Growing Up Green: The Importance of Teaching Your Children About Sustainability

By: Kay Carter

As a parent, you probably understand the importance of teaching your child to care for the environment. At the same time, however, you may feel that the concept of sustainability can be a bit too complicated for your young child to understand. If you’re struggling with how you can help your child understand the benefits of a clean and sustainable environment, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few ways you can teach your children about sustainability.

Visit a Local Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are much more than fruit and vegetable stands. These markets are first-hand examples of sustainability because many local farmers use sustainable farming practices to grow the foods they sell to the community. Take a trip to a nearby market with your child to show them the positive effects of organic farming (and bring a reusable bag along to fit all of your groceries).

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Reduce Energy Consumption
Most children probably don’t think anything of leaving lights on in the home or taking a long shower. Teaching your child about the importance of energy consumption can help them see the big picture of how wastefulness can harm the environment. Remind your children that all lights should be turned off when not in use and appliances should be used in eco-friendly mode whenever possible. Additionally, encourage them to take shorter showers and turn the water off when brushing their teeth.

Avoid Single-Use Items
Did you know that there are reusable alternatives to many of the single-use items you have in your home? You can teach your kids early on how to use items that can be reused and recycled. For example, instead of using plastic grocery bags at the store, educate them on bringing a reusable bag with them every time they go. Do your children drink out of plastic water bottles? Give them a metal canteen to reuse and a metal straw to drink out of, instead.

Purchase Environmentally Friendly Products for Your Home
Many of the products in your home may not be good for the environment. You can set a good example for your children by purchasing eco-friendly cleaning products and explaining the benefits of these items. Soaps, furniture, mattresses, and pillows can all be purchased without chemicals that can harm the environment. The key is to know where to look and what to look for. Sharing this information with your children will allow them to be more mindful when looking for products as well.

Encourage Active Time Outdoors
Not only can spending time outside be good for your children’s health, but it’ll also give them a chance to learn more about the environment. If you give your children the chance to develop a healthy relationship with the outdoors, they’ll be more inclined to care about issues that could negatively impact the environment. Spending active time outdoors could also result in your child growing up to prefer walking or biking over driving.

With the help of the tips above, you can help your child understand why a sustainable environment is so important. Not only will this knowledge help your child make positive contributions to the world around them, but it’ll also help promote a cleaner world for everyone.

Improve Home Air Quality with Indoor Plants

By Krista Harper

Poor air quality in your home can have a huge impact on your physical and mental health. Poor air quality can be linked to allergies, asthma, fatigue, and even lung disease. And what most people don’t realize is that the air quality in your home can be up to five times worse than outdoors.

One of the best ways to counter poor air quality is by growing indoor plants throughout your home. Here are five indoor plants that do a great job of improving your home’s air quality.

Peace Lily

According to NASA, the Peace Lily is the most efficient plant to remove volatile organic compounds. It is also relatively easy to grow anywhere in the home with limited sunlight and weekly watering. Keep in mind that the Peace Lily can also be toxic to humans if ingested, and especially toxic to pets if eaten.

Devil’s Ivy

Devil’s Ivy is native to the Solomon Islands, though due to its attractive green and white marble heart-shaped leaves and easy growth it has become a popular home plant throughout the world. Devil’s Ivy is popularly sold in hanging baskets and should be placed near a window, though away from direct sunlight. The soil should be peaty and frequently watered to remain moist.

This plant does a great job cleansing airborne pollutants such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. Though, it is toxic when ingested.

Red-Edged Dracaena

Wildly popular in the United States due to its uniquely attractive upright evergreen leaves and flowering blooms, this is an incredibly easy plant to grow. The Red-Edged Dracaena grows in an area with indirect sunlight with slightly moist soil. That means it grows best in a room of your home that has windows, though the plant should not be in front of a window.

This is another plant widely recommended by NASA for its air purifying efficiency especially in regard to formaldehyde and other VOCs such as benzene and xylene.

Snake Plant

Snake Plant is a NASA recommended plant. Originally native to Western Africa, the Snake Plant is popular throughout the world. This plant prefers tons of natural light, so keeping it in a room that has the most exposure to the sun is optimal. Though, it can actually manage well with shorter durations of light if needed. The only care caution is to not overwater as the plant is prone to rot.

English Ivy

English Ivy is also recommended by NASA for purifying the air and reducing toxins. Additionally, it may help to reduce mold in your home. Due to its uninhibited growing nature the English Ivy is recommended to be grown indoors, though it does very well outdoors. The plant should be grown in direct sunlight ideally facing east or west. The plant should also be in a room with constant temperatures and should be watered regularly.

Growing plants indoors is an excellent way to help purify your home’s air and remove air borne pollutants and toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde. Trichloroethylene, and xylene. This air filtering quality helps to improve sleep for those who suffer from sleep deprivation, allergies, and even sleep apnea. NASA has done extensive research on plants and clean air studies as part of their ongoing mission to organically manage air quality in future colonization efforts. The five plants on this list are known to be some of the most efficient for purifying the air.

3 Restful Weekend Getaway Ideas for Summer

By Lisa Smalls

While studies indicate that well-being and health improve after taking a vacation, the U.S. doesn’t have a government mandate that requires leave for employees in public and private offices. As a matter of fact, ¼ of all American workers don’t get any vacation at all. Employers who offer this benefit usually give an average of 10 days off per year. And unfortunately, according to the data collected by Project Time Off, 54% of American workers don’t use these earned days off. It’s time to take vacation seriously.

Here are three restful weekend getaways to keep in mind.

Romantic Getaways for Couples
Romantic getaways don’t have to be expensive. In fact, some of the most romantic and affordable weekend getaways can be found in British Columbia, Oregon, or Washington! One of the best places to go on a romantic weekend in Pacific NW is in Victoria, the British Columbia capital. Honeymooners often go here for its all-year blooming flower gardens, cozy restaurants, afternoon tea, charming neighborhood, and great museums and parks.

When in Victoria, opt for lodgings that offer bed and breakfast. There’s a bed and breakfast lodging in a remarkable 1898 heritage home, for example, just within the neighborhood of James Bay called Ashcroft House. Other places you can check out for a romantic getaway in the Pacific NW are the following:
● Lasqueti Island
● Methow Valley
● Olympic National Park Coast
● The Cascade Mountains
● Willamette Valley

victoria city 960x316
victoria city 960×316
Fun Getaways for Families
Since school is finally over, it’s time for some fun in the sand! One of the best places to go to during summer in the Pacific NW is the Semiahmoo Resort & Spa. This resort is located in Blaine, Washington. What’s great about this resort is that you can see Canada from the coastlines. It’s also a great resort for families to hang out, with restaurants just around the corner. It even has its own movie theater so families can really have one great time in a single location!

During the daytime, kids can play tennis, basketball, or pickleball in the play areas. There are also outdoor and indoor pools if anyone’s ready to hit the water. And every Saturday, the resort hosts a two-hour program that allows kids to play while their parents relax elsewhere. Other places you can check out for a family getaway in the Pacific NW are the following:
● Suncadia
● Leavenworth
● San Juan Island
● Kalaloch and Ruby Beach
● Mount Rainier National Park

Exciting Summer Getaway with Friends
When in the Pacific NW area, try visiting Leavenworth, a gorgeous village at the center of the Cascade Mountains. This town is so charming that no matter what the season is, it never fails to attract visitors. There are plenty of places to shop, dine, and simply explore the town’s natural beauty. On top of that, they also have plenty of local events tourists can join or visit.

For friends looking for a fun outdoor experience, Leavenworth will surely not be a letdown. You can enjoy activities like hiking, wine tasting, horseback riding, mountain biking, paddle boarding, and river tubing. Leavenworth is near Colchuck Lake, so after a four-mile hike, you can bear witness to an alpine lake planked the tallest peaks of Washington.
Other places you can check out for a summer getaway with friends:
● Spokane
● Friday Harbor
● Olympic Peninsula
● Bellingham
● Whidbey Island

Fort Casey Cliff on Whidbey Island
Fort Casey Cliff, Whidbey Island
Are you ready for a vacation? These places we suggested will surely make you want to leave work now and schedule that road trip. Remember to plan your vacation well in advance of your leaving dates, pack all things necessary, check your car for safety, bring sunblock, and book your trip with ecoShuttle!

4 Reasons Why Polluted Air Can Have An Impact On Your Career

By Natalie Wilson

air pollution

There is a lot of talk these days about just how bad air pollution is for us. Whether you suffer from asthma or even work on a farm, it seems that no one can escape the effects of air pollution. Office workers may believe that, because they work indoors, that they can avoid the damaging effects which so many others come into contact with, but it turns out that offices may be one of the worst places to work when it comes to air pollution.

When it comes to cities and urban areas, air pollution can be a huge problem and a huge proportion of office spaces are based within these areas. Not including your daily commute to and from work, your office is likely to be at risk of contributing to your exposure to this polluted air. So, with that in mind, here are 4 reasons why polluted air may be having an impact on your career, without you even realizing it.

Taking More Sick Days

Air pollution can be extremely damaging to our health and prolonged periods of exposure can make you very unwell, especially if you already suffer from health issues. The effects of polluted air are hard to ignore, but what impact does it have on the health of workers?

If you suffer from asthma, respiratory problems or migraines, then it has been shown that air pollution acts as a trigger for these health conditions and can make them worse. It is vital that you know how to protect yourself on the days where air pollution is high so that your symptoms don’t worsen. If you regularly have to travel to an area where pollution levels are high, then it is likely that you will be at increased risk of suffering from long-term periods of illness, leading to taking more sick days.

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Air Quality and Your Office

If it’s smoggy outside, then why should this be a concern to you when you are sat at your desk indoors? In actual fact, this should be a huge concern. Recent studies have shown that office workers can feel the impact of bad air quality outdoors just as much as those who work outdoors in it. A study found that when air pollution levels go up, productivity in office workers goes down and this can cause work levels to drop.

Although pollution is less present indoors, it can infiltrate even the most air-tight buildings. For those offices who are in the center of a busy city, then it is vital that they invest in proper air ventilation for employees, whether that comes from installed industrial ventilation systems or buying air purifiers for the office.

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It Could Affect Your Chances Of Being Hired

Even though recent employment reports have shown steady increases across the board when it comes to the number of people who are now employed, depending on the sector in which you work, air pollution may have an impact on the number of people who are hired.

Jobs which are based outdoors, such as building and maintenance work, are all known to have been affected by the effects of air pollution. Within the fossil fuel industry, there have also been decreases in the number of jobs available as the industry is constantly battling off eco-friendly energy competitors and having to get to grips with additional safety and monitoring measures. Energy efficiency is the US’s cheapest and cleanest energy resource and contributes to more energy needs than oil, gas or nuclear energy. It currently accounts for over 2.3 million jobs in the US, which is 10 times more than coal mining or oil drilling.

It Will Have An Impact On Your Commute

No matter how you choose to get to work, whether you walk, cycle, use public transport or drive, you will be put into direct contact with air pollution. The amount of cars on the road is at the highest level ever recorded and a huge proportion of people are still yet to consider the change over to hybrid or electric vehicles. Thanks to these increased numbers, if you take public transport then you can expect a longer commute time. If you cycle or walk, then you may be concerned about being more at risk of exposure to high pollution levels.

Making small changes within your routine can reduce your exposure to air pollution quite considerably. It has been proven that active commuters – those who walk or cycle – are typically less exposed to air pollution than those who travel by bus or car. This may be that because vehicles travel in a queue, air pollution is absorbed by ventilation systems and is trapped inside. Making small changes to your mode of commuting can decrease your exposure to pollution by around 25%-90%, so it is well worth ditching the car and walking or cycling instead.

Back in the Blog Saddle

Hello Blog Readers,

I’m happy to be back on the blog after being ousted by Fiona! But now I’m back, and first off, I would like to congratulate Jesse and Fiona Yun on the birth of their daughter, Avani, the newest Yun! I would also like to congratulate William Sampson and his wife Elizabeth on their newborn boy, Darwin, as well. Continue reading Back in the Blog Saddle

Organic Beer Blog

Hola Blog Readers!

As I write this and look out at the rain-soaked landscape here at ecoShuttle, I can’t help but pine for those days of sunshine and beer that are just around the corner in Portland. While the weather isn’t here just yet, I would like to list some delicious ORGANIC beers that are available in the Portland area, as well as some local brewpubs featuring organic beers that you can visit either on your own or as part of an ecoShuttle brew tour that we would love to help put together for you. Continue reading Organic Beer Blog

Rainbow Wedding Blog

Hello Blog Readers,

Happy Friday! How the days are just flying by, it’s unbelievable. I just recently attended Basic Rights Oregon’s LGBT Wedding Expo on behalf of ecoShuttle and I had a great time (http://www.kgw.com/lifestyle/Portland-hosts-same-sex-wedding-expo-139657403.html). We had a drawing for 6 hours of free wedding transportation and the lucky winner was Christoph Long. Christoph and his partner are getting married in 2013 and we are so happy to be working with them on their wedding transportation. Congratulations, guys!  Continue reading Rainbow Wedding Blog

Thanksgiving Weekend Wine Tasting

Happy Fall Season blog readers!

I don’t know about you, but I’m already excited about tearing into a massive Thanksgiving Day feast!  But lo and behold, there is much more to Thanksgiving Day than just eating and watching football (at least for some of us).  If you are trying to change things up this coming Thanksgiving Day weekend, there is a cornucopia of wine tasting Continue reading Thanksgiving Weekend Wine Tasting

Sustainable Wine Tasting This Thanksgiving

Hey Everyone!  If you’re wondering what to do this Thanksgiving, you ought to consider checking out some sustainable wine tasting options at Sokol Blosser (http://sokolblosser.com/) and Willamette Valley Vineyards (http://wvv.com/), our good friends in wine country!

Standing Room Only?

Hey Gang!

 

Mark is back on the blog this week.  Fiona did a great job last week with her account of picking up garbage from the Willamette River, thanks Fiona!

One part of my job involves mapping things out on Google maps.  Like most people, I prefer the hybrid map that shows street names across satellite images.  One thing I keep noticing is how developed everything is, and how new developments keep popping up.  It makes me wonder; where are all of the animals hanging out?  Continue reading Standing Room Only?