Clorox says green consumers are ridiculous

I guess our money is ridiculous too, then, eh, Clorox?

I have always had issues with Clorox. Even as a child, my feminist mother and I mocked the “Mama’s got the magic of Clorox!” commercials that dared to suggest that dads couldn’t use the magic, whatever it was. Probably the same magic that dries out your hands and makes your eyes sting with its chemical-laden poison, eh, Clorox?

Over the years, I’ve seen them get better—a dad on a commercial!—only to regress with moms-only media again. I don’t think they understand women. You see, Clorox, even if it IS the woman doing all of the cleaning in the house, she doesn’t WANT it to be that way. She wants help, at the very least—or her husband to even take over once in a while. So maybe you should sell products with men using them to both A. get our interest by fulfilling our fantasies and B. demonstrate its use. Bingo!

Now Clorox has gone and done it again. They’re now calling green consumers “ridiculous,” mocking them in ads even as they try to design products that cater to the green community. What exactly do you hope to accomplish here, anyway—demoralizing a nation of people who want to create a better world, or simple mockery of your customers? You know what’s ridiculous, Clorox? You.

This green lifestyle isn’t a fad. It’s a necessity if we want to continue calling this planet home. And the moms you market to? They are producing little people who are going to inhabit this very home for centuries to come—IF we take care of it. And if you can’t bother to give a damn about that—about our kids—then you obviously don’t give a damn about us, either.

I actually use one of your products—your dish soap—since my dishwasher is kaput and I buy green whenever I possibly can. I sometimes switch between your product and Method, but yours is usually cheaper so I go with it. Now that I know how ridiculous you think I am, I think Method deserves my money much more.

I am betting that all of the moms in my homeschool groups, my friends, and the moms at my best friend’s child’s school all will, too. Oh, and all of their friends. And theirs…

You may want to rethink this view you’ve got about ridiculous people actually daring to give a damn about the planet we all live on, Clorox. They’re the same people who won’t be buying your product anymore until you can get your crap together.

Projects for fall leaves

Leave the leaf blower out of this!

Are you enjoying the gorgeous color explosion and wondrous, windy weather that is fall yet? I sure am! Just today we raked and played in the leaves a bit, and after our 4-H meeting my daughter and her friends ran outside to jump in our piles and giggle over the leafy goodness of it all. I just adore fall.

One of our favorite things about fall is the changing leaves, which is something I know lots of people enjoy. Unlike our ancestors, who usually prayed to their gods for the return of summer’s bounty and might have been unsure about whether or not their green trees would return, we are lucky enough to know that it’s 99.9999 percent likely that our crops will return (unless we, too, do not return from some zombiepocalypse or what have you). We also have the bounty provided by the grocery store, and most of us do not have to stock up for the season (though it’s a good idea to have a few days of food on hand just in case there’s a blizzard). Therefore, instead of mourning summer and praying for its return, we can have the luxury of enjoying this season instead, and preparing leaf projects like these:

  • Paint marbleized leaves, create leaf garlands and many other art projects
  • Create lovely leaf frame art, leaf labels for your wine bottles, or leaf-pressed autumn wreaths
  • Gather up as many leaves as you can and crunch them into a stew or potion with your favorite preschooler; we like to add expired spices, dirt and many other things into ours
  • Create an autumn leaf placemat to use at the table, or to decorate for Thanksgiving
  • Make a fun mosaic leaf bracelet for fall games, gift exchanges, or even seasonal costumes
  • Conduct an experiment with still-green leaves by placing stickers on them; as they turn colors and fall, find them with your children and chronicle their changes, removing the stickers to see how dramatic their shifts were this year
  • Design chicks and other cute animals with your leaves
  • Make a pretty tree of leaves with anyone from your friends to your preschooler, or design a lovely fall notebook with tree leaves for your college girl or boy to take back to school next semester
  • Skip using actual leaves and simply let them be, looking at them for inspiration for a watercolor painting or other original art
  • Keep your leaves around instead of blowing them around! We like to compost ours for fertile, rich soil next year

Green makeup: Eco-friendly products that are good for your skin and the environment

Physicians Formula Organic Wear

No, I am not talking about makeup in the color green.  What I am talking about is makeup that is eco-friendly.  Makeup is awesome in that it can instantly improve a woman’s face.  Unfortunately, the way it is made is often not so awesome toward the environment.  That is unless you buy from a makeup line like Physicians Formula Organic Wear.When your makeup is from Physicians Formula Organic Wear, you can be sure that you are not inadvertently putting a bunch of chemicals and preservatives on your face.  That is good for both your skin and the Earth.  Plus the fact that they do not test the makeup products on animals make the makeup line a perfect match for animal lovers as well.

The Physicians Formula Organic Wear line includes some of the basics for you to be able to look fabulous enough to get out the door.  They have mascara that is capable of adding length to your lashes.  Plus they have a tinted moisturizer that can make your skin look great without looking made up.  Want to add some rosy cheeks?  Grab their bronzer and blush.  Prefer to only have a natural sun-kissed look?  Then get the bronzer only.

The organic makeup from Physicians Formula has been approved by dermatologists to be hypoallergenic.  There aren’t any fragrances or colors added to their makeup products.  Furthermore, nothing in the makeup line has been genetically modified.  So the next time that you wish to look flawless, reach for the organic makeup from Physicians Formula.

Keep your house cooler this summer

Summer is definitely here!  The blistering heat is causing many to constantly turn on their air conditioning units.  Although it might be extreme to suggest that you should live without an air conditioner, there are ways for you to rely less on it this summer to keep your house more comfortable and cool.For starters, you can change up the way you cook at home.  Avoid the oven as if it is the plague.  Then go into your backyard and get the grill started.  Don’t have access to an outside grill?  That is no problem at all.  Just take out your slow cooker.  You will be amazed by all of the wonderful creations that can come out of it.  So try out some recipes.  It will help to keep the heat out of the oven in your house.

Another way to keep things cool this summer is to invest in a fan.  Any type of fan will do.  Just make sure to have it on.  Then you can use less air conditioning as a result.

Often it is not the heat that is truly bothersome in the summertime, but rather the humidity level.  So get a dehumidifier.  It can get you comfortable without the help of the air conditioning unit. 

Another easy way to cool off is to let in some cool air.  After the sun has gone down, crack the window open.  That will let in a nice little breeze.  It is especially nice to have the window open in the bedroom where you sleep.  So give these ideas a try, and have a cooler summer without the air conditioner.

Eco-friendly way to wash dishes by hand

Recently, I have made the decision to wash all of the dishes in my house by hand.  The dishwasher that came with the house that I reside in is not energy efficient.  Therefore, I felt guilty about using it.

At first, I thought about investing in a new energy efficient dishwasher.  However, it soon occurred to me that it made more sense to just use my own two hands to get all of my dishes clean.  So with that in mind, I started to only use my old dishwasher as a drying rack for all of the dishes that I wash by hand.

Doing the dishes by hand is pretty simple and straightforward.  However, the way most people wash their dishes is less than friendly toward the environment.  For instance, I have seen many people let the water run endlessly while working on their pile of dishes.  This is a waste of water since it is unnecessary to have the water faucet constantly running like that.

So what is the eco-friendly way to wash your dishes by hand?  It is to use as little water and soap as you possibly can. To do so, place the dirty dishes in a dish pan and fill it up with warm water.  Then add a few teaspoons of soap to the dish pan.  If you do not own a dish pan, you can feel free to use one side of your double sink instead.  Then use the other side of the sink or another dish pan to fill with water that you are going to use to rinse away the dishwashing soap.

Four Surprising Ways To Save The Planet

The most unlikely ways to make a REAL difference this Earth Day!


Don’t get me wrong, bringing reusable totes to the grocery store and recycling your soda cans is great. But here are four unexpected ways to have a positive impact on the planet!

1. Birth Control, And Plenty Of It!

The planet's environmental problems weren't nearly as bad when there were only two billion, three billion, even five billion people here. But our seven billionth baby was just born, and things are getting dire. When pressured, most environmental experts will reluctantly agree: the best thing you can do for the planet is not have children.

If you really want to have children, consider adoption! There are thousands of children in the world who are in desperate need of a loving family. 
If you don't intend to have children (or not right now), get serious about contraception. Women, follow your birth control instructions to the letter. Be aware of the medications which can affect your contraceptive. If you make an error (like skipping a pill, or forgetting to schedule a refill in time), don't have unprotected sex until your doctor says you're in the clear. 
World's best birth control: someone else's screaming baby! Courtesy Flickr/TheGiantVermin
Men, use a reliable condom that includes spermicide. If you feel you will never want children, consider getting a vasectomy.
2. Go Vegetarian
Michael Pollan once quipped that "a vegan in a Hummer has a lighter carbon footprint than a beef eater in a Prius." Between transportation, the volume of food required, what I'll politely call "biological waste," and the rampant use of antibiotics and hormones, America's meat industry is a true plague upon the planet. Overall, the livestock industry is one of the world's biggest contributors of greenhouse gases. 
Cattle in a southern California feedlot - courtesy Flickr/David W Oliver
Even reducing your meat consumption can have a surprising impact. Skip one hamburger, and you'll save as much water as 40 showers with a low-flow shower nozzle! Instead of having meat at every meal, have a vegetarian breakfast and lunch. Or join the new "Meatless Mondays" trend.
3. Don't Have Pets
No one's asking you to put your cat to sleep in order to save the planet. But you should be aware that our pets contribute to the destruction of the Earth, too. They have diets which are high in meat (see #2, above), their waste creates hazardous runoff conditions in our waterways, and cats allowed to roam outdoors have a huge impact on the local wildlife. (And on the kitty!)
Image courtesy Flickr/daphenator
If you have a pet, please have it spayed or neutered in order to prevent unwanted animal pregnancies. Support your local animal shelter's spay/neuter initiatives. Consider not getting another pet, or holding off for a while. And whether you live in the city or the country, you can participate in - or initiate! - a "TNR" (Trap, Neuter, Release) event for feral animals. 
4. Hang Onto Your Gadgets
The statistics are dismaying: each new gadget - be it a cell phone, iPad, Kindle, tablet device, flat screen TV, or what have you - enters the world with a huge carbon footprint. In addition to the production overhead (including toxic chemicals and huge amounts of electricity used by the factories), electronic devices require substantial amounts of raw minerals like tantalum and copper.
Tantalum is what's known as a "conflict mineral." Most of the world's supply is under the control of warlords who engage in horrors like genocide, mass rape, slaughter, child slavery, human trafficking. The amount of human suffering that is essentially generated by the electronic industry's greed for tantalum is nothing short of shocking.
Copper, on the other hand, is by and large produced with no more than the ordinary amount of human suffering. But it is mined using some of the most toxic methods known to mankind. Companies like Anaconda Copper destroy the planet right under our noses, lie about their activities, and leave behind a legacy of toxic contaminants leaching into the local aquifer.
Copper mine in Mexico - seen here from OUTER SPACE. Photo courtesy Flickr/NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
All things considered… maybe you can hold off buying the new iPad for another year? Consider keeping your existing gadgets longer. And when you do need to upgrade, shop for second-hand items first. Each new gadget you DON'T buy will save another little piece of the world!

How Far Would You Be Willing to Go?

I read a story the other day about a man who gave up all of his commercial trappings to live homeless and outside the modern monetary system.  While I have to admire his chutzpah, I am fairly certain I could never do something similar.  Our society does not allow for someone to live so far outside its bounds, at least not without a major struggle.

Daniel Suelo has been living this way for more than 10 years, and has done a remarkable job of it, setting up camp in a national park, moving to new sites as needed to avoid trouble.  He did receive a ticket one time for violating the 14-day camping limit, but was able to negotiate with an understanding judge to do community service instead.

While his story is impressive, it is also impractical and frankly, that lifestyle is not something that would appeal to many people.  We all want to do our part to conserve energy and reduce our carbon footprints, but this is a little over the top.  It is also not sustainable. What happens when he is in his 80s and still trying to live off the land?  At some point, some money will be needed and he is setting himself or the government up for a major expense down the road.

The question is, how far should we go in our efforts to slow the progression of damage we are causing.  How far would anyone want to go?  I think our family does a pretty good job at consuming less than the average American household, but that isn’t enough.  Living homeless and penniless, no matter how romanticized it is, is still homeless and penniless.

Maybe It Is the Natural Course of Events

Like many people, I am concerned about the turn our planet is taking.  Things like global warming make me very nervous, and I wonder what type of future my kids and grandkids will be facing.  But when I hear about how global warming is the end of the world and the sky is falling, I wonder just how serious it is in the bigger picture.

A climate shift like global warming might have a dramatic impact on our population, but it wouldn’t be the first time the temperatures were high.  We have all heard about the tropical age when dinosaurs were alive, so what we are potentially facing is far from new.

There have been many geological ages in our long history, and I am quite certain not all of them were influenced by pollution and automobile exhaust.  While I completely agree that the way things are going now are not good and need to be changed, I don’t think the sky is falling simply because we have a lot more cars on the road or we burn wood in our homes.

Perhaps global warming, if indeed it exists, is simply nature continuing on the path it was already headed. Ice caps came, and ice caps may go away, but they weren’t always here and the planet did just fine when they were gone before.

Things need to change, but the fate of all mankind does not rest on the back of a super efficient electric car or a reduction in industrial output, although those two things would be very nice.

Use a Dry Erase Board Instead of Paper Lists

A couple of years ago, we received a magnetic shopping list pad for Christmas.  We still have it, because we so rarely write paper lists.  The thought of using an entire sheet of paper to keep track of something for a brief time, and then tossing it in the trash, is horrific to me and I cringe every time we do it.  Instead of using something disposable, dry erase boards are a perfect way to keep track of things to do around the house, menu plans, and other lists that do not need to be portable.

For our grocery lists, we usually use the list feature on a cell phone, because it is much easier to carry with and results in zero waste.  The only trouble is that it is difficult to remember to add items sometimes, unless we just happen to have a phone nearby while cooking.  So, grocery lists can start out on a dry erase board in the kitchen and be easily transferred to a phone when it is time to go shopping.

Dry erase boards can keep track of long term goals, shopping lists for future purchases like Christmas wish lists, and many other things.  If you have children, use a dry erase board for chore lists and you don’t have to keep writing the same chores down every week.

Dry erase boards are great for keeping things organized without creating a lot of waste.  You can use them for years.  In fact, we still have a functioning dry erase board in the kitchen that was put there 20 plus years ago.

Grow Your Own Dairy Products

Have you ever noticed all of the packaging involved with yogurt, cheese, milk and butter?  If you eat very many dairy products, all of that packaging really starts to add up. And what’s with the ingredients?  If you look closely at the ingredients, especially in yogurt, you will see some suspicious items that really shouldn’t be in any ingredients list.  If you want to be healthier and create less waste, grow your own dairy products.

Even if you have very little space, you can raise a couple of goats.  There is a miniature dairy breed, the Nigerian Dwarf, that can live pretty happily in a spacious backyard.  I raise these goats, and they are a delight to have around.  They also have very rich milk and require less feed relative to the milk they produce when compared with full size goats.

If goats aren’t your thing, old world milk cows, such as those our pioneer forefathers brought over, also require less space than modern breeds and produce more milk for their feed.  Look into miniature Jerseys or Dexters, and enjoy milk that is fresh, tasty and free from chemicals.  Cows are ideal for butter production, having a much higher butterfat content than goats.

Whether you like goats or cows, you can easily adapt an existing place to care for one of the miniature varieties, ensuring as much milk products as your family can eat while saving on all that packaging waste and living healthier in the bargain.  Now who could argue with the logic in that?