Saturday, April 24, 2010

Better World Betty's Earth Week Recap

What an amazing week of celebrating the Earth. I was blessed to be a part of many Earth efforts around town where I was SERVING the Earth (last photo). One of Betty's fans commented: "Whoa - isn't Earth Day like Betty's "Christmas?"" It's true that it is a very special week. A time to CELEBRATE the efforts you are ALREADY doing to help the Earth or to RENEW efforts that you have been putting off because of your busy life or REDEDICATE time or energy or money to a new effort to help save our planet and its precious resources. Isn't this what every holiday is really about? Celebration, renewal, rededication.

My favorite part is connecting with the community members and other organizations and talking about more ideas for positive change. We are all on this bouncing ball together.

(PHOTOS: Me and the Bagel Lady at UVA's Eco-Market; Eric, Me, Sharon - community volunteers/change makers; Bruce Edmonds of the Rivanna Solid Waste and McIntire Recycling Center; Me serving the Earth)

BWB Highlights:

**Sunday: My very FIRST visit at Betty's Booth on Sunday's kickoff of Earth week at the Pavilion was a homeless man who wanted to start composting in his temporary housing. That was inspiring! He also told me about receiving a water kit from the city and installing it to the amazement of the other tenants.

EVERYONE, I mean everyone is making a difference out there.

**Sunday: Jen donating 15 dollars for one of my remaining BETTY T-shirts. (Still have a few left: email me...)

**Sunday: A listener of the Bruce and Betty radio show (it seems a tad hyperbole to call 12 minutes of radio a show) came to my booth and said, "So, are you Betty?" and I turned around to see if anyone besides me was standing there and oops no Betty. I looked at him rather sheepishly and said, "Betty is me." He looked so disappointed. No offense taken. I can totally relate. It's like reading Confederacy of Dunces and really wanting to sit down with Ignatius Reilly (OK, sorry Betty, not the most flattering of comparisons). But you get the idea. Betty is lovable and most times I wish she were real too. Now she is with me and all of us in spirit helping us take action - big and small ones everyday - to help the Earth.

**Tuesday: UVA Earth Week Garden Tour. I enjoyed listening to two landscape gardeners for the Pavilion Gardens at UVA at 1pm. They had some real wisdom as far as the impact he is seeing from global climate change. Even just a one percent shift in the Earth's temperature widens the distance insects are able to travel, thus creating a problem for investations of trees such as the hemlock in the area. One decried the folly of planting non-native plants year after year, only to watch them die, especially considering the drought-like conditions we've had in recent years. Boxwoods aren't native to the region, for example. They are a shallow rooted plant and therefore don't handle series of dry days where the moisture is deeper. Tradition at UVA is one thing, but "Good gardeners plant and watch, plant and watch." Continuing to plant non-native trees because of tradition is a waste of time and money, according to one landscaper, but so far it's an uphill battle getting anyone to listen. hmmmm. Talk louder?? (That's what Mother Nature is doing)

**A Betty faithful fan told me that on Spring Break she and her husband took "Betty walks" on the beach to pick up trash, sometimes asking "What would Betty do?" upon finding trash with mini bug inhabitants!

**Thursday, 40th Earth Day: UVA was loads of excitement as Bruce Edmonds and I did a remote broadcast in front of Newcomb Hall and then at the Amphitheater by the lawn - the Ecomarket with students, faculty and staff. LOVED Bruce's ECO-radio with a hand crank! The local bagel ladies were there as well as Retail Relay, Beer Run, Edible magazine, Habitat for Humanity, farmers, Feast! Earth lovers at large, let me tell you. THANKS to those of you who signed up to volunteer. Betty needs YOU!! Thanks for the interview Myles Henderson:

**Friday 8:50am: Bruce and Betty show on 1061 the Corner on greening your lawn, Betty-style

The only regret: not hugging more TREES. Trees on Fire, that is, at their launch party this evening at Charlottesville's Paramount at 8pm. I cannot believe I am missing one of my favorite Organica Earth-loving bands tonight!

Thanks for another great Earth Day everyone,

p.s. Thanks Eric B and Howell B (volunteers), Bish Bailey at Bailey printing for doing some quick printing on recycled paper, and Pack N Mail on Pantops for cutting Betty a special on a way cool banner!

Monday, April 5, 2010

D.I.Y. green cleaners

Check out this month's column in Abode magazine here or on their website!

Mix up your own green cleaners

Time to spring clean! This month Betty gives you simple recipes to save greenbacks, and our green planet. These phosphate- and petroleum-free, biodegradable cleaners outshine harmful and unnecessary specific cleaning products. All you really need is baking soda, mild detergent (Dr. Bonner’s), lemon, kosher salt and (optional) tea tree oil.

Basic all-purpose cleaner: 1 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 gallon of water (many spray bottles are this size) and a lemon’s squeeze for aroma and anti-bacterial benefits. Use this in bathrooms (on tub and tile) and all countertops and appliances. For tougher stains sprinkle baking soda and kosher salt and apply elbow grease.

Natural disinfectant: 2 cups water, 3 T liquid soap, 20-30 drops of tea tree oil.
Clogged drains: ½ cup baking soda followed by 2 cups boiling water (unless you have plastic pipes). Still clogged? Add ½ cup of vinegar and watch it fizz, set, then flush.

Bathroom mold: 1 part hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) with 2 parts water. Spray; wait an hour before rinsing.

Carpet spills: If club soda fails, pour corn meal or corn starch, wait 15 minutes, and vacuum.

Hardwood floors: Local hardwood expert Will Rainey says you really don’t need to use anything special on hardwoods, just warm water (optional: a splash of vinegar).

Windows: 2 T of white vinegar per gallon of water. Wipe with newspaper (no need for paper towels).

Stubborn clothing stains: After a red wine stain on new white linens, I discovered this trick: hydrogen peroxide. Let it pull the stain off, then wash.

Happy green cleaning!