April 15th, 2014

Walmart and Target Make Sustainable Food an Economical Choice

Posted by Lisa Carey

sustainable fruits

By Linda St.Cyr

Sustainable products often seem targeted to upper-income consumers. Organic, sustainable food is often 3 times the price of the non-organic food product. Eating organic constantly and consistently can be a real challenge for those of us who are on the lower end of the economic scale.  Walmart and Target are attempting to change the perception and affordability of sustainable products.

Walmart announced that it will offer a new line of organic food, labeled “Wild Oats”, at prices comparable to its conventional counterpart.  Walmart expects to undercut the existing price points in the industry for common household products.

The Associated Press reports, “[A] Wild Oats’ 6-ounce can of tomato paste, for example, is priced at 58 cents, compared with 98 cents for a national-brand organic version. And a 32-ounce can of chicken broth under Wild Oats is priced at $1.98, compared with the $3.47 for a national-brand alternative, according to the discounter’s survey of 26 nationally branded organic products available at Walmart.com.”

Walmart’s goal is to remove the premium associated with organic groceries. But Walmart already has some competition. Target has already begun selling sustainable foods under the label “Simply Balanced”. The majority of the items available under the Target label are made without GMOs and the ones that currently have GMOs will see them eliminated by the end of 2014.

Target has plans to stock 120 new products on their shelves that are more environmentally friendly. The umbrella category for the items is “Made to Matter—Handpicked by Target”.  The company will be working with 17 brands whose goods it already stocks. The brands will provide new products and products that have been adjusted to be more environmentally friendly.

Both of the chain stores say the increase in sustainable products is a response to consumer demand.

“Almost all of our guests, 97 percent, say they buy some product that is natural, organic or sustainable,” Kathryn A. Tesija, Target’s executive vice president for merchandising and supply chain, told The New York Times.

“They’re looking for products in this category,” she said. “We’re making it easy by calling them out.”

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

March 26th, 2014

Oklahoma City Offers Eco-Friendly Freebies for Earth Day

Posted by guest

By Linda St.Cyr

Oklahoma City is getting ready to have a party for the planet as we head toward Earth Day 2014. The city is offering freebies, eco-friendly initiatives, and fun events in anticipation of creating a healthier planet.  The events kick off on March 30 and run through Earth Day 2014. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22.

One of the first events offered in Oklahoma City is “Open Streets OKC” where NW 23rd between Western and Robinson will be vehicle-free for a four hour period of time between noon and 4 p.m. on March 30.  The free community event hopes to turn a major city street into a safe place for people to exercise, ride bikes, and play.

Several recycling days will take place for very specific items that are hard to find the proper recycling areas for.  On April 5 there will be a “special household hazardous waste collection” that will allow people to get rid of unwanted tires, ammo, computers and pharmaceuticals.  There are two down sides to the special waste collection: it is only open to Oklahoma City residents and some things like televisions, tires with rims and off-road tires will not be accepted.  A free shred day will take place on April 12 where people can shred and recycle their personal papers.

Oklahoma City will be celebrating Earth Day in style at Earth Fest on April 12. It is a free annual celebration held at Martin Park Nature Center. There will be eco-friendly talks, demos on everything from invasive species to rain barrels and aquapontics. There will also be tons of activities available for kids. There will also be a refuge cleanup at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge on April 12. The cleanup is hosted by Friends of Lake Overholser. There will be a free lunch after the clean up and a prize giveaway for attending the event.  Those who wish to attend the cleanup can email FriendsOfLakeOverholser@Cox.net or call 702-8192 to register.

METRO Transit will also be getting in on the party for the planet. The bus company will be offering free bus rides on Earth Day, April 22. The company wants customers to save on their gas bill and reduce their carbon footprint.

Oklahoma City is getting a head start on saving the planet. This is one bandwagon that many other cities should be happy to jump in on with their own events.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

February 11th, 2014

Squeez’ems reusable pouches makes lunches for babies and kids healthy and easy

Posted by Lisa Carey

squeez'ems

My godson only eats the Sprouts Organic Baby Food, but I have mentioned to mom that I could share with her my organic baby recipes from when the girls were young.  She thought that was terrific because it could not only save her money but there would be less waste.  She hates throwing away the packaging and by making her own she could use many of the food items she is already buying for the family’s menu plans too.  But the question then remained, how do I store it and serve it, especially since she loved the convenience of screwing on the spoon from home and then “squeezing.”   Doing some research we found that there are actually several alternatives out there for her, and we found for me too! Even though my children are grown we found that Squeez’ems would be great for more than just baby food, but juices, smoothies and lunch boxes too.

Squeez’ems eco-friendly reusable food pouches make it easier for parents to incorporate eco-friendly products into their busy on-the-go lifestyle. There are now two new fun designs, so going green can be hip too! Perfect for easy travel, lunchboxes and on-the-go baby food.

Sari Davidson-Crevin founder and creator of Booginhead produces award winning parent invented products such as Squeez’ems for babies and toddlers. She believes that making things simple is the key to raising a happy healthy family.

Advantages to the Squeez’ems

  • Squeez’Ems pouches are made from BPA, PVC and Phthalate free materials.
  • The one piece design eliminates lost parts.
  • Zip top closure.
  • Freezer and microwave safe.
  • Reusable, so reduces waste.
  • Saves money, you can buy in bulk the foods your family will enjoy too and then create meals for everyone.
  • One thing I really like about the 6 ounce package is the larger opening making with a screw top design which makes it easier to fill and use.

Don’t have a baby? Create delicious organic juices and smoothies and save them in the new Orange Flower and Chevron designed packages. Throw them in the freezer to serve later or send them to school in a lunch box.

With Earth Day approaching, maybe you are wondering about how you make, store and serve your own healthy baby food options. Here’s a few ideas from Amazon from cooking and steaming to storing and serving.

February 8th, 2014

Japan’s Fukushima Going Green by 2040

Posted by Lisa Carey

The Japanese province of Fukushima is well known because of the 2011 nuclear disaster that took place.  The region saw the devastating cost of a catastrophic failure at a nuclear power plant. It was the largest nuclear incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.  The people of Fukushima are still learning about the impacts that the nuclear disaster has caused on the people and the environment.

Instead of dwelling on the devastation, the people of Fukushima have found a way to turn a disaster into an opportunity to become a greener nation. According to Eco-Business, Fukushima h as pledged to switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 despite having a pro-nuclear national government.

Tetsunari Iida, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies in Japan, told Eco-Business, “The Japanese government is very much negative. Local government like the Fukushima prefecture or the Tokyo metropolitan governments are much more active, more progressive compared to the national government, which is occupied by the industry people.”

The plan is ambitious for Fukushima but it is quite possible for the province to meet its goal. The province currently uses 22 percent renewable energy. Countries around the world have either met or set goals for renewable energy. The European Union put its target at 27 percent by 2030 and Germany has 74 regions that have reached 100 percent renewable energy status.

The biggest problem that Fukushima will face is the official government position on nuclear power.  Nuclear power is seen as clean, renewable energy because it works without emitting carbon dioxide. The problem is the dangerous radioactive waste that it can create if something goes wrong as seen in the 2011 nuclear disaster and in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Fukushima will be working with green energy groups and the people to figure out ways to make the green energy transition to 100 percent flow smoothly. One way the province plans to increase their renewable energy resource is through an offshore wind farm project.

 

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

February 5th, 2014

Senator Wants to Require Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies in Schools

Posted by Lisa Carey

Senator Ed Ableser, D-Tempe., wants schools to use eco-friendly cleaning supplies. He has authored a new bill SB 1072 that would require public schools, universities and charter schools to use cleaning supplies that are environmentally friendly. The schools wouldn’t have to throw away current stocks of cleaning supplies but would have to purchase “environmentally sensitive cleaning products” once supplies were depleted.

“Schools are where our children are,” Abelser told Arizona Capitol Times.  “We need to use green products to promote health.”

The items in Abelser’s green cleaning bill include making school districts and charter schools adopt a green cleaning policy by Dec. 31, 2015, but it doesn’t end there. His bill also calls for the state Department of Education and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to establish guidelines for acceptable green cleaning supplies.  The bill also calls for school districts, colleges, universities and state agencies to adopt a plan to purchase at least 10 percent of their energy from “green sources.”

Abelser doesn’t think his colleagues are on the same page as him. Although he authored the bill, he does not believe it will pass into law.

He told Arizona Capitol Times, “Many of our legislators don’t understand that sustainability is cheaper and more effective in the long term.”

Abelser may or may not be correct. Many schools around the world are moving to a more eco-friendly and sustainable environment. Numerous schools in Arizona are listed on The Green Schools Alliance, an organization that “connects and empowers K-12 schools worldwide to lead the transformation to global sustainability.” The goals of GSA are to grow the movement through networking, reduce environmental footprints, educate and connect kids to nature. Students participate in everything from recycling to setting sustainability goals for their school to raising environmental awareness in their communities.

GSA has 2777 member schools worldwide. It shouldn’t be too hard for Abelser’s idea of green cleaning supplies to come true in Arizona schools or to envision multiple states adopting legislation that is similar. It appears students actually want to live in a more eco-friendly environment and that can only be a good thing.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

February 2nd, 2014

Green Kids Crafts give green to schools

Posted by Lisa Carey

I first learned about Green Craft Kids a few months ago when my children and I gave it a try.  It’s a craft kit which arrives every month and contains 3  eco-friendly crafts which also encourage getting back to nature as you enjoy the connections between crafts and science.  I just recently found out that in addition to the monthly crafting kids featuring nature as well as eco-friendly materials, that they also give back to their community by offering parents and schools a fun and environmentally friendly way to raise money for their schools.

Green Kids Crafts gives to schools

Why shouldn’t our desire to get “green” for our schools include the opportunity to “go green.” For some families it may be the first of what could be many opportunities and a new interest in the environment. This award-winning product will donate 15% to your school. Participating schools have raised thousands of dollars with this program!

So, since we enjoy our boxes so much I thought I would find out what exactly is involved in going green and giving green to our schools.

It is so easy! Email schools@greenkidcrafts.com to get all the details. But basically they set you up with your schools account and all the information you will need to share with the school family. All the ordering, shipping and even reports about how much your school is making is handled by the Green Kids Crafts people. Just imagine, if you are short on volunteers how much easier this would make the whole school fundraiser process. All you, your committee and school community had to do is to promote the program at your school.

green kids crafts

More about Green Kids Crafts 

In our first installment we had four activities we could do.  One was create a leaf print sculpture, another leaf print etchings on reusable bags,  create a shadow box using items found on a nature walk and placed in our reusable bag as well as a sunprint magnet.  Each activity featured the great outdoors, the season and ec0-friendly materials.    Each month after that seasonal specific items arrive at your house.  You can cancel at any time.

This children so much enjoy the activities! Personally I can’t wait for the Valentine’s Day one!  Beautiful colors, recycled paper and it’s just everything we will need to create all our Valentine’s Day cards.

 

 

 

January 30th, 2014

Your chance to win a copy of “This Life’s Tempestuous Sea” (ends 2/7)

Posted by Lisa Carey

Nature deprivation is a serious, yet forgotten consequence that is currently being inflicted upon the youngest generation of children. Author of, “This Life’s Tempestuous Sea”, Douglas Toland offers parents ways to bring nature into children’s lives, that does not involve staring at an iPad.
After raising his own children in Alaska, Toland shares the importance of growing up within nature and how it can bring appreciation and discipline into a family.
About the author of  “This Life’s Tempestuous Sea.” Douglas C. Toland was born in 1942 and grew up in northern Delaware at a time when some undeveloped spaces were still “open to entry” to adventuresome children like him. After most of “his” open spaces were removed from entry by urbanization, Doug moved west, first to Alaska, then Montana, then back to Alaska. For most of his 25 years as an Alaskan resident, Doug worked as an environmental specialist in Juneau and as a prospector for minerals before moving south and settling near Sandpoint, Idaho in 1999. He still co-owns an Alaskan mountain where he looks for crystals.

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January 30th, 2014

How can Social Issues Affect the Environment

Posted by Lisa Carey

virgina trip june 2012 039

 

We have talked about how social issues, the environment and parenting can and have all worked together. I shared with you some of my thoughts on how families are nature deprived and not getting off the iPad and out into the world.   I recently had the opportunity to learn from our guest writer Douglas C. Toland  some of his thoughts about parenting, social issues and the environment.  Douglass is also the author of “This Life’s Tempestuous Sea.” Thank you Douglas for joining us on Greenjoyment!

How can Social Issues Affect the Environment

I had a 15-acre field to explore and play in while growing up in Delaware. As a child, I thought it would be there forever and took it for granted. It was just a few steps beyond my backyard. By early adulthood, I came to realize just how fortunate I was to have the space to live such a free-ranging childhood. By the time I joined the navy in 1960, “my” field had been carved up into small lots. By the time I returned in 1963, every lot had a house, an asphalt driveway, a sidewalk and small rectangular patches of grass. Not a single open space was left for the kids to enjoy. Children now living in that new subdivision endure a different kind of poverty: nature deprivation. They have no idea of the ecologically diverse and educational field that once existed where their houses now stand. I feel sorry for them because they don’t have the wealth of a readily available and somewhat natural environment to connect with, run freely in, and champion.

The changes that occurred in my habitat of origin came about incrementally, Read the rest of this entry »

January 23rd, 2014

Is McDonald’s Trying to Dupe Customers into Believing Beef Will Be Eco-Friendly?

Posted by Lisa Carey

By Linda St.Cyr

McDonald’s announced a plan to shift its current beef product to “sustainable beef.” There is a very large problem with the announcement.  According to GreenBiz, Bob Langert, McDonald’s vice president said the fast-food chain wants to embrace global sustainability by buying “verifiable, sustainable beef in the future for all of our beef.”

The fast-food chain hasn’t committed to any specific numbers yet, nor have they announced how they plan to go about achieving the goal of buying “100 percent of its beef from verified sustainable sources.” Currently there is no such thing on the market as verified sustainable beef.

Many fast-food chains are attempting to change their current beef options to more sustainable ones, but none can honestly make the claim that they sell “verified, sustainable beef.” Chipotle carries “responsibly raised” beef, Five Guys’ claims their beef is “fresh” and many others make claims that their beef is some twist on eco-friendly to market to a growing population of conscientious consumers.

Care2 believes that McDonald’s is trying to dupe customers into believing that the fast-food chain is going to do something good for the environment when the truth is there is no such thing as “sustainable beef” and there probably never will be. The reasons for this are that it is just not possible to raise enough cattle on pasture for the demand currently on the market.

James McWilliams explains in the New York Times, “It requires 2 to 20 acres to raise a cow on grass. If we raised all cows in the United States on grass (all 100 million of them), cattle would require (using the figure of 10 acres per cow) almost half the country’s land.” In order to successfully implement a plan like this, forests would have to be cut for pasture, eco-systems would be destroyed, and entire species could be wiped out.

The meat industry is not sustainable and never will be. That hasn’t stopped McDonald’s from teaming up with environmental organizations and other corporations that it will be able to create a “Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef” in the hope of creating “verified, sustainable beef.”

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

December 26th, 2013

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Christmas Wrapping Paper Waste

Posted by guest

Christmas wrapping paper is hard to avoid during the holiday season, but even the ripped up wrappings can be put to good use. The bonus is that you’ll still be feeling eco-friendly because you’ll be employing the R-words –reduce, reuse and recycle!

REDUCE

Reduce wrapping paper waste by using greener wrapping papers. Blooming wrapping paper is one of the coolest wrapping papers on the market.  The eco-friendly rolls have embedded flower or vegetable seeds that can be planted after the holiday season. The rolls of paper can come in a variety of colors or in a coffee print design.  Look for paper that is made from recycled, organic and/or sustainable materials.

REUSE

There are so many ways to reuse holiday wrapping paper that it is hard to come up with just a few. The easiest way to reuse it is to take some of the prettiest leftover wrappings and create drawer liners with them. All you need to do is cut the paper to length and paste into the bottom of the drawer (if you don’t want it to be permanent try double-sided tape).  Another idea to reuse Christmas wrapping paper is to create home art décor with it. Again, take the prettiest paper or the ones with unique designs and frame them.  You can use one print or make a collage. Once framed, hang them on the wall to add pizzazz to any room in your house. Ripped wrapping paper can be used for scrapbooking, creating pencil organizers, and to make Chinese Paper Yo-Yos.

RECYCLE

Recycle wrapping paper by using it again. There are plenty of other holidays throughout the year that require gift wrapping. Take the paper that can be reused and save it for the next gifting occasion. If you can’t save your paper, remember to recycle it with your other recyclables! However, not all wrapping paper is recyclable, so consider some other great green gift wrap ideas.

Extra for Green Wrapping Ideas

Eco-friendly gift wrapping isn’t hard to accomplish. Consider using old newspapers (comics are popular!), magazines, and sheet music to wrap your gifts. A music lover will adore a gift wrapped with their favorite song lyrics.  Other cool recycled gift wrapping materials include calendars, fabric and maps. All can be reused and recycled over and over again!

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

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