Friday, February 29, 2008

A New Earth

If you haven't already picked up Eckhart Tolle's book 'A New Earth'. I highly recommend it. It may just be the best book I've ever read. You can also sign up for a free 10 week 'webinar' here which starts this coming Monday.

I love Oprah. I really, really do. I'm going to stop apologizing for it. She's just great.

There. I feel better now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Diapers, diapers and more diapers...

For those of you living in the GTA you may want to try out these really cool environmentally friendly diapers. They are sort of a hybrid between cloth and disposables. They are available at Whole Foods on Bloor and the one in Oakville. Ecomama is currently trying them out and I'm dying to hear what she thinks about them.

This video (the one at the bottom called 'all about flushing') makes them seem pretty cool. Next time I'm in TO I might have to go get myself a starter kit to test them out.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Price check in aisle four"

Turns out those awesome biodegradable diapers I found really were a bargain. I went to buy some today and they were priced at $29.99!!! The $13.59 I paid for them last week was a pricing error... I had this feeling they were just too good to be true. At that price they make the Seventh Generation ones at $19.99 for 32 diapers seem cheap. Needless to say I'm not going to pay thirty dollars for a bag of diapers.

Sooo this means I'll have to think of something else. I may start using bamboo diapers overnight. They are very enviro-friendly because bamboo is a renewable resource that is grown without pesticides. The bamboo is suppose to be super absorbent which would be good for overnight. When we travel we will bite the bullet and get the Seventh Generation ones (thankfully we don't travel that much).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Change # 9 - A Green Toothbrush

It's that time again to replace our toothbrushes. Instead of buying the brand we would normally buy, we will be switching to the Preserve toothbrush.

This is green because 1) the handle is made entirely of recycled materials (yogurt containers) 2) there is limited packaging which is also made from recycled materials 3) the brushes come with postage paid return envelopes so that they can be recycled yet again and made into plastic lumber which is used to make outdoor furniture, park benches and children's play-sets.

I'll also be taking some information about these toothbrushes to my dentist the next time I see him. Maybe he would consider giving these out to his patients instead of the other brand he uses.

This week's change is so easy I almost feel like it's cheating. But then again, that's the whole point. Being green really is easy, despite what everyone's favorite frog would have you believe.

PS: In case you want to try it out I have an extra toothbrush to give away to the first person who wants it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Change #8 - A better disposable diaper

I think I mentioned in a previous post that although we use cloth diapers we also sometimes use disposable ones. I do my best to minimize our use of disposable diapers because I feel guilty about their impact on the environment and also because they make Ian's skin irritated (though now I think it might have been the disposable baby wipes). I'm also uncomfortable with the chemicals that are in them. Who really knows the effect those chemicals have long term considering children spend almost three years of their lives wearing them 24/7.

We use disposable diapers when we travel out of town and also overnight. The cloth diapers just don't absorb enough to last 12 hours from evening until dawn and because we were blessed with a beautiful, amazing baby who refuses to sleep through the night I am loathe to give him any more reasons to wake up. I'm SO TIRED!

Change #8 will be to replace our regular disposable diaper of choice with these. I'm SO excited about this new find! Not only are they better for the environment but they are actually affordable. They were only $13.59+tax for 42 diapers (at Herb and Spice) which is pretty comparable to the other brand we normally buy. They are much less expensive than the Seventh Generation ones which run for $19.99 per bag. These diapers are good because 1) they are biodegradable 2) they are 100% chlorine free (apparently chlorine is Evil. It's not only bad for the environment, it's also bad for human health) 3) they are made with 50% renewable resources 4) the plastic bag they come in is biodegradable 5) they don't use any unnecessary chemicals 6) they don't advertise Disney characters.

Unfortunately I'll be putting these diapers in plastic bags and sending them to the landfill so they won't get a chance to biodegrade. If I lived on a farm I could dig a great big hole and just put them in there and they would have a chance to biodegrade but the landfill just doesn't have the proper conditions (and neither does our backyard). In March 2009 I look forward to putting them in my green bin alongside my blue and black bins. Until then, they are still better than regular disposables and that makes me happy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

This year for Valentine's day I've asked Derek not to buy me anything. I don't need flowers, a card or chocolates to know that he loves me. He shows me that every day in the little things that he does (like doing the dishes, plowing the driveway, going to work even on days when he doesn't feel like it, making me laugh, appreciating my cooking, being a good Dad, letting me cuddle up to him even when my legs resemble cacti etc). This is not to say that I don't appreciate thoughtful (eco-friendly) surprises now and then. I just prefer them when they aren't mandated by Hallmark and Hershey's.

Although I don't want anything he might like a little something, so when I'm out tomorrow I could get him some organic fair trade chocolate by Cocoa Camino from Herb and Spice on Bank street. I could also write him a love letter telling him how much I appreciate him, which I think is probably the way I'm going to go. No one writes love letters anymore. I've been thinking about doing it for some time. It's free and it's meaningful which is perfect!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

Change #7 - Cleaning our furnace filter every 60 days

In November of 2006 we had the air ducts of our house cleaned. I was pregnant at the time and suffering from severe environmental allergies. Because I was pregnant, I couldn’t take the usual allergy medications. We thought getting the ducts cleaned might help. The dude who did the cleaning sold us on a ‘Super-Duper-Allergy-Buster-Dust-Free-Gold' filter for the furnace. The filter was expensive ($159) but it is a permanent one and has a lifetime warranty. Plus, instead of replacing our furnace filter with a disposable one every few months we can just clean this one and keep reusing it indefinitely (fewer filters in the landfill is a good thing).

I am just looking over the care instructions for the filter now and it recommends that you clean it every 30-60 days. Um. Since November 2006 I think our filter has been cleaned I would say an absolute maximum of three maybe four times (unless Derek has been sneaking around and cleaning it behind my back which is very unlikely). So our change this week is to start cleaning our filter every 60 days (I would say 30, but let’s face it that just isn’t going to happen).

Cleaning our furnace filter more regularly will 1) hopefully save energy by making our furnace more efficient (I’m not sure that’s true but I’m sure it can’t hurt) 2) will help keep the air in our house clean (especially important considering how close we live to the 417 and Bus Station) 3) the fact that it's a permanent filter is already pretty 'green'.

Thanks for the suggestion on this one Lianne. (This post comes early because we are away this weekend).

Save our trees, no flyers please!

I think I mentioned that our computer is acting up these days. It refuses to function in anything but safe mode. This means that I can't see pictures properly (they are graded, yellows, greens and reds) which is annoying. What's even more annoying is that I can't upload pictures from my camera and I also can't print anything. So my plan to print this out and put it on my mailbox won't work.

This morning I went to Arbour in the Glebe and bought a sticker for my mailbox. It says 'Save our trees, no flyers please'. It's not as big as I would have liked but hopefully it will do the trick.

PS: I bought two extra stickers. I'm happy to mail them to the first two people to send me their mailing address at

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Best quote ever

'We spend money we don't have, to buy things we don't need, to impress people we don't like.'
Suze Orman (yes it was on an Oprah show. My apologies).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Change #6 - No junk mail please!

Sometimes being green is just about being better organized. Since I organized Ian’s change table last week with the facecloths and added a container for water, I haven’t used a single disposable baby wipe. It feels good to finally check that one off of my ‘to do’ list (I’ve been meaning to do it since Ian was born!). As an added bonus Ian’s cute little baby bum is much less red these days.

This week’s change is another one of those things I’ve had on my ‘green to do list’ that I’ve been meaning to get done for a LONG time. I’m going to be joining the red dot campaign to help wage the war on junk mail. Junk mail is a huge pet peeve of mine. I never read it. Not. Ever. It goes from our mailbox directly to our recycling bin. I’m sure that this is true for many, many people.

Apparently if you put a sign up on your mailbox saying you don’t want junk mail Canada Post really will respect it. So I’m going to download this sign and put it in a plastic sleeve (to protect it from the elements) and put it on our mailbox. Unfortunately this only works for unaddressed junk mail. If you want to put an end to junk mail that is personally addressed to you, you can go to this website and add your name. I just went and added both Derek and I’s name (it took 30 seconds). I’m also going to be printing this letter and giving it to my letter carrier. I’m hoping that doing these three things will 1) help to stem the amount of wasteful junk mail that ends up in our mailbox every day 2) save a few trees 3) make my daily trip to the mailbox less annoying.

The Province of Ontario joins Earth Hour

The Ontario Government joins Earth Hour!

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