Take The Quiz: Are Your Kids Following In Your Carbon Footprints

Looking for a great way to explain carbon footprints to your children? Eben and I have been really enjoying Zero Footprint Kids and and he was surprised to see that there are areas that he needs to work on offsetting his own carbon footprint. We also learned that as a family, we need to do less laundry and turn our computers off when we aren’t using them. It also has a great section on school, he learned that he should talk to his school about recycling all of its paper in the classrooms.

The measurements are made in terms kids understand: carbon, land, water and trees. I encourage you to take the quiz with your child – we would love to hear how you did.

What can you do together to lessen your family’s impact on our planet?

4 Green Ways to Celebrate the Fourth 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 sunscreens. The Environmental Working Group’s 2020 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?

How Can You And Your Home Become More Eco Friendly?

It’s certainly no surprise that a lot of people are becoming increasingly concerned about their homes on an environmental level. It’s impossible to deny that climate change is having a very real impact on the world and the vast majority of people, very understandably, want to try and do everything that they can in order to make their homes more sustainable. However, for a lot of people, they assume that doing so is going to be incredibly difficult or expensive. While it’s true that some methods of making your home greener are more expensive than others, there are enough methods that almost anyone can try at least some of them in order to lessen their environmental impact. With that in mind, here are a few ways that both you and your home can go green.

Go natural

One of the very best ways that you can reduce the environmental impact of your household is to try and go natural as much as possible. The most obvious way of doing this is to grow your own food. Even if you only have a small garden, you almost certainly have the space to grow some fruit and vegetables. Perhaps consider using some of the space that you currently use for your lawn to grow things that are actually useful. Not only will you save money but growing your own food makes a big difference to your overall carbon footprint since you’ll be buying far less from supermarkets. You should also look into reducing the amount of water that you waste by using a water filtration system to make things like rainwater safe for drinking. It might seem like all of this is a lot of effort, but it’s far less than you might expect and not only that, but you’ll find that the results often make it all worthwhile. There are few moments in life where you feel more proud than when you first bite into a piece of food that you grew from a single seed.

Install solar panels

While this might be one of the more expensive options available, it is also one of the very best. Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular on many houses because they not only benefit the planet, but they also benefit homeowners. Not only do solar panels allow you to use far less electricity than you otherwise would, some local governments actually pay you for producing energy. Essentially, if you have solar panels on your home, you may be able to sell the energy you produce which means that not only are you reducing your energy bills, you’re essentially converting them into profit. Even with the, admittedly steep initial cost of having them installed in the first place, it’s undeniable that solar panels can be a fantastic deal, both for you and for the earth. Of course, it’s important to think carefully about whether or not you’re going to get that much out of solar panels in the first place before having them installed. As with any serious alteration to your home, it pays to do as much research as possible.

Change the products you use 

Flat Lay Photography of Beauty Products

We all have to buy various products and it can be difficult because, to put it mildly, some brands really aren’t as interested in taking care of the environment or being eco friendly as many of us would like. As nice as it would be to make everything from scratch yourself, that’s really not a realistic change that most people can actually make. However, one thing that you can do is to make sure that you’re only buying products from brands that you can trust. There are plenty of ways you can find out that kind of information online with just a little bit of googling. Simple things like switching from traditional soaps and body wash to something like colloidal oatmeal can be a great start. What is colloidal oatmeal? Well, simply put, it’s a way that you can use regular oats to create a natural skincare routine. It’s also available in many products from companies who are dedicated to being more eco friendly. This is a small and simple change that you can make but it’s a great starting point for you to make some genuine changes to your shopping habits.

Make simple changes to your behaviour

The best thing that you can do if you want to live a more eco friendly life is just to make simple changes in your day-to-day behaviours. These kinds of things aren’t particularly life-changing on their own and they’re not all that glamorous. However, they are often the things that can end up making the biggest change on your environmental impact. Incredibly simple things like trying to save power by reducing the number of appliances that you have running at once or simply turning off lights when you leave the room can make a huge difference and really don’t take that much effort to do once you’re in the habit. The same goes for how much water you’re using or how often you have your heating and air conditioning on as the weather changes. Sure, you doing these things alone isn’t going to change the world, but if we all did our part with these small and simple changes then it could well have a pretty significant impact on the world around us. Plus, these kinds of things could end up saving you a fair amount of money too.

The reality is that making your home, and your life, more eco friendly can often be something of a challenge. It’s something that requires commitment and often requires you to make sacrifices. However, it’s so important that you remember the importance of making adjustments to our impact on the world around us. Sure, living in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way isn’t always easy and can sometimes come with its fair share of short-term inconveniences, but the trade-off for that is being able to do your bit to help the world around you, not just for yourself but for future generations as well. 

Natural Products To Improve Your Health

It doesn’t matter if you are new to natural health or have been on your natural health journey for some time. You might be looking to clean up your personal care routine and add some natural ingredients to it. Or you might be looking to improve your diet. 

You can even look for new ways to clean your home by swapping some of the chemicals that you use for more natural alternatives. Here are some simple alternatives that you can begin to stock up on.

Almond Flour

Even if you don’t happen to have a gluten allergy, many people are actually gluten sensitive. There are several great alternatives to regular flour, almond flour is one of them. 

It also has a range of health benefits. For example, Allmond flour is high in protein, vitamin E, and very rich in magnesium. Interestingly though, it is low in carbohydrates and has a subtle sweet taste. You might have to make some adjustments, though, because it is dense in texture.

Almond flour can typically be substituted for the exact amount of regular flour that we will use. However, it is important to remember that your baked goods will usually come out a little flatter and denser because it lacks gluten. 

Raw Honey

Honeybees work extra hard to make beautiful, delicious honey. And raw honey is packed with antioxidants. Most honey is usually treated with heat (pasteurization), this is to kill the bacteria and any other impurities that might be in the honey. However, this process will also destroy much of the honey’s natural health benefits.

People have used raw honey to fight bacteria and wounds for many years. This is because raw honey has antiseptic properties. As we all know, there is nothing better than raw honey and lemon to help soothe a sore throat. You can also substitute sugar in baking for honey, and you’ll find you have a much richer taste. In fact, you will often find raw honey in products like elderberry syrup, this will increase the natural benefits and the immune system.

Elderberry

Elderberry is something that more people are starting to embrace. It is known to have plenty of virus-fighting properties. Studies have found that people who use elderberry have a lower occurrence of coughs and colds and a decreased number of cold symptoms and duration. 

While you could eat some elderberries for their impact, it’s easier to add elderberry syrup into your water and drink it throughout the day. This delicious immune-enhancing remedy is growing in popularity.

Turmeric

In recent years the turmeric latte has risen in popularity. But this superpower powder has been used in many different cultures for hundreds of years. In fact, you will also find it in curries, and that is what gives it a beautiful golden color. It is well known for supporting so many areas of health, including the liver and brain. Not only this, but it is brilliant for reducing inflammation throughout the body. The main compound in turmeric is called curcuminoid, and they are antioxidants that help support cell health.

You can now find turmeric in several skincare brands too. As well as making an utterly natural turmeric facemask from home. If you wish to add more into your cooking, simply sprinkle this into any Indian cuisine, lattes (or just warm milk, and it can even be enjoyed as a tea. Almost all recipes will benefit from a little touch of turmeric.

Coconut oil

For years now, coconut oil has been hired as they can do everything. Not only is coconut oil better for cooking due to all of the healthy fats, but it is also great for moisturizing the skin. You can use it for hair masks and makeup remover, and it is known for its antibacterial properties too.

Try to ensure that you use only pure coconut oil, rather than an oil mix.

You can even use coconut oil for oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient remedy to help wash your teeth and freshen your breath. And using coconut oil for oil pulling is becoming more popular. Oil pulling involves swishing in oil around your mouth, exactly the same as a mouthwash. 

You simply put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth then swill it around for about 20 minutes. It is said the main benefit of doing this reduces the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Outed at some mouth bacteria are friendly, and others are not.

 Bacteria in your mouth will create a biofilm; this is also known as plaque. Some plaque on your teeth is perfectly normal but can get out of hand pretty quickly. Oil pulling simply sweeps away all the bacteria and dissolves much of it in the liquid oil. You can do oil pulling with almost any oil coconut oil is the most popular choice due to the taste.

Aloe Vera

This beautiful pretty green plant has healing and cooling properties. The gel inside the leaves has quite a long list of benefits, and that’s when it’s applied to the skin and hair or ingested. Each part of my body can be vastly improved with aloe vera due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties. It also has a substantial amount of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. You can buy aloe vera directly from the store or buy a plant and take out the middle yourself. You can also buy the juice, and many other products come with aloe vera as an ingredient. But ideally, you want to have the highest amount of aloe vera possible. Getting it straight from the plant is the best way. 

Aloe vera is great to have around for things like sunburn, minor burns, and insect bites.

Lemon

Lemon is an excellent ingredient for cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, and also eating. Lemons are high in potassium, vitamin C, and packed with antioxidants. All of these have significant improvements for our nails, hair, and skin. It should be noted that lemon is acidic, and if left on the body, it can cause issues with sensitive skin.

Lemon, when used around the home, gives a light and welcoming feeling. It is also great to be used in offices as it can help with concentration. Of course, this only works with the natural scent, not the chemically created one.

Lemon is a great ingredient for cooking with and really cuts through any heavy ingredients like cream, and elevates the flavor. It works great in meals with chicken and vegetables and works with many different herbs. You can also add lemon into your tea. Many people use lemon and baking soda as a natural teeth whitener. But it should be noted that this could potentially break down your tooth enamel. So you should use this sparingly and only for a minute at a time.

Lemon mixed with honey and sugar makes a great exfoliation. It will remove dead skin cells and leave you with a brighter skin tone.

It is also great for cutting through grease on oven Hobbs and then putting in the microwave with some water that can help break down dirt and grime and give a fresh smell throughout your kitchen.

Using natural products in your diet, and throughout your home, means that you are cutting down ingredients that have been man-made. And often, these ingredients can be more harsh and pungent than we’d like. Natural ingredients can be a cheap and affordable alternative, which means you can fill your fridge and pantry with exactly what you need.

Road-Tripping in an Electric Vehicle: 4 Tips for Success

There are a lot of different cars on today’s roads — and with a PwC forecast estimating 107 million vehicles will be manufactured globally in 2020, there are going to be even more in the next few years. And while having a vehicle is often necessary, CO2 emissions are at an all-time high, partly due to vehicle use. This is one of the many reasons more and more people are choosing to purchase electric vehicles (EVs). But if you’re traveling this summer, you may be wondering how to plan your trip with your EV. Lucky for you, we have a few great tips in this article.

Drive Smart and Save Your Battery

EV drivers have to make the most of a charge — this is why it’s important to drive smart. When you’re trying to get the most out of your car’s battery, you should accelerate and brake carefully. If you slam on either the gas or brakes regularly, your charge is going to go down more quickly. Don’t forget to use your accessories wisely, too. Additionally, you should always charge your vehicle right before you leave so you can start off with a full charge. And remember to keep charge times in mind to ensure you stay on schedule. With U.S. manufacturing producing 18.2% of goods globally, EVs have improved drastically over the past few years, but you still need to treat your car with care.

Plan Your Stops Ahead of Time

When you’re on a road trip, you’re usually rushing to get to your final destination in excitement. But when you’re driving in an EV, you need to plan to stop frequently. So when you’re planning your route and travel time, make sure to account for multiple stops. Not only will EVs require more stops than regular cars, but the stops will probably take longer — it takes more time to charge an EV than to fill up a gas tank. But with the global specialty gases market expected to exceed $14 billion by 2026, EV drivers can enjoy saving money and going green compared to regular vehicle drivers.

Go Where Charging Stations Are

Unfortunately, much of the country is still not equipped with electric vehicle charging stations. This is especially true in less populated areas. So when you’re deciding where to travel to in your EV, be mindful of where charging stations are located. Cities and urban areas are a great choice because they’re more likely to have multiple charging stations you can utilize. While there are plans in place to get more EV charging stations in place in less populated areas, for now, you should stick to high-traffic areas. This way, you won’t have to worry about being stranded without a way to charge up.

Expect the Unexpected

When you’re driving a traditional vehicle, it can be fairly easy to simply hop in the car and take off with no plan in mind. But this isn’t a smart thing to do with an EV. Running out of battery juice far away from a charging station can be bad news. This is why you need to plan for the worst and expect the unexpected. You should always have a backup plan, like knowing about a charging station before your planned stop, just in case. With 5.5 million car accidents occurring every year and millions of cars breaking down on the roads, there’s no telling what may happen. So be prepared for anything that may come up along the way.

Driving an electric vehicle is a great way to do your part to help the environment. But because road trips in an EV can be a little more tricky, keep these tips in mind to ensure everything goes according to plan.