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.

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

By Natalie Wilson

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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.

How to Weatherproof Your Car

By Parker Keatin

snow

Winter time is upon us, is your car ready for the drastic change in temperatures and possibly the snow? The winter often exposes the maintenance needs for your vehicle. Unfortunately, this exposure means that you may find yourself on the side of the road, and calling your auto club for a tow to the mechanic. Far too many drivers negate their winter responsibilities to their vehicle; resulting in significant inconveniences in the worst possible season. Here, we will give you the guidance needed to make sure your car is weatherproof this winter season.

Continue reading How to Weatherproof Your Car

Our Plans to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Greetings Blog Readers,

I hope you are having a great week so far. We here at ecoShuttle are having a great week, and this is partly because we were quite pleased to hear President Obama outlining his plan to reduce carbon emissions. Continue reading Our Plans to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Another Contest Winner!

Hello Blog Readers,

Happy Thanksgiving! I always get very excited about Thanksgiving, as it is my favorite holiday. I was browsing ways to save a little money this Thanksgiving, when I came across this fantastic list of ways to make Thanksgiving more cost-effective and more sustainable as well! Continue reading Another Contest Winner!

Events coming down the pike, or is it pipe?

Hello Blog Readers!

Welcome back to the blog! First off, I want to welcome Alexana Winery to the Willamette Valley. ecoShuttle looks forward to transporting many a guest to your new establishment, good luck to you and see you soon! Continue reading Events coming down the pike, or is it pipe?

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