Shop Recycled! Fun Gifts That Also Help Keep Trash (Or Treasures?) Out of Our Landfills

Here are some websites that sell recycled crafts.  You can find everything from jewelry to clothing to houseware items.  So stock up on Xmas gifts or just beautify your self & your home, and do something good for the planet while you’re at it.  This is truly guilty-free shopping!

Paloma Pottery – and other fun crafts!

Patagonia Clothing – Probably my favorite site for recycled clothing.  A little pricey, but at least you know none of this was made by eight-year-old children in China.

Ecoist – Though I’m not a purse girl, I’d much rather have one of these than spend $500 to pay for that little C that apparently makes Coach bags so valuable.

Smart Glass Jewelry – She makes wicked cool jewelry and home decor items, all from recycled bottles.  Being a wine girl myself, I love her motto of, “Drink it.  Wear it.”

Okabashi – While their shoes sort of resemble Crocs, they are superbly comfortable, and they encourage you to send them back when you’ve worn them out so they can recycle them.  From one foot to another, and with each step, they leave only love in their footprint.


Got the Blues? Dirt Therapy to the Rescue!

I normally try to keep my personal ramblings to my journal, since the physical act of writing is usually my chosen form of therapy.  That, and I’m sure most of you aren’t interested in hearing from my sappy, emo side.  But today, Emo-Me and Enviro-Me met, shook hands, and found that working together makes everyone happy.

I’ve spent the last month cruising through town on my bike (whose name is Sully, because he’s the same blue as the Na’vi) looking for a job in my new town of Salisbury, MD.  So far, neither my bike nor I have had any luck.  Long story short, the economy has not only poisoned the job market, but it’s made those who are lucky enough to have a job so desperate to keep them that they run through red lights & hit cyclists on their mad dash to beat the timeclock.  Luckily, both Sully and I are fine.  But, needless to say, I’ve been slightly depressed lately.

Since the promise of rain put my job hunt on hold for the day, I decided to feed my blues and curl up in bed with a cup of tea and a book.  I only lasted an hour before the sunlight dancing across the pages drew me outside.  Defying the edict of the meteorologists, the sun stayed out hours longer than it was supposed to, and I couldn’t help but think mother earth was doing her best to ease my sorrows.  While I know the stream of 60 degree January days is not very environmentally friendly, the weather is probably the only thing keeping me sane at the moment.  Instead of wallowing in my sheets and sorrows, I spent the day playing in sunshine, dirt, and weeds.  I decided to start my compost pile, using the leaves and weeds from the garden for the base and killing two birds with one stone.  I cleaned up our yard a bit, though I’m sure the promised rains will wash away my hard work.  Let me tell you, nothing cheers me up like the smell of water sprayed from a hose.  I know it’s just the smell of BPAs and phthalates and all the other chemicals seeping out of the plastic, but nothing reminds me of spring like that smell.  And that, mixed with the smell of fresh dirt, is better than any antidepressant Big Pharma can throw at you.


The Rainbow Warrior

Mark your calendars, boys and girls: February 7th, Greenpeace opens its famous marine law-breaker-chaser Rainbow Warrior for public tours.  (For more info, check out http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/ships/the-rainbow-warrior/2012-ship-tour/Baltimore/.)

What?  You’ve never heard of the famous Rainbow Warrior?  It’s only the coolest hunk of metal to ever sail the seven seas.  And the newest model, Rainbow Warrior III, which set out on its maiden voyage in October 2011, is chock full of world-saving gadgets, super hi-tech spy equipment feared by dolphin poachers the world over, and machinery so environmentally friendly it might as well be an actual rainbow.  This ship is so fabulous, environment-haters bombed it in 1985.  Then Hollywood made a movie about it (which is ridiculously hard to find, let me tell you – even Netflix hasn’t caught on to the fabulousness of the RW).  But neither bombs nor Netflix-neglect can stop Greenpeace; they’re stubborn tree-huggers, and they want to flout their weapons of mass salvation in the face of all who dare threaten Mother Earth and her children.

The Rainbow Warrior III

Now, while organizations like Greenpeace and PETA are often looked down on as “fanatical” and their methods criticized as “over-the-top” or even “insane,” I think the RW is a pretty cool piece of technology.  Sure, it will be sent out on some pretty crazy missions, but a ship this scientifically equipped that recycles its own waste water and runs on wind and small amounts of electricity is a step in the right direction.  Now if only we could make all boats like this…


Plastic Bags, Bag Lady, Ladyfish, Fish Food, Fish Are Friends, Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Plastic

How many times a week do you shop?  Let me rephrase that: How many times a week do you bring something home in a plastic bag?  Well, if you live in Chestertown, MD, where I used to live, that would be never.  The mayor has recently passed a legislation banning the use of plastic bags by all stores and restaurants in the town; instead, paper or biodegradable bags must be used.  Kudos, Mayor Bailey.  The businesses might hate you right now, but the environment loves you. (Chestertown’s Plastic_Bag Ordinance)

It’s hard to appreciate how much plastic surrounds us until you start collecting it.  As an experiment, I put all non-recyclable plastic in a separate trash bag (which itself is made of plastic) and sure enough, it didn’t take long to fill it.  Think about it: the majority of foods are packaged in plastic.  Most products come wrapped in plastic, from toilet paper and tooth paste to a deck of cards or a DVD.  Not to mention the plastic lids that adorn almost every bottle, colorful jester hats meant to amuse us with their somersaults as we toss them into the garbage.  We live in a plastic world, wear plastic shoes, drive plastic cars, see the world through plastic lenses.  And for most people, everything we bring into our plastic lives is transported in a handy, disposable T-shirt bag.  Where do all those bags end up?

“Thank you for shopping with us” says the bag that blows across the street at you sit at a red light.  “Come again!” calls your doggie bag as it skips away to play in the gutter.  Birds’ nests advertise for stores like Giant and Walmart, the scraps of plastic providing both food and lullabies for chicks as they flutter in the breeze.    And then there’s the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the hangout spot for plastics of all types.  Bags meet cups, soda rings tango with bottle caps, lost toys find joy again riding the waves until the sun starts to photodegrade them into tiny but still toxic pieces that look frighteningly similar to plankton.  And then they become fish food.  And then we eat those fish.  Yummm.

If you’d rather discriminate against plastic than fellow humans, watch the documentary Bag It.  They don’t like to eat poisoned fish, either.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of the Pacific Ocean created by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. It’s a plastic soup that in some areas has concentrations of plastic 40 times greater than that of plankton. That means there is 40 times more plastic than food for the marine animals to eat. Scientists estimate its size to be at least twice the area of Texas.

80% of the plastic and trash that finds its way into our oceans comes from the land. It takes about five years for garbage from the west coast of the United States to make it to the gyre and about one year from Asia. Plastic debris in the ocean doesn’t biodegrade. It photodegrades, meaning sunlight and water break it down to smaller and smaller pieces that are mistaken for food by fish, sea birds and marine mammals.

More than 260 species of marine animals are affected by plastic debris in the ocean, either by ingestion or entanglement. Laysan Albatross, sea turtles, monk seals, whales and many species of fish have been found with large amounts of plastic in their stomachs.  (Bag It Movie)

They care about humans too (did you know BPA is a synthetic estrogen and phthalates block testosterone?) and the environment, and they love to talk about all the fun aspects of plastic like BPAs, phthalates, animal stomachs that look more like bouncy balls, and landfills heaping with – you guessed it – PLASTIC!

My boyfriend shakes his head every time I pull out my reusable cloth shopping bags at the store.  He also refuses to watch Bag It.  Apathy?  Or fear of learning the truth?  It is a scary thought, knowing that the Barbie world your daughter lives in may cause her to never have kids of her own.


Happy Bedford Day!

Today will probably go by as usual for most people, unmarked and unremembered.  But for scientists and science-fiction fans, today is known as “Bedford Day,” the anniversary of the day in 1967 when James Bedford became the first man to be successfully frozen in cryonic suspension.


This real life Han Solo story is a huge stepping stone in science; the hope for reanimation after death is an amazing scientific, spiritual, and medical breakthrough.  While Bedford hasn’t yet been reanimated and there is still the large chance it will prove impossible, we have taken a large step toward humanity’s ultimate quest: immortality.  Bionic organs, age-reducing herbs and medicines, and cryonic suspension are just a few of the attempts science has made at achieving everlasting life, or at least the longevity of such historic figures as Noah, whom the Bible claims lived to be 950-years-old.  One Chinese man supposedly lived to be 256 through a life of spiritual and physical balance – and by drinking wolfberry, or goji berry, tea.  (http://www.immortalhumans.com/what-a-256-year-old-man-proves-about-longevity/)

Biologically speaking, immortality is in fact possible.  A species of jellyfish, Turritopsis Nutricula, uses a process called transdifferentiation to transform its cell and therefore cycle through life an infinite number of times.  Once it reaches sexual maturity, it mutates back to its adolescent, or polyp, stage, and begins life anew (http://www.immortalhumans.com/biological-immortality-%E2%80%93-it-does-exist-on-earth/).  Behold the extraordinary powers of Mother Nature.  I mean, who wouldn’t want the chance to live their life over again?  And again?  And again?  And again…