Toxic Couches Sit Not-so-Pretty

Today, as I scramble to put the finishing touches on the Soulicious Gift Guide – featuring unique and affordable, eco-friendly, fair trade or handmade items (Hooray!) – I am happy to welcome my friend, Lindsay Dahl with this guest post. Lindsay is the Executive Director of Safer Chemical Healthy Families, and she’s here to explain the results of a new study that show toxic chemicals in 85% of couches. Yikes! Makes you think twice the next time you sit to watch that Parenthood marathon! Welcome, Lindsay.

For most people, the only dangerous thing about your couch is the risk of spending money on a nice piece of furniture, only to have your cat shred it to pieces. But today a startling new peer-reviewed study came out in Environmental Science and Technology, showing that couches across America contain high levels of toxic chemicals. Great coverage of the study can be read on the front page of the Chicago Tribune. Continue reading

Dive Right In: The Benefits of Water

Water. It takes up 71% of our earth’s surface. Of that, 96.5% is found in oceans, 1.7% in groundwater, and 1.7% in glaciers and the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland. Water makes up 55% of an adult woman and 60% of an adult man. It is vital for all known forms of life.

If you’re like me, water is your primary beverage.  But how much of it do each of us really need to drink? And more importantly, with so little percentage of fresh water available and the rise of pollution in the world, how safe is that municipal water from your tap? Continue reading

What’s Your Carbon Footprint?

You hear the words “carbon footprint” tossed around often these days, but what exactly is it and why does it matter? To put it simply, using coal, natural gas or oil for electricity, heat or transportation releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. These daily carbon dioxide emissions make up your carbon footprint.

Too much CO2 from our daily activities hurts the planet’s climate according to many sources, including the Sopris Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Aspen that focuses on preserving ranch land, keeping community intact in the face of changing land-use patterns, and working with Western leaders to develop a region-wide blueprint for livability.

This organization has taken the time to calculate the amount of CO2 used in three basic areas of daily living: (1) Home Energy; (2) Travel and Recreation; and (3) Food, Drink and Work. Comparing the numbers in each of the green, yellow and orange areas illustrates the power of the choices you make every day. Continue reading

How to Avoid Arsenic in Rice

Sadly, two new reports from Consumer Reports and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show worrisome levels of arsenic in rice and rice product including breakfast cereals, rice flour, rice pasta, rice cakes and crackers.

Yes, this is the same arsenic people have used for centuries to commit murder. Continue reading

Comparing Food Labels: Organic, Local and Sustainable

Organic, local, sustainable. These are words that have often been used interchangeably or in unison with the slow food movement in this country. But as Elisa Sobo examines in Standing up to Big Food’s Organic End Run: Who Will, and Why?, “the environmentally-friendly, healthful, and socially just diet that early advocates promoted seems to have been somewhat forgotten.”

With big food answering Americans’ demand for more organic food, we are putting our faith in large corporations to fix our food supply. And the truth is that, unfortunately, we can’t trust them. Because they are big corporations after big money, not the best interests of our food supply or our health. Continue reading

100-Year-Old Oak Trees and Others Worth Saving

Last Friday, K-bear and I awoke to a rare sound in our neighborhood: chain saws. We looked outside only to find our neighbor a few houses down had commissioned a tree service to cut down a beautiful 33-year-old maple tree.

Instantly my heart sank. There were no signs of disease or structural risk. I wanted to shield K-bear from this sight which surely counted as an atrocity. Continue reading

Yoga Retreat to Benefit Sanctuary for Research Animals

Swirl the dog, one of many lives saved by Kindness Ranch.

Practicing yoga and helping animals in need are very near and dear to my heart, so I’m thrilled to have this guest post today from Elena Mikhaylova. A yoga instructor in the Denver area, she is planning a weekend yoga retreat at Kindness Ranch, an animal sanctuary for research animals, in Heartville – I know, cute right! – Wyoming.

The September 7-9 stress relief focused weekend will include workshops on meditation, reiki and nutrition led by Sophia S. Paul as well as Bhakti flow and Doga (yoga for visitors and a dog from the ranch) led by Stephanie Uvalle. Visitors will also have the chance to take a tour of the ranch, work with the volunteers and animals, and hike in nearby Guernsey State ParkBeautiful Wyoming vistas? Yoga? Animals? Fabulous yurt accommodations? I’m in!  

Welcome, Elena! Continue reading

Stray Dog Joins Cyclists on Race to Tibet

By now you must know I am a lover of all animals. This story from Sierra Club really caught my heart and brought a smile to my day. Hope it does yours as well!

A shaggy little stray dog joined a team of cross-country cyclists and raced into the hearts of thousands of fans across China.

The group of cyclists was five days into a 1,700 kilometer race from Sichuan Province to Llasa, Tibet, when they spotted the ball of white fur lying in the sun on the side of National Highway 318.

One of the cyclists, 22-year-old Xiao Yong, tossed a chicken drumstick to the little canine and evidently struck up a bond, because she began to follow them. Continue reading