Can You Fight Plastic Pollution In A Pandemic?

reusable washable shopping bags

Last week, my husband unloaded eight paper shopping bags filled with plastic-wrapped food. After decades working on sustainability – and the last four years focused on single-use plastic, including a TEDx talk last year and another in 2017 – the sight made me physically ill. This is the third week of shelter in place for most of the country, including Los Angeles, where I live. And while most of us spent the time battling alternating bouts of terror and boredom, the plastics industry was in attack mode. As the New York Times described, “The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic.”

Coronawashing. That’s a new one.

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How To Rock A Zoom or Videoconference

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff with zoom filter

Even before sheltering in place, I spent more time meeting colleagues and co-workers on screens than I did in person. In many cases, we’re in different countries and time zones so the communication is 100% virtual, yet on the rare occasion when we meet in person I already feel like we’re old friends. But conference calls and video chats are funny places. Little things can add up to big annoyances. Small challenges in communication can dramatically impact work flow. So I’ve put together this handy-dandy guide to help.

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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…]