TODAY'S TURN: Kill them with kindness

Next time you mail some bad news, you can still come out smelling like roses. Or at least like a Snap Dragon.

Plantable paper from Botanical Paperworks is embedded with wildflower seeds and made of 100% recycled material. When you're done with the paper, you simply drop it in soil, water it and wait for the color.

So you can help the paper return to its roots - literally - while getting your point across.

Don't go for the easy feel-good uses on this one. Anyone can send a wedding invitation or birth announcement on paper laced with wildflower seeds: "The future is blooming, watch our love grow, tending to our garden of joy, blah blah blah blah planting family tree blah."

It takes a rare kind of creativity and class to send hate mail in an environmentally friendly way. Stretch yourself. Exercise the dark side of your imagination and the possibilities blossom like a soggy sunflower.

Customer complaints. Nasty letters to the editor. Office rants about co-worker behavior. Community association grievances against your neighbor's deck. Dear John notes. Anytime you gotta sling some mud, do it with a flowery smile. Ahh, the sweet, sweet circle of life.

Cool alert: Look for the Yummy Cards made with herb seeds.

Order some plantable paper from Botanical Paperworks


No soapbox. Day speaks for itself. Now go out and try not to do too much damage.



TODAY'S TURN: Become a chemical Columbo

Are you using enough coconut alcohol ethoxylate when cleaning your house? Or maybe too much?

Who knows what chemical concoctions swirl around in those canisters, casks, jugs, jiggers, buckets and bottles we stuff under the sink. I assume the lab coats do. Maybe.

Even if you can pronounce names on the ingredients list, you're irritated by a cloudy stink of "what the heck is that?" Hydroxyethylcellulose? Linear surfactant? How are you supposed to make safe, well-informed decisions when faced with those Scrabble champs?

Seventh Generation knows this is a problem. So they're offering up a plain-speak Label Reading Guide. It's page after page of cleaning product ingredients, what they're used for, how they can affect you, and how toxic each ingredient is. It's part of their Show What's Inside transparency campaign.

Oh, and you'll be happy to know that coconut alcohol ethoxylate is biodegradable and not too toxic. It's simply used to make the foam more foamier.


Download a Label Reading Guide from Seventh Generation (PDF, desktop widget or phone app)


Top 10 Things To Change

Besides your socks, your hair and the occasional significant other, some changes can affect your life more than others can.

According to the Better World Shopping Guide, diligent decisions are doubly divine when buying these product categories. They have the biggest impact on people and the planet:

  1. Bank
  2. Gasoline
  3. Supermarket
  4. Retail Stores
  5. Car
  6. Seafood
  7. Chocolate
  8. Coffee
  9. Credit Cards
  10. Cleaning Products


TODAY'S TURN: Become a money changer

Thousands of years ago, Roman coins could have passed through some unsavory hands. Tax collectors, corrupt senators, pirates, slave owners - even this guy. How ironic is it that today these same coins could save the lives of children?

This is just plain cool: At the Child Health Site Store, you can buy an ancient Roman coin for $10. Each coin you buy funds health services to save or improve the lives of 4.5 children. (Sounds curiously uber-accurate and a bit unfair to that 5th kid.)

The Child Health Site partners with non-profits that service millions of kids around the world. The biggest chunks of cash go to Vitamin A distribution, AIDS care, dehydration treatment, cataract and trachoma surgeries to reverse blindness, and leg and foot prosthetics for landmine victims.

These bronze coins were found in Israel and date somewhere between the 1st and 4th century. So they're pretty old.

In America, we love giving people second chances. Just look at Robert Downey Jr, Kobe Bryant and Nick Nolte. Okay, maybe not Nolte. Even though these coins can't be redeemed at your local marketplace, you can still give them a chance at redemption.

Buy one of these sweet ancient Roman coins
Shop for other items at the Child Health Site Store


KIVA UPDATE: First loan pays off!

Who knew that a Ugandan caterer was a better investment than my 401k?

About a year ago, I joined my first Kiva loan, to Zaituni Mudoobi's group of caterers in Kireka, Uganda. 44 of us made a total loan of $1,350 (my share was only $25). At the time, I wondered if it'd really be paid off. A year later, I have my answer. Yep.

My own house payments were never this regular. The last payment of $112.50 reached Kiva at the end of January. Never a late payment. Never a short payment.

The loan was interest free on this end, so I didn't actually make any money. But at the end of one year, I still have my $25 to use as I please, and Zaituni's business is still going strong. Meanwhile, my retirement funds lost roughly 4,000% and a lot of "smart" financiers lost their cufflinked shirts from under those $3,000 suits.

So now I have a choice. I can take my money back out and use it to go see Fired Up. Or I can plow that same $25 back into another up-and-coming Kiva business.

Guess which one I chose.



TODAY'S TURN: Don't crap on Mother Nature

I like my toilet paper fluffy and my tush pampered. None of that rest-stop rag in my house, not when I can freshen up with silken pillow clouds while cottony cherubs massage my delicate skin. But how much is that little extra comfort worth?

The public's perception problem with recycled toilet paper isn't so much the cost as the causticity. Fiber from live trees can be fluffed more and softened up.

But doesn't it seem wrong to rip up lush, miraculous 100-year-old natural wonders - just to wipe ourselves? Sure, nobody likes to feel "discomfort" when using the product, but c'mon, it's not like we'd be wiping with sandpaper.

The New York Times recently ran a revealing article about what recycled toilet paper can do for forests. Print it up for your next bathroom trip. To me, it's a classic case of demand driving corporate action. People just seem to resist recycled TP. But this resistance could be changing. Several recycled brands are growing more comfortable and cheaper. Maybe people will realize there are bigger things in this world than their rear ends.

Bottom line? I think we can tough it out.

(Be sure to check out the end of that NY Times article. Marcal's CEO seems to think that watching your used TP circle the bowl is some sort of circle of life experience. What?)

Seventh Generation
Earth Friendly
Green Forest