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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • April 22, 2013

    Why Are You Grateful for Earth Day? Please Share.

    It's Earth Day today, a day when as many as a billion people around the world will be taking notice.   Some will be celebrating what they love about the world we live in with walks in the woods, picnics with families and friends, neighborhood clean-ups, poetry readings, and just some quiet time outside. Others will be sounding the alarm about threats that could undermine this one earth on which we all live, pointing to climate change, air and water pollution, deforestation, toxic chemicals, and more.

    Huggaplanet_1962_1682327 For me, Earth Day is a time to reflect on what I am grateful to Mother Nature for. Here's my "short list."

    * I'm grateful for the abundance of inspiring flowers and trees that add beauty to the world.

    * I'm grateful for the planet's soul-expanding wild places and the chance they provide to experience Nature in the raw.

    * I'm grateful to the Sun and the vital solar energy it sends down to Earth each and every day (now, if only we would take advantage of it!).

    * I'm grateful that a planet called "Earth" is actually covered with so much water. We could not survive without it.

    * I'm grateful for the community of friends I have and with whom I share a passion for hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoors.

    Continue reading "Why Are You Grateful for Earth Day? Please Share." »

    April 18, 2013

    Compost: Crack for the Garden

    Compost is crack for the garden.

    Compost When you add it to your soil, it makes the earthworms shimmy, the bugs boogie, and plants positively pop.

    (From what I've read, crack has a similar effect on the people who use it; let me say for the record that I've never tried it!)

    Just as good, compost strengthens your soil and reduces your need to use synthetic fertilizers or toxic pesticides. If you're NOT using compost, why are you bothering to garden at all? Really!

    WHAT EXACTLY IS COMPOST?

    Composting is Nature's way of turning waste into organic gold.
    • Through good old-fashioned biological processes, composting converts kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic matter into rich and crumbly, soil-like material that attracts healthy worms, fights disease and improves the fertility of the soil.

    WHY IS COMPOSTING SO GREAT?

    • Composting saves money by reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers and toxic chemicals.
    • Composting could save communities money, too. Yard trimmings and food waste together constitute 23 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. That's a lot of garbage to send to landfills when it could become useful and environmentally beneficial compost instead!

      Compost bucket I compost fruit and veggie kitchen scraps in my backyard. My town picks up our fallen leaves every autumn, lets them biodegrade at a municipal site, and delivers them back to us in the spring to use as mulch on our gardens and around our bushes and trees. You can also buy ready-made compost at most hardware stores and garden centers, or online at places like Amazon (we sell some in our store here). NOTE: If you buy compost, make sure it has been made from certified organic plant sources.

     YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN COMPOST

    You can make compost from kitchen waste, debris from your lawn and garden, or both. You can either build your own compost pile, or buy a compost tumbler or bin. You can even get composting bags to keep on your back porch, deck or patio.

    Continue reading "Compost: Crack for the Garden" »

    April 17, 2013

    #EarthDay Insights: 13 Ways to Make Your Food More Eco

    Maybe you already eat organic produce. You've cut down on meat. You grow your own lettuce. That's  great! But Earth Day is nothing if not a time to consider...what else can we do, especially when it comes to the food we buy and eat?

    Food Tank Danielle Nierenberg of The Food Tank suggests 13 important ways we can reduce the environmental impact of growing, processing, marketing, and disposing of our food. Take a look at the list. I hope you'll add your own recommendations!

    1) Eat more colors
    The colors of fruits and vegetables are signs of nutritional content. The American Cancer Society reports that richly colored veggies like tomatoes can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Eggs that have brightly orange-colored yolks are also high in cancer-fighting carotenoids, and are more likely to be produced by healthier chickens.
     
    Vegetables 2) Buy food with less packaging
    Discarded packaging makes up around one-third of all waste in industrialized countries,  impacting the climate, and our air and water quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis of different packaging for tomatoes found that polyethylene terephthalate (PET) clamshell packaging increases tomatoes’ associated carbon emissions by 10 percent. What's better? Choose foods you can buy in bulk, and bring your own bags - even to the produce aisle.
     
    3) Choose seasonal produce
    Many farmers markets, including the New York City Greenmarkets, offer guides about which products are in season. Locally sourced, seasonal products can also be found at major grocery stores. Or sign up for a weekly CSA, which provides a mix of fresh, seasonal produce throughout the year. Other programs, such as Siren Fish Co.’s SeaSA in San Francisco, offer seasonal meats and seafood.


    Continue reading "#EarthDay Insights: 13 Ways to Make Your Food More Eco" »

    April 19, 2012

    Earth Day or Any Day, Don't Toss Your Cash With Your Trash

    Aviva headshot purple shirt kitchen 09Aviva Goldfarb of The Six O'Clock Scramble fame shares her "Earth Day Every Day" suggestions for living greener in the kitchen that will save you money, too.

    "If I asked you to reach into your wallet and grab a couple of twenty dollar bills, and rip them up and throw them away, you’d probably think I was crazy, right?  But that’s essentially what most Americans are doing each and every week!  According to an article in On Earth magazine, “Americans waste 30 – 40% of their food, or the equivalent of about two full meals a day.” 

    Think about those weeks that you buy food without having carefully planned your meals.  Do you end up throwing away more flimsy produce, expired meats, or moldy cheese? There are high costs to wasting all this food, and they're not just economic. All this extra food has to be produced and transported before it’s eaten and even after it’s discarded, resulting in higher energy costs and emissions. 


    What to do?

    I’ve found my family can vastly reduce waste and save hundreds of dollars each month by:

    * planning ahead for meals and snacks before grocery shopping,

    * grocery shopping just once a week,

    * keeping a grocery list on the refrigerator for all family members to update during the week so I can stick to shopping just once a week, and

    * using up as much leftover food as possible in a final meal or two before doing the weekly shopping.


    Start Composting

    Even if you do plan your meals and cook at home, you’re bound to have some waste.  Last year my family started composting as a way to reuse some of our waste and reduce the amount of trash that has to be hauled from our curb.

    While the thought of composting was a little intimidating, it turns out to be the easiest thing in the world! Each day I collect our fruit and vegetable rinds, peels and ends, along with any egg shells and coffee grounds, in a bowl on the kitchen counter.  At the end of the day I dump the bowl’s contents into a large plastic kitty litter bin I keep under our kitchen sink.  When the bin is full, we dump the contents in a pile in our back yard, rinse the bin with the hose, and start over.  This summer we’ll use some of the compost to enrich our garden, but until then, we can feel good knowing that we reduced the amount of waste that is transported and takes up space in local landfills. 

    (NOTE: If you want to get a compost bin, Big Green Purse sells them in our store here.)

    This month, let’s all commit to saving money and the environment by reducing our food waste.  Please keep me posted on how your family has met or plans to meet this challenge by commenting on The Scramble Facebook page or via twitter(@thescramble) or by email at aviva@thescramble.com. I look forward to learning and sharing how much you save!"

     

    Scramble logoEarth Day Bonus!

    Between now and Earth Day (April 22), use the promo code EarthDay12 to get $5 off every subscription to The Six O'Clock Scramble weekly plan. As an added benefit, The Scramble will donate 5% of its Earth Day sales to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Subscribe to The Scramble here.

     

    Aviva Goldfarb is a family dinner expert, mother of two and the author and founder of The Six O'Clock Scramble, an online dinner planning system and cookbook. Her most recent cookbook, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families” was named one of the best cookbooks of 2010 by the Washington Post .  Aviva contributes weekly to the Kitchen Explorers blog on PBSparents.org, and often appears on television, radio, and in magazines such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Working Mother, Kiwi, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and Prevention.You can sign up for her weekly newsletter at thescramble.com. For more information, contact Aviva@thescramble.com.

     

    RELATED POSTS:

    Here's How You Can Afford to Spend 30% More on Organic Food

    Learn How to Compost

    April 16, 2012

    Are You Ready for Earth Day? Best Tips for Pets, Parties, Beauty & Your Budget!

    Happy Earth Day!

    To honor this day of environmental action and awareness, we're highlighting some of our most popular Earth Day posts. We'd also love to hear how you're celebrating this day devoted to Nature, the environment, and how we humans interact with both. Please share your suggestions and tips, and have a great day.

    DogsPETS

    Earth Day Countdown: Make the Earth Friendly for Pets, Too! Research has shown that our beloved cats and dogs (I have two cats, and one wonderful dog) may be just as susceptible to pollution as we people are. Here's what you can do to keep your pets happy and health.

    Spoil Your Pup and Protect the Environment

     

    PARTIES

    Planning a party to celebrate Mother Nature? Here are our "green" suggestions. Please share yours.

    Going on a picnic? Here's how we do it.

     

    BEAUTY

    Earth Day Health & Beauty Countdown: Switch Your Liquid Shampoo to a Bar

    Cosmetic How-Tos

    Beauty...or the Beast? Depends on the Safe Chemicals Act

     

    Globe moneyBUDGET

    One of the biggest obstacles to "going green" can be the perception that it's too expensive. You may change your mind after you read these money-saving suggestions for ways to lead a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle without breaking the bank.

    This Earth Day, Save the Planet and Save $4,000 a Year, Too!

    Ten Low-Cost, High Impact Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

    More Money-Saving Eco Tips

     

    And just for fun...

    DON"T Do This on Earth Day!

    and...

    Earth Day Countdown Begins...With Sex!

     

     

    April 20, 2011

    What Do Kids "Calculate" When It Comes to Conservation? It's Not $$$!

    For Earth Day, author Terra Wellington offers this guest post brimming with suggestions on how to get closer to nature with your kids. You'll find other great ideas in her new book, The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home.

    Huggaplanet_1962_1682327 "One of the sweetest things about children is that when you get their attention, it is 100 percent.  They aren’t thinking about politics, or what bills are due, or planning a million things in their head.  Nope, they are just in the here and now.

    Likewise, if you explain to children why you want to conserve water, protect habitats, or keep bees healthy they're also right with you.  They don’t calculate costs, or party affiliation, or what their friends might think.  Kids are natural conservationists.

    Here are some fun ways you can explore conservation with your children for Earth Day or any day:

    Momdaughter Make a Date: Check the online event calendars for your local science center, arboretum, zoo, aquarium, or nature center.  These calendars are full of fun days that make an average excursion unforgettable, and the focus is nearly all on hopeful conservation.  They also often list kid camps, classes, and volunteer opportunities for teens.  Look for ways to get your kids engaged by touching, feeling, learning, and helping.

    Grow with a Purpose: Plant a garden this year with a lifecycle and habitat in mind.  For lifecycle growing, have your kids help you start and maintain a compost pile(which in itself is fascinating science at work!) that prepares and feeds your garden.  Also, encourage your children to help you plant and keep up native flowering plants for the bees and trees, with seeds and other fruits for birds and little tree critters, plus your vegetables – all organic, of course!

    Bee Happy: Get into beekeeping.  It’s one of the fastest growing hobbies right now, and importnat giving the way bee populations are dying, a likely consequence of industrial pesticide and herbicide use.  Have your children learn with you about the necessity of bees, how to take care of them in a non-toxic way, and set up and take care of the bee hives together.  Enjoy delicious honey as a reward.  Check with your local municipality for any ordinances or permits.

    Entertain for Good: There are a lot of television, film, and print resources that educate on conservation, the environment, and nature in a fun and entertaining way that kids embrace. Examples include the Ranger Rick Magazine from the National Wildlife Federation, Disneynature films like “Earth” and “African Cats,” and the captivating Discovery Channel series “Life” narrated by Oprah Winfrey which is now available on DVD or through a subscription service like Netflix.

    Put on Your Flip-Flops: If you are going on vacation this summer, pick a beachside getaway that coincides with a local beach cleanup day.  Heal the Bay and Surfrider Foundation are great resources.  Your kids will spend two inspirational hours helping nature – and they’ll think twice about where trash goes after that!

    Pump Up the Tires: Dust off your bikes and peddle to the local store or explore bike paths to make conserving energy fun.   You will be surprised how much kids enjoy biking and the diversity you will find outside your car window.  To find safer biking routes, if you go to Google Maps, type in your city and state, and then click on “Get Directions,” and you’ll see a bicycle path layer that clues you into designated safe bike paths in your area.  Many states also list nearby recreational bicycle paths for weekend adventures – do a browser search."

    Terra Wellington is the author of The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Terra Begins at Home (St. Martin’s Press).  Her family finds a lot of fun in cleaning up Southern California beaches, especially when it includes an ice cream treat!

     

     

     

     

    RELATED POSTS:

    Kids Start Food Fight to Bring Back Re-Usable Lunch Trays

    Kids Launch "Green My Parents" to Save the World

    April 19, 2011

    "Inception" and "The Adjustment Bureau" Ain't Got Nothin' on the New Disney Movie

    Matt Damon and Leo DiCaprio move over. Sita, cheetah mother, gets my vote for "action hero" when it comes to thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

    Cheetahs "African Cats," Sita's star vehicle and this year's Earth Day release by DisneyNature, doesn't at first seem like an obvious nail-biter. Gorgeous shots of Kenya's extraordinary Masai Mara grasslands open the film before it homes in on the animals that steal the show: Sita and her mischievous cubs, and Fang, the patriarch of a large pride of lions and their playful offspring. But you know what's coming next: The breathtaking scenery is only a backdrop to the life-and-death struggles that play out between these cat "families" and the animals that prey upon them. It's the "Lion King" in the flesh.

    African cats The Mara is one of the few remaining places in Africa where lions, cheetahs and leopards live in large numbers and in close proximity. The River Pride, a dominant group of lions led by "Fang," roams the hills south of the Mara River. A second group of male lions—a powerful father and his four sons—rules the area to the north. The River Pride is threatened by these lions from the north who are awaiting the perfect opportunity to move in, depose Fang, and take over his pride. Meanwhile, Sita must defend her babies against the lions, as well as ravenous hyenas and even other cheetahs.

    The young cheetah and lion cubs are gosh-darn cute, and the filmmakers make the most of their playful antics and mewling cries to set the stage for the inevitable clashes between protective mothers and their hungry adversaries. The films' directors insist on building suspense by creating a very human story line intent on driving home the point that a mother will do anything to protect her babies. But the story and its corny script get in the way of the pictures unfolding on the screen. The movie would have been wonderful to watch with music alone, sans narration. 

    That said, I loved the film's high definition cinematography and "you are there" shots. I've been on two safaris, including one in the Masai Mara. I saw first-hand lions eating their way through the steaming belly of a zebra they'd just killed, and watched a cheetah kill an eland then effortlessly haul it up into a tree for safe-keeping. The filmmakers show the animals exactly as I remember them in the wild, foregoing special effects, animation, and other cinematics in favor of spellbinding close-ups of animal eyes, rippling muscles, and jaws dripping with fresh blood.

    DisneyNature hopes "African Cats" will do more than entertain. The company is partnering with the African Wildife Foundation in a campaign to "Save the Savanna" where these big cats live. Throughout Earth Week, April 22-28, a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to support AWF's program to protect the Amboseli Wildlife Corridor. The corridor is the expanse of land that stretches across the Savanna between three national parks in Kenya. Lions, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, and other wildlife traverse it when they migrate and look for food and water. AWF's work will help insure that the corridor stays open and wild enough to help these animals thrive despite the pressures put upon them from tourism and encroaching development.

    NOTE: "African Cats" is sometimes graphically violent and may not be appropriate for children younger than 13. The scenes of predators chasing down and devouring their prey are totally realistic - which means they're brutal and bloody. At one point, the little girl sitting next to me in the theater just put her head down and covered her ears.

    African Cats is DisneyNature's third Earth Day feature. Here's a review of last year's film, "Earth."

     

    April 15, 2010

    Kids Launch "Green My Parents" to Save the World

    Can kids save the world?

    Gmp_logo3small The kids who founded GreenMyParents sure think so!

    This youth-led movement is officially launching on Earth Day with a plan to inspire peers, parents and millions of American families to go green.

    In the process, they aim to save $100 Million by this time next year. How? It will start with 100 "youth champions." Each of them plans to recruit 100 more kids, then train them to promote easy, everyday steps that protect the environment and save money, too, at least $100 per family. It’s hoped each of those kids will recruit another 100, and another 100, and another 100, until tens of thousands or even millions are involved.

    Gmp_Book_Cover_225X325 The program kicks off April 22 at 1 p.m. EST with a youth-led webinar  via The National Wildlife Federation's SchoolTube.com, plus the downloadable publication of the Green Your Parents book.

    But don't wait until then to learn more about the amazing kids behind this initiative. They include:

    •   Adora Svitak, a 12-year-old who is a published author and was the youngest speaker at the TED 2010 conference. 
    •   Jordan Howard, 17, a senior at Environmental Charter High in LA, Green Ambassador Youth leader, and prolific speaker and blogger who inspires at her blog jordaninspires.com;
    •   Alec Loorz, a 14-year-old who founded Kids Against Global Warming as a 12-year-old. He is  the youngest trained presenter with The Climate Project.
    •   Ally Maize, who three years ago, as a 15-year-old started the Green Youth Movement and
    •   Erin Schrode, a freshman at Columbia University and founder of Teens Turning Green  

    Adora Said Adora at the TED conference recently, “We kids still dream about perfection. Our audacity to imagine helps push the boundaries of reality.” Adora, could you deliver that message to members of Congress, please?!!!

    Though GreenMyParents begins on Earth Day, it doesn’t end there. The group’s organizers plan to run the program for at least a year with the hopes of creating chapters in every school in America.

    Here’s how you can learn more or get on their mailing list.

    April 20, 2009

    Ten Low Cost, High Impact Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

    Low Cost:

    Family hiking 1) Go outside. Take a walk, sit on your porch, have lunch in the park, eat a picnic dinner with family or friends. Looking outside doesn't count. Get out there and just...relax.

    2) Plant something. If the idea of relaxing drives you a little bit crazy, do something useful. Plant a tree, sow vegetable seeds in your garden, transplant seedlings, fill your porch pots with flowers you'll enjoy the rest of the spring and summer.

    3) Look out your window. Okay, for all you people who want to be "eco" but really hate the idea of digging dirt or lunching en pleine aire, pull up a chair to your favorite window and take a gander outside. Notice the birds in your yard, the buds on the trees, the clouds in the sky. Sound sappy? Maybe. Try it, just for half an hour. Let me know what it does for you. 

    4) Go see a movie. AFTER you've connected to your own backyard, connect to the world. "Nature," the new Disney movie, offers stunning cinematography of some of the most spectacular natural places on the globe. Plus, Disney is planting a tree for every ticket sold (so...it's an easy way for you to take credit for #2, above).

    5) Swap stuff with your friends or family. So far, Earth Day is about the only major U.S. holiday that does NOT masquerade as an excuse for a shopping spree. Let's keep it that way. If you need something, send a note to your personal e-mail list and ask if you can borrow it or swap for it. You can also try Craig's List and FreeCycle.

    One_in_a_million 6) Sign up for the One-in-a-Million Campaign. We've inspired thousands of people to shift their spending to products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefit. Joining the campaign is free, and over time, the actions you take will save you thousands of dollars.

    High Impact

    7) Prepare organic food. If you've been thinking you should switch to organic produce, free range meat, and hormone-free milk, now's the time to make your move.  You should be able to find organic milk, meat, and produce at your local grocery store, food coop, or natural foods store. If not, ask the store manager to order it for you. Give the manager your name and phone number and say you'd like to be notified when the items come in. Let the manager know you and your friends want to see more organics on the shelves.

    8) Plug into a power strip. Computers, fax machines, printers, televisions, microwave ovens and other appliances use almost as much energy when they're plugged in but turned off as when they're turned on. Plug into energy-saving power strips (one in the office, one next to the family tv, one in the kitchen) so you can easily cut the current; the money you save will pay for the cost of the power strips.

    9) Carpool, telecommute, bicycle or take mass transit. Burning gasoline for transportation is a major cause of air pollution, smog, and climate change. On Earth Day, change the way you commute to work or get kids to sports practice and music lessons.

    10) Make every day Earth Day. Yes, it's corny, but it's true. Taking one action on Earth Day may make you feel good, but it won't add up to much unless it's repeated over time. Besides, don't you need an excuse to spend a half an hour just looking out the window?

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