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The Downside of Ice Melt

This blog post was originally published on Keen For Green in February 2011, but it's such useful information that we like to repost it every winter.

http://www.analogphotography.comI don't know about the rest of you, but I can tell you that we in the Midwest have had the snowiest, iciest, coldest winter in decades, and it's really gotten me thinking. Since I became a dog mom in January of 2002 I've heard that ice melt is bad for dogs. This has led me to always keep a mat at my front door and religiously take off my shoes the moment I enter the house. I've also stopped using any ice melting product in the back yard, my dog's domain. But is there any truth to this ice melt rumor? If so, what exactly can ice melt to do a dog? 

According to the ASPCA, it is the sodium chloride and calcium chloride in the most common ice melts that is potentially damaging to the puppy in your life. If your dog walks on an ice melt containing one of these chemicals, her paws can become dry and cracked. And if she licks her paws or eats the ice melt (the ASPCA cautions that she can also ingest it by drinking from a puddle of melted snow containing ice melt), her problems can get worse. The ASPCA lists symptoms from as mild as excessive drooling and loss of appetite to as severe as decreased muscle function, coma, and death. ... read more

No New Plastics Month in Review

No New PlasticsNo New PlasticsAlthough I'm not proud to admit it, going plastic free was not an overwhelming success. Plastic is EVERYWHERE, from our living rooms to our cars to our nights out. And our plastic habit is piling up to the tune of 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour and 25,000,000,000 styrofoam cups every year in America alone. And plastic doesn't go away, even if you do your due diligence by tossing it in your recycling bin: every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some form or another. Even those that "biodegrade" just break into to small pieces, never truly disintegrating entirely.

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Is KFC Saving the Planet?

KFC came under a lot of fire earlier this spring when they released the Double Down, a nutritional nightmare of bacon and cheese sandwiched between two fried chicken breasts. However little respect KFC is showing for the human body, they are making strides in saving the planet.  

Reuse. Renew. Rejoice.Reuse. Renew. Rejoice.... read more

KFC has introduced plans to package its sides in plastic containers that are both dishwasher and microwave safe. At this moment, company plans state that these containers will be available at stores across the US by late spring of 2011. Businesswire lauds KFC with being the first fast food corporation to provide consumers with reusable packaging, and KFC was granted a 2010 Greener Packaging Award.

November Challege: No New Plastics

Pacific Garbage PatchPacific Garbage PatchI first started thinking about plastic consumption when I read an article on about a couple who, right after they got married, pledged that they would live the first year of their married life plastic free. Then I read Plastic Nightmare by Sophie Uliano (which is required reading for anyone wanting to get fired up about the subject). Then I was horrified. I had no idea about the Pacific Garbage Patch. I started thinking about plastic as the grown-up version of the monster under the bed: we may not see it and other folks may try to tell us it's no big deal, but we know it's there...and it's growing.... read more

Localvore Challenge In Review

My month as a localvore can best be summarized by the trip I took last Saturday to Shared Bounty CSA. I wrote about them earlier, when discussing the benefits of knowing where your food comes from, and was excited to receive an invitation to their open farm. Jim and Ramona had already harvested all they needed for themselves and local needs (Jim has delivered innumerable heads of cabbage to a local retirement home), and the first freeze had already come. In other words, what was left in the ground needed to go and go fast. 

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Shared Bounty Purple CauliflowerShared Bounty Purple CauliflowerWhen we got out of the car, we were immediately welcomed by Jim and Ramona's dog. We met another family who experienced the first year of Shared Bounty CSA with us, and then headed to the field. Jim handed out bags and knives and told us we were welcome to anything we wanted. He briefly told us what was located where, and turned us loose. My family and the other who came out, though, didn't just come to pick food. We came to spend time with the folks who fed us so well for the past 20 weeks. Ramona went off with the other family, and we sidled up to Jim. As we walked the rows, he talked with us: about the food (even asking what we'd like to eat next year), about the farm, about growing up on a farm, about the season's rains, about the first frost, about the animals they keep, about anything and everything.

October Challenge: Becoming a Localvore

In September, I pledged to be greener by going paperless. In an effort to kick my paper habit, I downloaded Android apps to manage my shopping lists and balance my checking account (and I used them), I stated a recycling bin for myself and my officemates, I gave a reusable coffee cup to my assistant so she could stop using new paper cups every day, I utilized the Google To-Do list portion of my calendar over sticky notes, and I started a marker board to-do list for my officemates to use. ... read more

Do It Gorgeously: A Book Review

Do It GorgeouslyDo It Gorgeously... read more

Sophie Uliano's Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products struck my eye at the library yesterday. I'm a sucker for books that claim they can help me green my home front, but most of them leave me disappointed. I've checked out far too many of these books and wasted far too many hours flipping through their chapters on using recycling bins and turning out the lights when I leave the room. I mean, my generation has been learning about recycling and conservation since elementary school. We don't need any more Love Your Earth 101 lessons, folks.

That Building Is Made of WHAT?

Earth911 gives us this astonishing fact: Americans buy 29.8 billion water bottles each year, and 80% of these end up in a landfill. Even more astonishingly, 80% of Americans have easy access to recycling programs, either through curbside pick up or community drop off bins, but choose to toss plastic bottles into the trash anyway.... read more

Knowing Our Food, A Summer CSA Adventure

This summer my family and I purchased a share in a CSA. Shared Bounty CSA, to be specific. The experience has been fabulous in more ways than I could have ever expected. In fact, I have multiple blog posts about them (and my culinary experiments from the summer) just waiting to be written. This week, though, I realized just how fortunate we have been to be part of the Shared Bounty family. 

Shared Bounty CSAShared Bounty CSA... read more

Kick the Paper Habit, A Challenge for September

Too much paper?Too much paper?

While clicking through random postings to WordPress' green tag tonight I stumbled upon a brilliant idea by Shawn, a UCF student who has made the pledge to go paperless this semester--or as paperless as his circumstances will allow. As he points out, we have the technology now, so why wait for the world to catch up? I concur.

I'm going to make September as paperless as possible, and I challenge each of you to be keener and greener by doing the same.... read more

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