If it was my home...

Coverage of the oil spill in the gulf is all over the news, but even so, it's easy to forget what so many people are dealing with. There's a website that puts it into perspective a bit.

I took a screen shot, above, that how massive the oil spill really is by placing it over where you live. You can change the map to another location, even putting the spill back in the gulf.

So remember, even if it's out of sight, it doesn't have to be out of mind. Current estimates put the amount of oil being discharged from the broken well at above 1,050,000 US gallons per day, and there are over 400 different species of animals living in the area affected by the spill.

Also on the site are ways to help, so let's put our good intentions to action!

For more information, visit the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Mary Mary Quite Contrary...

...How does your garden grow?

With tomato plants three
and herbs for you and me.
That's how Mandy's garden grows!

Well, this is my first year planting tomatoes, and they are looking great! We planted three Roma tomato plants, and by the looks of the picture below, they are a bit too close together. They really look more like a tomato bush. Whoops! I'll know better next year.

Our banana peppers also are looking good, as you can see below. There are a a few peppers that are getting just about big enough to eat.

Our debut herbs (rosemary, cilantro and parsley) are doing well, and the perennials we planted last year (chives, oregano, mint) are really taking over!

What is it about gardening that makes you feel so good? I wonder if there are studies that cite the health benefits of gardening because of all the endorphins the body releases?

Maybe it feels good because of the inherent hope. Beginning something small and cultivating it to fruition. Thinking about all the future possibilites ... canned tomatoes, salsa, homemade spaghetti sauce.

It's kind of like that in life, too, I guess. Without hope, what have you got? Our lives begin small, but with the love and nurture of those around us—parents, grandparents, friends—we grow into something beautiful and, hopefully, useful to the world. Being less wasteful and taking care of the earth. Living compassionately and taking care of our neighbor, whether he is next door or on the other side of the globe.


Happy birthday, Earth Day!

Tomorrow we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day (not to mention the one-year anniversary of my first blog post)!

Over the last year, does it seem like more and more companies are going green? Just yesterday, I found an advertisement for Kellogg's cereal with the tagline "A balanced breakfast. A cleaner planet" and says Kellogg's cereal boxes are 100 percent recyclable. Well, sustainable packaging is great, right! But are they just jumping on the bandwagon to get my business? Not according to their website, in which the company claims they are one of the largest users of recycled paperboard in the United States, and have been using it since its founding in 1906. So maybe it's a longstanding practice, and that's good, but am I just now hearing about it because it's the "popular" thing to do?

I want to talk about a term you might not know about, called "greenwashing." Greenwashing is basically an attempt by an organization to spin their product to make it appear more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

The Seven Sins of Greenwashing website says the average number of ‘green’ products per store almost doubled between 2007 and 2008, and green advertising almost tripled between 2006 and 2008.

So yank the wool off your eyes and check out the Greenwashing Index and see if any of your favorite products have been greenwashed!


Finally ... Spring!

Middle Tennessee has been basking in the 70s and 80s during the last few weeks. Alex and I have been taking the opportunity to work outside.

Our mint and chives from last year are already coming back in our herb garden full force. In fact, our basil has come back with a vengence ... and basil is supposed to be an annual herb! Annual plants are supposed to only live one year while perennial plants come back year after year. So I don't know what the deal is with that, but I'm not complaining. I think our winter wasn't quite so severe that maybe they never completely went away.

We went back to our friendly Farmer's Co-op yesterday and bought three tomato plants, two hot banana pepper plants and some cilantro for our little garden. I'd also like to put out some oregano and cilantro, but they didn't have any. I'm hoping they'll get some in early this week.

Alex also bought me a compost bin for Christmas, so we've got that set up and I'm learning all I can about how to compost. With all our recycling and composting, our household trash is rapidly diminishing. I'm hoping this summer we can cancel our trash pick-up service, and what trash we do have, we can take in our truck to the dump.
Wish me luck! :)


Eternal hope

Well, here it is. More than two months later. Have I lost all my readers? :)

We've been busy, busy, busy, but I've still been trying to do my part to make the world a cleaner, healthier place to live.

This is Holy Week, and I've been thinking a lot about God sending his son to die for the sins of man and then raising him from the dead to give us eternal hope. That's amazing love!

My faith is a big part of why I want to be green. Psalm 24 says "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it."

God entrusted this world to us, and it's our responsibility to take care of it and everything in it. And this goes beyond being green ... it means caring. Caring for the earth, caring for each other. Like it or not, the world is getting smaller and we are living in a global community. We can make a difference in our own backyard, our own community, or even in the world.

It reminds me of an old Greek proverb I've heard: A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit.

What are you doing to care? How can we pass on a beautiful, healthy world to our children and grandchildren? Together, we can make a difference!


How healthy is your home?

A friend sent me a Web site by WebMD that offers a short quiz measuring the healthiness of your home.

The quiz asks specific questions about different rooms of your home to determine its "green" factor, as well as how safe and healthy your home is for your family.

Try it out here. At the end of the quiz, it gives you a report with helpful tips and ways to make your home more eco-friendly, healthy and safe for years to come!


Thanks to my loving husband, I'm phasing out Ziploc baggies!

For Christmas, Alex bought me a couple of reusable sandwich bags. I take my lunch to work most days, and we already use gladware, Tupperware and reusable silverware. I had already begun using gladware for sandwiches and those types of things, but every now and then, I'd need a plastic baggie. Well, those days are gone!

Just one of these reusable sandwich bags replaces thousands of plastic baggies during its lifetime! They are food-safe, non-toxic, and PVC- and phthalate-free. This one should be hand washed with soap and warm water and then hangs dry.

I'll use these for awhile, and then see how they meet my needs. The site Alex ordered from, reusablebags.com, has many different kinds of sandwich and snack bags, not to mention reusable bottles, sacks, and pretty much anything else you could want.

Sayonara, plastic baggies! I'll be a new woman in 2010!