Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It Is Easy Being Green In Northeast Ohio

"When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world." -John Muir

The people passionate about sustainability in Northeast Ohio never cease to amaze me. From the moment the realization of Entrepreneurs for Sustainability(E4S) existed, which claims 7,000 members, I have been in awe that our tiny area of the world has incredible thinkers, inventors, and
pioneers in sustainability.

Upon reviewing my weekly email from the Cleveland Green Building Coalition, I found an unusual amount of green building events. Oh maybe it is because spring has sprung but I don't think so.

Here are some of the events:
If you live in NEO please take the time to attend one of these events.
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

GREEN Alternative to Air Purifiers

Who knew that an electric run air purifier is not as effective as a few everyday common houseplants to help improve our indoor air quality-and the electric version is not as GREEN?

The EPA states the air in your home or office is 5-100 times more polluted than air outside. What does that say about the products we use in our home and office?

What are the items that are creating toxic environments?

1) Traditional cleaning products

2) Paint, sealants, caulks, stains

3) Carpeting

4) Mold & Mildew

5) Wood products like countertops, cabinets, flooring

6) Dust

7) Tobacco smoke

As you can see some of these items are man-made and the others occur in nature naturally but all have a high VOC content(volatile organic compound). What can we do to improve the indoor air quality? The answer is so simple. Place live houseplants in your home. Well you need to care for them appropriately too. While researching ways to cleanse the air in space stations, NASA found certain houseplants cleanse the air of some of the VOCs such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene-all included in the EPA's list of potentially hazardous VOC's. In this study, NASA studied 19 different houseplants for 2 years including two flowering plants and the remainder being common everyday houseplants. The NASA study showed the recommendation of 15-18 houseplants for an average 1,800 square foot home could improve the indoor air quality. To read more about the study and learn the simple science go to: NASA.

Here is the list of plants with their common names included in the study:

  • english ivy

  • spider plant

  • golden pothos

  • peace lily

  • Chinese evergreen

  • bamboo or reed palm

  • snake plant

  • heartleaf philodendron

  • selloum philodendron

  • elephant ear philodendron

  • red-edged dracaena

  • corn stalk dracaena

  • Janet Craig dracaena

  • Warneck dracaena

  • weeping fig

If you have pets, please check the list for potentially hazardous plants before using them in your home.

I encourage you to incorporate at least a few of the plants included in the study in an area you spend the most time whether it is your home or office or both. Greenery not only improves indoor air quality but it is a living being that will improve your mood(see study).

NASA, Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement, September 1989, by Dr. B.C. Wolverton, Anne Johnson, Keith Bounds, Indoor Plants Improve Mood

Friday, February 26, 2010

5 Simple Ways to Save $$$ While Saving the Planet

Just last week after I explained to a new client that my business was formed by a mission to carry sustainable products, she told me she didn't believe in global warming. Hmmm, ok, well-I shut my mouth, made my eyes squint into their normal position and continued to show the products that she requested to see. It does still amaze me that people refuse to believe there is a problem in our over- populated, over-consumed world. Whether you believe in global warming or not this post may help save your small business or home money. Practically speaking you can save money and help to save the planet.

1) Turn off and unplug any electronic equipment when not in use.

Phantom energy loss is the loss attributed to energy usage when electronics are turned off but still plugged in. To understand phantom energy loss go to: http://http//

2) Reuse paper: flip the white sheets over and use side two for printing, writing notes or lists, coloring pages for children, shred it and use for packaging or garden mulch

3) Refill printer cartridges: instead of buying new printer cartridges and throwing away more plastic into the landfills, have the old cartridges refilled which is less expensive than purchasing new cartridges.

4) Install aerators on all faucets: this is very inexpensive and can save a home approximately 13% in water reduction. We recently bought a lavatory faucet aerator and a kitchen faucet aerator at our local hardware store for less than $5.00 a piece. For more information: http://http//

5) Change light bulbs to CFL's. These bulbs are 4x more efficient than an incandescent bulb and will last 10x longer than incandescent bulbs. For more information: http://http//

Here are 5 simple and inexpensive ways to reduce waste and save money for your small business or home. Please feel free to post your strategies to save money and resources.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Lazily sitting at my desk on this Sunday morning reflecting on the week past- I am grateful for it. Grateful that I have found understanding about my true passions in life: love, compassion, kindness and sustainability. These traits are intricately woven.

Have you considered what one act of kindness towards any being can do not only for the receiver but for you and even the world? In our crazy lives it is so easy to lose ourselves in everyday minutia-making breakfast, taking the kids to school, feeding the dogs, walking the dogs, packing lunches, getting ready for work, working, making dinner, exercise, getting ready for bed and sleeping. Stop for one moment and "be", breathe and be thankful for the gifts you have been given.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Land, Water, Sky Connection

My husband, Patrick, and I tightly packed our two dogs and luggage into the car and were off for a week's long adventure at the beaches of the Outer Banks. If you have never visited this area of the US, you may want to reconsider where to take your next vacation. Being from northeast Ohio and used to seeing green or white depending on the season we were in awe of the constantly shifting sandy dunes topped with sea oats against a backdrop of white-capped sea and blue sky.

The sandy landscape, crashing waves and big fluffy white drifting clouds sprinkled with magnificent soaring birds became a giant playground for all of us. The dogs enjoyed chasing seagulls and running from the big scary bath water that sometimes caught their toes. Xena bit at the foam that forms from strong waves coming to shore. She loved that foam! Reece just happy to be with his people, smiling wildly in the sun and wind. My husband most enjoyed renting a Jeep and taking it off road on the beach to a remote area where we saw the wild horses of the OBX. For me it is always the wildlife that brings me the most joy. Watching creatures able to live in their natural environments with little threat enables me to relax. Not to mention the phenomenal star activity at night. I saw two shooting stars the first night. The clear open sky without the added sky glow that we get in the city showered us with flickering stars at night.

It is easy to see why we flock to this landscape in order to relax, to unwind, to de-stress. This is a connection to the earth by land, water, and sky. Spirit has given us a giant playground for our very own. We need the connection of the earth to rejuvenate and ultimately to survive. Understanding this very needed two-way connection is the first step to understanding sustainability.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Love Thy Mother~Mother Earth

With the passing of Mother's Day, which was the first Mother's Day for me without my mom, I have reflected on what motherhood represents and how it relates to our Mother Earth.

Motherhood: nuturing, sustaining, giver of life, haven, provider
This list is short but it does show how the relationship between our mothers and Mother Earth can parallel. Interestingly enough Wikipedia writes: Mother Nature, a common metaphorical expression for the Earth and its biosphere as the giver and sustainer of life.

During my mother's life on Earth from time to time she needed help but especially at the end when she was weak did she need more care. There are signs that the Earth is becoming weaker and she needs our help.

Please reduce, reuse & recycle in honor of all of our Mothers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


HURRY AND FAST to see the Kimono As Art: The Landscapes of Itchiku Kubota exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art! This exhibit will end on April 26, 2009.
Standing next to my friend, Ellen, on my first visit looking at the 30 piece Symphony of Light kimono display, I said to her in a cracking voice "this is too much". Later Ellen commented "how often do we say this is too much beauty"? Can you remember the last time? I had to return to this exhibit to see and feel this beauty once again. I was not disappointed.
The exhibition is not large by many metropolitan museum standards but the quality, craftsmanship and beauty seen in these kimonos is unbelievable. There is a video and displays showing the dyeing techniques and the immense amount of work that goes into each kimono creation which I highly recommend if you are a textile nut.
Master Kubota's vision of the Symphony of Light originally consisted of a collection of 80 kimonos depicting the Four Seasons, a traditional Japanese theme. Unfortunately, Master Kubota did not complete the series for we saw only 30 kimonos. At the age of 60, the autumn of his life, Master Kubota started the collection and thus began with autumn and completed through to winter. The landscapes, colors and textures float from one kimono to the next in a subtle yet intricate design forming a giant masterpiece.
If you decide to take a few moments to see this exhibit you will not be disappointed. For more information go to: