Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 Merry Christmas everyone and I wish you all a 
Happy New Year!

2010 has been full of many changes and transitions for me.
I thank you for being along on the ride with me.
I have relocated back to Canada and excited to be building my business around sustainability for families!

2011 will be exciting and filled with love and joyful things!
I am launching my printed book, Your Green Family Blueprint in February 2011! 
I am announcing an exciting service offering in late January 2011 for the "go-getters" wanting to go green with joyful support  - a response to your requests! 
You won't want to miss out!
Many other "new" things coming next year.....


Much love, joy and warmth to you and your families for the close of 2010.
Tracy xo

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Featured in Delish Mag Fall 2010!

I am deeply honored to be featured in a wonderful new online magazine based in Vancouver called Delish Magazine!

Delish Magazine Fall 2010 Cover

I was asked to contribute to their feature called "Where in the world is...." and this month it's "Where in the world is Tracy Lydiatt?". 

Please visit http://www.delishmag.com for an amazing issue and enjoy. This issue also features great articles about green cleaning, gardening for spring bulbs, awesome interviews with some inspiring people, as well as a focus on crafts! (including an awesome feature on how to make your own laptop cover!)

Thank you to Delish Magazine for asking me to contribute! Love you gals! Well done!

Back on Canadian Soil

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to say thank you to my Australian sustainability friends for a wonderful 2 years of connections, learning, support and love!

I have moved back to Canada for now to work full time on my business, my book and promoting sustainability for families.

It has been a time of great transition for me so I've been a bit quiet. Look for more to come in the future as I settle in and get my teeth into it!

Much sustainability love!
Tracy

Friday, September 17, 2010

Did you know Oct 2 is World Empathy Day? Visit here to learn more, register an event or spread the word! http://ping.fm/tXr6s

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Loved this article - shows what you can do to save $$ on energy in your family home this winter http://bit.ly/aREG2Y

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What do you think about the new commercial for Nissan's Leaf (all electric)? Warning: Polar Bears http://ping.fm/UaXaw

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sending good vibes and light to those families who were involved in the 9/11 event. Remembering social needs is a huge part of sustainability.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Canada will classify bisphenol-A (BPA) as toxic, making history as the first country to take such a definitive stance on the endocrine disrupting chemical. http://ping.fm/W1NMk

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When you watch this - you will appreciate your washing machine so much and feel abundant in your life. Love the creativity! http://ping.fm/pLrjy
Ever get annoyed your ziplock bags don't make it home to be reused? Give them these bags instead http://ping.fm/4HoKy

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

I love clever design! This is a good one for parents needing solutions for small spaces. Check out www.inhabitots.com/2010/08/20/espace-loggia-creates-stackable-rooms-for-space-constrained-kids/
Loving the creative cardboard for kids! http://ping.fm/ah15K

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ever considered running your diesel vehicle on straight veggie oil (grease)? Start here http://ping.fm/OMTH8
Toronto bikers on the rise and now they will get some downtown help. I was impressed by how many people I saw biking! http://ping.fm/KPvk1

Monday, August 16, 2010

Aaagh summertime - So much fruit & veggies, so little time. Here's a great book about organic cooking for children http://ping.fm/3bXIF

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Anyone tired of constantly hearing about Lindsay Lohan? Check out a celeb doing good things for healthy families! http://ping.fm/nPlDi

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yet another great reason to steer your kids away from junk food - New study in Journal of Attention Disorders shows that junk food has negative effects on kids. “When we looked at specific foods, having an ADHD diagnosis was associated with a diet high in takeaway foods, processed meats, red meat, high-fat dairy products, and confectionary,” says associate professor Wendy Oddy, who led the study. http://ping.fm/3cGTV

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ending the Climate WAR

I have been watching the BP Oil Spill situation in the USA with anxiety, sadness, anger and as many good vibes as I can muster for the people and wildlife directly impacted by this disaster.

Franke James, a Canadian author/artist/activist recently let me know about her new essay about The Climate War. Read it and take action - any way you can.
Ending the Climate War




Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

p.s. Get your FREE ebook preview HERE
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Friday, June 4, 2010

How do you look at the world?

This is one of the coolest videos I've seen in a long time!  It just goes to show that one of the biggest ways to change the world is to change the way we choose to look at things.  Thank you for the reminder....






Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

p.s. Get your FREE ebook preview HERE
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Monday, May 31, 2010

Super Cool Bikes!

Chipsy is sick!  Yes, my fat burning mobile is in the shop for awhile so I've had to get back on my bike a bit more which is great actually!

In honor of the mighty bike and my mantra - burn fat not oil, here are some of my favorites!

Bike Friday - Folding Travel bikes





New meaning to the saying, "Going Dutch"! Dutch Bikes





And finally one for the whole family! Christiania Bikes



I did see more than one of these in action while living in Sweden on a trip to Amsterdam. They are totally amazing - the woman was pregnant, had two kids, a dog, a large house plant and the groceries all in the bucket!

Woo HOO!

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

p.s.  Get your FREE ebook preview HERE
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Reflection


That fire of clear mind is in everyone, and to remove any obscuration of its clarity is the duty of all people in this time, that each one may remember and find our way again to the source of our being.  - Dhyani Ywahoo


Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

p.s.  Get your FREE ebook preview HERE
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Free DELISH Magazine is Yummy!

Look out world, the ladies of Delish magazine are ready to take you on....

Delish is a free-to-the-reader online publication for women. It shares a credo with the three of its creators and that’s “Live like you mean it.” 

Delish is for all women who believe that smarts go really well with devastating lipstick, a hot pair of shoes, and a set of knitting needles.

I love their first issue and best of all it's FREE! Articles range from beauty tips, fashion picks, how to become a backyard gardener, book reviews, a full DIY clutch pattern, and their favorite "Found for the Family" section with "Mamma Likey" and "Papa Likey" product picks.

Check it out at DELISH magazine  

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

p.s.  Get your FREE ebook preview HERE
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Non-toxic garden pest solutions

Spring is in the air in the Northern Hemisphere and spring planting has begun.  Here are some tips from the website Tipnut to help you beat bugs in your garden without chemicals.

10 Organic Garden Aids For Pest & Disease Control

With a little bit of planning you can help cut down on pests and disease organically by planting natural repellents near problem plants. I have a few suggestions listed below along with a few recipes using non-harsh ingredients that can help deter pests (and some disease).

10 Organic Garden Aids

Radishes Are Not Only Tasty In Salads, They Help Repel Cucumber 
Beetles Too!
Radishes Are Not Only Tasty In Salads, They Help Repel Cucumber Beetles Too!

Epson Salt Spray: 2 ounces of salt per 2 gallons water.
Benefits: Helps with Black Spot, Mildew, Wilt and Rust

Mineral Oil Spray: 3 parts oil per 100 parts water.
Benefits: Helps with Aphids, Codling Moth, Leaf Roller, Mealybugs, Scaled Insects, White Fly

Beer: Stale or mixed with molasses
Benefits: Helps control Slugs

Tomato Leaves Spray: Crush leaves and soak in water for a couple days. Strain then spray.
Benefits: Grasshopper and White Fly control

Soap Spray: 2 TBS soap flakes dissolved in 1 quart water. *Don’t use detergents.
Benefits: Aphid control

Basil: Plant in pots and place around patio or deck
Benefits: Repels flies and mosquitoes

Rosemary, Mint, Thyme: Plant near cabbage
Benefits: Repels cabbage worms

Nasturtiums: Plant near cucumbers, melons and squashes.
Benefits: Repels squash bugs

Summer Savory: Plant near beans
Benefits: Repels bean beetles

Radishes: Plant near cucumbers
Benefits: Repels cucumber beetles

Originally Published June 5, 2007


Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

p.s.  Get your FREE ebook preview HERE
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Eco-friendly art supplies

Very cool ideas for little coloring hands...I'm a bit distracted at the moment trying to finish off my ebook final draft so apologies for the lack of regular posts.

From Inhabitots writer Julie Knapp:



Designer Timothy Liles delivers a new twist on a toddler staple with Crayon Rings. A brilliant idea — these crayons, made locally in New Hampshire, are shaped to fit around fingers. Kids will love slipping one or five on to scribble, and they’ll literally always have their crayons on-hand for impromptu art projects.
+ Crayon Rings $50 set of 8
+ Timothy Liles



Clementine Art
Clementine Art covers all the bases with their all-natural supplies, and made history by being the first art product company to disclose every single ingredient on their packaging — you won’t find any synthetic preservatives, petroleum bases or animal byproducts in their supplies. The products are innovative beyond their eco-friendliness, too. Crayons come in two fun to hold shapes, modeling dough is fruit-scented, the washable glue is versatile enough to use on fabric, paper and wood, and both quick-drying markers and paints are colored with Mayan mineral earth pigments.
+ Clementine Art Supplies (available for purchase at Whole Foods)


Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

p.s.  Get your FREE ebook preview HERE
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

TED Tuesday: How we wrecked the ocean

Part of greening your family is understanding how powerful your dollar is - what kind of vote and message it gives companies selling you products and services.  One of the ways we are continually damaging nature is overfishing and inflicting damage on the oceans.  The oceans are a key to life on earth and are fragile and need to be protected.

This is an interesting talk about how we have wrecked the oceans.





This is a great video showing how we are all linked to the biosphere and the effects that occur in the oceans.

What can you do? When you are choosing your seafood in the grocery store, choose a fish or seafood species which is not currently overfished as a start. Here's a great link that lists many different sustainable seafood guides:
Sustainable Seafood Guides

Vote with your wallet today!

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Got the urge to craft momma?

It's Autumn (or Fall as we Canadians call it) in Australia and I've been feeling the crafting itch lately... I am knitting a wool scarf for a friend of mine with giant 12mm needles and it's been some serious fun so far! My needles are bamboo and although they cost a bit more, I know when they break, I won't feel so bad about tossing them as they will eventually biodegrade. Not sure if knitting needles ever break though....

I wanted to share this really fun and easy tutorial for making a fitted sheet for a pack and play mattress. It's a great way to use up old sheets, make a fun gift for friends with some funky fabrics (organic if possible) or make something yourself.  It's always a great feeling to craft, be creative and reuse materials.

In Australia, here's a great resource for buying organic fabrics - Organic Fabrics Online 

DIY Fitted Sheet for Pack 'n Play

by Jaime from Prudent Baby.com 


Whatever you call it (porta crib, playpen, playard, pack n play, portable baby jail) and however you use it (travel crib, baby containment unit, toy storage), you know it gets dirty.  I notice, especially when traveling, that the fabric doesn't seem that comfy for baby either.  When Scarlet was just 12 weeks old we took her cross-country to visit family and she slept in an old travel crib dug up from someone's garage.  The only thing we had to cover the dirty bottom of it was a big fluffy blanket that didn't seem safe for such a young one, so of course I didn't sleep the whole week worrying she was going to suffocate.  Never again!  Sheets for these aren't readily available, so I thought I'd show you how to make a play yard sheet.  I think it's super simple, let me know if you give it a try.

Get the full DIY Pack 'n Play Sheet tutorial after the jump...


DIY Pack 'N Play Sheet Tutorial

This sheet fits my Combi
Jazz Play Yard
 "mattress" which is pretty standard and measures 36" X 26.5" (they're all around 30"x40"), but the sheet is forgiving so if yours is within the general ballpark this sheet should work fine.


1.  Wash, dry and cut your fabric. Add 7 inches to the length and to the width of your mattress, so i cut a piece of fabric 43" X 33.5".  And a piece of 3/4" elastic 60" long.



2.  Fold it in half lengthwise and then widthwise so it looks like this:

On the outside corner, the one with no folds, cut a 3.5" square through all the layers.

Your item now looks like this:



3.  Line up the cut edges at one corner and sew them together with right sides facing:

Repeat on all four corners.

4.  Along the bottom of your sheet, fold the fabric 1/4" to the inside and iron, then 1" and iron, and pin in place.

Starting next to a corner, sew all the way around with a straight stitch, leaving a hole and backstitching and the beginning and end.



5.  Thread your piece of 3/4" elastic through the hole and all the way around. It helps to pin one side of it to an ironing board or some other surface and to use a safety pin to feed it through:

Pull it out and sew both sides together with a stretch stitch or a zig zag stitch.

Close the hole by sewing across the opening with a straight stitch.

You're done!
It looks like this from the bottom:

And like this from the top:



Place your homemade playpen sheet on the mattress.  Yay!
 
 
Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Reflection

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Cool Car for a HOT Planet

I wanted to share with you my eco-car choice - it's not a Prius, it's not a Smart Car and it's not electric!  It's a 1979 300D Mercedes-Benz with a very tank-ish 5cyl. 2lt diesel engine with a 100L waste veggie oil tank in the back. Her name is Chipsy Queen.





I have owned her for just over six months and it's been a great learning curve so far! I don't know a lot about the mechanics of a car although this engine is very straight-forward and easy to understand so I've been able to learn quite a bit so far! I have done nothing to the engine but have had to put about $2000 in repairs to the car - items such as front brake replacement, new calipers, new ignition switch and a few new bits and bobs here and there.  The engine has 339,400km on it - I've done about 4,000k on it - 80% of which as been on fat. The car was converted when I bought it for $1800.

There is a large 100L tank in the trunk (or boot) where the waste veggie oil goes.  The car also has its original 60L diesel tank.  The system to use the waste veggie oil is quite simple - there is a dual manual valve system under the hood with knob switches.  I start the car on diesel and when the engine is warm enough, I have a set of choke cables in the interior of the car which control the valve knobs.  I then switch the car over to fat (or waste veggie oil) by pulling the choke cable knobs.  Because it's warm enough in Perth, I usually keep it switched onto fat all day, even if the car is sitting for a period of time.  Before I park the car for the evening, I switch it back to diesel, making sure the engine doesn't have any fat left in it.

Occasionally, the car smokes a little while sitting at a stoplight and I want to hang my head out the window and say - it's okay - it's just your old french fries, spring rolls and battered fish!

The car is a tank and there is no way I'd ever get whiplash in it. Amazingly though, it gets 10L/100km both on diesel and on fat. Not bad for a 2 tonne,  31yr old car! I know it's a big car and I tried my best to find an older, diesel car that was suitable.  My other option was to buy an SUV so I think the Merc is the better choice for my lifestyle.  It's a step in the right direction for the times when I'm on able to use public transit, walk or bike.



Interestingly,  I didn't know that Arnie runs his Hummer on Veggie oil as well.  Not sure what kind of mileage that sucker gets although I commend his efforts!


If you are interested in researching this option further for your own vehicle - here are some resources for you:
Veggie Cars (Australia)
Journey to Forever (Global)
Grease Car (USA)
Golden Fuel Systems (USA)
Research paper (Australia)

Powering your restaurant on WVO


Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Reflection - Happy Mother's Day!

If you have love you will do all things well.   - Thomas Merton

Happy Mother's Day to all of you fabulous moms out there! Keep up the fantastic work!

I love you Mom!




Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Check your kids toys for toxins - free guide

I've been doing some further research into toxins that are in our homes and am amazed at what I've found. It will be summarised in my ebook, "How to Create Your Green Family Blueprint", coming out soon!

I wanted to share this great toy database with you now though. If you are curious to know if a certain toy product has heavy metals or toxins contained in it, use this database to search:




 Don't give your kids an unwanted gift of toxins and potential health issues!

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TED Tuesday: Don't Eat the Marshmallow - Yet....

A great short video about the link between delayed gratification and success. What does giving a 4 year old child a marshmallow but asking them not to eat it yet tell us?  Watch and find out...



Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook

Monday, May 3, 2010

How are you reacting to the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill?

“This is potentially a watershed environmental disaster,” said Wesley P. Warren, the director of programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This one is a gigantic wake up call on the need to move beyond oil as an energy source.” 

These words were recently printed in a New York Times article dated April 30th, 2010 by Jad Mouawad.

People are mad at British Petroleum (Beyond Petroleum?) for the accident - why not?  They are now they are facing a massive environmental disaster: destruction of wetlands, water pollution, death of birds, fish, mammals, and the potential ruin of many businesses that depend on nature for their income. The US President Obama is visiting the area. Volunteers, scientists and residents are gearing up for the clean up as the oil begins to hit the land. And the worst thing about it, the hole in the earth's crust from where the oil is spewing forth hasn't been plugged yet!

When talking with my friend Johanna this morning - she asked me how I felt - I expressed anger towards BP, sadness for the people, fear for the helpless animals, frustration for being trapped in a system that is dependent largely on oil for it's functioning and she commented, "I think I should drive my car less".

Her comment is the other side of the argument - we, gas consumers are the ones who create the demand. It's a very complicated problem - shifting our society away from our oil dependence to renewable energy solutions.  It will take time which is why we need to start NOW!

Commonly this issue trickles down to the family level by evaluating how we use fossil fuels in our lives.  Most commonly we use fossil fuels to power our cars, our homes, transport our food, clothing, consumer goods etc.  As a family you can do some of the following things:
  • Pressure governments - have a voice about what you want to change
  • Look at your own life and ask yourself - is it possible to use less fossil fuels?
  • Is there anything you can do to shift to renewable energy in your family home - remember baby steps are okay so long as you have goal
If you want to track the location of the oil spill click here.  I'll be watching closely, sending out good vibes for the people affected, avoiding BP petrol stations and doing my best to walk, bike and reduce my amount of driving where I can. 

If you want to help or live in an area that will be affected, here are some resources for you:

To report injured or oiled wildlife, call 1-866-557-1401. To report spill-related damage, call 1-800,440-0858, and to inquire about volunteering, or to report oil on the shore, call 1-866-448-5816.

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board is connecting BP with fisherman looking to aid in the cleanup effort. If interested, call 281-366-5511 or e-mail, HorizonSupport@OEGLLC.com.
The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana is looking for volunteers to “fill a variety of needs.” Pre-veterinary students, veterinary technicians, and anyone with HAZWOPER training (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard) are “strongly encouraged” to register.
The National Audubon Society is recruiting volunteers in the fight to save “ecologically sensitive areas.” Visit their website to fill out a volunteer registration form.

OilSpillVolunteers.com also provides the opportunity sign up and assist with the cleanup.
While their website says volunteers are not yet needed, Mobile Baykeeper is urging anyone who is interested to call their office at 251-433-4229or e-mail info@mobilebaykeeper.org.

The Sierra Club is mobilizing volunteers, and will connect you with opportunities to help. Please click here to sign up and for more information.

Save Our Seabirds is a Sarasota, Florida-based bird rescue group that is looking for volunteers and support as its response team prepares to help oiled wildlife. Please click here to fill out their online form   or call 941-388-3010.


Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE 

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Reflection

Don't wait for anyone to deputize you or authorize you or empower you.  You have to just start out with yourself...and put one foot in front of the other.  

- Hazel Henderson




Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
Get your FREE ebook PREVIEW

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wood Burning Stoves - A Sustainable Option?

A friend of mine was over for dinner several weeks ago and our conversation turned to wood burning stoves as he and his wife were building a new house, with plans to install a wood burning stove.  Apparently this topic has been a hot one with his friends and family so I thought it would be useful to discuss it further.

Is burning wood bad for the environment? NO.
When looking at how we contribute to an unsustainable society - one of the things we humans do is burn fossil fuels for transport, heating, cooling, cooking and electricity generation.  The result is an increase in carbon dioxide that we emit to the environment.  Burning fossil fuels uses heat energy from photosynthesis but this resource has been buried for hundreds of millions of years and is not currently part of the carbon cycle. By digging it up and burning it, we are creating excess carbon dioxide emissions which push natural cycles out of balance because essentially we are adding a NET introduction of carbon dioxide - we are overwhelming natural system's ability to absorb and store these emissions.



Wood is a renewable resource and is already part of the natural carbon cycle - therefore whether it decomposes on the forest floor or we burn it as fuel, it will release the same amount of carbon back into natural systems.  The heat energy comes from photosynthesis - trees use sunlight to create food needed to grow, in combination with carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When you burn wood, it releases the energy (as heat) and carbon dioxide back into the environment. 

That being said, wood burning for heating your home needs a responsible approach:

Burn sustainably harvested, properly processed and seasoned fuel in an advanced combustion stove or fireplace that is vented through a chimney that runs straight up through the building.  (woodheat.org)
From woodheat.org, they suggest the following for responsible wood heating:

Process properly: wood is cut to the correct length and split to the correct range of sizes for the appliance.  Having wood the right length and range of size makes it easy to build good, clean burning fires.

Properly Seasoned: fuel is processed in the spring and stacked in an area open to sun and wind for the summer.  You cannot burn without smoke if you are using wet wood.

Sustainable harvesting: involves selective, uneven age cutting so that an acceptable level of biomass and biodiversity is maintained permanently on the site.


Can I burn wood on an open fire in my home?  Yes and... there are disadvantages like smoke, extra effort to keep fires going, less efficient burning and potential for sparks and ash to damage home interiors.  Use Advanced combustion stoves and fireplaces which burn wood about 90 per cent cleaner and one-third more efficiently than older conventional appliances.  That means a lot less smoke outside and lower forest impacts because less wood is used.


Wondering if wood would work for you? 
Visit the following page for Wood Stove Safety Instructions  and the space required to install a wood burning stove safely.

REMEMBER - NEVER BURN GARBAGE OR TREATED WOOD IN YOUR WOOD STOVE! THIS ADDS TOXINS TO THE ATMOSPHERE AND YOUR HOME. 

Resources:
Jøtul (Norwegian Fireplace Maker) offers a Fuel Calculator for your use

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru

Get your FREE ebook preview HERE 

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TED Tuesday: Greening the Urban Space

An inspiring talk about greening one of the most unlikely neighborhoods - South Bronx. A very inspiring talk about courage, the human spirit and our connection to the land we live on.




Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bisphenol-A in Coke Cans!

According to FastCompany.com's April 21st article last week,  Coke has eliminated Bisphenol-A (BPA) from their plastic bottles but the plastic used to line aluminum cans still contains BPA!  Many shareholders were concerned and upset about the lack of transparency from Coke about the use of this chemical in their aluminum cans.

Bisphenol-A is a hormone-mimicking chemical used in polycarbonate plastic resins, epoxy resins, and other products. It is most commonly used in baby bottles or any type of hard shatterproof plastic containers. It is also found in the lining of canned goods, plastic wrap and other household plastics.

So what is the big deal? Bisphenol mimics hormones in the body and has been shown through tests in animals to cause many health problems such as an increase in prostate and breast cancer, uro-genital abnormalities in male babies, a decline in semen quality in men, early onset of puberty in girls, metabolic disorders including insulin-resistant (Type 2) diabetes and obesity and neurobehavioral problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

As a family greening up your act, this relates to one of the fundamental ground rules we cover in greater depth in my ebook.  This is an example of how we are poisoning the system we live in and depend upon for our health and survival.  Why would we continue to allow companies to do this???  Coke has a facebook page if you want to post your thoughts...would be interesting to see what happens to the negative posts!

Here is a link to the Environmental Work Group's page on how to avoid BPA exposure. This is also a good link to the survey they did on canned food and BPA levels.  Also of interest might be a recent Food and Drug Administration report for public comment on BPA's affects on human health.

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Reflection

You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself - Nelson Mandela

 
Behind the times or doing it differently?

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blog Bubble Brain

Hello followers!

I've hit a blogging wall earlier this week and have been a bit under the weather so I'll be back with new blog posts next week! My apologies!

Thank you to those of you who suggested topics to cover via facebook. I appreciate it!

Happy (belated) Earth Day. I found this cartoon and it gave me a good giggle!





 Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TED Tuesday: Using Embodied Energy to Build Green

This one is for those of you who like the details and want to know about green energy and building. Catherine Mohr gives a short TED talk about using embodied energy to calculate the payback time of her new home.



While embodied energy does not take into account all of the sustainability aspects I cover in my ebook - it does present an easy to understand analysis of how to view your choices through a certain lens - that of how much energy goes into the production and transport of materials she's using to build her home. At the end of her presentation, she provides a payback period which is really interesting!

Enjoy!

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wood is wonderful!

I love trees! Why you might ask? Not only because they provide oxygen for us to breathe, beautiful displays of colors and a place for those cute little birds to live - they provide a renewable resource for us to use. This renewable resource is also sustainable (able to continue on forever) provided we follow good forest management practices which allow for the growth and harvest of trees in a way that doesn't degrade the forest resource as a whole.

Wood is also a wonderful material because when we are finished using it - more often than not, it's easier to return to nature than other materials such as plastic, metal or a combination of all three.

Here are some of my favorite recent picks of products made from wood that I think families going green might like....
The timbur Rattle - Each rattle is made in the USA by hand by timbur, constructed of all natural wood, filled with natural shell beads and finished with a non-toxic blend of natural oils and wax.  For sale here (USA).  I emailed with timbur's owner, Ezra and this is what he had to say about his wood sources:

"At timbur we take sustainability and ecologic responsibility very seriously and go to extended lengths to source our wood from lumber suppliers that share our values."

They are continuing to look for a secure source of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) wood - currently the gold standard for the wood industry and it sounds like they have a good lead so stay tuned!


One of things that I HATE to throw away is my toothbrush - not because I'm addicted to brushing my teeth but because you cannot recycle them (that is if you use plastic toothbrushes).  So, here is a great wooden option. The picture showed here is the model for Toddlers but they make adult versions too!

•Toothbrush handles made from sustainable beechwood - safe to chew too!
•100% biodegradable
•Pure, natural bristles, medically safe, hygenically treated pig bristle
•More gentle and safer on your child's gums than plastic bristles 
Link to buy this product (UK)



Concerned about BPA in plastic kids toys - I LOVE this and no worries about any kinds of chemicals getting into your little one's skin/body.  This product is also made with FSC certified wood.  I'll take a tomato melt to go please!  For sale at Ecotoys (Australia).

If you are new to "FSC" certified wood here is some further info for you:


FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.


Established in 1993 as a response to concerns over global deforestation, FSC is widely regarded as one of the most important initiatives of the last decade to promote responsible forest management worldwide. 

FSC is a certification system that provides internationally recognized standard-setting, trademark assurance and accreditation services to companies, organizations, and communities interested in responsible forestry.

The FSC label provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value. 

FSC is nationally represented in more than 50 countries around the world.

FSC USA - use this link to search their product database
FSC Australia - has link to search for FSC certified products

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A bathmat you'll want to get mouldy...eventually

I love products like this - made from natural sources, useful during their lifetime and then can return to natural sources - just like Nature intended!

Squishy Toes is a bathmat made by Rebecca Berrigan and Nancy Kelly in the USA.  It's made from plant cellulose - the structural component of of the primary cell wall in green plants.  Did you know that 33% of all plant matter is cellulose and in trees, cellulose makes up 50% of the tree's matter.  It's a renewable material - one that nature grows and provides to us for free!    It is used in paper, cardboard, card stock and in this case - to make a bathmat.

This bathmat is a bit different though because in addition to providing a soft mat for the shower, an anti-slip surface for inside the home/camper van shower or on a shower seat, it will biodegrade!  Once your Squishy Toes bathmat wears out, instead of throwing it away in the garbage (like many bathmats which are fabric and rubber and may take years to break down), this one goes in the compost heap!

By placing it in the compost heap or in the soil, it allows microorganisms to break the mat down into humus which is the dark, organic material in soil produced b the decomposition of vegetable or animal matter and essential to the fertility of the earth.

Products like this embody the "Waste = Food" mantra of the Cradle to Cradle concept:

"using environmentally safe and healthy materials; design for material reutilization, such as recycling or composting; the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency" and several more...

This concept has been developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart who offer Cradle to Cradle certification as a way to label some of the greenest products available today.

One of the only baby product so far to achieve Cradle to Cradle certification has been gDiapers 



These are the kinds of products we'll only see more and more of and as a family wanting to green up your act - look for other examples like these!  If you find some, pass them along and I can share them on the blog.

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

TED Tuesday: What Adults Can Learn from Kids

Loved this!



Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s Connect with me on Facebook- click here

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Principles of Successful Manifesting

Enough of the fight today -  The reality is that often times, we feel completely small, overwhelmed, burnt out, confused and just plain tired of putting up a good fight in an attempt to be good green families. Thank you to Stef - a friend and coach of mine - for his always inspiring words! Enjoy your day and remember to just be. 

As we travel through the imagery of life we eventually arrive at a silent place of being where we stand at the cliffs edge overlooking a vast ocean of inquisition. The power and force of rhythmic tides are enchanting enough for life to simply pause still. The warm gentle breeze of questioning takes us to a place of confusion, solitude and often pain. we question our existence, our journey, our choices, our friendships, our actions and reactions, our passions and our faiths. We then more often than not become encroached in fear; we become paralyzed when motion is required. If we move deep within ourselves and connect with the rhythm of life’s pulse we can evaluate circumstance from an extremely powerful and productive vantage point. - Stef Sifandos

The Principles of Successful Manifesting



Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s On Facebook click here to become a fan

Friday, April 9, 2010

One Fish, Two Fish, Green Fish = Good Fish

Did you know that we are in danger of losing ALL of our fish stocks before the end of the century?  Could you imagine your grandchildren reading a Dr.Seuss book and asking what those funny things were on the page?  Imagine a world without fishing (I can hear all the men gasp!) As a family greening up your act, choosing a good fish is equal to choosing a green fish!  Green in this sense meaning the health of the fish population is safe and not currently being overharvested.

This is one of the fundamental ways we are continuously hurting the health of the biosphere - the biggest earth system that contains everything - the earth's surface, the atomosphere and all living systems - including YOUR FAMILY, your community and our society.  We are over-fishing some stocks of fish which means we eat them faster than they can re-populate themselves.  THIS DOESN'T MEAN WE CANNOT EAT FISH  - we just have to be wary of how fast we are doing it and taking the pressure off certain species.

At the same time we are putting pressure on the oceans through our societal actions - the results are worse water quality (killing fish), toxic algal blooms, dead zones, plastic infested patch of ocean (Pacific Garbage Gyre),  invasive exotic species, beach closures and coastal floods are increasing.  These floods are linked to the continual destruction of wetlands, reefs, mangroves and the plants and animals that filter out pollutants and protect our shorelines.

I love eating fish - I'm from British Columbia - home of the pacific salmon. I couldn't imagine life without ever having tasted one of these beautiful fish.  My dad used to take us fishing when we were kids and I have many fond memories of doing that with him.

What actions can you and your family take?  Be conscious about what kinds of fish you are eating and how they are caught. Different types of fishing methods cause greater damage to the oceans than others. REMEMBER - you CAN make a difference by VOTING WITH YOUR WALLET.

Here are some resources for you:
 The End of the Line Trailer - A recent documentary about over-fishing



Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter
p.p.p.s On Facebook? I am too at this link - click here

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why does it always lead to this?

I'm not sure how many dinners you can get through with your family without some kind of potty humor, especially if you have boys? I grew up with a younger brother and seriously, the topic was often brought up at the dinner table - either through actions like gas, jokes or noises......can anyone relate?

Anyway, I actually think it's pretty useful stuff to talk about if you are interested in greening up your family, that is if you can get past the whole my-brother-is-being-gross stuff!  I was reading some notes today on the Transition Town movement website and noticed some facts about water use in the household.

Did you know this is the average breakdown of where your household water use is?

  • 33% gets flushed down the loo
  • 25% is used washing ourselves 
  • 18% is spent on drinking and in preparing food 
  • 12.5% is used in our laundry
  • 8.5% is used when we do the dishes and,
  • 3% is used to wash the car and water our extensive vegetable gardens!
If you combine the amounts for toilet water, showers/bath, and laundry water - that accounts for a whopping 70.5% of our household water use.  Have you ever wondered what you will say to your grandchildren (or even great-grandchildren) when they ask why we ever took good drinking water - about 6-9 Liters (1.6 to 2.4 gallons) PER FLUSH - pooped in it and then flushed it away!? My goodness!

So what can you do?  There are a lot of different options to help and which one you are able to implement will depend a lot upon your living situation.  If you are renting, then perhaps water saving tips would be most useful to you.  If you own your home and are interesting in eventually doing some renovations there are a variety of options available to you from changing your entire toilet system to re-piping your house to have greywater systems (for sink/showers and laundry for example).  And for the really adventurous - you can switch to composting toilet systems. I've used a few and when properly maintained they don't smell at all!

Here are some resources for you:
Water Saving Tips from Australia - one of the most water conscious countries in the world
Greywater Design Information from Oasis Design in the USA - Publish a very informative book
Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure
To wrap up this text, I have to finish off with one of the coolest inventions I've seen in a long time - The LooWatt. It's a toilet made of 90% horse dung (I know! Go figure?!) where people in developing nations can take the contents to a central outdoor biodigester which provides a free source of biofuel for cooking.  The LooWatt features a biodegradable lining that stores excrement in a sealed, ordor free container.  The system is low-cost mechanical and the design may be useful in many developing countries where installation of sewage systems is impossible, and improper waste disposal spreads many devastating waterborne diseases. VERY COOL!

Tracy Lydiatt - B.Sc, M.Sc
The Green Families Guru
http://howgreenismyfamilynow.com/index.html

p.s. Remember you can do this, it begins with a single step and lasts a lifetime
p.p.s. Follow me on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tracylydiatt
p.p.p.s On Facebook? I am too at this link - click here