Saturday, December 19, 2009

The US --SO Not Really Green It Isn't Funny

If you haven't been watching Democracy Now's coverage of Copenhagen for the past two weeks you'd think that the US is so far ahead of every other country in wanting to address climate change that everyone is dragging their feet and we have to give them a kick in the butt to get things going.

Hillary Clinton's kick in the butt was an offer of 100 billion dollars ==and she said take the offer now as it was only on the table for 24 hours. This was blatant bullying to get poor nations to accept a result from the conference that would doom some island states within a period of a few years, and add greatly to instability in other parts of the world due to crop failures as a result of weather instability.

To put it most simply--

350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in "Parts Per Million" in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it's the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

Results from Copenhagen--770 ppm--and this is non-binding


Apparently, there were secret talks taking place at Copenhagen among the Big Guys--

Leaked Admission of Higher Temps Adds to Summit Uncertainty

The summit was shaken up Thursday after confidential UN documents showed the currently proposed emissions cuts would increase global temperatures by an average three degrees Celsius. The disclosure contradicts promises from world leaders to cap increases at two degrees. The new figure is double the 1.5 degrees called for by developing countries, which would require limiting C02 emissions at 350 parts per million. Jade Lindgaard of the French news website Mediapart broke the story yesterday on Democracy Now!

Jade Lindgaard: “A very interesting leak today from the UNFCCC secretariat showing that the targets of reduction emissions that countries now, today, are putting on the table, these targets do not allow to stay below two degree rise in temperature. And they even say that it could lead us to a rise of three degree in temperature, which is, as we know, catastrophic if that ever happens.”

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sun Chips--Healthier You, Healthier Planet?

Couldn't resist using this photo as it cracks me up. Sitting in a tent, drinking a giant Bud & munching on Sun Chips--what could be better?

(from )

Their chips claim to be healthier--ok, that's good. Ingredients list is excellent, actually. If you have to eat junk food, it's a good idea to choose one with a slight nutritional value.

18 gms of whole grain

30% less fat

less salt

0% trans fat


And Sun Chips, in comparison with other Green-grabbing big corporations , are pretty upfront in their ad copy--they state that

So we've started using solar energy instead of fossil fuel to help make SunChips® in our plant in Modesto, California. And although Modesto is only one of the eight plants we use to make SunChips® snacks, for us it's a small step in the right direction.

They do full disclosure on the compostable bag. Even so, how many people eating Sun Chps have an active compost pile, or access to a community one? Not many, I would guess.

Like you, we dream of a world with less waste. To truly address the impact of our packaging we knew we had to create a better bag. And guess what? We found the answer in nature.

Today, 33% of every 10 1/2 oz. size SunChips® bag is made with renewable, plant based materials. This is our first step to reduce the amount of non–renewable materials we use for packaging.

But the really exciting news is that in 2010, we plan to introduce the first fully compostable chip bag of its kind. These innovative bags are designed to fully decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin or pile.

They are sponsoring a contest with a big prize--that's good.

Submit your earth-saving idea

At SunChips® brand, we believe small steps can bring about big change. So we’ve teamed up with National Geographic to create the Green Effect™. The five best green ideas will receive $20,000 in funding, and will each be profiled in National Geographic magazine. Then, each of the five winners will travel to National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C to present their idea to environmental leaders. Deadline for inspiring millions of people ends June 8th.

Well, baby steps--but in the whole scheme of things--Frito Lay is just not green--it is a 12 billion dollar business- a part of Pepsi, the world's largest snack food company--& represents about 1/3 of Pepsi's total business. If they truly went sustainable it would be huge.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dow Chemicals--commited to the environment

It's the 25 year anniversary of Bhopal, and just checking in on the state of things--it's not very good. Water is contaminated, lingering health problems are beginning to affect a third generation--

Research by the Indian Council for Medical Research shows that 25,000 people have died from the consequences of exposure since 1984. About 100,000 people are chronically sick, and more than 30,000 people live in water-contaminated areas around the factory, according to government figures, the Times Online reports.

India's government has previously acknowledged that about half a million people were affected by the incident, considered the world's worst industrial accident. (UPI)

--so what does Dow, who now owns Union Carbide, have to say about Bhopal--

A Legacy Acknowledged

imageIn response to growing public outrage over its handling of the Bhopal disaster's legacy, Dow issued a statement on December 3, 2002 explaining why it is unable to more actively address the problem. The statement went to thousands of journalists and others. (For selected responses, click here.)

"We are being portrayed as a heartless giant which doesn't care about the 20,000 lives lost due to Bhopal over the years," said Dow President and CEO Michael D. Parker. "But this just isn't true. Many individuals within Dow feel tremendous sorrow about the Bhopal disaster, and many individuals within Dow would like the corporation to admit its responsibility, so that the public can then decide on the best course of action, as is appropriate in any democracy.

"Unfortunately, we have responsibilities to our shareholders and our industry colleagues that make action on Bhopal impossible. And being clear about this has been a very big step."

On December 3, 1984, Union Carbide--now part of Dow--accidentally killed 5,000 residents of Bhopal, India, when its pesticide plant sprung a leak. It abandoned the plant without cleaning it up, and since then, an estimated 15,000 more people have died from complications, most resulting from chemicals released into the groundwater.

Although legal investigations have consistently pinpointed Union Carbide as culprit, both Union Carbide and Dow have had to publicly deny these findings. After the accident, Union Carbide compensated victims' families between US$300 and US$500 per victim.

"We understand the anger and hurt," said Dow Spokesperson Bob Questra. "But Dow does not and cannot acknowledge responsibility. If we did, not only would we be required to expend many billions of dollars on cleanup and compensation--much worse, the public could then point to Dow as a precedent in other big cases. 'They took responsibility; why can't you?' Amoco, BP, Shell, and Exxon all have ongoing problems that would just get much worse. We are unable to set this precedent for ourselves and the industry, much as we would like to see the issue resolved in a humane and satisfying way."

Shareholders reacted to the Dow statement with enthusiasm. "I'm happy that Dow is being clear about its aims," said Panaline Boneril, who owns 10,000 shares, "because Bhopal is a recurrent problem that's clogging our value chain and ultimately keeping the share price from expressing its full potential. Although a real solution is not immediately possible because of Dow's commitments to the larger industry issues, there is new hope in management's exceptional new clarity on the matter."

"It's a slow process," said Questra. "We must learn bit by bit to meet this challenge head-on. For now, this means acknowledging that much as it pains us, our prime responsibilities are to the people who own Dow shares, and to the industry as a whole. We simply cannot do anything at this moment for the people of Bhopal."

But don't be too critical--they ARE sponsoring the

Dow Live Earth Run for Water

The Dow Live Earth Run for Water is the largest solutions-based initiative aimed at solving the global water crisis in history. Taking place on April 18, 2010, the event will consist of a series of 6 km runs/walks (the average distance many women and children walk every day to secure water) occurring over the course of 24 hours. The events will feature live musical performances and water education activities in an effort to ignite a massive global movement to put an end to this epidemic. (More)

Phew, I'm relieved.......nothing to worry about long as there are live musical performances, everything's all right....

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Story About Natural Flavors

Raffi Khatchadourian, Annals of Science, “The Taste Makers,” The New Yorker, November 23, 2009

If you haven't read this yet, do so immediately--only the abstract is available online, unfortunately--you now need a digital subscription to read most of TheNY online, alas, but you can get it from the library--I now do this for most of my mags--avoids the horrible huge pile of mags for the recycling.

ABSTRACT: ANNALS OF SCIENCE about Michelle Hagen, a flavorist at Givaudan, the largest creator of flavors and fragrances in the world. Growing up, Michelle Hagen lived near a factory in Cincinnati that produced what she and her sisters called The Smell. The aroma wasn’t consistent: it was dynamic and unpredictable. Many of the odors triggered specific associations—birthday cake, popcorn, chicken-noodle soup. She never imagined that she would end up working in the factory that made The Smell, but that is what happened. The factory belongs to a Swiss company called Givaudan.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ultimately...created from air...

Sorry to have such a tiny image, but this is the only one I could get to work. If you squint real hard you see an inoffensive acrylic knitted head warmer being sold in The Sundance Catalog for $28.00--not an unreasonable pricefor a fancy catalog, actually.

So what raised my hackles here?

If you scroll down to "Our Product Story"---

Our Product Story

Acrylic is the generic name for man-made fibers derived from polyacrylonitrile - a liquid ultimately created from air and natural gas. Its chief properties are a soft, woolly hand, wash-and-wear performance, good stability under repeated launderings and good wrinkle resistance.

I love that air and natural gas can combine to make a lovely fiber, don't you? Sounds like fairies-- rather than people in Asian factories-- make acrylic.

(reported by Bonnyred)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Soap That Says It's a Sunscreen, Sort Of

This is quite an amazing product--miraculous, you might say. A quote from the website--

Bethesda Skincare was born out of our desire to create a company with products that brought healing and restoration to all people. When our company was being formed, it was very important for us that we choose a name that reflected this mission and desire.

During the time of Jesus, there was a pool called Bethesda, located near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, which was renowned for healing all sorts of diseases and ailments - even blindness, paralysis, and incurable skin diseases. From time to time, an angel of the Lord would come and stir the waters in the pool and the first person in would immediately be healed of ailments. People would travel from miles and wait for days, even weeks, just for the slim chance that they might be the one to be healed.

The name Bethesda embodies our mission. Our desire is to bring healing and comfort to everyone who uses our products, even just once. People may have traveled from many miles to sit at the pool after which we are named, but our desire is to bring healing to all the nations - and not just to the "first one in". May our products be your Bethesda.

Wow--quite a mission. I guess they are handing out their products to people in need--kind of Jesus-like. No, not really--their soap is $8. But the price isn't the issue, it's the claim.

Introducing the World's First All-Natural Sunscreen Body Bar with Multi-Vitamins that Nourishes the Body. Bethesda Sunscreen Soap contains a combination of healing and therapeutic properties that moisturizes as it protects the body from the harmful rays of the sun. Talk about getting it all done in the shower!

Ok, soap is a rinse off product--it can clean you-- either gently or harshly, & it can make you happy because it smells great, but it can't do any more than that.

Luckily the Bethesda people know this, because in the succeeding paragraph they state:

Bethesda Sunscreen Soap is NOT a substitute for standard sunscreen products. It is intended for “everyday” use and should not be relied on as the primary source of protection from the sun. Bethesda Sunscreen Soap should be used in conjunction with your regular sunscreen product prior to exposure to the sun.

Amazing coincidence--I, too, use my Storybook Farm soaps in conjunction with a sunscreen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Omnivore's Dilemma--Eat It or Polish Your Shoes With It

The newly launched ‘edible shoe cream’ made from 100% coconut not only cleans and polishes shoes when they need it, it’s also a delicious ‘all-in-one’ beauty product that can be used as a lip balm, skin moisturizer, hair conditioner, massage oil and even as an alternative cooking oil. You can even spread it on your toast! Ideal for anyone who won’t put anything on their skin or clothes that isn’t safe to eat.

Well, it's green, it's organic, it's multi-purpose, yet somehow it's absurd. The price is pretty excessive--if you want organic coconut oil to use for any purpose, I'd recommend ordering from here.
You can get 7 pounds of organic coconut oil for the same 15 bucks--of course the shipping is gonna be higher...

I do actually use coconut oil as a shoe polish--it's excellent--and it's part of my soap recipe, and in my lip and hand balms, too. I have not yet put some on my toast, however.....

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Pee poo Bag--green or not green?

It is green--designed to be, after all--

Single Use
Self sanitising
Fertiliser after use

According to the site, 40 out of 100 people worldwide have no access to basic sanitation.

The Un Millenium Development Goal 7 Target 10 established in 2002 set up to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to drinking water and sanitation. In figures, that counts for 1,3 billion within 13 years. Unfortunately the progress towards this goal are slow or even negative. One factor is the rapid growth of the number of people living in slums or slum-like conditions.

So PeePoople set out to develop a short term, easily implemented solution--the result is the Peepoo bag.

At first the bag struck me as an elaborate joke--a way to highlight how little we in developed countries care about the poorest--handing poor people a bag and telling them to use it as a toilet seems degrading.

But being forced to eliminate waste where you live is pretty degrading --& living with the waste--the contamination--the disease--what's more degrading than that?

(found at )

Sunday, September 27, 2009

WoW! It's really ok to drink bottled water.....

Well, not really--although Poland Spring is working hard to convince us that it is. Don't get me started on the whole bottled water thing.

The US has (or, maybe had, unfortunately, but that's a long and sad topic for discussion at another time) a wonderful , safe system for supplying water to its citizens. Just turn on a tap and you get safe drinking water.

Why anyone would buy bottled water has long been a mystery to me. The power of advertising is great.

But now, at long last, after billions of plastic bottles have been manufactured, filled, transported, bought, used and discarded, there's a bit of a backlash against bottled water.

So Poland Springs has apparently hired Nick Naylor (Thank You For Smoking) to do some explaining.

They now have --

A better bottle for you and our environment!

Our Eco-Shape® Bottle...
  • is made with an average of 30% less plastic versus comparable size carbonated and non-carbonated beverages.*
  • features a label approximately one-third smaller.
  • is more flexible so it's easier to crush for recycling.
  • is easier to carry.

I really like the term eco-shape(R)---what does this mean? the shape is good for the ecology? or maybe it's shaped to look like it's good for the ambiguous.

(sent by Sylvia)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Milk of Magnesia--for Your Pits

This is strange & interesting--Milk of Magnesia really works as a deodorant. I read about this recently, at the Dish. Of course I had to try it--and it is very effective. No niff even the next morning. And it doesn't make your pits chalky--it dries clear.

I guess this qualifies as Green--a bottle has to last for six months at least--and the bottle's recyclable, which I don't think deodorant containers generally are.

And even though I'm kind of doubtful about the connection of the aluminum salts in deodorant to breast cancer, they are an irritant, and the magnesium hydroxide in MOM is considered safe for ingestion, so I think it's pretty safe for skin application.

I just generally like oddball uses for products so I love this....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Sad Little Prison For Plants

This is both funny and sad--I have an image of a tech slave who longs for the freedom of Nature-- chained to his monitor-- where his only pleasure is watching plants grow in the USB Greenhouse--sort of like those severed heads being kept alive in the Mad Scientist's lab in B movies.

You have to have your computer running 24 hours a day to keep the greenhouse working--not too green, although your computer will tell you when the plants need watering--clever but ridiculous--I guess the tech slave is so removed from Nature that he wouldn't trust himself to recognize dry soil or drooping leaves without the word from his computer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Organic Baby--or Should I Say Babee?

I'm singling out this product, but it's really just one of many "green" products for baby....

New parents are suckers--they want to do the best for their baby--and spending a lot of money on something "organic" is a good way to do this--isn't it?

And this lotion is expensive--Johnson's Baby Lotion is $4.29 for 15 oz, and Babee Lotion is $7.99 for 6 oz---about 4x more money.

So where do I start on this one?

Ok, the word "Babee". Enough said.

And, babies don't need, and shouldn't use, baby lotion. The less that's put on their skin the better--they shouldn't even have soap very often, just every few baths. If their skin gets dry and flaky, a little olive oil massage is just perfect.

Second, organic is important for what you eat, but less so for skin care or rinse off products--the pesticides in non organic aren't going to be sufficient in a skin product to be absorbable in any significant amount, so spending more on organic cosmetic products is a waste of money.

Now let's talk about the ingredients list:

Ingredients: aqueous infusion of organic white tea, organic aloe vera gel, wildcrafted organic shea butter, vegetable glycerin, stearic acid (vegetable fat), organic jojoba oil, glyceryl stearate (plant derived), glyceryl stearate citrate (plant derived), cold pressed avocado oil, organic bees wax, xanthan gum (plant derived), vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol), grapefruit seed extract, polyhexanide, botanical fragrance (plant derived).

Total baloney--the organic tea is what Dr. Bronner's calls a teabag thrown into a vat of water to up the "organic" percentage.

"Plant derived" ingredients--sure, a very long time ago--almost every ingredient used in skin care was a plant about a hundred steps back in the manufacturing process.

Polyhexanide--why is this in this lotion? It's an antiseptic.

Grapefruit seed extract is often touted as a "natural" preservative--but studies have shown that the reason it preserves is because of all the pesticides in the extract itself.

The baby's cute, though.

(sent by Irena)

Sugar's Not the Bad Guy.....

Personally, I always have cotton candy with some fruit.

I just love the Pure Fun company--they've truly got their act together. Information--it's all there at the website & you can listen to The Nutcracker while you read.

If you perhaps feel a little guilty eating cotton candy they'll enlighten you .....

Sugar's Not The Bad Guy

We're born with a natural taste for sweetness, and a little wholesome sugar is good for the soul. Beware of refined sugars since all the nutrients have been removed. Natural, organic, pure, chemical-free, and wholesome sugar taken in moderation is not bad for you!

Pure Fun has a big pile of information at the website--scientific studies galore-- and throws around a lot of terms to impress--"Fair Trade", "Organic", "Cane Sugar"and that USDA organic certification, of course. And there's a comparison of Pure Fun with regular cotton candy--

Do you know what you're eating?

Cotton Candy Ingredients


Ingredients: Organic Evaporated Cane juice (retaining all of natures nutrients and minerals), natural flavors, natural colors, air spun

Maple Natural Caramel
Root Beer Natural Caramel
Licorice No color added
Spicy Cinnamon Natural Black Carrots
Bubble Gum Natural Red Cabbage


You’ll be shocked at what regular candy floss is made with! Here are a few examples of non-organic Candy Floss recipes:

Refined white sugar (with all the nutrients that nature provides in sugar removed); synthetic flavors created in a laboratory to simulate a 'tastes like' the real thing, and artificially produced Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) controlled colors (some of which have been banned in cosmetics!)

Ingredients: Refined White Sugar, Artificial Flavors and Artificial Colors (see FD&C colors below, do your own investigations and draw your own conclusions)

Blue Blue Dye#1 (E133)
Pink Red Dye #40 (E129)
Grape Red Dye #3 (E127) + Blue Dye#1 (E133)
Orange Red Dye #40 (E129) + Yellow Dye #6 (E110)
Banana Yellow Dye #5 (E102)+
Watermelon Blue #1 (E133) + Red #3 (E127) + Yellow #6 (E110)
Cherry Red Dye #8 (E127)
Green Apple Yellow Dye #5 (E102) + Blue Dye#1 (E133)
Lime Blue #1 (E133) Yellow #5 (E102) + Green #3

I haven't seen any natural bubblegum flavor yet.

I actually love cotton candy, although I probably don't eat it more than once a year--I guess now that I've learned the truth I should be scared about the terrible ingredients in regular cotton candy--sugar & flavor & color additives. I'm definitely going for the Pure Fun--it has....sugar & color & flavor additives.

(sent by AustinElements)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yes Men NY Big Event on Sept 21

The Yes Men are serious pranksters--one of the best was a fake edition of the NYT with all GOOD News--in their movie The Yes Men Save The World you see the joy on peoples' faces when they read that the Iraq War is over-- makes you cry.

So anyway, they are planning a Big Event in NYC in Monday--so sign up if you can--but at least make sure to watch the news that night--I'm sure they are planning something amazing.


The image says it all, doesn't it? Just fuss, no muss...plug it in, plug it in....

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is committed to the idea that America can have the affordable, reliable electricity we need ... with the clean environment we want.

I don't know--sounds good, doesn't it?

This writer doesn't think so--and he's a descendant of coal miners, not an effete lefty.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

AMAZING!!!! Batter Blaster-- Pancakes in a Can!!!

And, it's Organic. And Original.

The ingredients DO seem to be organic

Ingredients and Nutrition
Filtered water
Organic wheat flour (unbleached)
Organic cane sugar
Organic whole egg solids
Organic soybean powder
Sodium lactate (lactic acid from beet sugar)
DiCalcium phosphate (leavening agent)
Sea salt
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Organic rice bran extract

The site has a USDA certified logo. But the whole idea is completely bizarre.

The thought of squirting pancake batter into a pan from a spray can being in any way healthy or good for the environment is laughable.

The site claims the can is recyclable--the plastic top, maybe, but the can is steel--the only metal I can recycle is aluminum.