Posts tagged ecology

How to Make Your Own Natural, Non Toxic Shampoos

Although most people are happy with the huge array of choices we have in our department stores and find that most commercial products work well for them, there are many of us who find hair care challenging and difficult. For me, it’s an allergy to fragrances and a sensitivity to chemical additives. If I use the wrong shampoo, my head itches, flakes, gets a rash and sometimes burns for long periods of time, even as long it might take me to wash the residue out with another shampoo. So my search for shampoo has become a real challenge. I just can’t use whatever my sister leaves in the shower. Mine has to be fragrance free, without dyes or chemicals and usually has to have organic ingredients. Same for my hair color. I have found a few products that work for both purposes, dyeing and washing, but they are expensive and I have to order them online. In the meantime, I have come up with a lot of homemade alternatives and most of them are really good.

In my next post, I will give recipes for making homemade rinses and conditioners. I am also working on an ebook about homemade hair dyes and the methods for using them. Here, in this post, I want to share some of my recipes for homemade shampoos. These are safe, non toxic, hypoallergenic, easy to make and to make adjustments to. You will see when you get started on the recipes and after you use this stuff, you may be inclined to give up the commercial chemical based products you’ve been using most of your life.

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Are All Plastics Dangerous?

With all the grim news about plastics and plastic products, with much of this information already presented in my posts here on this blog, it brings to mind the question of whether there are safe plastics or not. Are all plastics poison? Or are there some that we can handle without fear? This question interested me so I thought I’d investigate.

Looking around on the web, I found quite a few articles about the dangerous chemicals in plastic and why plastic is dangerous to the human body. It took a little more digging and research to pull together a list of plastics and plastic products that are more benign. Here is what I discovered about both, in a handy, easy to reference, list:

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Today is World Ocean’s Day!

From The Ocean Project:

The world’s oceans cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface and the rich web of life they support is the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Nomadic peoples were collecting shellfish and harvesting fish long before the dawn of settled agriculture. Great human civilizations, from the Egyptians to the Polynesians relied on the sea for commerce and transport, and now, at the end of the Twentieth Century, our fate is as tied to the oceans as ever. We still rely on fish for a significant portion of our daily protein needs, and more than $500 billion of the world’s economy is tied to ocean-based industries such as coastal tourism and shipping. Perhaps most important, this vast mass of water acts to help regulate the global climate and to ensure that a constant flow of vital nutrients is cycled throughout the biosphere.

But all is not well in the sea. Increased pressures from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive alien species have combined in recent decades to threaten the diversity of life in estuaries, coastal waters and oceans. Now a new threat, global warming, is making itself felt, and its impacts could be devastating for life in the sea.

There can be no doubt that our world is getting warmer. 1998 was the hottest year since accurate records began in the 1840s, and ten of the hottest years have occurred during the last 15 years. By examining growth rings from trees and ice cores drilled in Antarctica, scientists have determined that the past decade was the warmest in more than four centuries, and that the current rate of warming is probably unprecedented in at least 10,000 years. In 1992, the more than 2500 scientists comprising the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the warming is caused at least in part by emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel use. As the world warms, the outlook for marine wildlife looks bleak unless we can turn down the heat by reducing concentrations of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.

The startling changes already beginning to affect marine life may turn out to be merely the tip of iceberg. Global warming is predicted to worsen rapidly, with average annual temperatures expected to increase by about 3 degrees C by the middle of the next century. Changes of this speed and magnitude could set off a chain reaction in marine ecosystems with truly appalling consequences for life in the sea and for human communities that depend on it. However, if we act now to reduce carbon pollution from the dirtiest power stations and from vehicle exhausts, we stand a good chance of slowing the warming and helping to save a healthy ocean for future generations.

To read more about this serious issue, go to: The Facts .

To sign a petition for the U.N. to designate this day, June 8, as World Oceans Day worldwide go HERE .


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Organic Pest Control

There is a rising interest in growing organic food here in the USA. There are number of things contributing to this interest, the biggest of which is the recession. People want to save some money and grow their own eats. But there are other concerns that drive the interest, too and these include the food scares we’ve had enough of over the past year, from Ecoli on peppers to salmonella in tomatoes. More people are concerned about the planet and trying to cut down on eating meat, which has been named as a big source of CO2 and methane and so are looking to grow their own, safer and greener, food. I am sure there are other concerns driving this trend, including my own which is simply to have inexpensive, safe, organic food for my vegan diet.

Along with growing organically comes the big concern of how to control pests and diseases. The preponderance of pests that eat up the garden and diseases that fell the best intentions are the sole reason why mankind created tons of chemicals that poison everyone to begin with. If we could just grow a healthy, productive garden by plugging in a seed and letting nature take it’s course, we wouldn’t be in such a quandary. But after years of trying, failing, succeeding and struggling with one garden after another, I can tell you that the bugs will come, the disease will appear and environmental factors will rear their ugly head and put an end to your veggie dreams. So how do you grow vegetables organically? It’s just not as easy as it seems, believe me.

What I am going to try to do in this post is touch the tip of the iceberg with some tips and solutions for common problems you will face when trying to start the organic garden. This will be the first of many posts to come throughout the summer, as the topic is huge and can’t be covered in a single article. But today I will give some basic tips on how to keep those bugs and diseases out of your veggie stash.

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New Beauty Secret: Marijuana

I saw this on the local news and found it fascinating. It’s about time that science applies itself to herbs, including illegal ones like Marijuana. And so the local station is reporting this great new find and I wanted to pass it along. Credit goes to WFTV-9, Orlando, Fla.

According to the newscast, a report in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology delivered the news that our body not only makes chemical compounds similar to the active ingredient in marijuana (THC), but these play an important part in maintaining healthy skin.

This report was put together from findings of Scientists from Hungary, Germany and the UK and could lead to could lead to new drugs that treat skin conditions ranging from acne to dry skin, and even skin-related tumors.

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Toxic Plastic Solution: Eco Canteen

I have got to tell everybody about this great new item, Eco Canteen. It is a real life solution to a big environmental problem, the toxic plastic bottle. I have posted about plastic bottles in the past, at Toxic Plastics , but I have only begun to tap the subject. If you don’t get what all the fuss is about, then you need to read the posts I did previously after you read this one. I am sure you will be looking for an alternative as soon as you realize what a huge problem this has become.

Here are some real, scary and documented facts about plastic and plastic bottles.

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The Bull About Bovine Growth Hormone

Many years ago I used to visit my cousins on their dairy farm in upstate New York. A foggy, sprawling area of marsh and farmland, the moors are kind of creepy. But they had what was considered to be a medium scale farm in those days, with a few lines of cows and a few milking machines. The cows were treated pretty well, milked when they could be milked and allowed to feed their calves after birth. The calves were sold off at auction later on, when they were ready. This was their operation, small, clean and profitable.

But times have changed. The need for milk production has exploded beyond the capacity of family dairy farms and the constant demand has fueled enormous operations that must produce 24/7 365. And, as with all other big business applications, money is the bottom line for the milk industry. The major contributor to these factory scale dairy operations and their profitability is recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, also referred to as rBGH or rBST. This is an artificial growth hormone developed by Monsanto to increase dairy cows’ milk output. Industrial agriculture proponents proclaim that farming on a large scale, and using technology such as rBGH, is better for the environment. But is it really?

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Residential Wind Turbines

Imagine this! Wind turbines you can just set up behind your house and have it run your electricity… all for free… or for, at least, only the initial cost of buying one and installing it. That would be wonderful, no? You would not have to wait for your city or county or state to figure it out and make it available; you would not have to cowtow to your neighbor in the hopes of getting a go ahead on a community project; you could just act on your own. Sounds very Democratic and American, doesn’t it?

Well, it seems that nowadays there are more and more options for those of you who do want a small wind turbine out in the yard or on your roof. These items admittedly range from the standard to the bizarre, and come in sizes that varying from powering several major appliances in your home all the way up to your whole house and beyond! There are all wonderful options for those of us who want to run out ahead of the pack and go green sooner than later.

Did you know that, in the right conditions, wind power can be much more economical than other renewable energy options such as solar or geothermal? In design and feasibility, traditional propeller-type wind turbines remain the best options for residential settings outside of urban areas. They are efficient and time-tested, and the leading manufacturers of these turbines have been at it for a long time.

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The Human Bond with Animals

The theme of this blog is how to live in concert with the natural world. For the most part, this is all of nature, including the environment, the planet and the animals that share all of it with us. Here in America we are working hard, collectively as a people, to heal the broken bonds with the animals around us. These bonds were broken in our history by sanctioned abuses and acts of cruelty that we justified as a fight for survival. But we are way past fighting for mere survival and animals are reduced to only a rare threat, although, on occasion, a deadly one, I admit. A shark attack, bear mauling or snake bite can end it all for any one of us. And we respect that.

But we also realize that we hold the upper hand in any war with animals, possessing weapons and clever minds that outdo even the strongest and wiliest of the wild. Here in America, we realize all of this and we fight cruelty with more zeal than any other country; our homes are populated with every kind of animal from cats and dogs to rabbits and ferrets and even snakes. We punish animal abusers more stringently than any other country in the world, although many civilized countries are also trying hard, including Australia, the Netherlands, Britain and Germany. But equally there are as many other countries, or more, that do not treat their animals kindly and, in fact, tolerate acts of barbarism and cruelty that would make most of you cry out in anguish if you witnessed them. Although, I realize that we cannot do anything about what other countries tolerate or even find justified, I also know that we can, as a people, go farther than we even imagine in mitigating this injustice by simply altering our own actions.

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Incentives To Go Green!

If you haven’t been motivated so far to get up and “go green”, then perhaps this might do it. They are now offering cash incentives for choosing green energy. Right now, in this economic pit we’re all sliding into, who can’t use a buck or two? Now, I’m not implying that anybody is going to PAY you to go green, like a job or as a freebie. But you are already paying an awful lot for utilities and other resources that could be converted to green ones with a little effort. So Government agencies and utilities are now starting to offer a variety of financial incentives to homeowners and businesses that are willing to switch to renewable energy and energy-efficient features when building, remodeling or buying appliances.

To see what’s available, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency , a website produced by the North Carolina Solar Center. But it’s not just NC that can take advantage of this nationwide program. In fact, to find incentives in California, for instance, just go to the website (above) and select the state from the map on the home page. Subsequent pages outline tax credits, grants, loans, rebates, bond programs, property tax exemptions and other rewards.

Users can also search for incentives by type of technology, incentive type and eligible sector (residential, commercial, governmental, nonprofit). Also on the site are contractor license requirements and other state and local regulations. It’s an all around informative and useful site that enables you to take advantage of programs that are offered but that you may not be aware of. It will be in many more states in the near future as state and local governments find the rewards to be more beneficial to them than the status quo.

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