Tag Archives | holidays

Simple Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly This Winter

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With the cold winter weather here, you’re probably doing everything you can to keep the inside of your home warm and comfortable. Unfortunately, the winter months often mean an increase in energy consumption. So how can you go green this winter without feeling like you’re living in an igloo? Here are a few tips to help you be more energy-efficient during the winter months.

Unfortunately, the Department of Energy shows that about 56% of energy used in U.S. homes is for heating and cooling. But the good news is that you don’t have to completely shut off your heat to save some energy. Turning down the thermostat even a degree or two can make a big difference in energy consumption. Getting a programmable thermostat can allow you to have the heat turn down when you’re asleep or not at home so you won’t even notice the difference. And you can always snuggle up in more blankets if you get too cold.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering your heat use is ensuring your home is properly insulated. If there is a lack of insulation or even cracks or drafts around windows and doors, you could be losing a lot of heat in your home. And when this heat is lost, your HVAC system has to work harder to replace it, using more energy. So consider installing weather stripping around windows and doors and sealing entry points for outside lines with proper insulation to avoid losing heat in your home.

With the winter days being shorter and darker, you probably have more lights on in your home than normal. This is another great opportunity for going green — did you know that LED lights use only 15% of the energy that a standard halogen light uses? Not only that, but LEDs offer up to 85% more light output too. So by switching out your halogen bulbs for LEDs, you’ll be reducing your energy consumption and getting more light in your home.

And lastly, consider going green when it comes to your diet as well. When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, consider buying in season options. While today’s modern world allows us to have access to fruits and vegetables all year no matter the season, out of season produce has to be shipped from far away. This uses tons of fuel, which is something you can help reduce. So try to make an effort to buy produce that is in season throughout the winter months.

Being more eco-friendly this winter doesn’t have to be difficult. So keep these simple tips in mind for a greener winter.

Have a Happy Halloween with this Fun Organic Lunch

To kids, Halloween is far more than just trick or treating. It’s all about costumes, spooky TV specials, and the spirit of the holiday!

Treat them to this super simple, and super yummy, organic Halloween lunch, and make it extra special. Jump over to ECOlunchbox for the recipe!

Green Tip: Pick an Organic Pumpkin

Green Tip Pick an Organic Pumpkin

Did you plant your pumpkins and gourds last spring? If so, you should have a bounty of them to use for decorating and baking this fall. If not or if you live in Florida like me, that’s alright, you can find lovely organic pumpkins and gourds at your local organic farm, farmer’s market or organic grocer. Do you need help locating great organic pumpkins in your area? Check out Local Harvest to locate a farm in your area, and enjoy autumn!

Where do you get your pumpkins?
Do you purchase local organic ones?
P.S. My favorite place to pick pumpkins is in the North Carolina mountains at the New River Pumpkin Patch. Hurricane Irma made it possible this year! We happened to be evacuated at the time and were able to stop by before heading home! 

4 Green Ways to Celebrate the Fourth of July!

4th of July

Happy Independence Day Weekend! The 4th of July is one of my personal favorite holidays, with BBQ’s, family, community, fairs, farmer’s markets, and fireworks to enjoy—not to mention that good old patriotic feeling. There are a lot of great, green ways to celebrate this year, but I’ve chosen four because, well, you know!

  1. Get Outside
    Getting outdoors with the family instead of hanging around inside and running the AC is a great way to start greening your 4th. Since Independence Day is America’s holiday sweetheart, there should be no shortage of activities for you and your family to participate in, from historical tours and live music to farmer’s markets and pick-your-own berry patches. If you live near water or natural open, go for a swim or take a scenic walk or bike ride. Don’t forget to use DEET-free insect repellant! I personally like to use child-safe, non-toxic Bug Bam Mosquito Bands and this DIY mosquito repellant.
  2. Slather on Eco-friendly, Safe Sunscreen
    Hopefully you’ve got plans to hit the beach, the trail, or the farmer’s market this 4th. If you’ll be outside (and especially if you’re taking little ones along), make sure to wear hats and shades and use plenty of sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group’s 2014 Best Sunscreens page lists over 100 safe sunscreens including baby, waterproof, and sport sunscreens. Don’t forget to reapply!
  3. Pack a Zero Waste Picnic
    If you’re setting up camp somewhere to wait for the fireworks show to start, eliminate waste and save some cash by skipping food vendors and disposable eating ware and bringing your own zero waste picnic. You can start by packing locally sourced fruits, veggies, cheeses, and beer or wine (bottles are recycle-able!) and bringing your own water in reusable bottles. Instead of plastic and paper eating ware, pack cloth napkins and compostable plates, silverware, and cups. If you don’t have a long haul or want to go super-green, pack reusable glasses, silverware, and plates.
  4. View Fireworks from a Natural Setting
    The last year I lived in Boulder my husband and I skipped the impressive, grandiose fireworks and sing-a-long event at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field in favor of a quieter, more intimate viewing experience with friends. We packed some drinks and snacks, hiked up into the foothills, and joined other groups wanting to celebrate from a distance. The evening (and later nighttime, flashlight-lit) hike was magical, allowing us to take in the full beauty of our town and appreciate this lovely country we call home. Since we were far enough away that we couldn’t hear the explosions of the fireworks, our group of friends was able to converse and enjoy each other’s company to the fullest. Even if you don’t have a beautiful natural setting to enjoy the 4th from, you can cut down on waste and pollution by not lighting off street fireworks and enjoying a larger display with a giant group, instead.

Have a safe, green, and happy Independence Day! How are you celebrating?

5 Sustainable Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July

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The 4th of July is just a few days away and now is the perfect time to plan a little sustainability into your celebration. There are many eco-friendly ways to make the holiday more sustainable.  To get you started here are 5 quick tips to make your day of red, white and blue a little more green.

#1: Think Reusable – Not Disposable
If you will be celebrating the 4th of July at home, choose reusable dinnerware instead of the disposable kind. It will only take a few minutes more to load them into the dishwasher and will save the environment a lot! If reusable simply isn’t an option, consider a great recyclable or compostable alternative.

#2: Get it from the Garden
The 4th of July is the perfect time to share the abundance of goodies from your garden with the neighbors. Instead of letting all of those zucchinis and cucumbers go to waste, invite your family and friends over for a vegetarian BBQ and encourage them to bring a vegetarian dish to share – skip the meat and the environment will smile.

#3: Entertain the Kids with Nature Crafts
You don’t have to purchase anything new to entertain the kiddos on the 4th of July, instead encourage them to create their own to make their own recycled lava lamps, succulent garden with paint dipped dinosaurs, or organic pine cone bird feeders. These activities will keep them busy all day long! Other fun options include encouraging them to have a bicycle parade around the neighborhood or a watermelon eating contest.

#4: Use a Natural Bug Repellent
Nothing kills a fun time outside like the toxic smell of bug spray. Check out these natural ways to repel bugs and make your own natural bug spray. These options won’t make you, the environment or your guests gag.

#5: Skip the Store Bought Fireworks

Instead of purchasing fireworks that only last a few seconds and create pounds of toxic garbage – visit your local park or beach for the community firework show. They are going to shoot the fireworks off anyways, you may as well enjoy the show.

How will you add a little green to your 4th of July celebration?