Green Living

The weather is starting to get warmer, so it’s the perfect time to open all of your windows, let some air in your home, and make a few renovations that you were unable to do during the winter months. And as the eco-friendly home trend continues to grow, many people who choose to make renovations do so to help make their homes a little bit greener. If you want to do the same, there are some easy ways you can make over your home while helping the planet and saving money.

Make Some “Light” Renovations

According to, utilizing the sun is key. Instead of relying on electrical lights, using sunlight will provide warmth and visibility without costing you any extra cash. In this case, though, it’s all about the windows. In order to get the most out of your light, you have to have the correct windows. Replacing standard windows with energy efficient windows and doors that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star program can actually lower your energy bills by 7 to 15%, according to

If you do plan on using electrically generated light, The Spruce suggests using LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs are a great option because they use less energy and can typically provide you with the same amount of light, if not more, than a standard light bulb. It’s all about being energy conscious when using electricity and other power sources.

Consider the Kitchen

Remodeling kitchens is a very common home project. If you decide that you want to completely revamp your kitchen, you can easily save money and be eco-friendly while doing so. Fresh Home says one of the easiest things you can do is reface your cabinets rather than replacing them completely. This helps to reduce waste and will allow you to change the look of your kitchen easily and cost-effectively. Cabinets and drawers tend to stay in great condition, so replacing them completely could end up being a waste of time and money.

Don’t Forget the Bathroom!

If you don’t want to renovate your kitchen, remodeling your bathroom(s) is another option. While 87% of people choose to update their shower in their bathroom, you can do more than switch to a more water-efficient showerhead. To easily make your bathroom look brand new, you can simply change the paint color of the walls. However, when painting your walls, make sure you use a paint that is low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs include compounds like formaldehyde, benzene, and even gasoline. While not all of these things are in all paints, there are more eco-friendly options. Paints that are low in VOCs or don’t have them at all are actually better for your family to be around, and they don’t harm the environment as much as normal paint does.

If you do decide to make some changes to your bathroom, make sure every existing pipe is in good condition. It’s crucial to note 10% of homes have leaks that can actually waste 90 gallons of water (or more!) per day. This simple non-renovation can actually help save you money and won’t require you to make any big changes.

Renovating or remodeling your home can be very exciting. However, it’s very important to make sure that you’re doing it the right way. Making sure you’re using energy efficient equipment and materials to save you and your family a lot of money, all while helping to protect the earth.

Did you know that new windows can lower your energy bills? In fact, depending on where you live, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that you can save up to $501 annually by replacing older single-pane windows with new Energy Star approved models. You don’t necessarily have to replace your windows, however, to start saving money. There are plenty of ways to spend less every month on energy, as well as protect the environment, that don’t require a ton of extra time or money.

So where do you begin?

Start with your laundry habits

Do you wash your laundry in hot water every time? Well, if you do, stop. Washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot water can save you $152 a year in energy bills as your hot water heater won’t be running as much. Packing the appropriate amount of clothes in your washer and doing loads at night can also decrease your bills. And not only will you save money, your cotton clothes won’t shrink and wear out as fast as they normally do!

Set your water heater at the right temperature

Speaking of your hot water heater, it should be set at 120 degrees. The EPA estimates that a water heater set at 140 degrees or higher can waste $36 to $61 every year in standby heat losses to keep your water at that temperature. They also estimate that you can waste $400 to bring fresh water up to that temperature of 140.

Help your refrigerator run better

Believe it or not, the way you pack your refrigerator can affect its efficiency. Leave room at the front of your refrigerator/freezer so that the air can circulate better. With the freezer, it’s good to keep it full, but not packed, because frozen food stays colder longer than air. Finally, EnergyStar calculates that old, inefficient refrigerators cost an extra $110 per year to operate.

Energy efficiency is key to reducing your energy bills, and if you follow all three steps listed above, could easily save $323 on your annual energy costs. It is very important that we as inhabitants of Earth take care of the planet, but these simple steps will benefit you as well. Make sure to wash your clothes in cold water, set your water heater at 120 degrees, and pack your refrigerator correctly. These things will help you save money, and Mother Nature will be happy as well.

Are you living with chronic pain? You aren’t alone. There are over 1.5 billion people living with chronic pain. Many people feel helpless with their pain, and many others feel prescribed painkillers are the only choice they have.

If you are wary of using painkillers, you are not alone. Pharmaceutical pain medications can be dangerous, and medical science is starting to realize this. Although painkillers may be appealing because they are often effective, there are other alternatives. If you are curious about the many natural alternatives to pill popping, look no further. Here are some safe and effective natural pain remedies that you should try.


Ginger is best known for its helpful digestive properties. Any symptom related to the digestive tract, like nausea or an upset stomach, can be relieved with the use of ginger. A study was actually published in the Journal of Pain that revealed daily ginger can reduce exercise-related pain by 25%. The easiest way to apply ginger as a pain reliever is through oral consumption. You can put it in sauces, teas, or even just eat a bit straight from the root!


Turmeric is also part of the ginger family. It is a bright yellow powder obtained from the rhizome plant. This powder, typically used to add a bit of color and spice to food, is actually an anti-inflammatory agent. If you can stop inflammation, you can reduce pain. Turmeric is also known to reduce arthritis pain because of these anti-inflammatory properties. If you want to try using turmeric as a pain reliever, make an effort to start adding it to stews, soups, and even teas! Taken orally, this helpful substance can actually aid in relieving pain throughout the entire body.


This natural remedy is found in hot chili peppers and temporarily desensitizes nerve receptors that cause pain responses. Capsaicin also diminishes soreness for three to five weeks while the pain receptors regain sensation. Most often used in the form of a cream or salve, a single 60-minute application of this remedy can reduce pain effectively in patients for up to 12 weeks.

Taking pain medication is not your only option for pain relief. Take a trip to Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet and explore the many eco-friendly options. Ginger, turmeric, and capsaicin are some great options to start with, but there are many options at your disposal. Make sure to talk with your doctor before you start any new medical routines.

When you look good, you feel good. We’ve all heard that before. Most of the country agrees with this as well. In fact, an increased focus on wellness has resulted in more than 179 million people in America visiting spas in 2016 alone. People all over the country are buying products that will increase their health and wellness, including new skin and beauty products.

These products may be good for the skin, but are they good for the environment?

More and more, consumers are becoming concerned with their beauty regimen’s impact on the environment. They are researching the products that they use and are making a switch if they feel that their choices are not so eco-friendly. In fact, consumers are 58% more likely to buy products and services if they are aware of their impact on nature and society.

What exactly are eco-friendly products? They are typically considered organic products. To be USDA certified organic, the product must be made of 95% or more organic ingredients derived from plant sources. These ingredients must be grown without pesticides, bio engineered genes, or petroleum-based fertilizers. Natural products are also often made from natural sources without synthetic compounds added.

But not only are these products better for the environment, they might also be better for your skin, your style, and your health! Here are some benefits of using these products outside of their environmental impact.

Their Smell

Natural and organic ingredients smell way better than synthetic materials. Plus, you actually know what you’re getting based on the name of the product, so that natural rose cream actually has real rose water in it. After you start using the products regularly, you will definitely notice the difference.

Softer Skin

Many drugstore brand products actually dry out your skin, even if they advertise “moisturizing” agents. The products should say “sulfate-free” and that is typically only seen with natural products.

Cost Effective

Organic, natural products will actually save you money in the long run if you choose the right brands. Organic products are often significantly less expensive than synthetic luxury or designer brand cosmetics at the department store. Organic products also tend to last much longer than other products, so you will find yourself replacing your products much less often.

Switching to organic products can change your life. They smell better, they are less expensive, they improve your skin, and they are much better for the environment. Make the switch today to improve your life and lessen your footprint on this earth.

Malibu is taking a stand on the plastic usage in their city. On Monday, February 12, the city council met to discuss the issue. The 65 seaside restaurants and food vendors have until June 1 to cease the use of all plastic straws and other utensils. This means that they have just over three months to make the switch. Materials like bamboo and paper have been suggested as earth-friendly products while plastic is no longer an option.

Shelia Morovati, a California resident, kick-started the movement. She and her family frequent the beach, and they often find themselves picking up trash while they’re there. She tells LA Times that almost every item she and her family pick up off the beach is made of plastic. This is not a surprise, as roughly 600 billion pounds of plastic are made and consumed every year, and that number is growing up 5% every year still. Even more startling, an estimated 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded every day, and those straws can wrap around the earth 2.5 times. Unfortunately, much of this plastic ends up in landfills, countrysides, and oceans.

Malibu environmental sustainability director Craig George says, “This is a community based on its ocean and beaches and we want to protect those. Individual cities have to decide how they’re going to protect the earth. We’ve got to start somewhere. If we can start locally, that’s the best place to start.” Based on prior events, he is correct. Malibu adopted a plastic shopping bag ban back in 2008, and the city of Los Angeles followed suit five years later. Eventually, the ban went state-wide, according to the LA Times.

Morovati agreed with George, stating that if Malibu does it, other cities will, too. Although many local businesses are worried about finding replacements for their plastic utensils and how they will afford the change, lawmakers stand by their decision.

It’s no secret that more and more consumers are prioritizing sustainability and eco-friendliness with many of their purchases. From furniture to apparel and accessories, there’s seemingly a more sustainable solution to just about everything — including watches. Watches haven’t always been associated with eco-friendliness and sustainability, but many manufacturers are following the demand by emphasizing responsible sourcing in their products. If you want to take the next step and invest in an eco-friendly watch yourself, it’s important to know just how to get started. Here’s a quick guide to help you purchase an eco-friendly watch.

Go ‘Green’ With Gold

Gold and sustainability haven’t always gone hand-in-hand, but thanks to an initiative created by the Alliance For Responsible Mining (ARM) called the Fairmined Standard, anyone can make sure the watch they purchase is created using responsibly-mined gold. Keep in mind that when it comes to buying a gold watch, you have a few different options: a “gold-filled” watch has a thin sheet of gold (normally at least 20 microns thick) which is bonded to one or both sides of a base metal and is typically a more affordable alternative than a completely gold watch. But regardless of the amount of gold you’re after, making sure it’s responsibly sourced is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainably steps you can take — and it starts with the Fairmined Standard.

“Fairmined is an assurance label that certifies gold from empowered responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organizations. It transforms mining into an active force for good, ensuring social development and environmental protection, providing everyone with a source of gold to be proud of…Thanks to the Fairmined Standard, anyone who buys gold and associated precious metals can support responsibly managed community mines,” says

Skip The Plastics

Plastics are present in a surprising number of watches, mostly because they provide durability and assist in waterproofing. High-end plastic watches can actually appear almost metal-like and are usually much more affordable. However, today the world makes and consumes about 600 billion pounds of plastic yearly, and the market is still growing about 5% a year. Plastic is the material most associated with convenience, and often, disposability. Though a plastic watch may appear sleek and strong, metal watches typically have less wear and tear. Wood watches, however, are increasing in popularity as a unique and eco-friendly option as well — especially those that are solar powered, like WeWOOD watches. Do your research carefully before committing to a watch material.

Consider The Brand

Finally, it’s important to find a watch brand whose eco-friendly values align closely with yours. On average, consumers are exposed to 3,000 ads and promotional messages every day, and while most brands unfortunately haven’t yet prioritized sustainability, the ones that have will make it loud and clear. Some are so passionate to the cause that they take action with every sale. For example, previously mentioned watch brand WeWOOD has been partnered with environmental organization American Forests for years and committed to planting one tree for every watch sold.

Ultimately, understanding the small steps you can take to ensure responsibly-sourced materials and sustainable brands is the key to prioritizing eco-friendliness with your watch and accessory purchases.

It’s no secret that many Americans are spending more time in their vehicles than ever before. In fact, about 14% of Americans have even changed jobs to shorten their long commutes, and when you factor in social events, grocery shopping, and appointments, it can seem like you’re always on the road.

However, many people neglect to realize that sitting in traffic doesn’t just chip away at your patience — it can chip away at your respiratory health as well. Experts even say that the air inside our vehicles can be more harmful than the air outdoors.

There are a number of reasons for this. About 88% of Americans reported owning a car in 2014, meaning that there are more cars on the road than ever before. And even though there have been fewer construction workers and less pollution-spewing machinery on and around the highways since the construction industry eliminated more than 40% of its work force between April 2006 and January 2011, there’s still a major cause for concern — especially around the most densely populated cities.

What’s worse is the composition of these harmful toxins, many types referred to as VOC’s — volatile organic compounds.

“[Vehicular] pollutants come largely from gasoline and diesel exhaust fumes and include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde (known or suspected carcinogens), carbon monoxide (which interferes with the blood’s ability to transport oxygen), nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter (both coarse and fine particles),” writes Berkeley Wellness.

What’s most surprising isn’t VOCs’ negative impact on health, but on cognitive abilities. In a recent study, participants spent six full work days in an environmentally-controlled office space at the TIEQ lab at the Syracuse Center of Excellence. In this space, VOC levels were reduced to approximately 50 micrograms per cubic meter and 40 cubic feet per minute of outdoor air per person. They found that, on average, cognitive scores were 101% higher than in conventional workspaces.

So what can you do to limit your exposure to in-car pollution? There are actually several small but worthwhile steps you can take:

Open Windows Selectively

While we mentioned earlier that in-car air tends to be more polluted than outdoor air, it’s not always the case. You should always be selective when deciding whether or not to open your windows. Experts say your windows should remain closed when stopped at a traffic light or in a traffic jam. Similarly, try to keep some distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, especially if it’s a diesel truck. Don’t be afraid to pull over and let majorly polluting vehicles pass you.

Air Out That ‘New Car Smell’

Everyone mentions that ‘new car smell’ that remains in a new vehicle for several months after being manufactured. While it may be pleasant, it also means that the VOC concentration is at its absolute highest. If your new car has that distinctive scent, try to keep the windows open as often as possible to allow it to dissipate quicker. Driving on roads that aren’t quite as busy can be a good chance for you to open your windows and help the smell air out.

Ditch The Deodorizers

Sure, those car air fresheners that hang from your rear view mirror might look and smell appealing, but all they do is add to the chemical cocktail of toxins already circulating inside your vehicle. Try to keep your car clean and avoid the need for a deodorizer or air freshener. The only refreshing element your vehicle truly needs is fresh air.

Ultimately, understanding the causes of in-car air pollution is the key to preventing it whenever possible. Don’t hesitate to take even small steps to limit your exposure — every effort counts!

The United Kingdom might make a unique stand against environmental contamination in the coming years as Prime Minister Theresa May proposes a dedicated ‘no plastic’ aisle in supermarkets, alongside other ideas.

Global dependence on plastic packaging has always been a hot-button issue amongst niche environmentalists, but May’s speech on the issue might make it a mainstream discussion in the Anglo-Saxon political world.

“In years to come, I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly,” the Washington Post reports May saying during her speech on the issue.

While nations like Germany and Bangladesh have imposed either bans or hefty fees for using plastic bags, it seems the rest of the world has some catching up to do.

“It’s brilliant in symbolic terms that a sitting prime minister is saying that the U.K. needs to be clean and green. But there are many things we could be doing today, like introducing a bottle deposit return scheme,” said Green Alliance policy director, Dustin Benton.

Benton’s criticism tracks with other environmentalists in asking, ‘is it enough?’

Indeed, it might not be enough for many young people worldwide. The growing rates of environmentalism might be best reflected in recent data that suggests a societal interest in reconnecting with nature.

Not only are camping rates growing in general at a faster rate than before, but Generation Z campers are amongst the most excited about the activity. Couple this with the fact that 99% of campers say they plan to go again next year, and you have a strong case for a social trend toward favoring nature.

The question is, how does this translate to the environment? Well, the more sentiment individuals have toward the environment, the more likely you are to see campaigns to protect it. With both camping rates and political action to protect the environment both growing at a rapid rate, there must be some interplay, causal or not.

If a person has gone on a camping trip, they’ve likely seen the impact of pollution. A recent clean up of Alaskan shorelines managed to recover 10,000 kilograms of debris, 60% of which was plastic.

For campers and casual conservationists alike, anxiety about what they can actually do to help is growing. Aside from volunteering their time at larger scale environmental cleanups, starting small is the best answer to give.

Reduce reliance on plastic bags for groceries, install LED light bulbs for better efficiency, recycle. These are all well-recognized strategies.

For avid campers with larger properties, the options open up a bit. Since 83% of Americans believe having a backyard is important, and 90% of them would like to see it well maintained, an opportunity for green projects is right in front of them.

Planting trees is always a great step in a sustainable direction. Getting a garden together could help provide food for the family, and if it grows large enough, at a local level. Of course, to maintain one’s own backyard ecosystem, a storage shed for tools is called for.

Instead of reaching for non-biodegradable plastic pop up sheds, crafting a wooden shed would further exercise sustainability. Besides, they can last for up to 20 years.

The point is, as politicians trudge slowly forward through the red tape of legislation, environmentalism and conservationism grow more popular daily. Theresa May might be planning to remove a lot of plastic from the supermarket, and environmentalists appreciate this, but for those who care passionately about cleaning up the earth, it isn’t enough. With a little help from everyone, they believe real change is possible.