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Feb 26, 2010

From 15 Ways to Reduce Food Packaging | Care2 Healthy & Green Living:

As consumers, there are a number of items we can use or purchase in order to reduce our consumption of excess packaging e.g. Bring a travel mug whenever you go to your favourite coffee shop. Many cafes will fill your mug at no additional charge...


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It is now a common sight to see shoppers carrying their own reusable shopping bags to the grocery store. That is fantastic, and such an easy eco-friendly action for most of us to take. Still, there’s a ton of [packaging] material we continue to schlep home when shopping — the cellophane, unrecyclable bags, plastic, and cardboard...
Much of this packaging is unnecessary, but manufacturers know that flashy packaging translates into increased sales.
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As of 1994, the European Union requires manufacturing companies to take back and recycle at least 60% of their packaging waste, including that used for food items, thus taking the burden off of the consumer and local communities. No such incentive for reducing packaging exists for manufacturers in the U.S. or Canada.
(Note from Jenny: No such incentive exists in Australia either, as far as I know.)
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As consumers, we can reduce our consumption of excess packaging:

  1. Bring a travel mug whenever you go to your favourite coffee shop. Many cafes will fill your mug at no additional charge, eliminating the need for those one-use styrofoam cups with plastic lids.
  2. Use a reusable, stainless steel drinking bottle instead of individual drink boxes or bottles.
  3. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables instead of produce in cans, frozen boxes and bags.
  4. Buy in bulk, using your own containers from home to eliminate the use of can, carton, and plastic bag packaging.
  5. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
  6. Buy big boxes of cereal instead of individually packaged cereals.
  7. Never buy individual “snack-sized” boxes or bags.
  8. When washing non-bagged greens, use a salad spinner. That way you won’t have to use paper towels to blot the greens dry.
  9. Buy quarts of yogurt instead of eight-ounce or smaller cups.
  10. Use cloth or a gold coffee filter rather than paper filters.
    (Note from Jenny: OMG do people have gold coffee filters???)
  11. Buy bulk cheese instead of individually wrapped slices.
  12. Make your own popsicles [iceblocks] using reusable molds, rather than buying boxed popsicles.  Be sure to use BPA-free molds.
  13. Use metal and ceramic baking pans instead of aluminum disposable pans.
  14. Use loose tea instead of one-use tea bags.
  15. DIY, green cleaning products instead of commercial cleaning products.
    [Search Care2 for recipes for such recipes, e.g. window cleanerfurniture polish.]

Do you have any tips to reduce packaging? Share them in Care2's GreenLiving and, (if you have the time) as a comment here...

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Posted: Feb 26, 2010 1:21pm
Dec 18, 2009

How would 'The Family' deal with the biggest climate change offenders? The following is taken from C2NN story submitted by Care2 member, Daphna
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We drive hybrids, we car pool, we opt for bicycles and/or public transportation. They(iii) burn 340,000 barrels of oil per day. We compost, recycle, and switch to CFL bulbs while they(vii) leak 27 friggin' tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate. How are the good guys supposed to win when faced with these kind of odds?
The late great Kurt Vonnegut once said: "There is no reason good can't triumph over evil, if only the angels will get organized along the lines of the mafia."
As they say in South Florida: Bingo.
Now, I'm not suggesting we sink toxic waste(i), indulge in wind power scams(xi), or get involved in the, uh...equine business(xiv). No, we can skip the gas guzzling cadillac but here's a offer we can't refuse: How about a protection racket for our entire eco-system?
Let's say you closely followed the recent COP15 United Nations Conference in Copenhagen and have decided to ratchet up your personal commitment to addressing the human contribution to climate change—or to put it in Vonnegut's terms, you've sided with the angels. What can you learn from the goodfellas(xii) to help the good guys (and gals, of course) win?
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5 Things the Green Movement Can Learn from The Godfather
1. It Takes a Family(xiii)
No mafia don acts alone. He gathers information, makes decisions, and delegates. All members of the family play a role in contributing towards a larger goal. In its own bizarre way, the mobster model offers a powerful lesson about collective efforts. As Michael Corleone told his brother Fredo: "Don't ever take sides with anyone against the family"(xiv)
Application: Recognize our connection to all living things and instill this ethic into the next generation.
____________________________________
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2. Know Who's to Blame(xv)
When a mob leader advises, "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer,"(xiv)  he might as well be pointing us in the direction of Corporate America. You see, personal choices are vital and can serve to bond the aforementioned "family" in a big way. But it's also important to stay close to those most responsible for climate change: the racketeers behind factory farming, the transport sector, etc.
Application: Don't mistake "greener" for "green"(xvi). Not buying a new pair of jeans may reduce our lifetime carbon footprint by about 900 pounds but meanwhile, Exxon-Mobil emits 138 million tons of CO2 every year. Keep making the personal changes but do so while organizing your "family" to take down the worst forms of organized global crime.
____________________________________.

3. Be Bigger Than the Competition
The infamous Meyer Lansky often bragged that organized crime was "bigger than U.S. Steel". Considering what we just learned about corporate culpability in the poisoning of our land, water, and air, we need to be bigger than the biggest industries. Perhaps not in a literal sense, but bigger in every other way. Al Capone called capitalism the "legitimate racket of the ruling class." If so, eco-activism is the legitimate mission of everyone else.
Application: Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers(vi) once showed that a small group of dedicated workers can defeat a large conglomerate. Don't settle for a switch to recycled toilet paper. Keep upping the ante until you're standing toe to toe with the folks described in #2 above.
____________________________________.
4. Don't Be Careless
As Don Vito Corleone confessed, "I spent my whole life trying not to be careless."(xiv) A good start because it's careless people who pollute, who don't recycle, who use their car for trips of 2 miles or less, who casually dismiss climate change as a hoax. A true greenie understands the consequences of her or his actions.
Application: As the New Year approaches, make time for a personal inventory to re-evaluate the green steps you are and aren't taking.

____________________________________.
5. Endure (iii)
We know reinventing our culture is a marathon and not a sprint.
Application: There's no time like now. What we do (or don't do) in the next few years could quite possibly tilt us all toward either the point of no return or a far more sane form of society. In other words, each and every one of us can take part in creating the most important social changes ever imagined.

Mistaking Greener for Green?(xvi) ...Recycling is okay, and you shouldn't stop doing it, but it's not the height of green life. True sustainability -- where our stuff never has to go "away" -- can only be achieved with an altered cycle that does not involve trash or recycling. Think about how much less work you'd personally have to do if you never had to take out the trash, or haul the recycling to the curb; everything would be designed for longevity, and you could either pass it on or turn it in to something more useful when you were done with it. Composting is a great example of this; nature recycles everything, and we should, too
_____________________________________.
You want links? Fuggedaboutit, we got links:
(i) Watch video: American Gangster: The Silver Screen
(ii) Original article in 
PlanetGreen.Discovery by Mickey Z., NY
(iii) 
Deliver a Green Knockout Punch: How Rocky Balboa Inspires Us to Win
(iv) How Bruce Lee Can Help Unleash the Green Dragon Inside You
(v) Can you name the planet's biggest gas-guzzler?
(vi) 
Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers 
(vii) 
How to challenge corporate power...and fight the real source of pollution 
(viii) 
multi-national corporations ravage the earth 
(ix) review of Derrick Jensen's book,
As The World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial  
(x) 
Toxic Waste Ship Sunk by the Mafia Found in Italy - At Least 32 More Suspected 
(xi) 
Gangsters Go Green! Mafia Tied to Fraudulent Italian Wind Farms - Madagascar 'Timber Mafia' Thriving 
(xii) 
Mickey Z: My Dad and the Mob 
(xiii)
Why Building Community is the Greenest Thing We Can Do
(xiv) Reference to or quote from The Godfather
(xv) Green glossary: 
Know Who's to Blame 
(xvi)
Are You Confusing "Greener" with "Green"? 

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Posted: Dec 18, 2009 9:20am
Apr 12, 2009

     http://www.millan.net/

from an article in HEALTHY & GREEN LIVING by Melissa Breyer
Cute Easter emoticon graphics by Camilla E. Care2 member

Buy Child-Loving Chocolate  

It’s ironic that while millions of American children are filled with glee as they indulge in the ears of a chocolate bunny, elsewhere, approximately 284,000 child laborers work on cocoa farms, and are either involved in hazardous work, are unprotected, are deprived of liberty, or have been trafficked, according to the International Labour Organization (the specialized agency of the United Nations which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights). Opt for Fair Trade chocolate and cocoa products, they’re marked with the “Fair Trade Certified” and Fair Trade Federation labels, and assure consumers that economic, social and environmental criteria have been met in the production and trade of an agricultural product.

Fair Trade Certified chocolate might be more expensive than the five-pound bag of crummy chocolate you can buy in a big-box store, so, you buy a little less. I mean, we’re talking childhood slavery here. Right?

Find (Then Hide) Candy with a Conscience

Healthy food doesn't have to be dull. You can buy bright, fun, yummy candy (without high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colours). The author Melissa Breyer recommends a website called NaturalCandyStore.com–they have a large selection of natural, organic and fair trade Easter candy. [I wish there were some equally as good here in Australia!]

Colour "Happy" Eggs  

For me, there is a major disconnect between frolicking Easter chicks and hens, and the image of a factory egg farm. At any given time, according to the HSUS, nearly 280 million laying hens in the United States are confined in battery cages–cages so restrictive the birds can’t spread their wings. 
                   
62% of parents purchase at least two dozen eggs for Easter -there are a number of choices in looking for eggs from "happy" hens:

  • Certified Organic,
  • Certified Humane,
  • Free Range or Free Roaming, and
  • Cage-Free.

You can make a great array of natural Easter egg dyes with kitchen cupboard ingredients, see how here.

Scrap the Plastic  

... why not create traditions that don’t require plastic grass and eggs?

  • make felted Easter eggs
  • wrap treats in wide ribbon that can be re-used
  • use colourful tissue that can be recycled
  • use dyed shredded paper to line a basket, or use living grass
  • invest in nice baskets that can be used year-after-year, or make your own.

There are endless ways to be creative–and it makes it all the more meaningful.

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Posted: Apr 12, 2009 8:32pm

 

 
 
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