Thursday, December 31, 2009

In With the Old, Out With the New

As our traditionally Western holiday season winds down and another new year begins, many take time to reflect on the year past, and look forward to starting fresh.  I know I do.  I think about the crazy year we just went through and think, "Whew, what a ride!  We did all THAT in just 365 days?  No wonder I am tired!"   But, this time is also a time of celebration, welcoming in the New Year with hope and optimism. 
I think over the last year, we've learned a lot as a society.  We've learned that investment bankers aren't always the smartest people in the room (quite far from it).  We've also learned that credit cards are not necessarily our friends and that just because something is shiny and new, doesn't make it better than what we already have.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why Eco-Steps Matter

It's no secret that the world population is increasing at alarming rates. As a human race, we consume resources to survive.  And, some of us consume more than others (far beyond what would be considered necessary for survival).
Just recently, I read an article addressing our consumption entitled, "What's Your Consumption Factor?" by Jared Diamond, author of "Collapse," and "Guns, Germs and Steel."  Some of the highlights of the article are that developed nations consume resources at a relative per capita consumption rate of 32 whereas the "rest" of the world consumes at a rate far lower than that-- somewhere around 1.  And, that the disparity in these resource consumption rates is at the root of many of the world's conflicts.  This article uses China as an example of where we are headed with our consumption.  In 2008, China's per capita consumption hovered somewhere around 11.  China has the world's fastest growing economy and four times the population of the United States.  If China's consumption rises to be on par with the US, oil consumption would increase by 106 percent, and world metal consumption would increase by 94 percent.  I don't mean to pick on China or single out any particular nation.  But, it is clear that we all need to start thinking a lot differently about how we consume. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Looking Good on the Cheap

We all want to look good.  It's part of human nature.  I dare say that what we don't want is to spend a lot of money to look our best.  And the good news is, we don't have to!  With the economic downturn of the past year, second-hand stores, consignment shops, and stores like the Good Will and The Salvation Army have come back into popularity and for good reason.  You can really find some tremendous deals on stylish, gently used clothing while helping people, saving money and being kinder to the planet.  If you haven't already seen The Story of Stuff, check it out and you'll see why shopping just a little differently is much nicer to Mother Nature.  You can look good and feel good too!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Dirty Dozen

Eating green, healthy and organic on a budget can be a challenge in the best of economies.  Whether or not you agree that organic food is more nutritious for you, it's hard to argue against the idea that pesticide-free fruits and veggies have to be better for you-- and for the environment.

What to do if you can't spend your weekly food budget going entirely organic?  You can pick and choose certain organics to avoid the most pesticides and chemicals while being kinder to your wallet.  These pesticide-laden produce are called "The Dirty Dozen."