This page is dedicated to quick and easy tips that just about anyone can do to lower their impact on the environment!

If you are looking to show off some beautiful wood that is hiding under layers of paint, there is a great way and it's really environmentally safe!

Ready-Strip is non-flammable, biodegradable, virtually odorless, and can be cleaned up with water. It does not contain flammable chemicals or harmful vapors like methylene chloride which you find in many traditional strippers. It works on metal, brick, marble, fiberglass, Formica, delicate plaster moldings, and almost anything else. It really works. As I am home from my trip, I am working on my house and this stuff is great. Check out the website and read the testimonials!

All Natural "Round Up"

Instead of wasting your money and buying chemical-filled weed killer to de-weed your grass and walkways. Save your money and your local water sources by using the following mix given to me by a resident in Haines, AK: 4 parts vinegar
1 part salt
few drops of liquid clothes detergent
Spray on the weeds when they are most vulnerable, during a dry spell. It will not kill the root the first time, so you'll have to re-apply. By using this all natural form, you are using stuff you already have at home, you're protecting your water sources from the chemical contaminated run-off, and you are not supporting unsustainable products and companies!

Eat More Chocolate!
Sure, it makes you feel good with its mood-boosting phenylethylamines, but eating chocolate is also a way of doing good - as long as you buy the fair-trade varieties. It costs a little more, but fair-trade chocolate, made from cacao beans grown under the rain forest canopy, provides farmers with a decent income so that they can build schools, dig wells, and feed their families. And because farmers can make a living wage, they have no need to clear the forest for cattle pasture. It takes just 50 readers buying one bar a week to maintain an acre of jungle sprinkled with cacao trees. You'll be eating healthier too: Grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, almost all fair-trade chocolate is organic, certified or not. Sweet!
Screw in a Lightbulb
Compact fluorescent bulbs are magic. Screw one into a socket and your three wishes will be granted. Number 1: It lasts 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb, so it rarely needs changing. Number 2: It uses a third of the electricity of a regular bulb, cutting pollution and saving you about $7 per fixture a year. Number 3: It costs less than the 10 ordinary incandescent bulbs it replaces. Bonus wish: You can procure one without the aid of a genie. Compact fluorescents are sold everywhere, from hardware stores to Ikea, and cost $4 to $20. Look for models with the ENERGY STAR label, which are guaranteed to last at least 6,000 hours.
Recycle Your Video Tapes
Now that you have DVDs, send all of your old VHS cassettes to Alternative Community Training where they get cleaned and sold to television stations, universities and consumers. Shipping costs to ACT are tax deductible. You can send those Spice Girl CDs there too!
Lavender is the Answer
Having trouble covering up the holes in your winter sweaters? Before I used lavender, I would just wear a shirt underneath that was the same color. Of course, my mother and sister would scoff but at least I wouldn't use moth balls- c'mon! They smell bad for a reason- they contain naphthalene, a quasi-carcinogen. Instead, just keep your clothes clean because moths are attracted to food, sweat, and other stains, not the fabric itself. I bought 2 ounces of Lavender and some mosquito-net type fabric and made little bags to hang in my closets. Now if I could just learn to sew up those existing holes...
You're HOT!
You're HOT! In the winter, turn thermostats down to 68 degrees or below. Set it to 55 degrees before leaving for work, going to sleep or when away for the day. Use those sweaters more and no moths will get them! You're saving energy and your wardrobe!
But You're COOL!
In the summer, keep it at 78. Wear those hot little tank tops around. That's what they're for! Aren't you sick of working in an office that's too cold anyway? If you can't turn down the air at work, at least you can do it at home!
3 Ways to Healthy Laundry
Front end washing machines are much more efficient, using as little as 5 gallons per load and spinning the clothes at a really high speed so they dry faster.

Detergent manufacturers are not required to list ingredients, many of which are highly polluting. What you can do then, is reward companies that voluntarily list ingredients by buying their product. Those that list their ingredients are most likely making an effort to create environmentally friendly products. Try
Seventh Generation
, Allens Naturally, or Art Home.

Chlorine bleach is not the best choice for brightening dingy whites. It wears down fabric and yellows clothes over time. Instead, wash whites in the hottest water and use oxygen-based products like old-fashioned BORAX, a naturally occurring mineral compound. Good old sunlight is also an option to get rid of stains on whites.
I don't know one person that hops in the shower right when it starts. I know I let it warm up for a bit. Well, John Mulloy of Huntington Beach, CA puts a bucket in the shower so he can use the cool water to water his plants. I think that's cool!
A Clean Kitchen!
After giving a presentation about how we can lower out impact on the environment on the Alaska Marine Highway's Ferry, the Matanuska, Judy Coleman, from Sudbury Ontario, informed me that many household cleaners could be replaced by a vinegar and water mix of some sort! Windex, for example, is no longer necessary. Find the cheapest vinegar in the store (white is best, you don't want "flavors") and use some old newspaper, which doesn't carry lint, and clean your windows! I guarantee you a cleaner window, especially using the newspaper, or you can email me and I will personally amend the situation!
Support you local farmer! Go to the farm stand instead of the supermarket! Veggies raised nearby are fresh and they've been bred for flavor and not their ability to hold up in transit. An average piece of produce journeys between 1500-2500 miles before it gets to your kitchen. That travel burns fuel and therefore creates emissions. By buying local, not only are you making a healthy choice for your body, but a healthy choice for our environment! You are also circulating money within your community which will improve the quality of life for you and your neighbors. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a program that gets local families to invest in a share of farmland. In return, they get a huge box of veggies each week from that farm. Check out local
Banish Junk Mail!
You're not the only one - junk mail is overrunning everyone's life. The average American receives more than 300 catalogs and "special offers" each year - multiply that by the population of the country and you get 10.8 billion pounds of paper. Sure, you can recycle it. But you can save yourself a trip to the curb by putting a stop to the stuff in the first place. Add your name to the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference list and cut your share of mailbox trash by up to 80 percent. The service is free - and freeing. Just send a card with your name, address, and signature to the Mail Preference Service, DMA, Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512
Wrap it Up
It's not just the gift that costs money. Americans spend $2.9 billion a year on the packaging - and buy enough ribbons, bags, and wrapping paper to cover New York City's five boroughs. Be original and stylish: Improve your gift wrap from the Sunday paper, old maps, or last years magazines. If every reader packaged just three presents with recycled papers, we would save 400 football fields' worth of wrapping, sparing thousands of trees along the way.
Use Less
Recycling is great because it takes less fuel to melt down say, aluminum, than to process it from virgin material. And, we've done well ~ recycling increased from 16% in 1990 to 30% in 2000. Nevertheless, recycling is tough because glass, for example, is only good for recycling if it is separated out by color which is difficult not because consumers complain about having to separate but because it is laborious and expensive to do. The best way to reduce your environmental impact is to produce and dispose of less- you know the saying, REDUCE and REUSE come first, then RECYCLE.
Commercial drain cleaners can be highly toxic. Instead, try this ~ pour one-half cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one-half cup of white vinegar. But don't try this after using a commercial drain cleaner, because dangerous fumes may result.
Liquid Detergent is Better
Using liquid detergent requires water, not chemicals as a filler to make the product correctly concentrated. Also, since detergent ingredients start out as a liquid, less energy and processing is needed to produce the final product. Keep packaging to a minimum by purchasing in bulk whenever you can, even if there's a two-for sale on smaller sizes, and RECYCLE your plastics as well!
Easy on the Plastics
Plastic is a sturdy material made from petroleum. Key words here are STURDY and PETROLEUM. Since it is made from petroleum, we need to lower our demand for petroleum and we can do that by re-using plastic products. Ruthy Kanagy of Eugene, Oregon takes the extra time to wash out and rinse her plastic bags and then hangs them to dry. She also uses those little "shower cap"-looking covers that come in all different sizes instead of Saran wrap. Since the covers are easy to clean, she uses them over and over again and has cut out her Saran wrap usage.
You can do it too!
Compost Happens
Get started quick and check out this brochure

Composting yard waste and kitchen scraps is one of the best and easiest things you can do to both reduce waste and grow a healthy, sustainable garden. Any pile of yard or food waste will naturally decompose into compost but there are ways you can improve the process including playing with worms.

One important thing to remember with a compost pile or worm bin is to keep equal amounts of "browns" and "greens". Browns normally include carbons like dried leaves, cardboard pieces, shredded paper or newspaper, but also don't forget inner rolls of paper towels and toilet paper (ripped up and moistened), and even your ripped up coffee cups from your local espresso stop (avoid color ink on the cups). Greens, which are nitrogens, include fresh cut grass, veggie trimmings, tea bags, coffee grounds and the filter, but NO dairy or animal waste!

I am really liking the worm bin, because it's easy. Get a big, plastic tub with lid, punch some holes in it, and make bedding with the "browns" and moisten with water. Throw some worms from your local gardening shop in there and keep an eye on things. Each week, add some food scraps as the worms will eat the food scraps and the bedding and excrete some nutrient rich "castings", aka poo.

For tips and more information on how to start composting your yard waste and food scraps check out these links...
Build a Backyard Compost Pile
Worm Composting

I learned a lot about this in Seattle so I will offer some Seattle specific links with good information. However, different cities have different rules about composting for pest control reasons. Check your county's website on rules, if any, about composting.
Composting Yard Waste
Composting Kitchen Scraps
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