Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kid-Safe Chemicals Act of 2008

On May 30th, The Future Earth wrote about this bill, currently in the House of Representatives, that would regulate chemicals in products specifically for children. Now, the Organic Consumers Association has made it very easy to send a note to your congressperson to let them know you support it.

As they explain, this bill:
* requires that industrial chemicals be safe for infants, kids and other vulnerable groups;
* requires that new chemicals be safety tested before they are sold;
* requires chemical manufacturers to test and prove that the 62,000 chemicals already on the market that have never been tested are safe in order for them to remain in commerce;
* requires EPA to review "priority" chemicals, those which are found in people, on an expedited schedule;
* requires regular biomonitoring to determine what chemicals are in people and in what amounts;
* requires regular updates of health and safety data and provides EPA with clear authority to request additional information and tests;
* provides incentives for manufacturers to further reduce health hazards;
* requires EPA to promote safer alternatives and alternatives to animal testing;
* protects state and local rights; and
* requires that this information be publicly available.

Please visit their website and express your support!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Recycling CFL Bulbs Just Got Easier

On May 8th, The Future Earth wrote about compact fluorescent bulbs and the difficulty in finding a place to recycle them.

Today, The New York Times reports that Home Depot will begin accepting the bulbs for recycling. The article is unclear when this program will begin, so I assume it begins immediately. Ron Jarvis, Home Depot’s senior vice president for environmental innovation, reports that 75% of the nation's homes are within 10 miles of a Home Depot. I already have a bulb to recycle. Home Depot, here I come!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Greenmarket NYC: Find a Farmer's Market in New York City

After TFE's post about the searchable database of farmer's market's (maintained by the USDA), we noticed that our local market had yet to make an appearance. An email to the USDA site manager requested that we provide them with info about the market.

So, intrepid Future Earthling Denise made her way down to Carroll Gardens Market and spoke with an organizer. It turns out that our local green market is one of many in the NY metro area under the administration of Greenmarket, which is in turn part of the Council on the Environment of New York City.

The Greenmarket site contains a wealth of information on NYC farmer's markets, including this downloadable .pdf map showing locations and seasons/hours of operation.

We turned over our findings to the USDA, who tell us that our local market should be added to their database this week; while the entire Greenmarket network will be added by sometime in July.

The Future Earth is pleased to have helped link the efforts of these two organizations; and further hopes that our readers in New York City will benefit from a Greenmarket (or any farmer's market) in their neighborhood!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Good Driving Habits Save Gas

With gas prices continuing to rise, this is a good time to remind everyone of the good habits that will squeeze more distance out of your gas tank. All of these suggestions will improve your gas mileage a little bit; together they may make a noticeable difference:

**Keep to the speed limit.

**If you maintain a greater distance behind the car in front of you, you can regulate your speed with the amount of weight you have on the pedal, and you won't have to do as much braking and accelerating.

**Don't store heavy items in your car if you don't need them.

**Don't inch up at the intersection while the light is still red.

**Turn your car off at a particularly long light if you arrive just after it has turned red.

**Don't idle! If you have to wait for someone for a few minutes, turn the car off.

**Use cruise control whenever possible.

**Keep your tires inflated to the PSI recommended in the manual. But don't over-inflate: this make handling more difficult.

**Check your owner's manual and make sure you have the type of motor oil recommended for the season.

**Make sure your car is tuned up and that everything is in good working order.

**Combine trips whenever possible. Pick up groceries on the way home instead of making a second trip later.

**If you go to two stores near each other, park between them and walk to each.

**If you are traveling at highway speed, the car is more aerodynamic if you keep the windows closed and run the A/C if necessary. If you are traveling at lower speeds, you'll get better gas mileage with the A/C off and the windows open to cool the car interior off.

In honor of father's day this weekend, this post is dedicated to my dad, who taught me many of these things. See, dad? I was listening after all.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Find a Farmer's Market in Your Area

Now you can quickly find vendors of locally-grown fresh produce within easy access of your home!

The USDA has made a searchable database of local farmer's markets available online. Simply enter your city, county, state, and/or zip code; and the database will tell you where you can go for farm-fresh, locally grown produce. It also notes hours of operation, and whether the market is seasonal or year-round. (You can even enter just a name— or partial name— if that's all the information you have.)

In a test of the system, I entered my Brooklyn zip code. The system returned two farmer's markets in the nearby neighborhood of Red Hook. However... it did not list the warm-weather farmer's market that operates every Sunday less than a block from my front door. Fortunately, the system includes an email address for adding markets to the database. I've emailed them and hope to see our local market added soon!