Monday, February 15, 2010
With Kids, Will Travel! The importance of showing your kids that there is a world outside of their own!
Monday, January 25, 2010
With each passing year, more and more of us are being bombarded with
“go green” messages from just about every medium available. From car advertisements that trumpet their energy efficient hybrids to cars that run on vegetable oil. From bathroom tissue that is recycled, which by the way is NASTY if you think about it, to paper plates that have been recycled. Playgrounds made out of recycled rubber,
re-usable wood, pens, containers, clothes (think hemp), stones, oil, and even body parts (any organ donors out there?)!
All of this is great and dandy and I get it! I really do! But, as many Latinos already know, this “go green” campaign is nothing new to us!
How many Mami’s, Papi’s, Abuelitas, and Abuelitos made us re-use everything in our houses to the point of extinction!? We’ve been doing this for ages and NOW the rest of the free world is catching up with one major difference; we’re not profiting off of it. And by profiting, I mean monetary or via publicity.
El Choping Bag: Early Thermal Insulation
During the mid 1970’s ‘til about early 1980’s, especially here in the New York tri-state area, many of us who are now in our late thirties early forties remember having our feet wrapped in little plastic bags and shoved into our sneakers; a pre-requisite to playing in the snow. The little bags would come from the local supermarket; usually Sloans, A&P, Associated, or Keyfood. The bags were actually used to put frozen foods such as ice cream, a bag ice, frozen vegetables, or anything that was cold or frozen. They usually had a picture of a Polar Bear on them and the color of the bag was usually blue.
Besides keeping anything frozen cold enough until you brought your groceries home, these bags were placed around your feet in order to keep them dry from the snow whenever you went outside to play. Never-mind that your feet still froze but at least they were dry!
What ensued was the re-use of a plastic bag! Going Green at its best!
Not Con-Ed but Con Edwin!
One of my neighbors growing up was a guy by the name of Edwin or as we like to say “E-Dweeng” whose mother insisted on yelling “ Carajo! Apaga esa luz! Tu trabaja para Con Ed?” We could not enter a room, turn the light on and then walk out for a second without her screaming at us to turn off the light! You would think that we lived in a Communist country that rationed electricity! Who knew Doña Juana was ahead of her time! Not only did she probably save tons of Kilowatt hours, she also taught us to not be afraid of the dark!
A Jar goes very far!
Love Jelly? How many Welch’s jelly jars did you have? How great was it that your mother was able to get you your favorite grape jelly and after it was gone, you just washed it out and had a great glass to drink out of?
Mami was recycling plastic and glass back then and she didn’t even know it!
As you can see, these are just a couple of early “go green” techniques that have been in existence within the Latin world. So, the question remains: Are or better yet, have Latinos contributed to saving the planet? The answer has to be Claro que si!
Here are a few other go green techniques that we managed to spawn without even knowing we created them.
According to the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org), an environmental group that uses the power of public information to protect public health and the environment, the following tips should be applied to “go green” :
Use cast iron pans instead of nonstick. Read about Teflon health concerns.
BS: Hello! Calderos anyone!? God knows they’re not tossed out until the handles fall off completely or worst, your tia Anna never returns it!
To avoid chemicals leaching into food, go easy on processed, canned or fast foods and never microwave plastic. Read about Bisphenol A, a toxic food-can lining ingredient associated with birth defects.
BS: How many aluminum foiled leftovers have you had? Pop it in the oven and ... voila! 30 minutes later its warm!
Buy organic, or eat vegetables and fruit from the "Cleanest 12" list. Find out more about the "Dirty Dozen."
BS: Mami spent many years growing our own Avocados in a converted gallon of milk container from the left over avocado pit. Of course toothpicks held it altogether.
Pregnant women should use iodized salt to combat chemical interference from the thyroid. Read about rocket fuel's effect on the thyroid.
BS: A new bottle of Adobo goes a long way!
Seal outdoor wooden structures. Order a test kit to find out if your wooden deck, picnic table, or playset is leaching arsenic.
BS: We already know that our milk crate chairs are recyclable.
Leave your shoes at the door. This cuts down on dust-bound pollutants in the home.
BS: Chancleta’s are forever! They’re not tossed out until there are a million holes on the sole. If you need another pair, the 99 cent store is just around the corner.
Avoid perfume, cologne and products with added fragrance. Search for personal care products that are fragrance-free, or check the products you're already using.
BS: Personal fragrance? You can just wash your clothes and the fresh scent of the clean clothes is good enough for personal fragrance. You knock out two birds with one stone! Clean clothes AND you smell good!
Buy products with natural fibers, like cotton and wool, that are naturally fire resistant. Use our list of products and manufacturers to avoid the chemical flame retardant PBDE.
BS: Walmart and Target only make fire resistant clothes and we know how much we love going to these two stores!
Eat low-mercury fish like tilapia & pollock, rather than high-mercury choices like tuna & swordfish. Check our Safe Fish List to see which fish to avoid and what's safe to eat.
BS: Tuna and Swordfish? That’s fancy schmancy food! Bacalao Salao for everyone! Besides, if the fish from City Island in the Bronx hasn’t killed us, nothing will! I think we’re immune to mercury by now!
Filter your water for drinking and cooking. How does your tap water stack up? Search our tap water database to see what you're drinking.
BS: No need to filter or spend money on a filter that you will have to toss out eventually; ain’t nothing better than NYC water! Best in the country!
BS: Our household products comes down to two products: King Pine and Mistoline. With these two, you can clean floors, disinfect, rub out mildew and clean your windows if need be. To save waste even more, use newspaper to clean all your mirrors and windows!
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