Plastic: 4 Facts You Should Know

seahorse plastic earbud

photo: National Geographic

Have you heard the stats on plastic? One million plastic bags used every minute around the globe. Three million water bottles used every hour in the United States. Five million straws used every day in America. Plastic production increased 2,000 percent from 1964 to 2014. More than 300 million tons of new plastic produced annually and less than 10% recycled.

Plastic overconsumption is affecting our environment—and our health. Reports show that eight million tons go into the ocean each year (the equivalent of a garbage truck full every minute) and that if we don’t do something about it, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

In the last two years that I’ve spent focused on this issue, I’ve come to understand the bigger picture about plastic pollution—and what we can do about it. If you care about climate change, your health or animal welfare, you need to know these four facts about plastic. [Read more…]

Watch My TEDx Talk!

I feel so honored to have been chosen by TEDxSantaBarbara to share my vision of how one straw can change the world. What are you doing to fight plastic pollution? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks!

Turmeric for Health

turmeric root and powder against white backdropEveryone seems to be mentioning turmeric for health, these days. And it’s not just about a spice that you put in your curry. A proud member of the ginger family, turmeric is said to be an immune system builder and powerful antioxidant. I got the scoop from Randi Ragan, holistic well-being expert, founder of GreenBliss EcoSpa and author of the brand-new book A Year of Living Mindfully: Seasonal Practices to Nourish Body, Mind and Spirit. This beautifully-illustrated book is chock full of recipes, teas, tonics, exercises and daily practices—including instructions on how to make an easy turmeric for health tonic, which I’ve included below. All are designed to reduce stress, avoid illness and improve wellness. Interested? I’ve got two copies to give away! [Read more…]

What’s Made Safe? Amy Ziff Explains

made safe product labelWhat an honor! I grabbed Amy Ziff in the press room of Expo West for this quick interview about her brand-new endeavor, Made Safe. The organization’s goal is to “ensure that goods are made entirely from ingredients that are not known or suspected to cause human health harm as determined by scientifically recognized lists from around the world.” Pretty cool, right? Because we all know that what’s listed on–or left off of–a product label doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story about the ingredients that are in it. Made Safe vets those ingredients and actually tests products (in some cases), so you know that a cleaning, beauty or household product that features the Made Safe label is, indeed. How does it all work? I got the inside scoop from Amy herself. [Read more…]

Can the Share Economy Save the World?

share economy photo of consignment clothing against a blue backgroundThere are so many ways to describe the share economy–including  “sharing economy,”  “collaborative consumption” and “circular economy.” But the essential concept is the same: Access to goods and services is more important than owning them. In this way, the share economy could solve some of the environment’s biggest problems. [Read more…]

What You Need to Know to Avoid VOCs

woman's hands applying VOC free nail polish removerA lot of people are worried about volatile organic compounds, better known as VOCs. These compounds can cause health issues like allergies and asthma—some have even been linked to cancer. Yet because you often can’t see or smell them, it’s difficult to know when your air has been compromised. Especially now that most new homes are built airtight for energy efficiency, VOCs are often trapped inside. Learn how to identify and avoid VOCs found in most American homes. [Read more…]

Vegan Chocolate Easter Eggs? Yes Please!

vegan chocolate on a boardTis the season for chocolate. Between Valentine’s and Easter, we’re practically made of the stuff. For several years, I’ve asked readers to boycott Hershey’s—the biggest chocolate manufacturer in America—because of delays in implementing third-party certification to reduce the prevalence of child labor, forced labor, child trafficking and verbal, physical and sexual harassment in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, where the company sources its cocoa. I even published candy guides to help parents navigate away from companies like Nestle, which phased out artificial food additives in their European confectionary line three years ago, but have yet to make the same move here in America. (Oh, and bottled California’s water without remorse during the drought.) Until recently, I had no idea that there was so much choice when it comes to conscious chocolate! From fair trade to organic to—yes—even vegan chocolate, this candy has come a long way, baby. [Read more…]

Vegan Shamrock Shake Recipe!

shamrock shakeJust as companies like Hallmark transformed Valentine’s Day into a $13 billion business, McDonald’s supersized Shamrock Shake–weighing in at a whopping 820 calories–somehow became synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day. But with just a few ingredients, you can make a delicious vegan shamrock shake in minutes–with ingredients that are actually good for you! [Read more…]