"There is more to life than increasing its speed." -- Mohandas Gandhi
"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need forComplicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the Philosophy is kindness." --- Dalai Lama
"This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet." ---Rumi
"All that we are is a result of all that we have thought" ---Bhudda
"If every household in the US replaced one bottle of shower cleaner containing chlorine bleach with a hydrogen-peroxide-based shower cleaner we could prevent 1 million pounds of chlorine from entering our environment."
"If every household in the US replaced just one box of 48 oz petroleum-based powder laundry detergent with a vegetable-based product we could save 96,000 barrels of oil."
"Not by harming life does one become noble.One is termed noble for being gentle to all living things." ---Dhammapada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
"If every household in the US replaced just one box of 85-sheet virgin-fiber facial tissue with recycled ones, we could save 280,000 trees."
"He who knows that all things are his mind, That all with which he meets are friendly, Is ever joyful." ---Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa
"If every household in the US replaced just one 25 oz bottle of petroleum-based dishwashing liquid with a plant-based product, we could save 81,000 barrels of oil."
"In whom there dwells no self-deception and no pride, Who is desireless, whose wrath is put away, whose self hath cool become --He is Brahmin." ---Udana
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." ---- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of the decisions on the next seven generations." ---Great Law of the Iroquois
"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." ---- Dalai Lama
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" ---Mahatma Gandhi

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Herbal Scrubber

You can make up this formula in larger batches and store it in an airtight container. Use only whole dried (not powdered) plant material for this recipe.

1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup dried sage leaves, coarsely ground

1/4 cup rosemary leaves, ground

Combine the ingredients in an airtight container and shake well to blend. Sprinkle a small amount of the powder into the sink and scrub with a damp sponge. Rinse well.

Sink Scrubber for Stains

For stubborn stains, allow this formula to rest on the stain for several minutes. Then scrub and rinse with vinegar and hot water.

1/4 cup borax

1/4 cup baking soda

8 drops rosemary, eucalyptus, or tea tree essential oil

3/4 cup vinegar for rinsing

Combine the borax, baking soda, and essential oil in an airtight container and shake well to blend. Sprinkle a small amount of the powder into the sink and scrub with a damp sponge. Rinse sink with vinegar, then with hot water.

Herb Appliance Degreaser

This formular will remove grease film from appliance surfaces.

2 cup water
1/4 cup oil-based soap (Murphy’s is good)
10 drops rosemary, lavender, or citrus essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before each use. Spray generously on appliance surface and wipe with a damp cloth or sponge. Wipe dry with a cloth or towel.

Cleaning Clothes Without Toxins

‘Tis the season to simplify: get rid of things you aren’t using, and make room for new things (in the form of Christmas or Hanukkah gifts, hopefully!).

This time of year, plenty of local and national organizations are taking donations of winter clothes, canned food, children’s toys, and more. But before you un-hoard your house and toss your leftover belongings in the charity bins, consider washing them—especially clothes.

When you buy laundry-cleaning products, be an eco-savvy consumer. Here’s what you want to look out for:

Laundry Detergent:

Look for the keyword “biodegradable,” and make sure it doesn’t contain phosphates (nasty inorganic chemicals that contribute to water pollution and inhibit the growth of organisms when their balance is out of whack).

Bleach Alternatives:

Toxic, pungent bleach irritates the lungs and the environment. Instead, add a cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your wash. For whites, you could instead add ½ cup borax. And for darks, a cup of white vinegar (which locks in dye—think Easter eggs).

Fabric Softener:

A cup of baking soda works in a pinch!

Dryer Sheets:

Most of the fabric dryer sheets you can buy contain synthetic chemicals and contribute to landfill waste. Instead, consider investing in a lavender sachet that you can toss in with your laundry as it dries. It’s re-usable and smells naturally great!

And here’s another tip: stay away from dry cleaning if you can.

Dry cleaning methods use chemicals instead of water to clean your things. Those chemicals are not only environmental contaminants, but they have been known to infiltrate the body’s systems and even seep into breast milk. Nasty! The easiest way to avoid dry cleaning chemicals? Buy clothes that don’t need to be dry cleaned.

Ousting Moths

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what’s worse: having moths in your closet eating holes in your clothes, or the noxious smell of mothballs. And they don’t just smell bad; they contain a nasty and toxic pesticide known as paradichlorobenzene. (Older mothballs were made primarily of naphthalene, which turned out to be quite flammable, and has since been outlawed.) Many mothballs also contain camphor, a foul-smelling insect repellent.

Fortunately, there are natural, delicious-smelling alternatives that dissuade moths from taking up residence in your closet and destroying your wardrobe.

  1. Cedar. Cedar chips, sachets, sprays, and even cedar hangers are available to outfit your closet with a toasty scent that moths don’t like.
    TIP: every few months, you can sand down cedar hangers or blocks to bring out fresh aroma.
  2. Essential oils. If putting clothes away in storage for a season or longer, tuck a sheet of tissue paper that’s been sprinkled with lavender and rosemary essential oils. Moths don’t like the smell, but you will when you take your clothes back out.
  3. Lemon peels. For clothes hanging in a closet, you can hang whole, dried lemon peels among them.

Luckily, we don’t share the same flavor preferences as moths. Because of this, we can ward off closet invaders while making our clothes smell fresh… and healthy.

Critter Prevention

The unpredictable summer weather in San Francisco makes it impossible to stay on top of battling house-invading bugs like ants. We’re never sure when they’re going to stop by. Before you douse your home with toxic RAID, consider this more natural preventative solution.

Ants, like vampires, are averse to the odor of garlic. A few ingredients from your local natural foods market can help you concoct a noxious insect-repellant that you can drizzle around the base of your cabinetry.

The Recipe

  • 1/2 cup flaxseed oil
  • A handful of garlic cloves, crushed a bit to release their odor
  • A few cups of water
  • A dash of liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronners)

First, let the garlic cloves sit overnight in the flaxseed oil. Be sure to cover it to seal in the aroma. The next day, you can remove the garlic from the oil and toss the now-flavorless pulp. Combine the garlic-flavored oil with the water and castile soap in a spray bottle.

Note that this mixture will actually work well to ward off many types of insects. Any soft-bodied insect will go out of its way to avoid a powerfully odiferous irritant such as garlic. You can use it in the garden or as a natural insecticide on houseplants! That is, if you don’t mind the smell of garlic.