XL Pipeline Protest in Washington DC 11/6/2011

November 6th, 2011

By Dave Peiser

Stop the Keystone XL PipelineMore than 8,000 people linked hands around the White House to oppose the Keystone XL project, a pipeline that would carry oil derived from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas. The oil to be pumped through this pipeline is from tar sands – the dirtiest, least energy-efficient source of oil. The protest was meant to persuade President Obama to deny the permit for it to be built. This video includes interviews with Bill McKibbin and Mark Ruffalo.

Did you miss the protest but want to take action? Head to Tar Sands Action  or on Facebook to http://www.facebook.com/keystonepipeline

Energy-Saving Checklists for October Energy-Awareness Month

October 26th, 2011

By Dave Peiser

October is Energy Awareness Month, so it's a great time to assess whether there are some things you can do to reduce your energy use (and save some money while you are at it).Greenliness Checkmark - I did it The US Department of Energy (DOE) has put together some great checklists for homes and businesses to use for this purpose. I have put these into Word Documents and PDF files to make it easier to save and print them. Here are links to the checklists I took from the DOE website:

Home Energy Checklist: PDF   Word Doc

Office Energy Checklist: PDF   Word Doc

Facility Energy Checklist: PDF   Word Doc

The Best Way to Save Energy is to Stop Wasting it

October 19th, 2011

 

By Dave Peiser

The quickest way to reduce energy use (and save money at the same time), is to look around your home or office and find electronics that stay on all the time for no reason. If you have kids, then it's quite possible their game system is on all the time, using an immense amount of energy. For example, a Playstation 3 canSave Money by Reducing Energy Use use up to 120 Watts. That's like leaving a 120 Watt light bulb on 24/7. At 25 cents per kilowatt-hour, that's $5.00 per week or $260.00 per year!! The Xbox 360 uses 150 Watts, which is even more! Other appliances like DVD Players and amplifiers do their share as well with energy consumption.

Enter the Advanced PowerStrip

There is a very easy way to eliminate this cash-drain. Devices are on the market now that sense when a TV turns off (or when a computer turns off), and automatically turn off devices that should also be off, such as game systems, amplifiers. speakers and routers. These devices easily pay for themselves quickly, and are incredibly easy to install. They come in different sizes, depending on how many devices you Tricklestar 12 Outlet Advanced Power Striphave.

Some PowerStrips also come with timers, that allow you to automatically turn off a set of devices at a certain time each day. The nice thing about these, is that they completely eliminate any "Vampire" power consumption – that power that continues being used even when devices are turned off.

At Greenliness.com, we offer a range of devices, from "Powertaps" that connect directly to a power outlet and take up very little space, to the 12 Outlet Tricklestar Advanced PowerStrip, that includes 8 outlets that are automatically turned off when a control device (TV or PC) is turned off, plus 3 Always-On outlets. We also offer timers, that turn off single devices or entire powerstrips.

Battery Backups with Automatic Shutoff

We also offer battery backup units that have an automatic shutoff of devices. This type device still draws a little powerAPC ES750 Battery Backup and Automatic Shutoff to keep the battery charged, but it makes a significant difference compared to when all the devices are turned on all the time. I tested my APC BACK-UPS ES750 with my computer and peripherals. When everything was left on overnight for 8 hours, my power meter said that 890 Watts were consumed. By turning the computer off, which also turned off the monitors, speakers and a couple other small devices, only 20 watts were consumed. An incredible difference.

Pays for Itself

Advanced PowerStrips pay for themselves quickly, and are a very easy way to quickly make a difference in your power use and your utility bill.

“The Last Mountain” opens this week. We are all Responsible for the Coal Fiasco.

June 8th, 2011

By Dave Peiser

A movement is brewing in the United States that we all need to get involved with. It has to do with resisting the taking of coal, natural gas and oil from our public lands, and the destruction and attack on humanity that results. The movie "The Last Mountain" is a "must-see" film to understand what is happening in our country with the coal industry. It opens this week.

 

Handmade Soap Versus Store Bought Soap – Is there a Difference?

April 26th, 2011

By Lisa Jackson

Several years ago, I developed an allergy to several varieties of store-bought soap.  My symptoms were persistent rough, dry, itchy and irritated skin.  In an attempt to obtain relief, I decided to take a closer look at the ingredients in these soaps to see what might be causing the problem.  What a revelation that turned out to be!  What ensued was a time of reevaluation that led me to compare the difference between artificially created products versus more “natural” old-fashioned skin and hair care.

As it turns out, most, if not all, of the commercially available soap that we buy at the grocery store is a breathtaking brew of toxic chemicals.  In many cases, the so-called “soap” can’t really be described technically as soap, but instead is more of a synthetic chemical detergent with artificial fragrances and colors derived primarily from petroleum.  This revelation quickly caused me to question all of the products we had been traditionally using.  In the process of examining all of our personal care products, I discovered that, typically, store bought soaps, shampoos and cosmetics use the following chemicals: (1) Imidazolidinyl and Diazolidinyl Urea (Used as preservatives, which are a primary cause of contact dermatitis, it also releases formaldehyde, which is toxic and carcinogenic.), (2) Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethylparaben (Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and extends shelf life.  Causes many allergic reactions and skin rashes.  All four of these closely related chemicals are known to be toxic.), (3) Propylene Glycol (Usually a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant, it has been known to cause allergic and toxic reactions.), (4) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (A synthetic substance used in many “natural” shampoos for its detergent and foaming properties.  Causes eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp conditions similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions.), (5) Stearalkonium Chloride (Originally developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, it is used in hair conditioners and creams.  Causes allergic reactions and is toxic), (6) Synthetic Colors (FD+C or Synthetic Colors in SoapsD+C) followed by a color and number (These are all Cancer causing agents.), (7) Synthetic Fragrances (Contain over 200 chemical ingredients, which are labeled simply as “fragrance”.  These cause headaches, dizziness, rashes, hyper-pigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritations, and the list goes on…), (8) Triethanolamine (TEA) (Used to adjust pH and to make stearate, which is a base for cleansers.  Causes allergic reactions, including eye problems, dryness of the hair and skin, and becomes toxic if large amounts build up in the body over time.), (9) Triclosan (This is the active ingredient in many antibacterial soaps.  This chemical belongs to the chlorophenol class of chemicals, which are thought to cause cancer in humans.  According to the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) triclosan is officially considered a pesticide and has been given high scores both as a human health risk and as an environmental risk.), (10) Phythalates (These industrial compounds are used in a wide variety of hairsprays, perfumes and cosmetics.  Animal studies on some phthalates have shown that the chemicals may cause a variety of health problems, including reproductive and developmental harm, organ damage, immune suppression, endocrine disruption and cancer.)  You should also be aware that the government does not actually regulate what the term “natural” means in your personal care products, so commercial soaps, shampoos, creams, etc. can claim to be “natural” while still being primarily synthetically derived.   I found this list rather sobering and worrisome.

Another surprising fact is that, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 57 percent of baby soaps, which are considered to be the most pure and gentle of soaps, actually contain 1,4-dioxane,Poisons in kids soap a probable human carcinogen, which readily penetrates your skin!  You may ask yourself, “How can this be?”  The answer is that, contrary to what you may have been led to believe, the U.S. government does not currently require safety testing on any of the ingredients in your, or your children’s, personal care products, so the companies that produce these widely available consumer products are not required to meet any safety standards what-so-ever. When you consider the fact that our skin absorbs up to 80% of what you put on it, toxic (and unnecessary) additives can be easily absorbed into the blood stream and bio-accumulate in the body where they influence your immune system and overall health.  This certainly wasn’t what I was expecting, and it gave me pause to consider that I had been bathing my family with these products for years.  Armed with this knowledge, it seemed important to search for better options to protect my family’s health. 

From what I have learned, the primary difference between store-bought commercial (synthetic chemical) soap and handmade soap lies in the specific nature of the ingredients that are used in their production.  Based on the toxicity of the ingredients listed above, it appears that the less synthetically derived ingredients there are in a personal care product, the better.  Products with simple, naturally occurring ingredients seem to be the best choice when searching for soaps, shampoos, lotions and creams to use on your family.

There are a variety of handmade personal care products available from Organic and family businesses that are made the old-fashioned way with simple, safe, non-chemical ingredients. The ingredients Natural Handmade Soapused are certified organic oils, herbs, spices, botanical concentrates and grains, and they rarely use any animal by-products except for honey and goat milk. These ingredients naturally moisturize and condition the skin because they have a high glycerin content and no free alkali present.  Generally speaking, handmade soaps should never contain artificial preservatives, artificial colors, detergents, alcohols, d-limonene, or artificial fragrances.  Using these much gentler products regularly should improve the condition and health of your skin and hair and lower the amount of toxic chemicals you absorb through your skin.

I suggest that you might want to take a careful look at the soap, shampoos, deodorants and cleansers that your family uses.  You can also try going to http://www.alkalizeforhealth.net/Ltoxiccosmetics.htm and http://make-up-cosmetics.com/cosmetics/toxic-chemicals-cosmetic-products.html and compare the chemicals in your personal care products to their lists.  If the products that you regularly use contain any of the posted ingredients, you might want to rethink whether or not you should be using them.

At Greenliness.com, we offer soaps that we believe meet our criteria of being truly natural and handmade. You can find them on our website.

It’s our Birthday on Earth Day!! Time for a Party!

April 22nd, 2011

By Dave Peiser

It was one year ago, on Earth Day 2010, that the Greenliness.com online Green Store went live. And to celebrate our birthday, we’re throwing a party and giving away presents! For one week, starting on Earth Day, April 22nd, you can get 20% off all of our products, with free shipping, by simply using the coupon code “BIRTHDAY” in the product shopping cart.

That’s 20% off on all the items we offer, that make it simple to head down the path of a greener lifestyle.

During the past year we’ve added a lot of additional products. These include:Escape 150 Expedition Kit

Portable Solar Panel / Battery kits, that enable you to use electronic items without connecting to the power grid. You can power things like lights, radios, laptops, fans, modems and appliances in your backyard, while camping or anyplace while on the go. No contractors required!

Freeplay EyeMax WB 2009 (Solar Audio)Great crank-powered and solar-powered lights and radios. The lights have long-life LED bulbs, and both the radios and lights have rechargeable batteries that will last for years. You no longer need to buy batteries, and you don’t need to plug into an outlet. Whether you just want to reduce your utility bill, or want to keep these products around in case of an emergency, they are incredibly useful and Green.Global Sun Oven

Solar Oven – Cook just about any meal with the power of the sun!

H-Racer and Solar Hydrogen Kit

Educational Products – We have some awesome science kits that enable you to see solar, wind and/or hydrogen power in action. This includes a really cool looking racecar, powered with Hydrogen!

 

 

We are excited about how the past year has progressed, and we look forward to the future. Come join us for our birthday party at http://www.greenliness.com   See you soon!

Greenliness.com at the Encinitas Street Fair, April 2011

April 17th, 2011

By Dave Peiser

I was at the Encinitas Street Fair on April 10th representing Greenliness.com in the Class-ACT booth, where we donated 20% of our proceeds to Class-ACT's Microloans for Mothers program. The Microloans for Mothers program provides women in Cambodia small loans to start or expand businesses that support their families. These women are mothers of children attending a school in Phnom Penh that Class-ACT supports through its Childrens Global Art Exchange.

We had a range of products for sale including our green off-the-grid emergency preparedness crank radios and lights. We also had products that reduce energy consumption from Tricklestar as well as reusable Klean Kanteen Water bottles and holders.

It was a fun and productive day. We had $124.00 in sales, so that means the Microloans for Mothers program gets $24.80!!

The next event where we plan to exhibit is at Encinitas Environment Day 2011 on June 5, 2011 at Cottonwood Creek Park. See you there!

 

Building a Sustainable World Utilizing Three Habits of Nature

March 2nd, 2011

By Dave Peiser

I just learned about some amazing projects going on RIGHT NOW by watching a video of Michael Pawlyn entitled "Using Nature's Genius in Architecture". It's from TEDSalon in London. In the video, he describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiciency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. It was inspiring to see that people are in fact looking for solutions to our issues with dwindling resources. You should definitely watch the video, but also take a look at these projects that were mentioned:

The Eden Project - an educational charity running transformational projects around the world. At their location in Cornwall, England, they have built a super-efficient structure utilized for education, entertainmant, various demonstration projects, and a focus on Greenliness!

The Seawater Greenhouse Project - The Seawater Greenhouse provides a low-cost solution by enabling year-round crop production in some of the world’s hottest and driest regions. It does this using seawater and sunlight.   The technology imitates natural processes, helping to restore the environment while significantly reducing the operating costs of greenhouse horticulture.

Sahara Forest Project - They are working on reforesting areas that had forests before, using abundant resources like arid land, sunlight and seawater. They are working on a demonstration project first.

 

Why we Prefer Hemp at Greenliness.com

February 22nd, 2011

By Lisa Jackson

Women's Earth Blue Hemp T-ShirtWhen we were looking at quality t-shirts to carry on the Greenliness website, we knew that we wanted to invest in fabrics that were ecologically sound, would not harm the environment in any way or be a source of toxins in the wider ecosystem.  We looked at four types of fabric: cotton, organic cotton, bamboo and hemp.  After much research and discussion we concluded that standard cotton was not a good choice as, depending on which article you consult, 35 – 50% of the world’s pesticides are sprayed on the world cotton crop on a yearly basis.  In addition, the cotton bleaching process is very harmful to the environment.  And, while organic cotton was a great improvement and a very nice fabric, it was still lacking in some of the better qualities of bamboo and hemp.

Looking at Bamboo, we found that its positive qualities are that it grows quickly, is sustainable, is naturally pest resistant, can help rebuild eroded soil, and takes only 3-4 years to go from seed to harvest.  Bamboo can be grown without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides, however the process involved in making Bamboo fabric (viscose/rayon) is extremely chemical intensive and, as a result, it cannot really be considered a “green” material. 

There are additional downsides to Bamboo as well, due to some of the practices followed in China, which is the only country that grows Bamboo on a commercial scale.  As it becomes an increasingly lucrative cash crop, farmers are beginning to grow it as a mono-crop, which tends to reduce biodiversity and can lead to an increase in pests – which leads to pesticides becoming necessary in the long run.  There is also evidence that farmers are using chemical fertilizers to increase yields.  Currently, there is no reason why they shouldn't do this, as there are no current standards or environmental guidelines in place (in China) for growing bamboo.  Chinese farmers want to get as large a crop as possible for their money, but there is an environmental cost for this.  Farmers are now clearing natural forest land to grow more bamboo.  So, while much of the blame for endangering giant pandas can be traced to farmers and landowners clearing bamboo forest for farmland, now they're clearing it to grow back some bamboo.  Unfortunately, it is too late for many pandas.  There is no doubt that many companies are doing their very best to avoid the downsides of Bamboo production by seeking guarantees that the bamboo used is grown naturally, but the Chinese production system is not at all known for its transparency and it is extremely difficult to get any cast-iron guarantees for sustainable practices.

Which brings us to Hemp, our favorite fabric.  Hemp’s qualities are truly remarkable and a list of these great qualities follows.  Hemp is first and foremost a sustainable crop.  Pesticides are not needed in Men's Wine Hemp T-Shirtthe farming of Hemp, and it does not deplete the soil like so many other crops, but, in fact, returns nitrogen to the soil and improves soil fertility.  As a result, the soil requires less fertilizer for subsequent rotated crops.  As a fabric, it is naturally anti-microbial, which makes it ideal in diapers and clothing where it protects you from bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus.  Due to Hemp’s porous nature, it is more absorbent than cotton and can breathe so that it is cool in summer and warm in winter.  In stress tests conducted by Patagonia, Inc. (clothing company), hemp had eight times the tensile strength and four times the durability of cotton.  Diapers made from hemp fabrics will last longer and stand up to rougher use than cotton.  Hemp material lasts. 

Some of the environmental benefits of growing hemp are (1) Fast and robust growth, (2) No herbicides/pesticides required, (3) Suppresses weeds, (4) Improves Soil Structure, (5) Produces lots of oxygen, and (6) Cleans up pollution.  Hemp is also 100% biodegradable, recyclable and reusable, and the speed at which hemp grows can provide benefits regarding the resource requirements of the end product.  Another important aspect of hemp is that clothing and textiles made from hemp have no residualMen's Black Hemp T-Shirt chemicals that could affect our health (as many other fabrics do).  Hemp based fabrics block the sun's UV rays more effectively than other fabrics and they do it naturally.  This is true even if it’s only a 50% blend with another fabric.  (Hemp fabric resists UV and UVB 80% more than cotton.)  Last but not least, Hemp fabric is smooth, soft and durable and the most powerful humidity absorbing and ventilating natural fiber clothing one can wear, the puncture resistance of hemp fabric is 40% greater than that of cotton, and hemp fabric actually prevents static electricity buildup.  It is our studied opinion that Hemp is a great sustainable and green product that is superior in pretty much every way.  For this reason we are proud to carry Hemp fabric t-shirts for men and women on the Greenliness website.

Watch Dave Peiser from Greenliness.com on TV!!

December 7th, 2010

I had a great opportunity come my way a couple weeks ago when I ran into my friend Heather Reider one late afternoon at It's a Grind in Encinitas. I hadn't seen her in a couple years, but she was on the phone and with her kids, and since I was on my way out I had planned to just wave hello and be on my way. But she happened to be on the phone with her partner Mary Goulet, and they just had a cancellation for their Momstown TV Show, and I had talked with Mary earlier in the year about my new business but I wasn't ready to come on the show because the website wasn't live yet, but now it was and they asked if I could fill in for the missing guest, so the next morning at 8:30 am I was at the studio ready to be interviewed. The show reaches 30 million households across the US on Family Net and Biz Television.

Here are the clips (there are three):