Archive for November, 2010

Christmas Trees: Real or Artificial

Growing up we always had a live Christmas tree. Thinking back on it, everyone in my family had fresh cut Christmas trees. For us it was more about tradition rather than the environment. My family will continue to get live trees but the scientist in me wonders which type of tree is better for the environment.

 A recent post in Simple Organic  makes a case for live trees over artificial.

 Artificial Trees 

  • They won’t biodegrade
  • Most artificial trees are manufactured with PVC, a plastic that releases toxins.
  • They are usually made overseas and shipped great distances, therefore creating a huge carbon footprint
  • An artificial tree can be re-used for many years
  • More affordable than live trees

Fresh Cut Trees

  • Christmas tree farms generally practice sustainable farming methods. (Some have even become organic farms)
  • After the holidays, they can be recycled into mulch and compost
  • Grown in USA and buying cut trees boosts local economies
  • Require maintenance (watering and clean-up of needles)
  • Difficult to transport

To me, the type of Christmas tree you choose is a matter of tradition and functionality…and is not really reflective on how “environmentally friendly” you are.  What are your thoughts?

Meatless Monday’s


I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday. As I look back on all the “goodies” I had this holiday I am pretty excited to participate in Meatless Monday’s and get back to eating healthier (at least until Christmas).

Whenever I go to a restaurant with someone for the first time I find it interesting to hear how they like their water…”water with lemon”, “water with lemon but no ice” , “water no lemon, no ice” or even “water with ice, no lemon”.

I’m a “water with lemon” type of person because I like the taste but it looks like lemons are quite beneficial.

  • Lemons are antiseptic
  • Lemon water has excellent digestive properties and can ease heartburn, bloating and other digestion problems
  • Lemon water cleanses and stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Lemon juice contains calcium, magnesium and potassium
  • Lemon juice has been known to relieve asthma
  • Lemon water (hot) offers relief from cold and flu symptoms while providing some much needed Vitamin C
  • Lemon juice is a great skin cleanser

How do you like your water?


Today’s Recipe

Asparagus and Lemon Risotto with Arugula Recipe
serves about 4

10 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups chopped asparagus
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups arborio or carnaroli or vialone rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup arugula leaves, shredded
1/4 cup or more grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Place vegetable stock on a large pot and bring to a gentle boil. Place the chopped asparagus in the stock and blanch for about a minute. Asparagus should be bright green and still crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus from the stock and keep aside. Reduce heat and keep the stock on simmer.

In a skillet, heat the butter and add arborio rice. Stir the rice on medium heat for about 2 minutes, or till it is fragrant (but don’t let the rice brown). Add wine to the rice and let is bubble away. When most the wine has evaporated, add one ladle of the simmering stock to the rice. Cook on medium-high heat. When the rice has absorbed most the stock, add another ladle full of stock. Repeat this process till the rice has cooked through (you may not use up all the stock).  Check the rice for doneness as you go. When the rice is done, stir in arugula, parmesan, lemon juice, zest and salt.

Recipe Source:

Meatless Monday Update


Sorry Guys….I missed my Meatless Monday entry yesterday. Well as you know I had oatmeal for breakfast but for lunch I had a veggie quesadilla from La Parilla. It was awesome. I had no idea that meatless meals could be so delicious. For dinner I had cereal….which has (for some unknown  reason) become staple in my diet.   

I do have a question for my male readers…..I have heard  from lots of ladies who have embraced meatless meals, but not so much from males. I hear from a lot of married couples that wives have a hard time convincing their husbands to try veggie meals. Guys….do veggies not fill you up? Reluctant to change? Tell me what you think about Meatless Monday’s and why you would or why you would not try vegetarian meals?

Wordless Wednesday



Focus On - Environmental Accounts

Photo Source: UK Office of National Statistics 

Meatless Monday

 I attended a workshop on Friday and one of the presentations was titled “Vegan and Vegetarian Options for Reduced Environmental Impact”. The presentation included stats about how much water is required to produce meat. I wanted to to investigate the water used to produce other foods and I found this list on the National Geographic website.

It looks like my favorite foods require lots of water for growth and processing. This really put Meatless Mondays in perspective for me and gives me another reason to try to eat less meat and processed foods!

  •  1 lb of chocolate requires 3,170 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water
  • 1 gallon of wine requires 1,008 gallons of water
  • 1 gallon of milk requires 880 gallons of water
  • 1 gallon of coffee requires 880 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of sheep requires 731 gallons of water
  • 1 1/3 lb burger requires 660 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of cheese requires 600 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of pork requires 576 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of chicken requires 468 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of rice requires 449 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of soybean requires 216 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of barley requires 198 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of refined sugar requires 198 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of wheat requires 132 gallons of water
  • 1 gallon of tea requires 128 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of goat requires 127 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of potato requires 119 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of corn requires 108 gallons of water
  • 1 egg requires 53 gallons of water
  • 1 apple requires 18 gallons of water
  • 1 orange requires 13 gallons of water
  • 1 slice of bread requires 11 gallons of water

What will you eat on this Meatless Monday?

Green Week Hits NBC

Green is Universal presents its 4th annual Green Week. From November 14th -21st NBC will feature easy ways to help make a difference.


 Football Night in America (7:00pm EST)

Football Night in America kicks off Green Week for the 4th year in a row! Look out for the announcement plus a ‘green’ highlights at NBCU reel


 Today Show (6:00am EST)

Across 4 days, TODAY will have 4 green segments per day. Topics include: green cleaning, green moms, home energy diets, and water.

Days of Our Lives (1:00pm EST)

Chloe (a new mom) will get a visit from her friend, Philip, who brings a gift of eco-friendly, organic diapers.

 Beyond the Barrell (8:00pm EST)

CNBC looks at ways to create new energy sources including a northern California company working to turn toxic emissions into building blocks for tomorrow.

 Chase (10:00pm EST)

Congressman Nevins tells Luke he is there to implement a green initiative to retrofit all U.S. Marshall offices.


Liquid Assets (8:00pm EST)

While some believe water should be the same as air…free for everyone, others see it as the business opportunity of a lifetime. CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera explores a global crisis in the CNBC Original Production “Liquid Assets: The Big Business of Water.”

 Parenthood (10:00pm EST)

Max’s class is creating little houses out of recycled egg cartons.


 Undercovers (8:00pm EST)

Shaw on “Undercovers” gives the workers at Bloom Catering Co. a hard time about not recycling.

 Trash, Inc. (8:00pm EST)

Garbage. It’s everywhere — even in the middle of the oceans — and it’s pure gold for companies like Waste Management and Republic Services who dominate this $52 billion-a-year industry.


 30 Rock (8:30pm EST)

Keep your ears perked for more green jokes from your favorite funny lady, Liz Lemon.

 The Office (9:00pm EST)

Michael attempts to help the planet by recycling.

 Outsourced (9:30pm EST)

In “Outsourced,” Gupta charges his flashlight instead of using chemical batteries.


 Dateline (9:00pm EST)

Will feature an hour long interview with Prince Charles, leading into the Prince’s Harmony special.

 Harmony (10:00pm EST)

A feature film and television special documenting The Prince of Wales efforts to combat climate change and find innovative solutions to the global environmental crisis.


 Notre Dame vs. Army (7:00pm EST)

Will weave in green tips and mentions throughout the 4-hour broadcast.

 Law & Order: Los Angeles (9:00pm EST)

It’s a new coast, but the same crime mystery formula, with a whole lot of green drama where environmental neglect looks like a crime to Detectives Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and Jarusalski (Corey Stoll). The victim is a scientist dedicated to water clean up in Los Angeles County’s polluted creeks and rivers. After word gets out that the scientist knew about his employer’s improper waste disposal practices, clues suggest the corporation’s likely involvement in the murder.

The Suze Orman Show (9:00pm EST)

The program will have an all-green “Can I Afford It?” segment. Callers ask Suze about an $18K solar roof; a $230K Energy Star-certified “Green” Home; a $33K geothermal system; a $700 bicycle; and a Nook.

 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10:00pm EST)

Keep an eye out for special ‘green’ members of the cast.

 Source: NBC

Tube-free toilet paper???

One thing I love about sustainability is how it touches every facet of your life. From the water you drink, the air you breathe and your toilet paper???A spent toilet paper roll.

 That’s right a new brand of Scott’s toilet paper will not include the paperboard tube that traditionally provides structure to the roll.  The paperboard tubes are recyclable, but studies show that 85% of Americans throw them away. Approximately 17 billion paper tubes are produced each year in the US, when placed end-to-end those tubes could stretch to the moon and back, twice. The tube-less toilet paper will debut in Walmart and Sam’s in the Northeast and gradually expand across the country.

Just how Scott’s has manufactured a tube-free roll is a trade secret but they do say that the rolls are not as round as we’re used to but they will fit over standard spindles and every last square of toilet paper is usable.

I would buy this toilet paper for two reasons a. becuase it eliminates the use of the roll and b. I am really intersted to find out just how the toilet paper keeps its structure as it gets closer to the core. Would you give this new toilet paper a try?

 Source: Mother Nature Network,