News from the Web: The pH and the Sea

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Poor, poor ocean. How we abuse thee.

New research suggests that we are changing the pH of seawater — a measurement of how acid or alkaline it is — at an alarming rate. While history indicates that there have been many episodes of acidification over the history of the Earth, some scientists say that the current changes in the oceans’ pH level is cause for great concern. Please read this recent New York Times
short editorial and tell us what you think.

Changing the Chemistry of Earth’s Oceans

Get Your Garden Going!

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Spring is coming, though depending on where you live that may be hard to believe. Here in the Bay Area the weather has been pretty great, sunny and cool with hints of rebirth showing up on the shrubs and tree branches.

Right now is the perfect time to start thinking about your garden. Plan you plot. Gather your seeds. Seek out the perfect containers. (Even if you don’t have outdoor space, window boxes and container gardens can keep you in herbs all summer long.)

To ensure that your garden is 100 percent organic, from start to finish, consider starting your own seeds instead of buying plants. You’ll need to start now but the results will be work the dirty work.

For tips on starting your own seeds, check out this handy guide on OrganicGardening.com, with tips on choosing  seeds, containers and soil, as well as techniques for raising healthy plants.

Happy sowing!

Pondering Plastic Bags… Again

The plastic bag debate has been going on for a long time. At first, the big decision was paper versus plastic. But with countries like China and Ireland adopting fees for plastic bags, and, officials in San Francisco voting not only to expand its existing  ban on plastic bags but to require shoppers to pay 10 cents each for paper bags, it seems like one question remains: Are plastic bags headed towards extinction?

An article in yesterday’s New York Times, “Should Plastic Bags Be Banned” explores the possibility and raises some interesting questions. What do you think? Should customers be charged for each bag? Should plastic be banned altogether? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Elemental Herbs: News of the Week

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In this interesting article, Jean-François Mouhot, visiting researcher at Georgetown University, makes a correlation between slavery and the overuse of fossil fuels. Whether you agree or disagree with his points, it is certainly an interesting argument.

Pointing out the similarities (and differences) between slavery and the use of fossil fuels can help us engage with climate change in a new way, says Jean-François Mouhot, visiting researcher at Georgetown University, USA.

In 2005, while teaching history at a French university, I was struck by the general disbelief among students that rational and sensitive human beings could ever hold others in bondage. Slavery was so obviously evil that slave-holders could only have been barbarians. My students could not entertain the idea that some slave-owners could have been genuinely blind to the harm they were doing. At the same time, I was reading a book on climate change which noted how today’s machinery — almost exclusively powered by fossil fuels like coal and oil — does the same work that used to be done by slaves and servants. “Energy slaves” now do our laundry, cook our food, transport us, entertain us, and do most of the hard work needed for our survival. Intriguing similarities between slavery and our current dependence on fossil-fuel-powered machines struck me: both perform roughly the same functions in society (doing the hard and dirty work that no one wants to do), both were considered for a long time to be acceptable by the majority and both came to be increasingly challenged as the harm they caused became more visible.

To read the rest of this article on PopulationMatters.org, click here.

Elemental Herbs Crowned ‘Champion’ by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

“We are the champions! We are the champions!” Well, really, we are just one of 321 champions but we still can’t get that darn Queen song out of our heads.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ recent Market Shift report has bestowed Elemental Herbs with “Champion” status, indicating that we are one of hundreds of cosmetic and personal care companies that has met the goals of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.

The Compact for Safe Cosmetics is a voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals that are banned in other countries, to avoid harmful ingredients whenever possible and to fully disclose product ingredients to help consumers make educated choices about what they put in and on their bodies.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ website, more than 1,500 companies signed the Compact between 2004 until 2011 when The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics closed the Compact. The research team at Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database developed tools for tracking each company’s compliance with the goals of the Compact. These tools were used to determine the 321 “Champion” companies. Another 111 companies were given the titles of “Innovators,” indicating that they have made significant progress toward those goals.

This is fabulous for you, the consumer. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is working with the cosmetics industry and lawmakers to pass the Safe Cosmetics Act, which would make it illegal to sell products made with the hazardous chemicals that are currently prevalent in conventional personal care products.

For more on Market Shift and to view a list of the companies, click here.

Thanks to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for this recognition. We’ve always known that Elemental Herbs is a natural beauty but now everyone else knows it too!