trešdiena, 2011. gada 13. aprīlis

FSC Toilet rolls...

Unfortunately some of the recycled paper items cost a bit over what whe have at the moment on green carpet. One of those is toilet paper.. However, I strictly buy only FSC marked one and use it with thought (there is absolutely no proof or reason that 1 metre of paper will make you cleaner than couple fractions).
I also never use it for cleaning up. For that I have sponges and cloths, not paper!

On Green Carpet just started to follow FSC Latvia on Twitter as well.. and then it struck me. I don't know, if I'm gonna be able to buy FSC rolls there!! Some may think I'm funny or out of my mind worrying about it.. But when you come to think about it- if I can't have recycled one, I at least would like to have paper that doesn't come from illegal or unsustainable logging!
That's my quest during the Easter holiday in Latvia- find the FSC roll :)

No to Teflon, yes to Green Pan

Never liked Teflon... Here on green carpet it seemed too weird to hear "you have to get rid of your teflon covered pan once it scraches, otherwise it will be toxic".
The first question then should be- why would I want to cook something in the pan that might become poisonous to me if I just by accident scrach it? And then another sign came- article by The Ecologist on cooking without Teflon.
Everytime you open such article that the thing you currently use (like Teflon pan) is bad and you should use an alternative, you shiver in premonition that this is once again going to be something terribly expensive.
Not this time. Apparently there are also not that crazy expensive alternatives as I looked at last time. The Ecologist also suggests a Green Pan. I opened their collection site- wonderful!! And according to the ecologist, the prices in John Lewis, for example, are not that bad at all!

As our family is moving back to Latvia this summer, we will need a whole lot of new kitchen items there. I already have one cast iron pan, but I think the rest I will get from Green Pan with Thermolon cover to try! NoTeflon allowed on green carpet!

*picture by Green Pan


Well, I did stop by John Lewis. Good that in between still so many Teflon covered pans I found that tiny shelf with GreenPans.
I guess John Lewis doesn't want its customers to buy them instead of their own Teflon line, because the selection was really small and there was not a single price tag to be found. Also nobody to ask.
So I checked it at the customer price check scan myself. The largest deep pan (30cm) which would be good for me, costs 45 GBP there. Unfortunately it doesn't have a lid..
My quest continues, maybe somewhere on internet it will be easier to get my GreenPan!

Updated 2

Well, as I promissed, my quest continued. Today I ordered from Amazon my new Green Pan- Nairobi collection, 28cm open fry pan (should look the same as in the picture above). I also had a chance to order a glass lid for it from Green Pan. So in total it cost me 47.55 with the delivery. Much better than in John Lewis.
I can't wait to move home and start using it!

Tone your face for the spring!

Yesterday was time for some home-made treats on green carpet.

I run out of my organic toner, so I decided to make one myself. My great inspiration was again one of my favourite books: Green Beauty Bible by Julie Gabriel. I, however, improvized and used the ingredients that were easily accessible in my own kitchen and that suite my skin.

  • tea spoon of organic green tea (I had with some flowery and peachy notes added)
  • pinch of organic, hand picked, dried chamomile
  • two florettes of organic, hand picked, dried calendula
  • good squeeze of organic lemon juice

  • Make a small cup of tea from the mix of green tea, chamomile and calendula.
  • Let it cool properly!
  • Squeeze a lemon in the cup
  • Stir it all
  • Fill it in the spray bottle
I used 2 x 50ml spray bottles for my new toner. One for myself, one for someone else :)
If I make a fresh toner, I like it to be smaller volume, so it doesn't get old and I don't get bored :)
This one smells nice and fresh and is full of antioxidants, healing qualities and vitamin C- all great for the spring.
Just shake it and spray it!
Tried it yesterday evening and this morning- feels fantastic!

otrdiena, 2011. gada 12. aprīlis

Walking, strolling, striding..

Busy weekend on green carpet, we were walking a lot. And actually this was the second weekend in a row when our family re-introduced this wonderful activity to other people.

I for one walk everywhere. Also my husband does. And I mean everywhere. I wake up and I walk to the office 25min every morning. Then I take a short stroll after lunch. Then I go home the same way as I arrived in the office. I also walk to the shops close by and further away. And then to the yoga class 10-15min. Some other days I go to the dance class- another 25min. And come back the same way- on foot. I walk to theater, to concert, to conference, to other events. Even to the coach that takes me to the airport (yes, I still fly sometimes...).
My calculation is pretty simple- if it takes up to 35min, I always walk. If more than that- I still question myself before taking a public transport. Maybe I can still walk if I'm in not big time pressure.

But weekends- oh, those are lovely. I love walking. Then I can do long walks to the park, in the park and back. Or go wherever I want. I can just put on my shoes and go.

But most of the people apparently do not walk. Almost at all. Like last weekend- we wisited a nice family in smaller town. If we didn't come, they still probably would not know the nice walkways near the woods. Or that the shopping centre is in the walking (walkable) distance. They would still take a cab. But now there can be a Green Bonus Point added on green carpet for showing them they actually can walk. And mostly because- they found it a lovely activity and thanked us for it! I think they just may have forgotten it.
Also this weekend- there were visitors on London patch of green carpet. We walked about 5h- to Camden market, discovering it slowly, then back through the Regents park where tulips and trees were blossoming so beautifully. We just strolled through the park, taking pictures, smelling the green spring. And I so loved the surprise in their eyes that they realized that they have actually walked all that thay and that it was great feeling! Especially one of them that goes everywhere by a car. Another Green Bonus Point!

So here came the awareness of one more continuous goal- I have to promote walking much more!
So often we do not really have to go by car or take a public transport even, we can walk. But we just never think of it! I think it is the time we do. That we leave that bit of fuel in our car for the time we really need it and put on the walking shoes instead. That we do not update our travelcard so often and leave it for the longer transits.
Benefits? Here are some..
  • Save the "direct money"! (best motivation for most of the people)- less spent on fuel or tickets, I can't even say how much I've saved just walking everywhere! If it helps you- Don't buy travelcard but pay as you go, and every time you think of taking a bus for a short ride, think of that 1.3 gbp you save yourself!
  • Improve your body and maybe save on the gym pass! Walking will keep you fit. It is wonderfyl for pregnancy and especially early stages where you might not be allowed to do anything else.
  • Improve your health and endurance! Walking usually leads to more rythmic breathing and better heart rate. Fresh air, ability to adapt and enjoy any weather will benefit you. Remember two things- we're not made of sugar, so feel free to walk in rain as well! And other- there is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.
  • Improve your emotional state and relieve the stress! You will find it so easy just to "walk off" the bad day or an argument. I sometimes also meditate on my way, pray, chant mantras (rythmic steps are great help) or talk to my bump-baby.
  • Learn new things- open your eyes when walk and look around you!
  • Have a great time with company, go somewhere with friends and arrive there on foot, not underground!

All in total- it "saves" your health, wellbeing and also money. And something else, much bigger than every one of us- it saves the planet by not using its resources. The more people will walk, the less fuel will be used. As simple as that.

Yeah, I don't want to be unfair and not mention any disadvantages. There are few, if you see it that way:
  • Time- yes, walking might take a bit longer.
  • Clothing- yes, you will need good walking shoes, not pointy superhigh-heels.
  • Personal care- yes, you will need a good deodorant if you haven't dressed appropriately or sweat a lot when active.
  • Taking things with you- like an umbrella, extra scarf or anything else you might need.

Here on green carpet, however, these things are regarded as great opportunities to be more aware of environment and myself and to step towards slow living. I do it, because I respect myself and the planet.

So my pledge on green carpet is to continue walking and introduce others to it!

pirmdiena, 2011. gada 4. aprīlis

Lawsuit against the GMOs, yey!

The reading time on green carpet got some material from Countercurrents that the Lawsuit Seeks to Invalidate Monsanto's GMO patents. It just made my day! I'm really looking forward to see the world GMO free again. Ok, I might be a little too enthusiastic at the moment, bubt that's one step in this direction.
I just read there that in the U.S. where the suit is filed there are still problems with labelling GM foods correctly. Well, let me tell you something- this problem is common also here, in Europe. Oh, yes, sure there are laws that it has to be stated on the packaging, and it is. Usually with mycroscopic letters that hardly anyone can read.. And just yesterday somebody whispered on green carpet, that the GMOs can be found also in very unexpected products, like cheese!! I'd never thought. Just another note to be more careful.
In Latvia there's also supposed to be a sign on the shelf, that this is a product that contains GMO. Sad, but when the investigators " Zemes Draugi"  (transl. Friends of Earth) found the oil that has been produced using GMO soya beans, there was no sign on the shelf. And I don' t know if here in the UK there is such laws, but I haven't seen any big signs on shelves that say- this is a GMO product. And this is a place where you can find more of such products than in Latvia.

So basically, this labelling thing doesn't work that well at all. I shouldn't be struggling to find whether it's ok to eat the thing or is it GMO. But I have to, if I want to know today. So I am really looking forward to this lawsuite and crossing all fingers on green carpet, that the Monsanto have their a*s kicked!

piektdiena, 2011. gada 1. aprīlis

Those simple things..

Last two days there have been several conversations on green carpet about just everyday stuff.. They led me thinking about, what we want to do, what we actually do and what we think others should do..

First was the conversation with my mom- I was excited to tell her about the blog of Beth Terry about living a Life without plastic, and if we come to think about not buying new plastic, it becomes a huge challenge!! Plastic packaged groceries, various liquids, cosmetic items and packagings, even magazines and toilet paper comes in plastic, letter windows are plastic and so much more!!! Basically, almost every new item comes in plastic packaging, so even if you're not using plastic bags, you still have loads of plastic at home. And I do too- meat boxes, yogurt pots, milk bottles to be just few of them. Ok, I could try drinking only goats milk that comes in a carton pack, but it still has a plastic screw top. Or I could go more often to farmers market and by stuff there without any plastics.
And oh, Gosh, when you look in the bathroom!! My other aim is now to buy solid shampoo that would not come in plastic bottle, Bart's bees seems suggested option. I also found yesterday a place where I can refill my Ecover washing up liquid and fabric softener. Great! But when you think of all that plastic!! Even when buying metallic tube for cream or tooth paste- top is plastic! It's everywhere! I'm not going plastic free all at once, but now I am making myself even more aware of having non-plastic alternatives. I mean- not taking plastic shoping bags is so not enough!

The Second thing which derived from the story on plastic was my mom's worries that I'll go radical in one day and throw away everything I have plastic. She didn't express that out loud, but I know it was behind the suggestion that I shouldn't exaggerate this going "no new plastic". And I said that we also shouldn't underestimate of importance of noticing such things and doing what we can at that moment. This made me thinking- how many people actually think that they are incredibly green to not take one plastic bag in a shop per week, but they would never ever be ready to go out of their comfort zone and give something up or go an extra mile to get greener alternative. It's all in our heads, I know. But I'm still wondering, how people are not aware that they have to do a bit more! Or give up some stuff they can live without not even noticing it sometimes!
Or when people think "I'm green in this, so I can ignore this other thing, let somebody else do their share". Seriously? There are no shares here! There's just one Planet for all of us, and we all ought to take care of it! And at the moment, every person that does more than the other makes a difference. We can't just say- I won't do it because "they" don't. It's the same as in the story where "wife had a bad nights sleep, so she yelled at the husband in the morning; so husband was in the bad mood and yelled at the bus driver; so the bus driver was upsed and yelled at old lady passenger....." and so it goes on. It doesn't justify the driver to yell at her. Or the husband to hell at driver. Or wife to yell at husband! The same thing with the greener habits- just because someone threw a rubbish on the street doesn't mean I'm gonna do the same. And just because million people won't  think twice of buying plastic or artificial or GMO, I'm not gonna do the same.

Third thing- just yesterday there was a talk about good old times when we all had our handkerchiefs! Isn't that a fond memory? Grandpas always had the biggest ones!! But today everybody uses up tons of Kleenex or other paper tissues. And if I didn't have my handkerchief at hand, I used my tissue definitely more than once. But it seems that everybody else is so worried to touch their own blow, that they would sneeze or blow only once in an A5 or A5 size of a tissue. That's ridiculous! And then I read the napkin theme on the blog I love- this MOTHER's going GREEN . I took it as a sign alltogether on green carpet.
So, even though our family was never using loads of paper tissues, I was just talking to my husband about the handkerchief stuff. That with the baby on board we will have to have even more of mess or sneezes or nose blowings or just cleaning a corner of the mouth. So we both agreed to buy a bulk of handkerchiefs to always have enough. And also table napkins for us and also our guests that at our home no one would have to use paper ones. This is our little victory today! Less paper wasted!
But this is also a challenge- I'll have to search for the good, soft ones as they were in my childhood. Because the ones you can usually buy now are either with polyester in them or even cotton ones are so thin and full of I don't know what, that they are very unpleasant to touch your nose. So no I am on the quest!