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Archive for March, 2011

5 Quick Reasons to Buy Organic Dairy

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
By Christa

It’s so wallet-clenchingly painful to see the dirt cheap conventional milk on the supermarket shelf right next to the higher-priced organic milk. But there are some compelling reasons to reach for the pricier stuff if your budget can take it. Here are five:

1. When you buy organic dairy products, you’re supporting a system of agriculture that is good for animals and good for the land.

2. We already have enough hormones in our bodies without putting more in via Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH). And there’s never a good reason to take secondhand antibiotics.

3. Milk from organically raised cows is higher in Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLAs) content – those are the good fats that have been linked to decreased heart disease and diabetes.

4. The cows producing the raw materials for organic dairy products often have access to pasture, fresh air, exercise, and other perks not enjoyed by factory-farmed cows. (I recommend looking into the farms producing your dairy to make sure it’s actually animal-friendly.)

5. Organic dairy looks better and tastes better according to some.

Do you spring for the good stuff?

Eco-Friendly Eyewear Means Bamboo for Those Baby Blues

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
By Christa

As sustainable materials go, bamboo is sweet. It grows fast (it’s one of the fastest growing plants on earth), releases lots of oxygen as it does, doesn’t require a lot of fertilizers or pesticides, uses less water than most woods, and can be re-harvested in just three years.

The downsides of bamboo, besides the always-present dangers associated with monoculture growing, lie in how it’s processed. A bamboo fiber shirt, for example, takes a lot of not-so-nice chemicals to get from plant to fashion.

But what if you’re using bamboo like wood instead of processing the heck out of it? Then like I said, it’s definitely green. While bamboo might not be the best choice for straight up green fashion, it’s a great choice when it comes to fashion accessories. Like bamboo glasses, for example:

Bamboo glasses are hot and getting hotter, with more and more options on the market. Two manufacturers of bamboo glasses are Bamboo Optics and Unidot – both have prescription options that are pretty awesome. Bamboo glasses are definitely on my list to check out next time I need new frames.

What do you think – are ‘wood glasses’ for you?

Good News: Green Jobs Growing!

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
By Christa

Green jobs are growing – at a rate twice that of all jobs overall – even though the larger job market is nothing if not worrying at the moment. And that’s pretty sweet, because it means green technology is boomin’ and us U.S.ians are this much closer to staying ahead in the global economy. Sounds like good news all around! What and where are these green jobs, you may ask? Not surprising, most are in the field of green energy, but there are also plenty of jobs in agriculture and transportation and manufacturing can be green, too.

How do you get in on the ground floor if you’re not in one of the aforementioned industries? Be in Michigan, for one, where green jobs are growing the fastest. Try the Green Jobs Network. And then, as necessary, find some educational opportunities!

According to Stephen J. Lynch, Senior Project Manager at Jobs for the Future, the nation’s community colleges are ”the speed-boats of workforce training” because of the ways they can adapt curricula and training design more quickly than traditional four-year institutions.

“Today’s job-seekers, particularly laid off adults, seek training that is accessible, low-cost, and that offers the chance to obtain employment as quickly as possible,” he told us. He goes on to note that Jobs for the Future helps community colleges produce workers with the skills, degrees and certifications that are in-demand by today’s employers by helping them to present course content within a real-world context and modularize training with stackable credentials.

But watch out! Green jobs are still at risk, especially since there are still scores of people who’d like to see green energy and green building initiatives fail. What’s funny about that – in a sad way, mind – is that the growing green job market in the U.S. tends to be homegrown, but green energy opponents like to shout about how green energy is a U.S. job killer.

Meanwhile, it is well established that labor-intensive investments in solar, wind and increased building efficiency create far more jobs than similar investments in fossil fuels. These technologies will most likely go down in cost while fossil prices will only go up long-term. And with a renewable energy economy, there is no cost of fuel or fuel price volatility. Imagine that.

Imagine that, indeed.

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