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Archive for November, 2008


Over consumption – of energy, raw materials, and land – is the central cause of most environmental problems. Unfortunately it is also the central cultural practice in American winter holiday rituals.

We eat huge feasts on Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. We cut down trees and cover them in baubles to decorate. We hang lights and run them for hours every night. We send cards through the mail to everyone we know. We buy and give material gifts to many people. We party with excess every December 31.

Changing consumption habits is the simplest way to reduce the human environmental impact. The holidays are full of opportunities to do this without losing the meaning and joy of holiday rituals. Here are some things we do in our family to reduce our environmental impact and increase the spirit of the season:

Decorate a potted indoor tree – our Norfolk Island pine has been kept alive for three years running now!
Reuse decorations year to year – they become family heirlooms
Send holiday postcards – to save paper and transportation fuel because they weigh less
Run one strand of lights around the porch and one inside around the tree, both with limited timers
Donate time or money to local food banks for holiday meals
Make gifts at home, purchase green gifts, or skip material gifts in favor of sharing a meal or time with the special people in our lives

What do you do to “green” the holidays?

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We are accepting nominations for charities to benefit from our annual donation program. All you have to do is Email Rachel or leave a comment below for nominations with your suggestion by November 21!

Because this year we will be using eBay Giving Works, your nomination must be on this list of MissionFish eligible nonprofits. If your favorite charity isn’t listed, ask them to register.

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“Health-conscious athletes are choosing alternatives made from stainless steel, aluminum or BPA-free plastics. “Last year at this time we couldn’t pay anyone to take our stainless-steel bottles,” said Sloan Russell, the president of Guyot Designs, in Deer Isle, Maine. Now bottle sales at Guyot are expected to be $3 million this year, up from $60,000 in 2007. ” Check out more of this commentary and slideshow of images from the NY Times.

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We asked our friend Chris Jonard of the the Quintessential Quill to help us cover our most frequently asked question: Should I get a Kleen Kanteen or a SIGG?

Here is Chris’ review:

With all the media coverage about BPA and its potential hazards, as well as the massive waste generated by disposable water bottles, getting a reusable water bottle makes sense. There are several options out there, but which one works the best?

Reusable plastic bottles are an option, but for those that want to be BPA free, plastic is kind of scary right now. This leads to metal water bottles. The top contenders are SIGG and Klean Kanteen. In a personal trial between the two, the clean winner came out to be Kleen Kanteen for a variety of reasons.

First, let’s talk SIGG. The SIGG bottles have different designs on them, many of which are just too cool for words. There are some seriously beautiful and extremely cute bottles out there. But judge not a book by its cover, as they say, for looks are not everything. I found that with everyday use, the SIGGs dent extremely easily. In fact, my first SIGG dented before it was even used! However, that is cosmetic and can be overlooked—though for the price one would think they would be a bit sturdier. I do have a friend, though, who says the liner on the inside has cracked due to a particularly deep dent. This however, has not been my experience (yet?) Also, the lids leak—thanks to a VERY determined toddler! Overall, I just am not sold on these, which is sad because, as I mentioned before, they are beautiful!

Kleen Kanteen has sleek lines that make them attractive, though not nearly as pretty as SIGG. However, rugged use with my KKs has yet to dent them at all. They are much sturdier (and a bit heavier) and the sports lid, so far, has been leak free. Oh! Another WONDERFUL thing about the KKs is that the mouth of the bottle is wide, so you can fit in a regular cleaning brush to clean it. The SIGG needs a special brush to get in there to scrub. Also, you can easily put regular ice in the KKs. My ONE complaint about the KKs is they are kind of boring compared to SIGG design-wise, but that is a minor complaint. They have spiced things up a bit by adding colors—I can only hope that designs are soon to follow?

So, to sum it up—the SIGGs are eye candy, but for a meaningful, long-lasting relationship, the trusty, sturdy Kleen Kanteens are the way to go.

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We have long tracked reports that bisphenol-a (BPA) may be a contributor to cancer, heart disease and more. We also shared the Food and Drug Administration’s confusing assessment that BPA is probably not all that bad.

The New York Times published Thursday that an independent panel of scientists agree in a scathing report that the FDA has thus far not proven their case that plastic is safe. The Times published an editorial on BPA Sunday urging the FDA to “complete a more rigorous assessment”.

We agree.

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Wow! What a great contest!

Our randomly choosen winner is Katie. As soon as we hear from her, we will send Katie the deep purple and white billboard Ute tote!

Thanks everyone for entering, and especially the bloggy giveaways carnival for sending us so many great entrants.

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