Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm a firm believer in the idea that knowledge is power. Hey, I'm a scientist - I can't help myself! But in all seriousness, there is no way that any of us can be expected to make the best choices for our health, our families, our wallets, and our environment without access to information that can help us with those choices. In honor of Earth Day I've assembled some online resources that I've found particularly useful for saving green:

1) Environmental Working Group's Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides
Sure buying organic produce is better for your body and the environment. But, as I'm sure you've heard, we're in a bit of a slow economy right now (shocker, I know) and everyone is watching their wallets. That's no excuse to bring home pesticide laden fruit thanks to this handy guide. The EWG tested the most common produce and came up with the top 12 you should always buy organic. Thin skinned fruits and veggies, like peaches and bell peppers, top the list. Other "conventionally" grown produce doesn't hang on to pesticides either by design - like thick skinned avocados - or because they just don't need pesticides to grow period! I know, kinda sneaky to call something organic when they never actually needed pesticides to begin with. There's a handy dandy printable PDF or iPhone app available at the site so you can have the list on hand when you shop.

2) Ideal Bite
This is a fun little site that has a lot of random bits of eco information, and you can sign up to get them sent to you by email. Fun to read, and great cocktail party conversation starters!

3) Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database
Another effort of the Environmental Working Group, this database analyzes the chemicals in different cosmetics and rates them on their safety (or non-safety I suppose). An eye opener for sure (ha!). I recently switched to mineral makeup as I was totally creeped out by all the crap in my foundation. (as a side note, I totally love the mineral makeup as all my occasional breakouts have become a thing of the past!) I'm slowly working my way through my lotions and potions and replacing them with ones that don't feature mecury, lead, nanoparticles (really creepy, but that's another story), phalates, and the mysterious "fragrance". It's a struggle, as many of this is unregulated even though we absorb a lot through our skin. I wouldn't freak out and throw everything away, as a little exposure won't kill you, but it's worth spending a few minutes on this site when you are ready to replace your moisturizer or mascara and see if you can find a "less bad" alternative.

4) Greenopia and GoodGuide
I haven't spent a lot of time on these sites, but they look like great resource for all sorts of info about different products. You can waste a lot of money chasing every item that is branded "green" but in reality some aren't really as good as they seem. Buying less is always best for saving both kinds of green, but it's nice to have options when you want to save the green in your pocket without losing the green outside.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

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