Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Cheers

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 examined all of our purchases to ensure that they don't include "extras", items which are unnecessary and make an otherwise good product, less so. This was an interesting exercise, especially since stores are now trying to entice consumers to buy gifts for the holiday season. The store isles are full of products which have free samples taped to the package. While consumers may think that they are getting a bargain and stretching their dollar, the truth is that most "freebies" come in plastic. When we consider the cost of producing that package and the affect it has on our environment, that sample doesn't look like such a bargain. I turned my attention to groceries. Some products which should be natural and healthy, like fruit juices or preserves, include dangerous additives like high fructose corn syrup. Labels which read "all natural" are not necessarily so. It truly is a "buyer beware" world.

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.

Andie accepted the challenge and shared this: "Now I need to check ALL my lip balms! Luckily, Seattle has the Puget Consumers Co-op which does a great job of offering only products that are eco-friendly. With 11 stores in the Puget Sound region, they have a lot of members who are also diligent and call them out whenever they think a product is not up to snuff. It sure makes shopping easier when I can trust the store to watch out for me AND the environment."

What does a "jacket potato" and me (lurking behind Mrs. Green's sofa) have to do with unnecessary things? Find out in How a jacket potato almost ruined the world.

Nancy shared this via Google+: "So important to read ALL labels, even if you have used the product for years. Things can change. To be safe rather than sorry, each consumer needs to accept responsibility for what they do or don't do."

Lois wrote a terrific post in support of this challenge. In it, she lists several companies who sold out to mega-corporations making their products suspect. Are any of your favorites listed in Change the World Wednesday, Those Extras. In a reply to my comment, she said "You are so right, Small Footprints, those freebies taped to the packaging are cheap and short lived ending up in the landfills so quickly. After writing this I realized there was one freebie I used to take for granted as being in the package yet hated getting each time I bought the product and that is the measuring scoop in the laundry detergent. For a while I was able to give these to the kids as toys but after a while what do you do with them?"

Beautifying the bar next door, plastic milk shakers on Ovalmatine, and frozen Paella. Those are just a few things you'll read about in Argentum Vulgaris's Change the World Wednesday – 12th Nov.

Aimee joined us and shared this: "Good reminder! Our news station just aired a story about the Good Guide app which you can put on your phone to scan UPC codes of cosmetics, lotions and other items to see where they rank on the eco-friendly/toxicity list. Regarding the task at hand, for me since going off dairy, it's forced me to be a lot more creative for how I flavor my food. While Daiya is available (the only shredded fake cheese that's not chocked full of soy), it still has a lot of ingredients just to mimic the taste and consistency of cheese. So I've made it similar to tropical fruits that aren't obviously local, in that they are now considered "delicacy" products that I only buy on special occasions. Otherwise I think we're doing pretty well in the food area, and since I don't wear makeup, our main consideration is figuring out what kind of body butter we're going to invest in since I'm about to scrape out the last bits of Yancy Lael's homemade vanilla/coconut butter!"

Green Girl stopped by. Here are her comments: "I try to stick with 'one ingredient, whole, local, organic foods' as much as reasonably possible, with a few exceptions. I got tired of reading labels and seeing false claims, and I'm concerned that too much of our food system is coming from corporations and chemistry labs instead of small, sustainable farmers. I also buy all my personal care items from companies who ONLY make healthy products. Like you, I am getting tired of the eco- and health-conscious companies getting bought out by corporations who put profit over people and planet. I even started selling eco-friendly, organic skin care myself to help educate people and spread the word while making a little extra income." By the way, Green Girl recently wrote an interesting post about climate change and weight loss ... check it out ... it's fascinating!

Ann included our banner in this post entitled How to stop ants from getting into your sugar canister. Save the world. If you're bothered by ants, her post offers an Eco-friendly way to keep them under control.

Randy joined us and shared this: "I can't think of the last time I enjoyed a canned meal; after you've gotten into the habit of setting up the crockpot, anything from a can is just overprocessed, oversalted bleh. Plus, since my crockpot is "Rival" brand, I get that song from Rocky going in my head". He wrote Facing Up to The #CTWW Challenge Of Our Rival Brand Crock-Pot and shares his way of avoiding "extras" in commercial or restaurant foods. His method comes with a warning, though ... be sure to read it at the end of the post!

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 @allcollegeplan @almosttruth
@andriyanifafa @artbysandra @beatepdx
@bethcooperart @cannyhighlander @charismayoonyh
@collegegogreen @corneliagracchi @eco_novice
@ecoexpert1 @envirobooty @environmentguru
@erinhitchcock8 @factorydpromos @familyfocusblog
@fleurdeb @foggybottomgal @forloveofadog
@freshcleanersaz @fruitsherbrooke @garry_rogers
@ginavalley @givetreegifts @greenageworld
@greenqueenofmod @groovygreenlivi @helalraghda
@herbgir1972 @jnaquins @justanotherhat
@kaitlingarder @kayhahn1 @kriswetherbee
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @ladyjcmuses
@laurelhounslow @lbpaints @lumleysplacebnb
@luthienthye @mamasmoney @marylolagouge
@momfindsout @momsmadhousex6 @museumoflitter
@mzazeela @nestfullofnew @nolafusion
@pedalgadgets @piaktw @rainbojangles
@rckayla @rckweddings @realityarts
@romerojewelers @ruralmoms @sfcouncil
@smallbits @spafloating @temilarashy
@thewoodgraingal @theworld4realz @treesgroup
@turningclockbac @urban_mining @wencdj
@wimpyvegetarian @withuvip

My Final Thoughts:

Eliminating the unnecessary leaves room for the valuable. Think about it ... if we eliminate unhealthy ingredients from food, we make way for delicious nutrition and improve our health. Get rid of unnecessary fillers, brighteners, and fragrances in cleaning products and we get a bottle full of safe solutions that work. Refuse free samples and more of our land can be used as natural spaces rather than receptacles for garbage. I want to add value to my life ... I'm greedy that way. I don't have room for the unnecessary! How about you?

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 (#CTWW) - Cheers
Serve cocktails with cloth napkins
During this time of year, many of us host parties and serve alcoholic beverages.

To make life convenient, items like plastic glasses & straws, mixers, and exotic fruits are available to help you set up your home bar. And, all manner of "spirits" are available ... some which travel from the far reaches of the earth to arrive at your liquor store.

Here's your challenge ...

If you are planning to entertain friends and family this season, and plan to serve "adult" beverages, do a little research and plan an Eco-friendly bar. Here are some things to consider:
  • Wine is the most Eco-friendly alcoholic beverage. Choose organic varieties which don't include preservatives. While boxed wine may not look classy, it is the most earth-friendly of wine packaging options. Glass bottles would be the next choice.
  • If you're serving beer, cans are better than bottles because they weigh less which gives them a lower carbon footprint.
  • Opt for liquors and wine with natural cork instead of synthetic corks or metal tops.
  • Avoid frosted bottles. Chemicals are used to create them.
  • Look for beverages which are distilled locally and check that the company uses minimal energy and water to create their libations.
  • Serve drinks in glass rather than plastic and use glass straws.
  • Use cloth cocktail napkins instead of paper.
  • Use local, organic fruits and herbs in mixed drinks. And don't forget organic "munchies" to go along with the cocktails.
  • Make ice in an ice tray rather than use the automatic ice maker in the refrigerator. You'll use less energy.
The idea, this week, is to plan ahead to ensure that your home bar is "green".

OR ...

If you aren't including alcohol in your celebrations, make plans to "green" any get-togethers you are hosting or attending. Consider local, organic foods and reusable serving pieces. If you are traveling to an event, share a ride with others. Use natural elements to decorate. Supply visitors with comfy slippers or socks so that they will feel comfortable to remove their shoes at the door.

OR ...

If you'll be spending quiet time at home this season, plan to make the experience green. Use all the ideas above, on a smaller scale, to make your personal time fun and Eco-friendly.

Are you ready for a "green" celebration? I know that you are!

Until next time ...