Sunday, December 30, 2007


Drycleaning in today uses a lot of chemicals and your clothes come back with that strange smell. There are cleaners now that are chemical conscious.

Here is more info on the non-toxic style of drycleaning.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I just got back from spending some time in Germany.
It was so great to see different ways they Go Green in their daily life.

- None of he buildings I was in have Air Conditioning. Since it rarely gets really hot there, they can open a window.
- They have great radiators for heat. You can use on the one in the bathroom to hang your towels. They also have a temperature gauge on the shower faucet so you can set the water to a constant temperature.
- You see green architecture in the building construction and they build to last.
- I was near Frankfurt and they have villages or towns with lots of space between them. There are a lot of local farms and yard gardens.

I wish I could have seen more, but it is great to travel and see how other countries live.

Here more things I learned since then.
- The German Green Party was the first successful party with an environmental agenda.
- The recycling program and waste management has a lot of critics, but here is some info on how they do it.
- Conservation work - WWF
- Pollution - German Embassy

Monday, December 3, 2007

Instilling good habits

My office recently moved into a new space and we are no longer near the recycling drop. We are also no longer near a bathroom, but that is another matter.
I've noticed that my office mates are throwing their recycleables in the trash! The last guy who said something about not throwing out cans ended up with a case of empties strewn on his desk. Well, maybe not a case, but it was a lot of cans. I was happy to see all of the cans not in the trash.

So what am I doing about it? Nothing yet, but I plan to set up a little recycling collection in the new office area. Then I'll have to remember to take it out once a week. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Back in the box

My mom can be a defeatist. Everything has chemicals, nothing is good for you. You spend too much time worrying about the ingredients. But the ingredients are everything and when you take a look at what is in that pretty packaging you would be amazed.

Amazed in a good way. I found this great skincare line called Mychelle . This product is great because not only does it not use harsh chemicals, but the price is also reasonable AND it works! I also found Kiss My Face skincare is rated well in not using toxins or harsh chemicals. I just got a sample kit so I'll have to get back to you on the effectiveness. I did try Burts Bees, but it made me breakout....too much wax. :)

The sad news is that my Mary Kay products have a ton of harsh chemicals. I sent a letter and emailed Mary Kay asking them to start an organic line and to stop using the harsh chemicals in their formulas. I did get a nice letter back thanking me for my recommendations. As I go through each product and check the ingredients, I'm not liking what I'm finding. So, I'm sending them back. I packed all of the products with chemicals linked to cancer back in the box with a letter.

I really hope I am able to make an impact. I really like the company and I think it is important for them to create a line that is safe to make and safe to use over time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Recycle burnt out bulbs and more!

Earth 911 updated their site!

Here are all of the things I can take to my local Household Hazardous Waste facility.
Don't just throw these items out! Take them to your HHM!

Accepted Items
Typical materials which you should bring to the HHM drop-off facility include:
home, lawn and garden chemicals used for pest, insect and weed control
compact fluorescent light bulbs
automotive fuel
windshield wiper fluid
brake fluid
transmission fluid
gas additives
gear oil and most car care products
car batteries
flammable cleaning solvents such as kerosene, turpentine, varsol, mineral spirits, parts cleaners, floor strippers, rug cleaners, and spot removers
lamp and heating oil
fluorescent tubes
corrosives such as muriatic acid, and oven or drain cleaners with lye
swimming pool additives
photo chemicals
thermometers, thermostats, and barometers containing mercury
oil and latex paint, varnish, stains, polyurethane
propane tanks (small hand held type; please take the larger propane tanks from grills to your hardware store for recycling).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jitterbugs sited in national park

Who knew you could dance green.

I was looking for a neat way to celebrate a birthday and I thought, "Where is a good place to go dancing?" I was searching for ballroom dancing, which I learned much later, will mostly turn up dance lessons.

Last year I went to the Swamp Romp which is a Zydeco music festival held at Wolftrap each year. There is a group of people that have a great time dancing and I found out they all take lessons together, some are dance teachers, and they all like to dance at a place called Glen Echo.

Now fast forward a year or so later and I am sitting on my bed at 11 at night trying to find a place to go dancing and that pops into my head. So I Google Glen Echo, MD and I find the Spanish Ballroom.

So we drive to this National Park and get to a small parking lot. There are no signs and two lighted walkways, a wooden bridge and a cement path. We have no idea where to go, but as I look around for signs a few more cars drive up and park. I watch as the people head for the wooden bridge. It's about 40 degrees out, pretty cold, so we scurry after the people...past a sign for a Children's museum, and a sign for pottery. Some people veer off to the right... but I see a sign for the restrooms so we plug ahead. Then I see a sign for bumper cars and wonder where the heck we are, and we come upon a lighted building. Yes, it's the Spanish ballroom and no heat But, that is okay because within minutes the place is packed with about 80 people learning to Lindy Hop and Jitterbug. Within an hour we are jumping like the best of them to the Tom Cunningham Orchestra. (The have great ties.)

So national parks are not just for hiking and camping, but they are also a place to jump, jive and wail.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Think globally...Vacation locally

This year's vacation was a trip to Eco-groovy Vermont.
I got to see the leaves in their glory and experience a lot more than I expected there. Who knew there were so many small farms. Well, I didn't. See what else is there in my picture link:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Eco-Groovy Award

This award is for websites that promote environmental issues in a positive and inspiring way.

Your site inspires people to think and to act with nature in mind, promoting sustainable living, ecosystems, sustainable design, renewable energy, recycling, conservation, organics, non-toxics

Thank you for dedication to the environment! You get it! You go green!

The goal is to focus people's attention on environmental factors which in turn can reduce pollution, disease, overpopulation and crime.

Award Winners

1. Nov 07 - The Inn at Weathersfield LINK
2. Nov 07 - Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt (my favorite yogurt) LINK

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Renewable Energy

Why do we need to switch to renewable energy? Not just because it's better for the planet and will cause less pollution. The world demands oil and it is part of the reason for the wars in the Middle East. The need for natural resources is a big reason why people go to war.

I recently went to the Middle East and saw what the US and coalition forces are doing first hand. I went to Bagram and saw the wounded soldiers and civilians. I learned how careful our troops our despite the bad press. I felt what it was like to stay in trailers, some are not so lucky and live in plywood huts called B-huts.

The armed forces and state department need your help and support.
We need to get our industry and homes converted to using renewable energy sources now, not 20 years down the road.

The troops living in the forward operating bases know how to conserve. Clean water is hard to come by. They shower in 3 min. Wet down, turn off the water...lather up...and a quick rinse. 3 min. When was the last time you spend only 3 min in the shower? A lot of people take 20-30 min in the shower. You used about 5 gallons per minute in the shower. 15 gallons is a lot of water! Imagine carrying 15 - 1 gallon jugs. A 10 min shower takes 50 gallons of water! What a waste!
A bath takes about 50 gallons of water. Save water by taking a bath as a treat.

In the desert there is so much sand and dust that my eyes were constantly irritated. I had to drink a couple gallons of water to stay hydrated and my skin got very dry. Lotion was my constant companion! We will all live in arid lands like the Middle East if we are not careful now.

Dubai was an incredible site, but I kept wondering where will they get all of the water for the city they are building? How are those islands messing with the ocean's ecosystem. How will this effect their fish populations? Are those buildings running on oil or renewable resources. I don't see solar panels! Are they thinking waste=food? I am sure I was driving my travel companions crazy.

But I am not alone in thinking that much is being lost with the rapid building of Dubai. With all of that money, why can't they build a city with electric rail and low emissions? They can build solar buildings and keep open spaces to capture the beauty of the desert. Don't make it all look like LA or New York!
Why can't all of it's buildings be built like this one:

How will they deal with all of the sewage? They need buildings that treat their own waste!

I hope more people jump in and invest in these systems that will not destroy and may improve the environment in the middle east. The businesses and the rich can afford to try the latest in technology. The rest of the world can only benefit from the way they build this new city.

This trip renewed my energy!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What to do with that burnt out bulb

I switched to the new flourescent bulbs a few years ago and I now have my first burnt out bulb. I knew I needed to recycle it, so I looked on the package and it took me to
I just wanted to find out how to recycle the bulb.
That site took me to Energy Star site,
which took me to the Earth 911 site which led me to a dead end.
That site only had places in Maryland which accepted the bulbs.
(UPDATE: Earth 911 has updated their site!)

I went back to the Energy Star site,
which took me to the EPA site,
which took me to the site which gave a facility in Arlington. And this is what it says:

HHM Facilty Location and Hours of Operation
Arlington County's household hazardous materials (HHM) facility is for disposal of household hazardous materials generated by Arlington residents. The HHM drop-off facility is located on the grounds of the Water Pollution Control Plant at 3402 S. Glebe Rd. The HHM entrance is at 3151 S. Fern St, at the intersection of South Fern Street and South Glebe Road.
We do not accept commercial or business hazardous materials.
The HHM drop-off facility is open every Saturday between 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, except during major holidays and scheduled E-CARE collection events (typically held one Saturday in April and October). Please call 703-228-6832 to verify HHM facility closures during these times.
A scheduled appointment is not required to drop-off materials on Saturdays. However, citizens are encouraged to confirm acceptability of their HHM materials by calling the HHM chemist at (703) 228-6832 before arrival at our facility. On Saturdays, citizens should proceed directly to the HHM storage sheds and check-in with the HHM chemist.
Monday - Friday hours are by appointment only. Call (703) 228-6832 during business hours to schedule an appointment. On weekdays, citizens with appointments should report to the security guard at the gate.

So I'm just many complex ways are there to dispose of a lightbulb?
There has got to be a better way.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Green Idea - Brainstorming

I had a green idea today. Let me throw this out there and see if there in any interest.

I am thinking of going to website that will cover 50 states in 50 weeks. Once a week is a profile of 2 towns or cities in one of the 50 states and their status on going green.

I need to think of what the factors they will be ranked on.
The time consuming part is gathering the data on the cities and scoring their efforts. If would be great to visit the city to get some photos to go along with the profile.
Then rank them against the ideal and against themselves.

I think it would promote going green across the US and give people a visual on how well the US is doing against the ideal.

I welcome your suggestions, especially on what the factors should be.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Word is getting out

One of my goals is to get the word out about sustainable living and I've tried different ways. This blog is one of them. Something I did a while back is now making an impact.

A few months ago I got a vanity plate for my car. It says UGOGRN.
Well, this Sunday the pastor at my church used my plate in his sermon. The entire service centered around being good steward of creation. I was honored that my plate was in the right place at the right time to add to his ideas for the service! :)

Here is a prayer from the bulletin.
O God, you gave us a Garden, and we have covered it with concrete and asphalt. You gave us rivers for the waters that sustain us, and we have poisoned them. You gave us clean air to breathe, and we post pollution alerts so people can remain indoors. God, help us to understand that your world is not a dominion to be mastered, but rather an intricate web to sustain us and help us thrive. Even Creation awaits its renewal in the return of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, help us to tend to the Garden as the gardeners you call us to be. - Grace Presbyterian Church, Springfield, VA.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I CAN do it

Well my momentous action today was to put my soda can in the recycling bin.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Organizing my home office

Organizing my home office has been a very daunting task.
I didn't want to just throw stuff out, so this is what I did. It took a lot longer, but I do feel good about it.

First I took a few hours to pick out stuff that I could recycle. I broke down cardboard boxes and separated the plastice item.
I got a good paper shredder an got rid of old receipts and personnal papers that I no longer needed. I recycled this too.
I'm thankful my apartment complex has bins by the dumpster for these items. But there is also a recycling center pretty close.
I had a huge desk that was damaged in my last move. With a friend, we took it apart and threw out the broken and bent pressboard top. I kept the drawer sets and made a little file cabinet/printer stand but placing the drawer sets side-by-side and covering them with an old colorful mexican blanket that I had in a trunk. I did by a smaller, more functional writing desk. I tried to find one used, but could not find a small desk. Most were large with built in drawers.

I gave a lot of stuff to goodwill. My office closet had a lot of clothes I no longer wore and an old stereo that I didn't use. That all went to goodwill. I also emptied a lot of folders and paper clips and can reuse those.

I did have to buy a shelf for my closet. I've been waiting to see if I could find a shelf or get one second hand, but after a month I broke down and bought a new shelf set at Bed Bath and Beyond. Oh well.

Almost there!
I'm almost finished with my home office. It's looking a lot better and I now realize there are a ton of books I wanted to read that were hidden under other stuff. I moved a small comfy chair into my new space and now I have a great place to read. So with a little bit of time and thinking ahead, I did some summer cleaning and feel pretty good about it! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Today I put together a pile of stuff for GoodWill. GoodWill is an interesting concept.

Some people just give their stuff away. If you have more than you need or you have something that someone else could use you could just give it away. When you give in your community, you instill that attribute in others. That is when giving works, because you know that others will also give.

Now if the community is larger and you don't know the people who are giving or receiving, or you need something specific we turned to bartering. You trade for something specific in return.

But what if you don't have anything good to barter with then you could trade with someone else or save up to get something that people would want, or just develop currency. So now we spend money for things instead of trading.

But why spend money on something used, when you can buy something new. Now along comes disposable items and our landfills are full of those things because you can no longer just give things away.

So how do we stop the madness!!???

Well one thing someone thought of was Goodwill. With Goodwill you can donate your items and deduct your donation from your taxes. The government is encouraging the giving by giving you a break on your taxes.

What does GoodWill now do with your old stuff? They resell it for a discounted amount. The money goes to running the store and to fund education and career services.

So now your stuff is helping others. But what if Goodwill cannot sell your stuff?
That is what I would like to find out. Do they throw it away in the landfills? I hope not!

Moral: Buy good stuff then give it away.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wasted Paper

In my quest to be environmentally conscious I am so happy that we do so much at my workplace. We buy office supplies made of recycled materials and recycle glass, plastic and paper.
This week my office ran two large meetings and created 60 binders of PowerPoint presentations. Each day, only half the people took their books and the other half left them behind. We can't recycle this paper, we have to put them into burn bags so this left me with the dread of how much paper we just wasted.
We started thinking about what we can do to not waste so much in toner and paper, making copies. So for our next big meeting we will only print out the agenda, and a few handouts and have a pad of paper available for note-taking. All of the presentations will be emailed prior to to the meetings so they can be viewed and a CD will be handed out with copies of the briefings presented that day. We can go even one step further because we have a webpage where we can post the presentation so people will not need a CD. I'm not sure if that is going too far, but we shall see how this works.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Non-toxic bugs

When bugs come around my mom reaches for the arsenic and any other bug spray she can find. It bugged me when she sprayed my herb garden. So I found Orange Guard made of orange peel extract, one of the many bug ridders that is safe on food and around pets.

Now, how do I dispose of the bug spray?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Dog G

Cool. I took this from my mobile phone. Mobile blogging is a very cool feature.

My dog G

Late night online shopping

One night last night I couldn't sleep and did some online shopping. I figure I'm not wasting energy going to the store, but I am generating some emissions with a delivery truck. UPS is doing a great job with environmental initiatives and using alternative fuels so there is some consolation in that.

So I find myself at Green I'm looking for a composter for my apartment patio.
I found a plastic one online a while back but it seemed a bit complicated. Well, I found one on this site and yes did the impulse buy. $500 later... I am now the proud owner of a deluxe apartment composter made out of a barrel. This thing better last forever and make my breakfast in the morning. I think it arrived today, but it's in the front office.
I'll let you know if composting changes my apartment life.

Well, the composter didn't arrive. In fact it was on back order. After a few weeks I figured I was crazy for buying something so expensive and canceled my order.
I feel like I took 2 steps backward, but I'll still keep my eye open for the right composter.

Going Green

I started this journey three years ago while I was taking Environmental Sciences classes because they were much more interesting than my MBA courses.

By now I have read a ton of articles and books on conservation, ecology, energy, sustainability, etc. I believe that our environment effects our health and well being. Our own ecosystems impacts our moods, our illnesses and our ability to thrive. I think there is a direct link to what we ingest and are exposed to, and our psychoses and illnesses.

So my journey began. My eco-conscious formed and the smog lifted. I decided (doo du dah doo!) that I would go green.

I'll put together a list of the books I've read and want to read. Please read them and let me know what you think.

Going green should be fun, so here is quiz to take. Quizes are fun.
Now you know, like me, what changes you can make to go green. Read on to find out how it's going, or rather sometimes going, sometimes not. My goal is to live on 1 planet by the end of 2007!

Here are my results.

FOOD 3.2




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