Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 150 of our Green Year: Bisphenol A and Our Five Month Anniversary

Well, be prepared because this is going to be a long post. Layla and I have hit our five-month anniversary with Our Green Year (yes I know its not the exact five months but 150 / 30 = 5), so we will go through a recap of our previous five months to let you know how things are going for us.

First, however, for Day 150, we will address Bisphenol A. There has been a lot of press about this recently and its effects on humans, especially infants. The sad thing is that there has been discussion about the harmful effects of Bisphenol A on humans for over 70 years, but only now are things being done. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical compound used in consumer products and is classed as a hormone disruptor.
It is used in a wide variety of products and is used in the synthesis of polyesters, polysulfones and polyether ketones. It is an antioxidant in plasticizers and is a polymerization inhibitor in PVC. In polycarbonate plastic, it is clear and shatter-proof, which means it is used in baby and water bottles, sports equipment, medical devices, lenses, CDs and household electronics. Global production of BPA is about two million metric tonnes.
Studies have found that BPA is in the urine of 95 percent of adults and 93 percent of children. Infants who use liquid formula in polycarbonate bottles can consume up to 13 micrograms of BPA per kg of body weight per day. The problem is that it is a hormone disruptor, and can cause permanent changes to the genital tract, prostate weight, testosterone, breast cells, can cause cancer and can cause hyperactivity.
As a result, when we buy something that we use to store food, like reusable containers, we will make sure that Bisphenol A is not in it.


Now, on to our five month anniversary. Here is a rundown of some of the days over the past five months and how we have done with them. We are not covering all the days here, but we will in the future. Some of these we have done well on, others we have slipped a bit on at times (hence the purpose of the Green Swear Jar).

  • Day 2 - Joined Green Party: Layla is still volunteering as the secretary of the Provincial Green Party and both of us are planning on voting Green in this year's federal election.
  • Day 3 - Using Cloth Bags: We still use cloth bags and have not used plastic bags in a very long time.
  • Day 5 - Helping Our Ground Squirrels: Our Ground Squirrel Patrols for NCA have wrapped up for the year, but during the spring and summer we were going once a week.
  • Day 8 - Changing To CFL Lights: All of our lights are CFL lights.
  • Day 9 - Milk Jug Flower Pots: The milk jug flower pots proved to be a big success and we have several plants growing in them. The picture here is of a tomato plant in one of them.
  • Day 14 - Washing Windows With Vinegar: We still wash our windows with vinegar and a couple of socks.
  • Day 15 - No More Bottled Water: Bottled water has no place in our home. We prefer the taste of tap water anyways.
  • Day 22 - Cooling Down The Green Way: While we live in a hot area of B.C., and while the temperature did get above 30 and 40 at times, we did not use a fan or air conditioning once throughout the summer.
  • Day 23 - Using Manual Lawnmower: We have only used our manual lawn mower over the course of the summer. It was hard work at times, but overall it works great. It has not rained in awhile so there has been no need to mow lately.
  • Day 25 - Building A Solar BBQ: This was a great thing for us. In all the media relations we did, they all asked about the solar cooker. We built this and have used it primarily for drying our tea leaves and other items. Since this one only gets to 250F, we are looking to improve on it so that we can use it for more.
  • Day 26 - Five Minute Showers: We hold strong to this one and do not go past our five minutes when the alarm goes off. Even when we have people visit, we make sure they stick to the five minute rule.
  • Day 27 - Drinking Green Coffee: Fair Trade and Organic Coffee is way too good not to drink. I don't think I could go to anything else, nor do I want to.
  • Day 33 - Going Second Hand With Books - Only once have I bought a new book, because I could not find it anywhere else. However, we have given away most of our books to second-hand stores so that they can be reused, and will first look to libraries, the internet and second-hand stores for new reading material.
  • Day 34 - No More Dryer - Throughout the Spring and Summer, we did not use a dryer at all.
  • Day 37 - Unplug Power Cords - Whenever we are gone for an extended amount of time, and every night, we unplug all of our electronics.
  • Day 39 - Recycling - We recycle most of what we get. In our kitchen we have bins for paper, plastic, cups, glass bottles, etc.. Some we use for items around the house, if they are not used, they are taken to the recycle depot.
  • Day 40 - Organic Food - We love organic food and whenever we can (unless there are no organic alternatives) we buy organic food.
  • Day 43 - Recycled Toilet Paper - All the toilet paper we have bought since this day has been recycled.
  • Day 49 - Baking Bread - We still bake bread every couple weeks and store what we make in the freezer. Baked bread smells so nice!
  • Day 52 - Buying Fair-Trade Chocolate - Like the fair trade coffee, this just seems to taste better so we see no reason to go back.
  • Day 55 - Buying only Fresh Fish - Fresh fish just tastes better and when we do have it, we always buy it fresh now.
  • Day 58 - Making Homemade Butter - About once every week or two we will make homemade butter. It tastes great and only takes 30 min to make.
  • Day 61 - Using Freecycle - This is a great site and we have used it extensively to rid ourselves of many possessions in the past couple months.
  • Day 69 - One Garbage Bag Challenge - We are not doing too bad with this and are down to two garbage bags per month.
  • Day 75 - One Tank Challenge - So far we have been able to get by with just one tank of gas a month. Working from home makes this possible.
  • Day 77 - Buying Glass Milk - We buy milk about once or twice a month and continue to buy it in the glass containers from a local supplier.
  • Day 82 - Clothes Washing - We still wash our clothes by hand, even though we have been mocked for it. This provides good exercise and uses only the energy from our bodies, none from the environment.
  • Day 89 - Walking Each Day - Every day, Layla and I go for a walk to get fresh food for the day. This is something we enjoy and will continue to do.
  • Day 96 - Reducing Possessions -While some have questioned on this, we are committed to lowering our possessions. We are doing well with it and have rid ourselves of most of our pots, pans, dishes and books. We have also found a new home for our table, bookcases, desks, old chairs, spare bed set and patio furniture.
  • Day 100 -Buying Buffalo Meat - Since this day, we have not bought any beef. We have had some ham, turkey and chicken; however, we are limiting those now, including deli meats. We have committed to eating less meat, but not going vegan, and we are now structuring the majority our suppers, lunches and dinners to be meat-free (meat-free meals will consist of no chicken, turkey, buffalo, elk, ham and fish). We had some trouble with this one, and some slip ups with deli meat, but that is what the green swear jar is for.
  • Day 102 - Carbon Offsetting - We bought a offset certificate from, and we will continue to do so with the money from our green swear jar.
  • Day 103 - No More Chips - We have not bought any chips since this day, and have chosen instead to make pita chips when we get the craving for some.
Like I said, we have not covered all the days here, but as we go forward in Our Green Year we will. For the days from 103 to now, those will be covered in later months as we have done here.
It has been great doing this and we feel that we are healthier for it from the toxins we are taking out of our homes, lives and bodies. We could not imagine eating fast food or processed food when we can have organic and fresh food.

In all, we have helped spread the word, give money to, or joined the following charities and environmental groups: WWF, Greenpeace, FreeRice, WE Campaign, Think Water, CarbonFund, HappyFrog, Great Ape Project, Nature Challenge, Freecycle, Red Dot Campaign, NCA, West Kootenay Forest Education Fund, Green Party of BC, TreeNation, Eat Well Guide, Eco-Libris, 350 Challenge and Trees for the Future.

As well, we have appeared in several media including three newspapers (including our provincial newspaper), three radio stations, multiple blogs (it should be noted most are good but a couple have been less than flattering, but that's what happens when you try something new), one TV interview and one magazine. On the right, is a picture of two of the newspapers on our "Wall of Fame."

So, there you have it, a brief guide on how we are doing with some of our blogs :) Stay tuned in the next seven months!