Keeping Soil Healthy is Key to a Healthy Planet

Day 339World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on December 5, as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.”United Nations

One way to keep soil healthy is the use of regenerative agriculture practices. There doesn’t seem to be a very specific definition to describe this practice. However, there are certain methods that can be seen as “regenerative”.

  • Incorporating crop rotation and cover cropping
  • Increasing plant and crop diversity
  • Practicing conservative tillage to prevent erosion and increase soil health
  • Animal integration, managed grazing and pasturing
  • Composting and waste reduction
  • and more

Whether regenerative agriculture ends up being a scientifically-proven way to fight climate change or not, its methods still offer many benefits to the ecosystem, producers and consumers alike.” – Sustainable America

Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. The need for farming practices that will address these issues is critical to a healthy planet.

“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself”​ – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tomorrow, a look at what Taiwan is doing.

Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide

Day 335 – You may be already done with your holiday shopping. Or you haven’t even started. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a great idea to purchase gifts that will help people and the environment. Not only will you feel good giving special gifts to family and friends, but you can feel good that your gift will have a positive impact on the planet.

Here are 15 ideas from posts that I have written this year.

  1. Day 21Blueland – eco-friendly cleaning products
  2. Day 152 – Eco-friendly Toys
  3. Day 164 – Sustainable Phone Cases
  4. Day 178 – Eco-friendly Sunglasses
  5. Day 193 – Clothing made from recycled plastic
  6. Day 199 – Zero Waste Makeup Brands
  7. Day 205Igloo EcoCoolers
  8. Day 237 – Eco-friendly Yoga Mats
  9. Day 240Looptworks – Upcycled gifts
  10. Day 257Lost Golf Balls – used and recycled golf balls
  11. Day 272 – Sustainable Pet Products
  12. Day 293Green Goo – Skin care derived from plants
  13. Day 300EcoSports – Eco-friendly sporting equipment
  14. Day 324Rumpl – Eco-friendly blankets
  15. Day 327MC Squares – reusable sticky notes

Other great options include:

  1. Earth Hero – variety of Earth-friendly gifts
  2. UNICEF Market
  3. Certified B Corporation gift guide
  4. Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange – gifts for the artists in your life
  5. 4Ocean – gifts that help clean the oceans
  6. Gift card to commercial composting service
  7. Climate Pledge Products on Amazon

One more list to help you out:

20 Awesome Holiday Gifts that Help the Planet

Tomorrow, giving a gift donation.

Keeping the Toilet Bowl Clean

Day 323 – Happy World Toilet Day! I thought it was the perfect day to talk about keeping your toilet bowl clean in an environmentally friendly way. On Day 21, I wrote about Blueland and their line of cleaning products. The people friendly ingredients are packaged in compostable bags. When the tablets are added to water in reusable bottles, various cleaning products are produced.

I was very excited when I heard Blueland added toilet bowl tablets to their product line. One tablet and a toilet brush and you have yourself a clean bowl. The Toilet Cleaner Set comes with a tin and 14 tablets. Refill tablets come in a compostable bag, so absolutely no waste.

Another great way to celebrate World Toilet Day is to help build toilets in countries where they are not available. Who Gives a Crap donates 50% of their profits to ensure everyone has access to clean water and a toilet within our lifetime. They offer toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper or bamboo. It is packaged in brightly colored paper, so there is no plastic to discard. We have been using Who Gives a Crap since January and LOVE this company so much!

The next time you are in the bathroom think about the 3.6 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. Poor sanitation contaminates drinking-water sources, rivers, beaches and food crops, spreading deadly diseases among the wider population. It’s a convenience we usually take for granted.

Tomorrow, eco-friendly blankets.

The Sustainability of Honey

Day 317 – A was recently told that I need to reduce my sugar or I’ll end up becoming a diabetic. I gave up Pepsi, which was not easy, but my reoccurring kidney stones convinced me it was time. I am now drinking a lot more water. However, I still enjoy the occasional hot cup of tea, especially now that the weather is getting colder. I started putting honey in my tea, rather than the two teaspoons of sugar I was adding. It got me thinking about honey and it’s sustainability, along with possible health benefits.

The production of honey has the potential of having the lowest negative impact on the environment of all the sweeteners. It really comes down to where you get your honey. If you are able to make it at home, then your are actually making a positive impact on the environment. Not only will your honey be produced without processing, but raising bees will encourage you to garden more sustainably, and the bees will provide the important ecosystem service of pollination for you and your neighbors. The carbon footprint of the honey making process increases when the production becomes more complex and the shipments involve a great deal of travel. If you are not ready to take on your own hive then consider purchasing your honey locally. I have been buying my honey from Heaven’s Honey Inc. Local Honey. I know you can find it at Jewel.

Here are just a few of the health benefits of honey:

  1. The antioxidants in honey can help lower blood pressure.
  2. Honey can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and help raise “good” HDL cholesterol.
  3. Honey can lower triglycerides.
  4. Topically, honey can help heal burns and wounds.
  5. Honey can help suppress coughs in children.

So, the next time you see a bee swarming overhead, think twice before swatting at it. These little guys are helping create a pretty awesome food.

Tomorrow, it’s not easy being eco-friendly when you’re a Type 1 Diabetic.

Eco-Friendly Windshield Wiper Fluid

Day 313 – As the colder weather starts to move in and the potential for snowy and slushy road conditions increase, it’s important to make sure your car has windshield wiper fluid. Having gone a winter season without a working wiper fluid dispenser, driving becomes rather challenging. I wondered if there were any eco-friendly options on the market.

Your typical windshield wiper fluid is made from methanol, which is a poisonous substance. Not only is it deadly if swallowed, but it causes damage to the environment, leaking into the ground and throughout the air to further create pollution. Methanol also erodes pavement and contributes to the early degradation of the highways and roads, which ends up costing cities and municipalities more money to make the costly repairs.

Have you ever read the warming label on your average bottle of windshield wiper fluid? It goes something like this; Danger: Flammable liquid and vapor, May be fatal or cause blindness if swallowed. So, it’s crazy to think that we are pouring these harmful chemicals into the environment everyday. So, what is the alternative?

Sadly, there are not many options. QWix makes a concentrate that does not contain methanol. It does say that it is harmful if swallowed, but I guess that’s better than being fatal. You also need to add isopropyl alcohol so it does not freeze in the winter. I know many people will consider this a hassle.

Other brands that do not contain methanol, recommend adding methanol during the winter months. At that point, it just isn’t eco-friendly anymore. Hopefully, there will be more alternatives on the market. Until then, I guess another option would be to use your wiper fluid sparingly.

Tomorrow, figuring out how clean your recyclables need to be.

The Ballpark Farm

Day 309 – I had no idea, that is, until my mother-in-law sent me a picture. There is a farm at Fenway Park and it’s been there since 2015.

Here are some interesting facts about the farm.

  1. More than 5,900 pounds of fresh produce are harvested each growing season at Fenway Farms.
  2. Fenway Farms provides fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruit to Red Sox fans dining at Fenway Park’s Dell/EMC Club restaurant along with use in concessions throughout the park.     
  3. The 5,000 square foot rooftop farm is sited within Fenway Park positioned on the roof of the Front Office located on the Third Base side of the EMC Level.
  4. Urban farmers from Green City Growers maintain Fenway Farms regularly, including during many home games. Fans will often be able to see farmers at work.
  5. This project serves to engage Red Sox Nation in the value of eating fresh food.
  6. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 children and adults interact with Fenway Farms annually, helping to expose thousands to the food growing process, often for the first time in their lives.

Fenway Farms is helping to make America’s most beloved and oldest ballpark one of America’s greenest.

Tomorrow, your own at home recycling machine.

A Guide to Sustainable Living

Day 299 – The definition of sustainability is the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. So, why would you want to live a sustainable life?

The Plastic Collectors have given some great tips on how to live a sustainable life.

  1. Get Educated –  Understand how your habits and behaviors feed into this problem. Consider how the elected officials are responsible for environmental protection
  2. Limit Waste – Start off your sustainable lifestyle journey by cutting down on biodegradable waste, by composting. Replace plastic, straws, cutlery, water bottles with reusable alternatives like stainless steel, cotton, bamboo, and eco-friendly materials. Support companies that keep their packaging minimum and make sure you take steps to reduce the amount of packaging wastage.
  3. Limit Atmospheric Emissions – Airplanes are the major source of emissions in the atmosphere. Limit your flights and instead travel by sea (land). Shop locally and eat foods that are grown nearby rather than being shipped from abroad, which also contributes to carbon emissions. Use public transport and cycles to control emissions in the environment.
  4. Conserve Water and Energy –  Replace the faucets and shower heads with low-flow models. Turn off the tap when not in use. Use newer models that are efficient at water and energy conserving. Save energy by turning off the lights and powers when not in use. Use air-conditioning and heating judiciously. Unplug appliances that are an unnecessary wastage of energy.
  5. Avoid Toxic Chemicals – Some major toxic offenders include formaldehyde, oxybenzone, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulphate, parabens, and more. Don’t forget to check the list of ingredients that are being used in the product. Switch to eco-friendly brands. Though they might be a bit pricey, they are worth each penny.
  6. Advocate for Change – Create a better community that understands the depth of the issue and together, make the world a better and healthier place to thrive. Remember the change starts with you.

Every step towards a sustainable lifestyle is one step closer to saving the planet.

Tomorrow, eco-friendly sports equipment.

Green Goo: Skin Care Derived from Plants

Day 293 – I came across Green Goo while researching environmentally friendly products. They seemed like a pretty cool company. They make hand sanitizers, skin care products, deodorant, soap, lotions, saves and even products for your pet. Green Goo has taken out the harmful chemicals and replaced them with organic, natural and safe ingredients. They are a women owned business, cruelty free, gluten free, made in the USA, and are a B-Corporation. They are one of those companies you can feel good about supporting.

Not only is Green Goo putting out a variety of good products they are also doing good in the world.

  1. They are proud to donate $.05 of all deodorant sales to The Keep A Breast Foundation, in support of their breast cancer education and awareness programs.
  2. They proudly donate 1% of the annual sales of our Belly Balm and Nursing Comfort salves to support the incredible efforts of Mercy in Action.
  3. In support of their partnership with 1% for the Planet, they are proud to donate 1% of the annual sales of their Animal First Aid salve to select animal charities and aid organizations.
  4. They are proud to donate 1% of the annual sales of their First Aid salves to PARSA (Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Support for Afghanistan).
  5. They proudly donate 1% of the purchase price of their Foot Care salve to support the diligent work of the PCTA (Pacific Crest Trail Association).
  6. They are proud to donate 1% of the annual sales of their Baby Balm and Children’s First Aid salves to World Vision, in support of their Mother and Child Health Fund. Additionally, for every pair of sunglasses sold, Green Goo donates a pair to World Vision.

Green Goo is one of those companies that needs to be applauded, celebrated and supported. They put people and planet first.

Tomorrow, biodegradable gloves.

Breaking Down the Truth About Plastic

Day 286 – Charlie Rolsky is a plastic pollution researcher, finishing up his PhD at Arizona State University, and he serves as the Director of Science for Plastic Oceans. Charlie and Plastic Oceans International has created a video series to help educate us all on the plastic pollution problem.

The videos are short and to the point. They cover topics like:

  1. The Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)
  2. Burning Plastic: The Pros and Cons
  3. Plastic in Our Food…and Bodies
  4. Recycling
  5. Biodegradable Plastics: Working with What We’ve Got

Plastic Oceans International offers many resources to help you better understand the plastic pollution crisis.

The first step in fighting this war on plastic is to educate ourselves on the root of the problem. If we can not see that we all need to change our relationship with plastic, we will never be part of the solution.

Tomorrow, recycling water in office buildings.

The Impact of Being a Vegetarian for a Day

Day 274 World Vegetarian Day was founded in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS). October 1st is the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Even if you have no desire to become a vegetarian, you can still use this day and the coming month to work toward reducing your meat consumption and increase your produce intake.

The North American Vegetarian Society created a list of reasons why you might want to become a vegetarian.

  • Reduce the risk of major killers such as heart disease, stroke and cancer while cutting exposure to food borne pathogens
  • Provide a viable answer to feeding the world’s hungry through more efficient use of grains and other crops
  • Save animals from suffering in factory-farm conditions and from the pain and suffering of slaughter
  • Conserve vital but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil and other precious resources
  • Preserve irreplaceable ecosystems such as rainforests and other wildlife habitats
  • Decrease greenhouse gases that are accelerating global warming
  • Mitigate the ever-expanding environmental pollution of animal agriculture

So, to celebrate World Vegetarian Day consider skipping the cheeseburger or pork chop and grab an eggplant or potato.

Tomorrow, ditching the junk mail.