It’s not easy being green…

Posted on February 1, 2011. Filed under: Environment | Tags: , , , , |

  Green Afro Diva

Many people have asked me if I was truly green and if my company was really eco-friendly and I always give them the same answer: I’m green enough. Because let’s face it, I don’t think that anyone can truly classify themselves as eco, organic or green because we are surrounded by pollutants and some of the activities we do such as drive to work, or eat non-organic food is not considered green. As I noted on www.cluesscurl.blogspot.com, it’s the little things that count to going green such as turning off the lights when you’re done using them, taking shorter showers, and walking most of the time instead of driving. Never let anyone accuse you of being a hypocrite just because you’re not some dreadlock – wearing, vegan loving hippie. I don’t promote one extreme over the other, just awareness and education.

Now to my second topic. So I want to delve a little deeper into what my company is about and why I’m doing this. I’ve never heard of too many black people caring about the environment so maybe I’m just the first one? Well, there have been news lately that the ice shelves in Antarctica have broken off, one a couple of years ago the size of Jamaica. And that’s due to global warming. Why is this important? The ice shelves in the north and south poles help cool our planet. The suns’ rays reflect light off the ice(known as permafrost) and bounces back into space. Permafrost normally melts and freezes back up but the problem is that the permafrost is melting at a faster rate than it should. Therefore, it’s causing the ice shelves to snap and break off leaving the ice to float away and melt as it reaches warmer climates. Sea levels will rise affecting about 10% of the population( roughly 700 mil people). So what does this mean? It means that with less ice and more ocean, the sun’s rays are absorbed into the ocean thus making the earth hotter and more unbearable for us. Try wearing a white shirt out in the sun and then wear a black one. You know that old saying about black folks generating heat? It’s kinda like that(lol). I don’t care what the naysayers say, the jury is back on this one and we are passed the tipping point. Remember last year when we had all that snow and it literally took months before all of it finally melted away? Then this past summer we had that killer heat wave that seemed like it would never go away? Didn’t seem like we had much spring or fall weather neither. And I noticed that it’s been like that for some time now. Just last fall I mentioned the same thing. 2 days of fall and 6 months of winter. No transition period.

So why do I care? Well I hate being out in the heat(I lived in Arizona and been to Texas; it’s no joke). I think that we in the community can do so much more. We already know how to be somewhat eco-friendly right? Have you ever heard of your mom telling you to turn off the tv or the lights if you’re not using them? Or to keep the door closed so the cool air won’t escape out? Sure, it was more about not paying a sky-high bill, but she was on to something. When I was little, we used to use old jelly jars as cups and my mom even washed plastic forks to reuse. It’s funny now, but then, I thought it was something you just did. It’s the small things that we can do to make this place, our earth, livable for the next generation. Buying flourescent bulbs; recycling glass bottles and plastic; cut tv and computer time; never ever use styrofoam(or at least limit your use severely) ;drive less…more tips can be found under Tips on How Not to Shit on Mother Nature. Some corporations and many lobbys(Corn Sugar lobby, I’m looking at you) IMHO don’t care much for environmental issues and try to downplay it because it threatens their bottom line and way of doing business. They try to use poor, low-income people(code for black) as their little wedge to pressure the government against reform. I hope that the administration is doing what it can to crack down on these practices. That is why we must become vigilant and educated on what’s happening around us. At Green Afro Diva, the  main focus will be overall health and well-being as well as learning to be green. The blog is used to explain things such as what a carbon footprint is, what’s happening in other countries like africa and here at home, ingredients in our hair and body products, the food we eat, spirituality, and sexual intimacy. I also market apparel such as shirts, mugs, handmade bath and body products and can be seen at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market on Sundays starting in April. Talking about environmental awareness should not be meant to scare the shit out of you. It should make you aware of the things that’s happening around us and hopefully motivate you to get up and do something. As the company progress, there will be neighborhood cleanups, seminars(freebies given), planting of trees, and any other ideas that I can think of.

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Tips on How Not to Shit on Mother Nature

Posted on January 8, 2011. Filed under: Environment | Tags: , , , , , |

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Baltimore wants to lead the charge on a more cleaner and greener city. If you happen to live in this area, one would notice that stores such as 7-eleven and Rite Aid are all now using paper bags instead of plastic. That is upon request. Anyway, I’ve come up with a way to be cleaner/greener using some pretty basic tips:

1. PULL THE PLUG

Unplug any appliances, lamps, and other electronics that are not in use. And if you have a habit of falling asleep with the tv on, set the timer to 30 minutes(it takes roughly 15 min for the average person to fall asleep). it makes a difference on your next bill.

2. STRUT YOUR STUFF

Walk everywhere within a 2.5 mile radius. I live downtown so i walk everywhere even down to the harbor. It’s about a mile away and I get good excercise. plus, I save gas. now I know a 2.5 mile radius seems hard…hey, I used to run that in 20 minutes, but look at how much gas you’ll be saving and not to mention the money you’ll save by not buying crap you don’t need. If you don’t live in the city, find a park or your nearest strip mall and walk with a friend just to be safe.

3. THE WATER WORKS         

If you have a large family and at least 2 bathrooms in your home, then you might want to invest in a tankless water heater. These are widely popular in Europe and Asia and are starting to make a splash here. How it works is it turns itself off when you’re not using it and you set the temperature to a certain degree, thereby the water never gets too hot. Your whole family can use it without running out of hot water. Only problem is that you can’t take a shower and run a dishwasher at the same time because it might stretch the heater to it’s limit. There’s whole house heaters and one might even get 2 tankless heaters to combat this problem. for more information and brands, go to www.tanklesswaterheaterguide.com .

4. EAT TO LIVE      

FPS- fried, processed, and sugar are some of the foods to avoid when wanting to lose weight or become healthier. Here are some others to avoid:

  1. Hydrolyzed wheat, soy, or corn protein- when something is hydrolyzed, it is broken down with the help of an acid and a base into amino acids. The wheat, soy and corn are broken down using a caustic acid and then neutralized with sodium hydroxide or lye. The resulting brown scum is dried and used in many flavorings. We know it as the seasoning packet in ramen noodles
  2. Enriched bleached flour- these are the sneaky carbs found in many deserts and pastries and I, for one, am guilty of indulging.
  3. Partially hydrogenated oil- these contain trans fatty acids which I will explain in point 4. Some companies have opted to remove the trans fat from the oil and still continu to use the oil.
  4. Trans fat- this type of fat is the most dangerous, more dangerous than saturated fat. This fat doesn’t melt at room temperature and creates a plastic like film around your arteries, hardening them and setting you up for heart disease. AVOID THESE FATS WHEVER POSSIBLE
  5. High fructose corn syrup -this syrup is used to ehance the flavor of food from savory, to sweet. It fools the body into thinking that it wants more food, thereby causing you to eat more. this is usually the 1st or second ingredient in food so avoid whenever possible.
  6. GMO’s(genetically modified food)- this mostly pertains to fruits and vegetables that have ben given food with addictives to make the food grow bigger, meanwhile the plants chemistry has been modified. if eaten, these chemicals could have adverse affects on our own bodies. it’s best to purchase produce from local farmer’s markets or grow your own.

 

5. HAVE A HOUSE OF PLANTS Click to show "Blooming House Plants" result 4

House plants make wonderful additions to your home and greener living. Not only could they be used for decor, but they help get rid of toxins in the air. If you’re like me with high ceilings in an apartment, try not to use the hanging plants, but instead keep them at a level where you could water them. That way, you won’t forget to water them because they’re too high and you can check how they’re growing. Most small house plants sell anywhere between $3.99 and 9.99. The taller tropical plants sell anywhere between $14.99 and 32.99.

6. PAY THEM BILLS ONLINE

Comcast has a new feature where you can opt to pay online and not receive a paper bill in the mail. You can request other companies to do the same such as electric, water and gas, or even you bank statements. Think of the millions of trees you’ll save by this simple excercise.

7.  TAP WATER VS. BOTTLED WATER

If you’re like some people I know and like to buy bottled water, then this section is especially for you. Why keep buying bottled water when you can use a filter that does the same thing and still taste great? Plus, you’ll be saving money because you can drink as much water as you want without going to the supermarket everytime you run out. And using a filter attachment also creates less waste. Brita sells filters for about $25 dollars and they last up to about 6 months. The refills are cheaper-$16. Here’s a tragedy for you..most bottled water, especially Deer Park, is actually tap water.

                                                                                                                           

 

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Your Carbon Footprint

Posted on January 6, 2011. Filed under: Environment | Tags: , , , , |

I want to attach a post I did a while ago about the carbon footprint. I wrote it in 2009 when I started my very first blog. It has some good information about what exactly a carbon footprint is and I even included some basic tips on how to lessen your impact on the earth.

                                                      

The Carbon Footprint..What is a carbon footprint? It’s not the new sneaker store opening in PG plaza or Mondawmin. A carbon footprint is a measure of greenhouse gases that you emit during your daily activites that affect the planet. Things like how much you drive your car, or how much electricity you use have an effect on our enviroment and contributes to global warming. If you go to www.carbonfootprint.com , you can actually take a test to measure what you carbon footprint is and even has steps to lessen it. I scored a 5.39 tons of CO2 per year which is really low(and quite good), but it can be better. Most of this comes from the fact that I use electricity in my home instead of gas, and I drive to work instead of catching the bus(this is mostly for safety reasons; it’s b-more people). And it also measures other things like how much organic food you eat and how much packaging is in the things you buy. I eat my fair share of organic food, but we are in a recession and I had to buy the generic (but still healthy) stuf. I didn’t realize this but packaging also has a direct effect on our carbon footprint. The more packaging a product has, the more waste we create, thereby filling up landfills with more waste. And most packaging is non biodegradable so that means that it has no way of breaking down and becoming a renewable source. These things(mostly plastics) end up in our rivers, oceans, and forests and can have devastating effects on our wildlife. I shop a lot too, but most of the things I buy like clothes and shoes are usually given away to the thrifts stores or other charitable organizations. I know that the point is to buy less to create less waste and only buy things that you need. I’ll stretch a little on the last point to say that it’s ok to splurge every now and then, but do know what you’re buying, what ingredients are used, and if the packaging is recycled and biodegradable. The average carbon footprint in the US is 20.40 tons per person. On the webiste, it looks like Shaq’s shoe size compared to mine. But that’s huge and it’s very worrisome. Average industrial nations use about 11 tons of CO2 per year and the world as a whole uses 4 tons. The world target to combat climate change is at 2 tons per year. Do I think that the average American is willing to make sacrifices for the greater good our planet to make this achieveable? Maybe, but honestly I doubt it. But think about it like this..we already know how to cut back on energy so that it doesn’t make a huge dent in our wallets by keeping the lights off when we’re not using them or not using the heat/ac when it get’s hot or cold. Most of us who don’t own a car already catch the bus or subway. And since being broke is ‘in’ these days, not too many of us are buying a lot of stuf. So why does it seem like I’m so pessimistic?

Because next to money and sex, people who have cars love them to death and even give them names like stacy, and lucille and would not walk to the corner store even if it means it will save them gas. I know people who go joyriding just to get out of the house. A couple of years when gas was almost $5/gal I knew of someone who was set in their ways that they had to just go out for a ride because this person was bored. Nevermind the fact that this person went out during the daytime where you burn up more gas anyway and where there’s more traffic. I’m pessimistic because as obesity grows and becomes more and more out of control, more and more people are becoming lazy. I work for a retail store and I promise you that everyday that I’m up there, there are customers, (who could sure use the excercise) don’t want to walk from point a of the store to point b because they think it’s too far. So they sit and complain because the store is ‘too big’ and some even walk out without paying/returning their purchase. When I was pregnant, I took the bus/rail to work and had to walk over a mile to work from the bus stop up until I was 7 months pregnant. I just don’t get the excuses. Of course, it doesn’t help when on every corner you go to, there’s a fried chicken joint, a liquor store, and SAVE A LOT that doesn’t offer healthier options. Oh and btw good luck on the 50 million pound challenge that sheila dixon is trying to get the city into because I’m really curious at how she’s gonna accomplish that(Note: this was written in 2009, so Shiela is out, but I’m not sure if Stepahnie Rawlings-Blake is still pushing this program). And I’m more pessimistic because I feel that we in the community feel empowered when we have material things, especially things we don’t neccessarily need. As I’ve said before, buying things, a lot of things, especially things we don’t need, this creates too much waste, attracts vermin, and is simply not good for our planet. Sure the city or county officials can step up their game a bit on trash pick up, but has anyone really asked us was we can do? And are we really that serious?

All of this has a major impact on our carbon footprint and our contribution to climate change. The key word here is SACRFICE. What are we willing to sacrifice so that our next generation can live on a sustanible planet. This is about our survival as a species and if we continue to go about business as usual, then it can have devastating affects on not just our planet but our livelihood. Basic ways to lessen out carbon footprint would be to drive less, carpool(it’s hard, I know) and recycle. But also, buy in-season produce, organic produce, local food, buying new clothes when you need them, and to try to get less items with less packaging.

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