Green Breaths

Living A Green Life And Loving Every Minute Of It

Top 10 Reasons Off-Shore Drilling Is The Wrong Idea August 19, 2008

Filed under: Saving The Planet — veganverve @ 1:21 am
Tags: , , , , ,

It has been a major topic for months now…perhaps even years within the U.S. government. Many in this country want to lift the moratorium on off-shore drilling in order to ease gas prices. But check out these top ten reasons not to support off-shore drilling provided by Greenpeace, before you agree with the government! *Bush has already lifted his executive moratorium on off-shore drilling, our only chance to stop it is with Congress!

10. Offshore oil drilling won’t impact gas prices today, and it won’t have a significant impact on gas prices in the future.

9. This is nothing more than a money grab by the oil companies – who are already making record-breaking profits.

8. We burn 25% of the world’s oil here in the U.S., but we have only 3% of the world’s oil reserves. So even if all offshore oil magically came to market today, the vast majority of our oil would continue to be imported, and we wouldn’t see price relief at the pump.

7. The current moratorium was put in place decades ago to protect us from the danger of oil spills along our coastlines and beaches.

6.  Burning fossil fuels like oil causes global warming, which causes stronger hurricanes, which will threaten the very offshore drilling rigs being proposed, which will contribute to even more global warming.

5. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy within the next 10 years. The billions of dollars that would be spent on offshore oil drilling just postpones the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

4. Oil exploration requires massive seismic testing – which threatens whales and dolphins.

3. Oil prices are set on the global oil market, so American oil is no cheaper than Saudi oil. We won’t get a discount for oil drilled in the U.S.

     2. We can’t solve the world’s energy problems with the same drilling that created them.

1. Renewable energy is available now, so it’s time to walk away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future.

 

Feel any different now? Want to stop off-shore drilling? Go here.

Advertisements
 

Concerns About Genetically Modified Organisms July 29, 2008

Sure there has been Dolly the sheep and apparently GloFish, but what else is creeping into our lives that is genetically modified (GM)?

the first genetically modified animal to be sold as a pet.

       Genetically modified GloFish that people can buy.

There are proponents of GM foods, but most of them are profiting from it. So will we believe their “data” or will we take scientific data from unbiased labs? The list of problems with genetically modified food is lengthy but here is a brief synopsis:

–GM foods have been shown to affect the kidneys, thymus, spleen and gut of animals

–Greater chance of allergic reactions due to the protein transfer process of creating GMO

–Decreased nutritional value

–Too little known/No long term studies

–Permanent changes in the genes of plants/animals and our world

–Cross-pollination between genetically modified organisms and non-GM organisms

–Changes made in genes are irreversible once in the natural environment

What baffles me is that many people believe that actually altering an organisms DNA is not in fact dangerous, but what about the above list? Should these 7 things be dismissed as purely debate and paranoia? I don’t think so.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

It has already been shown that genetically modified corn produces a toxin that kills not only the pests it was designed to kill but also Monarch Butterflies. The Monarch Butterfly population is already drastically decreasing due to their habitats being torn down by illegal deforestation and now they are poisoned by the very food that is supposed to sustain them!

Cross-pollination endangers organic crops just as much as it endangers non-organic crops. GMO cross-pollination therefore could essentially damage the organic crop populations. Cross-pollination is difficult to control.

Soybeans

Soybeans

Phytoestrogens (such as those found in soybeans) are important in protecting yourself from cancers, heart disease and a number of other ailments. Soybeans are one of the top genetically modified crops. It has been found that phytoestrogens in GM soybeans were significantly lower than in traditional soybeans.
It is estimated that within a few years over a 150 new genetically engineered foods will be approved for sale at stores. And here is a scary fact: estimates come in as high as 70% when discussing how many convenience foods available in supermarkets have at least 1 genetically modified ingredient.
 
The most common GM foods are:
–soybeans
–corn
–potatoes
–canola
–cotton
–tomatoes
–dairy (if the farms from which it comes uses the bovine growth hormone to increase milk production)
 
There are no labels to tell you what has GMO ingredients. There are no signs indicating what vegetables are GM. It is important to be a cautious consumer. The only way to guarantee you are not consuming GMO is to only buy organic produce and products. Also, some manufacturers do state that they do not use GM soybeans, canola etc.. Be on the lookout for such labels!
 

12 Uses For Lavender Oil

The uses for lavender oil is vast but here are the top things I use it for:

 (*Unless otherwise noted, I generally use the 10 drops per cup rule of thumb!)

1) Air freshener–Put mixture in a spray bottle and spray into air whenever you want a fresher scent. I recommend not using it when pets are in the room as I worry about it getting in their eyes or them licking the air to get to it!

2) Spray for cutting boards–Spray on to cutting board after washing it with mild soap and water. Let it dry.

3) Mop water additive–In addition to my environmentally/animal friendly products I put about 10 drops per half a bucket full of water. It adds a nice scent while you are mopping and also helps decrease bacteria.

4) Couch and cushion freshener–After I vacuum the couch, I always spray the cushions and the rest of the couch with my lavender mixture. Please make sure that it does not affect your couch by testing a concealed area. I have a dark cloth couch and it has never caused me any trouble though! It dries very quickly as to not hinder sitting for more than 15 minutes! 🙂

5) Between cleanings freshener/cleaner–I frequently spray my toilet, shower, some walls and my counter-tops with the mixture as an in-between major cleaning tactic. It leaves a fresh scent and leaves no residue.

6) Counter cleaner–I mix the 10 drops per cup mixture with about 2 Tbsp vinegar per cup of water as a powerhouse antibacterial cleaner. I clear off my counters and spray thoroughly with mixture. I wait about 10-15 minutes and come back, spray a bit more and then clean off the area. This enables the antibacterial properties to really kick in. Plus if you dislike the smell of vinegar you can get the power of it without the smell since lavender covers it up quite well! (You can also use this mixture when spraying faucets/toilets etc between cleanings for a stronger effect.)

7) Can be added to massage oil–If you have general massage oil, lavender oil can be added to it to increase relaxation. Amount depends upon your preference!

8) Headache relief–Studies have shown that rubbing a small amount of lavender oil on your temples when you have a headache will lessen the headache or even make it go away.

9) Pain relief–You can rub small amounts of lavender oil on sore joints/muscles to relax them and you!

10) Insect repellent–It is said that lavender can be used as an insect repellent, especially if you use a small amount when washing your hair.

11) Perfume–Lavender oil is safe to be used on the skin and can therefore be used as a perfume. This also helps keep insects away, such as in #10.

12) Help insomnia/anxiety–You can simply rub small amounts on pressure points (like #8) or use a few drops in a diffuser to calm yourself.

 

Oil Barge Struck In Mississippi River July 24, 2008

Oil in Mississippi River

According to reports, an oil barge was T-boned by a tanker and split in half near New Orleans on the Mississippi River. How on earth such a slow moving ship was T-boned and split in half is beyond me. My guess: someone was sleeping on the job. With all the technology today, things like this should NOT happen, especially not when you know you are carrying such an environmentally damaging and fire hazardous material such as OIL. Come on people!

Above is a photo of part of the 12-mile oil slick that has occurred due to the barge accident.  Apparently there was at least 419.000 gallons of fuel on the barge, however no one knows of yet if all of it is in the river. Being the pessimist that I am, I guarantee it is all in the river and polluting drinking water and killing millions of animals as I write this. I suppose we should be grateful that the 4.2 million gallons of biofuel and 1.3 million gallons of styrene (used for making plastics) did not spill into the Mississippi as well. Of course, they are TELLING us currently that none of the biofuel or styrene leaked but I would not be surprised if in a few days the holding tanks for the biofuel and styrene are found punctured and/or leaking.

The owner of the barge is American Commercial Lines, Inc. based in Indiana. They have sent in four oil spill cleanup companies to TRY and clean up the mess. I can only imagine the damage that is already done. Hurricane Katrina caused massive amounts of damage to the water and ecosystem in the area from waste water, trash, oil spills, hazardous wastes and so on and so on. Now the area has to recover from this tragedy. I don’t know if that poor ecosystem will ever recover, or at least get back to pre-Katrina levels.

With global warming, carbon dioxide, methane and a zillion other pollutants entering our air and water, the last thing we need is an OIL SPILL! Come on people, if you’re going to move oil by water take every precaution necessary….including making sure you have two captains to a ship so if one idiot falls asleep, you still have another hopefully awake! This is ridiculous!!!!!

 

Stubborn Oven Dirt…Grease…Grime…You Name It June 24, 2008

Filed under: Green Cleaning — veganverve @ 2:02 am
Tags: , , ,

Alongside the lavender arsenal I previously posted I find BAKING SODA to be one of the most important tools of cleaning. Included in its plethora of abilities is the ability to clean an oven back to its good ol’ new days (or at least good ol’ like new days!). Its very simple and you only require baking soda and water (preferrably in a spray bottle). I am including instructions on cleaning a VERY dirty oven (like say, after a pie disaster) or an only somewhat dirty oven (like say, someone’s oven who likes take-out!).

Not So Dirty Oven

Spray a small amount of water over the surface of any area of the oven you wish to clean (this can also include the door, just make sure it is completely flat when you do this). Then sprinkle about a 1/4 inch of baking soda evenly over the water. Then simply spray the top of the baking soda with more water, no need to soak it but allow it to be moist.

Let it sit for 2-3 hours or more if you tend to underestimate the dirtiness of your oven! =)

A bucket helps in the actual removal of the baking soda. Place the bucket near the edge of the oven and using a rag begin wiping the baking soda off the oven areas you are cleaning. Rub vigerously the areas that have the most dirt. Once you have removed all of the baking soda go back with a wet, clean rag and wipe the oven–this will ensure all the baking soda residue will be removed.

Ta da! Like new oven!

 

Very Dirty (You Should Have Cleaned Me Years Ago) Oven

Follow the instructions for the not so dirty oven but increase the amount of baking soda up to 1/2 an inch (especially on really bad areas) and leave on overnight. You can easily put the mixture on at night before bed and then remove it after work rather than before work if you so wish. This will just give the baking soda even more time to do its thing! Thats another great reason to clean green, you don’t have to be on a time schedule and you don’t have to worry about someone or something getting hurt if you wait a bit longer!

 

Hope this tip helps anyone with a dirty oven!

Tip: This also works on stubborn grease/buildup on the stove top.

 

Welcome to Green Breaths June 5, 2008

Filed under: Green Cleaning — veganverve @ 3:46 am
Tags: ,

 

Green Breaths is about living green but not painfully. Being or going green should not be a painful process. Too often living closer to mother nature is viewed as difficult, but in reality it is extremely simple. All the tools are at your fingertips! Hopefully through MY fingertips I will be able to show everyone how living green can be as simple as taking a breath!

 

My very first such attempt will be with green cleaning. Too often people go for the cheap and complex products at major shopping stores. However, the ingredients (and companies) are not cheap in terms of their destructive properties (and I’m not just talking about their ability to get rid of that gross shower mildew!). I will not claim to be completely innocent of the use of such products. I will admit, that as a renter, I have at times dished out a little Mr. Clean here and there due to my innane fear that the previous tenant somehow had some killer freak tropical disease that no one has a treatment for! But alas, that is the germaphobe in me talking. She tends to be a little crazy. Cookoo if you will. BUT, back to the point at hand–green cleaning. There are simple and cheap alternatives. One such alternative is LAVENDER. The following concoction, placed in a spray bottle, can act as an antibacterial and room freshening agent. Lavender has been shown to be very effective at eliminating germs, bacteria etc.

 

Lavender Antibacterial Spray

Large spray bottle

4 cups water

40-45 drops lavendar oil

This spray can be used anywhere in the home, including upholstery, countertops, flooring and even cutting boards. I recommend leaving the spray on for 15 minutes before wiping. You can also spray this on anything and just leave it. It leaves a lovely spring clean smell wherever you use it. Be aware that the more drops of lavender used in the water bottle, the stronger the odor. So if you are somewhat sensitive decrease the amount slightly (to about 30 drops). This mixture lasts indefinitely.

Finally, feel good about cleaning without fearing inhaling the deadly chemicals or leaving nasty residues with who knows what residing in them!