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Too Busy for Climate Change?

Planeta Terra, pintado pela Yohanah agora
Creative Commons License photo credit: felipesp

You don’t have to save the world single handed. It’s not an all or nothing proposition for each individual. It’s simply about doing the best you can in any given day. What I’m doing today is spreading the word for Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change.

As Monika Baurlein states today in MotherJones.com, “Fix the Climate or the Kid Gets It.” (Clever title!) We need to convince “Americans that something we care about is actually at risk here. And of course something is is. Climate change poses the greatest danger not to polar bears, not to glaciers or beaches, but to our kids.”

So what’s a busy person to do? Here are some ideas that are easy:

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Should You Care About Global Warming?

Why the Wind Blows

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” according to Matthys Levy, who wrote “Why the Wind Blows: A History of Weather and Global Warming.” Why? Levy states that reversing the global warming course will help future generations. My belief is that through choosing greener ways of living, we improve our own lives today as well.

I think you will enjoy reading Mr. Levy’s personal insights to questions I posed to him recently. I know I did!

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Green Cleaning: Easy and Natural Ways to Clean and Freshen Your Home

Green Cleaning: Easy and Natural Ways to Clean and Freshen Your Home

How would you like to clean and freshen your home without harsh chemicals? No more fumes choking your breathing, no more harsh chemicals drying out your skin. Well, you can! It’s easy, economical, and good for the environment. You can make these recipes in large batches and put them inside air tight containers.

My advice is to print out this article and try a new one each week.

Glass Cleaning

  • Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Clean with rags, paper towels, or newspaper.

Air Fresheners

  • House Plants! The all natural air freshener!
  • Open your windows!
  • Baking Soda in fridge and garbage can to absorb odors.
  • Boil and then simmer a few sections of a citrus fruit or cinnamon or cloves in a pot with water for an hour.
  • Add drop or two of your favorite essential oil on the inside of your toilet paper roll. Each spin will release a fresh scent to your bathroom.

Furniture Polish

  • Combine 1 tspn lemon oil and 1 cup vegetable oil. Apply with clean dry cloth.

Polishing Silver

  • Combine 1 quart/liter water, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp baking soda and 1 piece aluminum foil. Add sterling silver items to be cleaned. Boil for approximately 3 minutes. Remove and polish with dry soft cloth. Do not use on silver plated items.

All Purpose Cleaners

  • Vinegar and salt mixed together make a good surface cleaner.
  • Baking soda (4 Tbsp) and warm water (1 quart/liter) is a good general cleaner.
  • Baking soda on a damp sponge. This will clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • Mix 3 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 tspn vegetable oil soap (such as Murphy’s Oil Soap), 3 cups hot water. Use from a bucket or a spray bottle. Use and wipe clean.

Scouring Solution

  • Use dry table salt or baking soda with a damp sponge to scour and then rinse.

“Soft Scrub” Solution

  • Mix 1/4 cup Borax and enough Vegetable-Oil Soap (such as Murphy’s) to make a paste. Then add 1/2 tspn lemon oil. Use with a sponge and rinse well. Important Note: Borax is poisonous if swallowed so keep stored safely away from children and pets.

Toilet Cleaner

  • Sprinkle baking soda into the toilet. Next add vinegar and then scrub with brush. This will clean and deodorize.
  • Tough stains: Pour 1 cup Borax into toilet bowl and leave overnight. Scrub and flush in the morning. Important Note: Borax is poisonous if swallowed so keep pets away if you have one that drinks out of the toilet.

Drain Cleaner and Freshener for Disposal drains

  • Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Then pour in 1 cup of vinegar. Let the mixture foam for a few minutes. Then flush with a gallon of boiling water. Lastly if you have a disposal, finish up with some ice cubes to sharpen the blades and old citrus rinds to freshen up.

Tub & Tile Cleaners

  • Depending on the level of dirt, grime, use either diluted or full strength vinegar to clean and baking soda for scouring. Rinse well. Vinegar alone can be used if scouring is not required.
  • Cleaning Grout: make a paste of baking soda and warm water and scrub with sponge or old toothbrush. Rinse well.
  • Hard Lime Deposits on chrome: soften up for easy cleaning by covering with vinegar soaked towels. Let soften for 1 hour before cleaning.
  • Rust & Hard Water Stains: apply white vinegar or lemon juice. Leave on until spot disappears. May need to be repeated.
  • Mildew Removal: dissolve 1/2 cup borax with 1/2 vinegar in some warm water. Use sponge to apply and wipe clean. Pure white vinegar alone can work also.

Cleaning Pots

  • Soak pots and pans in warm water and a couple teaspoons of baking soda in the water. Then clean normally with liquid dish soap.

Carpet Cleaning

  • Stain remover: soak the stain with club soda and blot until the stain is removed.
  • Dog/Cat Urine on Carpet: use towel to absorb as much as possible. Wash using warm water and liquid dish soap. Rinse with 1/4 cup vinegar in 2 cups warm water. Soak up with towels and apply pressure to absorb as much moisture as possible. Leave towels in place for a few hours. Then remove towels and allow to dry completely. A fan can be used to speed up the proces.
  • Freshen Carpets: mix 2 cups baking soda with 30 drops of lavender essential oil in bowl. Make sure any clumps are broken up and mixed well. Next, before vacuuming, sprinkle this mixture from a shaker type container. Let stand for 15 minutes. Then vacuum.

Floor Cleaner

  • Mix: 1 cup vinegar, 1 Tbsp vegetable oil based soap, and 2 gallons of hot water. Use with a mop.

Removing Wax

  • Dip cotton cloth in rubbing alcohol and sponge off.

Removing Sticky Labels and Adhesives

  • Use vinegar. Be sure to soak as much as necessary to loosen first. Only use this on surfaces that are washable.

Laundry

  • Try adding one or all of these to your laundry: white vinegar (1/2-1 cup), borax (1/2 cup), and/or baking soda (1/2 cup). Borax is said to be a better whitener for clothes while creating far less damage than bleach. Remember to keep Borax away from children and pets as it is poisonous if swallowed.

Additional Resources

Basic Cleaning Tools and How to Use Them – how to handle green cleaning agents.
How to Green Your Cleaning – many links to Tree Hugger articles on green cleaning.
62 Little Known Uses of Vinegar – some very practical and some interesting uses for this all purpose substance.
Homemade Laundry Detergent – If you want to really get into green cleaning. I’m going to stick with Arm & Hammer for now.

Image Source: via Flickr

Please Share!

What are your favorite Green Cleaning tips? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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