Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Food for thought - Peta

Nice work Mel...
Just want to leave you guys with a question (I will answer 'why' when I return from Italy - wahoooo)
Go to your cupboards and refrigerator, and take a look at how many packaged food items you have in your kitchen - for example, cereal, salad dressing and ice cream. After reading the ingredients to each item, ask yourself:
1. how many words am I unable to pronounce?
2. which of these ingredients have I never heard of and/or have no idea what it is?
The fact of the matter is food and additive manufacturers, like drug manufacturers, are running the largest study ever run in history - and we are the guinea pigs!
In a standard Burger King strawberry milkshake, you will find the following chemicals, and these are for the flavouring alone (i.e. not including the ice cream):
Amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl Nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerbate, heliotropin, hydroxyphrenyl-2butanone (10% solution in alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, g-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent (3)!
A couple of key points:
1. if you can't pronounce a word on the label, don't eat it
2. The longer is lasts on the shelf, the worse it is for you - most things nature will not last more than a few days.

Dave's Tip of the Week

We try really hard to do the right thing at home, but sometimes this all goes out the window when we leave the house! Dave noticed that at the workshop in Albany, bottles and cans etc that we would recycle at home were just going into the rubbish. I’m sure this is a common situation in many workplaces, especially on site where tradesmen work. So, be the change you want to see in the world and institute a simple recycling program in your workplace, it could be as easy as simply taking a cardboard box to work, labeling it RECYCLING, and placing it next to the rubbish bin. When it is full take it home to recycle it! Easy!

CHECK OUT THE BLOG www.livingwellnz.blogspot.com

We often know very little about the clothes we wear.... where they were made, the conditions those clothes makers worked in, what the fabric was treated with, how these fabrics are grown or made?
Here is a little info as food for thought....
Traditionally cotton has been organically grown for over 4000 years. But in the mid 20th century widespread use of chemicals fertilisers and pesticides began to be used on cotton crops.

Plane Spraying Cotton
Spraying conventional cotton fields

Today conventional cotton production uses approximately a quarter of the worlds agricultural insecticide production, which makes it one of the heaviest users of toxic chemicals.

Horrifying fact: did you know that despite its image as the most "natural" and "pure" of fibres, cotton is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops there is. To put it into perspective, the chemicals used to grow cotton are so toxic they eventually render the ground infertile.

Not only does Cotton carry these pesticide residues, but almost all polyester/cotton blend fabrics are finished with formaldehyde, a carcinogen, added to make fabrics wrinkle or flame resistant.

Bamboo clothing and organic cotton are completly biodegradeable, do not contain harmful chemicals and are must less exhausting on the planet......

I'm starting to change my boys into mostly organic cotton clothing and untreated wool blend fabrics (alot of wool is sprayed to stop is pilling)  Most of these products are made in the fair trade projects in India or in New Zealand.  Its more expensive, but they just have less stuff which is in some ways alot easier than having heaps and heaps of clothes.  There isn't much stuff around for adults but if you know of anything let me know....


Abs xxx

Monday, July 21, 2008

Plant strawberries now

Its time to get those strawberry plants in the ground.....when you check out the article below from www.organicnz.org you'll want to be growing your own or eating organically

Highly toxic Endosulfan found in lettuce, strawberries, courgettes

The deadly toxic pesticide endosulfan has been found in lettuce, strawberries, courgettes in the latest government food residue testing.

Endosulfan, already banned in 56 countries because of its high toxicity and environmental persistence, has been nominated by the European Union for a global ban under the Stockholm Convention.

"That this old-fashioned organochlorine pesticide is still being used by New Zealand is deeply embarrassing for New Zealand on the global stage, and that it is still turning up as residues in our daily food is complete unacceptable for the health of New Zealanders", said Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa Co-ordinator Dr Meriel Watts.

"It is an endocrine disruptor, mimicking oestrogen at very low levels of exposure and is implicated in breast cancer. It is also a neurotoxin and is linked to Parkinson's disease, it causes birth defects, and it undermines the immune system. As well as that, many hundreds of people have been killed overseas, particularly in Africa and India, by exposure to this pesticide when used in agriculture."

"All over the world endosulfan contaminates the environment - New Zealand use probably contributes to the residues found in elephant seals in the Antarctic. It also contaminates human breast-milk, adipose tissue, placental tissue and umbilical cord blood, meaning that the unborn child is exposed, and then re-exposed on birth through breast milk. Any use whatsoever adds to this global environmental and human burden."

In 2005 New Zealand faced the embarrassment, and a $30 million dollar loss, when Korea found illegal residues of endosulfan in NZ export beef.

"ERMA is reassessing endosulfan and we hope this will bring about a final ban on it but in the meantime, we call on growers to immediately stop use of this highly toxic and destructive pesticide," said Dr Watts and Soil & Health Association spokesperson Mr Browning.

"New Zealand needs to be a leader in removing pesticides not a follower," said Mr Browning, "Organic foods produced without such pesticides are the fastest growing sector of the food and beverage trade internationally."

Hmmm don't think i'll be partaking in supermarket strawbs this year!!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Eco tip of the week

As i'm sure most of you have heard that the UK and Europe are banning childrens drink bottles with the number 7 recycling symbol on the bottom, due to the plastic properties leaching into the fluid and causing carcinogenic effects.  NZ has not banned these products yet dispite the ever increasing knowledge of the harmful effects of storing and heating food and fluids in plastic.  In the lastest Good Magazine they had stainless steel drink bottles advertised.  They are called Eco Tanker's and come in a range of sizes.  I bought a tiny one for Riley's first sippy cup and one for Jess.  They're really styley and will last forever and the best thing is that there's nothing harmful that can contaiminate their water.  I'm going to buy one for Scotty and I this week.  
To have a look go to  http://www.justherbal.co.nz/.
Abs xxx

Friday, July 11, 2008

Peta's Tip o' the Week

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Very cool article

It was great to see this article on the front page of the Shore Times this week, drawing attention to one super-power-savers success using solar panels. It also highlighted the ridiculous $200 charge imposed by North Shore City Council for the installation of solar panels. Isn't this what local authorities should be encouraging? Click image to enlarge and read.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tip - Shantel

We keep 4 small bins in the kitchen (cupboard) one for food scraps, paper etc for the compost, one for glass, cans etc for the recyling bin, one for paper recycling and the other for anything else that can't be recycled. It's helped us halve (or more) the amount of rubbish we put out each week.

Reply - Peta

ooooh I'm liking this Abs! Great work on initiating this, what better place to start than inspiring friends. I have included a link below to a website that gives you tips on how you and your household can reduce their impact on the environment + save some $$ too. You can create your own 'next steps' plan which is quite handy as often its hard to think 'well what can I actually do'..
Think of your house as an extension of your skin, it needs to breath just as much as you need to. Therefore using chemical heavy cleaning products is like spraying them directly on to you skin. Unless you are airing your house daily, you skin is absorbing all the leftover residue.

Tip from Greer

Draft stop insulation tape in door frames - it's made such a difference in our old house!

Reply - Jo

This is awesome Abs, good on you for raising awareness. It will definitely make me more conscious of what I buy at the supermarket! I always feel so guilty when I forget my eco bags but I usually end up just chucking everything in the boot and doing a million trips to and from the car to unpack everything when I get home. And well, as you know, I am keeping up with the cloth nappies, anything to reduce those landfills. Power to the Greenies xxx

Reply - Linda

Hi - This is wonderful darling - great innovation - I pledge to not buy things that are packaged or to leave the package at the checkout for them to deal with it - I have been meaning to do this for a while - yeah Lets save the world for our children - something worth standing up and fighting about! Women need to unite and know that it is important to do these things - it feels a bit how it must have felt in the war when women united to run the countries - come on girls - we can do it!
P.S. send to your e mail networks and see how many people we can encourage!

The beginning of a positive change

As most of you know I'm pretty into the whole saving the planet thing....definitely something that has been installed in me by lovely Lindy Loo who is the most knowledgeable person i know when it come to environmental matters. Thanks to her i feel like I'm starting to do my bit to make sustainable changes that will help make a change. Just the other day she bought me the Women's Weekly ( i think its the first one she's every bought....) as it was a green issue, if you haven't got it already rush out and grab it if you can, it has 57 pages on how to make small changes that if we all made them would make a huge impact on the environment. So anyway after reading that and another mag that Mel Jayne bought me for my birthday (good NZ's first sustainable living mag) i felt well and truly inspired to get it together and try to make our family and the way we live as sustainable as possible.

So i was thinking that maybe we could have like a fortnightly or monthly email where we can all give each other ideas on what we've tried and how its worked....i know i always find hearing what other people are doing really motivating....for example the other day i was talking to Mel Jayne, she was telling me how she's been teaching Ethan about why there's a power crisis and how to be a power saver, they've shopped up a storm on candles and have candle lit evenings from time to time now....that's so awesome, romantic and fun, and so candles have now been added to my shopping list too! Before she told me that i must say i hadn't really been overly cautious with power conservation, so anyway that's all changed.
I also had a great talk the other night with Peta who had so many great ideas and knowledge around organic foods and how sprays, additives and preservatives affect our health.
We're all really knowledgeable in different ways so i think we need to share it.

So this is my wee story .... After cleaning out the fridge the other night i separated all the recycling (we can recycle up to number 7 now on the shore, composted all fruit and vege waste and the rest went in the bin....i had a tiny pile for the bin and a huge one for recycling and compost. So all inspired with my minimal waste and armed with my reusable cloth shopping bags i decided to go shopping to really try to purchase as little packaging as possible (what a mission as everything seems to be wrapped hard out) and all NZ made (less carbon miles)....so i managed to buy in season and packed all fruit and veges that i would usually put in lots of little plastic bags into one big calico bag then just separated them at the check out, it was actually just so easy. Also i tried to buy only food that was in containers with the numbers 1-7 recycling symbol. Of course there were still things that i had to buy that didn't fit my criteria (toothpaste and toothbrushes for example) but hey at lest I'm trying.....as i was so aware of the packaging thing i found myself looking at other people in the supermarket my god its actually horrifying some the the stuff people buy and how many plastic bags they need for things, obviously waste minimisation isn't in the forefront of their minds!!! I felt so good walking out of there knowing i was really trying to do my bit.

I'm hoping if your keen to share your story's and idea's that maybe we could all forward them on to everyone we know (whether you thing they'd be interested or not) .... it might be just be the motivation they need to start making changes for looking after our beautiful planet?