Saturday, March 1, 2008

Green Momentum in Westchester

Dear friends,

As many of you know, I have been working with the Westchester County Global Warming Task Force for over a year to help develop an action plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions in our County.

On February 26th, the Westchester Action Plan to combat climate change was launched. An all day event was held at Manhattanville College with 400 people in attendance. I moderated a panel addressing consumer household issues. There was a great deal of enthusiasm from everyone, fueling (no pun intended) the urgency to take the message on the road. Bottom line, every person, business, institution, etc. wants to get down to the nitty gritty, how exactly does it relate to them... or, as my mom so eloquently said the other day, "I want to go green, but what does it mean?".

The County website is a good place to start. The Action Plan provides an overview and guidelines of what can be done for various sectors. Soon, a great deal more specific information will be added, especially for consumers.

On the evening of March 11th, the show goes on the road. County Executive Andy Spano and Co-Chair Reese Berman (North Castle Supervisor) will give an overview of the Action Plan. I will participate in the panel discussion following their presentation. It's a chance to learn more, ask questions and participate in the discussion. I hope you can come. Click here for details.

Feel free to pass this invitation on to anyone who you think would like to attend.

Here's to the power of our voices,


P.S. - Please support this blog by clicking on the ad posting on the top right hand corner!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The 3 R's... "Re"duce, "Re"use, "Re"cycle

Sorry that it's a bit cliche but I think it's worth "Re"visiting this every once in a while.

Recycle Electronics
Yesterday, I was struck by an article that I read about how many analog tv's are going to end up in the landfill because U.S. broadcasters are slated to switch to all digital transmissions by February 2009 (Baltimore Sun: The hazards inside the tube). In our desire for the latest technology, millions of sets that "can contain lead, mercury, barium, cadmium and other dangerous substances" will end up in the waste stream, further endangering our health and our planet. For those of us who live in Westchester County, we are required to safely dispose of our old electronics by participating in Household Chemical Clean-up Days. For more info about when, where and what: Westchester County Household Chemical Clean-up Days

Kick the plastic water bottle habit
This transition was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be for our family. After learning about the devastating impact that plastic water bottles are having on the earth, we stopped buying them for the house. When we first moved to Croton, we bought a Multi-Pure water purifying system and installed it under the kitchen sink. We change the filter once a year and have enjoyed great, clean water for drinking and cooking for many years. This year, I started washing and filling all of those water bottles that seem to enter my house (Corey!), and put them in the fridge.

According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States aren’t recycled. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.
For more information read the article from New American Dream (great website!):

Bring a reusable mug
Cut down on waste, as well as toxic chemicals in the environment (and your coffee), by using a reusable mug at home, in the office and on the go, instead of opting for single-use containers for coffee, tea and other beverages. When we buy our daily cup of coffee in a disposable container, we are generating about 22.75 pounds of waste per year. Across the country, 25 billion Styrofoam cups are thrown away every year, according to the EPA. Styrofoam takes hundreds of years to break down, and is made of non-renewable petroleum and it's dangerous for our health. Here's a great article from the Grinning Planet:

If, at the rate that I am blogging, I don't post another one before the new year... I wish you all health, happiness and all things green in the coming year!

In friendship, Dani

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Environmental Working Group’s SKIN DEEP cosmetic safety database


The recent media focus on toxic ingredients in cosmetics (such as lipstick) led me to learn more about this issue. It didn’t take long to find the SKIN DEEP database, part of the Environmental Working Group’s body of research.

This is an incredible resource and the ONLY one that I’ll talk about today. Since its launch in 2004, SKIN DEEP has performed safety ratings for over 25,000 personal care and cosmetic products. The database rates products on a scale of 0 to10 (0-2 low hazard, 3-6 moderate hazard, 7-10 high hazard). If a specific product or brand is not listed in the database, you can type in the ingredients instead.

So, I assessed all of the personal care products that my family uses and was very surprised to learn of the toxicity of so many of them! This knowledge has led our family to make many changes from soap to shampoo to toothpaste with our overall goal to stay within the low hazard range. For me, the easiest way to navigate the database was to scroll over the blue bar which highlights product categories.

If you are interested, I would be happy to share the products that we are using. This is a work in progress, we are still trying new things and are open for suggestions.

ENJOY this wonderful day!!!

(Of course Jon is cooking the TG meal which allows me the time to hang out and write to you!)

Monday, November 5, 2007


Choosing safe, non-toxic cleaning products for our homes has its challenges! It’s not readily available in our A&P or ShopRite, and shopping at Whole Foods or Mrs. Green’s gets expensive. Since we have made a commitment in our family to these products, I have been researching and trying to find the best products at the lowest price. Mostly, I shop at Mrs. Greens or on-line. Mrs. Green’s has sales on products all of the time. I walked in one day and all Seventh Generation products were ½ off!

Below are the products that our family is using right now. Please share your products and ideas so we can learn from each other. If anyone has experience with bulk buying of “green” cleaning products, let me know, maybe we can pool our resources.

By the way, our house has never smelled better!


I’ve been experimenting with many different products. Right now, I’m using:

1. Seventh Generation:
• Laundry detergent
• Automatic dishwashing powder
• Paper towels
• Toilet paper
Be sure to download the coupons from their website. (See links)
Where do I buy?: Mrs. Greens

2. Aubrey Organics:
These 2 products can be used to clean every single thing in your house from floors to countertops to laundry. The Liquid Sparkle Spray Cleanser is great on glass and counters.
1. Earth Aware Household Cleanser
2. Liquid Sparkle Spray Cleanser
Where do I buy?: On-line

3. Vermont Soap:
Similar to Aubrey, Liquid Sunshine can be used on everything, except for glass.
1. Liquid Sunshine
2. Yoga mat wash
Where do I buy? On-line


Clean & Green

This site features potions for homemade cleaning products. I discovered it a few years ago and I was quite ambitious there for a while, concocting my own brews in plastic bottles. Although I’ve gotten lazy and buy mostly “ready-made” products (see above), there are a few things that I still do:
1. I keep a few large boxes of baking soda and large bottles of white vinegar in the house, mostly as a natural drain cleaner. It really works!:
Drain Cleaner:
For slow drains, use this drain cleaner once a week to keep drains fresh and clog-free.
1/2 cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar
1 gallon boiling water
1/2 a used lemon
Pour baking soda down drain/disposal, followed by vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water.

More homemade cleaning recipe links (see link list on the right):

CHEC’s HealtheHouse (the resource for environmental health risks affecting your children)
eartheasy – (Non-Toxic Home Cleaning)
Harmonious Environment (Clean Mold in Your Shower with Non-Toxic Product)

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Hi friends and family... welcome to my blog!! I thought it would be fun to have a place to share "green ideas" about improving our health, our lives, our environment and our planet. My work with the Westchester County Global Warming Task Force has deepened my commitment and opened my eyes to the effects of climate change on our lives. I have been reading and researching for the better part of a year and each day I learn something new. One of the most important lessons is that there are many things that we can do to make a difference. And guess what, most of these changes are good for us! I know that so many of you share these concerns, which is why I thought we could help each other along the way. In the coming days, I'll share some of the changes we're making at home and I can't wait to hear what you're up to!

Here's to our health.