs, Alicia ... thanks!

Clare stopped by and shared this: "Delighted to read about your building suppliers being so pro-actively green! Where I live green is hardly ever a consideration. However, there's also not much waste and things get re-used and re-purposed almost without thinking. Luckily for this week's challenge I don't get junk mail - companies don't really advertise much, they rely on word-of-mouth. The little bits I do get (about 1 per month) go in with the paper recycling which I drop off about every 8-10 weeks or so (i.e. we don't have a lot). Phew - a nice easy challenge for me this week - thanks!" Lucky you, Clare ... I'd love to live in a community which doesn't send out advertisements. Word of mouth is so much more reliable!

The folks at Vicality Santa Cruz shared our challenge with their readers and offered a great tip for eliminating junk mail if you live in California. Read Stop the junk mail, bills, catalogs, offers and mailbox clutter for more information and links.

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:

@2kidsandacoupon @89linz @a_kiasi
@acuriousgal1 @ai_houston @allnaturalkatie
@beatepdx @biggreenpen @bkind3
@bstoneblog @chargeenergy2 @collegegogreen
@compingcrazzy @consillium @counselorholley
@crazykids6 @debsmikdav1 @dehelen
@dehoeksteen @dieselelephants @eatyoga
@eco_novice @ecocountrytable @ecofriendlyfurn
@ecothrifty @environmentguru @erbaviva
@factorydpromos @familybetty @frederickbrooke
@freshcleanersaz @freshgriller @geekgirlusa
@givetreegifts @green_vibes @greenglobaltrvl
@greensoil @groovygreenlivi @guayaba
@herbgir1972 @hismerecry @junestoyer
@justanotherhat @kaitlingarder @kiser_krafts
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @ladyjcmuses
@legsetobicoke @lorcadamon @lovecanal2020
@magnushrm @mamasmoney @marikokoloco
@marjoriemcatee @michaelinla3 @mitlamoda
@momfindsout @pamela_o_plays @pberk
@rainvesselsusa @rantravewrite @rckweddings
@realityarts @resourceeguru @resourcejobs1
@rosevine3 @rulesofgreen @ruralmoms
@sbs_brands @sensuouspromos @sfcouncil
@spafloating @superbsolutions @tammycurry
@theworld4realz @treesgroup @twicecreations
@ultimate_social @vanbordelon @veggiebeet
@violetsbuds @voiceboksmedia @wencdj
@whopaysthepiper @witteeme @women4earth

My Final Thoughts:

I'll conclude this challenge with a quote by William Eardley, IV:

"Ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in."

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:

Before we get busy with this week's CTWW, I want to share a special message, from our very own Mrs. Green, about this year's Zero Waste Week event:

We now return to our regularly scheduled post:

Monarch Butterfly populations are declining because of the use of herbicides.
Monarch Butterfly populations
are in decline because of
the use of herbicides
Often, our first indication that the environment is suffering is in the decline of a species. Each species helps create a healthy environment and the loss of even one may have far-reaching, devastating results.

The Monarch Butterfly population is in serious decline. Why? Because their primary food, Milkweed, is being eliminated through the use of herbicides ... especially on GMO farms.

This is a man-made problem. Herbicides and pesticides can be eliminated. Let's be part of the solution!

Here's your challenge ...

This week, ask the EPA to adopt tough new restrictions on the weed killers that are wiping out monarchs. Please sign this PETITION (appropriate worldwide).

OR ...

If you do not wish to sign a petition, please write a post about the environmental dangers of using herbicides and pesticides. Please include suggestions on how we, as consumers, can avoid them.

OR ...

Consider planting a butterfly garden which includes milkweed and nectar plants. And, of course, avoid the use herbicides and pesticides in your garden.

Are you ready to give the beautiful Monarch a helping hand? I know that you are!

Until next time ...


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Do you consider your Eco-impact before buying?

This month, we asked a question about purchases.

Here are the results:

Do you consider your Eco-impact before buying?
Do you consider your Eco-impact before buying?

As always, our surveys aren't scientific and, quite frankly, most participants are already "greenies". That said, I believe that it's part of a trend ... people are thinking beyond the immediate and are considering their actions in terms of the bigger picture. Along with packaging, ingredients, and locality, we are adding another criteria to our shopping decisions ... the far reaching impact of a purchase.

I once read that the problem with green living is that people tend to only adopt the lifestyle if there's something in it for them. The article maintained that, until we protect the environment because it's the right thing to do, we'll never be successful.

Perhaps we are moving beyond the "what's in it for me" mentality and living green because we care about the earth and future generations.

Every time that we think before buying, we take one more step towards a healthy earth. It seems like such a small thing ... but it is powerful!

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Join us tomorrow for another interesting Change The World Wednesday challenge!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Review - Green Virgin Products

I'd like to introduce you to Green Virgin Products (GVP).

Ken & Lola Marion, owners of GVP, lost a family member to cancer. Their loved one was only 52, a non-smoker, and lived a healthy lifestyle. After his death, the couple began researching the causes of cancer and learned that many common household cleansers and detergents contain carcinogens, which are cancer-causing chemicals. They wanted safe, Eco-friendly products and believed that others would want the same.

GVP was born in 2009. All of their products are non-toxic and tested to ensure that they are of the highest quality and effectiveness. If you look at the bottom of their website, you'll see that they are a Certified Green America Business.

I was sent three products to try: Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent, Non-toxic Stain Remover, and 100% Moringa Oil

Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent

Review of Liquid Soap Nuts by Green Virgin Products
GVP Liquid Soap Nuts
are more effective than
raw nuts
This laundry detergent contains three ingredients:
  • Sapindus Mukorossi soap nut liquid made from USDA Certified Organic Sapindus Mukorossi Soap Nuts
  • caprylyl glycol
  • phenethyl alcohol
It comes in a recyclable plastic container (recycle symbol #1) with a pump top for easy measuring (each pump dispenses a precisely measured amount). I have a top-loading machine and used three pumps for a large load of cloths. The brown fluid can be used in any water temperature ... I use cold. Since soap nuts have fabric softening qualities, no laundry softener (even vinegar) is required. No fragrances are added. The natural smell of the liquid reminds me of leaves in the fall ... a slight musty, grassy scent.

I was amazed at the small amount of liquid dispensed into my washer and worried that my cloths wouldn't come out clean. But, as promised, this detergent did a wonderful job. Everything was clean and fresh. And, my cloths felt soft.

The product comes in both 8-ounce and 16-ounces bottles. While these bottles could be refilled, I was unable to find refills in their online shop. Hopefully that's an option which the company will consider adding to their product line.

Non-toxic Stain Remover

Review of Non-toxic Stain Remover by Green Virgin Products
This stain remover
works on carpets, too
This is a generous 5-ounce solid bar. Simply wet the bar, gather some of the soap on an old toothbrush, and scrub the stain. Toss the item in the washing machine and launder as normal. No more stain.

I've used solid bar stain treatments before. This product works equally well. The big difference is that commercial brands typically include petroleum-based products and have skin irritation concerns. GVP stain remover bars do not.

Review of 100% Moringa Oil available at Green Virgin Products
Moringa Oil has a
long shelf life

100% Moringa Oil

I had never heard of this oil, sometimes referred to as "Ben Oil". In truth, I wasn't sure if it was something used in cooking, to polish furniture, or used for medicinal purposes. While it can be used in cooking and is used as a remedy for skin irritations, its most common use is in skin-care products.

Moringa Oil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, copper and calcium (all beneficial for healthy skin), and has moisturizing and cleansing properties.

The oil which I received is meant to be used directly on the skin. It is 100% pure, USDA certified organic.

I used a small amount, on my face, instead of my usual moisturizer. It quickly absorbed into my skin leaving a soft, silky feel. I also applied some to my lips ... it doubled nicely as a lip "balm", preventing dryness throughout the day. The oil has a very pleasant nutty smell and leaves no oily residue. My skin felt great!

A little goes a long ways so the 4-ounce bottle will last a long time!

Special Offer

Between now and June 1, 2014, GVP is generously offering Reduce Footprints' readers 15% off any purchase. Visit our SPECIAL OFFERS PAGE for details and a discount code.

Green Virgin Products

Green Virgin Products are simple yet effective. Consumers won't find a list of fragrance choices or separate formulas for different jobs (as in detergents for hot, warm, and cold water washing). Each product is tested and guaranteed.

Please visit GREEN VIRGIN PRODUCTS for their complete line and additional information on the items which I reviewed.

I received Green Virgin Products 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 items reviewed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review - Zabada

When Zabada asked me to review some of their products, I was intrigued. Why? Because, their invitation included a video which shows customers how to use their bathroom cleaning system. Now, I'm familiar with microfibers and I'm VERY familiar with cleaning. So I was curious about just what made this cleaning system so unique that customers might benefit from a "how to" video.

So, yeah ... the glove is a unique design over the more common flat versions. But after watching the video, I was even more fascinated by their claim that the bathroom glove wouldn't transfer dirt ... even greasy dirt like lipstick. Frankly, I was sceptical.

I received the full bathroom kit which included the bathroom glove, bathroom marvel, and laundry bag.

Review - Zabada Bathroom Kit
Bathroom Glove
Review - Zabada Bathroom Kit
Bathroom Marvel
Review - Zabada Bathroom Kit
Laundry Bag

Zabada Bathroom Glove

I have mildew issues in my apartment. If you've ever tried to clean mildew off of bathroom surfaces, you know that it's not an easy job. My typical cleaning solution is baking soda with vinegar followed by vigorous scrubbing. And it sometimes takes two applications to completely get the surface clean.

After wetting the bathroom glove, I wiped the surface without using any scrubbing motions. It easily removed the mildew. I'll say that again because I was amazed ... it easily removed the mildew. Fully expecting the surface to still feel slimy, I ran my fingers over the area. No slime ... just clean surfaces.

That worked well, but how would the "no transfer" claim play out. To test it, I smeared some lip balm on the mirror and, using the side for fragile surfaces, wiped the lip balm away. The cloth left no streaks or residue, including no cloth fiber residue. Then, without rinsing the glove, I used that same side to clean another mirror. Guess what ... no transfer. None! Simply another spotlessly clean mirror.

Once I was done cleaning, the glove was easily rinsed out with water and ready for my next cleaning job. After several uses, it can be tossed into the washer, hung to dry, and it's ready to go.

Bathroom Marvel

This cloth wipes away any moisture left behind after using the glove. The idea is that bacteria will grow faster when moisture is present. So this cloth completely dries the surface.

The real benefit of this cloth will be noticed several days later when the surface remains clean (in my case, mildew free). I think that wiping a surface, immediately after cleaning, ensures that bacteria dies. By the time water again touches the surface, there are no "bugs" left. It's really a brilliant idea!

Laundry Bag

Microfiber cloths are great. But ... because of their fine weave, they will collect any lint from items they are laundered with. This huge mesh bag ensures that the cloths come out of the washer lint free and clean.

Zabada also sent me a couple of surprises: Lens Cloths and a Bamboo Towel.

Review - Zabada Lens Cloth
Zabada Lens Cloth
Review - Zabada Bamboo Towel
Zabada Bamboo Towel

Lens Cloth

Unlike the very small cloths which typically come with a pair of glasses, this cloth is a good size. It cleans perfectly and is great for glasses, cameras, computer screens, tablets, and smart phones.

Bamboo Towel

I LOVE THIS TOWEL!! Bamboo is a natural bacteriostat which means that it prevents the growth of bacteria. Bacteria is responsible for that "sour" smell which so often plagues kitchen towels. Typically, towels in my kitchen are changed every couple of days. To test this product, I hung it next to one of my towels and used them both, equally. You can probably guess, from my first statement, that the bamboo towel outlasted the regular one. In fact, it remained fresh for over a week.

Zabada products are great. Using a cloth and some water, they handle all of our cleaning needs. In addition to the bathroom system which I reviewed, Zabada offers systems for kitchens, living areas, floors, and more.

A final note, because I know that you are interested. I asked the Zabada representative for a bit more information, including where the cloths are made. Here is the answer: "The products are manufactured in Austria at the moment, primarily because Zabada's parent company is in Europe and microfiber cleaning is a relatively new trend in the U.S. The cloths are made from ultra-fine fibers cut 100x finer than human hair. Zabada implements a deep-cleaning mechanical process that shaves off and traps the dirt, grease and bacteria deep in the fiber, and only releases them when the fibers are washed. Zabada removes bacteria from a surface, rather than killing it, like harmful chemicals do."

If you'd like to try Zabada products for yourself, please visit their ONLINE SHOP.

Sneak Peek: Have you ever heard of Moringa Oil? I'll tell you about it on Monday!

I received Zabada products 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 items reviewed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Holistic Living - Developing and Maintining a Positive Attitude

Attitude is a matter of choice
Attitude is a matter of choice
Last month we talked about stress. Sometimes, stress is caused by our own thoughts ... by how we choose to view a situation.

I once worked in a large office. On a grey and rainy morning, employees dragged themselves through the front door with heads down and angry looks on their faces. Everyone complained about the weather and commented on what a dreary day we had ahead of us.

An older woman entered, smiling and walking with purpose. Everyone noticed her. As she made her way to the desk next to mine, I commented on how she seemed to be so happy. What she said next would forever change how I view a cloudy sky:

"Have you looked at the sky? It's beautiful ... so many lovely shades of grey with purple and blue mixed in. It's a gorgeous day!"

Attitude is a matter of choice.
This woman made the decision to see beauty, regardless of what others were seeing.

Throughout that day, I noticed something interesting. She had a productive day. Most of the other employees endured a miserable eight hours ... things didn't go well for them, they seemed lethargic, and one person even went home sick.

I learned two important things ... attitude is our choice and it affects everything, even our health.

Choosing a good attitude is easy to say, but not always easy to implement. We've all heard the clichés ... when life hands you lemons, make lemonade or ... view the cup as half full rather than half empty or ... a frown is only a smile upside down. While there is some wisdom to those sayings, serious attitude adjustment takes strategy. Here are some tools:

  • Start a "positive thoughts" or "gratitude" journal

    Use a gratitude journal to develop a positive attitude
    Keep a journal of positive thoughts
    This daily practice helps us notice all the good in our lives. As we search for something to write, we train ourselves to see the beauty in the world. After awhile, looking is no longer an effort ... we notice all the wonder of life and, more importantly, we appreciate it. Keeping track of these positive thoughts is a powerful tool for improving one's attitude.
  • Breathe

    We tend to take shallow breaths, especially when we are unhappy. Five deep breaths can actually change our mood.
  • Change your thoughts

    Do you ever find yourself thinking negative thoughts? Left alone, they seem to grow and multiply. Here's a handy way to turn them around. When you notice a negative thought, say "Stop" (it might help to say this out loud). Then, replace that scene with something good, perhaps a happy memory or thoughts of your favorite place. Think of a lovely song or an image of a beautiful setting. This technique requires that one is armed with a good thought so that the negative one can be immediately replaced.
  • Positive Affirmations

    Gather together a list of your favorite affirmations, even the clichés. Reinforcing positive thoughts develops a pattern of thinking which, eventually, becomes a habit.
  • Use positive language

    The words we use, both in our speech and in writing, affect the way we think. Practice turning a phrase. For example, rather than say "Don't be late", try saying "Be on time". Instead of writing "I should", try writing "I will". Watch out for words like always, never, can’t, and won’t ... they typically have a negative connotation.
  • Get creative

    Develop a positive attitude through creativity
    Play to connect with your creativity
    I've spoken to artists who tell me that when they are creating, they are thinking of nothing else. They find art relaxing and cleansing. So, pursue something creative. Try to sketch a leaf or paint a scene. Grab some modelling clay and let your inner child play. Borrow your child's building blocks and see what develops. The benefit is not in what you create, or how talented you are, but rather in the process itself. But who knows, maybe you're a budding Michelangelo and will discover your hidden Muse.
  • Talk to a friend

    I have a trusted friend who listens to me complain and then offers me another way to look at a situation. Having friends who will do more than commiserate with us, helps us to change our thought patterns.
  • Turn off the TV

    Let's face it ... television often sends a negative message. While it might be entertaining in small doses, anything more contributes to negative thinking. Try turning off the TV and going for a walk or spending quality time with loved ones.

Our attitudes have power. They can bring us happiness and even improve our health.

Ultimately, how we view life is our responsibility ... we not only have control over our attitudes, we can choose them.

Putting a strategy in place, and using a few tools, will ensure that we see beautiful shades of grey on a cloudy day.

And that's something to smile about!

How do you maintain a positive attitude?

The information presented in our holistic living series is not, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical advice.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Junk Mail

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, we shared good news. My good news is about a trend I've seen lately. Namely, more companies are thinking about their environmental impact than ever before. In the process of investigating services and materials for our new home, I've been impressed by the choices homeowners now have. There are some companies who, by their very nature, are Eco-friendly ... companies like solar providers. But other companies are getting on board as well. Before telling them that we wish to have a "green" home, they suggest methods designed to reduce energy. That's been true for everyone we've talked to ... from the people building a foundation, to the windows and doors salesman, to the guy building us a new road. Everyone has talked about environmental choices. Is this just because "green" is currently "in vogue"? My feeling is that it has become better business to go green ... both because it's what consumers want and because, in the long run, it makes for a better product ... and that's always good business. Whatever the reason, it's a refreshing (and surprising) development.

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.

Have you discovered Vicality Santa Cruz? This brand new site is fabulous. It is targeted at the Santa Cruz area and if you are a local, you'll find a great deal of information about living green in your area. That said, everyone will benefit from the wonderful content shared on this site. And (oh my green heart be still), they are participating in CTWW in a big way. When you land at the home page, and linger for a second, you'll see CTWW show up in the banner. Clicking there leads you to an entire Challenge Page. From there, you can click on the Green Guides and find more CTWW info. Scroll down the home page and you're likely to see a post about the current challenge, like this one entitled Celebrate your contribution. What’s your green success? You're going to love this site ... it's beautiful and well thought out. Hop over, give it a visit, and sign up for their newsletter. And while you're at it, let's promote them a bit ... a new site on green living deserves a little TLC! Welcome to the group, Vicality!

Lady JC joined our light pollution challenge and shared this: " Thank you so much for this info. I didn't realize that having the curtain open with lights on at night could add to the pollution. We'll definitely be aware of that, although in the big city we do keep our curtains shut most of the time. :) Also, we've been very conscious of only turning on the entrance and back door lights when it's absolutely necessary. I will definitely share this info with friends and family and change the wattage of our outdoor bulbs." For this week's task, she shares this good news: "It's so appropriate that Wonderful, Wonderful is playing in the background while I type this because that's how I feel about my good news. Finally the composting program has been extended to my area. The Dept. of Sanitation did a test run last year on a few blocks and now it's going borough wide. They will provide special bins for us to put in our compostable organic trash/materials and then they will just pick it up on garbage day. Composting in a big city can be a huge challenge so this is amazing news both for my household and neighborhood."

Lois wrote Change the World Wednesday and Customer Service Lives and shares some of her personal accomplishments. One of them is fascinating ... it involves saving paper via the use of a clever paint job. If you have kids (or grandkids), you'll love this idea! Lois also left this comment: "The news has been very depressing as of late. I just finished reading The World We Made a story told from the year 2050 in which the narrator looks back at all the things that had to be done to provide a sustainable world drawing from some of the ideas currently floating around. It helped for a short time to give me a bit of hope although the key component was that all countries would have to work together which I don't see happening any time soon."

In Change the World Wednesday – 14th May, Argentum Vulgaris (AV) shares his good news ... it involves a piece of furniture and his creative "eye". By the way, AV, so glad that Clorinha is back, safe and sound!

Alicia accepted the challenge and shared some great news about her garden: "This is a great challenge. I look forward to hearing all the positive good news!! We always plant a garden each year, most of the time two. We started gardening organically a few years back. To be honest it has been a challenge to keep pests off of our plants since we started gardening this way. Each year we are blessed to discover more new ways to tackle this challenge One way we found was by simply planting marigolds throughout the garden will keep many pests at bay..It makes us feel really good that we are not using terrible pesticides on our herbs and veggies that we will be eating! We upgraded our fridge and washing machine this past year to awesome energy efficient ones. It has made a huge difference! We also have been on a quest to find non GMO foods. Since we grow a lot of what we eat we don't have to fill in with a whole lot but even chips to have with homemade salsa requires a good amount of label reading to find ones made from non GMO corn. Thankfully more and more companies are opting to go that route. Look forward to reading what others have accomplished!"

Katie had a great observation on her recent trip: "We are currently on a beach trip, staying at a house right on the beach, fairly far away from the center of the city. The moon has been so bright at night, like "nature's flashlight." One wouldn't even need man made lights."

CelloMom accepted our challenge and offers this piece of good news: "100MW from 400,000 solar panels: Pakistan’s First Solar Project Is One Of The World’s Largest. One of those leap-frogging moves! We all so need a bit of good news now and then.... "

Earlier, Clare presented us with her own, personal Eco-challenge. This week she shared a brilliant solution. She says, "This is SUCH a great challenge this week! Like you I read a lot and much of the news is very depressing - particularly regarding climate change and apathy towards solving it. So it was really lovely to take 20 minutes out of my busy day and sit in my garden and think about what I've achieved to live greener over the last 4 years since moving to this little tropical island. I sometimes berate myself for not doing more, but when I actually listed what I do, it was more than I realised. Of course that encouraged me to do even more! Oh, and if you remember I was having a problem with clunking rubbish (see - and my neighbour wasn't (much to my chagrin), well, now I've found the solution - my local beer maker accepts them - hooray! Thanks for encouraging us all - again!"

Ecogrrl accepted the challenge and shared this: "My favorite bit of good news this week:"

Deborah stopped by and shared this: "Re: #CTWW - Good News - I was very inspired by Reduce Footprints' recent post on Water Quality. Clearly, safe, clean drinking water is not a given, even in a modern metropolis. My "good news" is that after months of searching and comparing water filtration options for my home, I finally decided upon a safer, healthier, more environmentally-friendly water filtration system and I have written a blog post about the challenges, my journey, and the benefits in this new blog post: "Drink to Your Health: 13 Reasons Why I Love My Berkey Water Filtration System". How is your drinking water? Do you have a water filtration or purification system? What kind of system do you use? How do you feel about it?"

Our Twitter friend, @KrmbalClothing, joined the conversation and shared the following:

- I think The Oatmeal's comic about owning his Tesla Model S is some funny good green news :)
- In the theme of this week's #CTWW Change the World Wednesday call for some good Eco news, we found…

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:

@2kidsandacoupon @89linz @acuriousgal1
@ai_houston @biggreenpen @bkind3
@bstoneblog @chargeenergy2 @collegegogreen
@compingcrazzy @consillium @counselorholley
@crazykids6 @debsmikdav1 @dehelen
@dieselelephants @eatyoga @eco_novice
@ecocountrytable @ecofriendlyfurn @ecothrifty
@erbaviva @factorydpromos @frederickbrooke
@freshcleanersaz @freshgriller @green_vibes
@greensoil @groovygreenlivi @guayaba
@herbgir1972 @hismerecry @junestoyer
@kaitlingarder @kiser_krafts @krmbalclothing
@laalicia @ladyjcmuses @legsetobicoke
@lorcadamon @lovecanal2020 @magnushrm
@mamasmoney @marikokoloco @marjoriemcatee
@michaelinla3 @momfindsout @pamela_o_plays
@pberk @rainvesselsusa @rckweddings
@realityarts @resourceeguru @resourcejobs1
@rosevine3 @rulesofgreen @ruralmoms
@sbs_brands @sensuouspromos @sfcouncil
@spafloating @superbsolutions @tammycurry
@theworld4realz @treesgroup @twicecreations
@ultimate_social @veggiebeet @violetsbuds
@wencdj @whopaysthepiper @witteeme
@women4earth @zenfarmz

My Final Thoughts:

We don't want to live with our heads in the sand. Sometimes, we have to face unfortunate facts. But often, bad news has a downward spiraling effect ... it makes us feel overwhelmed and hopeless. And then we simply stop trying. Good news, on the other hand, is uplifting! And, it's contagious. When we share good news, we encourage others. We let them know that it's possible to live a healthy, green life. And then an interesting thing happens ... everyone tries harder ... everyone looks for ways to be part of the good news. If we focus our positive attention to the environment, we'll all win. Search for good news and share it whenever possible ... amazing things will happen!

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:

Eliminate junk mail.
Junk mail is a waste of time
and resources
Have you stopped junk mail and catalogs from filling your mailbox?

Unfortunately, eliminating these wasteful items is an ongoing effort. Why? Because every time you move, put your name and address "out there", or even pay taxes, your information becomes available to advertisers.

It's been awhile since we've tackled this subject. Sounds like a challenge!

Here you go ...

This week, eliminate junk mail from your life. Here are suggested ways to do so:
  1. Register with the National Do Not Mail List. If you live outside the US, search the Internet using the words "mail preference service" followed by your country.
  2. Register with TrustedID Mail Preference Service (aka Catalog Choice) to discontinue receiving catalogs, credit card offers, etc. Alternately, write to and/or email companies and request that you be removed from their catalog mailing list.
  3. Avoid placing your address on surveys, raffles, and product warranty cards.
  4. Contact your county tax department and ask about making your personal information private.
  5. Before doing business with a company, especially online, ask about how they use your information and request that personal information be kept private and never sold.
  6. Put a sign on your mailbox which says "No junk mail" or "No free papers". In the US, since it is illegal for anyone, other than the letter carrier, to put mail in your box, a sign won't work ... they'll deliver junk mail if it has your address on the label. Americans will need to remove their addresses at the source.
  7. If you've recently moved, re-register with "opt out" services (see items 1 and 2 above). Mail preferences are for specific addresses rather than names so if you move, you'll have to start from scratch and re-register your new address.
  8. Did you know that Consumer Credit Reporting Companies are permitted to include your name on lists which are made available to other companies? Use to stop receiving credit and insurances offers.
  9. Tired of receiving cash advance checks, in the mail, from your credit card company? Call them and ask that they stop sending cash advance checks to you.
  10. When all else fails, recycle junk mail (if you live in an apartment or your mailbox is located near other mailboxes, place a junk mail recycling bin nearby to encourage everyone to recycle).

Are you ready to clean out your mailbox? I know that you are!

Until next time ...


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review - Plastic Purge

Are you concerned about plastic?

We've all heard some of the dangers: plastic grocery bags find their way into our oceans and kill marine life. BPA, a chemical used to make hard, clear plastic, is bad for our health. And toxins leach into our food from the chemical used to make plastic pliable (think cling wrap).

The solution seems easy, right? Simply give up plastic!

Here's the problem ... plastic is everywhere!! It's pretty difficult, if not impossible, to get through a day without encountering this pervasive material.

I recently had the pleasure of reading Plastic Purge by Michael SanClements. In this book, the author talks to us as though he were having a casual conversation with friends. He helps us understand plastic and offers practical tips for reducing it in today's world ... tips which don't ask that we eliminate it completely but rather eliminate the harmful versions.

The book begins with a brief history. I found it fascinating that plastic actually had good and noble beginnings. Readers will learn how it is produced, the complications involved in recycling it, and even how Tupperware played a large role in our current use.

Review of Plastic Purge by Michael SanClementsA section entitled The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Plastics gets very interesting. Here I learned that some uses of plastic actually benefit us. For example, it is used to make defibrillators and MRIs, both of which can save lives. It also helps reduce the weight of planes, giving them better fuel efficiency. But not all plastics are created equal.

Some plastics are just plain bad. Phthalates, found in products like shower curtains and rubber duckies, have been implicated in serious health issues; most notably, abnormalities such as hypospadias, a birth defect where the urethra forms incorrectly in baby boys.

The ugly side of plastic is how it affects our environment and, consequently, our lives. The author talks about the value of nature and how it is in jeopardy. He then talks about plastic's contribution to flooding in developing countries and how clogged storm drains and pipes have caused the loss of life both through drowning and the spread of diseases (especially those transmitted by the mosquito which breeds in standing water). Closer to home, plastic trash found in the Great Lakes is being ingested by fresh-water fish. That fish is finding its way to our dinner tables.

The last part of the book (my favorite), entitled Time to Purge Some Ugly Plastic! offers ideas for eliminating unnecessary plastic from our lives. Readers will learn why visiting a farmer's market may cut the amount of BPA in your body significantly and how we can keep produce fresh without plastic bags.

When a plastic container is the only option at the grocery store, the author teaches us how to minimize the impact. He offers suggestions to eliminate plastic in our personal hygiene products and even offers an easy recipe for toothpaste.

If you have children, you won't want to miss Chapter 16 where Mr. SanClements talks about children's products. You'll be amazed at the number of items, designed for kids, that contain plastic. The author speaks about why this is a problem and offers solutions.

Dog owners will enjoy a section on how to deal with poop. And, pet owners might be surprised to learn that their animal's favorite treat could be adding plastic to our landfills.

Plastic Purge addresses a serious problem in a down-to-earth way and offers us practical solutions. I am happy to have this book in my library and gladly recommend it for yours.

To learn more about Plastic Purge, including information on how to buy the book, please visit Michael SanClements, Ph.D. at

I received a copy of "Plastic Purge" 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.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Vegan Recipe - Squash Bread

Spinach and Artichoke Dip ... S'mores Cheesecake ... Stromboli

Are you drooling yet? These are just a few of the delicious, vegan recipes one will find at My Naturally Frugal Family.

Rachel, the head chef and author of My Naturally Frugal Family, is a wife and mother. In 2011, she and her family began a journey towards better health via better food. To that end, they planted 10 raised gardens, a ton of fruit trees (like cherry, plum, and peach), several pecan trees, and an assortment of berry bushes. They also gave up meat. Rachel even went a step further and adopted a vegan diet (her family is vegetarian).

Changing their diet rewarded everyone in the family with better health. In Rachel's words, "... everyone feels better and doesn't get sick nearly as often."

Rachel is passionate about food and creates the most delicious recipes which she shares on her blog. To me, visiting My Naturally Frugal Family is like entering a neighborhood delicatessen where yummy offerings are on display. I salivate ... my tummy growls ... and I can't wait to dig in!

Rachel has very graciously allowed me to share one of her recipes with you. Enjoy ...

Squash Bread

Vegan Recipe - Squash Bread


  • 1 C butternut squash roasted and squished (technical term)
  • 2 ener-G egg replacers
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 C all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (Rachel used kosher)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom


  • Mix all of this together and pour into a greased bread pan. Rachel topped it with a sprinkling of turbinado sugar to give it a little crunch (plus who doesn't like fat sugar crystals).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

You can find the original recipe HERE.

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: Are you concerned about plastic? That's just one of the interesting topics we'll discuss next week. See you then!

Recipe and photo courtesy of My Naturally Frugal Family

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Guest Interview - Water Quality In America

With an estimated 240,000 water main breaks each year in the US, the aging water infrastructure is posing a health risk for the consumers who are drinking water that is contaminated with lead, pathogens, arsenic, and other carcinogens, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Blue Ocean Sciences, a bioremediation technology company, is preparing for the launch of Hope2o this summer. Hope2o is an affordable and accurate water analysis kit that allows the individual homeowner to test their tap and filter water for any heavy metal and organic chemical contaminants, and to see if their filters are still effective. Using Hope2o, Blue Ocean Sciences is working to map water quality around the world and provide an easy-to-read database for individuals to understand.

I recently had the opportunity to interview, via email, the founding CEO Dr. Andrea Neal on America's water quality. Her answers are informative and quite revealing:

What factors determine water quality?

Water quality will be influenced by many factors including the waste treatment processes, condition and material of water pipes, groundwater, natural occurrences of certain chemicals and minerals in the geographic area, and the presence of industrial pollutants. Heavy metals, pesticides, organic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and hormones are some of the common contaminants that can be found in drinking water.

Water requires an in-depth chemical analysis to accurately determine the quality. Analysis can determine the chemical condition of the water including what chemicals are present and in what concentration. Water with high levels of contaminates will usually have a taste or a smell that is distinct. However, major birth defects and other health issues have been linked to the long-term exposure of low levels of contaminants found in water. For example, dioxins, nitrates, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), hormones or pharmaceuticals can cause severe health issues. They would not be visible or have a detectable taste in water, and some will also go unnoticed with outdated systems of analysis.

Water quality is analyzed in ranges of parts-per-million (ppm), parts-per-billion (ppb), and parts-per-trillion (ppt). This just means how diluted substances are in water on a percentage basis – one out of a million, billion, or trillion respectively. To give an idea, Engineering Scientist, Zane Satterfield said, “One ppb is like adding a pinch of salt to a 10 ton bag of potato chips.” It’s critical to have the right testing. Some companies are still testing in the ppm (parts per million) range. Newer technologies however test water in the ppb (part-per-billion range) and some chemicals require ppt (part-per-trillion range) to be visible. In today’s science, ppm would be equivalent to the dial-up modem, ppb is cable-internet access, and ppt is high-speed wireless.

Also it’s important to note that when organizations like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) report about the maximum contamination level (MCL) of certain chemicals in water, this refers to the threshold point where the body’s ability to detoxify itself has been exceeded. In most cases, there is just one standard set for adults. It is well known though that children, fetuses and pets will be impacted differently and more than likely have a much lower threshold. Also the adult threshold generally varies for men versus women because of their common differences in body size and weight.

Generally speaking, is tap water in the US safe to drink?

The safety of drinking water in the U.S. varies region to region. There is a useful website that shows how much the quality of water can differ state-to-state and city-to-city. For example certain cities in New England are known to still have lead piping.
Guest Interview - Water Quality in America
The quality of tap water
varies region to region
Many other cities in the U.S. have piping that is over 100 years old and has never been retrofitted. Tap water studies have good information to reference, and it’s important to be aware that every day possible new contaminants are being introduced which is why updated real-time information and regular testing is so essential. Also it’s important for people in the U.S. to realize that all the local and state water quality reports are assessing the water quality at the facility. Who is testing the quality of the water once it has traveled the long distances from the facility, through the pipes and into people’s homes?

How does the quality of well water differ from municipal water?

This depends on the source of the municipal water and the well water. Sometimes, well water may be impacted by substances naturally occurring in the soil (for example radon or arsenic). Well owners are responsible for being aware of this and testing their water. Some benefits of well water are that the common additives used in municipal water such as fluoride and other chlorinated compounds are not used.

What is the difference between hard & soft water?

The concentration of minerals in the water will determine if it is hard or soft.
Which is preferable and what can homeowners do to ensure that they have the right kind?

Some minerals are safe and they simply leave a residue on dishes, etc. Other minerals particularly in the “heavy metals” category can cause serious health problems. Again, it’s important to find out the type of minerals in the water and in what concentration levels. People can purchase water softeners and other equipment to take out some of the unwanted minerals. It’s also important to recognize how the minerals are taken out of the water because some systems use salt that gets added into the water that then becomes its own health risk when the concentrations are too high.

If water tastes and/or smells like iron, is there a problem?

Potentially the smell of iron indicates a high level of iron oxide that could be related to a high level of arsenic because it is used in a treatment process to remove arsenic from water.
What if it smells like rotten eggs?

This usually indicates that there is a sulfur compound in the water like hydrogen sulfide. This is not poisonous -- just smelly. There are other sulfurs that can be toxic. Again, it’s important to get a comprehensive in-depth water test done.

For more information, follow the Hope2o Facebook Page.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Good News

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 we tackled light pollution. I first became aware of the problem when I joined an astronomy club for a night of star gazing. Because of city lights, which were over 100 miles away, we had a hard time seeing some constellations. While the inability to view the stars was inconvenient, it pointed to a more serious problem: the affects of artificial light on the environment. Light pollution changes the natural rhythms of life ... it confuses animal migration, inhibits certain organism growth, and even disrupts the pollination of night-blooming plants. It's a game changer! For my part, I made sure that any non-essential lights were switched off at night and that my curtains were drawn.

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 lives in an apartment so her hands are tied when it comes to outdoor lighting. She does minimize the use of indoor lights and closes her curtains at night. In Change the World Wednesday, Lights, she also offers a few creative suggestions for homeowners including glow-in-the-dark paint.

One of your posts on our bee challenge was picked up in The Green Daily. Was it yours?

Change the World Wednesday – 7th May, by Argentum Vulgaris (AV), is very interesting. In the first section, AV includes a global photo ... if you had any doubt as to the problem of light pollution, this picture will convince you otherwise. Then, read AV's personal story. Again, the photo included in that section is amazing. AV brings up a good point about knowing our place in the universe and how light pollution prevents that knowledge.

Alicia joined us. Here are her comments: "This is so interesting! I didn't know about this and am glad you have brought it to our attention! We have been talking about getting a motion sensor for our outside lights and getting lower wattage bulbs will be easy to do."

Lydia stopped by. Here's what she has to say: "When we vacationed in Florida one of the rules was lights on the beach side had to be turned off or the drapes drawn during hatching season. Since doing the Carbon Fast this year, I've been really sensitive about all the lights coming from our gadgets. The chargers, the switch lights, the digital clocks. We're making an effort to unplug the non essential things."

Deborah accepted the challenge and shared this: "Thank you so much for raising awareness of the enormous hazards associated with light pollution. It is so alarming to read that 4-5 million birds are killed, each year, when they are attracted to the lights of tall towers in addition to the sea turtles and other species. I live in an apartment so these are the actions that I can control in my home in support of reducing the use of artificial and light pollution:
I will continue to:
-Turn off indoor lighting which isn't necessary.
-Use lights only when necessary.
-Light only what needs to be lit.
*I will survey my complex and look for ways that our property manager to reduce light pollution and share suggestions with him.
-I will inform and encourage others to reduce their usage of artificial light by sharing with friends, fans and followers.
I will encourage family members and friends with houses to:
-Use lights only when necessary.
-Lower the wattage on outdoor lights.
-Light only what needs to be lit.
-Install a motion detector on outdoor security lighting which many of them do already.
-Use reflectors in their driveways.
-Use night sky friendly outdoor lighting fixtures.
-Learn more about light pollution so they can understand the impact and help others to make a difference as well."

Our Twitter friend, @GiveTreeGifts, joined us and shared the following:

- Opt for outdoor lighting that's activated by motion sensor. It will only come on when the natural light is low & it senses movement.
- We have light switches on both ends of the room. When dark, we turn on the light, walk through the room, then turn off when leaving
- If you're not in the room, the lights don't need to be on.
- We're transitioning from CFLs to LED lighting. During the day we use natural light & in the p.m.use localized lighting for projects.

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:

@ai_houston @allnaturalkatie @alwayswellwithn
@anitaadamsnc @bkind3 @cellomomoncars
@cleannergyphoto @compingcrazzy @consillium
@corinnegail1 @counselorholley @debsmikdav1
@ecocountrytable @ecoexpert1 @ecofriendlyfurn
@ecothrifty @erbaviva @factorydpromos
@familybetty @freshcleanersaz @freshgriller
@givetreegifts @green_vibes @greenearthbazar
@herbgir1972 @hismerecry @jaxvegetarian
@junestoyer @kaitlingarder @kiser_krafts
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @legsetobicoke
@lorcadamon @lu_and_ed @magnushrm
@marikokoloco @michaelinla3 @mistiwithani
@pamela_o_plays @pauljimerson @pberk
@pinecone_grove @rckweddings @reslightingmag
@rulesofgreen @sbs_brands @sensuouspromos
@sfcouncil @superbsolutions @twicecreations
@veggalaxy @veggiebeet @violetsbuds
@whopaysthepiper @witteeme @women4earth

My Final Thoughts:

Imagine what would happen if darkness were non-existent. The obvious consequence would be that we'd have trouble sleeping. But did you know that your risk of cancer would increase if we lived in a world of constant light? Scientists have found that cancer cell growth slows in the dark. Some disease-fighting hormones, like melatonin, cannot be produced when we are subjected to light ... even the soft glow from a television shuts down production. Health aside, constant light would be plain annoying. Here's the thing ... if we find light irritating, we can turn it off. But nature cannot! We force light on plants and animals who need the darkness to survive. Let me say that again ... To Survive! Our need to illuminate everything literally kills. Light pollution is one of the easiest problems to remedy ... simply turn them off.

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:

Change The World Wednesday - Environmental Good News
Good News .... Pass It On!
Each week, in preparation for CTWW, I browse current environmental news. This week I found articles which, quite frankly, left me feeling depressed. While I don't want to live with my "head in the sand", I also don't want to feel powerless.

So, I think it's time for another "Good News" challenge, don't you?

Here you go ...

This week share environmental good news. Unlike the challenge we did in November (see it HERE), which asked that we talk about all good news, let's focus on our personal triumphs. For example, if you were able to overcome a green-living obstacle (recycling, composting, etc.), we'd like to share in your good news. Perhaps you are preparing to plant a garden this year or have upgraded appliances to energy-efficient models ... let us celebrate with you. Maybe you've realized successes like turning off the water while brushing your teeth or turning off lights when you leave the room ... we want to be inspired by your achievement. The idea, this week, is to share all the good, green stuff in our lives.

Are ready to share good, positive, green news? I know that you are!

Sneak Peek: Have you ever wondered about the quality of the water coming out of your kitchen faucet? Join us tomorrow for an eye-opening interview.

Until next time...