Monday, June 10, 2013

Better Late Than Never!

Here's the post - finally! I will be taking next week off because I will be traveling, but remember, you can submit at any time and it will always end up on the next one. Here's what you had this week:

Speak Up:

Save the bees: Bees are important! Do your part to make sure that they remain a healthy, vital part of our ecosystem. Go to to urge the Department of Agriculture to take action. You can learn more about bee saving efforts at (Europe is doing some great things!)


Green Seal Products ( Next time you go to the store, run your shopping list through Green Seal's site first. They have a huge database of approved products and where they are available. They also link to things like green hotels, cleaning services, and non-profits. This site can be an excellent everyday resource that's really easy to use! Never be in doubt of a product again.

Set Her Free ( If you are looking for a gift for a jewelry lover (or just want some yourself), try the recycled paper beaded jewelry at Set Her Free, an organization that employs formerly exploited women (as well as providing education, professional training, and rehabilitation).

Green pool products ( I certainly don't have a pool, but I know people who do! Direct the pool owners in your life to this site so they can stock up on eco-friendly supplies.

Everyday Living:

Get the last drop out of pump bottles:
When the pump can no longer reach the liquid, remove it and set the bottle upside down in a bowl. You can get an extra couple of weeks out of lotions and shampoos!

Father's Day:

Looking for a gift idea? Head over to for some really great tips.

Also, specifically for my dad: GREEN GOLFING! Here's a list perfect for you:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Staying Cool by Being Green

We've had our first bout of summer in a lot of the US, so many of this week's submissions have to do with how to keep energy consumption down when the temperature goes up. Take a look:

Everyday Living:

Get out of the house: You don't need to keep the AC blasting if no one's home! There are lots of places to go that will be cool anyway. Libraries are great because a) they're free, and b) there are books there! Of course, if you have some leisure time, you could also go to the movies or the beach during the hottest part of the day.

Do not keep lights on near your thermostat: This will artificially boost the temperature reading, so it will cause the air to come on when it doesn't need to.

Actually, avoid lights when you can: I mean, you want to do that anyway just so you don't have a bunch of lamps on in the middle of the day, but it's especially important for keeping cool!

Use fans: They use less energy than central air. Even if you still need the AC, you could turn it up a few degrees if there's air moving already.

Use appliances in the evening: You won't want your oven on in the middle of the afternoon anyway!

Remember to take advantage of not being home: If you're going to use the first tip and get out of the house, it only works if you remember to adjust your thermostat accordingly!

World Environment Day:

This Wednesday, June 5, is World Environment Day! Participate in the activities at One thing the whole US is doing is:

Eat a Waste-Less Lunch: I'll be working then, and I know I'll be bringing my lunch in reusable containers, made with ingredients I bought with as little packaging as possible. (I'm the girl at the bakery counter always asking for bread straight into the reusable bag!)

If you have an event for World Environment Day, you can register it at Make sure you also write in about it here! And actually, a great way to celebrate World Environment Day would be to do your One Green Hour and submit your solutions then. :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Green Actions for a Green Season

I'm lucky enough to be visiting home right now, and I was admiring the abundance of beautiful nature around the place where I grew up. What a great way to get inspired to be greener than ever! (I also might encounter some 17-year cicadas this week - well, not all nature can be as delightful as pretty trees! But we still have to take care of all of it.) (Also, I'm kind of a little excited for the cicadas, because my mindset hasn't progressed past age seven regarding them.)


Eco-friendly mascaras: This is a particularly good resource for me, because mascara makes me happy: find four great sustainable brands at This blog in general has many great green living tips and links!

Organic baby clothes: My sister sent this to me as "what your future children will wear": All of them are 100% organic cotton. Some are perhaps a little obnoxious for my taste (I'm personally not a huge fan of the baby-as-billboard), but some are really cute ("I'm Organically Grown," aw. Also the whale fin).

Everyday Living:

Unplug when not in use: Chargers do not have to stay in the wall! They can still draw up to 25% of the energy used to charge your electronics if you leave the cord in the outlet. Take it out! (I personally unplug everything I'm not currently using that won't need to completely reboot, so lamps, etc.)

More green renovation: Here's another great resource for all of your green home needs: Eco Options gives you great resources for monitoring your home's energy and access to green products such as non-VOC paints, recycled flooring, and EnergyStar appliances.

Have a green summer with these unique tips: At, there are seven tips/challenges for the summer. Not all of them are easy, but all of them are worth looking into. I'll definitely be doing the two-mile challenge! Also, even if no AC is impossible for you (for health reasons, etc.), the list gives you some tips on how to use it as little as possible.

More vinegar - this time with orange: I am DEFINITELY doing this, because citrus scents are my favorite: at, read up on steeping that miracle green cleaner, white vinegar, with orange peels to have a naturally great smelling cleaner (and reuse your food waste!).

Use dry shampoo: If your hair turning into a slick mess is holding you back from cutting your number of showers and saving water (as it has with me), you can make your own dry shampoo with equal parts rice flour, arrowroot, and corn starch, plus a drop of lavender or lemon essential oil. I'm excited about this one!

Waste time by being green: Pinterest is a great resource for all sorts of sustainable DIY products. If you're going to spend a while on there anyway, as those who have Pinterest tend to do, use some of that time to do your one green hour!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer is Approaching!

Here are some ways to finish out the spring and step into summer as sustainably as possible!


FSC certified wood products: Making sure you aren't buying the remnants of a destroyed rain forest is a very good thing. The Forest Stewardship Council exists to do just that. Look for their logo - a check mark-tree outline with the initials FSC - or go to their website for a list of certified companies:

Speak Up:

Demand transparency: One thing that we can do as consumers is make sure we know what ingredients are in the products we buy, and if they are potentially harmful. Of course, not all companies want to make this information public. Lend your voice to a campaign that is fighting to make them! Here's one opportunity to do just that: Make sure Glade discloses what ingredients go into its fragrances!

Everyday Living:

Reuse yard waste: Instead of bagging up your grass trimmings, spread them on your garden. The grass will prevent weeds from growing, and it will help plants retain moisture on hot days.

Water prudently: Avoid watering plants at the hottest part of the day, because then the water will evaporate before it can be absorbed. This way, plants will need (and you will waste) less water. Also, be sure not to waste water by getting most of it on the leaves - make sure you get it at the base of the plant.

More sustainable traveling resources: Check out for their Green Hotel Directory.

Plant lawns: If you have any ability to do so at home or even at work or in a community project, lawn planting is a great thing to do for the environment. No matter how small, lawns purify the air and make surrounding buildings cooler, lowering AC output.

Protect against insects safely: Summer is approaching, which means so are a lot of bugs. Wasps in particular can be both irritating and dangerous. However, that doesn't mean you have to wreck the environment to get rid of them! Check out for a variety of techniques and products to safely repel wasps.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Back in business!

Welcome back to One Green Hour, where the blogger is mercifully finished with her semester! Here are the links people sent in to kick off the summer:

Everyday living:

Measure your energy output: Awareness is important, and there are a variety of products showcased at,2817,2417973,00.asp to help you monitor how much energy you use in your home, which will give you a better idea of the changes you need to make in order to lower those numbers. Obviously, these products cost money, though many are quite cheap. I will definitely have my eye on a lot of these. (Now that the semester's over, I can actually work more often! Looking forward to buying the green products in my bookmarks bar.)

For pet owners, salt is your friend: If you've got a pet who occasionally doesn't quite make it outside, pour regular table salt on carpets or upholstery they've urinated on and let it sit for several hours. Then just vacuum up the salt, which will have absorbed both the stain and the odor.

Recycle freezers and refrigerators: And get paid to do it! For New Yorkers, ConEd will reimburse you $50 to come and remove and recycle old appliances. Read about it here:

Buy green cosmetics and toiletries: Head over to for a huge database of cosmetics graded on their environmental friendliness. I know I'll be using this site before I buy anything ever again!

Use vodka for...everything, apparently: I mean, I understand if you want to save it for drinking, but if a memory of a particularly bad hangover has you eyeing your liquor cabinet with distaste, you can use your vodka for the following: polishing silverware, faucets, chandeliers, eyeglasses, as well as killing weeds without dousing the rest of your yard in soil-destroying chemicals. You can also use it to polish jewelry (but NOT pearls, opals, or porous stones) by letting jewelry soak for five to ten minutes.

Recycle your window blinds: I didn't know this one was possible, but I'm glad to hear it is! Go to to find out different options for blinds in various states of disrepair.

Dispose of medication safely: Look at to find the best way to get rid of expired items in your medicine cabinet.

Get kids involved: Each generation is going to have to be greener than the last in order to bring the world into a safe future; that's just a fact of our world at this point. So if you have or know any kids, start them off early! At[Five%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Ea, you can find ways to bring children to an awareness of green living in a fun way. These tips certainly didn't expire by Earth Day!

Unsurprisingly, Leah is doing this with her adorable son! She says: "We use the nearby bike path all the time and I'm always exasperated that people just leave their trash everywhere. Well, my son has been asking if we could clean it up a bit, and Earth Day was just the kick we needed. When we arrived, I realized it's a very big task for two people, since many more than two people made all that mess to begin with. So we decided to focus on recyclable materials. Armed with grocery bags and winter mittens, we spent about 15 minutes combing the grass for cans, bottles, and other items; some of our finds included a 40 gallon bucket and an empty bleach bottle. Three bags were all I could safely carry while holding my son's hand on the way home, but I could tell even that much was very gratifying to him. We brought our booty home to our own recycling toter. If we all bring a bag on walks around the neighborhood, even just once in a while, and focus on cans and bottles, we'll be cleaning up our communities and perpetuating the cycle of sustainability by recycling."

If this story weren't already wonderful, Leah also generously provided pictures: 

Behold our green future!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Weekend

So Earth Day was yesterday - hope you were able to celebrate in some way! My plans have been postponed a week, but I'm excited to get involved in more volunteer opportunities as the weather gets warmer. Here are your ideas from this week:

Speak Up:

Label GMOs ( petition urges President Obama to introduce mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, which he has previously promised farmers, consumers, and environmentalists. I admit to not knowing very much about this issue other than the very basics, but my friend has recommended King Corn, a documentary available on Hulu, for more information.


Solar Cookers International ( This organization does amazing work by providing solar cookers and teaching about their use to people in need. The amount of fuel and carbon these cookers conserve is astounding, as well as making cooking an easier process for many people for whom time is a precious and dwindling commodity with regards to taking care of their families.

Charity: Water ( This organization spends 100% of its donations on its actual charity projects - a rarity in the charity world, unfortunately. They are committed to working on clean water projects in the developing world.

Mary says: "These two charities might be ones you would consider when making a donation in memory of a loved one or as a birthday gift for someone who has everything." Also, because charities are very complicated, when considering donations, GiveWell ( is an organization that rates charities on effectiveness and responsibility.


Tradesy ( Another resource for used clothing! You can also sell your own items on this site. They even have a section for wedding dresses!

Everyday Living:

Garden with coffee grinds: If you are lucky enough to have a garden, and it includes azaleas or rhododendrons, spread your used coffee grinds around them. The acidity helps them grow stronger, and instead of rotting away in a landfill, your coffee grinds will be put to good use!

Travel sustainably: Travel is a fact of life for a lot of people, and sometimes it just seems inevitable that you'll use a lot of energy. However, there are MANY, MANY RESOURCES to make sure you can arrive, stay at, and depart your destination while still being as green as possible. At, you can find a great checklist for being not only an eco-friendly traveler, but just a friendly traveler in general. Then, all the rest of your green traveling needs can be met by the great link list at Hotels, tours, volunteer opportunities - you name it, National Geographic links to it. Lastly, there's, which has a map of green lodging available around the world. And of course, spread the word! If you know people who travel more than you do, let them know about these resources.

Green pets ( This link provides a great checklist for green pet ownership, from donating old supplies and using tap water to using vinegar for messes and more. An excellent resource for all the pet owners in your life!

DIY and Spring Cleaning: For you students out there, hopefully you'll (and I'll) be getting some more free time in the summer. The internet is full of green DIY projects. The site Earth Techling ( has ideas for greening your home, interesting DIY projects (algae powered nightlight!), and a lot of information about green technology.

Pick up trash: For Earth Day/Week/Month/whenever you want, taking it upon yourself to do a street cleanup is always a good idea. Leah, who was in the thick of a lot of the craziness in the Boston area this week (and is thankfully fine, as is her family!), says: "I'm going to do a little street cleanup of trash leftover from all the reporters and police and SWAT teams, and my son has been asking me to bring a bag next time we walk on the bike path so he can help pick up trash!" Any large gathering of people - most of which hopefully will not involve SWAT - will leave behind trash, and picking it up is a great way of improving your community.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Earth Week!

Six days until Earth Day! Here are some of your ways of celebrating:


Charity Miles (
Okay, so this one is pretty exciting. Hannah writes: "So I just downloaded this app called Charity Miles to my phone ( Android and iPhone) that gives you the option of doing green things while also increasing your life expectancy and while possibly being green by commuting in a non-gasoline or electricity sort of way. If you use the app to track when you walk, bike, or run, it will donate a certain amount of money (depending on the type of exercise) to the charity you choose. There are a ton of different ones; the ones that most closely relate to the environment and the earth are the Nature Conservancy, Nothing but Nets, and the ASPCA. One thing to remember - you need to set the app to track you when you start your exercise - you can't just sit on the exercise bike at the gym and then try to enter in that you just rode 11 miles. I tried that and wasn't able to do it. But if you tell it you've started and then click back when you're done, it will allow you to make your calorie burning count, so long as you share what you did with friends on Facebook or Twitter." I love this idea! I have very few apps on my phone, because I am an 80-year-old technophobe at heart, but I'll definitely get this one.

Toilet Dams: Flushing toilets use up far more water than is actually needed to do the job. However, toilet dams can save up to a gallon of water per flush. There seem to be many models, but check out the one at They have a bunch of other conservation products listed in the sidebar. Cheap and efficient - definitely a great find! I had never heard of these before, but I'm glad I have now.

Green Edge Supply ( Another home improvement/development site! All of these great projects make me wish I were a homeowner, which is such a grown up desire that it weirds me out. Elizabeth says: "They also issue a 'green living' blog with simple tips (turn video game consoles off)! There are some useful things for the home-building-illiterate like me: ideal temperature for setting your refrigerator and good stuff like that."

Everyday Living:

Use cold water: So much of our everyday energy usage is linked to hot water. Therefore, cutting your hot water consumption is one of the number one things you can do as an average citizen to shrink your carbon footprint. We highlighted Seventh Generation laundry detergent several weeks ago, and there are many other brands, like Tide Cold Water, that are specifically designed to be highly efficient in cold washes. Most clothes absolutely don't need to be washed in hot or even warm water. Another way to cut hot water usage is to take shorter showers, which I'm working on - I know that's a hard one! But even a few minutes off of your time can make a world of difference.

Keep toilet flappers current: Since water and toilets seem to be a theme this week, make sure you don't have a running toilet! If you hear it start to flush itself, you might need a new flapper. They're sold everywhere, including Home Depot, and are quite cheap (under $10).

Last toilet entry, I swear - Use most efficient toilet: If you have multiple bathrooms, one of your toilets may use less water than the other. Check out the tank size for a good indicator. Also, newer toilets are typically more efficient than older ones.

Make your fruit last longer: Grocery stores often seem to package food in quantities greater than one person can eat before it goes bad. Here's a way to make your produce last longer, which will cut both food and packaging waste (since you'll have to buy it less often). This tip had to do with strawberries, but I'm assuming it works for other fruit, as well. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to a bowl of water, submerge fruit for about a minute, and then dry thoroughly. The vinegar kills bacteria, which stops mold from growing. (After the last few weeks, white vinegar is clearly a green household must-have!)

Buy as little packaging as possible: Contrary to many companies' belief, every serving of food does not need to be individually packaged. Buy bulk or loose food products as often as you can. I've been doing this for a year now, and it's a lot easier than you think to limit your packaged food intake. It often turns out much cheaper, too! For bulk items, you can often bring your own containers, as well.

Cut yard work energy: If you have a yard to tend to (she writes from her apartment. Someday, though!), then try to avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and trimmers. Obviously the greenest way to take care of leaves in your yard is with a rake! If that's impossible, though, invest in an electric mower with rechargeable battery instead of a gas-powered one.

What to do if you forget your reusable bags?: Studies have shown that by themselves, plastic and paper bags are about as environmentally unfriendly as each other. However, the impact can be mitigated by how you're going to use the bags you get. Don't just throw them away! Plastic can be used as small garbage bags in bathrooms, and paper can be used to collect recycling (and they can also be recycled themselves). Paper bags also have the benefit of being used as wrapping paper or craft materials. Tracy says: "My boyfriend uses one to cover the sink when he shaves so his beard hairs don't clog up the drain!"

Compost: This isn't feasible for everyone, depending upon your living situation, but if you've got a bit of space, time, and money, composting can be a great way to get rid of your organic waste. Check out to see what option could work for you!

Dispose of lead-acid batteries responsibly: Patti says: "It's illegal to dispose of lead-acid (vehicle) batteries in the trash. Stores selling lead-acid batteries must accept, free of charge, up to two used batteries per month from any individual and must post a sign stating they accept batteries for recycling." 

Earth Day:

It's less than a week away, but why confine your efforts to April 20? Special thanks to John of Viridian Energy ( for letting us know about Viridian's Earth Month events at I'll be putting up little posts throughout the week about local Earth Day events, including the ones on this list. Please let me know if you'll be doing anything, too!