25 July 2008

Earth-friendly Weddings

If you try to live the green life, why stop on your wedding day?

Or - if you want to start living the green life, but not sure when or how to start, start on your wedding day!

EcoDeaf reader Anthony, shares the link to an article that has some hints, insights, and weblinks on how to make weddings go greener, too.

The Buffalo News
Monday, July 21, 2008

Planning an Earth-friendly wedding
By Jane Kwiatkowski

image credit: http://z.about.com/d/weddings/1/0/S/4/RohdiumfingerprintWeddingBands.jpg

22 July 2008

College students create a new lifestyle

Washington Post Express, Look Out
Friday, 2008.07.18, Page 35


More colleges are offering eco-friendly dorms and programs.

This fall, students at Sara Lawrence College's Warren Green hall will be composting together, monitoring their electricity usage and drying their laundry on a clothesline. They will share appliances, cooking and shopping to reduce waste and energy, and use as little electric lighting as possible.

Read the entire story at:


shared by an EcoDeaf reader

21 July 2008

Fall Events!

Yes, it's still summer!

But we'll start posting autumn events so you can mark your calendars!

E-mail EcoDeaf (ecodeaf @ gmail.com) if you have more events you'd like posted.

Washington, DC/MD/VA

31st Annual Takoma Park Folk Festival, Sept. 14, 2008
Takoma Park Folk Festival
Saturday, September 14th


DC Green Festival
Saturday & Sunday, November 8th and 9th

11 July 2008

Planet Green

KJ Balogun shares...

If you get information and/or inspiration from the television, here is a channel that offers information on green living.  

The Discovery network has Planet Green
If you want to know which channel it is on in your area, check this out: 


KJ Balogun shares that even though the video streaming online is not accessible, the television show itself is captioned...

"Very interesting stuff which includes information on which celebrities are green conscious, and the ideas are amazing there.  For example, I caught Cindy Crawford commenting that she wants to do research before switching to gasoline cars with Electric Cars or Hybrids (Prius) because she had to spend nearly $100  just to fill up.   Jay Leno said, "If you do not believe in Al Gore's Global Warming information, then believe in Self-Sufficiency.  I don't see why we can't do things for ourselves." 

KJ has also contacted Discovery Channel inquiring about making online video streaming captioned and encourages you all to do the same if you want to see online videos captioned!


If you'd like to see Discovery's other shows centered on green living check out an earlier EcoDeaf post: Discovery Home Channel Green Shows

Children and Nature

"I Remember"

I remember looking forward to high snow so I won't have to go to school. I remember cold summer mornings and beautiful sunrises.  I remember watching lightning show during spring and summer nights. I remember watching big people picking up snow and throw them as if they were football. I remember seeing snow taller than my father and it sure looked like north pole. 
I remember going to beach in New York, and waves were always lively. I enjoyed watching my uncles diving through the waves and come out of the water with smile. I remember seeing humpback whales dancing in open ocean when I was on a small boat with other Deaf children in Massachusetts. I remember building boys' club in the woods behind a project housing. I remember recesses at elementary and middle schools where we kids would get to play football, basketball, soccer, tag, races, riding on swings,hide-n-seek and many other games we could invent. I remember riding on rolling skates in winter, slipping on ice, and landing on sharp icicle with my left hand (still have this scar). I remember looking forward to summer so I could ride my bike everyday and developing tricks like riding bike on one wheel up the huge hill, and boy, it sure was a challenge, and in the end of the day, I made it.

KJ Balogun

Still, I wonder if those experience do have impact on my health, on spirit, emotion, and psyche levels. Apparently, we haven't seen evidences in scientific approach until now. Generally, people are starting to look in that direction to see if there's any influences from nature toward our children, let's find out:

I found this website after submitting my previous article on National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation, The National Environment Education Foundation website. This caught my eye:

For the full article from National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), click here:  Children and Nature Initiative

“Evidence suggests that children and adults benefit so much from contact with nature that land conservation can now be viewed as a public health strategy.” [1]
- Howard Frumkin, MD, Dr.PH, Director of the National Center for Environmental Health/ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, CDC
- Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods

Our children may be the first generation ever at risk of having a shorter lifespan than their parents [2]. Sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity have contributed greatly to the numerous health problems plaguing today’s children. Chronic conditions such as childhood obesity, asthma, and attention-deficit disorder have all increased over the past few decades [3]. These chronic conditions may lead to pulmonary, cardiovascular, and mental health problems in adulthood. Outdoor activity in the natural environment has taken a back seat to television, video games, the computer, and a demanding schoolwork schedule. Today’s youth are losing the contact with the natural environment that is extremely beneficial for their health and well-being.

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages children to have unstructured, free play not only for their physical development, but also for their emotional, social, and cognitive development as well [4]. Key scientific evidence has shown that being outdoors:

  1. increases a child’s physical activity [5];
  2. reduces stress[6];
  3. aids in childhood development [4];
  4. is a coping tool for children with attention disorders such as attention-deficit disorder [7];
  5. and contains restorative and therapeutic properties [8].
The National Environmental Education Foundation joins the movement to reconnect children with nature. We encourage parents and caregivers to get your children out into the natural environment. Together we can teach them how to protect the environment and their health.

[1] Frumkin H & Louv R (2007). Land Trust Alliance Special Anniversary Report.
[2] Ludwig, DS (2007). New England Journal of Medicine, 357(23): 2325-27.
[3] Perrin JM, Bloom SR & Gortmaker SL (2007). JAMA, 297(24): 2755-59.
[4] American Academy of Pediatricians- Clinical Report. Ginsburg KR, et al (2007). Pediatrics, 119(1): 182-191.
[5] American Academy of Pediatricians – Position Statement. Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, and Council on School Health (2006). Pediatrics, 117(5): 1834-42.
[6] Wells NM & Evans GW (2003). Environment and Behavior, 35(3): 311-330.
[7] Kuo FE & Taylor AF (2004). American Journal of Public Health, 94(9): 1580-86.
[8] Ulrich RS (1984). Science, 224(4647): 420–421.

KJ Balogun, thanks for sharing!

06 July 2008

National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation

by KJ Balogun, EcoDeaf contributor

In March 17 - 20, 2009, there will be National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation at Grand Hyatt Washington, in Washington DC.

What it is similar to the Eco-Deaf, & Green Festival's philosophy: "Advance national policies that promote health through physical activity, reconnect children with nature and protect open space for recreation. We need to educate ourselves and our national leaders about the importance of parks and recreation in our communities."

Surely many of us would immediately agree with the topic, however I would still like to introduce you to brief ideas of what National Recreation and Park Association wants us to realize:

NRPA believes that parks and recreation can improve the physical and mental health of every person, and that parks and recreation should be an essential public service of every community in America.

Here are the highlights of the bills:

For parks and public lands, NRPA supports federal investments and national policies that encourage acquistion and development of parks, public lands, and recreation resources from the local to national level that are available to all Americans for use and enjoyment.

Bill: Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): Interior Appropriations–National Park Service

While The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) state assistance program is a matching federal grant program administered by the National Park Service (NPS) that has funded over 40,000 park and recreation projects in the 40 year life-span of the program, the President (Bush) has recommended terminating the LWCF state assistance program in the past three years. The President's 2009 budget once again calls for zero funding for the stateside LWCF grants, and in fact, goes further in requesting that administrative funding to provide oversight be stripped from the program.

Not limiting to lands, NRPA supports in promoting Health, Physical Activity and Recreation: A physically active lifestyle is a critical strategy for disease prevention and health promotion for all people. Public parks and recreation facilities offer low and no-cost opportunities to all Americans of every age, ability and income level to increase their daily physical activity and prevent chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as generally improve mental and physical health.

Bill: Healthy Lifestyle and Prevention America Act (HeLP): Legislation S. 1342 and HR 2633
The HeLP Act seeks to improve the health of Americans and reduce health care costs by reorienting the nation's health care system towards prevention, wellness and self-care. This legislation would convene a task force on childhood obesity and establish a National Advisory Committee on Community Sports Programs for Individuals with Disabilities. It would provide employer and employee tax credits for fees paid to athletic or fitness facilities on behalf of employees, provide for the development of a tool to measure community barriers to participating in physical activity, and provide grants for the development of model communities of play.

Bill: Personal Health Investment Act (PHIT): Legislation—HR 245
This bill would expand pre-tax medical spending accounts to include exercise class registrations, sports league fees, fees charged by recreation centers, and money spent on essential equipment to participate in such programs. Fees charged to participate in healthy lifestyle programs (such as Weight Watchers or Smoke Enders) could also be paid for using pre-tax funds. If this bill were to become law, individuals would be able to allocate up to $1,000 as a tax deductible medical expense.

Finally, but not the least of the other bills, aren't we concern about our oldest education system for our children? Many of us would grow up seeing less and less information on environment, and we do to our earth on daily basis. How many of us know that this country consume most trees to create papers in the world? How many of us know that Nigeria is the sixth-largest producer of oil in the world and one of the main suppliers of oil to American customers.
Yet even though the West African nation is awash in oil money, much of its population is destitute? How many of us know that we can actually stop depending on oil and convert all our cars into electricity, solar motor, or wind motor, and through that change, we will be able to become independent of oil greed and addiction? Now wouldn't we want to educate our children to be able to create a better tomorrow? If you say yes, then here's the bill:

Bill: No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI): Legislation—HR 3036 and S.1981
The No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI), introduced in 2007 in the House as HR 3036 and in the Senate as S.1981, would enable the states to create plans to develop environmental literacy in students; provide funding for teacher training in environmental education; and provide funding to develop state and national capacity in environmental education. This legislation contains no new federal mandates or testing requirements. Public park and recreation agencies and other governmental entities would be authorized as eligible partners. The environmental education components of NCLI are expected be included in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also called No Child Left Behind.

In conclusion, I hope this gives you a clear idea of what NRPA's role is, and this would be a great benefit for the deaf leaders and communities across this nation.

Peace be with you. :-)

National Legislative Forum on National Parks and Recreation
Documenting The Paradox of Oil, Poverty in Nigeria

05 July 2008

Eco-Home Depot?

Home Depot has a new website, Eco Options at Home Depot, which includes a national CFL light bulb recycling program, how to make your home energy efficient, conserving water, making a healthy home, ensuring clean air and purchase of sustainable forestry items among many more options!  

There are also frequently asked questions section such as the difficult question of reusing an old appliance or purchasing an Energy Star appliance... Or where to dispose of carpets.  Or how to deal with toxic wall/door finishes.  

Check it out at:   Eco Options at Home Depot

03 July 2008

Erika Thompson

Riverside, CA

EcoQuest natural purifying home laundry installment to eliminate use of soap or hot water, energy-saving light bulbs, Klean Kanteen water containers, re-filling mugs for tea/coffee, glass or BPA-free bottles for children, handmade tote and canvas shopping bags, cloth napkins, absorbable re-useable cleaning cloth, organic paraben-free toiletries/cosmetics, environmental/health friendly home cleaning products, produce from local farmer's market, organic food, organic tea, eliminated toxic candles, unplugging house appliances, hanging laundry sheets outside and clothing halfway through its dryer cycle, repairing or donating clothes, saving items for re-use and conserving water since a child, creating new greeting cards out of old cards, minimizing purchases, now selecting Eco-friendly clothing (organic cotton, linen, silk, USA-made) and furniture (bamboo), home orchards and expanding-herb/vegetable gardens, calling companies to stop mailing catalogs . . .

gourmet organic cooking, natural healing home remedies, sewing, raising children "green", reading Eco-literature, slowing down Global Warming, transforming school/workplace to green consciousness, working toward exclusively online bills, camping and outdoor activities on land or waves, ASL/English Bilingualism, Deaf Community, Deaf Theatre

contact info/blog/website:
CalifErika at aol dot com
and facebook

01 July 2008

Disposables Have Got to Go

by EcoDeaf contributor, Erika Thompson

Americans need to stop the disposable paper and plastic mentality! In my conscious effort to slow down global warming by reducing the CO2 emissions, my "carbon footprint", I decided to ban paper and plastic disposables as an experiment today.

At Starbucks, during an unexpected stop when I had to wait for a certain store nearby to open in half an hour and baby Blake was awake and demanding breastmilk, I decided to sit down and have a drink to pass my time. Instead of getting disposable cups (which greatly harm the environment with the production of paper and plastics that emit a lot of CO2, and most of which aren't recycled by consumers), I wanted to buy a permanent starbucks mug which I'd leave in the car for every SB visit.

Upon ordering my tea, I asked through speech to have it poured into my new mug. Instead, the employee used a paper cup and a plastic lid, thinking I only wanted to buy but not use the mug (huh??). I then wrote down to clarify, and this was worse... she transferred the contents into my mug and then THREW away the paper cup, hence nullifying my fight against global warming if that paper cup was already "disposed of" on MY account. Not only this happened, but I had also wanted to buy a large glass jar for loose leaf tea infusion. Without asking me, this same lady immediately wrapped the jar in lots of tissue paper. She had only just begun with a slight wrap without yet crinkling or folding the paper when I halted her and asked not to. BUT then she CRUMBLED and and THREW the entire pack of tissue paper (in almost perfect condition) that she had barely used!

AND then, she quickly took out a gift bag for the jar, but I stopped her right away, insisting that I'll just wrap it myself with the receiving blankets I already had in my tote bag, and to simply put it in the bag (Duh!). I failed my effort to zero out my "footprint" today. Looking back, I should have accepted the paper cup, declined to purchase the new mug (since I'd already have the disposable when it was too late), and with restraint, accept the tissue paper (so I could re-use it myself later, a lesser evil than seeing it go to waste).

The message of conservation needs to get across to all Americans, so those of us who do care, don't need to struggle to NOT do harm.

Weeks later, at a GAP, where I was exchanging Niel's gift shirt for a different size, I had brought in the shirt already folded in a little "Baby Gap" box. I clearly asked the sales lady to use the same box for packaging that I had brought, and she agreed to do that. When I glanced away (of course to my sweet baby near me) and then back to the lady, I caught her trying to slip a darn store plastic bag over the box, struggling to get the bag over without ripping it. I couldn't help but yell, "No! I don't need that, thank you!" I obviously didn't have a problem arriving without a bag, so why should I need help leaving the store with a bag? I had my stroller with me, where I could conveniently place the box without the bag after the exchange.

Today, I am proud to have walked into Ralphs and out with a lot of groceries without consuming any bags - paper or plastic. I simply asked the bag boy to put all my groceries in the cart without any bags, and then at the car, I transferred everything into my tote bag that I had forgotten to take out in the first place. It was easy! 

What about those fruits and veggies in the produce section? Don't I need those little plastics for covering 'em? Nope. No bags at all . . . I wash my produce before eating or cooking them, so why the bags? I'm wasting a LOT LESS plastic or paper bags now than I ever did before, and feel exhilarately great about it!

Click here to see a power point slide about the harm plastic bags are doing to our environment. I happened to get it recently from a friend and from my mother through email, and thought it was appropriate to share in this post.

by EcoDeaf contributor, Erika Thompson