Thursday, January 22, 2009

We Must Change Our Ways!

I was recently contacted by the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center and asked if I would post an article about the dangers of our dependence on fossil fuels.  My answer - of course - and it is posted below.  We must move away from our dependence on so many toxic materials.  It is literally killing our environment and ourselves.  An interesting, personal perspective on this issue was featured on the TV show 30 days, where host Morgan Spurlock explores what it is like to be a coal miner.  (Working in a Coal Mine was the title of the episode and you can view at the link provided.)  I am hopeful, based on the White House Agenda on Energy and the Environment, that we are on the right path, but we must be diligent about supporting this change - our lives depend upon it! 
Fossil Fuels, CFCs Have Long Trail of Consequences

By James O’Shea; Content Manager, Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center
January 22, 2009

Often when considering the environmental hazards presented by destructive human behavior, we fail to see further than the direct effects on our planet. However, if we look further, we can see that our behaviors are affecting not only the earth we live on but also the general human health. There are essentially two tiers to the damage posed by destructive environmental actions. Let’s examine each of them for a better understanding of this hazard.
The first effect is the direct human health costs associated with the burning of fossil fuels and the release of chlorofluorocarbons (associated with atmospheric ozone depletion) in the atmosphere. Asthma rates in areas with high smog indices (associated with fossil fuel pollution) are near double that in smog neutral areas. In South Africa and Australia, where the ozone is among the most depleted on the planet, skin cancer rates are astronomically high, as UV rays breaking our atmosphere are much more intense. These are the very real and direct impact of destructive environmental behavior.

The second tier that I wish to bring attention to is the working conditions in the processing of fossil fuels, which pose some of the greatest occupational hazards of any jobsite. Oil refineries and coal plants are laden with older asbestos fixtures, which has been directly linked to the deadly asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. Even as asbestos was banned in the late 1970s, older asbestos fixtures (which are much more hazardous) still permeate this industry. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they lodge in the pleural lining of the lungs, which lays the groundwork for mesothelioma and other respiratory complications later down the road. Harmful asbestos exposures are only hazard in these industries however. Countless other industrial hazards such as benzene, which has been classified as a carcinogen, also have been clearly linked to the processing of fossil fuels.

We can see now that the effects of destructive environmental hazards go well beyond the direct impact on the planet. We are beginning to see now that these behaviors may ultimately cost lives if we don’t change our ways. Through change, we will preserve the planet for our children and the lives of its inhabitants today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vintage Teak Tea Set

I just listed a super tea set for sale. It is very reminiscent of Jonathan Adler and makes a really great-looking accessory. I love it and it would look great living in my home, but, sadly, I can't keep everything or I would have a house full of groovy clutter! Check it out:  Vintage Teak Tea Set

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New President / A Greener Agenda

"The energy challenges our country faces are severe and have gone unaddressed for far too long." --White House Agenda on Energy and the Environment

This topic was touched on in President Obama's inauguration speech, but the entire Agenda is worth a read.  I am so excited about the goals set forth in this Agenda, and look forward to their implementation.  We need to get greener!  Our lives depend upon it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Danish Modern Tables

I have a pair of wonderful Danish Modern tables for sale! You can see them on my website or you can bid on them directly on eBay. They are cute, functional and well-priced, too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Golden Spiral

Good News!  I've been selected as a contributor to the Golden Spiral, a great website for environmental news and discussion.  I will be writing reviews of green restaurants and retail.  My first review on Hearth in the Cottonwoods can be read here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

LIttle Heathens

If you want to get motivated to re-use, recycle and reduce this 2009, I highly recommend reading Little Heathens.  This book was a great inspiration to me when I read it earlier this year. Set on a farm in the 1930s, it highlights a lost way of life where simplicity reigned supreme.  Absolutely nothing was wasted, and so much of the excesses we accept as a way of life would have been unimaginable to those scrimping to get by during this time. 

On that note, I offer some simple tips for reducing your waste in 2009 that I am trying to follow, too:
  1. Buy a reusable water bottle, such as the eco canteen.  Fill it with the filtered water from your fridge and stop buying those cases of plastic water bottles.  If you don't have a source of filtered water, you can purchase a Countertop Water Filtration System.
  2. Bring your own bags to the grocery store.  
  3. Plant a garden or shop for local fruits and veggies at the Farmer's market! Local Harvest is a great source for finding local organic food. Mr. GGG is hard at work on his own garden, and has enlisted the help of Silverlake Farms to make sure it gets done correctly. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.
There are so many little things we can do that not only help the environment, but help our finances as well.  I think this is the silver lining in this economy - it forces us to reassess what is essential and what isn't.  Perhaps we can rediscover some of the self sufficiency and reliance as illustrated in Little Heathens.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Green Finds at C&B

Happy New Year! I was hoping to have an incredibly reflective and thought provoking post to ring in 2009, but while I was procrastinating from writing this I browsed the new Crate & Barrel catalogue and came across some exciting finds that I had to share.  

I love using placements, especially ones that don't need to be laundered after every use! So, when I saw the "Circles Wooden Placement" I paid attention. Not only do these placements offer ease of use, but they are also stylish and made of surplus wood scraps from furniture workshops.  They look great as a backdrop for a stylish napkin or a boldly colored dish.

I also love the ease of a non-stick pan.  (Can you sense a theme here? I like low maintenance, high style.  I don't even own an iron - I'm not kidding.  I've perfected the art of taking cloth napkins out of the dryer slightly damp and warm, folding them immediately and voila - no ironing needed!)  However, non-stick pans are not very eco-friendly.  Crate & Barrel has introduced a great new product, the GreenPan.  This cookware is touted as having the first environmentally safe, non-stick coating on the market.  They are currently offering a saute pan, casserole dish, wok and several sized frying pans.  

So, if you've vowed to cook more and eat out less in 2009, motivate yourself with some new placements and cookware.  They're easy on the environment, useful and stylish, too!