Friday, April 22, 2011

Honoring the Earth

The first Earth day was observed in 1970 in response to escalating concerns of an environmental crisis.  Forty one years later we are still faced with similar concerns.  We have made great strides, however, and it is becoming increasingly easier to go green.  Environmental concerns and supporting efforts to go green has become a part of the mindset of mainstream thinking.

There are so many organizations that are supporting environmental efforts and providing information, awareness and an opportunity to be involved in a community effort toward positive change. Aligning ourselves with some of these organizations is a great way to, become a part of making a difference in the world today. 

Getting back to basics, living consciously and making an effort to tread lightly and move forward in the right direction can make a big difference in the grand scheme of things.  Becoming aware of our sources of food, water, and the products that we use can make a big difference in the choices we make.  

 Celebrating Earth day is a good opportunity to collectively reconnect with Mother Earth and renew our personal commitment for positive change. Finding gratitude in nature will nurture reverence and respect for her gifts.  Taking a moment of reflection is a simple way to celebrate the Earth. Together, our small efforts can make a big difference as we learn to live in balance with nature.

The Envirolink Network is a non profit grassroots online community that unites hundreds of  organizations and volunteers around the world.  Envirolink maintains a database of thousands of online environmental resources as well as providing up to date news and information without taking a position on any specific environmental issues.


The following link is a video entitled Planet Earth which is an inspirational reminder of the awe inspiring beauty that we all share.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Clearing the Clutter

The spring season is a time for new beginnings.  It’s a time not only for cleaning and starting fresh but also for re-organizing, de-cluttering and letting go of things that no longer serve a worthy purpose in our lives.  It’s a great time to make room in our lives for new possibilities. Our home is very much a reflection of our life.  If your home lacks a sense of balance and organization it is very likely that other aspects of your life will reflect a lack of balance and organization as well.

Clearing our homes of clutter is one of the best things we can do to create a harmonious environment. The state of our surroundings will have an impact on the energy we feel in our home. Clutter can cause stagnation and can have a negative impact on our lives. Home is where the heart is. It should be our personal sanctuary; a place of rest, rejuvenation, recreation, peace and joy.  Clearing your home of clutter and adding natural elements into your home design will help establish and reinforce a strong connection with nature and will be conducive to finding clarity, peace, harmony and abundance in your life. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Improving Indoor Air Quality

At the first hint of spring we naturally develop a yearning to reconnect with nature.  Bringing nature indoors is a good way to bring the spirit of spring indoors and bridge the gap between our internal and external worlds.  Bringing plants into our homes is like inviting a breathe of fresh air in.  Not only does it enliven our spirit with the beautiful scent and freshness of the greenery, it’s also been proven that common houseplants actually purify the air. Sick Building Syndrome is a term that has been developed to describe the affects that modern building materials have on indoor air quality.  It has been found that off- gassing from building materials begins to build up in the indoor environment causing indoor air pollution which has shown to have potentially dangerous effects on human health. 

A two year study conducted by NASA and the Associated Landcape Contractors of America found that a number of houseplants have the ability to absorb potentially harmful toxins from the air and help improve the quality of indoor air.  This research has been carried out for many years by NASA scientist, Dr. Bill Wolverton.  The study demonstrated that a select variety of ornamental houseplants were effective in removing pollutants from the air.  The study consisted of plants placed in air tight chambers that were injected with common indoor air pollutants.  "Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves", Wolverton said. "But research in our laboratories has determined that plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapor”.

The Study Involved the Following Chemicals and Plants
Foam Insulation
Plywood or Particle Board
Paper Products
Formaldehyde Abatement
Corn Plant-Dracenamassangeanna
Spider Plant-Chlorophytumcomosum
Bamboo Plant-Chameadora siefrizii
Golden Pathos-Scindapus aures
Potted Mum-Chrysantemum
Dry Cleaning
Inks & Dyes
Lacquers & Paints
Trichloroethylene Abatement
Dragon Tree- Dracaena Marginata
Ribbon Plant- Dracaena Warnecki
Potted Mum- Chysanthemum
Peace Lily-Spathiphyllum
Gerbera Daisy
Tobacco Smoke
Petroleum Products
Synthetic Fibers
Inks & Dyes
Rubber Products
Benzene Abatement
Dragon Tree-Dracaena Marginata
Dracena Janet Craig
Ribbon Plant-Dracena Warnecki
Potted Mum-Chrysanthemum
Gerbera Daisy
English Ivy- Hedera helix species
Peace Lily -Spathiphyllum
Other plants demonstrated to be effective air purifiers include the Bamboo palm, Peace lily, Ficus, Dracaena massangeana cane, Mother-in-Law's tongue (Sanseveria), English Ivy and Chinese evergreen species.


The Environmental Protection Agency’s website provides a great deal of information on the potentially harmful health effects from poor indoor air quality as well as providing resources for our understanding and protection:
The World Health Organization has a free downloadable guide that reviews these harmful chemicals and helps us to better understand the health risks associated with these environmental exposures.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Green Cleaning

Spring is finally here!  One of the first things that comes to mind when we think about spring is clean.  Spring-cleaning has become a seasonal ritual but keeping a clean house should not be hazardous to your health.  Most commercially manufactured cleaning products contain dangerous ingredients that may put your health at risk. The government does not require testing or health studies for chemicals found in chemical cleaners.  There are more than 80,000 chemicals used in consumer products and in manufacturing in the United States.  Many of these chemicals have not been tested for their effects on human health and the environment. Ingredients in many household products are considered trade secrets and are not revealed in labeling.  To find out what ingredients are in commonly used household products and the health risks associated with them you can go to the following website: The Household Products Database of the National Library of Medicine-United States Department of Health & Human Services 

Experiencing nausea, dizziness and headache from you’re your cleaning products just isn’t right.  Along with the long-term health concerns regarding the use of commercial household products, we also need to be aware of the environmental impact of the manufacturing and disposal process. Green cleaning practices is a great place to begin minimizing our environmental impact as well as creating a healthier home environment.  Making your own natural cleaning products is easy and economical. It doesn’t need to complicated  and you can get started with just a few simple ingredients.

Basic Ingredients for Natural Household Cleaners

Distilled White Vinegar

Baking Soda
Liquid Castile Soap
Washing Soda
Club Soda

Cleaning Applications
Vinegar:  Cuts grease, removes odor, soap scum, hard water deposits.  Use as all-purpose cleaner.
 Baking Soda:  Cleans, deodorizes, softens water.  Mild abrasive action good for scouring.
Soap:  Attracts dirt so that it may be rinsed away.  Use as all purpose cleaner.
Lemon:  Acidic, effective against bacteria.  Can be used in all cleaning applications.
Borax: (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, removes stains.  Good all-purpose cleaner as well as laundry and dish detergent.
Washing Soda:(sodium carbonate decahydrate) stonger than Borax used to clean, deodorize, disinfect, cuts grease, removes stains.
Wearing gloves is recommended.  Stronger all purpose cleaning agent for tougher jobs.
Club Soda-Carbonated water: removes stains from fabrics, works well cleaning windows and stainless steel.
Salt: (sodium chloride)  

Making natural cleaning products from scratch isn’t difficult.  Having the above ingredients on hand will make cleaning a snap.  Vinegar and water is a great all purpose cleaner.  You can use your own unique blend of ingredients to create cleaning products for specific tasks.  By adding a few drops of essential oils to your blend of cleaning agents will provide a fresh scent as well as adding additional cleaning power.  Essential Oils recommended for cleaning include: lavender, citrus, thyme, grapefruit seed extract, eucalyptus and tea tree oil. The following website: RN Central ,has a compilation of 30 green cleaning recipes with handy tips to address all of your cleaning needs:  Happy Cleaning!