Gifts That go a Long Way

1169782_99644957With the holidays drawing near we start making lists and checking them twice to see what we need. The internet seems to be the hottest place to find all your Christmas gear, but before you got shopping on the internet, why not take a walk around your neighborhood stores and locally owned businesses. Supporting and giving back to your community is the best way to help the economy and your community.

In this article from Sew Green, Gift for Good, Hayley mentions all the ways you can give back. Below are little snippets from the article.

  • Donations – I put this first, because the absolute best gift you can give is to your community. It is also a huge relief for people who might stress over finding the perfect gift, plus they can give one gift donation as a family gift* and feel good about themselves in the process.
  • Memberships – Museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, public radio, etc. These are donations with benefits.
  • Gifts with a purpose – Many organizations have great online shops with merchandise that supports the cause.
  • Museum Shops – Not only will you be supporting art in your community, but you can find great gifts by local artists, fair trade goods, collectable books, and eclectic knick knacks.
  • Locally owned businesses – By shopping at local businesses, you not only support the store, but the community benefits.
  • Gifts of service – Print up a coupon or certificate and you might change someone’s life, or at least give them a much needed break.
  • Buying Handmade – You directly support the artist who loves doing what they do and you show, with your dollars, how important art and crafts are to you.
  • DIY – With so much commercialization and cheap production, a hand knitted hat carries that much more meaning.

To read the complete article – click here.

Be Green and Swap

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Swaps have become very popular these days. And not only are they only swapping clothing these days, they are even swapping seeds, childrens toys/books, baby gear and all sorts of items, you just have to be on the look-out for swaps in your area.

Why should you swap? Swapping not only helps clear the unwanted clutter in your closets while saving a pretty penny but it also saves these items from being tossed into the landfills and helps stop textile waste, which in turn causes pollution. Some contend that household waste makes up 4.5% of residential waste, or 8.75 billion pounds per year.

But not only is it good for the environment but its also a fun way to get new items. Hosting your own swap or going to an organized swap are both great ways to meet new people or enjoy a night with friends.

It is no surprise that Portland, the greenest city in the states, has people of all ages and backgrounds throughout all parts of the city embracing goods exchanges(swaps) as a regular social practice. Here are two Portland area swaps:

  • Sunnyside Swap Shop Co-op – The Swap Shop provides an inviting place for children to play in the Sunnyside neighborhood, a year-round place for member families to exchange useful goods (clothing, toys, books, art supplies, baby equipment, etc.) and a place for parents to network with and support each other.
  • PDX Swap – A group of women folks (it’s not just women anymore!) in the Portland Metro area who get together on a regular basis for a clothing swap! As far as we know, PDXSwap is the only regular, local clothing swap in the Portland Metro area!

For swapping help check out these sites –

The Story Of Stuff

I came across an interesting video this past week upon recommendation by a professor of mine in a class I had recently. The title of the video is called “The Story of Stuff”. The Story of Stuff has some really interesting things to say about our consumer culture and the way in which our economy has structured itself around our incessant need to consume.

While I may not buy into all of the political jargon in the video, the video outlines some important and staggering truths about our culture and what it has become. It illuminates the linear structure by which our production and consumption is set up and the potential danger of that linear system within a finite planet.

Some of the staggering statistics illuminated in the video are:

Over 99% of the products that we buy are in the trash after six months of use

-Companies and industries often manufacture products to break easier and sooner, forcing us to buy more

-People are working more and more in our culture and have less leisure time, and the two things we most commonly spend our time doing in free time is watching TV and shopping

-The average American sees over 3,000 advertisements a day. We see more advertisements in one year than a person in the 1950s saw in their whole lifetime.

It is important to consider what we are buying and why we are buying it. Are we buying it because we think it will satisfy some sort of desire or happiness? What do we do with our products once we are done with them? Do we throw things away before we need to?

These are things that we here at GreenGlancy are trying to understand and to live out. Check out the video and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Into the Trash it Goes – Average Family’s Food Waste

The average family of four wastes 122 pounds of food each month by tossing it into the trash can according to the New York Times.

In the article, One Mans Table Scraps, Another Country’s Meal, The New York Times made this interesting representation of the average Americans monthly waste. Click on the image to view full graphic.

These statistics should sadden you and make you want to change the way we all live and stop abusing the food we are so fortunate to have. People all over this world are starving and we have so much food that its ending up in the garbage? What is that about? Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes–one child every five seconds. And not to mention the environmental impact of wasting food. If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the CO2 impact would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 5 cars off the road.

So what can we do to be better stewards of the wonderful food we have? Here are some easy and practical ways you can stop wasting food.

  1. Use what you’ve got. Try some of the wonderful recipes at LoveFoodHateWaste.com.
  2. Don’t make too much. Check out the Perfect Portion to know the exact amount to make.
  3. Keep the fridge at a cool 35-40 degrees and chilled food will last longer.
  4. Check out these Reviving Tips before you trash it.

For more Storage, Menu and Money saving tips, visit LoveFoodHateWaste.com.

8 Green New Years Resolutions

My husband and I have been thinking about ways we can simplify our lives and change the way we do things. The main goal we have is to make use of what we do have and get rid of what we don’t need. Having Christmas so close to New Years sometimes seems to make it tough on all of us, going from one extreme to the other. Giving and receiving and spending way too much and then turning around the next week and wanting to make changes for the new year.

This year we didn’t spend much at all, focusing on love and the true meaning of Christmas, instead of the commercialized side of it. Now with the New Year upon us, we want to make changes that will impact us the whole year through and on into the next year. Changes we can keep going and changes that will help others.

Here are some of the ideas we came up with:

1. Eat at home more often. Time spent with family is time well spent. Sitting around the table discussing the days events and enjoying some great organic, local food is better than any restaurant can offer.

2. Start a Community Garden. I have wanted to do this for a long time, and I am not sure how to start but we have some ideas. I love the idea of sharing our food and growing natural organic fruits and veggies. American Community Gardening Association has the basic information needed.

3. Commit to Understanding Recycling better. Recycling is sometimes harder than it may seem at first. Some items cannot be put in the recycle bin, like frozen food boxes or pizza boxes that have been used. Knowing what can be recycled and where to take electronics and light bulbs are all important. Check out The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide for a starting point for recycling information.

4. Getting rid of anything we don’t use. Taking clothes and toys to the Goodwill or nearest thrift store, selling some items on Ebay or Craigslist to put some extra money in our pockets and trying to stick to the basics, if we don’t use it, get rid of it. We would like to take some things downtown to hand out to homeless people also, like coats and sweatshirts.

5. Borrowing more. So many times we go and buy an item we want, like a movie, and watch it once and it sits in our drawer. We would like to start borrowing more, even with electronics or power tools, items you may only use once or twice a year. We are fortunate to have a great community of friends who are willing to partner with us on this endeavor to borrow more.

6. Reusing, Buying used and consuming less. From clothes to household furnishings, buying used can be just as good as new, if not better sometimes. In a report done by the New Road Map Foundation(ecofuture.org) it showed that when consumption went up, the quality of life went down. The statistics on this site are overwhelmingly saddening. Please read down through Questioning the Dream, one statistic says the highest income group are doctors and the professions with the highest proportion of unhappy people are doctors and lawyers. Think about that for a moment. We often think more money will make us happier, but that’s not usually the case.

7. Sharing our house with others. Now this one will be the hardest to implement into our lives. With so many people having a hard time financially we have thought about opening one our rooms to a couple to share our house with. As a married couple with children, this one has been a tough one to get my head around but the concept of sharing, using less and wasting less, helps me see how this could ultimately help the environment.

8. Giving Away. I have found myself wanting to give more to people in need. I have seen ads where people need things and aren’t able to pay for them and I want to help. So many people are in need and even though its tough to pay the bills some months, I still have so much to offer and give away. Get out and experience the joy you will receive when helping others.

Please add to my list! I would love to hear about your Green New Years Resolutions.

Consumerism – The Pilfering Privileged

I was talking with my hubby about this class he is in at school and it was interesting what was shared with his class. It actually made me concerned about whether any progress is being made to become more concerned about our environment, and the over usage of our resources. How long can this earth keep going the way it is? How long can we consume as much as we are consuming?

The US consumes far more energy than any other country at 19,650,000 bbl/day with the closest country being Japan at 5,290,000. Consumerism in general is a huge problem in the US. Why do we feel we always need the biggest and the best? Why do we always spend way more than we have?

Many of us have grown up learning and being told that 6 billion is too much and this “over population” is primarily impacting the planet’s ability to cope. But is that really the case? Sure, the planet is facing incredible stress. But how much of that is due to large populations, and how much is based on other factors, such as how we choose to live, how we produce, consume and waste our resources? The poor are numerous, but as we shall see, consume far less resources of the planet, for example. From Global Issues, Human Population.

People are hungry not because the population is growing so fast that food is becoming scarce, but because people cannot afford it. It is international trade and economic policies that have lead to immense poverty and hunger, not food scarcity due to over population.

“Globally, the 20% of the world’s people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures – the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%”, according to the United Nations Development Program’s 1998 Human Development Report.

What can we do? How can we feed the hungry? Is it possible not to consume so much?

Have you heard of the Little Brown Dress? Check out her blog and how she wore a little brown dress everyday for a whole year. Her statement – “I made one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days.”

What can YOU do?