Five of the World’s Most Unusual, Eco-Friendly Home Furnishings

With all this talk about taking care of the Earth, and learning to efficiently use the world’s resources, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some inventions that are little known to the rest of the world. There are plenty of us who religiously and meticulously separate our waste materials. But it seems that there are organizations who are taking the “green” movement a little bit farther than the average consumer. In my quest for life’s most interesting conversation pieces, I lucked up on a several different mind-blowing home decorating options (most of which are made of recycleable materials). Mind you, each and every one of these are fully-functional, and in most cases, some of the most beautiful pieces of home art you’ll ever find…

 

  1. A FIREPLACE IN YOUR TABLE – Those not fortunate enough to have a cozy spot in the house for gathering around a toasty fire are finally in luck. Schulte Design is marketing a line of furniture called “Fire Furniture”, with one of the more popular pieces being a small coffee table which has a fireplace integrated into the center of its structure. In case you’re worried about pollutants, do not be. The fire is created with a liquid that is emission and smoke free.
  2. BOOKSHELF…OR COFFIN? – The Shelves for Life, which made their debut at the [Re]Design 06 exhibition in London, are perhaps the most functional bookshelves ever invented. After you’re finished using the shelves to hold your most precious literary items, you can use them to hold your most recently deceased. Yes, the contemporary, multi-slat shelves can be dismantled and re-assembled into a fully functioning coffin.
  3. THE KITCHEN CHAIR– I know what you’re thinking. There isn’t any thing strange about a chair being in the kitchen. But what about a chair that actually doubles as a kitchen? Vestal Design has developed a home décor solution for those with extremely limited space. The DoubleSpace Kitchenette is essentially a chair which can be flipped over (via an internal swivel mechanism) and used as a fully functioning stove.

    The “kitchenette” contains a countertop and two stove burners. It was also designed with a safety feature which will not allow the stove to be operable when the unit is used as a chair. Furthermore, the device is mobile, and can be rolled around at your leisure. Under the assumption that one will never cook and sit at the same time, this unit was developed to conserve both space and energy.

  4. DINING ROOM IN A BOX– This isn’t a reference to a bucket of chicken, or any variation of “boxable” fast food. The MealBox, created by Igland Design is actually a complete dining room set which fits neatly into a cube measuring almost a 1 ½ feet high.

    The furniture itself consists of several jigsaw puzzle-like slats which fit snugly together to form a low coffee table or mini-dining table. The six “chairs” are simply stackable seats which closely resemble foot stools covered in “tush-sensitive” Neoprene rubber seating. This dining room can be taken literally anywhere.

  5. AN IV FOR YOUR HOUSEPLANTS – Green thumb? What’s that? Everyone who has attempted to grow houseplants and failed understands that these lovely greenies need water, sunlight, and lots of happy conversation. Sometimes, we forget to supply the first ingredient.

    But if you happen to have Vitamin Living‘s I.V. Plant Pot, then you shall fear no more the imminent death of your beloved household plants. This contraption is a real I.V. which continually provides your plant with its necessary nutrients. When the clear I.V. bag goes a bit flat, you’ll know that it’s time to fill up your plant’s water supply once more.

As I combed the internet and browsed various sites, I was amazed at exactly how many different kinds of companies there are which are solely dedicated to providing innovative solutions to space and energy conservation. By taking a closer look at how we use our square footage and energy, it’s possible to discover brand new ways of conserving the earth’s resources.…

How to Live a Green Life: Four Books to Help You Get Started

As the call goes out for industries, businesses and the all important consumer to become more eco-conscious and live green lives you may find yourself wondering, “What Can I Do?”. In fact it’s a very good question I am surprised to hear more and more often from those interested in going green. If you did not have the advantage of say, growing up in a huge scouting family where the organization’s appreciation for nature and conservation practices trickled into everyday family life then you might need some help getting started.

Just changing a few ways we do things each year really does make a difference. Some of my friends start small, making a couple changes that do not fit into their everyday lives, and when they cannot directly see the results they stop. Other friends of mine have noticed big changes right away and gone completely fanatical annoying even me, a self proclaimed flower lover and occasional tree hugger. So, rather than starting your new green life by adopting a panda (which is admirable if this is your passion) or by installing a new roof entirely made from solar panels try changing fours to six ways you live and I guarantee you will notice the results while your new habits become second nature.

To help you decide what changes are right for you and your lifestyle check out some new great reads, all available from amazon, that offer more than the usual recycle/reuse story. A couple books offer new innovative ways to go green and clean up your act while others are full of inspiring stories to make this planet of ours cleaner, safer and better off.

 

Worldchanging: A User’s Guide To The 21st Century

At first glance I thought the only types that would enjoy this book were the fanatical friends of mine installing solar panels that I mentioned earlier. After thoroughly reading through the many sections of this book I have found that there are simple as well as huge ideas for helping you live a green life. In fact using this book you could design an entire house from the ground up using eco friendly materials in eco friendly ways. Along tith the more ambitious projects are simple everyday things we can do in our lives to help curb our impact on the planet.

365 Ways To Change The World: How to Make a Difference One Day at a Time

I like this book for the variety it has giving the reader tasks to do every day of the year allowing you to directly notice change or inspire you to create your own changes. Not every day calls for a new project or a change in the goods and services we use. There are days you simply meditate and others asking you to talk to others about a global crisis.

The Rough Guide to Shopping With a Conscience

The information presented in this book will change the way you as a consumer shop forever. At times thinking back on the way we have shopped in the past may lead to feelings of guilt, do not let it! Put that energy and thought into positive change that the author helps you achieve.

The Business of Changing the World

The stories offered in this read are not so much ways to change how you life but stories of how others have changed the lives of others or the world around them. This book describes big businesses at their best, detailing the ideas and actions taken by company leaders and employees. Some of the stories are truly inspirational and give you a new appreciation for the companies and the fundraising efforts they support.…

How to Make Your Kids Environmentally Conscious

What better way is there to create more environmental activists than by educating them from a young and tender age. However if you haven’t done this yet, it is never too late to start. There are many ways in which to do this. Here are some ideas.

 

The first and most important step is to lead by example. Show your children how you separate your trash and recycle, avoid littering, save electricity by not leaving unnecessary lights on, support green efforts and generally care for the environment. Let them see how you make your own green cleaning products. Get them a pet or pets like goldfish, which should be their responsibility to take care of.

Make environmental activities fun. Plant your own organic vegetable garden and let your kids help you with this. Involve them by getting their input on what to plant, let them plant the actual seeds and encourage them to care for the garden by watering it everyday.

Go on nature outings. Take them to nature reserves and game parks if you can, where they can see animals in their natural habitat. If you don’t have one near you, take them to the zoo, as well as aquariums, bird parks and aviaries. Take them for nature walks, pointing out interesting plants and birds en route. Give them disposable cameras and encourage them to take pictures of the interesting things they see.

Education is paramount. Read stories to your kids about Earth Day and saving animals and the environment. Let them see documentaries on saving the environment. Talk to them about environmental issues, like oil spills and endangered animals, and mention extinct animals like dinosaurs and dodos by way of example. Ask them for their ideas on how to save the environment and reducing our carbon footprint.

On rainy days, get your kids to make items by using recycling discarded items like egg cartons, plastic bottles, corks, bottle caps, toilet roll holders, grocery bags and popsicle sticks. They can even make a bird feeder or bird house. There are lots of ideas on the Internet on how to make these things.

Celebrate environmental days like Earth Day by going to a public park and picking up litter. 

Spend some environmentally conscious quality time together. Have an outdoor picnic (weather permitting) with healthy, green foods. If the weather permits, have a night party. Gather everyone, get some warm blankets, lie on the lawn and look up at the stars! You can play a game of Spot the Stars. This way they learn about astronomy too.

Together, we can save the planet, by making a difference, one by one.

Source: National Geographic Kids…

Green Methods for Removing Paint

Removing your old paint can be a messy and time consuming process-especially when chemical paint strippers are involved. But besides being a pain in the neck, chemical paint strippers and removers can pollute our land, air and water. No matter what type of painting removers you plan on using for your next home improvement project, be careful. Paint that was applied prior to 1978 can contain lead. You may need to hire a lead abatement service to prevent exposure to this deadly toxin.

Isopropanol Alcohol

This is one of the best paint removers for soft woods and other delicate materials because it doesn’t leave stains. This ecofriendly paint remover evaporates quickly, so any residue that’s left behind is only old paint-and not the stripper itself. Typical rubbing alcohol that is bought at the store for medicinal supplies might not be strong enough to use to remove more stubborn paints. Higher concentrations of rubbing alcohol can be bought when stronger and tougher paints don’t come off with conventional isopropanol alcohol.

Canola Oil

When latex paints or other light water based paints are being used, canola oil can help to remove them quickly, safely and eco consciously. To remove paint using canola oil, spread a small amount onto a terry cloth towel or wash cloth. Rub the paint vigorously to begin the process of cleaning up the old paint. Canola oil shouldn’t be used on clear stained wood products as the heavy oils will permanently stain the wood. Older oil based paints have a hard time coming clean with canola oils.

Adhesive Backed Stripper

Exterior paint products that are stuck on difficult-to-clean material like stone, brick or stucco can be super tough to remove. That’s where adhesive backed paint strippers come into play. They help keep the messy paint chips and other paint materials from scattering all over the ground. By adhering to the paint with its super adhesive backing, it bonds permanently with paint-but not the materials underneath. Once hardened, peel it away and toss it in the trash.

Electric Heat Guns

These blow dryer looking devices work excellent for removing paint without any dangerous chemicals. These will peel even the most stubborn of paints away from their base material for easy and safe disposal. Electric heat guns should never be used on plastic materials that may melt under the extreme heat.

Citric Acid

This fruit based paint remover uses citric acid-typically found in oranges-to safely remove paint in an environmental friendly way. These materials are safe for all household cleaning as well as removing many paints from their substrate. Be careful not to use any citric acid-based cleaners that have dyes or scents as these can easily stain wood materials for good.

However, when I picked up the bottle of the new formula of Windex at the store last week, and it was simply labeled “vinegar,” I realized that all these years, I have been duped. I was about to pay over $3 for a small spray bottle of chemically enhanced vinegar and water! I promptly determined to go home and make my own green cleaners. So after some quick research online, I began using my trusty vinegar cleaner on everything, my glass tabletop, doors and windows, mirrors, kitchen countertops, stove top, and more! You would not believe my sparklin’ house, ya’ll! Even Juan was pleasantly surprised, it does not smudge, smear, or streak!

Here are a couple of quick tips for any first-timers out there wondering how to get started on making your own green cleaners. (I know I wasn’t the only one still buying those chemical cleaners, cuz the products are still on the store shelves!)

1. To make the vinegar and water cleaner, simply put half water, half vinegar into a spray bottle ‘” Voila! No really, it’s that easy ‘”

2. When I first start wiping the vinegar with newspaper, paper towel, rag (your choice ‘” you already know what’s greener!) it looks as if it is going to smear ‘” keep wiping, and you will see the shine!

3. There is a great green bathroom cleaner you can use ‘” hydrogen peroxide and water ‘” see http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/ for valuable information on this green product, as …

Affordable Family Fun at Green Meadows Petting Farm in Orlando, Florida

If you and your kids want to get up close and personal with some cute cuddly animals then Green Meadows Petting Farm in Orlando, Florida is where you want to go. Green Meadows Petting Fun offers affordable family fun for all ages. Here is everything you need to know about Green Meadows Petting Farm in Orlando, Florida.

 

Green Meadows Petting Farm is located at 1368 South Poinciana Boulevard in Kissimmee, just a short while from the Walt Disney World resort area. The farm offers tours continuously between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., and remains open until 5:30 p.m. every day of the week.

Green Meadows Petting Fun offers affordable family fun. Tickets for adults and children cost just $21 per person, and children under two years of age enter for free. Senior citizens pay a discounted rate of only $15, and Florida residents who show their state identification are admitted for $19. Individuals in groups of twenty people or more pay just $10 each. Be sure to check out their web site at greenmeadowsfarm.com for a money-saving coupon.

Green Meadows Petting Farm boasts more than three hundred farm animals that kids can see and pet. Their quaint country setting is relaxing for adults, and fun and educational for kids. They will pick up tidbits on animals such as cows, pigs, ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, goats, sheep and donkeys. Kids can take a pony ride and everyone gets to milk a cow. You will enjoy a tractor-drawn hay ride and an entertaining ride on the Green Meadows Express.

Kids will love Green Meadows Petting Farm’s two-hour guided tour. During those fun-filled two hours, your kids will get to learn and explore. Green Meadows Petting Farm is an ideal way to spend a day away from Universal Studios and Walt Disney World.

For adults, Green Meadows Petting Farm offers a little peace and quiet, and some cool shade trees. It’s definitely a chance to unwind from the stresses of Disney vacation. Even older kids will enjoy the experience and take away some fascinating little known information about farm animals.

So if you’re kids are growing up in the big city, don’t waste this opportunity to educate them a bit on farm life. Allow them to experience nature and get up close and personal with some of their favorite farm animals at Green Meadows Petting Farm in the Orlando, Florida area. For more information, visit their web site, or call them at (407) 846-0770. Enjoy the tour!…

Scent of Green

 

The trees whispering
thoughts and communicating
to the peaceful soul
God’s creation reaching out
Of beautiful translations untold
Whispering and plotting
To give, to share, to take
The wind blows
Leaves felling to make
Turning brown and gold
New life comes in Spring
As the branches shed the frost
For the scent of green.

 
 …

Environmental Issues

Our world has many environmental issues. These issues impact the environment, and all other areas in which humans inhabit. Ecosystems all over the world are being devastated, causing a shift in the equilibrium of our wilderness and the atmosphere. Biodiversity in our worldly community of animals and humans is vastly being affected. They might not realize it but everything on earth is directly related. There are a handful of countries that are industrial societies, one of them being the United States. There is enough trash in a landfill to go to the moon, there are an astonishing amount of pollutants in the air that human society breaths, migration patterns of species are being affected by climate change and many species are on the verge of extinction. An interesting theory is the “chaos theory”. This theory suggests that ecosystems can be very sensitive to little changes in the environment. There is a lot of evidence to prove this true, and there should be a conservation policy that prevents much change to the developing ecosystems. The risk assessment is incredibly high this day in age where society has a lot to lose, but the human population needs to become more malleable, and bend with new policies to make the world better, and preserve what mother earth gave. There are very many environmental issues, all are related in one way or another to humans and how they treat they’re land.

 

The popularity of wood stoves has risen, and so has the deforestation process. When there are no forests in an area, like a field or pasture, the animals graze the land until there is no hope for the plants. This is the desertification process. Once the land is like a desert, it can be like an all year drought season. When the land is arid and dry it makes the top level of the soil horizon more prone to erosion. Marine life are least affected by desertification, obviously, but other habitats like wetlands can be. Habitat destruction is a major environmental issue. Once the trees and other plants have been withered away and destroyed, either by human cause or by natural causes such as leaching, the micronutrients can be killed. Life, any life at all, needs nutrients to survive; otherwise the life forms suffer from malnutrition. Once an area has become desert, it disrupts the food chain of the area, and can cause famine for a hunter-gatherer society. Cash crops could still be grown in the area, but only with some help. The crops would need some sort of irrigation system, like drip irrigation, which uses a tube to deliver small amounts of water to the roots of the plants. Other people would use the area for different purposes, such as government agencies dumping radioactive wastes on the land. This could be a limiting factor for the area to ever get life again.

The biomedical revolution has made a huge difference when it comes to how the environment can affect the human race. There hopefully will be no more cases of the bubonic plague thanks to this revolution. Other diseases that can be cause by environmental factors cannot be as easily cured like cancer, or lung diseases, such as emphysema, that are caused by the air pollution in the cities. As the human population grows the germ theory of disease grows and becomes an issue. If a pathogen was to come into contact with a popular artesian well or aquifer or if the pathogen was to be deep-well injected, or come into contact with a popularly eaten carnivore or autotroph, it can be spread to most of the human population. This is possible because the demand for food is high, an obvious fact since everyone needs to eat food to survive. The consumer(s) eats the contaminated product. Alpha particles found in contaminated food can affect the growth rate of a population, and cause a mass extinction. Today in 2010, safety is a huge part of our food production, as well as other manufacturing companies throughout the United States. There are many steps and procedures companies must go through to make sure food is not holding any bacteria, like filtration, distillation, and sterilization.

The …

Live the Green Life

While some people think that it is just too much of an effort to –think green and live green–the environment is
what will suffer and many animals are certain to become distinct. Playing a part in reducing the carbon fallout 
on the Planet Earth is a role that anyone and everyone can play, regardless of age or where they live.

 

Recycling- Newspapers

Sunday mornings are usually a time when the newspapers are read and poured over for all of the multiple 
advertisements they contain. They are read a section at a time usually with morning coffee, and then tossed 
aside. This can go on for almost an entire morning, depending on how many sections the Sunday Papers contain.

When finally they are finished being read many have a habit,(almost without thinking), of gathering them, 
section by section, and placing them in the trash. Stop! Save the earth by saving the newspapers and advertisement pages and using them instead to light the fireplace, outdoor grill, or place under the mulch in the garden.

Recycling-Torn or One of a Pair of Missing Socks

Socks are great to use for dusting. They work well when cleaning the blinds. Put your hand into one of the socks, place it on top of one of the slats, and dust both the upper and lower slat at the same time. For washing the slats dip your hand, with sock into a mixture of Baking Soda and water. Do the same thing to wash the blinds after being dusted. Use a dry sock to dry the blinds. Launder the socks and reuse them for another chore at another time.

Recycling-Old Cotton Tee Shirts

Torn Tee Shirts are great to use to wash the car. Take two buckets and fill one with water and the other with 
baking soda in water and a dry tee shirt. Use one to rinse the car, the other to wash and the third to dry. Tee 
shirts are reusable so instead of throwing them out clean them and hang them to dry and use again.

Produce-Fruits and Vegetables

Buy home grown produce whenever possible. Purchasing them from the local farms or growing them in 
back yards will keep our farmers recycling the soil. We will be assured of eating fresh produce minus all 
those chemicals being sprayed on them. Even those that do not have large gardens can plant tomatoes, small green onions, radishes or a variety of herbs (usually purchased) in boxes outside on the patio.

Cleaning Products

Buy and use Baking Soda and Vinegar in place of store bought disinfections and spray deodorants to help keep chemicals out of the atmosphere. Both are very inexpensive and clean most anything using little effort. Open a box of baking soda and keep it in each bathroom. It eliminates odors without using the spray cans that are tossed into the garbage instead of being recycled. Baking soda and vinegar poured weekly down the drains, will result in having them smell sweet and clean.

There are many ways to Save the Environment – some take more effort than others – but the above suggestions take little effort, time or expense and anyone can do it-as long as they are not hospitalized.…

Eco-Friendly Shopping Guide for Beauty and Household Products

With Earth Hour come and gone, it’s time to examine your personal commitment to the earth and climate change.

 

You can look good, and so can your house, without hurting the environment! This shopping guide will give you a brief list of some of the amazing accessories you can buy made from recycled material. This isn’t your traditional thrift store merchandise: It’s classy, it looks good, and it’s eco-friendly! We’ve also scoured the web for green personal care and beauty products.

Use this eco-friendly shopping list as a spring board and introduction to the many companies that offer great products that are kind to the environment around us.

Eco-friendly accessories for your dining table:

Beautiful, bamboo drink coasters; perfect for your summer glasses of cool, refreshing lemonade! Not only is bamboo a replenish-able natural resource (it is actually a grass and grows fast), but these coasts are also made of organic bamboo! A set of four can be had for only $18.99 online at grassrootsstore.com.

Resource Revival’s recycled candle holders are made from old bicycle parts. These are great for any bikers in your family, or for adding a beautiful and classy element to any dinner. A pair of these recycled candle holders can be found at eco-artware.com for only $25.

Green, Organic Personal Care and Beauty Products:

A set of four Tashodi soap bars aren’t just cute and heart-shaped. These body soaps are also fair trade and totally green. It will leave your skin feeling clean and soft while being gentle on you and the environment! I love the smell, and you can enjoy it to for only $3 each when you buy four at tashodi.ca.

Farmaesthetics combines oil of rose with five natural herbs into something they call “Pure Complexion Tonic” which promises to clean and moisturize your skin, all naturally of course! Pick up your bottle of Pure Complexion Tonic at farmaesthetics.com for only $25.

Environmentally Friendly Women’s Jewelry:

Who said looking pretty had to be costly? For less than $150, you can get a beautiful, handmade bracelet from Trisha Laurel made of recycled material. Even better, these one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces aren’t found everywhere. Get first dibs on it and set a earth-lovin’ beauty trend at trishalaureldesigns.com.

Environmentally Friendly Men’s Accessories:

Guys can look sharp and handsome with some recycled cufflinks. Handmade from eco-artware.com, these unique, $40 cufflinks are fashioned from old typewriter keys. Definitely a fashion statement like no other!…