Love, Respect, Responsibility for our home, Planet Earth
by Holly Pellham Davis
We see evidence of Global Warming and our Earth in distress all across the globe with headlines of drought, violent weather storm patterns, science fiction-like algae taking over lakes and all that is in them, sea levels rising,species of plants and animals becoming extinct or deformed, acidic oceans killing thousands of fish and other aquatic life, a slew of plastic in the Pacific Ocean the size of the state of Texas.
As our precious Earth suffocates under a blanket of Co2, we too are dying a slow death. You simply can not separate the relationship between us. What we do to the Earth, we do to our bodies and worse, to our children. We must reverse the pattern that has been set in motion and each person has to do their part. Through educating ourselves and teaching our children that we are responsible for the health of our world through the daily decisions we make, we can make a difference.
Top offenders against the health of our Earth are: vehicle emissions, trash, plastics, fertilizer, deforestation, coal fired plants and industrial emissions.
Key ways to begin making a difference:
Conserve, reduce energy use in your home. Energy star appliances, Radiant Barrier Insulation such as reflectix, put a plan in action to reduce energy use, such as thermostat settings, lights off, unplugging unused devices, etc. have each family member sign the commitment agreement. Use alternative energy sources such as solar energy or wind energy.
Transportation choices: Vehicle emissions leave one of the largest carbon footprints on Earth. Not only is it the greatest polluter of the air we breathe leading to cancers, asthma and brain disease, but burning these fossil fuels is also causing the Earth to be diseased and sickened due to the blanket of carbon covering us. Reduce heavy duty trucks, petition to stop producing and slowly cut out diesel engines. Plan to carpool / ride share, use community transit, purchase and drive only high fuel economy vehicles, reduce your driving time by planning out any daily trips and cutting idle driving time. Turn off your car during carpool.
Stop the use of Fertilizer at your home, office, city parks and schools. Excess nitrogen (fertilizer) in water and soil kills the life giving oxygen in our air and water. When applied to the yard and or soil, the nitrogen is heated from the sun and evaporates into a gas into the air, rising up to form a blanket which warms the Earth. The same fertilizer is responsible for the horrific algae blooms, as it runs off the land into gutters, alleys, waterways, ponds, rivers, lakes and oceans strangling the oxygen, killing almost all life except for algae, noxious fish and jelly fish. Contact your local officials and inquire about what chemicals are applied to parks, fields and community land. Educate others on the dangers and petition them to stop. Build awareness. Cease all use of all “lawn greening” products every where you have influence. Have a no bag policy in place for your lawn clippings. Mow over them and nourish the soil naturally. Your yard and the air (no trapped gas), will love you!
Reduce,Reuse,Recycle, Respect, Responsibility... & Ban Plastic:
We have all heard of the “3 R’s” and most can probably sing the Jack Johnson song, but when the rubber meets the road, do we actually practice it? As usual, having a plan in order is supreme. Reduce your water use. Turn off the faucet, don;t keep it running. Install water & energy saving shower heads like this one:
Plant native landscape. Use Reduce the amount of trash you create by evaluating the current trash you have. Devise a plan to at least cut it in half. Buy in bulk. Reuse glass containers to store foods in. Reuse bags, clothes, electronics, etc. Simply don’t just throw anything away.. PURPOSE a PLACE for it... give it another life plan through reuse or recycling. Beware of toxic recyclables and reusables such as tires, synthetic rubber, PVC, most plastics and all styrene, styrofoam.
Purchase only items that will last and not negatively impact the environment. We have a symbiotic relationship with the Earth. For example, if we purchase cheap plastic toys for our children, they are toxic to their little bodies, possibly causing cognitive problems, disease etc... those same throw away, cheap toys are floating in the ocean, sitting in a land fill poisoning our planet.
We will talk more about TRASH next week, but for Earth Day, involve your children and educate them on the importance of NOT LITTERING our world. Beginning with not throwing chewed gum on the ground, to candy wrappers or fast food bags & containers it all harms our Earth. Take them for a visit to a nearby land fill so they can see and smell first hand that the trash we create does not just “go away.”
Family Earth loving activities:
Plant a tree in an effort to clean the air and increase life giving oxygen. Make it a yearly tradition in honor of someone's memory or birthday. Make it meaningful.
Plan to reduce trash, reuse or repurpose most things. Recycle electronics, batteries, trash. Stop using all styrene and styrofoam products. Cut your plastic use dramatically,
Do not throw away old nail polish, paints, solvents, old medications etc in main trash. Contact your city trash department and find out where, how to properly dispose of these and other toxic materials.
Turn off, unplug & live more energy efficiently. If your not using it, turn it off or unplug it.
As a neighborhood, church group, friends or family, come together and clean up a heavily polluted or littered area. Begin your own crusade to clean up our world.
Research with your children images of trash, the oceans, the Pacific trash vortex and other impact studies to broaden their perspective, gain knowledge and increase personal responsibility.
We are only as healthy as the home, environment we live in.
As stewards, we are called to be care takers of the Planet Earth. Let's commit to the call to care for our home, everyday. Our future and our children’s children’s future depend on it... Let’s not let them down.
Take a deep breath through your nose, slowly filling up your lungs. Then slowly push the air out through your mouth. Think about your nose, which acts as a filter and humidifier of the air you breathe into the lungs, processing that healing, life-giving oxygen. Then focus on expelling the by-product, carbon dioxide, out of your mouth, into the air around you.
Besides water, air is the only way to feed the human body oxygen. That makes it absolutely essential, fundamental, and critical for good health. Major air pollutants: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and particle pollution are proven to increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) , even after short-term exposures. Other health risks linked to air pollution include: asthma, stroke, decline in cognitive function, dementia, autism, inflammation, high blood pressure, acceleration of atherosclerosis, and overall cardiovascular health and brain health. Researchers estimate about an 18% increase in the life span for people living in rural or metropolitan counties and attributed it to lower air pollution. Kind of makes you want to stay indoors, right? Sadly, the air inside your home, office, school (even our car!) is about seven times more polluted than the outdoor air.
Major contributors are the things you can’t see, including:
Air fragrances: Candles (heavily fragranced, petroleum-based are the worst culprits), incense, “air re-fresheners” (huge oxymoron), and air deodorizers and disinfectants (i.e. Lysol and Fabreeze). The air in your lungs does not need to smell good. It needs to be clear of chemicals, phthalates, and harmful additives.
Volatile Organic Compound’s (VOC’s): Gas-off from dry cleaning, paint, carpet, deadly formaldehyde, particle and pressed boards, furniture, PVC Shower Curtains, household mattresses and other furniture containing flame resistant chemicals PBDEs & PBBs –
Pesticides, tobacco smoke, gas and other fuels, paint strippers, cosmetics (hairsprays and perfume), cleaning products containing ammonia, chlorine, benzene, floor wax, wood or other cleaners with petroleum (mineral) ingredients, wood burning stoves or fireplaces, and gas appliances.
So how do we “clear” the air?
1. Increase Flow. The most important thing is to increase the air flow in the building. That means, open the windows and doors and get good air movement going. This step is absolutely essential. You must move the air to clean it. Install small fans in hard to ventilate places such as the laundry room and bathroom. Air flow also decreases mold as it reduces moisture, which is important as mold can have a profound effect on health.
2. Implement A No Idle Policy. Never “idle” your car inside the garage. Do not even start the engine without making sure you can pull out quickly and safely. A swift exit is key. In carpool, turn off the engine. This policy should be in force at every school across the country. Not only does this deadly pollution make its way into the buildings, but into the lungs of our precious children. Same with buses- make sure the school has a no idle policy in place. If your child takes the bus, educate them on the dangers of vehicle emissions. Vehicle exhaust is deadly.
3. Identify And Eliminate Air Violators. Use the above list as a guide to “air violators” and discontinue their use immediately. Clean air violators out of your home and office. Be sure and properly dispose of all chemicals, cleaners, fuels, etc or the problem will only mutate to the local water source.
4. Test Your Air. Have your air tested if high allergies, migraines, or unexplained health problems plague anyone in your family. Make sure your house meets airPlus standards.
5. Filter, Filter, Filter. Use a HEPA filter on vacuum cleaners and HVAC air filters. Research the EPA’s Guide for Residential Air Filters and make sure you are taking necessary steps to ensure air health in your home.
6. Let In The Light. Get as much natural sunlight into your home as possible. The sun is a natural disinfectant and also kills most mold spores.
7. Dust. Use Microfiber cleaning towels to frequently remove dust, allergens and pet dander from furniture, floors, counter tops, and blinds.
8. Go Green. Channel your green thumb and grow lots of indoor plants to naturally filter the air. NASA research confirms the use of household plants improves air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and eliminating benzene and formaldehyde. Here is a full list of air-purifying plants.
Taking these small steps will ensure you and your family can breathe deeply and be closer to complete health. Wherever you can, through daily choices, writing elected officials, contacting school officials to initiate a no-idle policy, be an advocate for clean air, as it will give us a healthier earth for generations to come. Then enjoy a nice, long, deep breath of clean fresh… air!
Holly was recently a guest on, "Beautiful You" TV and chatted with host, LeeAnne Locken about truly having a "clean" home, free of toxic household chemicals and cleaning agents.
By: Holly Pellham Davis
Just saying the word, “Spring” fills my mind with thoughts of marching through every room in the house and doing a complete clean out. By the time the dust settles, I have to confess, there is not much left on the shelves, counter tops, or in the drawers. It all has morphed into a sea of bags labeled “donations” and “re-sell” which makes me feel so much lighter, refreshed and cleansed... almost as good as I imagine I would feel after a “We Care Spa” retreat. (Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.)
I love downsizing, detoxing, reducing, reusing, repurposing, simplifying “things” in life. One of my favorite places to “clean out” is the cleaning bucket. Seems kinda strange doesn’t it? ... cleaning out the cleaning bucket... but it makes me nuts to have 5,000 products to clean the bath tub! Do we really need all that? And, should we be in cardiac or respiratory distress, from the toxic fumes all in the name of a streak free mirror?
The fact that over half of all cleaning products contain chemicals that harm the lungs (what about the brain and liver?) and another 22% cause asthma in healthy adults leaves me even more breathless. Add the stats of increased respiratory allergies almost tripling in 2008-2010 and findings that people who used spray cleaners to clean their homes at least once per week has a 30-50% increased risk of asthma. Air fresheners, glass cleaners and furniture spray were frequently used products.
Some Health issues linked to Cleaning Products/Chemicals include:
Skin irritations, allergies Cancer. (especially blood cancer ie: Asthma Burns and Poisoning.
Recently, I penned an article on the “Air we Breathe” and the importance of clean air indoors and our overall health. Products that mask, fragrance and/or chemically disinfect our air, products that clean, polish and wax surfaces, products that retard bacteria, remove mold or bleach surfaces in wet areas. These cleaning products gas off or evaporate into the air we breathe effecting our health both, short and long term. Exposures can leave chemicals lingering in our bodies for decades with devastating effects.
Let’s put on some gloves, a white mask (if needed), a cute apron, and get to work!
First, we need to grab a container that will hold “toxic” products (we must dispose of them properly- you do not want to be drinking it down the road. It all goes somewhere, right? Visit Dallas County website for locations and directions.
Review products you have on hand: The majority of cleaning products do not list the complete ingredients on the label. It’s a dastardly, devious thing to do. Luckily, we can usually discern for ourselves if a product has a high probability of containing toxic substances. If in question, toss it. (properly)
Most people have 1)house cleaning products, 2)kitchen cleaning products, 3) laundry products and then 4)garage type (lawn and auto) products. Hit all areas separately.
Refer online to Environmental Working Group’s Product database if you have a question.
Dispose of any product that contains the following:
Formaldehyde (carcinogen) Releasing Chemicals list via EWG:
Remove & Discard all products containing toxic chemicals listed above and/or products you have deemed toxic.
Please include: Laundry dryer sheets, Petroleum based and scented candles, air refreshers, deodorizers, and “Fabreeze type” products.
“Clean” DIY Alternatives:
Vinegar & Water. Vinegar is my very favorite cleaning product. I mix 1 part vinegar to about 3 parts water, in a spray bottle to clean bathtubs & showers. (mix with baking soda and Bronner’s soap for a mild abrasive and tile, porcelain cleaner) For mold removal, spray hydrogen peroxide after the vinegar spray to do the trick! Add a spray of peroxide anytime you need antibacterial or extra germ fighting action, perfect for the toilet bowl!
Add vinegar to the rinse cycle of the laundry for extra brightening, softening and freshness! Clean your countertops, granite, marble, sinks. Just spray and wipe with clean re-usable cleaning towels! For a true air refresher, room oder remover, place a small bowl of white vinegar on the counter top!
Hydrogen Peroxide in a spray bottle: Use hydrogen peroxide for mold and anti bacterial uses in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry. Spot testing is always recommended. Peroxide in a spray bottle application is a great alternative to cleaning fruits and vegetables as well as disinfecting cutting boards. Be sure to rinse and let the food dry prior to consumption. Gloves are strongly suggested, as the peroxide can burn your hands.
Baking soda is fantastic for deodorizing carpets and pet areas. Just sprinkle prior to vacuuming designated areas. Baking soda can be easily mixed with an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice to increase cleaning power. It can also be mixed with water and liquid dish soap, to create a nice cleanser for tile or other non- porous surfaces including sinks and ovens. Hot Water: Nothing can take the place of good ole hot water. One of the best perks for under the counter instant hot water is the ability to put it on a dry clean cloth and clean plus naturally kill germs in an instant. Hot water cuts grease and gets the shine on!
Plant Oils: Olive Oil, Lemon Oil: One of the worst violators commonly comes in the form of furniture polish. Skip the exposure and danger with a non-toxic do it yourself concoction of Olive Oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and lemon oil. Spot test first. Apply to clean dry cloth, then furniture. For best results, use microfiber cleaning towels to remove toxic dust prior to oil.
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent (Although its noted for Borax, it is the BEST laundry detergent I have tried and when you have kiddos, you need something strong, right? This does the trick and the bit of Borax is okay with me.)
Seventh Generation Liquid dish soap
Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes
Method Glass Cleaner
Method Almond Wood Cleaner
Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Other Clean Fresh Living Cleaning Tips include:
Protect Yourself:Dust particles can contain highly toxic, very dangerous contaminants such as formaldehyde, lead, mercury, arsenic, pesticides and flame retardants. Please use gloves and a white mask while dusting.
Pre-Clean: I recommend going over furniture, blinds and other dust collecting objects with a microfiber cloth prior to using a furniture cleaner or oil. Conserve: Use washable cleaning or automotive towels to replace paper towel waste. Lint free linen drying towels are great for glass and mirrors. Bare feet rule: Have people remove their shoes prior to entering your home. This greatly reduces the dirt and dust accumulations.
Frequently vacuum using HEPA filter the carpeted areas of your home. Replace air filters often.
Keep it movin’: Keep air circulating in your house at all times. This is absolutely essential. Open doors and windows when possible and get the flow going. Add fans if necessary.
Give a Green 411 to the housekeeper: If you have a house keeper on the scene, make sure you teach then how to and what goes where.
Label with a list of applications. ie: Bathtub.
Remember, even if you aren’t home while your house is being cleaned, its in the air, in the dust and in you..
Now that we have cleared the air with clean fresh cleaning products for our home... whatta ya say we use some of our left over house cleaning ingredients for a refreshing glass of water... squeeze the lemon, hold the olive oil.
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