Friday, April 29, 2011

Disaster preparedness...

With the beautiful Spring also comes turbulent weather.  There have already been record numbers of tornadoes in southern and midwestern states (almost 300 dead with millions of dollars worth of devastation this week alone), so this is probably the time to start an emergency preparedness kit, (if you haven't already).  But how to do this in an eco-friendly way?

Here are a few essential items you'll need to get your kit together:
  1. Hand crank radio: To keep you informed of weather conditions, doesn't require batteries
  2. Hand crank flashlight: Doesn't require batteries and is always ready to go when you need it.
  3. Water: Get the biggest water jug you can find at the grocery store and then use reusable water bottles to drink from.  
  4. Blankets and rain gear
  5. Waterproof safe: to contain all your valuable papers.  Or better yet, make copies of your most important documents, such as passports, birth certificates, social security cards, and keep them in a safety deposit box at the bank.
  6. Latex-free band-aids
  7. Food: Organic snacks and canned food (plus manual can opener)
  8. Baby supplies: such as baby food, diapers, wipes (if needed)
  9. Solar cell phone charger
  10. Supply of toys, books, games 
  11. Tools
  12. Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  13. Photos: Download your digital photos to an online service, such as Shutterfly or Snapfish and try to scan your paper copies.  Photos are my most prized material possession and irreplaceable.  
Keep these things in a rodent-proof container in your basement or most secure room in your house.  Remember to have at least a 5-7 day supply of these things, just in case it takes that long to restore power.  It's a good idea to keep a mini version of this kit in your car also, as well as things to survive if you stall out or get stuck in a winter storm.

I hope that no one will need these in the future, but will at least be prepared.  There's less environmental impact with these supplies, but everything you need just in case.   

Here are a few links for more information on disaster kits, as well as a link to LL Bean who sells a handcrank radio and flashlight.  

Green Disaster Kit
LL Bean flashlight
LL Bean radio

Stay safe!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One year ago....

It's been one year since the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in 11 deaths and 206 million gallons of oil spewing into the waters.  Since then, the local economy as well as the wildlife in the Gulf have been devastated.  Yet somehow, life goes on in the US with little thought about what happened only one year ago.

The immediate urge to conserve energy and look for renewable energy began to wane by Christmas.  Americans are still going about their lives as if nothing happened, regardless of the energy we are so dependent on that is still very limited.  And that's not mentioning the wars in which we get involved because of this oil crisis.

I've had to make a few small changes since the spill.  I refuse to get gas from BP stations, which used to be my station of choice since it was the only gas company to tout itself as environmental.  I also don't eat fish or seafood from the Gulf, even though reports have claimed that there is no trace of carcinogens nor oil in these products.  I'm not taking any chances, especially because they haven't tested the effects of the dispersant they placed into the waters in order to clean up the oil chemically.  Dolphins, sea turtles and other wildlife in the Gulf have come up dead---mysteriously, is what they say in the news.  I'm not buying it.

Our addiction is destroying the world. The effects of drilling for oil, the pollution from refining the oil, and the waste from consuming this oil is not sustainable.

Our addiction to oil is directly affecting us.  Our soldiers are dying unnecessarily in needless wars just to satisfy our oil needs.  Oil prices are at $4/gallon and keep rising.  It's time to change this pattern of energy use.

I've always been an avid environmentalist but since the oil spill I have been more motivated to spread the word about conserving energy and doing our part to not be a problem on this planet, to share this Earth with other animals, and to leave something for future generations.

Please do your part to be a responsible and considerate citizen of the planet.  Conserve where you can, be conscious of your impact on the environment, and take baby steps to go green.  Visit my site every week for more tips on how to do this, a little bit at a time.  And please visit the eco-mami Facebook page for 30 days of eco-tips in honor of Earth Day.

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Earth Month!

One year ago this month, I started posting 30 days of eco-tips on my eco-mami Facebook page.  I'm providing more eco-tips in honor of Earth Day again this month.  These are just little ways each of us can make a difference in putting a dent in our energy consumption and our impact on the environment.

Unfortunately, last year was especially significant environmentally due to the Gulf oil spill that lasted for months.  This year has been marked with the nuclear disaster in Japan, as well as the wars that are still happening in the Middle East over oil.  It is time we become energy-independent in this country but agreeing on how seems to be an impossible task with the politics that are involved.

I know that we can do our part by conserving the energy we use and by the choices we make every day.  Not depending on oil in every aspect of our lives, especially plastic, is one way to help curb our need for this limited resource.  Not buying into the disposable trend and using as many reusable things as we can is another way.  Being conscious of our purchases including everything from cars to dishwashers to the food we eat impacts the energy we use.  Every little bit counts.

So make an extra effort this month to be green.  It's not just a trend, it's our planet.

Look for events in your area to learn a few things about how to be kind to Mother Earth.  Here are a few events in honor of Earth Day happening in the Northern Virginia area:

Loudoun County: at Clyde's in Ashburn, VA at the Village in Leesburg, VA (Wegman's shopping center)
Fairfax County: at Fairfax Government Center in Alexandria, VA
Charlottesville, VA: at the winery
Virginia: which lists events all over the state