Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Little Greener Every Day has moved - please change your RSS feed

I appreciate everyone who follows this blog. If you've got A Little Greener Every Day in your RSS feed and you haven't gotten a post in a while, it's because you still have the old RSS feed.

Click here for the new website or subscribe to the new feed below:

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

We're moving

I know it's been quiet around here for the past week. A Little Greener Every Day is being moved over to Wordpress. It'll be about another week before everything is up and running the way it's supposed to. Thank you for your patience. Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

10 ways to be more sustainable with your vegetable garden

Yes, I know a vegetable garden in and of itself is a pretty sustainable thing. Growing your own food instead of getting it from the store (usually in some sort of plastic bag or container) is great. But what are some extra steps you can take to be even more sustainable with your garden? Here are ten of them.
  1. If you start your own seeds, do it in reused containers instead of buying new ones. Yogurt cups are great for this, but any container will do. Also starter pots made from newspaper are an eco-friendly way to go.
  2. Use water saved from cooking or captured water from running the faucet to water your plants. When you cook vegetables or pasta in water, nutrients leach into the water and that water makes great plant food. Don't use water that you've used to cook meat in to water edible plants, though. And, make sure the water has cooled before you use.
  3. Water early in the morning or late in the evening so the midday sun doesn't soak up half of the water before the plants get it. You'll have to use less water this way.
  4. Save your seeds for next year. In addition to saving seeds from my own garden, I plan on buying a couple expensive heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market, enjoy them, and save their seeds for next year. I'm not sure how well it will work, but I'm going to give it a shot.
  5. Share your bounty. Your bound to have too much of something (basil? zucchini?). Don't let it go bad. Share with friends and neighbors or find a food bank that will take the donations.
  6. Compost. Turn your vegetable and plant waste into food for next year's garden.
  7. Rotate your plants. Even in a small garden, moving the plants around from year to year will help the soil.
  8. Deter pests naturally. It's very tempting, and I know how tempting it is from experience, to want to destroy bugs or keep the rabbits away using toxic methods. But, this is food your family will eat so keep the chemicals away. Experiment with natural remedies and be okay with losing a little of your crop while you're figuring it out.
  9. Learn about the types of diseases your plants could get and how to identify them. This year especially with the late blight wiping out tomato plants, identifying and properly handling a disease could save part of your garden and your neighbor's garden, too.
  10. If you have kids, get them out in the garden with you and pass on the skills that you have (or maybe learn skills together) so that they will continue to garden when they have their own space.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thank you John Hughes

If we are the sum of our experiences, then a lot of what adds up to make me me has to do with John Hughes movies. 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, even Weird Science - these are the movies I came of age with. There have been no movies like them since.

I remember I was crushed when the boy who took me to see The Breakfast Club told me that I reminded him of the Ally Sheedy character. Even though I knew he was right, I didn't want him to be. I so wanted him to see me as the Molly Ringwald character - pretty and together.

That was one of the things about John Hughes' movies. We all saw ourselves in his characters - we saw who we were, who we weren't, and who we wanted to be.

Those of us who grew up in the '80's look back and make fun of a lot of the pop culture of the time. The clothes, the hair, the music. But I don't know anyone who makes fun of the John Hughes films. They might contain the clothes, the hair and the music, but the characters and their conflicts are timeless.

Thank you, John Hughes. May you rest in peace.

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New Balance 70: eco-preferred (and Robin preferred) sneakers

New Balance contacted me and asked if I'd like to sample the first in their eco-preferred line of shoes - the New Balance 70 sneaker. I'd already heard about the sneakers from my MNN colleague Shea Gunther. He's been raving about them for months now. So when they offered to send not only me, but Brian too, a pair of sneakers, I couldn't pass it up.

When the package arrived, we were impressed by the style and colors. Bri
an's shoes are the rust orange color. Mine are the green. We put them on and walked around a bit - quite comfortable. Brian's first comment was about the good arch support (he's a big fan of arch support.) The next day I put mine on to wear for the day. The first time all summer I believe I've had on socks and sneakers if I wasn't working out.

Now, I usually have a huge problem with new sneakers. I think I have oddly shaped backs of my ankles, and new sneakers usually rub them raw - sometimes to the point where they will bleed right through my socks. I'll usually suffer with it until the sneakers get broken in and then wear the sneakers until they are just about falling apart so I don't have to go through breaking in a new pair again. The sneakers I had been wearing were about four years old.

The New Balance 70's didn't cause me any problems at all in this area. I wore the shoes all day long and at the end of the day, the backs of my ankles were fine. Amazing. I've worn them without socks, too, and I've had no problems.

In fact, there is nothing I don't like about these sneakers. They're comfortable, light weight, stylish and eco-friendly. I e-mailed Shea last night to ask how his were holding up and this was his response.

I LOVE my shoes, they're holding up like champs.

That's good to know. From what I know about Shea, he's a very active guy and his sneakers must get good wear.

So what's so eco-friendly about these shoes? I'll let New Balance's PR people fill you in on that:

The first shoe in New Balance’s eco-preferred collection, the New Balance 70, is developed for fashionable consumers who consider the environment without relaxing their standards of style and comfort. Seventy-five percent of the upper components are “environmentally preferred materials.” The laces, webbing, rand, quarter, tongue and saddle incorporate recycled polyester; the foxing and the tip of the shoe are synthetics made with fewer solvents than traditional materials. Rice husks filler in the outsole reduces the amount of rubber needed, thus reducing the amount of petroleum used. Water-based adhesives (rather than solvent-based) are used to join the upper and the sole unit and no paper stuffing or paper wrapping are used in the packaging of 70.

The 70 was also thoughtfully designed to reduce waste. The upper is constructed with minimal layers to reduce unnecessary material usage. It features a uniquely efficient design--the parts fit together much like a puzzle--in an effort to utilize as much of the original cutting material as possible. The 70 will launch this July 2009 and retail for $80.00.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Noooooo....It's almost time for back to school

We have over a month till the boys go back to school so I'm not feeling too bad about it yet, but I know elsewhere in the country, kids will be going back in the next two weeks. I don't think I'll do too many back to school posts this year, but last year I did quite a few of them so I thought I'd do a little summary for you.

Before I get into that, over on Mother Nature Network we're
giving away a solar backpack filled with green goodies just in time for back to school. To win the backpack, become a fan of MNN on Facebook. On August 24, one random winner will be chosen. If you're already a fan of MNN on Facebook, you're already in the running - the winner will be picked from all Facebook fans. I'd love to win this thing, but even though I'm a Facebook fan, I'm pretty sure the fine print says I'm not eligible. But, I'd love it if one of my readers won it.

Okay, on to my back to school posts.

This one is my favorite:

Back to School Shopping Madness: From Kindergarten through College its Time to Curb the Stuff - I wrote it last year for Sustainablog when I read the unbelievable statistics on how much people spend on back to school "necessities."

These next 5 are a series a did last year, Going Back to School in Green Style:

Assessing What You Already Have
10 Easy Ways to be More Sustainable with Your Back to School Shopping
Trashless Lunches
Getting Involved

And some miscellaneous posts

The Walking School Bus
Remember Paper Has Two Sides: Use Them Both

Image of girls: Pink Sherbet Photography (I've found myself using a lot of Pink Sherbet's photos recently - fabulous images)

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Going green has never been so fun!

Today's post comes via my friend Bethe who I introduced you to a few months back.


One of the first steps to caring for our environment is getting to know and love it. For those of us who grew up playing outside until the street lights came on, this is not such an alien concept. That said, those days are gone and many kids today are missing out on the opportunities that help foster the connection to nature and help them connect with the world we live in.

Before we ask kids to save the world, we have to give them the chance to get to know it for the shear beauty and wonder of it. To dig in the dirt, climb tress, sleep under the stars, and wade in creeks. Kids need to know the feeling of grass under their feet, sand between their toes, and the joy of watching birds, squirrels, and butterflies. They need to think of the planet as something to love and cherish, versus simply something to save.

Protecting the planet starts with one simple step: playing outdoors! Not only are there countless health, educational, developmental, and emotional benefits to outdoor play, but it is the first step on the road to going green. Simply put, you cannot save what you do not know. It’s time to give kids the chance to know this beautiful planet we live on.

A great way to help bring play back to your community and to the lives of children and adults alike is to host a Play Day the week of September 19 -27th. This event can be whatever you choose to celebrate play and get your community outside!

Why not…

  • Sponsor a community toy swap and park clean-up
  • Host a family nature hike, fishing derby, or canoe trip
  • Have a geocaching or letterboxing event
  • Have a community garden day or a scavenger hunt that challenges families to explore the parks and trails in your community

KaBOOM! can help. Our Play Day Planner will walk you through the steps of planning a successful event in your community. Click here to register your Play Day today, and get started on bringing fun and play back to your community. Join people nation-wide as the celebrate play and connect with nature.

Bethe Almeras writes The Grass Stain Guru, a blog about restoring childhood, and saving ourselves in the process. She is the DIY Online Community/Communications Manager for KaBOOM!

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