What in the World?

Have you ever googled “plastic island?”

It’s crazy.

Every bit of plastic ever made, still exists somewhere. 

Every. Bit.

Plastic pieces in our ocean outnumber sea life 6:1. 

Seriously.

93% of Americans have BPA in our body. BPA alters hormones and disrupts our endocrine systems. 

What the what?

The average American tosses away more than 4.5 lbs of garbage every day. 

No shit.

More than one million plastic bags are used every minute.

One million. Every minute.

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

Insanity.

When plastics break down it forms teeny tiny little pieces that fish eat. Then people eat fish. So people eat plastic. 

Do you want to be eating plastic?

So, what can we do? 

Choose reusable bags and bottles.

They are cuter anyway.

Refuse single-use, disposable plastics.

Just say no (thank you).

Ditch the microbeads in your toothpaste and exfoliator.

There are safer alternatives.

Reduce the use of everyday plastics like sandwich bags. 

Choose other alternatives like stainless steel and silicone.

Say no to straws.

Just drink from the cup!

BYO Cutlery or to-go containers.

Who really likes eating with a plastic fork?

Teach your children well.

Remember we are just borrowing the earth from them.

Go plant a tree or at least hug one.

Then just breath…

Happy Earth Day to the Mother of all Mothers.

For more tips on ditching the plastic, click here.

 

 

 

On Bread, Bikes and Making Things BETTER

If you ever wondered how one person can change the world – meet Markey Culver.

In 2012 Markey was working in Africa as a volunteer for the Peace Corps. She was hungry for more than the routine meals she was consuming day in and day out. Markey decided to plant her own vegetable garden and construct her own oven (yes, you read that right) to bake bread so that her lunch could be a little more exciting. Bread did not exist in Bushoga and the women of the village were in awe. So, Markey began teaching the women how to bake. From that small act, a huge idea was born. Today The Women’s Bakery teaches women in places where nutrition, education and jobs are scarce, to build businesses that feed communities and support families.

The Women’s Bakery has changed the way I think about an everyday staple forever. 

This program allows women to learn about business, life skills and nutrition. And why women? Because when a woman in a developing country earns $1, 85 cents is invested in her family. “By empowering a woman, one empowers a family, and in turn, an entire community.”

It’s incredible how we can go through life taking seemingly simple things for granted. Take bread and bikes as an example.
So, what about the bikes?
For many women in Africa riding a bike is considered a no-no. This is based on perceptions that cycling causes negative health consequences and false beliefs about the sex drive of women who ride bikes. The Peace Corps Let Girls Ride Campaign sought to do something about these perceptions by organizing a women’s ride and educational event to teach lessons on gender equality, stereotypes and empowerment. The Women’s Bakery participated in this event and was a recipient of funds raised during the campaign.
Of course bringing bikes to bakeries made all the sense in the world. It would allow women to make bread deliveries faster and further. But sometimes the simplest concepts are brutally hard to achieve where small mindedness runs rampant. Once again, The Women’s Bakery is breaking gender stereotypes by empowering women to ride.
When I saw this picture of a grown women riding a bike for the first time, my heart wanted to burst from my chest. I sent an email to my local friend – one of the people who made the dream of this charity a reality –  to find out how many more bikes were needed and how I could help secure them.
Now, each of their bakeries has (or will soon have) a bicycle. I want to work to ensure that each bakery that opens in the future will too.

Please join me at CycleBar Chesterfield on Saturday April 29 at 4:00 for a Let Girls Ride, ride.

In leiu of payment for the class, your donation will contribute to funds that will be used to purchase bikes for bakeries throughout Africa.

I look forward to seeing you there!!

#breadpower #letgirlsride

xx

Something’s in the water…

It doesn’t take an environmental health guru to know that the state of our nation’s drinking water is far from ideal. While the situation in Flint is alarming, it isn’t isolated. The EPA has stated that only nine U.S. states report safe levels of lead in their water supply. Water treatment facilities do not eliminate drugs from our drinking water and most supplies also contain contaminants from fluoride to disinfection byproducts and more. My own research on our local water revealed levels of chlorimines, fluoride, arsenic and testosterone that I wasn’t confortable with. The water supply isn’t the only problem. Outdated infustrcture and pipes adds to the issue by leaching contaminants into our water. Our schools and other places where we routinely access drinking water don’t have standard protocol for routinely testing water to be sure it is safe.

Knowing all of this, I knew I had to do something about the water my family was drinking on a daily basis. But buying a water filter felt a little like buying a diamond to me. I didn’t really know whether what I was looking at was legit or whether I was being sold a cubic zirconia. As a result of my confusion, I spent the past 4 years considering what kind of water filter to get. Was it a good value? Should I consider reverse osmosis? Maybe carbon? UV lights? What about remineralization? Where was it made?  Were the parts going to kill me even if the water wasn’t? Would it be better to get a whole house system or one for under the sink? What if I didn’t want the cheesy fixtures most come with to clash with my brand new kitchen faucet? How would I have them installed? Would they filter for everything I wanted them to? What did I even want to filter for?

The questions were endless and they left me exhausted. And the systems aren’t cheap. So, for 4 years I did nothing.

Well, I can’t lie. There was the notorious “Wu Wei” I bought that supposedly “structured” our water. None of us really knew what that meant and many a friend and family member mocked me for buying this thing… yet all of them would use it when they came to my house. I mean, when in Rome, right?

Then there was about a 12 month period mixed in there when I drove to buy glass bottled spring water from a local supplier. I would haul the jugs from my house to the vendor and back again . One fine winter day I accidentally left one of those things in my car overnight and came to find it had exploded all over the place. All 2.5 gallons of it. Glass everywhere, water everywhere. My husband misunderstood me when I called to tell him that my water bottle broke in the car. I was impressed with how calm he was. Come to find out he thought I meant the 24 ounce kind of water bottle I take to the gym. Needless to say, this schlepping situation couldn’t go on forever.

When a report came out about high levels of lead being found in a local school bearing the same name as the one my children attend, I knew I had to do something. I decided to put on my big girl panties and do what any modern day woman would do with her hard earned paycheck. I hopped online and bought me the best water filtration system I could come up with. Actually, I bought two. One would filter water as it comes into our house and the other would filter it again at the kitchen sink. The whole house unit would help with water quality we used for bathing, clothes washing, watering our plants, etc. and the undercounter system would filter again after the water had gone through our plumbing system, potentially picking up contaminants from the pipes, etc.

This is the one I got for my whole house:

This is the one I got for under my kitchen sink:

I feel better knowing that when we are home we are drinking water that is non-toxic. And I believe a water filter is an important investment.
Find out what’s in the water you drink every day by finding your local water report. Water is essential to life. Safe drinking water is essential to human health. We all deserve BETTER.

*For the record… I still use the Wu Wei. Can’t hurt, right?