Green Living Tribe - Part II - Page 17 - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-23-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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Yes, thank you for pointing that out. I read the article in mother earth news recently about the whole USDA organic thing and how corps are trying to loosen organic standards to jump on the bandwagon. That is exactly the sort of thing I'm referring to. I'm glad you brought that up.

As for solutions, I think we have to look outside the green movement itself. We have to acknowledge that the real enemy here is corporations, media, and mass marketing to get us to buy these things. We know this is such a HUGE problem in all aspects of our quality of life but I don't want to deter from the thread topic too much.

We have to get leaders in our government who aren't paid by lobbyists but I'm afraid that isn't happening anytime soon. That is a big part of the problem alone. Since I feel somewhat powerless in changing that vicious cycle of lobbyists buying our candidates, I really do believe in the power of the individual, especially the pocketbook, since the pocketbook is what gives power to these corporations. We have to limit buying from them and not buy something just because it says USDA organic like you mentioned, but a reputable small family farming business and of course local, if possible. I know a big help to me has been getting rid of my tv. I know longer see tv commercials which make me feel I'm missing something because I don't have a certain car or electronic gadget or gaudy piece of jewelry. I'm not perfect. I like things that aren't necessarily green but I've streamlined my life more so that I buy things because I need them or they feed a real passion of mine, not because I saw it on a commercial or feel like I need it because everyone else has it.

I could go on and on but I think we have to give the consumer back the power and help people realize that if we stop buying from big name businesses, they won't have a business anymore. Now we just need to figure out a way to get the masses of people out there to not support these giants.
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ITA about corporations that are just in it for profit. I guess I was coming from a place of having someone close to me who is frustrated about the whole green movement spreading so slowly.

Have you all read Affluenza? It's an excellent read about consumerism in our society. It really changed my outlook on consumption. It's a pretty easy read, too. So I've made it my personal mission to recommend it to any and all friends. Everyone I know who's read it has come away with a revised outlook on consumerism.

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Old 07-23-2007, 05:47 PM
 
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Snozzberry wrote:
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And while it may be frustrating to see people take those baby steps like recycling the bare minimum because you're anxious for them to be where you are today, didn't we all start out small? I know I did. I look back at my lifestyle even a couple years ago, and I'm amazed at how far I've come. But if a couple years ago, someone had expected me to set my thermostat at 82 degrees AND implement "if it's yellow, let it mellow" AND downsize to one car for the family AND stop using shampoo AND buy more produce/bulk and less processed food AND go to the farmer's market religiously, etc, etc...that would have been too much. I would have buckled under the expectations or rebelled or lashed out at whomever was expecting so much of me all at once.

This is a journey for all of us. Some of those around us are just starting on their journeys, and it is our job to help guide them along and encourage them to take that next step.
Very well said!

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Okay, so I don't want to overgeneralize here but what I'm trying to say here is that corporations from developers to those who make our food, household products, and clothing seem to be repackaging something that isn't green at all to make it look green and does anyone else seem concerned about this?
Yes! I am very concerned that organic is the new low-carb, or whatever, and the general public will be interested only until the idea isn't *NEW!* anymore.

I am feeling very little faith in my fellow Americans today. I posted a while back about the recycling program I ran at a convention for 4 years that convinced the convention organizers to demand that the convention center provide recycling of beverage containers.... Well, after two years of their doing it, this year there were no recycling bins. A couple of my friends spoke with workers emptying trash and told me that they now sort out recycling behind the scenes. I was skeptical and decided to investigate, and today I talked with the facilities management guy, who told me THEY HAD TO STOP RECYCLING BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE THROWING TOO MUCH TRASH IN THE BINS and they didn't have the budget to have their workers spend that much time sorting trash! Also, the bins were collecting far fewer bottles than they expected based on the number sold in the building! What is wrong with people?! Those bins were convenient, well-marked, everything you could want! : I'm writing up the whole story and will post a link, but I can't put it up until the guy reads it and gives me permission to quote him and use his name, or not.

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Old 07-23-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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"think globally, buy locally"!

i think buying local is so key. i know i don't come near to doing it half the time, but i'm fairly good on the food front. we've got a great farmer's market and our local co-op carries a lot of local foods, too. i'm just not doing it all the time. still buying that annie's mac-n-cheese, y'know?

anyway, i think if we can raise conciousness about buying locally that might steer folks away from the mega-corps (unless you have a mega corp in your backyard). buying locally appeals to a lot of people, too, from all political stripes. i can totally see a traditional conservative wanting to keep the money local. of course there aren't too many local computer manufacturers or car manufacturers, but we can raise the awareness in regard to food and clothing. i think it supports the community, keeps the money in the community, and reduces transportation costs.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, barbara kingsolvers newest, is a great read on the subject of local food.

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Old 07-23-2007, 07:20 PM
 
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"think globally, buy locally"!

i think buying local is so key. i know i don't come near to doing it half the time, but i'm fairly good on the food front. we've got a great farmer's market and our local co-op carries a lot of local foods, too. i'm just not doing it all the time. still buying that annie's mac-n-cheese, y'know?

anyway, i think if we can raise conciousness about buying locally that might steer folks away from the mega-corps (unless you have a mega corp in your backyard). buying locally appeals to a lot of people, too, from all political stripes. i can totally see a traditional conservative wanting to keep the money local. of course there aren't too many local computer manufacturers or car manufacturers, but we can raise the awareness in regard to food and clothing. i think it supports the community, keeps the money in the community, and reduces transportation costs.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, barbara kingsolvers newest, is a great read on the subject of local food.
i love barbara kingsolver...love love love her!
Whome....what redwoods are you by? i'm by some too !
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:28 PM
 
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i love barbara kingsolver...love love love her!
Whome....what redwoods are you by? i'm by some too !
I'm in the bay area.

Tell me more about Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I haven't read anything by Barbara Kingsolver yet, but it's on my list for when I don't have a hundred other projects going on... Doesn't she usually write fiction? Is AVM a story, or is it more like facts?

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Old 07-23-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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Animal Vegetable Miracle is a memoir of her family's year of living on locally grown foods. it's a very easy read, but does have a lot of facts thrown in. well worth reading imo. gotta try to get dh started on it now...

check out the linky. it takes you to her AVM website.

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Old 07-23-2007, 09:06 PM
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"think globally, buy locally"!
Totally. I strive for this, sometimes it works and sometimes I fail miserably. It's pretty easy most of the time to get locally-grown food in my area (and it helps that we garden and keep chickens), but for other purchases, local can be nearly impossible. I agree that voting with our dollars is very, very powerful, maybe especially when it means not spending them.

I also try to keep this saying in mind: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." Not always simple, easy, convenient or fun to implement it IRL, though. Take clothes, for instance. There are so many problems with the garment industry, from the materials used (cotton being the major contributor to pesticide use worldwide, synthetics being made from non-renewable petroleum, astounding amounts of pollution produced during all stages of manufacturing of non-organic fabrics, etc.) to the issues of human rights violations and shipping clothing all over the globe. I used to like to shop at second-hand stores, but now that I have kids I rarely have the patience needed to find anything useful in stores like that. I should make the time to do it periodically without the kids in tow, but I haven't. So too often, I end up caving to convenience and buying new, and usually can't afford the greener options (love the Patagonia web specials clearance, though!). I admire people who can sew with kids in the house, but it drives me crazy.

I know many people have had their eyes opened a little bit to the climate change issue by An Inconvenient Truth, but honestly, I thought it came across mostly as an Al Gore campaign commercial. (Yeah, I know he's not running for office currently.) I feel like warning him to not break his arm patting himself on the back. In fact, it smacked a little bit of the thing he got teased so mercilessly about during the campaign, claiming to be one of the founders of the Internet - like he has been the sole voice in the wilderness on the climate issue, outside of a few sequestered academics. If you look a little deeper into the sober science (try this as a starting point http://www.theweathermakers.com/ ), it appears Gore chose the most sensationalistic, the-sky-is-falling factoids to make his point, which IMO ultimately could harm the cause more than help it. I agree with the points he seems to be trying to make, but not with the tactics or the self-congratulation clothed in hand-wringing. However, the slick, Hollywood, sound-byte, not-always-entirely-accurate method of getting ideas across seems to be the "way it's done" nowadays, and I sincerely hope that the people moved by that film will seek to learn more and find out what they can do to effect real, positive change.

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Old 07-23-2007, 10:08 PM
 
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AJP, I really to a lot of what you say. I too try to buy locally as much as possible but we don't even have a decent farmer's market around here. The best thing going is Wild Oats, our supermarket's local organic line, or the very expensive locally owned health food store. I'm still wrestling with that issue and wishing that one day I could get all of my grocery shopping done at one stop instead of at least two different places. :

I also struggle with the secondhand thing. I have two little ones and although I used to love thrifting, I don't have the time to go to yard sale after yard sale or multiple thrift stores to find that awesome buy. I'm not in my early twenties and unmarried without kids anymore!! I don't want to at all discourage people from doing this either. I just find that it is hard for me to get out there and do it. It is so much easier to order things from the internet, ebay, or go to Target (I know, I know).

And I couldn't agree with you more about Gore. I like the guy but I found the film incredibly dull which surprised me after all the hype. Maybe it was because I didn't see a lot that I didn't already know or I just got tired of watching him stand in front of charts and graphs the whole time. Great guy I think, but yeah, a little overrated.
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:39 AM
 
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The Mythbusters recently demonstrated that you're better off turning the lights off, of any kind. Of all of the bulbs they tested (incandescent, compact fluoros, LEDs, etc.), the one that had the biggest power surge is still best turned off unless you're going to be back in the room within I think it was 26 seconds.So turn the lights off unless you're literally stepping in and out of the room within a few seconds.
I saw this episode too. Me and DH fight about conservation all the time. He wants his 2 labtops and main computer on all the time while I run around at night and quietly try to shut them all down.
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:50 AM
 
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I think this is a very interesting discussion.

I have a hard time because I usually have to pick between one of: fair trade, organic, or local. At the moment I'm looking for bed linens, and as for what I can find locally, it's pretty much between ecru, off-white, ivory, and eggshell. I want to be green without being boring, dammit. I really wanted bamboo, too, but I guess that's just not going to happen.

For food, the situation seems pretty good here. What I can find about the organic "ø" label here sounds good, but the really thorough stuff isn't in English. Also companies LOVE to label stuff that's produced within Denmark, and it's basically impossible for anything in Denmark to be more than about 300mi/500km away, so I consider that local.

For clothing (and bed linens!) it's been really hard to find things. Now, if I want organic bedding or clothes for a BABY, I can find about 10,000 options. Don't get me wrong... I think it's great to get good organic stuff for your baby, but why not mama too?

The worst has to be pet care, though. I can't find a single dang brand or type of cat food that doesn't have corn all over the place, and I don't think non-clay litter exists here. It's driving me crazy! I hate hate hate hate clay litter. I can probably learn to make food for my cats, but how do I make litter? I've heard of some people using chicken feed as cat litter, but it's not too easy to come by feed stores in the Copenhagen area.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:01 AM
 
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"think globally, buy locally"! i think buying local is so key. i know i don't come near to doing it half the time, but i'm fairly good on the food front. we've got a great farmer's market and our local co-op carries a lot of local foods, too. i'm just not doing it all the time.
I agree. I live in a small town with many farmer's markets. I also try to support local restaurants that also buy local produce. My sister told me about a 100 mile diet where people only purchase items near their communities. I tend to buy locally in the warmer months, but struggle in the cold months. It's also discouraging to find some of my local farmer's market are buying goods from afar to help them offset the costs of running their farms. It pains me that people don't chose local first and foremost when the result means that their local farmers are struggling. : sorry about my rambling.
On a brighter note , a few weeks ago DH and I attended Great Green America Fest at Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire where we learned a lot from the many presentations. Our current project is to find an old diesel and convert it to run on waste veg oil! I'll keep you posted on how this turns out. Anyone here driving on WVO? I saw info here on biodiesel (my 2nd passion).
~Angel

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Old 07-24-2007, 05:11 AM
 
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The worst has to be pet care, though. I can't find a single dang brand or type of cat food that doesn't have corn all over the place, and I don't think non-clay litter exists here. It's driving me crazy! I hate hate hate hate clay litter. I can probably learn to make food for my cats, but how do I make litter? I've heard of some people using chicken feed as cat litter, but it's not too easy to come by feed stores in the Copenhagen area.
I saw posted on another board that someone is using organic oatmeal for cat litter. Maybe that would work for you, they said it is very absorbent. I don't know how available organic oatmeal is there, but maybe conventional oatmeal would be easy to get in bulk.
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:35 AM
 
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subscribing...
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Old 07-24-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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I just wanted to say that by recycling everything we possibly can and composting everything compostable, our family of 4 has successfully reduced our amount of trash from 2 full curb cans to one kitchen bag a week. How great is that! Also by turning our shower off (we have an adjustable shower head) while soaping up we have dropped our water bill a noticeable amount. Now we really only have the shower running for a minute or two while we are in there. It's nice to see some tangible results from the practices we are implementing!

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Old 07-24-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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AJP, I really to a lot of what you say. I too try to buy locally as much as possible but we don't even have a decent farmer's market around here. The best thing going is Wild Oats, our supermarket's local organic line, or the very expensive locally owned health food store. I'm still wrestling with that issue and wishing that one day I could get all of my grocery shopping done at one stop instead of at least two different places. :
Have you looked into the buying club route?
Associated Buyers and United Natural Foods are two distributors who deliver to buying clubs in my area, charging close-to-wholesale prices.
My friends and I put together an order once a month, and UNFI delivers the food to my house. We split it up as planned... and I haven't been to a commercial grocery store in months!
Though I am lucky to have great farms and farmer's markets nearby (in summer, anyway) and a food coop that helps fill in the gaps.
-------------------------
For kitty litter:
How about sawdust?
It tweaks me out to think of buying food for my cat to pee on.
Feline Pine is a brand of kitty litter that's just pine sawdust pressed into neat little pellets- why not just find a source for unprocessed sawdust?
-------------------------
Has anyone seen the Future of Food?

I hadn't heard the whole story about corporations gaining the legal option to patent life: , or the details about how Monsanto, et al, managed to sue farmers who unwillingly have some GMO plants mixed in with their crops. Oh, and the suicide gene? Which could cross-contaminate everything else? RoundUp-ready crops? Et cetera.

I've always leaned toward organic, local, GMO-free food, but now I know more about why we should keep at it. Diligently.

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Old 07-24-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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Ramlita, can you give me more info on the united natural foods? I went to their website but I don't see anything about home delivery, if they deliver to my area, what the minimum purchase is and so forth? I'm really interested though.
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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What a weird website! You're right, it's hard to find the Buying Club part.

Here it is-
This page covers some basics, including a map of their area, loosely described as the East and the Midwest.

http://www.unitedbuyingclubs.com/How_To_Buy.htm

The easiest thing is to find one that already exists- though it would have to be pretty close to be worth it.

It's been fun getting people together to talk about food!
You never know who has a crock of sauerkraut on the counter, who's making cheese from raw local milk, or who knows how to marinate tempeh to make it palatable until you ask sometimes! I've been bonding with new friends about common interests like Kefir and grinding grains and

I sort of took over this buying club from my mom and her friends- once all of their kids moved out of their houses, their food needs plummeted and it became harder to put together an order.
I've recruited friends who have then recruited coworkers, neighbors see the truck and wander over, much of our playgroup regulars order stuff... friends with kids tend to be interested, and it becomes very easy to make the minimum.

I love to buy local, but I also whole organic coconut milk, organic applesauce out of season :, and affordably priced homeopathics and supplements.

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Old 07-25-2007, 04:21 AM
 
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For kitty litter:
How about sawdust?
It tweaks me out to think of buying food for my cat to pee on.
Feline Pine is a brand of kitty litter that's just pine sawdust pressed into neat little pellets- why not just find a source for unprocessed sawdust?
I was poking around online to try to figure out where one would buy sawdust in Copenhagen. I found one place which sells an unspecified amount of sawdust for about $1000. I'm pretty sure I'd need a bigger condo and a lot more cats to make that useful. However, I stumbled upon another place that in addition to selling 60 lb. bags of sawdust for an unspecified price, makes a sawdust kitty litter! It's called Miljø-Strø and it sounds pretty much exactly like Feline Pine, which I used in the US for a long time. Unfortunately when I clicked the link to order online, it wanted me to download an Excel spreadsheet. I wrote them an email saying I don't have Excel, I'm not going to buy Excel (or any other spreadsheet program, as I have no use for it), but I'd still like to buy the product if they'd like to provide some other means. I hope they respond! I don't really mind buying oatmeal but I don't think it would be that cheap.
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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I just got this forward about www.blackle.com its a custom Google search engine, that has a black background.
I dont know if anyone else posted about it already, but a quick search didnt turn anything up...
I looked up its entry in Wikipedia and it seems that it's a search that is more-or-less the same as Google (though not run by Google, it uses their search engine).
It saves power only on the CRT monitor screens (not the LCD screens), and though the amount saved for an individual would be negligible, the site claims that over the millions of people using Google every day, the power reduction adds up.

By reading this signature, you agree to join my cult :nana
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:34 PM
 
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Unfortunately when I clicked the link to order online, it wanted me to download an Excel spreadsheet. I wrote them an email saying I don't have Excel, I'm not going to buy Excel (or any other spreadsheet program, as I have no use for it), but I'd still like to buy the product if they'd like to provide some other means. I hope they respond! I don't really mind buying oatmeal but I don't think it would be that cheap.
Have you seen google docs? It doesn't have all the functionality of excel, but it should be good for viewing a basic spreadsheet without having to download or buy anything. (Also works for Word, btw)

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Old 07-26-2007, 08:12 AM
 
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Have you seen google docs? It doesn't have all the functionality of excel, but it should be good for viewing a basic spreadsheet without having to download or buy anything. (Also works for Word, btw)
Actually I would have to download something, as it doesn't work with either of the browsers I use. I'm pretty anti-download-a-new-browser-for-one-site, but it's ok because the guy answered my email and it's all sorted.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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glad it's all sorted out! sorry to assume it would work with your browser, i thought the had it working with most browsers now.

And now back on topic: what's the greenest way to get rid of the two big refillable plastic wipes containers we have? I finally got dh on board with 100% cloth wipes, even for future babies, yay! recycle? freecycle? repurpose? (to what??)

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Old 07-26-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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glad it's all sorted out! sorry to assume it would work with your browser, i thought the had it working with most browsers now.

And now back on topic: what's the greenest way to get rid of the two big refillable plastic wipes containers we have? I finally got dh on board with 100% cloth wipes, even for future babies, yay! recycle? freecycle? repurpose? (to what??)
We use ours for little toy storage like cars or anything with small pieces. You could even redecorate the containers!
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramlita View Post
Has anyone seen the Future of Food?

I hadn't heard the whole story about corporations gaining the legal option to patent life: , or the details about how Monsanto, et al, managed to sue farmers who unwillingly have some GMO plants mixed in with their crops. Oh, and the suicide gene? Which could cross-contaminate everything else? RoundUp-ready crops? Et cetera.

I've always leaned toward organic, local, GMO-free food, but now I know more about why we should keep at it. Diligently.
yup. i think you can watch it on youtube, for those who haven't seen it.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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I freecycle all my #5 containers to a homeschool group here locally. I save them and once a month or so she comes and gets them from me. If that doesn't work also try your local elementary schools, they can use them for storing things
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:42 PM
 
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hey y'all,

just saw this linky on a biodiesel list i'm on and thought i would pass it along -- a diesel honda that gets almost 63mpg -- http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9712548-7.html
.

would be sweet to put biodiesel in that baby!

Mamatreehugger.gif to two girl beans, Feb 2001hearts.gif and Nov 2003coolshine.gif . DH geek.gif, and two crazydog2.gifdog2.gif . Running on biodiesel since 2004!
 
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Old 08-03-2007, 12:13 AM
 
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does anyone know of a glass, stainless steel, etc. gallon sized container that i could use to replace the plastic one we use now for filling up our water unit. and also one for road trips to have in the car.
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Old 08-03-2007, 09:08 AM
 
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you can always buy a gallon of apple juice in a glass bottle and re-use that. we have huge bottles of juice at our co-op.

wonder if sigg or kleen kanteen makes one?

Mamatreehugger.gif to two girl beans, Feb 2001hearts.gif and Nov 2003coolshine.gif . DH geek.gif, and two crazydog2.gifdog2.gif . Running on biodiesel since 2004!
 
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:33 AM
 
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I was going to say apple juice too. I love those bottles. I use them to store water or to make juice in.
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