Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Guide - Great Idea

I'm so impressed with the new tool bar tool that gives you information about products you're considering buying online for their sustainability value - and by sustainability, I mean the three legged stool of economic, social and environmental impacts.   Right now, it only works on, but I spent over $200 on Amazon over the last few weeks buying supplements and toiletries.  I wish I'd known about this first.

Here's a pic of Colgate Total.  I knew it would be bad, because I just learned about the whole triclosan thing not too long ago.  Still, check this out.  I got to create a filter based on my own levels of concern.  My filter is in the lower left-hand corner.  Then, look at the "Health" assessment for Colgate Total - there are two other assessments, environment and society, that I could not capture in the screen shot.  You can see that triclosan violates my "critical" concern filter, while there are other chemicals that have a lesser level of concern.

Wow oh wow oh wow!  What a GREAT product.  I'm still trying to figure out how they plan to make money on this free application... I'm sure they have a business model, and I'm all for their success.

There is also a mobile app.  I'm so totally in.  I spend way too much time trying to figure out which are my best environmental choices.  It's such a relief to have GoodGuide's team of experts doing all the legwork for me.  And no doubt, far more effectively.

This makes shopping so transparent, so easily.  Watch the video below and then  click this sentence to head over to GoodGuide and download your app now.

Just do this!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bag the Box

Ok, so this is an ad for Malt-o-Meal.  Still, they've got something here.  I hope this goes viral and Kellogg's, General Mills, and all the others get the bright idea.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

So Much Demand, So Little Time

A competition hosted by resulted in this winning graphic by Jacob Houtman.  The interactive map demonstrates the relative ecological footprint of the world's countries.

To get the full play of this map, go to the website, at  There is also a description of the competition and a discussion about ecological footprint here,

I'd Rather Fight Than Switch


It's job is to kill germs.

But... it apparently moonlights as an endocrine disruptor.  So far, at least, we know it does in small animals.

Most of us come in contact with triclosan  every single day, repeatedly, in our toothpaste, in our hand soaps, our cleaning supplies, and other products.  In fact, it's so prevalent, according to this New York Times article by Andrew Martin, that it shows up in the urine of 75 percent of every American over five years old!

Add to this the increase in popularity of anti-bacterial products.  Over the past decade or so, it seems like every new kitchen and soap formula has a germ killing agent.  And along with the possibility of messing with our hormones, the prevalence of antibiotics means that bacteria will morph into antibiotic-resistant killer superbugs.  Like C.diff and MRSA.  And if we all have antibacterials in our systems, how does that effect the efficacy of antibiotics when we need to take them?

The FDA says it doesn't have enough data to make a recommendation one way or the other.

So, when is not having enough data the same thing as knowing triclosan is safe?  

That's what the chemical companies want you to believe.  Shades of the tobacco cancer wars.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Is she in your tuna can?

An AlterNet article by Casson Trenor on tuna fishing practices is a must read. Several species are being sacrificed to provide us with tuna at $1-2 per can.

To cut to the chase, look for this information when you buy canned tuna:

(1) When shopping for "light" tuna, buy pole-and-line or FAD-free seined skipjack.

FADs are devices placed in the ocean to draw small fish, which draw larger fish, and so on. Eventually an entire ecosystem forms around a FAD, an ecosystem that is wiped out when the tuna trawlers come to cash in. Among other unfortunate results, several highly endangered species get caught up in these FAD raids.

(2) When shopping for "white" tuna, buy pole-and-line albacore.

The alternative to pole-and-line is something called "long line" fishing, which uses a net spread wide across sections of the ocean. Yes, you guessed it. Long lines, like FADs, catch up many fish besides the intended catch in their death sweep.

(3) Tuna should be caught in managed waters. Buy tuna from companies that refuse to fish in the high seas pockets.

Fishermen who do not wish to abide by fishing restrictions park their operations in waters outside of international boundaries. What they do, and the havoc they wreak isn't even documented. Let's not support these practices.

(4) Buy tuna from companies that support the PNA.

The PNA is a pact of "Parties to the Nauru Agreement." It turns out that large companies, including, according to the author, Thai Union, the company that owns the American Chicken of the Sea brand, and other companies, are basically ransacking the waters of small countries that are tuna-rich but have no other source of industry. The PNA includes a "number of tuna-rich but cash-poor Pacific island states have banded together in an effort to take charge of their fisheries and to keep the tuna pirates out of their watery backyards."