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RE: E-M:/ Ideas Consumers Can Truly Use



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Enviro-Mich message from "Link, Terry" <link@mail.lib.msu.edu>
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I affirm the "go local" approach, most notably with food. And the Fair Trade certified label is clearly a good one. But for those items we need to import from beyond our local area that are not yet fair-trade certified a couple of tools to help you shop for the holidays.

One tool for moving in this direction is available at www.alonovo.com . At this website you can fill out a values survey and then search their database to find products that most closely match your values. You can also look at their "featured companies", to see what's available. For example as I write this they are featuring  Justice Clothing - "offers a variety of sweatshop-free clothing from the US and Canada. Our clothing and apparel is all union-made in shops where workers are paid and treated decently, have health-care, pensions and job security."

Or visit www.responsibleshopper.org to get the lowdown on possible concerns with major brands and retail outlets. But perhaps we all need to work a little harder to look to our locally owned and produced businesses to rejuvenate our local communities. While we may save a buck or two using global internet providers like Amazon, NetFlicks, and other electronic shopping venues, we may be weakening the chance that local entrepreneurs can stay afloat and provide jobs and taxes that help our local communities remain healthy. But check your values first. What's important to you. See if you can make every dollar you spend align with them. That's a vote for a better world.


Terry Link, Director
Office of Campus Sustainability
Michigan State University
106 Olds Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
1-517-355-1751 (Phone/fax)
link@msu.edu
www.ecofoot.msu.edu

One planet, one family, one future

 -----Original Message-----
From: 	owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net]  On Behalf Of Cynthia Price
Sent:	Monday, November 20, 2006 10:51 PM
To:	Amy Butler
Cc:	enviro-mich@great-lakes.net; Sarah Alexis Westerman
Subject:	Re: E-M:/ Ideas Consumers Can Truly Use

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Enviro-Mich message from "Cynthia Price" <skyprice@gmail.com>
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Add-ons to this  "buy  local food" idea, which is of course excellent by my sights -- are 1) to start as soon as possible growing your own food, which is not only about as cost-effective an idea as you can find, but also a lot of fun; 2) preserve it yourself by learning canning (and freeziing to a lesser degree); and 3) compost your organic waste for use in the garden. There is some investment in number 2, but it repays itself many times over. Also, buy fair trade coffee if you drink coffee. (Sierra Club actually sells it I believe.)

Another idea, though not as inexpensive, is to purchase clothing and other goods made from hemp or bamboo, which are easily renewable and not grown with the dreadful pesticides normally used on cotton and flax --- or buy organic cotton. There are businesses springing up all over that sell these kinds of goods -- in Grand Rapids it's Clothing Matters and a few others. Some shops are specializing in clothing and "stuff" made out of all recycled materials. And also along those same lines, particularly for children's clothing, shop at Goodwill and other used clothing/household goods places.

In our area (and I'm pretty sure I've seen it posted from other areas too), concerned groups are hosting eco-sensitive product fairs for Christmas purchasing.

A big boost for "the environment" and cost-saving as well would be to work out some kind of outdoor-machines-sharing scheme with neighbors, particularly as far as lawn-mowers, which seem to be a requirement for not getting kicked out of most neighborhoods. This might also work with some appliances, such as washing machines, but it would be a stretch.

I believe Shaklee products are good but would like to get others' perspective on that.

Other sources for green ideas: www.greenconsumerguide.com, www.eartheasy.com (which has not only product but conservation tips, etc.). In fact, googling "green consumerism" yields a whole lot.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Wish I could claim I'm doing it all, but I'm certainly, and regrettably, not!

Cynthia Price
Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council

On 11/20/06, Amy  Butler <butleraa@michigan.gov> wrote:
> Along this line, check out the following article on fixing thanksgiving
> with food obtained from within 100 miles! 
> __________________Beginning this week, 11-20-06, the Environment Report
> will provide the following stories to public radio stations around the
> country.Please check your local station for air times. You can also hear
> and read these stories on the Environment Report Web Site at
> http://environmentreport.org .
> 
> ***Check out the Environment Report podcast:
> http://www.environmentreport.org/environment_report.php3 
> 
> For tech-savvy listeners, this report can be downloaded to your iPod
> automatically each week!  See the RSS feed on our homepage for
> details.
> 
> No iPod? You can also download the Environment Report as an .mp3 file.
> 
> 
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> THE 100 MILE MEAL: A HOMEGROWN
> THANKSGIVINGhttp://www.environmentreport.org/story.php3?story_id=3219---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Amy A Butler
> Chief, Environmental Science and Services
> DEQ 
> 517-241-0490
> 
> >>> "Maggie Fields" <FIELDSM@michigan.gov> 11/20/2006 10:11 AM >>>
> 
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "Maggie Fields" <FIELDSM@michigan.gov>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> I'd like to suggest DEQ's P2 Week tips 
> go to www.michigan.gov/deqp2initiatives   and click on P2 Week on the
> left
> 
> you might also find some things to help on the
> www.michigan.gov/deqconstruction  click on construction resources
> under information - home renovation has limited resources but there is
> landscaping links as well
> 
> Other useful sites - this is not an endorsement - 
>   http://www.newdream.org 
>   http://www.ucsusa.org 
>   http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/home/home.shtml 
> 
> I think it just comes down to making each decision count 
>   when you do or decide something - consider environmental
> alternatives
>    can you buy a more energy efficient model so you save money and
> less
> pollution at the power plant
>    can you buy a car that is more efficient (doesn't have to be
> hybrid)
> - or car pool
>    can you insulate your house so it uses less energy and reduce green
> house gas emissions
>    can you do buy using less toxic alternatives  (vaporless paints,
> cleaners, pest control)
>    can you buy anything with more recycled content
>     can you buy a more durable version so there is less disposed in
> landfills  (avoid disposables)
>     can you buy from an environmentally friendly company so you know
> the making the product didn't cause environmental issues somewhere
> else
>     can you buy green made products - labeled environmental in any
> fashion
>    can you reduce the waste you generate or recycle what is generated
>    don't dispose of any non-kitchen or biological waste down the sink
> or toilet
>    can you buy from local sources so there's less transportation
> emissions involved and supports local businesses
>    check out area restores for building materials in renovations -
> these come from saving materials from someone else's renovation that
> might be perfect for you   Resources are in the Building Material
> Recycling  related link on the construction web site.  
> 
> As you can see, a lot has to deal with purchasing power.  We do a lot
> of that.  What we buy affects the products that are made, how often
> and
> how much we dispose of waste (durability) and how efficient our energy
> demand is in the home.  If you find good resources in any area that
> you'd recommend, let me know and I'll see about adding them to our P2
> Week web site.
> 
> Good luck
> Maggie
> 
> 
> 
> >>> Sarah Alexis Westerman <sarah78@wayne.edu> 11/20/2006 9:25:56 AM
> >>>
> Hello,
> 
> I joined this list not because I am well-educated on
> all things environmental, but because I want to
> learn more, understand better, and ultimately help
> save our planet.  I've found very little information
> how to begin to do that, and I'm hoping for some
> help.  Unfortunately, I don't have the money to
> install solar panels on my roof, replace all of my
> appliances, or any of the more costly options
> available to homeowners.  What I can do is remind my
> kids to turn off the lights; have leaky faucets
> fixed immediately; turn the furnace down at night or
> when I'm not home.
> 
> Surely there are people on this list who know more
> than that - what can I do, in a way that is either
> free or inexpensive, or at the very least will be
> extremely cost effective, to help make my home
> and/or vehicle a little more eco-friendly?
> 
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> 
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