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8 Tips for Decorating an Eco-Friendly Nursery

December 19th, 2012 No comments

Eco BabyNurseryFrom dozens of dirty diapers to multiple baby bottles, new infants can cost a lot of money and make a lot of messes. When preparing for their arrival, consider how you can best care for your baby without harming the environment. Here are eight tips for decorating a safe, eco-friendly nursery.

Organic Crib Mattress

Most people don’t realize a lot of chemicals go into creating traditional mattresses. These chemicals can be inhaled as you sleep and since your newborn spends the majority of his or her time sleeping, it is especially important you use a natural crib mattress in the nursery. Latex, organic cotton and organic wool are all great options.

Natural Wood Crib

Cheap furniture made out of plywood and particle board uses formaldehyde glue in its manufacturing. According to the Examiner, you should look for cribs that meet the highest regulations for formaldehyde emissions. Most cribs manufactured in Europe or Canada will meet this standard.

Organic Bed Linens

Organic bed linens are a must for your baby’s bed. Synthetic bed linens can be loaded with chemicals, which can weaken your baby’s immune system. Organic bed linens also naturally repel dust mites and mildew.

Window Treatment

Blinds are a great way to make your nursery eco-friendly. They not only help to darken the room so your baby can sleep better, but blinds also help regulate the room temperature. There are many styles and colors of blinds to make your selection from. Consider choosing cordless blinds as a safety measure.

Natural Wood Flooring

Natural-wood flooring is the best option for your baby’s room because it is not made with chemicals. If you want a little cushion for your baby to play on, choose an all-natural area rug, such as one made from bamboo or cork.

Safe Paint

One of the biggest sources of toxins in a baby’s room is from the paint. That is why it is so important you use Volatile Organic Compounds-free and lead-free paint. According to Pure Natural Mom, VOCs have been proven to cause a variety of symptoms like dizziness and headaches. Long-term effects of VOCs include cancer and heart disease. Look for paints made from natural materials, such as soy-based paints. Also, paint your nursery at least two months before bringing your baby home so the paint has plenty of time to air out.

Homemade Cleaners

Use natural cleaners to clean your nursery, especially if your baby is with you while you are cleaning. Vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda can clean just about every mess you will come across.

Energy-Efficient Bulbs

Use energy-efficient light bulbs available from your local home improvement store. You will lower your emissions and save some money in the process. Consider building your nursery on the side of the house that gets the morning sun, so you don’t have to even turn those light bulbs on. The sun will be good for your baby’s health, and it will save you on energy.

About the author of this post, Dana Villanueva. Dana calls herself a world warrior and an earth conservationist. She comes from a family that believes in the importance of sharing information about our environment, with the hopes that it will prevent a larger global crisis.

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Natural Destinations that Inspire Environmental Action

November 1st, 2012 No comments

A founding tenet of the environmental education movement is that to want to conserve and take action to save the planet, we must first appreciate and love the natural world in which we live. By exposing children (and grownups!) to the intricacies of nature, they begin to realize their profound connection to the rhythms of the planet.

That sort of understanding directly correlates to actions as simple as choosing the recycling bin over the trash can when it’s time to dispose of an aluminum can. People that care about and appreciate their role in nature will feel guilty tossing something to the landfill that can be otherwise reused or recycled.

In order to foster the relationship between individual humans and nature, we need wild, preserved places for them to visit and enjoy. Our national and state parks systems provide this outlet, but they’re often visited only on weekends and vacations. Fortunately, it’s likely that a wild preserve may exist closer to your home, perhaps previously unbeknownst to you. For over 60 years, the Nature Conservancy has been protected pristine wild lands around the world. Some of these preserves are only a few acres, while others spread for miles.

During my work travels, I’ve discovered a passion for visiting these places, most of which are only a short drive from significant towns and major metropolitan areas. Spread across the country through all types of habitat, here are a handful of my favorite hidden natural gems in the lower 48:

Aiken Canyon Preserve, Colorado

One of the beautiful aspects of a true nature preserve is that they’ve been protected for animals and plants, not necessarily just for humans! Aiken Canyon, just a short drive from Colorado Springs, is only open for (human) visitation on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. On the other days of the week, it’s left to the birds, over 100 species of which make this their home, including Golden eagles, Prairie falcons, and downy woodpeckers. There are also big mammals, from Rocky Mountain elk to mountain lions. The 1,600 acre plot of land covers a rich abundance of foothill terrain, providing a perspective on the transition from prairie to the Rocky’s Front Range that’s unparalleled.

Waubesa Wetland Preserve, Wisconsin

Literally minutes from Madison, this spring-fed wetland is a haven for migrating birds and waterfowl, as well as spawning northern pike. With cool, clean water originating in deep underground caves, this wild wetland is best explored via canoe or kayak, although visitors on foot should still be able to catch views of wading Great Blue Herons, bitterns, coots, and geese. A favorite escape for water-loving Madison residents, the 230-acre Waubesa is well-worth exploration as a destination in itself.

Apalachicola Bluffs Preserve, Florida

The last thing most visitors to Florida expect to find is a sweeping vista for miles across a river landscape, but the impressive sand hills in this massive 6,300-acre preserve an hour west of Tallahassee provide just that. Follow the 4-mile roundtrip trail through native longleaf pine forests, across streams, through sand hills, and through an impressive natural ravine and bluff topping out at 135 feet over the Apalachicola River. For hiking enthusiasts relegated to the flatlands of Florida, that’s hard to beat.

Sheldrick Forest Preserve, New Hampshire

Finding old growth forest in New England is rare indeed, but this 227-acre gem allows a walk back in time. Somehow, the preserve’s towering white pines, oaks, and hemlocks have escaped the logging saw for centuries. A hike through the preserves four miles of trail system will take visitors past trees with 30-inch diameters, along a steep ravine and ridge, and past the gently meandering Morgan’s Brook. Within an hour of Manchester, N.H. or Boston, it’s a worthy escape from the bustle of city life into a world still much like it existed when settlers first arrived on the nearby shores.

What preserves and natural escapes in your area inspire you to protect and conserve nature? Did an experience in the great outdoors help make you aware of the importance of recycling and conservation?

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5 Ways To Teach Kids To Recycle

August 14th, 2012 No comments

Girls reusing a empty plastic water bottle

Teaching your children how to recycle can be a very worthwhile experience. Not only are you helping our environment, but you’re keeping the environment safe and healthy for their future.
Buying reusable products is the first step towards teaching children how to conserve. Instead of constantly buying them disposable lunch bag products or water bottles, buy them items such as steel bottles and plastic lunch bags that can be reused many times before needing to be thrown out. Kids are known to follow by example, so this could be a simple and money saving technique to show them how to conserve.

More often than not, families will use disposable paper napkins at the dinner table each night. By switching this with a personal washcloth for each family member, you can save money while also reducing your footprint on the environment. This is another simple method that can get your child used to be ecologically friendly.

By allowing kids to run the recycling program at home, you will be able to satisfy their want for being in charge while also teaching them how to recycle. Allow your children to recycle all of your plastic and glass used goods, and then you can even teach them about bottle redemption to really make their mind set on recycling. Taking your child to the bottle redemption machine each week will continue to motivate him to recycle while also giving him some extra money and keeping the environment clean.

Donating your children’s used and unwanted goods is mutually beneficial to both you and those in need. Make your child feel good about himself by donating to the poor and helping those in need. Besides the recycling aspect of this, its also just a nice gesture that many should do anyways.

Finally, trying to start a recycling program around the community or at your local school can be a huge way to get your kids to recycle. By instituting a recycling program in the school, all the children would want to be involved in it and it could have an excellent outcome. The school can also use motives in their program to motivate the children, such as rewarded them with a homework pass when a certain amount of items have been recycled. Starting the habit of recycling in school can carry over to your own home, eventually you will have your child teach you how to recycle!

Recycling can be a great way to keep the environment clean and safe for the future, while being an economically smart decision. By using these five tips to teach kids how to recycle, you can make a huge impact on the environment without having to put in much effort.

Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of different sites.

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Ready, aim, recycle!

July 11th, 2012 No comments

A group of gun-rights activists recycled their old weapons in exchange for gift cards under a program that Chicago police created to get guns off the streets.
Members of Guns Save Life took advantage of the program last weekend by trading in 60 guns for more than $6,200 worth of gift cards. The move was criticized because most of the guns were old and useless and weren’t being used to commit crimes, but rather were rusting in the members’ homes. Still, most of the weapons qualified for the program.
The group admitted it was taking advantage of the program but said the gift cards would be used to buy ammo and weapons for a program that educates kids about firearm safety.

Unfortunately, we don’t know if the metal was recycled properly, or simply dumped into a landfill.

The city of Chicago collected 5,500 weapons and handed out a $100 gift card per firearm and a $10 gift card for a BB gun or replica.

The Chicago PD was not amused.

“There’s a ripple effect following every shooting incident that we all feel. We host the gun turn-in event on an annual basis to encourage residents to turn in their guns so that we take firearms off our streets, and it’s unfortunate that this group is abusing a program intended to increase the safety of our communities,” a police spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune.

But, we all know the truth that gun control simply removes guns from the hands of law abiding citizens and does NOTHING to stave off abuses by criminals.

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City of San Diego Offers Free Tax File Recycling

May 18th, 2012 No comments

In the charitable spirit of tax season and spring cleaning, the City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department has again offered to help local residents recycle their old tax files free of charge.  This marks the Environmental Services Department’s 10th Annual Tax File Recycling event, which has been opened since April 11, 2012 and will not close until April 20th.  The location is the Miramar Recycling Center at 5165 Convoy Street, where residents can drop old tax files off to be shredded and safely secured before being recycled.

Each resident is permitted to bring one “Banker’s Box” worth of paperwork, which is approximately a 10-inch high, 15-inch wide, and 25-inch deep box of tax documentation, which should be plenty for any fine American Tax-payer.

The Director of the Environmental Services Department, Chris Gonaver has said that, “recyclable paper continues to be a large percentage of all waste buried in the Miramar Landfill.  The City now accepts bagged, shredded paper through our curbside recycling program.  For those residents without curbside collection, or home paper shredders, this confidential recycling service ensures that all San Diego residents have a safe alternative for recycling their tax files.”

As the event comes just about five months after the city announced that san diego recycling rates were up to their highest ever at 68% which is a two-percent markup from the previous year’s number.  Hopefully, this latest tax recycling offer will help in at least a small way to push that ever-increasing percentage a little higher.

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