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Archives for February 2012

Homemade Non-toxic Finger Paints

20120224-234859.jpgWhat child doesn’t like to paint? Better yet, what child doesn’t love to finger paint? It’s not very often that kids don’t like getting messy and using their hands to paint fun and creative pictures for the refrigerator.

As a mom I am constantly wanting to make sure that the products we use are safe, non-toxic, and eco-friendly. There are more and more choices for these types of items on the market, for instance Crayola has washable non-toxic finger paints, it comes with four 5 oz. tubes. This is a great option for many families. Another great option is homemade non-toxic finger paints. This idea can seem a little intimidating at first and there are so many recipes out there that it can be hard to know which ones to use.

This is easiest recipe I have found.


Ingredients

  • Water
  • Flour
  • Food coloring

Directions

Just pour some flour into a bowl and then pour enough cold water to make a very thick paste. After that, add hot water until you reach the consistency you want and add the food coloring. Let cool for a few minutes before painting. It took less than five minutes to make and works great. Make only enough for the current project because they do not keep well, but with as quick and easy as it is to make it takes no time before you are finger painting another masterpiece!

 

*Editors Note: We do not endorse Crayola finger paints as we are unsure of the ingredients. They are likely safer than many options but still use with caution. We recommend always looking for products that disclose all ingredients to be sure of their safety. We also recommend for this recipe using natural food based food coloring like the ones found at the Natural Candy Store*


About the Author

 

Deanna Layman is a stay at home mom, blogger and passionate about “going green.” After the birth of her son she realized just how much we are exposed to chemicals. She decided to begin her journey of going green. She is passionate about it and love to share all the new adventures she is experiencing. She also started a site for moms, Raisinginspiration.com, a place for moms to go and be encouraged, inspired and to create community.

 



Movie Review: The Last Mountain

The Last Mountain is a powerful film about a destructive form of coal mining called mountaintop removal coal mining. This form of mining involves blowing up the top of the mountain to get to the coal seams. It requires less workers and is a much quicker form of mining, but it is destroying the Appalachian Mountains.

The Last Mountain shows us how this mining is done and how it’s effecting the lives of the people in Appalachia. You watch parents struggle to get a new school built away from the coal dust, families torn apart due to death and illness connected to the mining, and you see communities rising up against this terrible social and environmental injustice.

While there is a lot of gloom and doom in the movie, seeing as it’s a tough and often dark topic, there is hope as well. The community is fighting back and has a plan, a wind farm on the “last mountain.” The wind farm would bring money to the struggling community and prove power to many homes for years to come.


This film is a must see. We are all connected to coal in someway and we must know what it’s doing to people and our environment. After you watch this film you will likely want to take action and you can by following these steps.

  1. Call your local power company and ask if they offer wind credits. These credits often only slightly increase your monthly bill and will ensure you are supporting the building of wind farms.
  2. Write your representative and let the know you want to see more wind farms in Oklahoma. We are a wonderful state for wind power and we have only become to use all of this great wind.
  3. Reduce your energy use. Conservation is a great way to reduce the need for coal and will also save you money.
  4. Go to ILoveMountains.org and sign the pledge to end mountaintop coal mining.
  5. Visit The Last Mountain’s website.

 

 


About the Author

 

Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 


Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, Animated

Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle made this animation based on Michael Pollan’s talk “Food Rules.” It was created for the RSA/Nominet Trust film competition. It’s a great way to visually understand what Pollan is talking about in his speech.

This speech of Pollan’s expands on his “food rule”, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” If you want to learn more about Michael Pollan’s “food rules” check out his book “Food Rules.” And if you like this video be sure to vote for it in the RSA/Nominet Trust film competition.

“Food Rules” by Michael Pollan – RSA/Nominet Trust competition from Marija Jacimovic on Vimeo.

 


About the Author



Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 

The Darker Side of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day of love and showing people we care but it can have a darker side. Many of the common gifts that we give on Valentine’s Day have big environment and social impacts.

Many of the flowers sent this Valentine’s Day will have been picked by women and children in South America that are forced to work and often abused. An estimated 20% of cut flower workers in Ecuador are children. The environmental impact is also large, most of these flowers are being shipped in and many have been grown using chemicals like DDT and methyl-bromide, which are banned in the US.

Another favorite Valentine’s Day gift is chocolate. Around 70% of the world’s chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast where much of the chocolate is farmed using forced labor and child labor. Workers are often forced to work in unsafe working conditions and abuse is common place.


You have likely heard about blood diamonds or conflict diamond, diamonds that are used to fuel horrible wars in Africa. While these are becoming less common, conflict metals are still pretty common. Metals and diamonds that aren’t fueling wars may still be causing environmental harm due to poor mining practices.

All of this may sound like there is no way to enjoy Valentine’s Day without harming others and the environment but that’s not true. When looking for flowers look for Fair Trade certified flowers or choose a locally grown plant. With chocolates look for Fair Trade and organic brands, there are a lot of choices and many stores carry at least a few options. And with jewelry look for recycled and vintage pieces or check out the store Brilliant Earth for other more ethical and eco-friendly options. Doing these simple things can make for a very happy Valentine’s Day without harming others or the plant!

 


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 

2012 Elections Interviews: Donna Bebo

Welcome to the first post from our series of interviews with Oklahoma candidates for the upcoming 2012 elections. In this series we will introduce you to the candidates and ask them about their views on the environment to help our readers make an informed choice when they vote.

Donna Bebo is a democrat running for United States Representative from the 4th Congressional District of Oklahoma. We got the chance to ask her a few questions and here are her answers.


GO: First off please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Bebo: I live in Fletcher with my husband, our children, and our two furry family members. Our family loves to cook. My husband has a pretty decent sized garden in our yard and he cans whatever we aren’t able to use right away. One of the things that probably makes our family unique is that my daughters and I are all vegetarians. But, my husband is an avid hunter and fisherman. To some people, this might seem like something that would create a lot of conflict. But, we respect each other’s differences and it works for us. Because of my love of animals and his love of the outdoors, we are both big supporters of conservation efforts.

GO: Why did you decide to run for US Congress?

Bebo: Like many of us, I have become more and more frustrated with our Congress. It seems like the only thing that matters to many politicians is winning the next election and gaining seats for their own party. In the midst of all of this bickering, the needs of the people get lost. We need to elect people to office who have no other goal than to serve the people. I think the only way to get representation like that is for regular Americans to stand up for themselves. That is exactly what I’m doing.

GO: If elected what would you do, if anything, about current pollution issues?

Bebo: I would stand against any attempt to loosen EPA clean air regulations. I’ve heard the claim that these regulations hurt job growth. I think that is a cowardly stance and we’ve all heard it before. It seems anything that big business isn’t in favor of gets charged with “hurting job growth”. They are holding us hostage and it’s wrong. The EPA estimates that up to 2500 lives could be saved thanks to their new regulations. These are the same regulations Tom Cole voted to put on hold.

I also think that violators of clean air regulations must be held accountable. If you poison our air… If you make our children sick… there will be consequences. We need to work with the EPA to make their enforcement efforts more effective. It seems that even when companies are found to be in violation, red tape tends to get in the way of efficient enforcement.

GO: What about energy issues?

Bebo: I’m very excited about the potential Oklahoma has to be a national leader in green energy. We have a jackpot of natural resources here. But, companies will generally only invest in what is profitable. It would be my job to make green energy initiatives attractive to existing energy companies and to help attract green start ups to our state. This growth would be encouraged by tax breaks and grant programs. Our nation already invests in environmentally sound energy practices. We need to bring that investment to Oklahoma. Energy companies can be profitable and still environmentally friendly. It would be my job to encourage and support those who invest in a greener Oklahoma.

GO: What are your views on climate change?

Bebo: Climate change is very real. We can either accept the scientific proof and work to correct our course or we can bury our heads in the sand and let our children and grandchildren deal with it. It’s my job as a mom to leave my children with a world that is better off… not worse. So, I choose to do my part to help our environment.

GO: And lastly, why do you think our readers should vote for you?

Bebo: Whenever people would encourage me to run for office, I would always say, “I’m not a politician.” More and more, I they replied, “That’s exactly why we need you to run!” And I think that’s exactly why people should vote for me. I’m not running for office because I want to get my name on some door. I’m running because I believe we deserve much better than the representation we’re getting right now. At the end of the day, I not only need to face myself in the mirror… I also need to be able to look each of my children in the eye and know that I’m living the example of who I want them to be. I don’t want any of our children to look back and see that we could have stood up… but, we chose to take the easy path instead!

 

If you would like to learn more about Donna Bebo check out her website Bebo for Congress, you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Be sure to check out our other interviews as well.

Register to Vote

Disclaimer: Green Oklahoma doesn’t endorse any candidates. We urge our readers to learn about all of the candidates and make informed choices this year. And above all Green Oklahoma urges all Oklahomans to vote!