“Green City” Premieres Sept. 6th 

“Green City” with host Lynnae Marty Hentzen premieres Friday morning Sept. 6th at 9:00 on KFMG 99.1 FM in Des Moines. News, music, intelligent talk. Inspiring interviews with eco heroes in the metro. Be informed. Stay tuned.

Green Zone Broadcasts
September 2013

Wednesday, Sept. 4th

Today’s Tip: Ditch the BPA

No luck getting pregnant? You’re not alone—one in six couples today report difficulty in getting pregnant. But why? New research shows that it might just be time to ditch the hidden sources of BPA in your life.

A recently released research study has found that the highly controversial, mass-produced, and well-publicized chemical BPA (AKA bisphenol A) can now be linked to infertility. According to researchers from Harvard University, exposure to BPA may disrupt the human reproductive process and play a role in about 20% of unexplained infertility.

The study, which exposed 352 eggs from 121 consenting patients at a fertility clinic to varying levels of BPA, found that exposure of eggs to BPA decreased the percentage of eggs that matured and increased the percentage of eggs that degenerated. In addition, many eggs exposed to BPA that matured did so abnormally, increasing the odds for infertility and birth defects such as Down Syndrome.

Scary stuff. Unfortunately, BPA is so prevalent in consumer products today that it’s increasingly difficult to avoid. It’s found in everything from the linings of soup and food cans to store receipts.  Researchers have found that BPA is evident in the urine of 90 percent of Americans.

How can you ditch the BPA in your life and up your chances of having a healthy pregnancy?
• Lose the canned food and make the commitment to eat fresh foods instead. Try making and freezing your own soups, for example.

• If the convenience of canned is far too much to bear losing, look for similar products in BPA-free boxes or look for BPA-free labels on canned items at your local health food store (Muir Glen makes some BPA-free canned goods).

• Ditch plastic food-storage containers, unless they are clearly marked BPA-free from a trusted manufacturer. BPA has been shown to leach from No. 7 plastics containing polycarbonate. Instead, opt for glass or food-grade stainless steel.

• Say “no thank you” to receipts for purchases unless you really need them, in which case they should immediately go into an envelope or plastic bag. BPA quickly enters the bloodstream via skin contact with thermal register receipts. And never, ever give receipts to young children, who can be even more greatly affected.

Want more Green Zone tips? Check out the Green Zone on Facebook. It’s the one with the round green and black logo.

Thursday, Sept. 5th
Today’s Tip: Is A Nifty New Product—the Laundry Pod
Imagine a wash day where you use only a tablespoon of soap and no electricity whatsoever. That’s what the Laundry Pod promises to do. It’s manufactured by a company called StoreBound, which specializes in innovative products. This could revolutionize wash day.

The 6.5 pound Laundry Pod washes approximately 10 garments per load, using only three gallons of water. It’s a lot like my grandmother’s old wash tub in that it’s run entirely on humanpower, thus saving energy, water, and time when compared with a conventional washing machine.

The average washer accounts for between 15 and 40% of home water usage, according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency. The Laundry Pod uses only three gallons of water between the wash and rinse cycles, besting the average 14 gallon Energy Star washer by 11 gallons.

You start by adding water and detergent and letting garments soak. Then, a few rotations of the Pod’s handle spins the inner cylinder, which churns clothing clean, similar to a salad spinner. Then 1 1/2 gallons of clean, sud-free water follows to rinse, then drain. Excess water is removed by spinning the clothes in the pod without water, then hanging clothes up to dry.

Though the Pod might not be practical in all laundry situations, it’s especially useful for dorm dwellers, apartment livers, outdoor enthusiasts, and places where laundromats are the norm or electricity is limited.

The machine retails for $140 and is available on Amazon.com and Sears.
Check it out—the Laundry Pod by StoreBound.
Also check out the Green Zone’s Facebook. It’s the one with the round green and black logo. You’ll find lots of good info there.

Friday, Sept. 6th
Today’s Tip: The latest news in the GMO controversy

The debate over genetically modified seed is heating up. Countries are taking sides. For years now, France and other nations in the EU have taken a stand against Monsanto and GMO crops alike. Mandatory labeling is the law in Russia, Australia, and Italy. France recently overturned a ban on genetically modified corn, then banned it again. The United States is even changing its policies, little by little, to appease an uneasy public.

The verdict is in. The American people want to know whether or not their food has genetically modified components. For the most part, the FDA has resisted any efforts to label foods as GMO-free or containing GMOs. Now, however, advocates for Non-GMO foods have done their work with a different regulatory agency, the USDA, in order to get labeling approved for meats and eggs that have not been fed GMO food, signaling a small but important success in the fight for a transparent food industry.

Meat and eggs derived from animals who were not fed genetically-modified feed can now be labeled as such. Companies like Mindful Meats, Mary’s Chicken, and Hidden Villa Ranch are already approved for the GMO-free label and others will likely follow.

Companies are rolling out their labeled products right now. While the new labeling only applies to meat and eggs, it’s certainly a victory for those who believe we have the right to know what we are eating.

Check out more Green Zone tips on Green Zone’s Facebook page. It’s the one with the round green and black logo.

Monday, Sept. 9th
Today’s Tip: Use it up. Wear it out. Make do.

This week the Green Zone is exploring 12 ways to become more frugal in your daily life. Use it up. Wear it out. Make do.

That’s was my Grandma Nelle’s mantra. Nurturing her family through the first Great Depression marked her entire life with frugality. Yet she never wanted for anything. She had all she needed, and was happy and grateful. “Use it up. Wear it out. Make do.” I heard those words throughout my childhood.

Today we’re living in the days of the Great Recession. Money is hard-won for most of us. Yet, money still matters. In our economy it’s required to buy food, clothing, shelter. Perhaps it’s time to remember that “frugal” is not a dirty word. By becoming more frugal you can conserve your hard-earned cash and you have a little extra leftover for treats. Everyone needs a treat now and then.

What were Grandma Nelle’s secrets? I’ve boiled them into 12 basic tips—the stuff and substance of Green Zone broadcasts this week.

Here is the first tip: If you have it, use it.
Over the years you’ve probably accumulated a lot of stuff. That’s the American way. Some of it may be a bit shop-worn and out of style, but still serviceable. If it still works, use it.

Don’t give into the bombardment of ads encouraging you to go out and purchase the next best thing. If money is burning a hole in your pocket, use it for something you truly need, not something you merely want.

Tuesday, Sept. 10th
Today’s Tip: More ways to Use it up. Wear it out. Make do.

This week the Green Zone is focusing on the old fashioned mantra: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make do.” Yesterday I gave the first tip. Today I have three more:

#2. Shop for a bargain. Get it cheaper.
Research all of your major purchases and some of your minor ones. Be an informed consumer. Check out the online reviews and recommendations by friends. Ask store clerks when the item of interest goes on sale. Believe it or not, you will sometimes be offered a discount on the spot.

#3. Used can be just as good as new.
Sometimes it makes good sense to buy used. Furniture can be purchased for a song on Craislist or at garage sales. You can even get some pretty good stuff for free.
You can save really big bucks on clothing. Ebay is a gold name for name brand clothing that is often new. Evening, gowns, tuxedos, wedding wear, and other dressy items are especially cheap. Just remember, there is no substitute for hands-on testing prior to purchase. Ebay often disappoints, so read the descriptions carefully.

#4. Learn to cook.
Restaurant meals can be a rat hole for cash. So is your local specialty coffee shop. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid eating and drinking out completely. Just make those occasions a special treat rather than something you do every day.
Can’t cook? Get yourself a basic cookbook and call a friend over to help get you started. Once you starting eating home-cooked food you’ll be hooked on how delicious those vegetabels and salads taste. Remember Grandma’s fresh based chocolate chip cookes? Nine times out of ten, homemade is always better than packaged and storebought.

Wednesday, Sept. 11th
Today’s Tip: More Tips to Use it up, wear it out, make it do.

 This week the Green Zone is focusing on the old fashioned mantra: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make do.” Today I have three tips:

#5. Become a fix-it guru.
Before sending that broken appliance to the garbage heap and replacing it with something new, try to fix it yourself. There are several websites that offer ho-to info for fixing everything from your laser printer to your espresso machine. Two website I like are www.instructables.com and www.fixya.com.
In addition, you can find service manuals for many products online at the manufacturer’s website. Try calling the customer service number. Many times a company hires someone to guide you through the troubleshooting steps, or even send you free parts.

#6. Make it yourself.
Making your own cleaning products is easy, and it’s healthier and cheaper to boot. Other relatively simple projects for the novice are building your own compost bin and constructing a set of bookshelves. Using inexpensive supplies and some basic tools, you can create all sorts of things.
A handy website is www.instructables.com. YouTube is another good resource for how-to info and design ideas.

#7. Move fashion to the bottom of the list.
Always choose function over fashion. This is difficult, I know. But think about the item you intend to purchase and how it is going to be used. A fancy Kitchen Aid Mixer may look great on your counter, but if you only cook the basics and don’t bake, a $15 hand mixer may be all that you need. This concept applies to lots of things—clothing, TVs, jewelry, you name it.

Thursday, Sept. 12th
Today’s Tip: More In My 12-Step Plan to Becoming More Frugal

This week the Green Zone is focusing on the old fashioned mantra: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make do.” Today I have three more tips in my 12-step plan.
#8. Do it yourself.

Mow your own lawn. Clean your own house. Give yourself a manicure. Wash your own car. Wash your own dog. If you truly hate to do something, don’t do it if you can afford to hire it out. Or better yet, trade a chore you detest with a chore that someone else dislikes. You both get the job done without spending a dime.

Life is too short to be miserable. But for the most part, with a bit of time management here are lots of things you can do yourself with just a bit of effort. Not paying for servies that you can perform yourself is a great way to save a lot of money.

#9. Take advantage of freebies.
For recreational activities, use public beaches, parks, and trail systems. Go online and download geographically specific recreational guides and even preparedness manuals from your state and county websites. None of these are technically free because your taxes pay for them. But they are free in the sense you have no additional out-of-pocket costs.
Use your public library. Most now have a robust collection of eBooks, audio books, audio book players, music CDs, DVDs and more. If you don’t have a library with downloadable materials, there are many that will let you purchase an annual out-of-area card for as little as $15 a year.

#10. Get out of debt.
This is obvious. And very hard, for many, to do. Sure, you may have a mortgage payment and possibly a car payment. But credit card debt? I hope not. It’s a bad debt to have. Interest rates are high. If you happen to be saddled with credit card debt, come up with a one or two year plan to pay it off. Just be sure that you toss all your credit cards into a drawer, never to see daylight again unless there is a dire emergency.
The old mantra “credit card, same as cash” simply does not work.
Go back over this week’s tips. Use what you have. Fix what is broken. Choose function over fashion. Now put that credit card back in your wallet! Better yet, hide it in the back of your dresser drawer.

Friday, Sept. 13th
Today: Tips 11 and 12 of my 12-Step Plan to Becoming More Frugal

This week the Green Zone has been focusing on the old fashioned mantra: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make do.” Today I have the last two steps in my 12-step plan.

#11. Build an emergency cash fund.
Stuff happens. Your car has a mechanical breakdown and there is no other way to get to work or two town so you have to have it fixed. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cookie jar full of dollar bills to you could pay cash for repairs?
This is one thing you can do in baby steps. How about one meal a week of beans, rice, and a nice chunk of whole wheat bread? Put the money you save into your emergency fund. You’ll be surprised how quickly $5 a week adds up.
By saving a small amount each week you build a lifetime habit. You can’t imagine the peace of mind a nestegg gives you until you actually have one.

#12. Save for special things in life.
It’s important to reward yourself for being both smart and frugal. Give yourself an occasional treat. Perhaps it’s a meal out and a movie. Or a weekend away. Or a bouquet of flowers. Life would be boring if you didn’t do something extraordinary once in a while. Go ahead. You’ve earned it.

A Final Word
Being frugal is not about being cheap. And frugal is definitely not chintzy. Quite the contrary. Being frugal means you’ve made a lifestyle choice to spend your money on things you need—no more, no less. And with the extra you have chosen to splurge and celebrate your frugal, thrifty and sustainable habits by doing something joyful.
So go ahead—Use it up. Wear it out. Make do. If you can’t do that, do without. This is LMH…

Monday, Sept. 16th
Today’s Tip: Hold On To Hope

People often tell me they have no hope. It’s no use implementing green habits because we’ve gone too far. It’s hopeless. The earth is doomed. Besides, what can one person do to combat the enormous problem of climate change anyway?

I tell them to not give up. To be a defeatist doesn’t do anyone any good. In fact, it’s just darn depressing. Here’s a quote from one of my favorite cultural critics, Howard Zinn, that’s good to keep in mind:

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

"And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

So be hopeful. And implement a little green into your life every day.

Tuesday, Sept. 17th
Today’s Tip: Breaking News—The White House Is Going Solar

It took a while, but the White House is finally reinstalling solar panels. In 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president, he had 32 solar panels installed on the White House. Ronald Reagan had them removed in 1986, in what was seen as a capitulation to the fossil fuel industry. Carter’s panels eventually ended up on a cafeteria at Unity College in Maine.

As a symbol of his commitment to renewable energy, President Obama had approximately 40 solar panels installed on the White House this summer as, in the words of a spokesman, “part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building.” The retrofit is estimated to pay for itself in energy savings over the next eight years.
It’s nice to get good news on the green front.
For more green news, check on Green Zone on Facebook. It’s the one with the round green and black logo. Don’t forget to tune in Friday to “Green City,” with host Lynnae Marty Hentzen, who interviews local eco heroes each week from 9 to 9:30 in the morning.

Wednesday, Sept. 18th
Today’s Tip: Use Less Plastic

I remember, as a kid, breaking a bottle of Prell in the bathtub, spraying glass everywhere. Yep, that’s right—a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, shampoo came in glass and plastic was a rarity. Now plastic is everywhere. Still, a growing number of us are finding ways to live without it.

We all know it’s a good idea to limit our use of plastics. The stuff may be undeniably handy, and makes sense in some contexts, but it’s made from toxic chemicals, persists as long as roaches, and is produced in amounts that make “Wal-E” look like a documentary.

Doing without plastic may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not really that difficult. It all boils down to one simple concept—conscious consumption. Every time you buy or use something, take a step back and ask yourself if there’s a better alternative that uses fewer resources and creates fewer environmental impacts.
Here are a few simple ways to avoid plastic in your daily life:

  • Bring your own containers to the store to buy food in bulk.
  • Watch out for “bulk deals” of individually wrapped items packaged together in plastic.
  • Avoid marketing stunts like pump toothpaste, disposable cleaning aids, single-serve coffee pods, and other items made of plastic.
  • Swap plastic-encased processed foods for freshly prepared dishes made from fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy basics.
  • Don’t use the plastic bags in the produce department. Just keep your produce organized at checkout.
  • Carry reusable shopping bags in your car trunk and use them for all your shopping.
  • Freeze foods in reusable glass jars.
  • Buy a reusable beverage bottle and bring your day’s drinks from home.
  • Carry your own take-out mugs, containers, and cutlery for buying eats on the go.
  • Be your own manufacturer using homemade recipes for toothpaste, shampoo, and other grooming aids.
  • Make your own ketchup, mayo, mustard, and more. And discover how much better they taste!
  • Stream and download movies and music to eliminate physical media.

These are just a few ideas for avoiding plastic. Once you get started you’ll discover other ways to avoid plastic every day. It’s challenging, and it’s fun.

How much space does your lifestyle require? Find out. Calculate your own ecological footprint by taking the quiz at  www.myfootprint.org. Then, you can compare your Ecological Footprint to what the planet can sustain.


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