Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Go Green ... eat less meat!

According to an article in Natural Awakenings Magazine (see page 20 for the article) eating less meat (or NO meat or meat products) is one of the best things you can do for the environment!

Did you know that meat consumption in America is 4 times greater than it was 40 years ago? That cows alone account for 18% of green house gases - more than ALL transportation combined. Given this information going vegetarian would make a larger impact (positive impact) on the environment than switching from a gas guzzling SUV to a hybrid mid sized car. Take it a step farther to vegan (no animal products what-so-ever) and you may as well walk or bike everywhere.

Each year each individual vegetarian saves an ACRE of trees. An ACRE!!! Wow! Forty percent of Central Americas rain forests have been destroyed to make way for cattle pastures in the last 40 years.

Sources say that you only need 2 - 10% of your daily calories from protein... and other sources of protein include nuts, soy beans, whole wheat bread, beans and lentils.

5 States come together to combat global warming

Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and New Mexico came together when the Governors from those states signed a compact designed to target and limit the major sources of human caused greenhouse gasses (GHG's): vehicle exhaust and industrial sources including methane. The states want to send a message to the federal government saying that if the FD isn't prepared to act, then the states will act to protect their precious natural resources. The pact has the potential to expand to include other states, and possibly even British Columbia.
Check out the 5 state pact at . Since the western states that joined together collectively produce only 11% of all carbon dioxide nationwide, experts say that there must be a bigger effort from more states to have any impact. There are already 9 eastern states that have joined together to limit emissions from power plants, so hopefully the two pacts will inspire other states to get involved, and ultimately cause the Federal Government to act and pass laws to control GHG's and help slow or stop global warming.

Reusable bags

Part of my new year's resolutions this year included (finally) using reusable bags. It is something that I have been thinking about for a really long time. I had vague ideas that I should remember to bring my paper bags back to New Seasons or Trader Joes on my next shopping trip, however it wasn't until I actually returned home, new bags full of groceries, that I remembered that I was going to try to re-use my old ones. Oops. So, as I said above, part of my resolution included using reusable bags FOR SURE! So, I went to New Seasons and forgot my paper bags (of course), but saw that they sold reusable nylon bags for $1.50. I bought one, and also bought a smaller nylon bag that fits in it's own little carrying bag. The little one is great because I can carry it in my purse so I will always have it. I think that is going to be key for me - to always have one on me. Because, a week later, I went to Trader Joes, and FORGOT MY BAG! Arrgh! But, TJ's sells reusable bags for .$99, so I bought two. As they were bagging my groceries, they filled up the two bags and were reaching for a new paper bag when I remembered! The bag in my purse! I whipped it out, and they filled that one, and I walked out of TJ's with my 3 reusable bags. Yippee! Sometimes I still forget though. I watch as they put my one item in a plastic bag, and as I am reaching for it, I remember. Oh, I say, you can keep that bag. I don't need it. Yesterday I walked out of the pet food store with an armload of stuff because I remembered to not take the plastic bag, but didn't remember that I had one in my purse. Oh well - baby steps, right? I figure I have saved dozens of plastic bags already, and I must admit, I feel very good about that. Eventually it will become second nature, but until then, if you see someone walking to her car with an armload of groceries and no bag, just please remind me about the one in my purse...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ikea... who knew!?

I'm so relieved to see that not only am I saving myself some coin when I shop at Ikea (which isn't as much these days... now that I'm trying not to buy new stuff), but I can feel good about my purchases in regard to their environmental and social impact.

Ikea has a code of conduct that outlines that all people they do business with must conduct fair working practices and strive to minimize their environmental impact. And if their partners can't maintain this code the relationship will end. That is inspiring. I only wish all businesses operated that way. They offer low cost items, but not at ANY cost.

Grist did an interview with Ikea's sustainability director Thomas Bergmark regarding a plastic bag promotion that Ikea is running and their environmental practices. Ikea started a program where they would charge 5cents for each plastic bag (donating the proceeds to American Forests) to discourage the use of the bags and offered the reusable blue bags you get when you shop there for just 59cents. The bigger news is that Ikea is working to make itself more environmentally friendly. It takes time in choosing a new location for it's stores taking into consideration the impact on the local biodiversity, it considers it's building materials, their facilities take care in recycling and are aiming to be 25% more energy efficient in the operation of their stores.

Kudos to you Ikea... and thank you for making me feel good about purchases I have made and will likely make in the future!

I still suggest that you HIGHLY consider buying items used, but when that won't work or you just have a hankerin' to check out Ikea (I know you get that feeling!) you can feel good about your purchases!

Getting Started - Things you CAN do!

So for those of you just getting started on your road to green-dom here are some ideas to get you started. It can be such a daunting task and we realize that it can leave you stagnant and cause you to turn away from the idea or remain paralyzed and confused... we both lived that way for some time.

Let's get started! Choose a couple of these things to implement in your life and after they become habit you can go back and add more items or take that item to the next level. Every little bit counts and you CAN make a difference!

- Reuse those grocery bags - either at the store the next time or as garbage bags (at least you aren't buying new and throwing away a perfectly good bag)
The next level: Use reusable bags when you go to the store - like these: CHICO bags
- Getting just a few apples (potatoes, etc) skip the produce bag and just toss them loose into your cart
- Buy in bulk
- purchase local produce - look for a farmer's market near you with this handy GUIDE.
- Skip the bottled water. If your tap water isn't palpable get an under counter water softener. I have a Reverse Osmosis filter. Buy yourself a NON LEACHING water bottle to refill to your hearts content. Try either SIGG or Klean Kanteen
- Wear your jeans (or whatever) twice before washing
- Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot
- Turn lights out as you leave the room
- When your bulbs burn out replace them with the energy efficient variety
- Turn down your thermostat a few degrees
- Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater
- Unplug things when you aren't using them. Ex: phone charger, computer, etc.
- Sign up with Green Dimes to decrease the amount of junk mail you get (that goes right into your recycling or garbage) It's only $36/year!!!

More to come...

Monday, February 26, 2007


Welcome to Green Girl's Guide. Karen and I have been posting about all things environmental on our own personal blogs and we thought it would be great to collaborate and create a website together. We are hoping to provide you with one stop shopping for ideas on how to go green in your own life. We will both be posting things here that we discover... both informational and personal things we are working on to decrease our footprint and to go green.

If you have something you are curious about please submit a question, suggestion or request in the comments section and we will look into it ... give you feed back and probably tell you what we think about it (because we just can't help ourselves!)

This is a work in progress and we hope you enjoy your time here!

Go green,