Category: Green

Why Fixing That Leak Could be the Most Important Thing You Do Today

We’ve all procrastinated over fixing leaky faucets, toilets and sprinkler heads. But the truth is that even the tiniest leak can cause big problems for the environment. Clean tap water is not really a renewable resource; once the liquid goes down the drain, it ends up in lakes, rivers or the ocean, but not directly back in our drinking supply. And with states like California in serious drought, we need all of the clean water we can get. So if you need a little push in finally fixing that leak, here are some very important reasons why you should...

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How to Use Vinegar and Baking Soda for a Sparkly Clean, Nontoxic Home

It’s true — you can clean just about anything with vinegar and baking soda. Good thing, because household cleaners are full of some nasty toxic chemicals. From chlorine bleach to formaldehyde to a bunch of other ingredients I can’t pronounce (and don’t want anywhere near my skin or lungs), many conventional cleaning sprays and powders cause more problems than they solve. Not to mention the prices. The good news is that you can get your home sparking-clean on the cheap with good, old-fashioned baking soda and vinegar. Here’s how to use them: Countertop cleaner: Mix equal parts vinegar and...

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Use This Homemade Laundry Detergent to Save Money and the Planet

Laundry day may never be fun, but making homemade laundry detergent can help you feel good about yourself as you clean your clothes, sheets and towels. Yes, it takes a bit more effort than buying detergent from the store, but the benefits make it worthwhile. Why go homemade? With the average family doing 400 loads of laundry a year, washing your clothes is expensive enough without forking over more money to detergent companies. And many commercial soaps, like Tide, have toxic chemicals that could increase your risk of cancer. Once your laundry is done, those chemicals go right back into the environment, and...

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How the Keystone XL Pipeline Could Affect Your Drinking Water

It’s bad enough that the Keystone XL Pipeline would feed the the world’s oil addiction (and by default, our climate change problem), but it’s also a serious threat to the drinking water of millions of people. Are you one of them? As Ted Turner wrote in a piece for CNN, the thick tar sands crude oil must be pumped at “extreme” pressure and temperatures to sludge through 1,700 miles of pipeline between Alberta, Canada and the Gulf Coast. This sets the stage for spills that will almost certainly happen — in fact, the original Keystone Pipeline spilled more than 12...

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Here Comes the Electric School Bus

The school bus has finally evolved. In one California town, the smoke-belching, stinky buses I knew as a kid have been replaced with the electric school bus, which can travel up to 100 miles without a refuel. The buses are more expensive upfront, but the savings on gas and maintenance still make them a thrifty buy. I hope to see more of these in the very near future (and more electric cars, while we’re at it). Get all of the sweet details in this article from Efergy: America’s All Electric School Bus Launches in California (via http://www.efergy.com) The country’s...

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Animals in Danger of Extinction This Decade

As humans binge on natural resources and pollute the land and water, we leave in our wake thousands of animals in danger of extinction. Some animal populations have dwindled so low that they may be gone within the next decade. I found most of the animals below from a recent list posted by Scientific American. Some of the creatures are cute, others are exotic and a few are just plain strange. But all of them contribute to the diversity of the planet — and a diverse Earth makes a healthier home for all of us. Pied Tamarin With soulful eyes and a...

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Bottled Water vs Tap Water: The Winner is Clear

The battle of bottled water vs tap water is over, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at the supermarket shelves. Despite the $100 billion dollars in global bottled water sales, it turns out that most of us are far better off turning on the faucet and drinking for free. If you drink bottled water because you think it’s safer, you should know that it’s actually less regulated than tap water, according to Consumer Reports. Public water supplies must be regularly tested for contaminants via certified labs; bottled-water companies don’t need to use certified labs, or even report the results of their safety tests. And when Consumer Reports did their own testing, they found that 80 percent of 5-gallon water jugs left residue of the chemical BPA, a hormone disruptor. Obviously, not all tap water is perfect; CR also found contaminants like heavy metals in municipal supplies. But ultimately, the research shows that you’re about as safe drinking from the tap as from the bottle — even though bottled water costs much more. Bottled Water Pollution In the United States, we go through roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles every year. Most of the empties aren’t recycled, which means they wind up in landfills, natural landscapes, rivers and ponds. So the same bottle that’s supposed to protect us from “impure” water actually makes our natural drinking sources more toxic....

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The Ugly Truth about Loyalty Cards (That Stores Don’t Want You to Know)

Supermarket and pharmacy loyalty cards may seem like a sweet deal — fill out a quick form, and walk away with a piece of plastic that can save you a few bucks next time you fill your grocery cart. But loyalty cards have some dark, dirty secrets that might make you long for the days when if something was on sale, you simply got the savings automatically at checkout.  Here’s what you need to know. Loyalty Cards are Terrible for the Planet Not long ago, I was waiting in line at CVS to buy cat food when I noticed...

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