Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour Is Almost HERE!

ARE YOU READY?

Prepare today!
Get your candles or flashlights ready!
Get out the Monopoly game!
It's almost THAT time!

Click the picture to visit the official website for Earth Hour!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

8pm EST until 9pm EST


Turning the lights off for Earth Hour is a great first step, but if you really want to see a difference, then make Earth Hour part of your everyday life.

Whether you believe global warming is man made or natural, it's absolutely necessary to support eachother in one goal, that goal is TO SLOW IT DOWN NO MATTER WHAT!

My Mother taught me to always take care of the Earth, because of one simple fact. Someone else is going to use it next! And you always leave it better than you found it! Courtesy, plain and true.






Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CFL Mercury Dangers, Real Or Hype?

Are you switching to CFL light bulbs?

I'm thankful a great friend has passed this article on to me. I had heard about the dangers of mercury in these bulbs and how our landfills would be affected because of them not being disposed of properly.

However, I hadn't considered the full extent of the danger they posed to our health as well. Especially about Autism. Mercury poisoning in vaccinations (old ones-not the new ones) are being blamed for the incredible rise in Autism rates. That's my biggest concern with mercury.

However, while reading articles about the dangers, pros and cons, I've come to my own personal conclusion that it's not all that bad. IF you follow some simple steps:

First, purchase the lowest mercury cfl's from the following manufacturers. They'll at least reduce the risks.

Philips: http://www.lighting.philips.com/
Phillips Low Mercury Britelite: http://britelite.com/Products/Alto.html
Osram-Sylvania: http://www.sylvania.com/ConsumerProducts/LightingForHome/

Second, know what to do if one breaks by learning more and educating everyone you know about these at http://www.energystar.gov/

There's a lot of hype, created (I think) by lobbyists for certain corporations who would like you to think cfl bulbs aren't safe at all, or their bulbs are the only ones safe. (competition is being phased out by 2012)

So, balance your knowledge and be careful when disposing of these bulbs, or if one breaks. If you want to know more about cfl pro's and con's, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp to see more.



A couple of examples of the info on the web:

Here's an article re-published by the Modesto Bee:



Last year Congress passed a bill aimed at reducing energy consumption. That's a laudable goal. Who doesn't want to save energy? One of the proposals signed into law, though, goes too far -- and, as I recently found out with my kids, even can endanger your health.
Lawmakers mandated the eventual replacement of conventional, incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. They're supposed to be four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, so it made sense to try them.


Recently, however, the law of unintended consequences hit home in a very personal way. It was a typical Sunday. The kids were running around. Then, a crash -- my favorite lamp. Yes, I was upset, but as I looked closer, fear gripped my heart. The lamp had a new CFL bulb -- which contains mercury.

I immediately shooed my children away. I was too scared to be angry. I then did what anyone with a toxic substance leaking into the floor would do: I cleaned it up.
That was a mistake. You see, if you break one of the new CFL bulbs, it turns out that your first course of action should be to open all doors and windows and air out the room. Oh, and everyone should leave for at least 15 minutes.

Didn't know that? Funny, neither did I. The mercury actually changes to vapor at room temperature, and can be inhaled, as I probably did leaning over the shards of the bulb to clean it up.

My next mistake was to vacuum up the little pieces, since I couldn't seem to corral them with a wet towel. Now I have to throw away my new $400 vacuum. Mercury can get into your vacuum and, once heated in the motor, can infect the air around it.

The one bright spot is that this happened on a hardwood floor. If it had been a carpeted floor, a study out of Maine recommends that you cut out the piece of carpeting infected by the mercury to make sure it doesn't get vacuumed up and start swirling around in the air.
Of course, I didn't learn all this until I spent three hours searching the Internet and talking by phone to the local poison-control office. All I could find on the actual box was that there was indeed mercury in the bulbs and a Web site to check.

So here I sit with the recriminations and the questions. Did my kids get exposed to mercury in the few moments it took to clear the room? And how much was I exposed to while cleaning it up? It was just a light bulb, after all, right?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of mercury in CFLs is less than the tip of a ballpoint pen. This is good, except that since you can't actually see it, you can't really be sure you cleaned it all up.

Should I pay to have a service come out to monitor whether I cleaned up properly? Should I have my family tested for mercury poisoning? It seems so silly, after all, for just a light bulb. But can you ever be sure enough?

It was my choice to buy the bulb and put it in the lamp. However, under the new law passed last year, incandescent bulbs will begin to be phased out in 2012, and people no longer will have a choice. I wonder how many of them will understand these complex cleanup and disposal procedures to ensure the safety of their families?

CFL bulbs may save a lot of energy and help the environment. For some people, they may be the right choice. But we always need to beware the law of unintended consequences. And for now, this mom will be using incandescent bulbs. At least until my lamp breakers are old enough to play responsibly.
Doane is a director of congressional relations at The Heritage Foundation.


Here's more on the subject at http://www.greenerbuildings.com/:

While everyone seems to be pushing the use of fluorescent bulbs, no one seems to be talking about how they contain mercury. Are there any alternatives? A: You bring up an excellent point about fluorescent bulbs and their mercury content. Let's explore some of the issues: Click here to read more...


In closing, search for your own answers. Fully investigate (that's one reason this blog entry was edited twice) and then share your knowledge.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why Does Easter Come On Different Dates Each Year?


I always wonder "When is Easter this year?" Why does it move around from March to April? It's so early this year.

Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why Easter moves around on our calendar. Based on the above information, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is rare.

This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier!

Here are some numbers:

The next time Easter will be this early will be the year 2228. The last time, it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

I took time out of my holiday to write this because we were all jabbering on about it!

Have a great Ostara Holiday! Or Ostern! Or Easter! Or .... you catch my drift!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our Social Skills Are In Need Of Going Green


Our busy lives, completely filled with boring routines, work, laundry and shopping are stripping us of our ability to socially bond with people. I see it when I'm around town. People looking down as they cross the street or pass you by in the grocery store.

It's long been a problem that the more gadgets we have, like tv, video games, iphone, ipod, etc. the more our community seems to regress into it's own four walls and peer out of the windows at passers-by.

We were recently in Europe visiting family and it's really obvious how much they respect the social aspects of life. Every day we were either invited over to someone's house or someone came by where we were staying. Sometimes, several times in one day! Ok, that's normal for family you say. But that's just how the community operates. It's not just in Germany either.

While we were in Italy, there was quite a difference in social behavior among perfect strangers. Downtown, around 4pm, a small park in the center of this concrete jungle started attracting visitors. More and more came by, and the coffee shop there was pumping out the espresso's faster than the machine could handle. The men were huddled over the railing to the water in the port of santa stafano, while the women spoke with their hands, gesturing to their children playing on the equipment.

I wanted to be part of it all. Born into it. Naturally.

So while my son plays at the park and the parents all sit alone, (unless they came with someone they knew) I remember these moments abroad, and wish for that here.

Where to start? How about just stopping by? Ok, even some of my friends and acquaintances would balk at the thought of someone just "stopping by" instead of making plans to have a formal gathering. But what for??? It's amazing that some think the house has to be "just so" in order to invite a neighbor inside for a bit of hospitality. Why? What does a clean house have to do with your social skills?

I'm not sure what it's going to take to get our societies back together again but I for one, am willing to try. I'm always open to my friends coming over, whenever they feel like it.

Another necessary aspect of the green revolution is going to have to be a "rebirth" of socializing and networking. I just hope it's not too late to ditch the laptops and get back into the town centers to talk about our community, children, government, etc.

Monday, March 10, 2008

You Can't Climb These Trees!


How'd you like to have one of these in your yard?


Mechanical Co2 Filteration "Trees" are an interesting answer to our pollution problems. I never would have thought to "build a better tree" to combat those issues. And as Kert Davies of Greenpeace said, (it's) "like taking NyQuil for pneumonia."


Columbia University geophysics professor Klaus Lackner has invented what he calls "atmosphere scrubbers": 300-foot-tall steel posts bearing giant air filters that chemically simulate photosynthesis. These "trees" can remove CO2 from the atmosphere a thousand times faster than natural trees -- 90,000 tons a year, the emissions equivalent of 15,000 cars.


I agree with the Green activists on this gripe: The invention would prolong the use of polluting fuels and delay the shift to cleaner, greener energy sources like wind and solar. It will take decades to wean humanity off its fossil-fuel addiction, he reasons, and global warming could wreak havoc much sooner.


I'm not sure I'm ready to have one of these in my yard, but at least it'll keep the cats out of the trees!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Care For A Slice Of Alzheimers Cake?

Today's Eco-Convert Subject: The Kitchen
When I first ventured out on my own, I couldn't afford to supply my kitchen with new cookware or bakeware. So, my grandfather donated some of the pots and pans from my grandmother. She loved the non stick, lightweight stuff and managed to get everything that the industrial revolution had to offer. She was second on the block to get a television, but was undefeated in the noteworthy position of "first on the block" to have a microwave oven.


Little did anyone know at the time, her bout with alzheimers may have been connected to the teflon, aluminum and radiation era. Studies have all been inconclusive and nothing's been "proven" according to them. (I wonder if anything will be linked that would cause a drop in the corporate bottom line?) Still, I would rather err on the side of caution and steer clear of anything that even MAY be linked.


I've begun converting my kitchen over to an eco-friendly, healthier way of cooking. I've always had a good cast iron skillet, but they're so heavy and not good for carpal tunnel either. But, they're actually GOOD to cook in because they add iron to your food, which we all need. I've also invested in the QVC's Green Pan Set. Wonderfully non stick, actually they should call it super-slick not just non-stick! Although they are made of aluminum, they are coated with a ceramic coating, making them a better alternative to teflon or straight aluminum.


Next on the list of kitchen converting, the bakeware. I don't do that much baking (momma always said leave it to the experts) but I occasionally make a bundt cake or cookies. I was recently at a faire where a salesperson was demonstrating how their silicone bakeware was the only one with a fiberglass underweave that would create the browning effect that other silicone bakeware couldn't. Looks like I'll be looking into that very soon. At least before the next holiday season. That's pretty much the only time of year I do baking.
As I go down the memory lane of my grandmother, I have images of yellow ware bowls and french toast too. Come to think of it, she wasn't much of a cook or a baker either. Whattayaknow!


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