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Green Purse Alerts!

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.
  • January 19, 2014

    Solar Charging Tables Power Up Campuses, Malls, Disaster Areas & More

    When your power supply goes on the fritz, or even if you simply need to supplement the power available on the regular grid, what can you do to keep electricity flowing and your electronics working?

    Cafetbl2  Increasingly, communities are turning to compact solar energy charging stations to help meet energy demand. One of the most flexible and easy-to-install that I've seen is the ConnecTable Solar Charging Station, produced by CarrierClass Green Infrastructure.

    The ConnecTable resembles a nicely designed picnic or cafe table with one notable addition. It has an "umbrella" made from photovoltaic cells that convert solar energy into electricity. Sockets on the PV pole let consumers plug in to charge cell phones, iPads, lap tops and other mobile devices. They can also be used by crews in times of emergency to power any number of communications devices.

    A big benefit of the ConnecTable is its portability. While some models can permanently be installed at college campuses, office complexes, resorts, parks, or shopping malls, they can also be brought in if an area's utility grid goes down as a result of a big storm or other natural disaster. While several people can sit around one table, multiple tables can be combined to form a micro grid and backup power source during extended power outages.

    As for affordability, qualifying organizations may be eligible for low-interest financing of the tables through the Sustainable Energy Fund. Tables qualify for the 30% investment tax credit offered to businesses that install solar. Colleges can also use designated green funds to purchase tables.

    Keep an eye on other products CarrierClass Green Infrastructure (CCGI) has in the works. The company designs, sells and installs solar electric, solar thermal and custom off-grid solar power products for both commercial and residential customers.  As the reliability of traditional power supplies come into question, innovative solar technologies like those being developed by CCGI can be expected to play an increasingly important role in helping all of us stay plugged in.

    December 09, 2013

    With More Natural Disasters, Do You Need More -- or Different -- Insurance?

    Tornado shattered house Natural disasters aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, given the increasing effects that climate change is having on the weather, scientists expect the number of natural disasters globally to grow. You only need to review the skyrocketing frequency of hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, fires and floods that have destroyed homes and communities in the last couple of years to be clear on at least one thing: it’s better to protect yourself before you’re hit by a natural disaster than try to pick up the pieces afterwards.

    At a conference I recently attended on rebuilding sustainably after natural disasters strike, the audience of educators, first responders, disaster experts, scientists, elected officials, public interest advocates and business leaders all agreed: most people do not have enough insurance to protect themselves if a natural disaster hits. As the sponsor of this post, the Australian insurer HBF also points out that most travelers don’t carry adequate insurance in the event their holiday or business trip is disrupted by a natural disaster, either.

    HOW MUCH INSURANCE DO YOU NEED?

    Continue reading "With More Natural Disasters, Do You Need More -- or Different -- Insurance?" »

    Children Slammed by Typhoons, War Need Your Help - Today.

    Philippines Kids should be able to be kids, right? They should be able to run and laugh and go to school and aim for a future that is bright and hopeful and full of promise.

    But for children in the Philippines and Syria, that definitely is not the case. And even though those places may be worlds away from you, I hope you'll stop for a moment, read about the plight little ones in these two forlorn countries face and, through UNICEF Australia, decide there is something you can do to help.

    THE PHILIPPINES

    On Friday, November 8, a powerful typhoon called Haiyan struck the Philippines. You probably saw some of the initial news reports about the typhoon's impact on communities across the country. Powerful winds ripped roofs off housing and uprooted trees. Flooding and the collapse of buildings killed thousands of people. Parents were separated from their children; millions of people lost their homes, their belongings, and their livelihoods.

    Continue reading "Children Slammed by Typhoons, War Need Your Help - Today." »

    November 19, 2013

    Tornadoes Highlight Need for Sustainable Resilience, Recovery

    Tornadoes keep striking the Midwest like so many hammers pounding away at one nail after another.

    Tornado shattered house On Sunday, November 17, 81 tornadoes hammered southeastern Illinois, impacting as many as nine states total, killing eight people, flattening hundreds of homes, and decimating farms and businesses. At one point, more than 19,000 people were without power.  Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn declared a state of emergency for seven counties. Said meteorologist Tom Skilling of Chicago’s WGN TV, “The storm may have produced the most powerful Illinois November tornado on record outside of St. Louis (and possibly elsewhere) and maybe one of the four most intense Great Lakes storms of the past five decades.”

     Just looking at the pictures of the devastation makes me shudder. I can’t imagine how terrifying it must have been to live through it, or how discouraging it must be for those who are sifting through the rubble for their personal belongings and wondering where they’re going to sleep, let alone live.

    They’re also facing an important and not necessarily clear decision. Should they rebuild? And if so, how?

    Continue reading "Tornadoes Highlight Need for Sustainable Resilience, Recovery" »

    November 03, 2012

    Vote on Tuesday. Your Life Depends on It.

    Tuesday, November 6, ELECTION DAY, is the most important day of this year, and maybe of this century.

    That may sound extreme - until you consider the utter devastation Super Storm Sandy has caused in New Vote James Cook Jersey, New York, and in many communities along America's East Coast, including in my own backyard. Storms like Sandy, hurricanes like Katrina in the Gulf Coast, the spread of poison ivy and dengue fever in many parts of the U.S., are all part of the same extreme weather conditions we're experiencing nationwide - and will continue to experience unless we make a national commitment to reduce our use of the coal, oil, and other fossil fuels 

    On Tuesday, as I write here, we have a choice. We can either elect a President and legislators who support strategies that will reduce our dependence on coal, oil and other fossil fuels that, when burned, emit the carbon dioxide that is wreaking havoc on our climate. Or we can vote for candidates who refuse to acknowledge that climate change is real and requires immediate action.

    In this first-ever Green Moms election carnival, many women who regularly blog about environmental health and safety have come together to raise awareness about why it's so important that we all vote on Tuesday. In many states, President Barack Obama, who advocates strong policies to stop climate change, is running neck and neck with challenger Mitt Romney, who heretofore has rejected the need for national policies to stop climate disruption. Please read these important posts and share them as widely as you can.

    VOTE TO STOP MORE SANDY's

    Continue reading "Vote on Tuesday. Your Life Depends on It." »

    November 02, 2012

    I am Voting for Barack Obama because We are Greener than We were Four Years Ago.

    Are we “greener” than we were four years ago?

    Barack_Obama Yes, we are, and Barack Obama deserves a lot of the credit.

     Despite strident anti-environmental opponents on Capitol Hill, President Obama has managed to use the power of his office – deployed primarily through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of the Interior – to make our air and water cleaner, to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, to protect our public lands, and to attack the climate change that causes extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy.

    Is his job done? Not by a long shot. But are we making progress? Definitely. I’m supporting the President for a second term because I think he offers our best hope in this election to continue to make progress in the future. 

    This all became extremely clear to me earlier this week, as Hurricane Sandy was ripping away part of my roof. While I huddled in my basement listening to the terrifying wind and the torrential rain, I found myself getting mad, not just about what it would cost me to repair the damage, but about the reasons behind this catastrophic storm. Meteorologists, scientists, environmentalists, public health professionals, concerned citizens, and yes, President Obama, have all made the link between burning fossil fuels like coal and oil and extreme weather events like Sandy, let alone Hurricane Katrina and many others. And they’ve tried to throw the weight of their various offices behind solutions that would help wean us from fossil fuels.  

     Meanwhile, conservative forces in Congress and many state houses around the country have blocked legislation that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and opposed efforts to increase energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Bolstered by their conservative colleagues on Capitol Hill and pressured by Tea Party activists, Republican challenger Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, his running mate, have dismissed climate change, have literally said they “love” coal, and would strive to cripple the EPA if they were elected to office.

     Maybe to some people, this is just “talk.” But as someone who has worked in Washington, D.C. to promote environmental protection during the Carter years, the Reagan years, the Bush 1 years, the Clinton years, the Bush 2 years, and now the last four years of the Obama Administration, I can say, and say unequivocally, that environmental policy consistently fares worse under Republican administrations than under Democratic ones. As Sandy has shown, the planet very much faces a climate change tipping point. Obama is on one side, Romney on the other. For me, siding with Obama is a no brainer.

    Has Obama accomplished nearly enough? No.

     Do I wish more change had happened? Of course.

     But we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Continue reading "I am Voting for Barack Obama because We are Greener than We were Four Years Ago." »

    July 20, 2012

    Rechargeable Batteries and Eco-Friendly Flashlights Will Help You Survive the Next Power Outtage

    We've had at least three power outtages in the last two months, so I've become a bit of an expert at figuring out how to get my family power and light when they're not being delivered through an electrical cord. 

    BE PREPARED

    * Stock up on flashlights, batteries, water, dry food, pet food, and candles before you need them. We were caught completely by surprise during the last storm, which knocked out power to our neighborhood for three-and-a-half days. Luckily, we had many of the devices I review below on hand; by the time we found an open store the next morning, they'd been cleaned out of almost all useful emergency supplies. 

    * Put emergency supplies where you can find them easily. I  keep two big bags full of battery-powered lamps, candles, flashlights and some snacks at the ready in the family room near our television set. The TV won't work during a power outtage, but everyone knows where to find what they need to read or get around in the house.

    * Create a checklist that's relevant to your family, and review it with everyone in your household. Hopefully, in most cases, you won't have to leave your home just because you lose your power. It's a good idea to keep a bag packed with copies of your most important documents, medicine, and other essential items in case you need them.

    SOLAR-POWERED BATTERIES 

    Battery chargerRechargeable batteries are terrific, but if your plug-in recharger uses electricity, it won't help you much during an outtage. Keep a couple of solar-powered rechargers on hand to re-power the different sized batteries you may need. Or choose one versatile device, like the one pictured here, which is designed to charge 11 different types of batteries. A built-in meter shows you the strength of the sun, the strength of the current out-put from the solar panel, and the time required to fully charge the different types of batteries you have.  A built-in blocking diode prevents the reverse flow of electricity from charged batteries during storage.  A polycarbornate transparent cover makes the charger weather resistant. Though ideal in a power outtage, you can also use a recharger like this if you're traveling, camping, boating, or anywhere else where you don't have access to electricity.

    Solar lanternSOLAR-POWERED FLASHLIGHTS

    It's pretty easy to power-up a solar flashlight - as long as you have sunlight and can set the light out where it gets full exposure for a few hours. This one  to the left is actually  two lights in one: an LED spotlight plus an adjustable LED lantern. You can recharge it by using its built-in solar panel or by drawing DC power from your vehicle's cigarette lighter socket. 

    HAND-CRANKED FLASHLIGHTS & RADIOS 

    Crank radioHand-cranked flashlights and radios are particularly convenient not only if you lose power, but if you have no sunlight for recharging your devices. I have a version of this model that I purchased after one outtage too many, which I keep in a handy kitchen drawer so I can find it any time I need it. What I like about it is that it has a great radio, built in flashlight, and a port so I can re-charge my cell phone as needed. 

    Continue reading "Rechargeable Batteries and Eco-Friendly Flashlights Will Help You Survive the Next Power Outtage" »

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