Monday, July 5, 2010

10 Crazy Cleaners, you would never have guessed!

Cleaning products are one of those things that we use almost everyday and don't even think about the environmental impacts that they cause. Many cleaning products are highly toxic, if not outright poisonoues. The real problem starts the minute it goes down a drain, which inevitably, many of them do.

I found these while surfing the interwb, basically eight organic cleaners that you usually pick up from your grocery store. Although these seem unorthodox (white bread and ketchup) they are either cheaper then mainstream products or are just downright better for the environment. Many are even multi-purpose! clean your silverwhere while having a grill cheese sandwhich with ketchup. two birds, one bottle of Heinz.

1. Ketchup and White Bread

Use white bread to: Dust an oil painting. Gently dab a slice of white bread over the surface to pick up dirt and grime.

Use ketchup to: Remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub it on pots and pans. They should go back to their coppery color in minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.


Use it to: Scrub very dirty hands. Make a thick paste of oatmeal and water; rinse well.


Use it to: Clean the inside of a vase or a thin-necked bottle. Fill three quarters of the vessel with warm water and add a tablespoon of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening, shake vigor-ously, and rinse.


Use it to: Scour rusty garden tools. Brew a few pots of strong black tea. When cool, pour into a bucket. Soak the tools for a few hours. Wipe each one with a cloth. (Wear rubber gloves or your hands will be stained.)


Use it to: Remove dried wax drippings from candlesticks. Peel off as much wax as possible, then moisten a cotton ball with glycerin and rub until clean.

Club Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Use club soda to: Shine up a scuffed stainless-steel sink. Buff with a cloth dampened with club soda, then wipe dry with another clean cloth.

Use hydrogen peroxide to: Disinfect a keyboard. Dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide to get into those nooks and crannies.


Use it to: Clean grease spills on carpets. Pour cornstarch onto spots and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming.

Rubbing Alcohol

Use it to: Erase permanent-marker stains from finished wood floors or solid-surface countertops. Pour rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and apply.




If the World were a Village

This analogy created by a Darthmouth prof. which includes real ratio's highlights the makeup of our world. When you see things in such concievable numbers (try and concieve what a billion looks like. Kind of hard eh? well there's 6.5 billion people on the planet. A number that its hard to even imagine.) Things begin to come into perspective. Take a look!

State of the Village Report

If the world were a village of 1000 people:

584 would be Asians

123 would be Africans

95 would be East and West Europeans

84 Latin Americans

55 Soviets (still including for the moment Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, etc.)

52 North Americans

6 Australians and New Zealanders

The people of the village would have considerable difficulty communicating:

165 people would speak Mandarin

86 would speak English

83 Hindi/Urdu

64 Spanish

58 Russian

37 Arabic

That list accounts for the mother-tongues of only half the villagers. The other half speak (in descending order of frequency) Bengali, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese, German, French, and 200 other languages.

In the village there would be:

300 Christians (183 Catholics, 84 Protestants, 33 Orthodox)

175 Moslems

128 Hindus

55 Buddhists

47 Animists

210 all other religons (including atheists)

One-third (330) of the people in the village would be children. Half the children would be immunized against the preventable infectious diseases such as measles and polio.

Sixty of the thousand villagers would be over the age of 65.

Just under half of the married women would have access to and be using modern contraceptives.

Each year 28 babies would be born.

Each year 10 people would die, three of them for lack of food, one from cancer. Two of the deaths would be to babies born within the year.

One person in the village would be infected with the HIV virus; that person would most likely not yet have developed a full-blown case of AIDS.

With the 28 births and 10 deaths, the population of the village in the next year would be 1018.

In this thousand-person community, 200 people would receive three-fourths of the income; another 200 would receive only 2% of the income.

Only 70 people would own an automobile (some of them more than one automobile).

About one-third would not have access to clean, safe drinking water.

Of the 670 adults in the village half would be illiterate.

The village would have 6 acres of land per person, 6000 acres in all of which:

700 acres is cropland

1400 acres pasture

1900 acres woodland

2000 acres desert, tundra, pavement, and other wasteland.

The woodland would be declining rapidly; the wasteland increasing; the other land categories would be roughly stable. The village would allocate 83 percent of its fertilizer to 40 percent of its cropland -- that owned by the richest and best-fed 270 people. Excess fertilizer running off this land would cause pollution in lakes and wells. The remaining 60 percent of the land, with its 17 percent of the fertilizer, would produce 28 percent of the foodgrain and feed 73 percent of the people. The average grain yield on that land would be one-third the yields gotten by the richer villagers.

If the world were a village of 1000 persons, there would be five soldiers, seven teachers, one doctor. Of the village's total annual expenditures of just over $3 million per year, $181,000 would go for weapons and warfare, $159,000 for education, $132,000 for health care.

The village would have buried beneath it enough explosive power in nuclear weapons to blow itself to smithereens many times over. These weapons would be under the control of just 100 of the people. The other 900 people would be watching them with deep anxiety, wondering whether the 100 can learn to get along together, and if they do, whether they might set off the weapons anyway through inattention or technical bungling, and if they ever decide to dismantle the weapons, where in the village they will dispose of the dangerous radioactive materials of which the weapons are made.

(Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.)

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

      As human population grows, so does our garbage. What many people may not realize however is how much of this garbage makes its way into the worlds oceans.

      While some of our garbage dissolves into nothingness, the majority of what we throw it involves the miracle material that most of our
society is built on. Plastic.

      Plastic never really dissolves, it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, destined to float around our oceans for thousands of years. What scientists have discovered, and what many people may not know, is that in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans floats an immense garbage dump of plastics, thousands of kilometers across formed by massive swirling ocean currents that act as a sort of gigantic whirlpool, trapping all the oceans garbage into immense ‘patches’.

      What is in these “garbage patches”? Most of it consists of things that are probably in your home right now. Toothbrushes, lighters, golf balls, and most significantly, billions of pounds of tiny plastic pellets called ‘nurdles’ that are used in the manufacturing of other plastic products.

     Discovered in 1997 by Captain Charles Moore, the pacific garbage patch was found first because of a sailing competition Moore was competing in. He realized that throughout most of his route, the water was literally filled with floating garbage, with an area roughly the size of Texas.

     The effect on marine wildlife is immense. Since the garbage patch effects such a huge area, fish and other marine feeders often mistake the plastic pellets for food, when they eat them, the consequences are many. One result is that the toxins in the plastic are passed on the fish, and then concentrates as it moves up the food chain to top predators, such as humans.

      On the island of Midway in the pacific, home to vast colonies of Albatross, a bird with the largest wingspan in the world, mothers are feeding their young so plastic by accident, that hundreds die because they’re stomachs are too full of plastic to intake enough real food to learn to fly. The birds can be found in huge numbers floundering on beaches and in the surf.

     These patches are continuously growing and are far too large to ever clean up. The only real method is to stop the garbage at the source. The main way to do this is hugely increase the amount that we recycle. Once you drop that plastic in a garbage can, we really have no idea where it goes. So next time, check for a recycling tag and throw it in the blue bin. Because it may end up six thousand kilometers away floating in our oceans.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This is pretty huge in the environmental world. For the first time, an American President, who by the way controls the majority of the worlds resources and thus the resulting pollution, has decreed that oil must go.

In this classically obama-esque speech, he charges British Petroleum with the entire cost of the rehabilitation of the effected regions, as well as set up an oil-watch dog to regulate oil companies!
This is a big step in having governments around the world realize that our way of life has to change. This goes much beyond simply getting us off our oil addiction, but percolates down into intensifying everything green, from local food to recycling.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


welcome to the Hugh Garner Green Living blog! Here you will be able to find updates about whats happening at Hugh Garner to lower the co-ops impact on the environment, both locally and regionally. Details about the energy retrofit will be posted as well updates about the green roof and any other initiatives happening here.

It won't be all be boring though! I swear. This blog will also act as a tool for those interested in the environment with frequent updates on whats happening in the environmental communities at large to whats happening in Toronto. Here you can find out ways that you yourself and lower whats called your "carbon footprint", don't worry about a definition, we can get into that later.

Until then, stay tuned!