Tag Archives: Ecosystem

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Go Green for Earth Day with Method Detergent

My family and I have been huge fans of Method home products for a long time. We particularly enjoy the bottles of glistening hand and dish wash, in pretty colors and scents, that grace our kitchen sink. We appreciate that Method has also started to make bottles  from recycled ocean plastic.

So, of course I was excited to learn that Method is now making laundry detergent and products in its signature and other scents and that I was being asked to give them a try.

I chose a 50-load bottle of Fresh Air scented detergent. I greatly appreciated the pump bottle and its ease of transport and use. I learned that Method laundry detergent is plant-based, yet ultra-concentrated. That means less production, product and packaging waste. (Because Method detergent is 8x concentrated, it uses drastically less water and 36% less plastic, and requires 33% less energy and oil to produce than most widely-available detergents. Its bottle, too, is made from 50% recycled plastic, which made our family very happy.

My local market offered Method detergent in two scents, “Free and Clear” and “Fresh Air”. While I normally lean toward unscented or lightly scented products for home use, I did want to try one of Method’s signature scents (and they’d never steered me wrong with their dish soap.) I opted for a bottle of “Fresh Air” detergent and immediately brought it home and put it to use. I loved the scent. I found it to be very clean without being cloying. It offered a subtle, lovely, “clean laundry” smell that I somewhat associate with detergents I’ve liked in the past, though Method’s is far subtler. For someone like me who doesn’t like laundry detergents in obvious scents, this is great. I’m eager to try their other scents, too, lavender cedar, sweet pea and spring daisy.

I washed multiple loads of laundry. white and colored,  for a trip, and everything turned out great. I decided to try Method as a stain remover on a stubborn stain that had occurred earlier in the week when the red yarn on a favorite sweater ran into the white during hand-washing. Even though this was a stain that had set in over time, Method worked phenomenally, after other stain removers had not. Method allowed enough improvement (with a pleasant smell!) so that I can actually wear the sweater.

This was a bleed stain that had set in! Method is tough on stains, but easy on the planet. Now you can enter to win a year’s supply of Method laundry detergent and products. I did!

Happy Earth Day!

Other Slow Family posts you might like include:

What Our Kids Can Teach Us About Recycling
Live a Slower, Less Expensive and More Meaningful Life: A Teen’s 10 Tips for Recycling and Reuse
Back to School: Green Sandwich and Snack Bags
Earth Day and Every Day: 11 Ways to Make Gardening Extra Fun for Kids

This post is sponsored by Method. The views expressed are my own.

Join Project Feeder Watch and Other Fun Citizen Science Activities

Do you have enjoy observing nature and have 15 minutes to spare? If so, you can be a citizen scientist. Over the past few years, citizen science has really taken off, allowing ordinary people to help scientists and organizations track the count and behaviors of birds, butterflies, bats, bees, wildflowers, weather and celestial phenomena, and much more. After all, researchers can’t be everywhere, and many of us have habitats in our backyards and neighborhoods that can help others gain important information about nature.

And, if that isn’t enough, citizen science makes a fun family or classroom activity, getting naturalists of all ages and abilities  outdoors together and providing them with something to do and a way to feel helpful and a part of the Earth’s larger ecosystem. Don’t let the name intimidate you. All you need to participate in citizen science is the desire to observe nature to the best of your ability for a period of time and record what you see.

There are multiple projects to engage citizen scientists, year-round and covering multiple interests. Cornell’s Project Feeder Watch starts November 10 and runs through early April.

These are just a few of the other wonderful citizen science projects that can use your help:
Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Great Sunflower Project
Acoustic Bat Monitoring
Ice Watch
Monarch Watch
Firefly Watch
NOAA Weather Observer Program
Project Budburst
National Wildlife Federation‘s Wildlife Watch
NASA Meteor Count
Snow Tweets
Hummingbird Migration Map


Still looking for more fun citizen science projects? Check out SciStarter or Cornell’s Citizen Science Central.

You might also enjoy:

Join the Great Sunflower Project

Have Fun Attracting and Helping Bees, Butterflies and Birds

2010 Great Backyard Bird Count

Photos: Owl Butterfly, Susan Sachs Lipman; European Starling and Northern Flicker, Pam Koch; Bee on Sunflower, Susan Sachs Lipman

Slow News Day: Car-Free and Carefree

Two stories recently came out about car-free living. One is from the delightful blog, New Urban Habitat, Abby Quillen’s always wonderful, inspiring and useful collection of stories about living more simply, sustainably, healthfully, and happily. Her piece, Lessons in Car-Free Living, contains a wealth of benefits and tips for getting your own family out of the car for short, simple runs.

This is definitely something we’ve been trying to do more increasingly in my household, and have been having good success. We combine bike riding for short distances with public transportation for longer commutes.

Another fan of public transit turns out to be one of the stars of my favorite TV show, the highly evocative, endlessly dissectible Mad MenVincent Kartheiser, who plays ad executive (and new father) Pete Campbell on the show. He recently revealed to the New York Times his utter joy of taking public transportation in Los Angeles, and using it as an opportunity to relax, study his lines, and commune with his fellow passengers — all enthusiasms I share (usually) when taking my local ferries, buses and trains. Said Kartheiser:

I like that my life slows down when I go places. I have all these interactions with the human race and I can watch people living their life and not just in their car.

He also mentioned a recent consumer study from Learning Resources Network that noted that motorists ages 21-30 generally don’t grant car ownership and driving with the same status that older people do. According to the study, this group favors mass transit for commuting and car sharing services, like Zipcar, for longer trips. It turns out that companies like Hertz are listening — They are expanding car sharing choices, especially in big cities and around college campuses.

At 80 million strong, the article notes that this 20-30 age group represents a very large cohort. According to William Draves, president of Learning Resources Network, “This group views commuting a few hours by car a huge productivity waste when they can work using PDAs while taking the bus and train.”

That’s how I feel! Productivity and joy far outweigh the convenience of driving my individual car, especially as I happen to enjoy walking (to/from the public transit), too  — and sometimes find driving a bit stressful. (Of course, the area in question has to offer good public transit and city planning for this to equate.)

The article also notes that, in survey after survey, 20-30 year olds say that they believe cars are damaging to the environment. Even hybrid electric vehicles don’t seem to be changing young consumers’ attitudes much.

Yay for the green young people and others who are adapting habits that are good for their own physical and psychological health and that of the planet. This young group, and the one coming up after it, offers plenty of cause for hope.

I’ll also add that, as with many personal choices, there is usually not one that is all good or one that is all bad. I believe everyone needs to make his or her own choices based on what feels right for them. Sometimes, for me, taking the car is the right thing to do. I remain cheered by the general attitudes and consciousness of the people quoted in this article, including the corporations that are following suit by offering alternative rental cars where young people are.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman: Car-Free Sundays, a Summer 2010 New York City program

You might also like: Bike to Work and School Day

Marin County Coho Salmon have Spawned Again

I just got wind of the late winter return of several Coho salmon to their habitat in Marin County’s Lagunitas watershed. This is particularly wonderful news because this had been a year of especially low sightings of this beautiful, endangered salmon.

This weekend is the last one of the season in which to take a Creekwalk to see the salmon, led by a trained naturalist. My family and I have done this 2-hour walk and it is terrific. You walk beautiful streams and learn a great deal about salmon, their habits and habitat.

There are two tours daily, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, January 30 and 31.

Creekwalks begin from the San Geronimo Valley Community Center, 6350 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. There is a small suggested donation. Plenty more information is available on the SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Waterwork Network) Creekwalk page.

Even with a low count, the salmon season has had its share of excitement. SPAWN has a great naturalist blog, which goes into vivid detail about salmon sightings and other activities in the creeks and on the trails.

This is a great explanation from Alaska fisherman Mark Glassmaker about how salmon spawn. U.S. Fish & Wildlife offers a no-frills page that has a lot of good information about salmon life cycle and spawning habits, as well as some information on various species and their rates of extinction.

Whether or not you take advantage of a Creekwalk this weekend, you can certainly celebrate the return of the Coho and what it says about the health and renewal of our ecosystem.

Photos: Public Domain, Susan Sachs Lipman

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