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Archive for Green Technology
March 27th, 2013
A recent issue that’s continued to create quite a buzz in the parenting world is the appropriate age for when a child can or should have a cell phone. A 2009 survey showed that the majority of children who have a cellphone get one by the time they turn 13. The general consensus between parents today is that a child anywhere between the ages of 11-13 is considered appropriate, and that age could very well continue to drop.
As parents we quickly learn that there are no steadfast rules for many parenting issues that arise. We try to rely on our own good judgment and intuition most often, but there are times when a manual would be nice. No such luck.
One of our many responsibilities as parents is to teach our children about responsible smartphone usage. FamZee is a fantastic free phone app that can help by simplifying how parents keep track of their family’s smartphone usage, manage cell phone costs and ensure children’s safety through various alert buttons.
Head on over to FamZee to see my tips for responsible cell phone usage for tweens and teens. While you’re there you’ll also find info on how to enter their BIG GIVEAWAY for a $150 personalized Visa gift card.
The Giveaway has ended. The winner is Stacey B. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!
Stock Photo © dnf-style #12605583
Disclosure: I was compensated for writing the post which is live on the FamZee site. All opinions are my own.
February 28th, 2013
Parenting in a digital world can be an uncomfortable place at times. Technology is constantly changing and it’s hard to keep up. There are times when my head feels like it’s going to explode.
As a parent of 3 boys who LOVE technology I sometimes struggle with finding the right balance between allowing technology and limiting their exposure. With smartphones and tablets becoming more and more common place there’s no end in sight. I’ve talked about how young is too young for Facebook and other technology issues that come way (there are many!).
I know I’m not the only one trying to find a perfect set of rules for media consumption. According to a study by Common Sense Media kids ages 0-8 spend an average of two hours a day with screen media like smartphones, video games, computers, television, and DVDs.
Join me for a Twitter Party to talk about parenting in a digital world
Our friends over at FamZee have organized a Twitter Party to explore parenting in a digital world. FamZee is a fantastic phone app that simplifies how parents keep track of their family’s smartphone usage and manage costs, while ensuring their safety 24/7.
What’s a twitter party?
A Twitter party is a fun, face paced event held on the Twitter platform. You do need to have a free Twitter account to participate. Click HERE for more information on what to expect and how to participate.
Join the Twitter party!
Join us for an engaging and eye opening discussion about how to talk to your family members about their mobile device usage habits!
Theme: Parenting in a Digital World
Who: Join me (@groovygreenlivi), Micaela from Mindful Momma (@MindfulMomma) and Monique from My Digital World (@inspiredmomma) for the FamZee (Fam_Zee) Twitter party
When: Tuesday, March 5
Time: 2-3 pm EST (11-12 pm PST)
Use this Twitgrid link to join in the fun on Tuesday: http://ow.ly/i7lDe
Yes, there will be prizes if you are at the Twitter party! We are giving away the following to random winners:
- Two $50 gift cards to Amazon.com
- Final prize: Family prize pack of coupons and a Stonyfield water bottle (prize valued at $50), 1 gift card from Barnes & Noble and 1 gift card from Amazon.com- combined value $100.00
- ALL winners get a FamZee Premium FREE for 12 months
Tweet this to help spread the word: Join me for a Twitter Party: Parenting in a digital world! on Tue, Mar 5 2pm ET #MobileFam http://ow.ly/iapfh via @Fam_Zee
RSVP so we know you’ll be there
Click HERE to sign up for the fun!
Disclosure: I was compensated to host an online Twitter party for FamZee. All bloggers involved in the campaign were compensated as well.
October 3rd, 2012
We have an ongoing debate in our house about which mobile phone is best. One of us is a Samsung believer and the other is an iPhone devotee. To help us find some closure the Ecology Center and ifixit.com teamed up to research toxic chemicals in 36 different cell phones, including the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III. The results were released at HealthyStuff.org.
The study found that the iPhone 5 prevailed-coming in as the 5th safest phone, versus the Samsung Galaxy S III, which ranked 9th.
The Motorola Citrus ranked the least toxic phone followed by the iPhone 4 S and the LG Remarq. The most toxic phone tested was the iPhone 2G.
“Even the best phones from our study are still loaded with chemical hazards,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center and founder of HealthyStuff.org. “These chemicals, which are linked to birth defects, impaired learning and other serious health problems, have been found in soils at levels 10 to 100 times higher than background levels at e-waste recycling sites in China. We need better federal regulation of these chemicals, and we need to create incentives for the design of greener consumer electronics.”
Most of the 36 cell phones analyzed were models released in the last 5 years. The phones tested represent 10 mobile phone manufacturers, including: Apple, Hewlett-Packard Development Company, HTC Corporation, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia Corporation, Palm, Research in Motion and Samsung Electronics. The sample represents the largest set ever released for any electronic product. In total, 1,105 samples were analyzed for 35 different chemicals and elements. The phones were completely disassembled and interior and exterior components were tested using X-ray Fluorescence (XRF).
“Consumer demand for more sustainable mobile phones is driving companies to produce better products,” said Gearhart. “We also need better federal and international policy to manage both chemicals and e-waste, as well as to promote sustainable design.”
According to HealthyStuff.org these were the highlights from the study:
- 100% of cell phones tested contain chemical hazards.
- Samsung phones had the highest average rating of all phone tested.
- Apple, now among industry leaders, showed the greatest improvement.The iPhone 2G, introduced in 2007 rated as the poorest phone tested. The two most recent Apple phones, the 4s and 5, are among the best phones tested.
- Newer phones are better than older phones. Overall product ratings have improved significantly (33%) since 2007.This reflects an increased focus on reducing chemical hazards by the industry.
- Transition to safer alternatives is underway. Leading manufacturers, including Apple, Sony, Samsung and others have started the shift to safer materials and chemistries.
What type of phone do you have? Will this study impact your next cell phone purchase?
photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc
May 29th, 2012
Have you noticed? We, as a culture, have lost sight of seasonal, local food. When we head to the supermarket we are fortunate to have apples available year round, strawberries ready to eat in the middle of winter and tomatoes ripe at all times. The food sometimes comes to us from far off lands and somehow maintains its crispness and ripeness. It’s a luxury to have these foods available at all times, but there are plenty of reasons to reach first for locally grown foods.
Why eat locally grown foods?
- Eating local foods fights global warming. The average fresh food item on our dinner table travels 1,500 miles to get there. Buying locally-produced food eliminates the need for all that fuel-guzzling transportation.
- Local food looks and tastes better. The crops are picked at their peak, and we eat them when they are in season.
- They’re better for you. The food gets to your table in a short amount of time allowing the food to remain fresh and retain its nutrients.
- Eating locally grown food helps the local economy. Farmers who sell directly to the local customer receive the full retain dollar on their products since they don’t have to invest much in transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration and marketing.
- Local food creates a connection between eater and grower. We, as a culture, have lost sight of where our food comes from. When you buy direct from a farmer you’re recreating a connection between the land and the food you eat.
- Local food is safe. You know who you are buying from and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.
Wondering how to find local, seasonal foods? There’s an app (or two) for that!
NRDC Eat Local App
NRDC Eat Local is a free iPhone app (sorry, Android) which offers an array of information on local foods. Want to know which produce is in season in your state this month? Wonder where the closest farmers’ markets are? The app provides info on more than 60 produce items, along with nutritional info, cooking suggestions, storage ideas and other interesting facts. The app lists more than 5,200 farmers markets and there are more than 100 links to recipes. The app also provides nutritional details and tips on storage, preparation and cooking. The app is very easy to use-just click on a button to see what’s in season near you. Enter your zip code to find a local farmer’s market. My one complaint: I’m always curious if the produce at a farmer’s market is local and organic. I didn’t see anything on this app for finding organic, local food. Overall, this app is a keeper.
The app is free and available for Apple users at iTunes.
I’m a Locavore fan and written about this app before. If you’re looking for the closest farmers market selling your favorite in season produce Locavore is the app for you. Locavore is a great app for those looking for local, in season, organic foods in your area. The app has one-click access to thousands of healthy, seasonal recipes and other information that can be shared with your friends and family. I like how the app not only lets you know which fruits and veggies are in season-it also lets you know how long it will be in season. This year I refuse to miss blueberry season again. I guess I’ll have to visit the farmer’s markets to find out if their produce is organic.
This app is free and available for android and iPhone users. Get it HERE.
How do you find local, seasonal foods?
Photo: Vegetables market © Baloncici #5449009
January 4th, 2012
There’s no surprise Apple and Android devices were big sellers this holiday season. Apple sold over 7 million iPads during the holidays and that’s not including iPhone’s or iPods. If you were one of the many who took the technology plunge on Black Friday or any time during the holiday season, there are hundreds of thousands of apps for your every need. On Christmas day more than 15 million apps were downloaded between 7 and 9 p.m. alone, if you line up all the worlds time zones.
More and more green living apps are popping up to help you minimize your impact on the earth.
Here are six eco-friendly apps to get you started and make your world a little greener.
The Seafood Watch app allows you to sort seafood by “Best Choice,” “Good Alternative” or “Avoid” rankings. The app also highlights a list of “Super Green” seafood that’s good for you and the oceans. There are additional features like a glossary, links to seafood recipes and news, and other things of interest to all seafood lovers. The app also allows you to share the locations of restaurants and markets where you’ve found sustainable seafood.
Green Fuel locates alternative fueling stations across the U.S., searchable by location and fuel type. The app provides each station’s address, phone number, gas type, nozzle type and location via Google maps.
Looking for the closest farmers market? Or the closest farm selling your favorite produce? Locavore is a great app for those looking for local, in season, organic foods in your area. The app has one-click access to thousands of healthy, seasonal recipes and other information that can be shared with your friends and family.
The GoodGuide mobile app makes it fast and easy to find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products, instantly delivering the information you need, when you need it most — in a store and on the go. Scan the barcode of a product and discover information on how green the product is. Very cool app.
How Green are you? Are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem? Get this app and get collectible green tips that are saved to your green list. You get a new green tip each time you visit the app. Your green status also changes as you earn more green tips.
Cost: FREE /version without adds is $2.99
This app empowers food shoppers everywhere to make healthy, informed decisions while at the supermarket. Scan your food and Fooducate generates a letter grade (A, B, C, or D) for each product scanned, along with brief explanations and warnings about its nutrients and ingredients. There is also an option to enter the bar code manually. The app then makes suggestions for healthier alternatives.
Do you have any other green, eco-friendly apps to suggest?
April 5th, 2011
Looking at the latest and greatest in green inventions, not only are they are pretty cool but they can also help reduce your carbon footprint. Green inventions and clean technologies are popping up everywhere because inventors know that going green is good business.
There are so many to choose from, each attempting to make your life a bit simpler and a bit greener. Not all will make it big-just a few of the many will catch on and go viral.
Hop on over to Eco Snobbery Sucks and take a look at my pick of 5 green inventions that are poised to go viral.
Let me know if you think any of the five have what it takes to make it big. I’ll let you know which is my favorite.
[ photo used under Creative Commons from O Palsson /Flickr]
October 11th, 2010
Photo used under Creative Commons from Gary and Anna Satler
A Simple Way to Save Some Energy
Did you know that refrigerators and freezers use about a sixth of all electricity in a typical home – that is more electricity than any other single household appliance. Thankfully, over past years refrigerators have become more energy-efficient. Today’s refrigerators use about 60 percent less electricity on average than pre-1993 models.
Once you opt to buy a new, energy-efficient fridge you have to decide what to do with that old, energy-wasting second refrigerator. National Grid launched a Refrigerator/Freezer Recycling Program in Upstate New York where they will pay customers $30 plus free pickup of old, energy wasting second refrigerators and freezers. This program is not yet available throughout the country, but many local appliance shops have a recycling program in place-you will need to check in with a shop in your area.
Many of us are choosing to hold onto those old fridges and using them in garages or basements. According to the US Department of Energy, about 26 percent of homes have a second refrigerator-that’s a pretty big number! Seems like an OK thing to do…….it’s nice to have the extra space for drinks and extra food. But there is a big downside to this.
If you have a pre- 1993 fridge, here are some interesting facts:
- If you ditch your pre-1993 fridge, you’ll save enough on energy costs to buy coffee for nearly 80 days.
- If every American home replaced its pre-1993 fridge with an Energy Star model, we would prevent annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 8.3 million cars.
- Unplug your second fridge and save $100 to $200 on your annual energy bill.
Unplugging an old refrigerator or freezer is a simple way to reduce your impact on the environment-it benefits the planet, your wallet and energy conservation efforts.
Do you have a second fridge or freezer? Are you willing to unplug?