Friday, December 10, 2010


...and I don't mean me, for once! I said I would sing praises of things for a few blogs, so here I go again.

Steam... powerful stuff. And so can anything really clean better? It kills pretty much anything. In my search for chemical-free cleaning, I thought these new steam mops that use nothing but WATER to clean might be worth checking. Always one for a bargain, I ran to Big Lots the minute I saw the Dirt Devil Steam Mop at a good price. We snagged the last one. I tried it out immediately. What's better is my husband also tried it out immediately! I'm not the most diligent house-cleaner. My floors get away from me every so often. OK, all the time. But just one pass with this steam mop over my kitchen linoleum had me hooked.

And it's just water. No chemicals, no smell, no residue, nothing to worry about my cats walking through or smelling, easy, quick-drying... I can't say enough. I'm done! No more spending money on cleaning stuff for the floors. (Although when I do want to use anything, it's always Better Life's Simply Floored - now THAT smells great and no harm) No more plastic containers that hold the cleaning stuff.  No more contributing to the Gyres for no good reason. (And no, cleaning supplies are NOT a good reason.) (No, no they are not. Did you not just read what I said about steam doing a better job??)

I say it over and over... I do not need my home to smell like fake pine tree courtesy of chemicals, I do not need to anti-bacterialize myself out of existence, I do not need bleach or ammonia or even fake lemon. I like my clean to smell like NOTHING at all. And if steam is killing things I want killed anyway...

This is a no-brainer for me! Unfortunately, that's what we Greenies run into a lot out there... no brains.

But seriously. This is a cool thing and I recommend it or any brand you choose. They are simple machines that should last a long time with minimal care, and NO MORE BUYING all that other stuff. Win-win sitch.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Duped by DuPont

Non-stick cookware. Revolution of the 20th Century, right? Makes life so easy. So convenient.

For the sake of this conversation, we're going to completely put aside the FACT that Teflon is actually hazardous to human health. That should actually be common knowledge. Unfortunately, we know all too well that knowledge is rarely common. But we are putting that aside. Just type the word "Teflon" in Google, and you'll immediately get results about the dangers.

That aside. We had non-stick stuff, and of course I wanted to go greener in our cookware. Sure, I would love the super-beautiful enameled stuff, a whole big set of it, but it's a little cost-prohibitive. So we started getting regular good old cast iron, nothing fancy, one piece at a time. My husband immediately fell in love with them and takes care of them very well. Better than I, in fact. I admit, I was a little intimidated to start cooking with them myself. "Stuff sticks so bad!" I thought. "Such a mess!" I thought. Then, I cooked an egg.

These pans have been lovingly seasoned the proper way, and I used a touch of butter, which I used in Teflon pans anyway. To my complete surprise, there was NO sticking. Clean-up is not difficult. And the food tastes better and is healthier. I got to thinking, WHY have we turned away from this? Because it's heavy? (Oh boo hoo, we could all use a little more of a freakin' workout, people.) Because it's a pain to clean? (Nope, we're just that lazy.) Because it's a little INCONVENIENT? Bingo. It's not, but that's the bill of goods we were sold. We were told this is what we wanted and what we NEEDED because we are so so busy and oh after all cast iron is SUCH a hassle.

BUT IT'S NOT!!! But we were so easily led astray! We fell for DuPont's marketing for no real good reason whatsoever. They don't care about our time. They don't care about our health. They want profit. Of course they do. And that's all they want. They do not give one good gash darn that you have easier clean-up.

Let's open our eyes!!! Let's stop falling for this crap!!!  

Meanwhile, we are building a nice set of cast iron cookware that we will NEVER have to replace. Oh. look, saving money in the long run, and not adding to the garbage on the planet. How often do we have to replace non-stick? Too often. Oh... and now, we cannot use plastic spatulas etc... bamboo and good old-fashioned metal work nicely. Less plastic for everyone. Good side-effect I had not seen coming.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Accentuate the Positive

Wait, has someone taken over my page?? LOL

For December and the holidays, I want to focus on some good things. Not to say I won't still snark out from time to time, but ya know. Gotta throw some good in there too.

So for my next few posts, I'm going to talk about what is working for me, and hope that, by sharing, it might work for you too! Got things to share? Please do!

The one I'll sart with is what I promised back in my lipstick post. I got my little lip "stain" gloss whatever you wish to call it. I do love it. All pure ingredients, nice color, makes my lips soft, and comes in a little metal tin. I found it on, on t.w.i.nk. beauty. I so totally agree with what they say: If you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't put it on your skin. TRUE!!!!! So I love my lip stuff from them and will go back for more. I was a touch disappointed that, to promote their other items, they ssent along some product in little plastic bags. I appreciate the thought, but... you see what I mean?

Of course, another GREAT shop on etsy: Can I say enough good about my friend Yancy? No!!! She's awesome!

OK, now if you haven't come up with some BRILLIANT gift ideas here, you're hopeless. LOL Listen in to my radio show on on the 12/4 show for some great green gift ideas. Michelle GreenQueen Carroll and I will be discussing.

See? Happy happy!

Ugh. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trader Noe's

All environmentalists shop at Trader Joe's, and Trader Joe's is the best place for all crunchy granola-eating sandal & socks-wearing tree-huggers to shop.


Thank you, but I'll go to another store today!
I used to LOVE Trader Joe's, before I knew better. I'd still go there if my only other choice was Whole Foods, but it would be a push. They really do have good food, they really do... and I love their alcohol prices. A lot of their prices are really quite nice and some of the products aren't terrible, but they import a hell of a lotta crap from other countries, and that's not very green. But that's not what finally got me.

What finally pushed me over the edge was a very delicious salad I had for lunch one day. It was full of extremely delightful ingredients, and it was perhaps the most perfect salad I have had in weeks. So what was wrong with it? Besides the fact that it, like so many other food items there, came packaged in a single-serving plastic container? Right there in the package, IN the package, was a completely unnecessary plastic fork. WHY??? (BTW, someone had purchased it for me. I would have passed if I had seen it in the store personally. But, damn, it was delicious.)

For some time now, I have been frustrated by TJ's packaging. Brown rice? Sure! Get in in our frozen package, single serving, all neat in plastic! So convenient! There's no need to MAKE brown rice, it's sooooo hard to make it yourself! Pasta lunch, single serving? Sure, right here in our plastic container! (Oh, and a fork, because it'll be there whether you need it or not. Oh, and you should NEVER need it. Right?) Lasagna! Ravioli!! Stuffed peppers!!! So many things so conveniently packaged so you, the one who has NO time to plan a lunch and why should you need to what with TJ's making everything so easy, YOU don't have to think EVER.

OK, yeah, whatever. We live on the go, and Trader Joe's is simply providing what our busybusybusy lives demand. But really? A fork? Can't you AT LEAST give me the option of NOT needing it? Must you make it so easy to contribute to the plastic vortices in the oceans? Can't you give me the chance to say, "No, thank you so very much, you are too kind, but I will use my OWN actual real fork today."

Mr. Trader Joe, why can't you be the store we'd like you to be? Why can't you reject this kind of mindless consumerism and take the higher road? Why do you cave to those who mindlessly pollute because they can't be bothered to plan ahead for once in their pathetic lives, and why must you drag the rest of us down with them? Your fun signs and colorful shiny happy people don't fool me anymore. You don't care. I thought you did, but you're just like the rest of them. You lied. I deserve better. But I know. I can't change you. You've tasted success at the hands of the lazy, and you don't think you need me anymore.

I'll shop elsewhere, thank you. Have a nice day. I wish you well. Oh, wait, who's this? Well, hello, Henry.... Joe Who?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Zen and the Art of Spinach Maintenance

After my radio show today, the sunny but chilly afternoon stretched luxuriously out before me. What to do? Laundry? Nah. TV? No, I want to DO something... I don't often have the chance to stay home all day, as I have to go out to work like most people, so something to do while kicking around the homestead is kind of nice. Kitchen. I can be in the kitchen and do useful things. We have all that organic spinach from Farm Fresh to You that I had better get ready to cook, or it'll go to waste. We got a whole ton of greens this week in our delivery, and I want to make sure it all gets EATEN for a change. We sometimes have a waste problem. I'm working on it.

Into my ears go my earbuds and my favorite mix of songs on my mp3 player. My sunny yellow kitchen, where I can look down and out onto the street as I do what I do. Mp3 and musings. And spinach. Well, while I'm getting the spinach out, let's clean the fridge. Yikes, waste. But less. I dream of the composter I do not yet have. My cats join me in the small room, because that's where their food is too, and they think if they hang around, they'll get some treats. They are usually correct. The kitten thinks the stems from the spinach leaves are fun, so I give her one and she plays with it for a long time at my feet. I muse. I used to work in the restaurant industry, so I know it is best to strip the stems so that you pull them mostly completely out of the leaf. I muse. Do other people know this at all? Have they ever handled actual spinach, or just the stuff from the plastic bags? I muse. I kind of go all Zen as I listen to tunes and pull stems. Yeah, it takes time. Yeah, I sorta had to talk myself into taking the time. But it's nice. Tunes, cats, sunny kitchen, spinach. I am relaxed. I know this spinach will be very good, and I am not begrudging the time it is taking to de-stem it. We have gotten away from giving time to such simple activities. I could do things like this more often...

I'm enjoying the time in the kitchen so much that I go ahead and clean the place. Without chemicals. Hell, even the toaster is clean now. And it wasn't a chore. It was purging and relaxing. My fridge is clean, stuff is put away, and now I can go back in and try my hand at some recipes I have been meaning to try. I swear I am going to make that hummus from scratch today and stop being intimidated by the thought of it, so I can stop buying it in plastic tubs. I'm going to make a nice dinner that includes spinach. Fresh, organic spinach.

That's it. I just wanted to share a simple Saturday afternoon with all y'all. I want to have more afternoons like that, but I know they will still be at a premium for now. I want more people to want afternoons like that. Can we just get some simplicity back? I swear, it would be so good for all of us.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bed, Bath, & Beyond Wastefulness

My first in a series of naming names and calling these peeps out.

The New Ad came in the mail today, and I, like many, eagerly grab it to flip through it. I love ads and circulars. They're pretty. They're full of Stuff I Must Have. I actually grabbed this flyer out of the recycling bin, exclaiming, "Oooo - Bed Bath & Beyond!"

That's actually kinda funny, because the last time I was IN one of those stores, I was mostly disgusted. It used to smell good in there to me; now it just reeks of overwhelming chemicals. Do I LOVE some of the stuff in there? Hell yeah. But, lately, it seems I cannot leave that store quickly enough. Still... here's the flyer in my hot little hands. Page 4-5: a veritable porn-worthy display of single-serve coffeemakers with single-serve little plastic cups of uselessness. That was a past post. But there they are. Disgusted, but undaunted, I go on. Page 6 forces me into the realization that we really have jumped the shark. Our world is filled useless stupid crap being shoved down our throats. Yeah yeah yeah. I know, I knew that already. But aren't we supposed to be moving the OTHER direction by now? Do we really have to sell plastic cupcake plungers?? Do we NEED to core out cupcakes and fill them with frosting, and do we really really need a plastic piece of crap to do this? I gotta say no. But there they are. Page 8: Touchless hand soap dispenser. You know, because you don't want your hands to get germy BEFORE you wash them by touching the soap dispenser. Oh - wait - hey, there's a nice product... monogrammed napkins. Yes! Now that's more like it! Ohhh... but then, boo. 30 Piece Value Pack of Monogram Paper Guest Towels. They aren't even calling them napkins. They are towels. You know, disposable. Because, by all means, let us make having guests over as CONVENIENT as possible, instead of a nice event to be celebrated.

Am I saying BB&B is an evil empire? Of course not. Is it their fault for offering this stuff? A little, but the onus is really on US to STOP BUYING IT.

I can't think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than to vow to stop buying senseless throw-away crap. Pass it on.

Next time: why I avoid Trader Joe's like the plague. Yes, Trader Joe's.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

If it says "Starter Kit"...

Bill Maher, you're safe with your "New Rules." Not that you were concerned about little ole me. But we finally came up with a name for the Good Green Witch redes: Can't We Just Agree?

First of these that comes to mind is pretty much a true and binding FACT of life: If it says "starter kit" on the package, you WILL be throwing stuff away and buying new things to use and throw away. If it says "starter kit" on the package, it is the beginning of a cycle of waste and disposable STUFF. If it says "starter kit" on the package, you WILL be spending more and more money on it, for ever, ad naseum, in infinitum... whatever. Sounds Latin. I didn't take that language in high school.

First to mind is the ever-popular but incredibly ineffective and sucky Swiffer WetJet. I have one of these. Please don't judge; I did NOT buy it, and I refuse to use it. I even found this picture that has the NERVE to use my favorite witch of all time. I'm nauseous. That's completely gross. And, OK, OK, I HAVE used it. All the better to find out how poorly it actually works. The dusters are decent enough of a product, they really do pick up dust, but in reality, they are completely unnecessary. Yes, they are simply convenient. My favorite word. How many plastic handles to these things live in the world today? I do not want to know. Everything you see pictured here must be purchased and thrown away and re-purchased, and they are NOT inexpensive, as you probably know.

Now for the WetJet, which, again, I say works much less effectively than ANY other method I have EVER used to clean a floor, I would rather slide across the floor with fluffy socks on than use this again... where was I? Oh, yes, the WetJet... with its practically-a-diaper "cloths" - you know, plastic-lined and never-going-away pad-things... its non-refillable chemical-laden horrible cleaning fluid... yeah, don't refill it, just toss it and buy a whole new plastic bottle of the toxin. Sigh.

Here's a fun quote I found: Swiffer is a line of cleaning products by Procter and Gamble. The brand uses the popular razor-and-blades business model, whereby the consumer purchases the handle assembly at a low price and must continue to purchase replacement refills and pads over the life of the product.

Uh huh. What I said. Not cool. That's how we got here in the first place. Let's get away from it. Let's find a new place.

So, to sum up. Green Witch Rede #1: If it says starter kit, don't start.

Pretty simple. I can live with that. Hopefully, we all can.

Just Once Bitten

The Good Green Witch is a fraud. Yep, I am a big old fake-a-roo. Why would I say that? Because I still wear make-up. I do. I haven't given it up. I don't plan to. What I wear is very very minimal and I try to get better at what I buy, but my big old failing that makes me cringe every time is... lip color. Yeah yeah I still use it. If you look in my purse (please don't!), you will find several - GASP! - containers of gunk in little plastic junk-tubes. I am a sucker for the ads, and I love thinking about which ones to purchase. I stand in the cosmetics aisle staring at them all, trying to not pay too much... wondering over colors... and most recently I succumbed to Revlon's latest offering. I am full of shame. This new product, Just Bitten, has wonderful ads and promises lasting color. Lipstain on one end and balm on the other and a whole lot of plastic in between. Oh, and I'm sure, plenty of petro-chemicals all through. I hang my head.

This innocent-looking little tube is pretty much pointless. The "stain" is not very stain-y. It's no better than anything else out there, it goes away easily, and it really isn't even very colorful in the shade I chose. Shame on me. And what happens when we buy one of these and find it's just not right? Well, we can return it, sure, but then what? It still gets thrown away. Boo. I am ashamed. I WILL use this until it is gone, because I have it now and I may as well, but it has become way past time to change my ways.

Onto the Internet I went. What would Beth Terry do??? (LOL I may have to use that a LOT. Someone tell her. Hah!) Surely a gal can still have her silly pretty-stuff without being all Evil Plastic Girl. I found something that I cannot wait to try - as soon as it gets here... I'm stalking the mail carrier. It's vegan (even though I am not!), it's natural, and it comes in a METAL container, which apparently I can send back for refills, or, knowing me, use for something else. I can be Queen of Re-Use when it's not some un-re-useable lipstick tube. It should be here any day, and it wasn't even expensive. I swear I'll give a report the minute I try it.

So, there ARE alternatives. We just have to look around a little. I can't (don't want to) give up my stained-lips habit. At least I can try to find a better way to have my lips and stain them too. That's all I'm really asking... that we TRY a little harder. I am. Can you?

Friday, October 22, 2010

You can never have too many shoes.

Except that... you can.

I came across this picture one day somewhere. I don't even remember what it was for. Did it instill me with envy? Wonderment? Awe? Nope. I was filled with disgust. This is not an image of a store; this is someone's home. In what world does anyone possibly need this? I know, I know, it's not about "need", it's about "want". Seriously? I look at this and think, THIS is actually a disorder. My judgement call? My humble opinion? No. This is gross. This is an abuse. This is a disease. It's not cute, it's not enviable, it's sick. Plain sick. And bad for everyone.

Unfortunately, it is a disease that we are encouraged to have every day from every side. TV, magazines, billboards, ads everywhere tell us THIS is what we want. We DESERVE it. An article I read some time ago mentioned that walk-in closets are a fairly American concept. Many "average" Europeans do well with fewer and higher quality clothes. I personally have a serious love affair with boots, but I do not own 50 pairs. In fact, I've been holding on to a gift card with plans to buy what would be my 3rd pair, replacing another pair that are more utility than dress. I can't seem to pull the trigger on purchasing them. Surely there is something else more practical I can buy! Even my husband says, nearly daily, "Did you order your boots yet? Why not?" (I love him!) While the message out there is to have more buy more trash more, I'm cool with keeping things simple.

Why the American obsession with having more more more bigger bigger better? Why the walk-in closets that are bigger than some apartments? My husband and I like to dream of our own home, so we go to open houses on the weekends in our favorite little town. Most every place we look at has huge closets. Sure, I love them, but they make me laugh, because I know how empty ours would be. Room for all the towels and linens, for sure. Then what would be in the linen closets? We laugh. And yet there has been, as you have noticed, such a growing abundance of storage rental facilities. Seriously??? No, I can see the need for those when you are moving and need to stash your stuff for a month. Tops. But keeping a storage unit for months and months and years?? I don't get it. First, our garages are too full for our cars because we have too much stuff, and now we overflow into storage units. Why? Safety in stuff? Longevity through belongings? We moved from a one-bedroom to a larger 2-bedroom, and actually, we got RID of stuff. I have empty cupboards. It's a nice problem; I like it. I feel no need to stuff them to overflowing.

Gross and unnecessary consumerism should not be written off as a personal choice for some few sick people. It's dangerous and it's a drain on everyone's resources. It affects you, it affects me. We need to make better choices, we need to stop being slaves to the whims of ad agencies and big corporations who say buy more more more or you're a loser, and we need to instill better values in the next generation. I get the feeling they are going to look back on us and say, "What were you thinking???"

We weren't. But we can start now.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hot Water on Demand

There are a lot of things I can live without. I hardly miss paper towels, I barely think twice about shampoo and conditioner, and never having to buy deodorant again is quite a pleasure. I have great substitutes for all these things. One thing I prefer to keep in my life, however, is hot showers. It's my downfall. I love me some nice hot steamy shower time. Recently, we had our old terrible dripping water heater replaced in our complex, and... let's just say the hot water wasn't greatly forthcoming after that. Turns out the whole works needed a new pump as well, and now everything is fine and dandy. Burn-worthy, actually.

This small experience gave me lots to think about, though. For a few days in there, I contemplated life under a lukewarm shower. I realized how much I took for granted the pure simple joy of hot water, and how grateful I would be when it came back. I thought how the new heater was probably so much more efficient than the last, and would save energy, but if we did not get it working right, then the gross waste of water would more than overshadow that benefit. I was so annoyed by something that people around the world don't even have.

Mostly, I thought that we really could apply this to things in everyday life everywhere. "You don't know what you got til it's gone" is more than just an AWESOME '80's song. It's true, I live in probably the most selfish and self-centered cities there is, but is it like this everywhere? Are we so used to having whatever we want that we don't really care about or respect anything? I watch people go through phones and iPods and all that stuff like it's nothing. It IS something. We really need to go back and realize what it is to live without something so we can appreciate those things again. We've really lost that somewhere along the way. Is it entitlement? I was reading some comments online after a question was posed,"Do you shower in the morning or before you go to bed?" Simple question, many answers, but I was stunned by the number of people who said, "Both!" ??! OK, if your two showers of 5 minutes or less rival my one of... well, slightly longer, but are we talking 2 full showers a day? I digress a bit, but it all falls under the same general area of not being aware of the world around us. Do we know how fortunate we are to HAVE water available to us at any time? Do we realize it might not always be that way if we aren't more careful? Do we know what a waste it is to flush clean water down the toilet, and how stupid it is? Are my future showers in jeopardy because some ass-clowns out there think they NEED and are entitled to 2 showers a day? Do these same people wash their towels and jeans after only one wearing, and do they use hot water to launder things?? So many questions. No answers.

My hot water is back. My showers were probably a touch shorter in the lukewarm days, but I try. I don't linger. I save water in other areas very well. But what's the point if not everybody is doing the same? We're in dangerous times, here. And I don't think enough people are aware of that. Sadly, they will not suffer alone or bring the crap down only on themselves; the rest of us will get pulled in too. We HAVE to get everyone's attention, and we have to do it soon.

Right vs. privilege. Time to re-learn what it is to do without sometimes.... suggestions?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What's so "alt" about Alt-Cars?

With high hopes and expectations in hand and mind, I gamely headed over to the Alt-Car Expo in Santa Monica last weekend. Nothing against the event itself... it was a nice gathering. But it was completely bogus.

 Pictured here is what we did NOT see at the Alt-Car Expo. THAT car, the Tango, is a true alt-car. Most of what was actually AT the Expo was more of the same by all the same companies. At a place where I expected to see mind-blowing MPG's, I saw mostly hybrids with 31-51mpg. Seriously??? Shit, my 1998 Hyundai Accent (white, 4-door, all manual but I loved it) regularly got 33mpg. I know it did. I kept track religiously. It was a matter of pride. So now the major players trot out cars bragging about 30-40mpg, and I'm supposed to be impressed???  Um, NOT. Show me 150mpg. Show me a car that runs on algae. Show me an electric car that charges itself by solar. THAT'S "alt". What they had was just another car show.

There were some cool things there. I test-drove the Nissan Leaf, which, while I still wouldn't buy it, was really fun. It had impressive features, it had great pick-up, and it was whisper-quiet. I got back in my car and nearly went deaf. So it felt, anyway! So yeah it was cool, but I still want my smartcar. Electric, preferably, but that probably won't be available here in the States for awhile. Boo.

TRUE alt is the smartcar (, the think ( ), the Aptera ( Where were they? I'm not fooled. You shouldn't be either. Demand more. I was at a talk by the creators of Fuel (, and they had arrived in their Prius that they had converted. It got 150mpg, and those gallons were algae bio-fuel, not petrol. Now THAT'S "alt" for sure.

Even the electric cars, which are seriously impressive, still run off the grid. They still suck coal power and nuclear. Unless you have a total solar set-up, you're still contributing. Sorry, but it's true. Unless you are riding a bike or walking, you're pretty much still contributing. Oh, by all means, you are doing better, but we're still not THERE. We can demand to be there. We really can.

And it's up to us, cuz ain't no one gonna do it for us.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I blame cheese.

All this pre-packaged have-to-have-it-ready-now goodness. Where did it start? Where did it come from? How? Why?

I have to blame Kraft, I think. Remember when Kraft Singles first came out? Little individually-wrapped slices of fake food product. Weren't they SO neat? Yay! Yummy! Cool! Different! So easy!

I'm trying to think why this was ever such a good thing. Luckily, I found an actual ad from 1969 (Wow, they've been around that long???). Here's the text: "Carefree. Progressive. New. That's the thinking behind the packaging of Kraft American Singles. Each slice individually wrapped for freshness and convenience in a wrapper that comes off neat." Ahhhh. There's that word I love: convenience. Because, you know, it's SO inconvenient to take cheese out of any other "group" package.

It's so hard to go to the deli counter and ask them to slice your cheese of choice. It's so hard to keep it in some container and just peel a slice off when you want it. It's so much more superior and progressive to put really seriously needless useless plastic into the environment. Please explain to me what part of this is carefree when we look at the state of things today?

It doesn't even taste better than the stuff from the deli. Neither does pre-packaged Jell-O, pudding, fruit, lunchmeat... shall I go on? IT DOESN'T TASTE BETTER. And it's barely real food.

I don't know how we stop it. We're so automatic at this point. Do I feel better that I figured out where it started?

Maybe a little.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bottled Water, Delivered

When you are too lazy to go to the store for your needless pollution...

I was driving to work the other day and happened to be following an SUV that advertised a bottled water delivery service. I was annoyed. I decided to look them up to see if I should be more annoyed. I was not disappointed in my annoyance.

I was tempted, for a moment, to admire the ingenuity of a small business filling a niche, but I came to my senses quickly enough. We don't need to admire filled niches that don't really need to be filled. This company offers a wide array of "specialty" waters, delivered right to your door, so you don't have to bear the unbearable task of carrying heavy flats of bottled water yourself. Great. Now we're wasteful AND lazy.

If it's specialty bottled water, they have it. They even carry the oh-so-wonderful selection of kids' water. You know, for when you really want to teach your child to be irresponsible and disrespectful to the planet. Many. if not all of their waters are at or over $1 per bottle. Am I alone or in error in finding this a gross waste of income? In these sorry economic times, should we really be glorifying in overly expensive and unnecessary bottled water products? Why are we making it even easier for people to use plastic bottles?

You all know my answer to that. No. Here's their blurb:
"Our goal is to bring LA's urban dwellers and businesses premium select waters (artesian, spring, structured, and oxygenated) delivered to your door. The ***** ***t [name excluded, don't want to GIVE them business] acknowledges the lifestyle you have chosen and wants to provide you with a service that will suit your daily needs. You will no longer have to carry heavy cases of water from the market to your home or office!"

Hmm. How about drinking... oh, I don't know, WATER? From the tap? Filtered easily and cheaply at the tap? This kind of needless, wasteful extravagance is what has gotten us in this mess in the first place. So, I say REJECT. Can't we stop the madness? Should I applaud the waters they sell in glass, and say, "Well THAT'S better." No. This is so completely needless that I just can't get past it.

Thanks for listening (reading, really). That was truly bugging me. What's getting to YOU this week?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumnal Equinox 2010 Gratitude

It's the Witch's Thanksgiving. Good time to FINALLY get back to writing, settle in, get a little better at the witchiness, focus on for what I am thankful, and plan for the coming seasons.

Tall order, huh?

Think with me: What are we grateful for? I am grateful for my family... my husband, my parents and sister, my cats, and my extended family far away. I am grateful for our wonderful home... my sunny bright kitchen where I just prepared a wonderful lunch, our serene bedroom with its perfect green color, and yes, even our TV where I watch my football! (I'm grateful it's football season again!) I am grateful for my health. I am grateful we always have enough to eat and just enough money to get through the months! I'm grateful for my radio show, which is fun and gives me a chance to meet lots of cool people. I'm grateful I have cool people reading my blog right now.

Think with me: What things do we want to bring into our life? Hmm... I want to continue to bring love and light into my life. I want to bring greater opportunities to spread the urgent messages out there regarding our planet and our fragile perch on it. I want to bring greater security to our finances so we have more than "just enough"! I want to bring an even better home, with a yard for our garden and a place to hang our clothes to dry. I want to bring travel for good reasons instead of just funerals. I want all the success in the world for my Hunny.

Think with me: What things do we want released from our life? That one is easier! I want to release false, bad things from my body. I want to release worry and stress about the petty stuff. You know, don't sweat the petty stuff, just pet the sweaty stuff? And it's all petty. I want to release my need for everyday work that is not furthering my green agenda. (I am grateful for my job!!! I am!!! I just wish to release the need for it!)

Take a moment and write a few things down for yourself, too! It feels good. And it is powerful to write these things... it helps to manifest them. I hope to not be away as long anymore; thanks for being here! I'm grateful for you!

Friday, August 6, 2010



John McCabe

Author: Sunfood Traveler: Guide to Raw Food Culture; Sunfood Diet Infusion: Transforming Health Through Raw Food Veganism; Igniting Your Life: Pathways to the Zenith of Health and Success

“A chest x-ray gives about 0.01 rad of energy. The average dose of radiation from background radiation (radiation due to cosmic rays and natural radioactivity such as radon in rocks) annually is 0.1 rad. On the other hand, the dose of radiation from gamma rays applied to food during irradiation is 100,000 to 1 million rads (1-10 kGy). The amount of radiation being applied to food during irradiation is therefore massive, 10 million to 100 million times the dose of a chest x-ray... Food irradiation creates nuclear waste just like a nuclear power plant.”

“Food irradiation is a process in which food is exposed to high doses of radiation. Food is irradiated using radioactive gamma sources, usually Cobalt 60 or Cesium 137, or high-energy electron beams. The gamma rays break up the molecular structure of the food, forming free radicals. The free radicals react with the food to create new chemical substances called 'radiolytic products.' Those are known as 'unique radiolytic products.' (URPs) because they can only be found in irradiated products.”
- The European Food Irradiation Campaign,

IRRADIATION of food is a form of pasteurization. It uses high doses of radiation to kill microbes in food. Specifically, irradiation is meant to kill bugs that can make humans sick, including (Escherichia coli) E. coli 0157, salmonella, shigella, and lysteria.

Radiating food kills what may or may not cause human illness. It also kills enzymes, and damages other nutrients, including thiamin, and vitamins E and A. It also exposes food to radiation.

Food irradiation is a technology developed by the U.S. Department of Energy's Byproduct Utilization Program. The word “byproduct” in this case refers to leftovers of the nuclear industry. In this case, cesium 37 and cobalt 60.

Many foods in supermarkets and in school, prison, military, and government cafeterias are irradiated, or “cold-pasteurized.” Many foods being imported and exported are also irradiated. This is done even though it is known that irradiation creates health-altering free radicals and radiolytic substances in the foods.

The E. coli outbreaks that have been used as an argument for radiating food are directly related to animal farms and factory animal farms polluting farmland, water, and farm and food processing equipment. The spinach that triggered the recall across the U.S. in 2006 was contaminated with a strain of E. coli that originates in the intestines of cattle treated with antibiotics. Giving cattle antibiotic-treated grain creates a particularly hazardous strain of bacteria resistant to common antibiotics.

At first the USDA said it was organic spinach that was contaminated with the E. coli. This was front-page news, got lots of people to stop eating organic spinach, and was financially damaging to organic farmers and natural foods stores. After weeks, the USDA finally admitted that organic spinach wasn't the culprit. This was after the damage had been done to the organic farming industry. Many people never heard the news that it wasn't organic spinach, because the latter news stories largely didn't make front-page news.

Many of the people who work for the USDA have worked for, or eventually work for, the large corporate farming companies, for some branch of the animal farming industry, for the industrialized food industry, and/or for the companies that produce farming chemicals.
Do you really want to be eating foods exposed to radiation, which accumulates in tissues? I don't.
Because irradiated foods are not labeled as such, ways of avoiding irradiated foods include eating organically grown, locally grown, homegrown, and wildharvested foods.
Why do we oppose food irradiation?

o Irradiated food is dangerous for human health.

o Food irradiation can be used as a substitute for good sanitary practices in food production.

o Irradiation plants and transportation of nuclear materials to them create environmental threat to workers and surrounding communities.

o Food irradiation is used to lengthen the food shelf life. By doing so, it encourages globalization of production, which proves detrimental to small family farmers around the world and to the environment.
- The European Food Irradiation Campaign,

What Irradiation Does To Food

Ionizing radiation reduces the number of disease causing organisms in food by disrupting their molecular structure, thereby killing potentially harmful bacteria and parasites. But not all pathogens are destroyed, and irradiated meat must be cooked as thoroughly as non-irradiated meat. Irradiated meat can be re-contaminated from improper handling and storage.

Irradiated food does not itself, become radioactive, but the ionizing radiation creates new radiolytic chemicals implicated as carcinogens, while destroying the vitamins A, B complex, C and E. It increases the trans fatty acids in meat, which have been linked to higher levels of “bad cholesterol.” The watchdog organization, Public Citizen, indicates research has found a wide range of health problems in laboratory rats fed irradiated food, including genetic damage and cancer. Additional research shows that cyclobutanones, a new class of chemicals created by irradiation, cause genetic damage to human cells.

As for flavor, Consumer Reports trained tasters noted a slight, but distinct off-taste and smell in most of the irradiated beef sampled, likening it to singed hair.

An Experiment on Children

The federal government has recently acknowledged the unique vulnerability of children as more likely than adults to get cancer from exposure to toxic chemicals, and has drawn up new guidelines for the US Environmental Agency (EPA) to evaluate dangers posed by pesticides and other cancer-causing chemicals. But the entire issue of irradiation destroying nutrient content of food, while creating a whole new class of chemicals that cause cancer and genetic damage is being completely ignored by all three federal regulatory agencies the EPA, USDA, and FDA. Opponents to irradiation believe this is an unprecedented and dangerous experiment on the nations children.
- Rose Marie Williams, Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, October, 2004

Who's responsible for irradiation policy?

The FDA is responsible for evaluation of the existing scientific evidence on whether or not irradiation is harmful (as it does for new drugs). It is also responsible for writing the policy on the permitted doses and labeling of irradiation for nonmeat products, and the enforcement of that policy.

The USDA is responsible for writing the policy on the permitted doses and labeling of irradiation for meat, poultry and their products, and the enforcement of that policy.

No law prevents states from passing their own labeling laws, but in practice their right to label (under Amendment X to the Constitution) has consistently been overturned IF the labeling 'impeded' interstate commerce. Only in unusual cases should we expect a state-level labeling law to survive legal challenges from businesses that operate interstate.

The most powerful players: Congress and the food industry (which influences Congress):

CONGRESS: Congress tells the FDA what to do. The FDA must carry out the will of Congress. So if Congress passes legislation that says, “Invent a new word for irradiation that won't scare people, and also make sure that all irradiated products which must be labeled use that new word by March 2002,” the FDA has to carry out that policy. Depending on the type of policy, the FDA may or may not ask for public comments on its decision before actually putting it into action.

The public tends to ignore food issues, unless they are from farm states. Large agricultural businesses have a great deal of influence over farm-state and Western Senators as well as some Representatives. As a result, agribusiness and food processors tend to set the agenda in Congress, because Members from urban and suburban districts often vote on food issues without having to pay for their votes politically. Also, urban and suburban Members can easily pay back a campaign contributor with a vote that benefits the food industry rather than the public. For urban and suburban Members, votes on food issues can be 'traded' without much expectation of consumer backlash.
- Organic Consumers Association, 2002,

European Food Irradiation Campaign,,

Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund,

Food and Water Watch,

Food Irradiation Watch,
Organic Consumers Association,
No Cobalt 4 Food,
John McCabe, Author:

Sunfood Diet Infusion: Transforming Health Through Raw Food Veganism
Sunfood Traveler: Guide to Raw Food Culture
Sunfood Living: Resource Guide for Global Health
Igniting Your Life: Pathways to the Zenith of Health and Success
Hemp: What the world needs now

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Healthy kids should mean healthy planet, too

Waterlicious® is the first vitamin- and fiber-enhanced fruit-flavored water specially formulated for growing kids, both in terms of nutrition as well as taste.

Waterlicious. Making water delicious? Clever. Good for kids and better than sugary juices and sodas? Absolutely. No high-fructose corn syrup? Yay. Natural and all-around good stuff. Hooray. 12-oz throw-away plastic bottles? BOOOOOO. Fail.

I know, I know, I KNOW again. It's convenient. It's good on-the-go. It helps make life EASIER. Giving kids something like this instead of enduring their screaming makes parenting EASIER. I completely grant that this is a better product to give kids than some of the alternatives. What I refuse to grant is why it must come packaged like this. I would be 100% behind this product if it were in glass bottles, in big sizes, so that you can keep it conveniently in your fridge and dole it out into reusable bottles when needed. But this product is not in glass. It is in light, cheap plastic that will be here long after your childrens' children are gone. Yes. The plastic bottle you are using to pacify your child when it really isn't necessary will be here still when your child... well, you get it. Is that what you want? I don't. I believe in the premise behind this drink, but I do not feel it is necessary and I do not agree with keeping cases of it in the home. Heck, why not make some mix that parents can add at home? (Oh yeah, like already exist?) And 25 bucks for 18 bottles? No.

Let's look at it. What is it? Well, it's flavored water. That doesn't seem outrageously novel to me. With the tiniest bit more effort, I'm pretty sure we have the technology to flavor water at home and take it on trips to the park. Seriously. People think I am being a little harsh on these products aimed right squarely at children. Scratch that. At parents. THAT is why I am against these products. They are NOT in the best interest of children. They are create solely for parents who need convenience and do not make the time to make an alternative for their kids. PERIOD! These are quick easy fixes to something that really isn't a problem. TAKE a few minutes and create some kind of flavored water yourself at home with your own water from your own tap. It is NOT that hard. Get the kids involved. The ONLY thing these products do is teach toddlers that it's perfectly OK to use these disposable bottles and that everything should be quick and easy and convenient and store-bought instead of made at home.

Parents are busy. They are hassled. They don't have time for their kids. They work a lot. They're tired. I get it. But I cannot, will not stand by and watch the planet get trashed. I will speak out. I will declare these products are irresponsible and unnecessary. And I will go one step further and say that if parents are not prepared to take a few extra moments out of their day to avoid these oil- and resource-consumptive products, then perhaps they should rethink the number of kids they plan to have... seriously. Kids deserve time and care. Why else have them??? It's all well and good but the rest of us live here too, and THAT is why I speak out. We cannot just go on doing whatever we please to the Earth, because some of us actually want there to BE a future for these kids.

We have a bazillion reasons why bottled water is not good for adults. Why should we think it's OK for kids???

It's really not.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trick Kids Into Drinking More Water!

Yes, absolutely, let us get kids to drink more water! I agree completely! But do we really need to do it by making them their own special single-use-bottle bottled water? Apparently.

Today's spotlight for bottled-water aimed exclusively at kids is "Wat-aah". Yes, that is their logo. Because yes, by all means, let's encourage that behavior in our children. Isn't screaming cute? They at Wat-aah pull out all the stops and employ every tactic in the book... childhood obesity is up - buy our water! Your kids make this face haha - buy our water. Sugary drinks and soda are bad - buy our water! Oh, and and it has all kinds of good stuff in it like electrolytes and... um...  one of them has oxygen in it (??? I guess kids don't breathe enough?)... BUT it tastes just like pure water! Wow! I guess you have to have children to understand THAT selling point.

Let's just be honest... yes, everything they are using to scare you into buying their water is true. Childhood obesity is way alarming. I think a little fresh air and exercise would help that more than a bottle of water, personally, and a better diet... Yes, you should not be giving kids sugary sodas or stuff like that. (Somehow, back in the day, we found good old Kool-Aid to be just fine, and we did not have a problem with obesity.) I understand wanting kids to drink healthier, and I applaud any effort to get off the soda etc. But I simply do not get this whole "kids don't like water" thing. The "We have to make it appealing" thing. The "They'll scream if they don't get to drink what they want" thing. The "Let them go to the fridge and make their own choice" thing. NO. Kids don't know. YOU have to teach them. I drink coffee. I drink a lot of coffee. I love coffee. I grew up with happy memories that wrapped around the smell of coffee and the sound of a metal spoon stirring in a ceramic mug and the clink of that spoon on the counter. Guess what? Kids absorb what they see. So if you are constantly drinking from a throw-away bottle (I'm seriously going to stop glorifying them with the "recyclable" label), they will want to do it too. If you give them this over-priced whatever water when they are little, they will carry that habit into adulthood. STOP falling for this crap of catering to kids. This product isn't aimed at kids, it's aimed at their parents. Let's call a spade a spade. It's aimed at parents who are, quite frankly, failing as parents.

I have this vision. I see children of today growing up (hopefully, it's a little doubtful some times) and hitting their late teens and early twenties and looking around. I see them looking around at the planet, then looking at their parents and saying to them, "But you knew. You knew. All the knowledge was there, you were told over and over how bad this stuff was, and you still kept using it. You knowingly trashed MY future. Why would you do that?" What answer is there to that? Do YOU want to your child to ask you that question? Or would you rather they knew you did everything you could?

Meh. I could be wrong. Evidence to the contrary hits me in the face every damn day. But I'll keep trying. I promise. At least I'LL be able to look the kids in the eye.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Get 'em started young...

You may think I am going to talk about getting children on the green path. Would that I were. I'm actually going to point out several companies that would have your child happily getting hooked on single-use bottles right out of the crib. I can hardly think of anything more irresponsible, and rather than discuss them all in one posting, I'm going to give each of them the full attention and criticism they deserve. Yes, thank you, thank you, hold the applause. Haha!

First on my list: a little product/company called Nourish. They make bottled water for babies and toddlers. Oh, goody. My cauldron is already bubbling over! Here's their tagline: "We nourish our most precious resources. Our children, our time, our health, our world." Um. Please tell me how encouraging the use of "recyclable" disposable bottles nourishes our health or our world?? We've been over the recycle thing and we KNOW, we know, we know that a very small percentage of these bottles actually GET recycled. So, what... just keep using them and hope someday that will change? I think not.

But I digress. Let's get a little more into this product. First, we can buy "nourish baby". "Clean Water. Clean Bottle. Happy Baby." OK. Let us read on, shall we? "Just add formula, shake, serve, and recycle." Oh, here we go again with the recycle thing. I won't insult your intelligence by re-hashing it yet again. What this is, is a "recyclable" BPA-free bottle, filled with enough "spring" water to mix in formula, "specially designed to make feeding in a pinch a total cinch." Cinch? Since when does that word EVER apply to babies? If having a baby was a "cinch" - oh never mind on that one. They say, "No more washing out dirty bottles in public restrooms. No more stopping at fast food restaurants to ask for water." I never actually HAD a kid, so... maybe I don't know what it takes to juggle a kid and some sort of social life where I NEED to be out shopping instead of keeping my baby on a regular schedule (I seemed to hear once that that was important in raising a child, but I guess I'm wrong?), but this all seems a little TOO... too... uh... steeped in CONVENIENCE for me. Again, I could be way off. You know, I've always felt that if you can't change YOUR life around having a child, then maybe you shouldn't have one. Children require sacrifice. I'm sorry if that doesn't revolve around your idea of needing to be at Starbucks and interrupting your baby's nap time for your "needs", but I'm pretty sure our moms raised us JUST fine without the NEED to have to dash into a McDonald's to beg for water. I'm pretty sure they planned a little better than that. All this product says to me is, Go ahead, do what you need to do, don't put your baby's needs first, we make it convenient for you to do whatever you please. Actual mothers can tell me I'm incorrect, but if you have babies on a set feeding schedule and plan ahead a little for it, you don't need to be washing bottles in a gas-station hole-in-the-wall toilet.

Yeah yeah yeah. I know. It's just that this product, this company, seems to feed into the mind-set of this generation: it's OK, don't worry about it now, let's just make everything as easy as possible. Why should you be inconvenienced or have to work at anything? Here. Have this bottle, then throw it away. Oh, and don't forget the plastic forks and spoons and throw-away plates for the toddler years!

On to "nourish toddler". "Perfect for declarations of MINE." Oh good. Let's already abandon any hope of teaching our children to share, and let's start early. THAT point aside... "There's a better way to quench your toddler's thirst." Really? A 10oz single-use bottle of "spring" water is the better way? In what world? (Oh, yeah, in the "convenient" world. I forgot. Sorry.) "So long, sippy-cup power struggles." Uh huh. Good. I can't really see anything special or remarkable or novel about this product. It's bottled water, in a smaller bottle, with a lot more plastic on the sippy-lid. Yay.

This product line is all based on the (correct?) assumption that parents cannot control their children, that children rule the world of the adults and adults must bend to the whim of children's desires. What happened to being told "NO"? Here's the rest of their pitch: "Pleasing thirsty, hungry little ones on the go can be stressful. [??? So don't be on the go so much?] There's the juggling, the grabbing, the bargaining - and the spilling. Been there. Done that." I see. Instead of teaching children manners, and sharing, and to LISTEN, we just bend over to whatever, because it's EASIER, and pollute the planet with so-called recyclables because we are too lazy to be parents. I KNOW children are willful and can be difficult. I watch Supernanny. I also notice she insists the adults taking the lead role, not just giving in because it's easier. If you want easier, get a fish. Oh, no, wait, that requires changing water every so often. Get a plant. There are convenient ways around having to water it all the time, so bothersome.

I know! Get a farkin' rock. I hear they don't talk back at all.

Oh... and by the way, I must point out these things are a complete and total ghastly rip-off at $3.50 a bottle, and FORTY dollars a case.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Not a Smart Start

I must have been asleep at the wheel. It's the only explanation I have. Sometime, somewhere, when I wasn't paying attention, cereal got spiffy. And convenient. (And you know how much I hate that word...)

Way back when, someone realized it would be cool to sell cereal in little boxes. Hm. Convenient. Easy single-servings. Just toss a box to the kid. It was fun and fine to just eat it right straight from the box, minus the milk. A fun snack. If you wanted it the "traditional" way, you still had to seek out the milk and get a bowl all dirty.

But that wasn't good enough. Soon, we came up with this fancy way to specially open said little box and use the liner as a holder of milk, in conjunction with said box. I never tried it myself, but I suspect it proved too darn difficult for the average human. And for the kids?? Who needs an origami project when all you want is to give them some cereal with cow-juice?

So that wasn't good enough either. Never fear! Plastic is here! The cereal comes in its own perfect plastic bowl, you just throw the whole works away when you are finished! In fact, it would be nearly criminal to simply open these to snack on the stuff dry. I mean, you have the perfect container for the wet part. I can't hardly believe they don't come with a throw-away spoon. Let's make it a complete no-brainer no-clean-up. Who dropped the ball on that one?? And you still have to hunt down milk. What-up with that? Can't we make this even more convenient? Please?

If you break it down, I would suspect they become more expensive than a box of cereal. So what's the point? Buy a FULL box and put some in your own little sealed reusable bowl or cup or container. Milk has to be sought out anyway, so why not take the extra step?

Oh... wait... I know why. Because you might actually have to WASH something out after using it, and think about getting it back home or wherever. That's such a kill-joy. Besides, these containers get recycled anyway, right?


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

SO Unnecessary

There are some seriously unnecessary products out there. Unnecessary as in there is something other than this plastic piece of crap that you can use!!! But people like to create things and sell them to others who think they need them... and there ya go. Here are some products the Good Green Witch loves to hate...

3M's Scotch-Brite Cleaners. There's a whole variety. You know, because we need different handles for every single cleaning application in our lives. Right from the site: "Does your stainless steel refrigerator look like your child’s hand print drawings? The Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Cleaner is a quick and easy way to keep those stainless steel surfaces shiny and smudge free: Pop a disposable pre-moistened pad onto the uniquely handled applicator and you’re seconds away from scratch-free, fingerprint-resistant shine." Hm. Where to begin. Let me point out that they make a cook top scrubber, tub scrubber, sink scrubber, a nook and cranny scrubber, and a grout scrubber. I'm sure I am missing a few. Sigh. And these are necessary because...???? Because a simple microfiber cloth obtained at the 99 Cent Store CAN'T handle most of those surfaces then be tossed in the laundry to be used again and again? I'm really at a loss. Unnecessary.

I want to hate this one more than I do, but at least it has a reusable microfiber cloth on it. "Clean your windows without twisting or contorting your body!" I do like the idea, but we really do not need another cheap plastic handle out there in the world. Again, you can find your microfiber cloth and make yourself something like this out of crap you already have lying around your home or garage. Plus, they come with spray bottles for the water. Really, not necessary. So, yay on the idea and the actual NON-disposable cloths involved, but come on. Unnecessary.

Woo hoo! Good doggie exercise! I find these completely unnecessary. How many end up in the landfill for no good reason? The only people that get a pass on using these are older people who still want to get their dog to run and play, but maybe have arthritis or a bad back or some such. But for everyone else... NO. Unnecessary. Oh sure, it may fling the ball super-far, but really, just throw the darn thing yourself. And if your excuse for having this is because "eeeewwww, the ball is all soggy from dog spit and it gets all muddy and eeewww...." NO. You HAVE a DOG. Dog spit was part of the deal. You don't like touching dog spit, don't have a dog. And if you are too lazy to bend over and pick up the ball... well then, just leave.

These at-your-desk no-need-to-refrigerate super-easy yummy meals are all over the place. Frankly, I'm horrified. It's not like anyone is keeping the strainers that come with each and every frozen or packaged meal to use for other things. How many of these grossly unnecessary pieces of plastic are getting thrown away every day in this country? I shudder to think. And yet, we don't think about it at all, we take it for granted that once thrown away in in the bin, it's somehow magically OK, but it's not.  I understand people are busy. But that's no reason to thrash the place for the rest of us who actually manage our time. How busy will we be when we've destroyed life as we know it because we couldn't make meals over the weekends and bring them to work in a sustainable manner? Not too busy, I think.

There are so many others. They can wait for another day. Unfortunately, there is no lack of subject matter. And the Good Green Witch is angry. Angry, and dismayed, and alarmed, and all other sorts of things. Why can't we just stop, think, look around at what we are doing? Why are WE, me writing this and you reading this, in such a minority? I'll keep on keeping on, and so will you, and then I guess all we can do is hope for the best, and that people will wake up before it's too late.

Unless it already is.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What a Waste is Waste

As I sit here, one of the many various trash trucks is doing it's thing on my street. It's daily. Not a day goes by that I don't see/hear trash trucks. Part of the reason for that is because these buildings have pick-up several times a week, and then you have to factor in the trash vs the recycling vs the green waste pick-up... all separate trucks... fine, whatever... but mostly, I notice the reason for this.... is....

Pretty much each building on the street has a different company getting it's trash.

Mittens from "Bolt" quote: "Now I'm concerned on a number of levels."

Los Angeles City picks up our recycling, but they do not handle our trash. Trash pick-up is contracted out to a whole mess of other companies. Since we've been here these 5 or so years, I think I have seen our trash pick-up handled by 3 different companies. This is why I cannot get green waste containers, even though I want them. LA will not give them to us, because they don't pick up our trash and therefore do not care if green waste goes in the dumpsters or not. (I know, I have asked.) I've never counted, but I am reasonably confident that at least 3 or 4 different companies handle JUST OUR BLOCK.

Yeah? So? Well, here's the deal. This would be different if these trucks were all bio-diesel or some clean-fuel trucks, but they are your average gas-guzzling yuck-trucks. If one company handled all the building, or if we had the city picking up, this would mean a much more efficient system. As it is now, trucks come all times of the week and drive past buildings on the way to another street... yeah. I find this troubling. I knows. I need a new pastime.

I don't have a solution; I'm just sharing (venting) at this point. I wonder why I am the only one that seems to see this on my street. I suppose an option would be to go to ALL the building managers on the street and talk to them, one at a time, and see if maybe they would be interested and open to change if I can get reduced pick-up rates. I may be delusional, but it seems to me that if ONE company handled an area, there COULD be lower rates, because there would be efficiency. Yeah, OK, I know, I AM delusional. What's new.

Then again, I AM Italian.... and I've watched the Sopranos. Somehow I recall they knew their way around trash business in the Mafia.... hmmmmmmm....

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"But I put them in the recycling bin!"

We've all heard that one, haven't we? "Well, sure I use plastic bags. But I recycle them." Try as I do to point out the futility of that practice, I still hear it over and over.

The futility I mention was so very clearly shown to me one day last week as I stood at my kitchen sink, looking out the window onto our street below. We have front-row accommodations to a fairly busy street, lined with apartment complexes and palm trees. I looked out as a recycling truck went by. It's hard to tell them from regular trash trucks, isn't it? That alone speaks volumes to me, but I feel rather solitary in that. (I'm sure I'm not, but apparently I don't talk to the right people enough.) So, here goes this big huge noisy truck rumbling down the street, and out from the top floats a plastic bag, serenely leaving the rest of its plastic brethren behind to become another piece of trash, attempting a dream journey to the beach, to the ocean, to join someday in the Pacific Gyre, if it is lucky enough to make it that far. Every bag's dream.

Yes. You use plastic bags because you think that putting them in your recycling bin or that collection bin at your grocery store absolves you from responsibility. You've "done your part." It's OK to use them because they are going RIGHT back into the mix, right? WRONG. It is far easier and less expensive to make new plastic bags than it is to recycle them. So while they may be collected, they are NOT likely to get recycled. They are sitting in giant warehouses and shipping containers until someone figures out what to do with them or what third world country can be scammed into taking them. They float away from their groups and get caught in trees, or float off trucks that gather them and head for the shores. Don't fool yourself. Just. Stop. Using. Them.

Just as California is poised to start charging for these bags at stores (even though it will still be 2 years before it would come into being. I'll never understand that.), out comes a report that YOUR REUSABLE BAG MIGHT KILL YOU. Yeah, we all saw the alarmist articles. I laughed it off (because it is, after all, stupid), but a dear friend pointed out that it would seem to counter the upcoming bag-charging law, and keep people wanting their throw-aways. I was stunned that my cynicism slipped to where I missed that. (What's wrong with me???!) Any person with 2 grains of sense in their head can make sure their reusable bags aren't breeding grounds of e. coli. Frankly, if someone does NOT have enough sense for that, I say leave the gene pool quietly and thank you very much for playing. But that's me.

What happened to The Bag from the Truck? It fluttered away between some buildings. I hope someone was able to catch it as it rested on its journey, and that someone would try to get it to a proper bin (of futility) again, but there are no guarantees that it will stay there either. The Bag from the Truck clearly has its destiny in mind. It wants the Gyre. It will not be contained.

Just another day in the life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Green Witch Rule

Eventually, I shall number these and collect them all in one place. For now, enjoy them as they trickle out of my brain.

Green Witch Rule: If it pops out pre-moistened from a plastic container, you can do without it.

I hear you. I do. I appreciate that you feel like germs are everywhere, waiting to kill you and your family. But guess what? It's not that bad. I live a peaceful existence without super-warfare on germs, bugs and bacteria. I do not get sick all the time. No more than you, really. I KNOW they're convenient, I know you like the smell, I know you fear e.coli will come up and attack you in your sleep. I know your kids get dirty when you all are out, and you like to rub them down with these chemical-filled sheets of landfill-fodder. I know you can't be bothered to grab a real cloth when you are crazy-busy and hectic, and the single-use pop-up sheets are just so darned easy to use... I know, I know. Shhh. Simmer down, it's OK.

But you know what? You have fallen prey to advertisers and companies that WANT you to live in fear, because if you live in fear, they can continue being rich. They are happy to offer you the ease of disposability. More than happy.

Next time you find yourself reaching for ANY of these products, can you please stop for a few seconds and ask yourself if you really need them? Isn't there a way you can cut back on them? You can wean yourself off, you don't have to go cold-turkey. Really. I won't judge.

Yeah, OK, maybe a little. But not out loud.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well, maybe we won't have fish anymore anyway.

Maybe I should stay off Google Search. THIS is truly evil and horrifying. My co-worker purchased some sushi from a grocery store, and in the plastic container with the sushi was a little packet of ginger. No, not a mound of ginger, but a tiny little packet of ginger, sealed in a little plastic pouch. Amusingly, the ginger in the packet wasn't even very good-tasting. I found this bit of plastic completely unnecessary, so I searched for it to share here. What I found was much much worse!

"Using our latest concept individually wrapped sushi is beautiful and distinguishable. Our new system features patented sealing for easy opening and prevention of fish discolouration, A first in the sushi world!" Yes, this is the sales pitch for a sushi-wrapping system. Let's look at it, shall we?

EACH PIECE is so fresh!

You don't have to TOUCH the sushi!!!  I mean, after all, that would be just GROSS!

Look! Miles and miles of plastic---er, I mean sushi! And what doesn't sell is SO easy to throw away!

Where to begin. Look, if you can't TOUCH your sushi, you really have no business eating it. Period. I'm kind of blown away by the thought of the unsold sushi. Is someone unwrapping it by hand so it can be disposed of "properly"? I hardly think so. Nope, now they get to go back to the ocean from whence they came, floating forever in little packs. Well, at least until they get eaten by a fish who dies from the plastic. And I'm stuck in center-align and can't get out, so I'll wrap this up quickly. Heh heh, get it? Wrap up?

Yeah, I know. It's not that funny to me either.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Be a Good Green Friend

The Good Green Witch gets DOWN sometimes.

When I go for awhile without blogging, you can bet I'm trying to figure out my place in this world. Is it too late? Have we gone too far? What difference am I making?

Then someone slaps me and I'm OK again. :)

I got to thinking about how it goes when we look around at our friends and acquaintances. Sure, we get driven crazy by their not-so-green ways. But how to effect a change without ending up with no friends? I'll throw some tips out there, and feel free to comment with how YOU cope!

- Your friend constantly has a single-use bottle. Easy solution: instead of lecturing them for the millionth time, buy them a great re-use bottle that is perfectly suited to their personality and they'll just love! If that doesn't do it, get them a filter for their home faucet. They're very easy to put on. You can make it a fun birthday gift if you really try. Hahahahha.

- Your friend is a smoker. Yes, you can tell them until you are blue in the face how bad it is. They aren't going to stop. What can you do? Give them the gift of a Zippo-type lighter or some other refillable kind. Then they aren't throwing away (and constantly losing!) cheap plastic lighters. Besides, giving them this gift will mean a lot more to them than nagging about quitting. They MIGHT just be more willing to listen to you next time...

-Your friend uses plastic bags. This is an easy one. Of course, if you give them some reusable bags, they'll just forget them in the car or leave them at home, right? Well, get your purse-carrying-type friend the cool little ones that fold up inside themselves and travel nicely in any purse.

A gift is a great way to get people on your side; you don't even have to say anything. Make your actions speak for you!

Sometimes I Cheat...

...but not really!

Today, instead of my usual no-shampoo baking soda method, followed by my lovely apple cider vinegar, I used shampoo. Yes, I confess. Of course, in my defense, it was shampoo I already had. Sometimes the greenest product is the one you have.

I have a bunch of little bottles from hotels and such. Now, should I just throw them all out? Absolutely not! What would that accomplish? If we already have it, we may as well use it. Sometimes, you can give it away so someone else can make use of it. But, it's here, it should be used. And using it keeps a new product from needing to be produced. We hope.

So anyway, I used some wonderful Cedar Wood and Spanish Borage Oil shampoo that is no longer made, which is why I have valued every little bottle I still had from before. My hair feels great and the rich lather was a unique treat... but wow. I have short hair, as you know, so it's not in my face, but after using no-smell stuff for so long, ALL I can SMELL is my HAIR!!!! Luckily, it's a very yummy smell.

The lesson here? Well, 1) use what you have. Emptying bottles down the drain to use something greener, isn't always green. Use it or give it away. 2) Be warned: when you get used to less smells, those ones you never noticed before are going to get you in a big way!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Rules

Actually, that one's been taken. Bill Mahar's peeps might not like it if I use that phrase. And I like Bill Mahar, sooo.... hmm.... Earth Rules? Green Rules? Witch's Creed?

ANYWAY... here's the first one....
Witch's Creed (let's try that one!): If it is made of plastic, we cannot call it a "glass"!

IKEA calls this "Midsommer" Glass.

They are made from plastic.

Um, no.

Glasses are made from glass. It's right in the name. It IS the name.

I like IKEA, but last time I was in there, I was kind of horrified by all the plastic they sold in there.

What "rules" can you suggest?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pizza Goes the Wrong Direction

What's "Unbelievable" about this new product by Red Baron isn't the taste, as they claim, it's the waste.

Frozen pizza isn't THE most environmentally-friendly food out there, what with all the wrapping and preservatives, etc... making you own even with store-bought dough or crust is much better... but I get the appeal. I'm not knocking the entire industry. But Red Baron has unveiled "Pizza by the SLICE" microwave pizza. The picture I saw in the ad made me suspicious of how much unnecessary packaging was going into this thing. Sure enough, each slice is encased in plastic wrap and comes in its own super-special crisping 3-sided tray. Now, I don't claim to be a genius or anything, but that seems like a whole lotta waste for the small payoff of ONE single piece of pizza. 

I guess we can be thankful that this product would not be embraced by large families... this should be more of a snack for single people or office workers. But, no. There nothing about this product that makes me want to feel thankful. This is a definite "REJECT!" product. Do not buy this for an easy snack for the kids, do not buy this for your lunch at your desk, do not buy this to have at home for those quick munchies. Send a message to the frozen pizza peeps, and send a message to Red Baron that this is not the direction in which to be going. This is exactly opposite of the directing in which we should be going.

Just sayin'. Please eat something else. Slap an English muffin or bagel in the toaster oven with some sauce and some cheese on it. Anything but this astronomical gastronomical fail.