Yesterday the state Senate passed AB 1319, The Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act, which would ban the plastic chemical bisphenol A, also known as BPA, from baby bottles and sippy cups sold statewide. Now the bill heads back to the state Assembly for a vote on the Senate amendments.
"A decade ago, Congress stepped forward with a relatively cheap but vitally important effort to protect these apes through innovative conservation programs in Africa and Asia that combined taxpayer dollars with private money. But attempts to reauthorize the Great Apes Conservation Fund have gotten stuck in Congress and may become a victim of the larger debate over the national debt."
Last week, I published an article on a marketing research firm’s report on the greenest consumers — people who say they engage in 10 or more eco-friendly activities on a regular basis such as buying organic food, planning to buy a hybrid car and recycling and using reusable grocery bags.
It wasn’t a total shocker that the study found the greenest consumers tend to be wealthy and well-educated and are more likely to live on the West Coast.
(My fave statistic from the report: Super Green consumers are 39 percent more likely to have consumed tea in their household in the last month. Is tea consumption really so unusual that we need to track it? Also, Super Green consumers are 221 percent (!) more likely to do yoga and Pilates than the average American.)
But what was a surprise to me was the finding that the most eco-friendly consumers are much more likely than the average consumer to spend big bucks on fine jewelry and luxury cars.
This leads to an obvious question: Aren’t the greenest consumers the people who consume the fewest resources as possible?
Thinking of the most environmentally responsible folks I know — the urban homesteaders who grow their own food and the zero waste family that buys waste-free and secondhand — they’re not really consumers at all, are they?
The LA Times reports that “Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday reaffirmed his view that global warming is an unproven scientific theory that has been advanced, at least in part, by scientists who have ‘manipulated data,’ and he argued that programs intended to limit climate change are costing the nation ‘billions if not trillions’ of dollars that he believes could be better spent elsewhere.”
Meanwhile, the NY Times offered this run-down of GOP candidates’ views on the EPA.
A new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences by artist Mary Edna Fraser depicts places around the world that have been or will be affected by climate change: Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa,the Mekong river in Vietnam, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Selenga Delta in Russia and a few places in the U.S. like Alaska and low-lying Boston.
That’s right — back in 1996, I took up what would become trendy weight-loss fads as an effort to rehabilitate injuries caused by years of ballet and modern dance.
While a foot injury prevented me from ever doing ballet again (maybe unfortunately, maybe fortunately — see Black Swan), I continued taking yoga classes until the end of college, when I pulled my adductor muscle — the result of an overly eager new teacher making us do lunges before we were fully warmed up.
Pulling your adductor — or *ahem* groin muscle — takes years to heal. After seven years of various treatments — rest, physical therapy and strain-counter-strain — the muscle is about 90 percent recovered, and I still have to treat it gingerly when I work out.
Thus, I’ve been avoiding yoga classes for years — not just because of the injury, but because of the whole yoga-is-not-a-competition-but-it-totally-is-in-America-especially-the-Bay-Area vibe (perfectly summed up in this scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall).
My third reason for steering clear of yoga classes? After class, I found that I was not able to get to sleep that night: I would be too keyed up, even if I took the class in the morning.
But recently yoga and I have been getting back together. I realized I needed another form of exercise to complement my gym regime and long walks — something I could do at home and something that would provide me with stress relief.
Now I’m obsessively checking out yoga DVDs from the library, so I don’t have a live yoga instructor pressuring me to do poses I’m not ready for, but I still have someone motivating me to hold poses for longer than I would on my own. I’m also considering joining Yoga Today, which offers online classes for only $10 a month.
To overcome my yoga-induced insomnia, I consulted a friend who took a yoga instructor course. She told me that yoga can actually aggravate your stress level if you do the wrong kind of yoga for your body type, as defined by Ayurvedic Medicine.
For a nervous Nellie like me, Iyengar yoga works best — where you hold poses for a long time to ground and calm you. Vinyasa classes — the ones I was taking — are better for people who tend to be depressive and sedentary, not spazzes like me.
To learn more about which Ayurvedic body type you are and what kind of yoga works best for you, check out this Yoga Journal article.
I belonged to the Slow Home movement without realizing it
This month, Re-Nest is focusing on Slow Homes — the idea of slowly gathering eco-friendly, useful items you love in your home to support your life, rather than impulsively buying a bunch of trendy, disposable furniture and knick-knacks to fill up your home immediately.
It took the hubby and me about two years after moving into our first home to settle on our design aesthetic and choose furniture and art we really love and will use for a very long time.
Friends may have thought it strange when we’d offer them a camping chair to sit on because we hadn’t decided on a couch yet. But now I see we were just following the principles of the Slow Home movement without realizing it.
I’m glad we didn’t go out immediately after buying the house and buy a bunch of trendy items we now realize we don’t like. We spent time looking in catalogs, online and in furniture stores to decide on our style and pick pieces that I’m pretty sure we will want to use for years to come.
“The levels of PBDEs in their blood were among the highest ever recorded, a UC San Francisco study says. PBDEs, mostly banned in California since 2004, are harmful to the liver, thyroid and nerve development.”
I got to do a brief bit of honey tasting this past weekend at the San Bruno Farmers Market - comparing honey produced back in spring with honey produced this summer.
The vendor told me that summer honey is extremely sweet, and I agreed. She said that spring honey is more gamey - a word that to me, has a negative connotation. But I actually preferred the spring honey, finding it less cloyingly sweet than the summer honey. But that’s generally my preference with foods - more savory, less sweet.
I ended up buying the spring honey. While I stick to sweetening my tea with stevia from Trader Joe’s, I always feel like a bad host when I don’t have any honey on hand to offer guests to accompany their tea.
Looking for something to do in downtown San Jose on a Saturday?
This Saturday, I was melting in the heat of downtown San Jose, killing time before a friend’s wedding when I happened upon the City of San Jose’s Clean Energy Showcase. Open to the public for free every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the showcase features the latest in green technology — solar, solar hot waters, wind turbines, electric vehicles and more.
An upcoming study in the journal “Global Environmental Change” finds that conservative white men are far more likely to deny the threat of climate change than other people - probably because they are less vulnerable to the risks of climate change than other populations.
Meanwhile, the National Wildlife Federation released a study showing that Native Americans will suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change, as tribal lands are particularly prone to drought, flooding, wildfires and other weather extremes.
How does it work? Save up 20 empty Method refill pouches, place them in an empty box, print out a pre-paid shipping label and drop off the box at a UPS location. For every box you send in, TerraCycle and Method will donate 2 cents to a charity of your choice.
Now I just need to set up a space to store the refill pouches in the garage - it’ll take me awhile to get to 20 - to prevent clutter and hoarding!
When the Killing’s Done - A story of environmental and family drama on the Channel Islands off of Santa Barbara: Biologists trying to eradicate the island’s invasive species like rats and pigs vs. animal rights activists trying to stop the slaughter