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Archive for April, 2010

This past weekend, I attended the Green Living Show in Toronto where I had the privilege of watching Colin Firth accept an award from the Environmental Media Association (EMA) for his work in creating innovative solutions for a green economy. He accepted this award along with his brother-in-law Nicola Guiggiollo for their partnership in creating the environmental store Eco Age, located in London, England.  The award was presented by actress Amy Smart, a long-time EMA member, and EMA president Debbie Levin.

The award presentation was followed by a very interesting panel discussion where audience members where able to ask questions. Colin made it very clear that he did not feel that he deserved the award, that he was just doing what he felt was absolutely necessary in these perilous times. He also expressed that he didn’t feel that celebrities should have the power to influence people as much as they do but unfortunately this is the case and there is a certain amount of responsibility attached to being famous. I couldn’t agree more. I get so annoyed by celebrities that wear fur, model for toxic, bunny-testing cosmetic companies and “create” poisonous perfumes. Colin believes that musicians have even more of an impact than actors with stadiums full of people willing to listen. Case in point, Chris Martin of Coldplay and his anti-poverty campaign. Politicians shudder at the thought of this.

A question was asked about the overuse of packaging. Colin’s answer was simple, don’t buy it. Another question was asked about how “good” an eco-store can be when consumerism should be avoided altogether. Nicola’s answer was that we can’t expect the world to just stop and buy nothing. The world is able to sustain and regenerate a certain amount of resources if the products are made responsibly. Apparently Eco Age sells a paint that is so safe, you can drink it.

It was wonderful to witness such influential people taking a stance towards the betterment of this planet. Kudos!

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I know that Earth Day should be every day but why not mark one day of the year as a time where we can assess our lives and look for ways to step it up a notch for the planet and future generations? We appear to be on a toboggan ride to hell with islands being swept up by the ocean, giant glaciers breaking apart and falling into the sea, drought, famine – the sky IS falling. As an individual, there is a sense of powerless with governments being caught up in red tape, unable to forge ahead with sound policies and big business constantly pumping out propaganda against what environmental scientists have been proving for years. The only thing that we can do is put our money where our mouth is. If we all worked together to make the right choices in our lives, we can make a difference.

Here are my tips for creating effective change in your life.

1. Boycott all Monsanto products. I cannot begin to tell you what this company has done to degrade this planet with their “frankenfoods”, agricultural bullying and cancer-causing consumer goods. They are pure evil. Here are a few ways to stay away from them:

  • If you’re in the United States, buy organic dairy – it won’t contain Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), a substance administered to dairy cows to increase milk production that ends up in your body. It contributes to breast and prostate cancer and creates mastitis in cows (VERY painful). It has been banned everywhere else in the world so that should say something.
  • Avoid Aspartame, another Monsanto invention that causes damage to the nervous system and immune system. Look for it on labels. You’ll find it in most diet pop, diet foods and low quality protein shakes.
  • Do not eat genetically-modified (GMO) foods. Monsanto plays God in the lab creating what has been coined as “Frankenfoods”.  The most common GMOs are corn, soy, canola and potatoes. They have been shown to cause gradual organ and immune system damage and they contribute to allergies and food sensitivities. Buy organic whenever possible.

2. Do not use pesticides. My step-father and family dog where both diagnosed with lymphoma at the same time in 1988. When my mother called Environment Canada to investigate what appeared to be no coincidence, she was informed of the link between pesticides and this form of cancer. Thanks for letting us know. Our dog didn’t make it but my step-father is still doing great due to the elimination of pesticides and other toxic chemicals from his life. It not only messes with our health but it pollutes ground water as well. Evil.

3. Go vegan. OK, I know that’s a lot to ask. How about decreasing your meat and dairy consumption and choosing organic? With organic meat, you don’t have to worry about ingesting sketchy toxic sewer sludge that gets spread over cattle crop fields. This sewer sludge has all kinds of interesting things in it from the birth control pill to antibiotics. Our “first world” meat and dairy habits are completely out of control. They are contributing to global warming by producing methane gases, use an insane amount of water and energy and are the number one contributor to water pollution in North America. Take it down a notch. If you want some incentive, watch the documentary Food Inc. or Earthlings.

4.     Avoid plastics like the plague. Plastic does not get recycled – it gets downcycled, meaning it gets turned into a different product such as fabric or flooring. The demand for these secondary products is lower than our use of plastics so the majority (76%) of these bottles end up in the landfill after all – for hundreds to thousands of years. It is also a huge health concern. It leeches into products and exposes our bodies to hormone-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) and pthalates, which may lead to breast cancer, prostate cancer and sexual development issues in babies. When you’re shopping, look for the glass bottle of ketchup rather than the plastic bottle, buy a bar of soap instead of body wash, fill up your own stainless steel water bottle before going out, and bring your reusable bags!

5.     Walk, run, jog, bike, horseback, mule…whatever…get out of your car. It frustrates me to no end that we are still so reliant on petroleum to get around. Is the human race incapable of creating an alternative energy source for transportation? I know the technology is out there but politics and greed have been blocking this for years. Until we are driving some spiffy solar or garbage-fueled “Back to the Future” style car, let’s move closer to where we have to go so we can walk or bike. If you must travel, car pool in a hybrid or join a car co-op.

6.     Buy local and organic community supported agriculture (CSA) food boxes. Most cities have a few programs set up for pick up or delivery. You will get yummy, healthy produce  with little carbon footprint.

These tips are all easy to apply to your life. It just takes that extra consideration every time you take your wallet out, eat or travel. These little things add up to a lot if we all commit to them. We are not helpless, in fact it’s the opposite – the power to change the world lies in each and every one of us.

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Rose Absolute

There are only a few species of roses that have the fragrance sought after by perfumers and aromatherapists. The most popular choice is Rosa damascena, also known as Damask rose, Pink rose, or Oil-bearing rose.  It is a perennial shrub with pink flowers native to Europe and the Middle East that is a member of the Rosaceae family. Turkey is the main producer with approximately 10,000 tonnes of flowers grown annually for essential oil production.

Rose absolute is an extract similar to rose essential oil  (rose otto) but it is produced using hexane  and ethanol rather than by steam distillation. The hexane is used over and over again and little if any traces can be found in the actual oil. This extraction method produces 5-10 times the amount of oil and creates a much better representation of the true perfume of the flower because it is not heated up by steam to the point of having chemical changes occur. It contains higher levels of antioxidant and antibacterial properties than its essential oil counterpart.

The main chemical constituents of rose absolute are phenylethyl alcohol, citrenellol, nonadecane, nerol and geraniol.

The oil we receive is a deep red-orange colour that creates a slight tint to our Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream. It smells absolutely heavenly – I swoon every time I smell it.

Benefits:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Astringent
  • Cooling and soothing
  • Contains beta carotene, tocopherols and phenols giving it excellent antioxidant abilities
  • Great for relaxation especially for hormonal stress due to premenstrual syndrome and menopause

Rose absolute can be found in Rosey Cheeks Organic Facial Cream.

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Stitch'n'Kitsch Spring Show and Sale

I have been a member of the Stitch’n’Kitsch collective since my first year in business 7 years ago. I am so proud of how long we’ve been around and how much we have evolved as a group.

Here is the press release announcing our upcoming show on May 1, 2010. If you’re in the Waterloo, Ontario area, I hope you can make it!

Waterloo, Ontario – Apr 07, 2010 – In our efforts to support local sustainable businesses, the Stitch’n’Kitsch Spring Show and Sale is the perfect opportunity to get to know some of our regional gems. You don’t have to worry about fair-trade practices, carbon footprints or child labor when you purchase from this craft collective. It has one rule – everything is handmade. It is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 1 at First United Church, corner of King and William, Uptown Waterloo.

The Stitch’n’Kitsch collective began in 2004 as part of a greater indie craft movement that has been sweeping North America. This movement strives to replace mass produced imports for local, handmade goods. The collective is a group of artisans that meet monthly to organize their biannual shows. They carefully select each show’s 20 to 30 guest artists with attention to uniqueness and quality.

The upcoming show promises to have something for everyone with an array of jewelry, natural body care, paper goods, toys, fashion, accessories, pottery, and handspun yarns.

For more information, visit their website at http://www.stitchnkitsch.com.

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