Friday, April 27, 2012

April Showers Bring May Flowers

I sincerely hope in our case this is true because this April has been cold, rainy and at times snowing. 
This May I have decided to do interviews with some Green Mommies. I will call it the Green Mommy May Mother's Day Celebration: Day in the Life of Everyday Green Moms. Long title I know but it should be fun. Some may be WAHM's with companies but mostly I just want to interview the regular everyday unsung heroes.. doing their parts to help make this planet a little greener. So if you think you would like to be one.. let me know. You can either comment here.. or on our fb page. Can't wait to start!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Update on Colony Collapse Disorder

So for anyone who read my article on Colony Collapse Disorder (long though it was) will know that most of my research showed that bee populations are dropping at a rate of 1/3 or 30% per year. However my research was done almost exclusively though papers written between 2008-2010. Well a recent documentary that I watched this morning said that it is closer to 60% now. So in the last 2 years CCD rates have doubled. DOUBLED! Bees are dying at a rate of 60% per year. So does this mean that in 2 years it will be 90%??? It could very well mean that!

SAVE OUR HONEYBEES!!!!!!!
This is a plead for anyone who is interested in a backyard hive, even a small one, to go ahead and do it. It doesn't cost much and for every small backyard organic hive that we raise that is more push back against colony collapse disorder.
Bees, especially honeybees are vital!!!

Urine? As a Fertilizer?

So most of my readers know that I am an organic gardener. I have never needed much by the way of fertilizers or pesticides however because I in the last 3 years only grown a small crop and most of that was in pots. This year however my garden has about tripled in size as have the amount and variety of crops that I am growing. For the first time compost wasn't cutting it as a fertilizer and my plants were starting to look lack luster even though they are still seedlings in pots. I had used compost mixed in the water to water them.. but I realized that a chemical fertilizer was going to be best.. which made me so sad. I knew I needed an organic option that would work like a chemical fertilizer.. pure nitrogen almost mixed in the water.
Well it didn't take long before I found site after site promoting the use of fresh human urine. I was a bit shocked but hey I will try anything (and have) so I decided why not.. I pee sometimes 5 times a day or more.. I am a plentiful source of it. Even if I had to water half the plants at a time (in between pees) I could do that.
So I did my research. The sites I found said to use fresh urine no more than 24 hrs old as it will then be ammonia which will quickly kill off your plants. (older urine was once used before bleach was invented to clean clothes).  They also said that you needed to mix it in at least a 1/5 ratio of urine to water but most said 1/15 parts urine to water.
So how does it work? What is the science behind it? Our bodies can only break down part of the nitrogen we consume, the rest is collected in our kidneys and turned into urine. So fresh urine is a huge huge collection of nitrogen, the main nutrient plans need to grow and produce fruit. 
So you may be wondering if this is so great, why doesn't everyone know this? or do this? Well for one most people think it's gross. After all it's a bodily waste. That being said urine is 100% sterile. Another reason why this isn't super popular is it is impractical for large fields of plants. Even if you had everyone in the household collect their urine over the course of the day and mixed it in a 1:15 ratio you still would only have maybe 10 gallons at the most. This would only water a medium sized garden. However for a small garden like ours it is optimal. The other reason why this can be not promoted is while urine has much lower ratios of mercury and other toxins than feces, it is still a tiny bit higher than the level needed for commercial organic approval. However many organic gardeners swear by it.
Some organic farmers are even looking into specialized toilets which would separate urine (catch urine) and leave feces behind. Though I found it pretty simple to urinate into a collection cup. Anyone who ever had a child (any woman that is) has had 9 months of urine collection practice (not to mention taking pregnancy tests). For a man it would be even easier I would imagine.
So back to my own experience. I began this 4 days ago. I water the crops once a day with a 1:15 part mixture of urine to water. Over the last 4 days I have seen a almost unreal change in my plants. The tomatoes have doubled in size. The few crops that still had not germinated sprouted like crazy. The carrots went from spindley half dead seedlings to large bushy carrot tops. The spinach came back, the pumpkins squash and corn are now over growing their pots.
I am taking care to record my observations, like any good biologist does, because I think I am going to try this again next year but actually keep track of growth day by day or week by week and write a scientific paper on it.
So for all the organic gardeners who read this blog.. before you poo poo using pee pee.... try it. Your fall harvest may surprise you.
Some sources for you:
http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2009-09/fertilizer-future-might-be-closer-we-think
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=human-urine-is-an-effective-fertilizer
Also google "urine fertilizer" to find article after article.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

All Natural Made at Home Orange Kitchen Cleaner

So as always Pinterest is full of good ideas.. a lot of which I love to test out for myself. One of these was using orange peels and white vinegar for kitchen and household cleaner. I tend not to use vinegar as a cleaner because it is smelly so I stick to baking soda in soapy dishwater. However this recipe seemed to awesome to not try. You take household white vinegar and used orange peels from all the oranges your kid eats over the week. I saved mine in a glass container with a sealed lid. Just add vinegar when you have the peels from at least two good sized oranges or 3-4 from small ones. Fill the container with the vinegar and let sit for about 1 week.
Here was mine.

So then after one week open it up. You will notice almost immediately that it no longer smells like vinegar.. instead it is a clear almost strong odor of oranges. Now to use it you are going to want about 1/3 cleaner to 2/3 water. I split mine between two spray bottles. 

 I filled them to the top with water and started spraying it around the kitchen to clean.
This was my stove before and after.


All in all I am sold! I will be making and using this cleaner from now on. 


Monday, April 23, 2012

Sociological Thinking part 2

This is my second paper for my sociology class. Enjoy!

Many people still see gender as naturally rooted in differences between male and female bodies. There are, of course, bodily differences that lead to differences in function: Only women can have babies. Such a basic fact of human biology is bound to affect how some parts of social life are organized. To consider how this might be the case is not inconsistent with being sociologically mindful. Yet we must be careful about this, because many common ideas about possible links between biology and social behavior were invented to justify domination and exploitation. How do popular notions about the biological basis of gender (or race, or sexuality) function in this way? Who benefits if such notions are widely accepted.

     Gender, the great divider, the source of many of the big issues facing the world today. Women's rights, homosexual rights, abortion, birth control, equality in the workplace, sexual harassment, rape, even women's healthcare are all under fire in our nation right now and are all matters of gender.
     Just this week a bill was passed in the Oklahoma State Senate that will criminalize the use of abortion, even in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother. The bill even states that some forms of birth control will be illegal. (http://www.necn.com) This means that in today's society women are still second class citizens. They are slowly having control over their own bodies revoked once again. Conversely more and more states are finally allowing for legalized Gay Marriage which is a tremendous step forward. However, it is sad though, how many states still do not allow it, or that it is still fought against so hard.
     There are basic human biological truths that do divide us, but beyond the ability to produce eggs or sperm or gestate a fetus... what really separates us? An article in the news recently told the story of a young girl who was born a boy. After many years he/she was finally allowed to just live the way he/she felt he/she needed to live. The boy knew at the young age of 3 or 4 that he was really a she. Now 15, she lives entirely as a girl. What makes this an even bigger interest and puzzle is that she was twin. Her identical twin brother lives as a boy and never felt he was anything but a boy, but fully accepts his now sister. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk) This goes to show you that gender is something beyond what we can identify easily. The young boy knew almost from birth that he was a girl inside, and yet his twin knew he was a boy. The lines of gender are not as clear cut as people would like us to think.
     The common ideas of gender are put in place to keep certain groups of people under other groups of people. If women and men are so vastly different then of course women can not hold important positions in the work place, and they are too fragile or docile to hold political positions. Men should be men. A young boy can not possibly play with a barbie or like the color purple. These are ideas that will harm the human race as a whole because these ideas only serve the best interests of a ruling few.
     Another recent news story was from a blog of a retail game shop clerk who watched in shock as a father berated his 10-11 year old son for wanting to buy a purple game controller as his gift from his older brother. When physical violence was threatened the older brother stepped in and stood up to his father. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com) It is amazing that today there are still people who think that liking the color purple if you are a male is not only wrong but immediately means you are sub male or worse homosexual or worse still a wannabe woman. The color purple was in fact the color for royalty up until a few hundred years ago, so even this sort of is relatively new.
     So who do these ideas benefit? I would like to say no one, that all are harmed by this way of thinking, but no. This sort of thinking benefits every man who ever got a job because the more qualified woman up for the job was disregarded because of her gender. It benefits every politician who got elected on a platform of keeping gay marriage illegal. It benefits every husband who ever felt the need to keep his wife under his thumb so that she could never leave him. It benefits the church leader who uses gender and sexuality issues to control the fear filled masses. It benefits anyone who wishes to embrace hate and rise above on a platform of inequality and disadvantage.
     As sociological minded people it is our job to think differently. One must never fall into a thought process simply because that was the way things always have been, because that isn't even true. Marriage for instance was until very recently a monetary transaction between the father of the usually child bride and the man who wished to breed with her and was willing to pay the highest price to her father. So how is that a better option than two men who love each other very much joining together is wedded matrimony. As sociologically minded people it is our job to open our minds to truth and see the world how it truly is. That gender is a muddled thing at best and that men and women are not really very different and are in fact perfectly equal in all things.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sociological Thinking part 1

This semester is my last before I finish my biology degree and as such I had a few openings to take classes simply for me. I decided to try a sociology class. I love it. It has been just such a rewarding class. At times it has made me even more passionate and heartbroken by the actions of the world at large but out rage is good. Anyway I wanted to share with you all the two papers I had to write for this class, each answering a question posed. I thought they would be a nice break from all the product pitching I have done all month. Something a little meatier, something to get people thinking. They are not the greatest written pieces bu they are from the heart. Enjoy!

Paper 1:
Upon learning about the extent and harmfulness of inequality in our society, some people will say, “Yes it is sad.” I have often wondered about this expression. It is not the same as saying, “These facts about inequality make me feel sad,” or “I am saddened to see how people are hurt by inequality,” either of which makes it clear that the speaker or writer is claiming to have an emotional response. To say of inequality, “It is sad.” uses language of feeling but implies detachment. How do you interpret and explain the use of this expression? What do you suppose are the consequences if people look at inequality and injustice and feel sad (or merely say they do) rather than angry or outraged.

     This is actually a topic that has been on my mind a good deal in the last few weeks. There has been so much injustice that it has literally made my heart and brain ache. From the verbal attacks on a young woman's character on nationally broadcast radio for simply asking for something all woman should have; to a child being gunned down in cold blood for being dark skinned in the wrong neighborhood; to an article about a woman kidnapped by the government in China and forced to have a 40 week abortion. Everyday I listen to politicians say that they want to help the poor but they then turn around and cut education, welfare, healthcare, public broadcasting funding, and federal funding to tuition programs. Everyday I hear them complaining about the high gas prices and yet they refuse to help fund alternative energy programs and instead want to further destroy what is left of our planet by drilling even though economists have proven that drilling all over America would only result in a drop in the world's oil resources. Worst of all is the ever widening gap between the very poor and the very rich and an ever disappearing middle class.
     I think personally that the words, “It's sad.” is just a way to sound sympathetic, or perhaps it is actually sympathy but not empathy. I think the average person is incapable of feeling empathy, or at least has realized that if they do feel empathy, they would have to actually do something. Sympathy is an easy way out. You can show you are somewhat effected by the injustice around you without actually getting involved or doing anything. Empathy leads to actually doing something, it leads to truly caring. The average person can't afford to care about those that are not directly linked to their own lives.
     The other day an article was posted in an online forum where mothers discuss topics close to them. The topic was the 40th week abortion forced on a young mother in China. The article included a picture of the deceased baby floating in a bucket on the floor, face down. You couldn't see much but to the average person this would be more than a little disturbing, to a group of young mothers, many of whom have lost children, it was beyond heartbreaking. The mothers all attacked the original poster with comments like, “that is unneeded”, "why would you post that" and "what is wrong with you" and "I don't want to know that or see that". After only about 10 minutes the post was removed. I was disturbed by the whole ordeal.. but less so by the posting of the article. The original article was awful but knowledge is power. Knowing things like this happen, is a way to begin to be able to change things.
     I think that we need to stop hiding our heads in the sand and deleting things that "offend" when it is knowledge based and needs to be known. I read the article and while I know what goes on there and was sickened, being educated about the horrors is so vital to being a empathetic person. I think when we don't read articles like that, when we clam up, turn a blind eye, and say "oh that offends me I don't want to see it" well then that is when they win. You SHOULD be offended.. it should offend your every fiber as a mother, as a human being, as an American. It should make you sick. It should make you react, feel, and most of all care.
     Empathy not sympathy is the key to changing this world. The old saying, walk a mile in someone else shoes. If you can not inconvenience yourself long enough to even imagine what someone else is feeling then you will never change anything. These people who simply say “It's sad” and walk away are no better than the mothers who deleted that post, they are no better than the people who still listen to Rush Limbaugh, or who would rather see lower gas prices than natural forests and waterways in their country. To care is inconvenient and it is a slippery slope from sympathy to apathy, and I for one feel we are already too much of an apathetic world.

GCDC Wrap Up

Happy Earth Day Green Mommies!!! Unfortunately the Garbage Walk has been postponed because of rain but instead I have a few posts to bring you, starting with the GCDC Wrap Up. 
Our event was hosted by my good friend Liz H, and took place at the Massena Mall in Massena NY. It was a hectic morning with both Liz and I grabbing the last bit items we needed to bring, her much more so than me of course, I mainly had to just get the fruit platter. Then I arrived right after she did and we got the security to unlock the room. Within 2 mins there were three or four Moms waiting to be checked in even though it was only 11 AM, so Liz enlisted the help of some of our friends and her sister in law and within a few minutes we had people running check in, handing out tickets and selling tickets for the raffle, handing out the goody bags, and setting up food. 
We raffled off several great prizes. 
We had a Nursing Necklace made by J Dalton Designs. 

A Plarn Dish Scrubbie made by The Green Mommy. 

A Earth Day Necklace made by Upcycled Remnants.

 A Pocket Diaper by Go Green Diapers.

Wool Dryer Balls by Absolute Delights (and donated by Liz H). 

 A NB Diaper set by Baby Coon Designs.(wipes and a liner were added to this).

 A Soaker by Fluffyrumps.

A Country Gourmet Home Sampler Set donated by Liz H.
A 20$ coupon from Rogue Decals.
A Pocket Diaper by Bubbz Diaper.

And a Knotty Bums Diaper Cover by Coopadilly Creations.

The Grand Prize was a collection of items.
A Pair of Octopus Legs Brand Baby Leg Warmers.
Some Bummis Brand Wipes.
Rocking Green Detergent
Bummis Brand Basic Starter Kit
And A Green Mommy Plarn Diaper/Shopping Bag

All in all a great time was had by all. Each of the participants got 
a Green Mommy Tote Bag too

 filled with coupons and extra goodies, including a Snappi, 
a mini Green Mommy Wipe

, Rocking Green Detergent, Eco Sprout Detergent,
 a Real Diaper Association Bracelet

 and Bummis Brand Wipes. 
Each of the Event Helpers also got one of these. 

I am super excited to get mine so I can wear it everyday.
T-Shirts were also available and made at cost by Rogue Decals.
I made mine into a cute tank top and have been living in it since.

I also made a shirt for Bug to wear to the event.


So I will wrap up this wrap up with a few pics from the event. Enjoy!
Some of the Moms gathering and setting up. I am the one in the bright green event tee.
Checking in with Jacenta at the main desk (she also is in an event tee).
A few of the participating Moms waiting to change their little ones. My friend Kristen is there with her nb baby girl.
Changing the babies.
Two of the Moms posing with their babies by the sign while baby wearing. Love this pic.
The prizes for the raffle.
Our Sponsors. If you look closely you can see my new logo.
Bug and his "little sister", Liz H's daughter.
A bunch of the kids eating after the diaper change. Bug is the one in blue.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Live Homebirth Of Jessica from The Leaky Boob

So I am currently sitting watching a long with most of the worlds breastfeeding supportive Moms out there as our beloved blogess and courageous creator of The Leaky Boob gives birth live online in a homebirth. If you aren't watching this please do get on right now. http://theleakyboob.com/2012/04/live-birth-event/ Jessica is amazing and I so enjoy reading her blog and following her FB page. She has 5 children not counting the one about to be born, she has been breastfeeding for many many years. She is always promoting and supporting breastfeeding and breastfeeding Moms. The fact that she has the courage to do this is amazing. Kudos to you Jessica!!!

Update: welcome Arden Credence to the world. Her entrance was so fast I think most everyone missed it due to an ad loading at the exact same time... but alas still an amazing experience. Thank you Jessica.

The 3rd Annual Green Mommy Earth Day Garbage Walk

So I had not written about it much since I have been running ragged preparing for the GCDC and writing term papers and taking exams. BUT that being said yes we are having the 3rd annual Green Mommy Earth Day Garbage Walk. What this has been the last 2 years has been me and Bug (well just me the first year but Bug helped last year) walking around our town picking up litter on Earth Day. Here is my post from last year. Last year we got a 30 gallon bag full pretty early in our walk, so we spent some time enjoying the nice day and then went home. This year I called on all my readers and followers to do this in their own hometowns as well. I also may have a few people joining us for our walk this year. I am hoping by next year we can get it a bit more press and really have a blast with it. I will also be making Bug a t shirt for this too. Hope to see you guys for that too! :)

The Great Cloth Diaper Change

Well it is finally here... this Saturday we will all gather to change cloth diapers, promote cloth and promote going green. I am so excited! Where we are located, our wonderful Hostess is none other than my good friend Liz H. who I actually met last year because of me trying to host this same event. I gave up.. but she stuck it out and she has done amazingly!!! So just what is the Great Cloth Diaper Change? This is year 2 of the event, and it is setting out to break the record for most cloth diapered babies changed at once. Luckily since Bug still is wearing diapers overnight and is still 39 inches he qualifies. So we will be there to participate. I am hoping that by this time 2014 we will have a new little one to participate again. 
The Green Mommy is also a sponsor this year. 
I donated a plarn bag as a door prize. 

I donated a plarn dish scrubby to display for the Go Green display. 

And I donated 25 cloth wipes to go in each goody bag.

I also am designing Bug a t-shirt to wear to the event. I will share a pic of that later.
So who else is going to a location near you? Do you use cloth? If not why not? Would you be open to switching? Hope to see all the local Moms at our event.. and hope you all attend one near you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chicobag: The Recycled Bag

 This is one product review I have wanted to do for weeks, but had to wait until it arrived. A few weeks ago was the spring NCPR (North Country Public Radio) pledge drive. Hubby and I pledged and as a gift selected something called a Chicobag. I had never heard of it before. So I googled it of course and found out that these bags are mostly meant to be library/grocery/farmer's market bags. They are made of a light weight fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. Not only that but the caribeaner is made from recycled aluminum, in fact only the thread is a virgin material. Each bag holds up to 40 lbs of food or books, yet folds up to fit in a tiny attached pouch which has a caribeaner to clip onto anything you need it for. It is a great spare bag and is even great for using as a main tote. I love love love mine. It is a chocolate and teal color with North Country Public Radio printed on the front. It is bound to become my favorite bag ever. The average bag on their site is 12.99$ which is so so affordable. They also carry cloth sandwich containers and snack bags. They even have the farm stand emergency kit which is three small totes in a pouch with a caribeaner. So without further ado here is the CHICOBAG!!!
Here is my chicobag. It is wrinkly from traveling here but it is sooo cool. It is rather big and is a great shoulder bag.
 I am so excited to have a new NCPR item. We haven't been able to pledge in a few years so this was nice.
 Made from 11 plastic bottles!
 The small bag attached on the inside is hidden when the bag is in use.

The small pouch with the larger bag stuffed inside. :)

I love love love mine. I did a happy dance today when it came. Bug caught the excitement and we danced and sang "Chicobag chicobag woot woot chicobag".

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rogue Decals

If I told you to think of a green company and describe it, chances are you might not be thinking of a car decal company, yet Rogue Decals is just that. They are a locally owned and operated decal company that also works in tandem with many Green causes. They have fully supported the Great Cloth Diaper Change here in NNY, they work with a lot of WAHM diaper companies and is owned by the Hobkirk family who are supporters and practitioner  of cloth diapering, attachment parenting and breastfeeding. They also make a lot more than just car decals. They design logos for companies, they make wall art for kids rooms and best of all they design t shirts. They made t shirts for anyone who wanted one for the GCDC this April and only charged cost. They are involved in helping support all sorts of organizations and groups that help parents breastfeed and cloth diaper. They also designed my new Green Mommy logo which I will be revealing soon. https://www.facebook.com/roguedecals

Kashi

Another big switch in the Green Mommy household was switching our store bought foods to organic as much as we could. Now by store bought foods I mean boxed foods or canned foods. Things like bread, rice, cereal etc. We already grow an organic garden and shop for produce and meat locally (mostly). I already make all our own pickles, sauces, and jams and jellies. So the final frontier was our boxed food. So we began to try things. The first thing we tried was Kashi cereal. I was hesitant thinking, "this is going to be gross, I already eat healthy cereals.. they don't have to be organic too do they?" Both Hubby and I thought that. One bite and we were hooked. We now have tried almost every kind they have on the market and have yet to not love one. They cost about the same as name brand cereal and are entirely organic.
The big surprise for me though was going to their website. They do have a few pages dedicated to their food but the website runs more like a community or forum, with links to all their education materials and their anti GMO campaign. I was so shocked and pleased. They offer 7 products now that use no GMO products at all. The are working hard to educate America on Organic food. Kashi is great and it is one change we have enjoyed. Most of all it is DELICIOUS!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Colony Collapse Disorder

I am taking a break from promoting green products and companies to talk to you all about something really important, Colony Collapse Disorder. 
Apis mellifera or the European honeybee is vital to Humans. Not only are honeybees the only producer of honey a food that has been called the elixir of life and the nectar of God, but honeybees are responsible for a good amount of the world's pollination of plants and flowers, and almost all of the world's pollination of commercial crops. Without them we as a species, would see a dramatic loss of most of our world's food supplies and perhaps even be faced with famine or the extinction of our species as a whole. Honeybees are vital to our survival. The Honeybee has evolved to be the perfect pollinator. It has hairs on its legs that collects pollen as it collects nectar to eat. Flying from flower to flower pollen can mix which cross pollinates the blossoms. Nectar is a clear sugary liquid that is taken from the flowers and stored by the honey bee in a second stomach before they regurgitate the then honey into the honeycomb cells where it is used for food for the larvae. The Honeybee is colonial. They form a hive where one queen lays the eggs, while worker sister bees build the hive, care for the young and find nectar and honey. In a honeybee hive communication is key in the survival of the community and honeybees have evolved a sophisticated technique of dancing to communicate commands to their sisters. The male honeybees are drones which live in hopes of mating with the queen.
When Europeans came to America for the first time they brought with them the European Honeybee. It was a source of life for the early settlers, giving them both honey and pollinating their crops. There were of course other species of bees living in America already which did not produce honey but did help pollinate crops and still do today. Since then the Honeybee has been a major part of agriculture in America. “Large acreages of pollinator-dependent crops, such as apples, almonds, blueberries, and cranberries, require managed pollinators to ensure production. The ability to easily move and manage honey bees, Apis mellifera, makes them ideal for this purpose. In all, it has been estimated that directly, and indirectly, one-third of the food we eat comes from honey bee pollination.” (Vanenglesdorp, 2010). However as commercial agriculture grew and became more mechanized and chemical so too did apiculture or beekeeping. Hives have been exposed to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, genetically altered flowers and crops, and worst of all have been fed syrups and fillers instead of being allowed to gather nectar naturally. All these things have helped bring about one of the largest crises that our world has faced yet, Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees.
Colony Collapse Disorder can be defined by a few different things, but commonly is known to show a few common symptoms which can be used as a gauge for finding CCD. The symptoms associated with CCD are “1. The complete absence of adult bees in colonies with few or no dead bees in/ around colonies; 2. The presence of capped brood; and 3. the presence of food stores that are not robbed by other bees or typical colony pests.” (Ellis et al. 2010). There are also certain symptoms associated with a collapsing colony and can be used to diagnose weakening colonies. “1. An insufficient number of bees to maintain the amount of brood in the colony; 2. The workforce is composed largely of younger adult bees; 3. The queen is present; and 4. The cluster of bees is reluctant to consume food provided to them by the beekeeper. (Ellis et al. 2010). In lamens terms Colony collapse Disorder is the disappearance of large amounts of adult bees from an individual hive or colony with no dead bees found or probable cause.
A survey was done in 2010 showing declining bee populations over the last 60 years. From 1940-2008 data was taken from apiaries with more than 5 colonies. The results show clearly a he drop off in population sizes over the last 10-15 years. In 1940 there were approximately 6 million bee commercial honeybee colonies. By 2008 there were less than 2.5 million commercial bee colonies.
According to Ellis et al. 2010, this data was taken from the National Agricultural Statistics Service in 2009. In the documentary “Vanishing of the Bees”, they show that every year beekeepers are reporting 1/3 losses of their adult bees due to CCD. If this were to happen to any other food source it would become an instant national disaster but since they are insects the beekeepers do something called splitting the hive, where they cut the hive numbers in half and add a new queen to the one half in a new hive box and begin accumulating new bees. Bees like all insects reproduce very quickly and so in a short time they can recoup their losses, but this is a short term solution. (Vanishing of the Bees, 2009)
If Colony Collapse Disorder is causing such a vast drop off in honeybee numbers around the world and specifically in the US, what can be causing this? There are many hypotheses. One of the most prevalent is that the exposure to pesticides is the cause (Vanengelsdorp, 2010) (Frazier et al., 2008), while others say that exposure to mites, fungi and disease is the cause (Higes et al., 2009) (Maori et al., 2009) (Bromenshenk et al. 2010). Another theory is that the use of syrups and fillers fed to bees in order to fast track production and artificial insemination of queens is the main cause. (Vanishing of the Bees, 2009). On the whole though no one cause has been found or agreed upon, though all agree this problem is threatening agriculture as we know it today and the future of bees in general.
The first possible cause, pesticides, is thought to be more of a contributing factor than the main cause. In a study in 2008, What have pesticides got to do with it? (Frazier et al.) discussed how the use of most of the nation’s hives of honeybees are used for rotating crop pollination in large commercial farms. They are exposed to large amounts of pesticides as a result. There is also a large amount of miticides used in the hives directly to help combat the mites that have been now linked as another possible cause of CCD. The real concern with the pesticides being a contributing factor in CCD is not the lethal doses, we now are seeing that non lethal doses are lowering the bees immune systems and allowing for other diseases to attack the hive and take it down. “We are becoming increasingly concerned that pesticides may affect bees at sublethal levels, not killing them outright, but rather impairing their behaviors or their ability to fight off infections. For example, pesticides at sub lethal levels have been shown to impair the learning abilities of honey bees or to suppress their immune systems. For these reasons we believe that pesticide exposure may be one of the factors contributing to pollinator decline and CCD.” (Frazier, 2008).
The second possible cause is mites, viruses, and fungi. In a study by Higes et al. 2009, it was proposed that Nosema ceranae a fungi Microsporidia was a main cause of CCD. “There was evidence of epithelial cell degeneration and extensive lysis. As described previously, heavily infected cells may be either dead or dying, which will eventually lead to the early death of the infected workerbees due to starvation.” (Higes et al. 2009) This fungi heavily impairs the hive as a whole and the infected bees found to be infected did not have other diseases, which could mean that this is a main cause of CCD. Another study by Bromenshank et al., 2009, also confirmed this. This study however also looked at another disease an iridovirus. It did not show that iridovirus on it's own could cause CCD which further shows that microsporidia is a more likely cause. Iridovirus though is most likely a contributing factor. In a study, Maori et al. 2009, they discuss how the iridovirus is able to be silenced with the ingestion of dsRNA. This was tested on nemotodes and proved to be successful. “RNA silencing down regulates gene expression by degrading RNAs in a sequence-specific manner, arresting the translation of a designated mRNA, or engendering transcriptional gene silencing involving DNA methylation and chromatin remodeling.” (Maori et al. 2009)
The last possible cause was discussed in a 2009 documentary, The Vanishing of the Bees. They showed how many hives are now being fed syrups and fillers in order to produce more and more honey with less and less bees. This is causing the entire health of the hive to decline. It is compared to feeding your children nothing but junk food and then their children and then their children. Eventually you wold have harmed your entire genetic fitness of the family and they would be riddled with disease. The believe this is what is happening with the bees who have CCD. They also discuss CCD being caused by genetic engineering and artificial insemination of queens for certain traits. This is further harming the hives as a whole. Their overall fitness has decreased considerably.
The cause that seems the most plausible is the combination of all of these. One common symptom of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees when scientists study them is a large amount of diseases. It seems that their immune systems are compromised drastically. “The condition of the quality of the brood pattern was also noted with areas of capped brood containing less than 80% viable brood.” (Vanenelsdorp et al. 2010) I hypothesize that the pesticides, miticides and genetic engineering and poor diet are all lowering the honeybees immune system to the point where the microsporidians and iridoviruses can take over, killing off whole hives in a matter of days. It would be as if humans all had AIDS or another immune suppressing disease, and as a species this had become normal. Well what would happen if the flu ran through a society riddled with AIDS? We would die off in force. It would very quickly decrease our population within a few weeks even, to numbers so low that we probably could not recover. This is what CCD is doing to bees. The problem is when people began to mess with bees in a large way, exposure to pesticides, genetic engineering.. we reduced their fitness. We tried to domesticate an animal that does not do well being domesticated.
So what can be done about CCD? Many of the sources I read all had the same thing to say, but the documentary, Vanishing of the Bees, 2009, went into the most depth. They proposed that instead of large beekeepers who keep thousands of hives, that thousands of people need to have 1 hive each. They are calling for anyone who would like to help to raise bees in their yard or small farm, organically, with no filler food, no interference, and no exposure to pesticides. It is theorized that if even a few thousand small organic farmers each kept one small hive we could start to turn CCD around in a few years. Colony Collapse Disorder is a true threat to not just bees but to humans everywhere. If the answer is such a simple one, it begs the question, what are we waiting for?

Works Cited

Maori, E., Paldi, N., Shafir, S., Kaley, H., Tsur, E. 2009. IAPV, a bee-affecting virus associated with Colony Collapse Disorder can be silenced by dsRNA ingestion. Insect Molecular Biology. 18 (1), 55–60
Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Neumann, P., Carreck, N. L. 2010. Honey bee colony losses. Journal of Apicultural Research 49(1): 1-6

Bromenshenk, J. J., Henderson, C. B., Wick, C. H., Stanford, M. F., Zulich, A. W., Jabbour, R. E., Deshpande, S. V., McCubbin, P. E., Seccomb, R. A., Welch, P. M., Williams, T., Firth, D.R., Skowronski, E., Lehmann, M.M., Bilimoria, S. L., Gress, T., Cramer, R. A.

Bromenshenk JJ, Henderson CB, Wick CH, Stanford MF, Zulich AW, et al. (2010) Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline. PLoS
ONE 5(10): e13181.

vanEngelsdorp D, Evans JD, Saegerman C, Mullin C, Haubruge E, et al. (2009) Colony Collapse Disorder: A Descriptive Study. PLoS ONE 4(8): e6481.

vanEngelsdorp D, Hayes J, Underwood RM, Pettis J (2008) A Survey of Honey Bee Colony Losses in the U.S., Fall 2007 to Spring 2008. PLoS ONE 3(12):e4071.

Higes, M., Martín-Hernández, R., Garrido-Bailón, E., González-Porto, A. M., Nozal, M., Bernal, J. 2009. Honeybee colony collapse due to Nosema ceranae in professional apiaries. Environmental Microbiology Reports.

Frazier, M. T., C. Mullin, J. Frazier. 2008. What Have Pesticides Got to do with it? Amer. Bee J. 148:521-523.

Frazier, M. T., C. Mullin, J. Frazier. 2007. Preliminary Report to Sponsor on Pesticide Residues in Pollen, Spring 2007. The National Honey Board.

Langworthy, G. 2009. Vanishing of the bees. Documentary.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More Products

So in the 3 yrs I have run this blog I have already posted many many blog posts about products that were great, or companies who were green. So I have collected them all and am going to post links to them in this post. Enjoy.

1. Noble Bunz
2. Earth's Best
3. Three Umbrellas
4. Kidz Closet
5. Kidz Closet (another promotional post)
6. SUNY Potsdam
7. Blue Dinosaurs
8. Ecos Laundry Detergent
9. Sunbaby Diapers
10. Stoneyfield Yogurt / Purex Natural Elements / SILK
11. A Saturday With Mez
12. Maine Root Soda
13. Alvababy Diapers
14. Comparing Cloth Diaper Companies
15. Green Mommy Shout Outs
16. Mo Dia Diapers 
17. Top 10 Green Kids Movies

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Author, Musician, Ethnomusicologist

Ok so to be fair this is not a post on a product or company... so to speak, but on a book. Not a book about being green either so you may be wondering why I am writing about it. Well the author is extremely green and extremely awesome and a friend so I felt it needed promoting. 

The book is called "Our Daddy is an Ethnomusicologist" by Michael Balonek. You can buy it on Amazon.com. The book follows a narration by Micaiah and Samuel (Mike's two sons) talking about their Daddy's job and how they get to play and look at instruments from all around the world. So what is an ethnomusicologist. The book answers that too. It is a person who studies music all around the world and the cultures that go with the instruments. Think musician crossed with a anthropologist. All in all this cute little book is a nice addition to any child's library and at 6.99$ it is cheaper than most bargain bin books. So pick it up for Easter or just for a new springtime read. Bug loves it so much. It is his new favorite book, although to be fair it stars two of his friends so that is an added bonus.
 Here is Bug reading the book.

So get out there and buy it! I give it the Green Mommy thumbs up.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

SILK

Last year I did a post promoting SILK for producing all their products on wind power, and immediately retracted my promotion when I learned just how bad SOY is for you. While I stand by that SILK is so much more than Soymilk and yes is powered by wind. Silk offers many many healthy products like smoothies, protein shakes, coconut milk and almond milk. Here is what the company says about their use of wind power.
"Here's how it works: For every kilowatt hour of electricity we use in making our products, Silk purchases Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from our green-power partner, Bonneville Environmental Foundation. Our investment helps support the development of new renewable energy resources, such as wind farms, throughout the United States. Over time, as the amount of available renewable energy in our national power grid increases, the demand for nonrenewable sources—like fossil fuels—will decline. The result: a cleaner, greener, more sustainable power supply for all of us. To date, our purchase of RECs represents the environmental equivalent of planting almost 35,000 acres of trees—or the equivalent of taking 23,000 cars off the road for an entire year. That's a whole lot of clean from a few little soybeans! Can soymilk help change the world? Just maybe." 
Our family recently switched from dairy milk to SILK Almond Milk. It is not only DELICIOUS but so healthy. Almond milk has 50% more calcium and couples it with Vitamin D. SILK Dark Chocolate Almond milk has only 120 calories per serving, and the Original has only 60 calories per serving. It also is full of antioxidants and vitamins. 
The best part is SILK Almond milk is NON GMO certified. :) So let's give SILK a Green Mommy Salute and pour a tasty glass of frothy almond milk.

First Earth Month Promotion: Coopadilly Creations

What is Coopadilly Creations? It is a cloth diaper and baby accessories company run by a WAHM, and mother of 4, Roxanne A. She is in a word... AWESOME. 
The company used to be a partnership between her and her sister but I am not sure if they still work together. I own 5 of their products though. I own a mai tai, ring sling, two diaper covers, and a burp cloth all from Coopadilly. The diaper covers are adorable. They are called "Knotty Bums", named by me (I won a contest for naming them). The name fits because these fleece fitted cloth diaper covers tie in the front and are super adjustable from anywhere form a nb to my 40 inch tall 33 lb 2 yr old. (Bug still wears diapers overnight). Here is a picture. 
So my impressions of her products? I actually am not sure but I think I have actually done a review of this company before when I got my mai tai and ringsling but I am not sure... anyway... I LOVE THESE diaper covers. At just 2.50$ each they are a steal!!! They come in a variety of cute colors and are super absorbent. They would work well over prefolds or fitteds, or just for fashion sake over pockets. Bug loves them. They are so soft. 
So what else does Coopadilly Creations sell other than Knotty Bums? Well she hand makes cloth diapers all kinds, baby shoes, hair bows, baby ties and more. So if you would like to check her out please go to www.facebook.com/coopadilly
So if you want green baby products made here in the States by a WAHM who does great work, shop local and buy from Coopadilly. She even reuses all her scraps to make smaller items so she is further being green by using every last scrap. Tell her The Green Mommy sent you!

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