Go Green by Upcycling Junk
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
How many times have you seen people throw out furniture that can still be used just because they got something new? How many times have you done it yourself? Go green and upcycle that so-called junk to prevent it from going into a landfill too soon.
Check Craigslist's free section. Among the sales and want ads, Craigslist also has a section with people offering items for free. Many times they stick the items by the dumpster and they get thrown out before anyone can make use of them. Not a great way to go green, is it? Whether you rescue one item or do it regularly, you will be helping. Rescue the items for yourself, your friends, those in need, and the Earth.
Repurpose old items. Take your own old items or those you may have found on Craigslist or elsewhere and use them for something new. For instance, if you get a new entertainment center, but your old one can still be used (even if it needs to be pieced back together), you can use it for another reason. Turn it into a decorative shelf where you can store your plants, books, and more. Refinish an old table or just drape a cloth over it and use it for decorative purposes. Saw an old table in half and add legs to each new half to create two desks. There are so many different options.
If you can't use it, be green and donate it. If you really just cannot use the item, consider donating it to the less fortunate. Think of people you know who are in need first. But if none of them can use the items, upcycle by donating to organizations. Many programs give used furniture, clothing, baby items, household items, and more to those in need. Chances are that what you may consider junk could be exactly what someone else needs but is unable to get at the moment.
If you need the extra money, garage sale it. Donating is a good deed. But if you're strapped for cash, hold a garage sale. You'll still be helping someone by offering something at a lower price than the original sticker. Why throw things away when you can fulfill a need, make some money, and prevent waste at the same time?
Don't let good things go to waste. If you're walking around the neighborhood and see perfectly good items being thrown out, rescue them. Even if you can't use the items yourself, save them from unnecessary destruction. Find someone who needs the items or sell them in a yard sale. Even post your own Craigslist ad if you can't figure out what to do with them. At least you will be biding the Earth some time and possibly helping someone in need of the item.
Going Green in the Bathroom
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Your bathtub tiles are growing mold, the floor could use some help, and let's not get started on that toilet. But wait! Before you reach for chlorine bleach and other common household chemicals, think green. There are many green ways to sanitize your bathroom. Here are some of my favorites.
This natural disinfectant helps keep the bathroom clean and germ-free. It also gives off a fresh scent. Mix one part thyme oil to 8 parts water in a spray bottle. Simply spray down the surface and wipe clean with a cloth. When cleaning with thyme oil, be sure you are in a well-ventilated area. Open bathroom windows or turn on an exhaust fan. Also allow the surface to dry thoroughly. Thyme is a very powerful disinfectant.
Tea Tree Oil
Some people think of chemical disinfectants as more effective in the bathroom than natural ones. However, tea tree oil can be much stronger than chemical solutions when it comes to killing bacteria. It has even shown effective in fighting MRSA when used by infected patients. To use tea tree oil in fighting bathroom germs, mix and use it in the same way as the thyme oil solution above.
Lemon juice has long been used as a natural disinfectant. In certain situations, it can even be used as a biocide in drinking water. To use lemon juice as a bathroom disinfectant, simply mix 1 part lemon juice concentrate to 4 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray on counters, sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and more for cleaning purposes. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, spray again and wipe clean. This helps destroy germs and many types of bacteria.
Vinegar can be used as a natural disinfectant for many situations. It is very effective at cleaning many different types of soil. In one study, when tested along with commercial cleaning products, vinegar was on the list for the most effective at cleaning both bathroom soil and kitchen soil. It is best used at full, undiluted strength - not the strength commonly found in supermarkets. Garden centers and feed suppliers are most likely to sell the full strength vinegar.
Need to whiten and brighten an area of your bathroom? Ditch the bleach and use hydrogen peroxide instead. Mix a half and half solution of water and hydrogen peroxide in a solid colored spray bottle. Spray onto desired areas, let sit for a few minutes, spray again, and wipe clean. This solution may bleach colored surfaces. Test an inconspicuous area before use. This is a greener way to bleach than with chlorine-based products.
*Note that the author is not a licensed health professional. Some ingredients, while natural, can cause allergic reactions or other ill effects if used improperly. The above advice is meant for informational purposes only and should not take the place of advice from a licensed professional.
**I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Eco-Friendly Stain Removal: Tea
How to Remove Tea Stains Naturally
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Did you know that you can remove tea stains naturally? Tea can stain many surfaces, such as clothing, countertops and furniture. But it's not always so hard to remove it. You can even be eco-friendly while doing so. I live a natural and eco-friendly lifestyle to the best of my ability and have experimented with many natural ways to remove tea and other stains.
Naturally Remove Tea Stains from Clothing
The first natural way to remove tea from clothing is very simple. Run the stained area under cold water for several minutes. If you catch the stain soon enough, this should do the trick. Otherwise, try a vinegar rinse. Fill the sink with a half and half solution of vinegar and water. Swish the stained clothing around in the water for a few minutes. Rinse with cold water. If the stain doesn't disappear, add some eco-friendly liquid detergent to the water.
If it's extra tough, gently rub some directly into the stain. Again, swish the clothing around in the water. Repeat this until the stain is gone. Rinse with cold water. For an even tougher stain, place a dry cloth underneath the stained area. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the stain and pour a small amount of vinegar on top. Dab with another dry cloth. This should push the stain out onto the cloth. Repeat this until the stain is gone and of course, rinse with cold water.
Eco-Friendly Tea Stain Removers for Carpet and Furniture
To remove tea stains from carpets and furniture the eco-friendly way, get out some vinegar, baking soda, a spray bottle, and some cloths. To create a cleaning solution, mix vinegar and water half and half in a spray bottle. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the stained area. Spray the area with your natural vinegar and water solution. As the stain is bubbling up, dab it away with the dry cloths. Repeat this process until it's gone. Once done, rinse the treated area by dabbing it with regular water from a cold, wet cloth. Dry it by dabbing with a dry cloth.
Remove Tea from Kitchen Surfaces the Natural Way
To remove tea from countertops, you're going to use the same vinegar and water solution mentioned above for carpets and furniture. First, try spraying and lightly wiping away the area with a dry cloth. If that doesn't work, sprinkle on some baking soda. Then, spray again. As the solution bubbles, dab away the tea stain it pulls up. This same method works well on kitchen stove tops and most floor surfaces, such as linoleum, tile, and hardwood. Remember that hardwood cannot stay wet for long, so if your kitchen floor is hardwood, do this quickly and be sure to dry it well right afterward.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
By Eve-Angeline Mitchell, Contributing Writer
The bottom line here, is, that even though cars themselves aren't especially "green," you can help reduce the harm they cause to the environment by using green, eco-friendly products and accessories.
Eve-Angeline Mitchell is an experienced writer and blogger, and an animal rights and welfare advocate. She has been writing about cats, from pet cats to feral cats, to the history between cats and people, and even about bit cats, on Examiner.com for four years. She is also an avid do-it-yourselfer when it comes to home improvement and enjoys learning how to do new things.
by Mike Thompson, Contributing Writer
President Obama is the first president who has made a true commitment to the environment since Jimmy Carter (and before that, the Roosevelts), but I'm afraid Obama will face the same roadblocks as Carter.
More people are "green" than when Carter was in office, but to me, the majority are not green. They still drive their gas-guzzlers all over the place, and then complain about prices at the pump. Some even laugh at greenies with the age-old trite "tree hugger" sarcasm. In my home state of Michigan, a statewide referendum for alternative energy lost in a landside because the utilities falsely told residents their rates would increase. Surveys show that a majority of Americans deny that global warming even exists.
Carter was ridiculed back in the late 1970s for urging motorists to boost their gas mileage by driving 55 mph on the highways, and for wearing a cardigan on TV and literally begging Americans to dial back their winter thermostats, but he was ahead of his time. In winning the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan cast himself as the positive and patriotic candidate as opposed to Carter, the prince of pessimism, in part because of Carter's prescient environmental concerns.
And so, Reagan gave us “Morning in America,” which to me was “Mourning in America.” Reagan showed his ignorance by, among things, cynically removing the solar panels that Carter had ordered installed at the White House. (This was a man who asserted, lest we forget, that trees actually cause pollution.) But there was an inner fight in the OPEC cartel, which pushed gas prices down into the Happy Days era for a while, and so Reagan became a sort of clueless hero.
Which brings us to Obama. While unlike Carter he may have been re-elected, he still faces dim second-term prospects on green concerns. Citizens are finally starting to wake up and to realize the threat of a budgetary fiscal cliff, but few are will acknowledge an environmental cliff. In fact, the fiscal cliff will stand in the way of addressing the environmental cliff.
My discussions with friends and associates don't get me far, but here goes: "I support the vast majority of scientists who say oil and coal cause manmade global warming. You don't. But we need not debate that. Whether of not you realize the climate is getting hotter, the main point is that we're running out of both fossil fuels, oil sooner than coal, and so regardless of whether they harm the environment, you won't be able to drive your gas-guzzler or heat your McMansion at some point in the future. Do you truly believe the supplies of oil and coal are unlimited? Be real."
Obama won narrow party-line approval in 2009 for an economic stimulus that included $90 billion for green investments. That was quite an achievement, but in today's instant gratification culture, the stimulus soon was derided. Plus, the oil and coal lobbyists fed the flames of dissatisfaction.
This is why Mitt Romney perceived an opening to score debate points when he mentioned the $90 billion and claimed that half of the investments, including the infamous Solyndra solar company, had failed in bankruptcy. Here are the facts, combined from The New York Times and from Time magazine contributor Michael Grunwald, author of the stimulus review, "The New New Deal."
* Support for green companies was $16 billion. The other $74 billion went for public projects such as high-speed rail, mass transit and energy-saving home insulation.
* Among 36 investments, 33 have been successful and three failed. That's far more than half and half.
* Yes, Solyndra failed, for various reasons beyond their control, but during the Obama administration's first term, thanks to the stimulus, renewable energy sources were doubled and energy conservation was promoted. Solyndra shows why these programs are labeled high-risk. The same is true for any technology. If no risks are taken, no discoveries are achieved. In fact, a ratio of failure actually is budgeted as a safety net. Consider that Edison nearly went bankrupt before he invented the light bulb. Consider massive experimentation and research at NASA.
In fact, considering the history of NASA, space exploration was needed, but what was the point in going to the moon? Imagine if President Kennedy instead had made alternative energy a priority. Or President Eisenhower, previous during the 1950s, instead of building the oil-draining and sprawl-inducing national highway system. Or President Johnson, instead of going to Vietnam. Or President Nixon, instead of staying there. Or Reagan or President Clinton, Instead of failing to set energy taxes at times when gas prices suddenly plummeted. Or from Reagan to President Bush II, instead of adopting huge tax cuts for the rich.
The list of failed chances to invest for the environment seems almost endless, but in an HP-rooted twist on an old axiom, we can't cry over spilt oil. We must move ahead.
To push Congress to renew the 2009 investments, Obama's only hope is to find someone -- if not himself, some other charismatic figure -- to capture the nation's inspiration in the same way that the moon mission did. That's such a tough call. Carter got nowhere with his "moral equivalent of war." So personally, I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping against hope.
Feeding the poor the green way
by Michael Thompson, Contributing Writer
Feeding the poor is not usually associated with the green environmental movement. In fact, a frequent lament is that low-income households cannot afford higher-priced organic items.
Photo: (c) Lyn Lomasi
Detroit's Capuchin Soup Kitchen is doing something about this dilemma. The 2-acre Earthworks urban farm is producing 6,000 tons of healthy fruits and vegetables.
"Our food system is broken," says Lisa Richter, an Earthworks spokeswoman. "At the same time, people are craving to reconnect with the land, and to reconnect with their community.
"One of the big misconceptions about Earthworks is that we just grow food. We're trying to inspire food system change, to reach the root causes of hunger and poverty."
Volunteers from the neighborhood help out, including Youth Farm Stand students who receive lessons regarding what urban farmers describe as "sustainable agriculture." Eight neighborhood residents receive training stipends for regular work through the Earthworks/Capuchin Soup Kitchen partnership with the Gleaners Community Food Bank, and through the Southeast Michigan Equitable Agriculture Training program.
"It's an inspiration for us to show what is possible with small-scale agriculture, and through increasing accessibility to safe, healthy food," Richter says.
The Earthworks urban farm demonstates that green activists aren't just college students and young urban professionals. They can be found everywhere.
Capuchin Soup Kitchen was ahead of its time in 1998 when Earthworks was established. At the time, Detroit had about 60 community farm gardens. The number has exploded beyond 800, says Mayor Dave Bing. Bing says farm gardens can provide a three-way boost in food security, community spirit and economic development. Green-collar jobs most commonly are associated with alternative energy, bur urban farms also create employment potential.
"Earthworks has always been a labor of love, founded on the Franciscan vision of universal sister and brotherhood of all creation," states the Earthworks website. " We hope that this humble effort of love and desire to reconnect ourselves with the natural world we inhabit will remain part of the beacon of hope for all peoples and for all times."
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
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