EPA Solicits Public Comments on BPA. RSVP ASAP.

It’s in products ranging from hard plastic containers and bottles, to food can liners and cash register receipts. But it’s not without controversy. BPA is getting more attention from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration as the government groups move forward with action plans to research and assess the possible health consequences of BPA exposure.

The EPA is requesting public comment on possible toxicity testing and environmental sampling to study the effects of BPA. You have until September 26 to comment. Follow this link for more information.

Show for July 30, 2011

We’re all natural in the garden this week! We’re talking about how to enjoy gardening this year, sources for heirloom seeds and about a very special garden that has received national attention.

Climate change may necessitate more engineered food, but that doesn’t mean the organic movement is dead just yet. Theresa Marquez of Organic Valley joins us to talk about organic farming.

What to plant, what to plant? Diane Ott Whealy talks about Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Since 1975, Seed Savers members have collected and distributed thousands of samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners.

KC Compton from The Herb Companion joins us to talk about natural remedies for seasonal allergies, and Paul talks strategies for avoiding allergies all together.

Finally, Andrea talks with master gardener Michael Weishan about a special garden he’s been working with that has a bit of history behind it.

Anti-allergy Strategies

Pollen is the big culprit behind seasonal allergies. Pollen is a joy spring through fall…trees generally releasing pollen early in the spring, pollinating grasses are active late spring and early summer, and weeds are most often behind late summer and fall hay fever.

Pollinating seasons vary from region to region as well. The National Allergy Bureau has helpful seasonal allergy maps.

Home gardeners may be plagued by molds and fungus as well, which are problematic during late summer and fall.

Most plants release pollen in the early morning, so if you know you’re allergic to pollens, that may not be the best time to be out gardening. The weather can also play a role. The worst conditions for allergy sufferers are sunny, dry and windy days. Cool or cloudy days are better for gardening. When it’s wet, damp or humid, pollen is less likely to be floating in the air.

So when we finally get a chance to go out and work in the garden, there are things we can do to reduce the impact of allergens–common sense things mostly. For example, what you wear may help.

Wear gloves, long sleeves, glasses (goggles, even) and a hat. Reserve one pair of shoes and perhaps one outfit exclusively for gardening. Leave these shoes outside, along with all gardening tools.

When you have to include mowing the lawn on your list of chores, disposable paper dust masks may look a little goofy, but they will reduce exposure to pollens that are kicked up by the mower.

Also, as you plan your garden, be selective about what you plant. Native plants are suited to their regions , they are easier to care for and because they are better adapted they often need less fertilizers or pesticides. Flowers with strong fragrances should probably be avoided. They can trigger asthma and allergy-like symptoms.

Composting is the secret weapon of home gardeners, but it’s not without its risks…If you are prone to mold allergies, you probably shouldn’t turn your compost or work with it too closely. Or at least use another one of those fashionable dust masks to avoid breathing in the mold. Also steer clear of working with wet mulch or straw, raking leaves, using power blowers and if possible, mowing your grass.

A lot of those same rules apply to indoor gardening, like avoiding flowers with strong fragrances. Be careful not to over-water your indoor plants. Soggy soil or water sitting in a drainage tray creates ideal conditions for mold growth.

Happy gardening!

Show for July 23, 2011

How can you and I get involved in environmental issues and make a difference in our communities? We’ll talk this week with some every day activists and offer some tips on how you can get involved in spreading the green message.

We begin the hour with Tanna Frederick, an avid Surfer, actress, writer, producer and environmentalist. She founded Project Save Our Surf to bring the entertainment and surfing industries together in support of clean oceans. The 4th annual SURF 24 surf-a-thon is scheduled for October 15th and 16th in Santa Monica with the goal of raising 50-thousand dollars to keep our beaches and oceans clean.

So you’ve found a cause you’re excited about. What is next? How do you organize and run an effective campaign for change? Green Corps can provide the answers and guidance you’re looking for. Josh Buswell-Charkow talks about effective campaigns for change and Green Corps’ Field School for Environmental Organizing.

Finally, Andrea talks with a legend in the green community, Denis Hayes. Denis received his undergraduate degree from Stanford and left Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government after being selected by Senator Gaylord Nelson to organize the first Earth Day in 1970. Since then, the event has grown to have a far-reaching impact.

It all goes to prove that a few individuals, sharing a common vision, can make a difference.

Even Sports Can Go Green…

A coalition of professional sports teams and sporting venues committed to “greening initiatives” in sports will hold its inaugural summit meeting in August in Portland, Oregon. The Green Sports Alliance is the first collaboration between teams from the six major North American professional sports leagues on a common environmental agenda.

One session will focus on Greening major events like the All-Star Games and the Olympics while other sessions will cover solar projects for sports venues, and LEED certification strategies for new and existing buildings.

Show for July 16, 2011

This week Andrea Ridout talks with film-maker Mai Iskander about her documentary “Garbage Dreams”, which follows three young men of the Zaballeen people in Egypt, outside Cairo. Far ahead of any modern green initiatives, the Zaballeen survive by recycling 80 percent of the garbage they collect. You can learn more at the Garbage Dreams website.

What if we could find a way to vastly reduce the volume of waste going in to landfills by 75 to 80 percent, converting a ton of garbage to about 600 pounds of nutrient rich plant food?

Paul Jackson talks with Moe Memon and Jacob Dickinson of Ecologico-Logic about their new product “The Muncher”, a highly efficient state-of-the-art waste reduction system that is poised to transform the waste management industry. Reducing the strain on landfills is an obvious application, but only one of many…

It’s all this week, as we talk a little trash on The Earth Train!

24 Hours of Reality

Al Gore is working to re-focus attention on the issue of climate change. His nonprofit organization, the Climate Reality Project, is scheduling a 24-hour long multinational event presenting the case for a link between climate change and extreme weather events. The “24 Hours of Reality” event will be broadcast live over 24 hours starting September 14 in 24 time zones and in 13 languages. Check this link to see if there’s a location near you. If not, you can catch the presentation on-line.

New Website Coming Soon

A new web site is being developed that will include listen links and tools to help you find a station carrying The Earth Train. Watch for some big changes in the coming weeks!

Paul Jackson Joins the Earth Train Production Team

Paul Jackson has joined The Earth Train team to help spread the green living message. Paul is a writer with a background in commercial radio, including tours as News Director, Program Director and Operations Manager at music and news/talk stations across the country ranging from tiny markets in Eastern Utah to big markets like Dallas. “I’m excited about joining the production team,” Paul says from his Dallas home overlooking a lawn that has sadly not survived the Texas summer. “It’s a great opportunity to help spread the green and sustainable livin message.”

Show for July 9, 2011

After plummeting all through 2010, new housing starts appear to be on the rebound. Of course we’re not out of the woods yet, and many families entering the home building process are looking for ways to maximize their budget, stretching their dollars further to get the most home for their money. This week’s show features Andrea Ridout’s discussion with Sara Susanka, the author of “The Not So Big House”. The visionary architect’s home designs are getting smaller and smaller, but provide better value as they integrate with the green lifestyle. Check out her web site at www.notsobighouse.com/.

To continue with our theme of building green, Andrea Ridout also talks with Don Ferrier, the National Association of Home Builder’s Green Builder Advocate of the year. Don’s passion for sustainable construction has been coursing through his veins since the early 80’s. Representing the 3rd generation of the Ferrier Companies, Don is no stranger to construction. He is a true visionary of energy efficiency, sustainable construction techniques, and travels across the US educating & guiding those within the industry & beyond on its inherent benefits. You can learn more about Ferrier Custom Homes at www.ferriercustomhomes.com.

Ashton Ritchie of the Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company has some great tips for helping your lawn survive the summer. Among the tips: don’t water so often and let your grass grow a little longer! There are great tools available to help you become a better gardener at www.scotts.com.