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Making a Difference: Helping Yourself and Your Environment

by Marina Michaels

This Web page presents some ways I have found to both simplify my life and help the environment at the same time. Most of the quoted statistics, with the exception of the ones I computed myself (as in the urban horror story example), are from 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save The Earth, from The Earthworks Group in Berkeley, California, USA (1989). (This book is now out of print, but there is a newer business version still in print that is just as useful: 50 Simple Things Your Business Can Do to Save the Earth.)


Table of Contents


When I first saw a clearcut US national forest, I felt as though I had happened upon a war zone. There was nothing left for any wildlife to live on, in, or under, and the natural beauty of the forest was gone forever, to be replaced by regimented rows of "plantation"-like trees, all the same age and same species.

While forestry management has advanced somewhat since those days, it is my opinion that the US Forest Service is mainly there to serve the needs of the paper companies, rather than those of people who would like to see an old-growth forest. I understand that it "only" takes 300 years or so for a forest to be considered an old-growth forest, but most people don't happen to have those 300 years to spare waiting around to see one. But even if they did, with the current forestry practices of today, there is no guarantee that they ever would be able to see one.

But although it was tempting to blame the paper companies and the US Forest service for what I consider a criminal devastation of our national forests, I couldn't in all conscience lay the blame solely at their feet. In any society, the laws of supply and demand hold: If there is a demand, someone will supply it. In this case, the US population demands paper products, and the US Forest Service and the paper and lumber companies supply them, at the cost of many priceless national forests.

Therefore, to reduce the demand for those trees as something other than trees, I realized that the first thing I could do would be to reduce my demand for tree by-products. In particular, paper. When I went home and looked around, I saw a number of areas right away where I was carelessly and thoughtlessly using up precious national forests: paper napkins, paper towels, and paper plates being three big items.

Can any single person really make a difference?

You might be wondering whether one person making a change can make a difference. I wondered that too, but I felt I had to start somewhere, and starting with my own habits seemed the best and easiest place. If I couldn't do it, I certainly couldn't urge anyone else too; on the other hand, if I found it easy, then others might also. There is of course much documentation for one person making a difference, so I won't go into what has been so well covered elsewhere. But for an example, here's a quote from a Seventh Generation Company's toilet tissue package (Seventh Generation is one of the many companies that provide products for those who are interested in having a healthy planet):

"If every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll of 500 sheet virgin fiber bathroom tissues with 100% recycled ones, we could save:

If we apply this same kind of math to the many other changes we could make, we can achieve a tremendous improvement in the environment in just a short amount of time.

Don't think you have to completely save the world or recycle every last scrap of material. That path leads to eventual frustration and failure. Instead, give yourself credit every time you recycle anything, and don't worry if you aren't being perfect about it. I have seen too many people fall into the trap of, "If I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all." The belief behind that thought is that nothing less than perfection is acceptable. Well, erase that thought right now and replace it with this one:

Even one change makes a difference!

Perfection is a process, not an end point.

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An urban horror story

Here's a (true!) urban horror story: I know of a family of four with a single pet that uses paper plates, paper napkins, paper towels, and so on every day. They use "real" plates only on special occasions. The only recycling that gets done in their house is by their housekeeper, who takes cans home to recycle. Every week, this family, even though they use a trash compactor on all their trash, produces three 90-gallon cans filled to overflowing with garbage. Every week. That's 4,680 gallons of compacted garbage a year. That doesn't include their yard waste.

Now contrast that with my home—a family of three, with numerous pets. We use neither paper plates nor paper napkins, and we use paper towels only with great reluctance. We do not own a trash compactor. We recycle newsprint, junk mail, catalogs, magazines, cardboard, metal, plastic, milk and other drink containers, and so on. We also do not subscribe to any newspapers (500,000 trees are consumed every Sunday) and very few magazines (most of which, like Cricket, a children's magazine, we keep; the rest of which we reuse or recycle). We usually fill a single 60-gallon trash can a month. That's 720 gallons of uncompacted garbage a year.

If the other family were to make two changes: switch to using real plates, and switch to using real napkins, I am convinced that they could easily reduce their trash by at least one entire 90-gallon can a week.

Take a look around your home and see where you can start making changes. It doesn't have to be a huge change. It can even be one change. It will make a difference! Buy recycled-paper toilet paper, for example, or indulge in a nice set of cloth napkins—then use them every day.

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Internet Activism

In addition to the activities listed on this page, you can make your opinion heard and join with other like-minded people by signing petitions on the Internet. Here is a sampling of some of the best sites.

The Natural Resources Defense Council

The Natural Resources Defense Council provides information on many current environmental concerns. I am particularly active with their BioGems program. You can be too. And it is free, though of course you can also join and help them further that way.

The BioGems Web site makes it easy to send email letters concerning a number of environmentally sensitive "gems." It keeps track of your actions so you can see how much you have already done, and to see what remains to be done, without having to remember which specific actions you've already taken.

The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club was created in 1892 by John Muir. Sign a Sierra Club petition.

The Environmental Organization Web Directory

For more links, check out the Environmental Organization Web Directory.

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The "healthy planet" lists

In this section I provide some ways in which you can help create a healthier planet through direct, personal actions. If you use even one of these suggestions, you can congratulate yourself on making what will add up to a huge difference over your lifetime. If you make two changes from this list, you can figure you are making a difference over two lifetimes. And so on.

The following require very little commitment, yet greatly benefit both you and the environment:

  1. Help save trees by using cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, even away from home. This is dead easy.
  2. Help save trees by using cloth towels instead of paper towels.
  3. Help save trees by using "real" plates instead of paper plates.
  4. Help save trees and help reduce manufacturing costs by using recycled paper products.
  5. Help the environment and help conserve resources by finding and using a few all-purpose cleaners instead of using high-impact, single-purpose cleaning products. (Often, single-purpose cleaners are petroleum-based, which means they are consuming oil resources.)
  6. Reduce the risk of cancer and reduce the destruction of our environment by not using pesticides and herbicides.
  7. Help save environmentally sensitive areas by boycotting Mitsubishi and all Florida citrus products.

Some other ways of helping the environment require a bit more commitment. These include

  1. Help save trees and resources by using cloth diapers instead of paper ones.
  2. For women only: Help save trees and resources by using cloth for your monthly needs instead of paper.
  3. Help save trees and resources by using cloth shopping bags at least once a month.
  4. Help save resources by recycling everything you possibly can, and "precycle" too.
  5. Help improve the soil and reduce the waste stream by composting household and yard wastes.
  6. Help save the environment (and improve your health!) by buying organic products only, or by increasing the amount of organic products you buy.
  7. Help save trees by stopping junk mail.
  8. Help the environment by conserving energy in various ways.

You might have noticed that most of the suggestions here focus on saving paper, which translates into saving trees. I consider these to be the easiest ways to start or improve upon a "green" focus. For one thing, there are many alternatives—very nice alternatives—to paper for just about every paper product you might be using. For another, saving trees has so many benefits that it would be hard to list them all. Here are a few:

Read 5 Simple Steps You Can Take Toward "Greener" Paper. Be sure to come back to The Lighthouse Online when you are through!

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Use cloth napkins

The first and easiest decision I made was to never, ever, ever buy paper napkins again. When I used up the last of my paper napkins, I went out and purchased a set of eight large cloth napkins, which I then used for all occasions, from picnics to elegant dinners. I have since acquired several more sets in festive colors, simply because I enjoy having a variety. I only recently retired that original set of eight, which I purchased in 1978 (I donated them to a charitable organization). They were still quite serviceable.

There are many benefits to be derived from purchasing cloth napkins:

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Use cloth towels

If you find you are using paper towels every day or even once a week, that's too much. Switch to cloth kitchen towels. Paper towels have some limited utility when using them to clean up messes that would be too hard to remove from cloth (such as car engine oil). Otherwise, cloth kitchen towels have many of the same advantages as cloth napkins, though their life, being harder, is less long.

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Use real plates

Paper plates don't belong at home. Even on picnics or camping, you can find a more durable alternative, such as enameled plates. And think of how much more pleasant it is to eat from real plates.

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Use recycled paper products

Recycled paper products are available for just about every purpose you use virgin paper products for. As much as possible, purchase only recycled paper products. Here's a sampling of items you can replace with recycled versions:

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Use a few all-purpose cleaners

I used to buy into the idea that I needed a different cleaner for every cleaning task. Some years ago, after I gave birth my daughter (as a single parent), I realized I need to simplify my life as much as possible in as many ways as possible so I could have the most time possible for my daughter.

The first discovery I made was that I didn't have to clean house quite as often. The next discovery was that I could make a few cleaning products do the job of many. Rather than have one cleaner for the carpet, another for kitchen surfaces, yet another for bathroom surfaces, a fourth for windows and mirrors, a fifth for floors, a sixth for laundry, and so on, I was able to find a few cleaners that were good for a wide range of chores—and I mean good, as in they work every bit as well as, or, in many cases, better than, the special-purpose cleaners I had been using before. Plus, they are much more environmentally friendly, and can even save energy!

Here's a list of the cleaning products I have found useful:

  1. In the kitchen: Dishwashing liquid and dishwasher detergent. Buy the natural stuff if you can—it generally works just as well and is easier on the environment. I find that the Seventh Generation Company's dishwasher powder works GREAT! Or try Trader Joe's environmentally friendly version, which also works great and is very inexpensive.

    The Seventh Generation people say "If every household in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of 28-oz. petroleum-based dishwashing liquid with our vegetable-based product, we could save 82,000 barrels of oil, enough to drive a car for over 86 million miles."
  2. Oh, and by the way—if you have been virtuously washing dishes by hand in the mistaken notion that you are saving water over using a dishwasher, rejoice, for you need wash dishes by hand no more. Full dishwashers use far less water than washing the same amount of dishes by hand does. So give yourself and the environment a break, load up that dishwasher, and go read a good book. Or surf the Net.
  3. In the kitchen and bathrooms: Bon Ami cleanser, which has no chlorine or unnatural ingredients. I use Bon Ami for all scrubbing chores that you might use Comet and SoftScrub-type cleansers for. Bon Ami can even be used on no-scratch surfaces like your bathroom or kitchen sink and on Corningware. Most people aren't aware that the regular scouring cleansers like Comet put tiny scratches in your kitchen sink, which then collect more dirt and stains, making it necessary to clean even harder the next time. Baking soda makes a great alternative to Bon Ami. (Baking soda is great in the kitchen too, especially for coffee and tea stains.)
  4. In the laundry: Bi-O-Kleen's All-Temperature Liquid Laundry Detergent. This grapefruit-seed-based product is FABULOUS! I only need to use a tablespoon for even the largest loads. It biodegrades into oxygen and water in 24 hours, and contains no harmful ingredients. Plus, it rinses completely clean, leaving no residues (unlike regular laundry detergents). You'll be amazed at how soft your clothing will become, without needing "softeners." Plus, your towels will dry you off faster and better. Fabric "softeners" make your towels LESS absorbent, and otherwise serve no useful purpose aside from parting you from your money. You do the math.

    Bi-O-Kleen offers a "whitener" laundry powder as well, which works pretty well, though I find that the regular Bi-O-Kleen liquid scrubs my clothing quite clean. However, for the really tough stains, try OxiClean.

    If these products don't get your clothes clean, nothing will. OxiClean is also a great all-round cleaner/stain remover, including for carpets.

    Don't bother with the so-called "dryer sheets." They do not soften fabric, but only work on static. And if your clothes are all made from natural fabrics, you won't have a problem with static.
  5. One good natural soap for the body. I have found a handmade vegetable-oil-based soap (in my local organic market) that I can even use on my face without bad effects (and my skin is quite sensitive). The entire family uses it.
  6. One good shampoo and conditioner. We like the Avalon Organic Botanical shampoos and conditioners made by Avalon Natural Products. My favorite is their Mint Thyme Organic shampoo.
  7. Everywhere: Either use OxiClean (mentioned above) or JobMaster all-purpose cleaner. JobMaster is biodegradable and nontoxic, and works great on just about everything, including stoves and carpets. It works moderately well on mirrors and windows, though I recommend vinegar for a truly sparkling clean on those surfaces (or better yet, use one of the new microfiber cleaning cloths with plain water). JobMaster is matched by no other cleaner when it comes to cleaning dirty stoves without struggle.

That's it. Inexpensive, easy, effective, safe.

About washing diapers

If you have a baby and you are using cloth diapers, find and use the safest, gentlest, most biodegradable laundry detergent for your baby's diapers. And stick with it. I had the following horrible experience which I hope will help prevent others from making the same mistake:

Before I discovered Bi-O-Kleen, I used Shaklee laundry detergent for years. When my daughter was born, naturally I used it on her diapers as well. It worked fine.

Then I read in some misguided magazine article that it was a "good idea" to switch around on the laundry detergents you use for your cloth diapers; that "build ups" would otherwise take place, and switching detergents would solve the problem. So I switched to Fresh Start laundry detergent.

My daughter (who was about 4 months old at the time) instantly developed a blistered bottom that was so bad that it looked burned. I had to let her lay out bare-bottomed while she healed. Meanwhile, I washed and rinsed those diapers in fresh water only (in my laundry machine) eight times, and even still, after eight full washings, they still burned my daughter's bottom. So I set them aside and purchased an entire new set of diapers. (Much later, I learned that washing the diapers with vinegar added to the wash water would dissolve out the offending materials.)

This taught me a lesson: Whatever was in Fresh Start, if it was strong enough to burn a baby's bottom after eight washings of the material with fresh water only, then it couldn't be good for anyone. It also taught me to stick with Shaklee until my daughter was out of diapers. (I now use Bi-O-Kleen.)

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Use cloth diapers

In 1989, over 1 billion trees were used every year to make disposable diapers. That's 1,000,000,000 trees a year. Now, with the introduction of paper training pants, I am sure that number is higher.

I don't normally take hardline stances, but it is my opinion that diapers and the newer invention, paper training pants, should be outlawed, because it seems obvious that people find it very hard to withdraw from their addiction to them. Still, being an optimist and assuming that you are a thinking person who can make a rational decision here in favor of life and survival, I make this plea: Switch to cloth diapers. If you must, use paper diapers while traveling or at your child's daycare (though do your best to talk them into letting you use cloth), but use cloth diapers and cloth training pants at home.

Arguments in favor of cloth diapers:

Remember, if you can't stand the thought of washing diapers, or your life circumstances make it prohibitive to do so, you can use a diaper service. Diaper services, last I checked, cost about as much as or even a little less than paper diapers. They pick them up, wash them, and deliver fresh, dry, clean diapers to your door. Diaper service makes a great baby shower gift, too.

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For women only: Use cloth for your monthly needs

I haven't purchased anything for my monthly needs since 1978. Instead, I asked my mother what women used to do in her day, and modified that to suit my preferences.

Here's what my mother told me she did: In her day, there weren't such things as tampons or sanitary napkins. Instead, she and her sister would take gauze and make pads for themselves. They would throw out the gauze after one use.

I liked the idea of using cloth—my skin is quite sensitive, and the paper pads chafe horribly—so I purchased some good-quality red flannel and cut it into a number of large rectangles, which I then just folded to a desired thickness. (You'll have to experiment with size—there's a balance between bulk and usefulness.)

The first time I used them, I couldn't believe how much more comfortable I was. No more chafing, and the flannel was as absorbent as, or even more absorbent than the paper pads I was replacing. The cloth conforms more securely and comfortably to my body, and can be washed and reused for many years. I found I didn't need anything to hold the cloth in place.

When I am away from home, I carry two Ziploc bags—one for fresh cloths, and one for used cloths. If I need to change while away, I rinse the used cloth in sink of whatever bathroom I am in and put it in the Ziploc bag until I can get back home to put it in the laundry. If I am traveling for longer periods of time (no pun intended), I wash and dry the used cloths.

The bonuses to this method are many:

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Buy cloth shopping bags and use them (or reuse your paper or plastic bags)

If every American shopper used a cloth bag (or took one less paper or plastic bag from the store) just once a month, we'd save hundreds of millions of bags a year.

Using cloth shopping bags is fun and convenient. They are sturdier, too, so they hold more. And some stores now pay five cents for each bag you use (including reusing paper or plastic). Create a habit of placing the bags near the door that leads to your car after emptying the bags in the kitchen, so you take them back to your car where they are ready to use again.

Remember to recycle your paper or plastic bags!

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Reduce, reuse, recycle

What is the difference between the terms reduce, reuse, and recycle?

The ultimate goal is to contribute absolutely nothing back into the waste stream, and to reduce your consumption of products, reuse products as much as possible, and recycle what's left. Reaching the ultimate goal is doable, though it takes a lot of work. But don't stress if you aren't even close. Remember, every effort makes a positive difference! Just try to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as you can, and you will still be doing a great deal of good for yourself and the environment.

Make it easier for yourself by designating containers for the different kinds of things you recycle, and by placing them near where those materials are generated. For example, in our household, the recycling bins are in the kitchen, where I can place cans, plastic, paper, and bottle. In my office, I have two attractive rattan baskets: One for recyclable paper, and the other for confidential materials. The bulk of our unsolicited mail goes, unopened, into either the paper recycling bin in the kitchen or into the paper recycling basket in my office. (I burn the confidential materials.) I use a duplex printer, for which I buy only recycled paper, and I recycle or burn printouts. Cardboard we store on our porch until there is enough to flatten and recycle—though we reuse most good cardboard boxes (for storage or items we are donating).

Reusing and recycling applies to computers as well. When I upgrade my computer, if I don't know someone personally who can benefit from the older equipment, I donate the old equipment to a service called Micro Ministries (in the San Francisco East Bay area), which refurbishes old computers and gets them into the hands of those who might not otherwise have access to a computer. Hewlett-Packard and other large manufacturers recycle computer components. Computers in the waste stream are becoming a larger environmental problem. Ask around and see if you can pass your old equipment on or get it recycled.

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Reduce waste in the bathroom

Use Eco-Dent "GentleFloss," which uses no plastic in its packaging. According to them, "As many as 700 million plastic floss containers are discarded every year. As much as 9 million pounds of non-renewable, non-recylced floss containers—not to mention wasteful secondary packaging, like boxes and blister cards—end up in our already over-crowded landfills each year. Only Eco-dent offers you an alternative to this incredible packaging waste!"

Plus, it is excellent dental floss, vegan waxed for those who care about such things. You can purchase Eco-Dent products at your local health food store, or online at VitaNet (this is not an endorsement of that site).

Also, use other personal hygiene products that reduce waste and use as few chemicals as possible.

For underarm deodorant, nothing beats Mexsana, a medicated powder. It contains none of the suspect aluminum compounds that all anti-perspirants contain (Mexsana is not an anti-perspirant), and it does such a good job that it will last through even the hottest, sweatiest day. Long's Drug Stores carry it or can special order it, or you can order it online from such places as

Use recycled toilet paper at least a few times a year, if not all the time.

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Compost household and yard wastes

Composting is a form of recycling, with the added benefit that in doing so you have your own source of garden compost and mulch (in a fairly short amount of time if you devote some time to it, or in a longer amount of time if you let nature take its course). By composting, you are returning to the soil many nutrients it will enjoy having. Your flowers and vegetables will show their appreciation in greater blooms and yields as well as healthier and more beautiful plants.

Composting can be as easy as creating a corner of your yard where you toss coffee grounds, egg shells, vegetable matter, tea bags, leaves, and so on. Warning: Don't put meat, cheese, or the contents of your pooper scooper or cat litter box on your compost heap.

If you want to get fancy, you can purchase or make a compost bin. There are many good resources available on composting if you want to get into it in more depth.

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Buy organic

If you want fewer pesticides in the environment, aside from stopping the use of them on your own property, you can help achieve this goal by decreasing or stopping the demand for them. Buy organic foods and products as much as possible. This sends a clear message to farmers everywhere that you want food that was created with the intention of sustaining and helping the earth, rather than raping and destroying her, and that you want foods that nurture and heal, rather than foods that, directly or indirectly, contribute to cancer and other health problems.

After you've been buying and eating organic foods (and organic versions of just about everything are available, including tasty pastas and pasta sauces), you'll notice that your taste buds are becoming educated and therefore discriminating. You may also notice that you eat less, because there are more nutrients per gram of organically grown foods than per gram of foods grown using "modern" farming practices.

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Stop using pesticides and herbicides

Exposure to pesticides and herbicides has been connected with increased risk of cancer and other ailments. They get into the soil and water and poison everything they touch. Most fruit grown using them has the poisons in every cell. And recent research indicates that when these products combine, the risk of cancer isn't additive, it is multiplied. What does that mean? If Poison A presents a cancer rate of 1 person in 2,000, and Poison B has the same rate, then combined, instead of offering a cancer rate of 2 in 2,000, they might now present a cancer rate of 20 in 2,000, or more.

And don't be fooled by those pest control companies that try to tell you their pesticides are "natural" and even "organic." Yes, there are some pesticides derived from plants (such as pyrethrins), but they are still poisonous and bad for the environment. Pyrethrins, for example, are extremely toxic to aquatic life, toxic to bees, and slightly toxic to birds. So, your local pest control organization comes around, sprays the heck out of your yard, you water or it rains, the pyrethins go into the drain and, in this area anyway, directly into the very close, very local creek system, et voila!, you have just paid someone to poison your local ecosystem. Does this make sense?

So why use them? Just say no! The natural alternatives are just as effective and are better for the environment.

For example, when I lived in Tucson, Arizona, I had some roses, and so did my neighbor. Our first year in our homes, we had a severe infestation of aphids. She dusted her roses with poison; I went out every day and used water and my hands to remove the aphids from my roses. After a while, the ladybugs and spiders moved in to my garden, and I had no more aphids—ever. My neighbor, though, having killed both the "good" and the "bad" insects, had to keep applying the poisons to her roses month after month and year after year. I invested a few hours of my time once—she invested her time and money forever. And I didn't have to worry about using my roses and rose petals for potpourri and other recipes, because I knew they were organically raised. She had to keep her toddler away from her plants—I didn't worry when I saw my daughter in the backyard stuffing flowers into her mouth.

By not using pesticides and herbicides, you are reducing the demand for those products, thereby making it less profitable for companies to produce, advertise, and sell them. You are also doing your part to keep them out of the water, including the water table, and therefore potentially out of your own drinking water.

Why is it important to stop the use of pesticides and herbicides?

The US government has a policy called "negligible risk," which was lobbied for by the food companies, that allows an "acceptable" number of people to contract cancer from exposure to pesticides in food. The risk is considered negligible and therefore acceptable if it doesn't cause cancer in more than one in a million people from each crop use of each pesticide. The risk assessment process doesn't take into account the increased vulnerability of children and the elderly, ignores the dangers of "inactive" toxic ingredients in pesticides, and assesses risk as if we're exposed to only one pesticide during our entire lifetime. This means that each year, tens of thousands of people contract cancer from pesticides as a result of this policy. Every day, 1,400 people in the US die from cancer. This is what the US government calls a "negligible risk."

If you want to express your dissatisfaction with this policy, you can contact Food & Water Incorporated. They are asking people to sign a "Declaration of Opposition to Negligible Risk." Here is their contact information:

Food & Water Incorporated
Depot Hill Road
R.R. 1, Box 114
Marshfield, Vermont, USA, 05658-9702
(802) 426-3700 or 1-800-EAT-SAFE

You may be wondering what to use instead. My favorite oragnic material supplier (though be careful—not everything they sell falls into that category) is Gardens Alive. I am particularly fond of their cupboard moth traps, which came in good stead when I had a huge moth infestation in my closet and kitchen. Another favorite is their set of green bags for produce storage in the refrigerator, which really work as advertised. Their prices are also very reasonable. I joined their club to get an additional discount. Click here for $20 FREE on your first order at Gardens Alive!

See also buy organic.

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Boycott Mitsubishi and all Florida citrus products

Mitsubishi corporation is responsible for raping some of the last virgin rainforest in Indonesia. Don't buy anything made by them.

In the US, the Florida citrus growers are responsible for destroying large tracts of a unique ecosystem, one that encompasses many unique species that can be found nowhere else. Citrus can be grown other places; these plants and animals can't. Boycott Florida's citrus industry. Don't buy anything that says it has Florida citrus in it. (For more information, see the September 1994 Smithsonian magazine, pp. 36-44: "Along a ridge in Florida, an ecological house built on sand," by Don Stap. You can access the Smithsonian magazine online, though this particular article isn't available—at least, not yet.)

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Stop junk mail

As of 1989, Americans were receiving enough junk mail every day (in the aggregate, of course) to produce enough energy to heat 250,000 homes. Translated into figures, that means

If you live in the United States, you can access the Consumer Assistance Guide to request that you be removed from junk mail, telemarketing, and junk email lists.

Here are some tips for minimizing your chances of getting onto mailing lists:

While you're at it, recycle the junk mail you already receive. I do, and I remain amazed, even though I have several times gone through elaborate steps to get removed from junk mail lists, at how much junk mail I start to receive again in a very short amount ot time. At least I do recycle it, but I'd rather not get it in the first place.

For more information on removing yourself from junk mail lists, and on how you got there in the first place, see How to Get Less Junk Mail, by Chris Hibbert of the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Here's another Web site to try that has additional useful information as well.

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Conserve Energy in Various Ways

California's PG&E has some useful tips on energy conservation.

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