Our newest host, Danielle Della Valle, brings spunk and vigor to our How To/What Is series. Danielle is quite knowledgeable on most sustainable living topics, and puts them to practice in her everyday life. She has graciously agreed to appear in our Greener Good short film series. The photo above shows her filming in the studio with Pandora, the founder of Greener Good.
In addition to being eco-savvy, Danielle is also health-savvy. She is a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Her love of environmentalism comes from her passion for wellness. You can visit her wellness website at biowellnutrition.com.
The Green Ration Book is an online resource with articles about the carbon and environmental footprint of transportation, food, building, and technology. Based in the United Kingdom, its Fishergate Environmental Panel considers environmental issues, and makes practical judgments on how sustainable each item considered is. GRB makes decisions on items that are hard to measure with the standard carbon footprint model to make it easier for you to decide what to buy without having to add up all the possible variables yourself.
Their resources page has a list of links to individual resource pages for things like concrete, air travel, steel, sugar, freight transportation, and many other pages on carbon footprint and environmental impact analysis. Clicking on the links takes you to the carbon footprint and environmental analysis for the items listed, and to their list of outside resources used. This could be a great resource for any organization trying to put together a sustainability report.
They also have a links page with links to other web pages that calculate carbon footprint and other topics that affect the health of our environment. The front page of Green Ration Book sports articles about their findings, and links to other pages on and off their site. You can also click on the topic tabs that run down the left side of the pages to get to the food, building, transportation, and technology category pages.
Some of the pages give a carbon offset equivalent. You can use this to buy carbon offset points, or, even better, to reduce your impact by just buying cleaner products. The site doesn't have a lot of visual interest in the way of photos or drawings. It is meant for you to word-nerd out on statistics and studies, and facilitates a way for you to create a carbon reduction lifestyle plan. Neat!
PHLUSH (Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human) is an organization that promotes advocacy for people to have access to toilets.
Their mission and values statement is:
"Through education and advocacy, PHLUSH helps local governments and citizen groups to provide equitable public restroom availability and to prepare for a pipe-breaking seismic event with appropriate ecological toilet systems. Toilet availability is a human right, and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters, and our soils."
PHLUSH concentrates their efforts on making public toilets available to everyone, even in disaster situations. Disaster sanitation plans are not being adopted by local governments everywhere. It is in their best interest to have a plan B so that drinking water does not become contaminated by human feces.
Simple composting toilets are the most practical, and instructions are being handed out in brochures at local fairs and festivals so that neighbors can be prepared ahead of time. The simplest toilet can be made with a 5-gallon bucket and a scoop of wood chips.
To help spread the word about public toilet advocacy, download their Public Toilet Advocacy Toolkit.
Edited by Lisa Charles, MPH
The Internet Archive is a nonprofit organization that started in 1996 in San Francisco, California. Its mission is to preserve our human history in digital format. Many historical collections stored on paper or film have been lost because of fire, decay, or lack of physical storage space. The Internet Archive's mission is to preserve all of these delicate artifacts in digital format. They have recently expanded their collection to include modern digital collections.
Some of the goals of the Internet Archive are:
1. Internet libraries can change the content of the Internet from ephemera to enduring artifacts of our political and cultural lives.
2. Protecting our right to know about history.
3. Exercising our right to remember things as they were.
4. Establishing Internet Centers internationally.
5. Tracing the way our language changes.
6. Keeping track of the web's evolution.
7. Reviving dead web links.
8. Understanding the economy.
9. Finding out what the web tells us about ourselves.
10. Looking back in history with the Way Back Machine, which is their archive search engine.
Many organizations and individuals have contributed to this project. Their website also has a great list of links to related projects. You can access their Way Back Machine at archive.org. You'll find collections of music, movies, books, software, concerts, photos, audio recordings, TV shows, old web pages, and more.
Edited by Lisa Charles, MPH
Today I Found Out is an amazing website with articles, videos, and podcasts on how everything in life works. They share their information across several platforms, my favorite being their YouTube channel. They seem to do a great job of fact-checking, which I think is important in this age of information and misinformation.
So why watch videos on how things work? For one, they can be quite entertaining because of the surprising facts about common, everyday things that we are unaware of. Secondly, because I feel that the more we understand about things around us, the better chance we have of creating a completely sustainable society that works for everyone.
Appropedia is celebrating its 10th year. Appropedia is a knowledge-based wiki that is a compilation of pages about sustainable living. It encourages collaborative solutions by allowing users to add new pages or contribute to an existing page. The idea is that we collect a database of shared knowledge. There is an Appropriate Technology section where innovation that takes our environment and personal safety into account is shared freely.
There are several portal pages that take you directly to a particular topic. I especially like the Water Portal, as it is something that is so essential to life and yet so easily poisoned. This page is chock-full of links to pages about cleaning, collecting, and sharing water. It also features a preview of a "Selected Page" at the top.
If you would like to contribute your time to Appropedia, there are several ways you can help out. Check out their FAQ page for a list of ways to help. Some of the help needed requires technical skills, but there are lots of things to help with even if you eschew techie stuff.
Overall, I think that Appropedia is worth a look to explore what can be done when we put our ideas together and share experiences. Why put a patent on so many things when we will learn and grow as a society so much faster if we place cooperation before personal gain?
Back in 2013, when we were planning our cross-Canadian road trip, we decided to reach out to WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) hosts as a way to save money, learn useful farming skills, and engage with local communities. The WWOOF listing for Apple Road Nubians just outside of Wakefield, Quebec, was particularly intriguing—learning about goats was high on my WWOOF checklist, and farmer Wiebke Martin’s post included the words “MUST LOVE GOATS” and several pictures of her adorable, floppy-eared animals.
I contacted her immediately, and within a few days, we had arranged a stay with Wiebke, her family, and her herd later that summer. It was definitely one of our most memorable WWOOF gigs, and to this day we can’t see a Nubian without thinking fondly of our time at Apple Road Nubians.
Wiebke began making and selling her own goat milk soap the year after our stay. As a recent convert to goat milk soap, a few weeks ago I decided to ask her a few questions about this wonderfully natural product and the animals that help make it happen.
1. When did you start working with goats?
My first goat, Tessie, was bought for $50 when I was a teenager. We lived in Wakefield, Quebec, and I had to acquire a dog license for her. I was hooked immediately. She will always be dear to me.
I now live on a farm just north of Wakefield with about 60 registered Nubians. My girls are all milked by hand and treated like the lovely individuals they are. It’s a lot of work, but they are my passion and worth the effort.
2. How did your goat milk soap business start?
I started making goat milk soaps at Apple Road Nubians in 2014. At the time, it was not an interest of mine, but when my farm and goats were at risk due to financial pressure, I took a closer look at this option for supplemental income.
Because so many people make soap, I knew I had to come up with something special. My soaps are made with all-natural colors, carrier and essential oils, exfoliates, and raw materials. I use the best conditioning oils and butters to create a high-quality bar of soap. I also design some "scenery" soaps, which have been a real hit.
To my surprise, I love soaping! Waking up to cut open a mold of scenery design soap is always exciting—each one is unique and beautiful. The feedback has been fantastic… and best of all, I still have the farm.
3. What are the benefits of goat milk soap compared to store-bought soap?
Like high-quality butters and oils, goat milk is highly beneficial for our skin. Additionally, most commercial "soaps" are not actually soaps, but detergents. During the saponification process (when sodium hydroxide is combined with milk or water to create the soap byproduct), glycerin is produced. Glycerin makes your skin smooth, and keeps it moist. Most commercial companies remove the glycerin and sell it as lotion additives. Homemade goat milk soap retains this glycerin.
4. What scents/varieties do you offer?
I have about 12 varieties.
“Spanish Castile" is made 100% from olive oil, so it’s very conditioning and smooth. "Remedy" has tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils, which help relieve athlete’s foot, eczema, and psoriasis. "Orange euphoria," with a beautiful sweet orange essential oil, is an excellent antibacterial and conditioning soap. "Gardeners" peppermint soap has a super fine pumice to remove the toughest dirt and mechanic oils. Others are Lavender, Calendula Ylang-Ylang, Chamomile, Plain (loaded with shea butter), Cilantro Lemongrass, "Cabin" (a woodsy soap), Patchouli, Rose, Rose-Geranium, and seasonal specials.
To learn more about Wiebke and her soaps, check out her recent interview on CTV Ottawa.
Wiebke sells most of her soap locally, as shipping (even within Canada) is quite cost prohibitive right now. I highly recommend Wakefield, Quebec, as a beautiful place to visit…
But if a trip to Canada isn’t in your future, please pick up a bar of goat milk soap from your neighborhood food co-op or local organic goat farmer. You’ll never go back to store-bought soap!
Salad fans, allow me to introduce you to Lindsay Sauvé and Peter Korchnak, co-founders of America’s newest food movement: The Salad Lobby! What began as a way to curb carb-heavy budget food during Lindsay and Peter’s year abroad is now a serious (and sometimes seriously humorous) mission to put the "food" back in America's food. Lindsay, with her creative, path-blazing brain, is The Salad Lobby’s soul; Peter’s marketing and digital brawn are the system.
I recently interviewed Peter and Lindsay to learn more about their exciting new endeavor.
1. What inspired The Salad Lobby?
We met. We married. We traveled. While overseas, salad became a metaphor for all things healthy. We made salad from unfamiliar ingredients in unfamiliar hostel kitchens. We searched for salad to fill the gap between croissants, empanadas, and beer. We were far from home, and at times felt out of place on the road, but as long as we had salad, we had balance.
Back in the United States, we wanted to eat like we did while traveling, but ingredients that are part of a typical grocery list in other parts of the world—high-quality oils; seasonal, organic produce; fresh herbs—are considerably more expensive “specialty products” here in the US. We had to develop ways to make these ingredients stretch. We found it took more diligence and effort to eat salad every day.
At the same time, we knew about the dairy, beef, and chicken lobbies (John Oliver's Last Week Tonight segment on the chicken lobby was the trigger that inspired our little company's name). These outfits all have enormous influence on what Americans eat, how much it costs, and what's considered “healthy.”
Until now, there has never been a salad lobby. We decided to dedicate our energy to bringing more salad to the people, and with that, The Salad Lobby was born.
2. What's the mission of The Salad Lobby? What are its short- and long-term goals?
The Salad Lobby advocates for salad's place at the table. We aim to bring salad to all Americans by sharing the variety that salad can offer. We promote salad as a meal that's inexpensive, easy to prepare, and made from simple, whole ingredients we can pronounce.
As our Manifesto outlines, we also celebrate salad as a way to connect with what we eat and with each other. Salad is healthy, beautiful, and a symbol for America.
In broader context, we tackle American food culture and industry. Our food system makes unhealthy food cheaper than healthy food. Food corporations spend billions marketing nutritionally poor junk food to children. The dairy and meat lobbies advocate for less regulation of their industries, making us sicker. Our government skirts sound nutritional science under pressure from industries.
The Salad Lobby works to inspire, motivate, help, and sometimes also nudge our fellow “saladvocates” to raise demand for salad. If Americans ask for healthier, fresher, and better-tasting food, our system will be forced to supply it. With more supply comes more availability and accessibility of salad for all. Ultimately, adding salad to the table will result in healthier tables, healthier people, and healthier generations.
The Salad Lobby also aims to influence American food culture by changing assumptions that healthy food is bland, expensive, hard to obtain, or elitist. Salad can be a delicious meal in itself, a meal that’s inexpensive and easy to prepare. We want to bring salad to the table of all Americans.
Our long-term vision is to create a world in which everyone can say, “America loves salad.”
3. What does The Salad Lobby offer to fellow “saladvocates”?
The Salad Lobby offers salad lovers tools and resources to make, eat, and share salad. These include salad-related articles and our own recipes like Chopped Curry Broccoli Salad, Shaved Turnip Salad, and Celery Salad with Apple, Walnuts, and Pecorino (pictured below).
We also offer salad-related gear so people can let their friends know that they are certifiable salad nerds like us.
4. How can folks support The Salad Lobby?
We're only half joking; our purpose is to support you in leading a more salad-centric life. Here are a few ways to support our salad movement:
- Read our blog.
- Sign up for our mailing list.
- Make salads using our recipes, and send us your own salad recipes.
- Like our Facebook page.
- Follow us on Instagram.
- Buy t-shirts on our website, and wear them proudly.
- Spread the salad word by sharing our updates, posts, recipes, photos...
We have a few other exciting projects in store for the months to come, so join our list to stay up-to-date.
Between now and Election Day, we also invite you to fulfill your civic duty and cast a vote in the election for Veggie in Chief. The contest to pick the leader of the vegetable world features three frontrunners:
Let's not just choose any vegetable; let's choose the right one. Will it be Broccoli, among the national favorites but an odd choice for salad? Celery, a stable standby, but rarely a salad headliner? Or Turnip, the odd root everyone loves to rag on? You decide.
5. If you could make one call to action on behalf of The Salad Lobby, what would it be?
Go forth, eat salad!
As fellow travelers and future farmers, we wholeheartedly support The Salad Lobby, and we hope you will, too! (And by the way, my Veggie in Chief vote is going to Celery—what about you?)