Monday, January 21, 2013

The story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff -

The Film

The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute film that takes viewers on a provocative and eye-opening tour of the real costs of our consumer driven culture—from resource extraction to iPod incineration.

Annie Leonard, an activist who has spent the past 10 years traveling the globe fighting environmental threats, narrates the Story of Stuff, delivering a rapid-fire, often humorous and always engaging story about “all our stuff—where it comes from and where it goes when we throw it away.”

Leonard examines the real costs of extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal, and she isolates the moment in history where she says the trend of consumption mania began. The Story of Stuff examines how economic policies of the post-World War II era ushered in notions of “planned obsolescence” and “perceived obsolescence” —and how these notions are still driving much of the U.S. and global economies today. Leonard’s inspiration for the film began as a personal musing over the question, “Where does all the stuff we buy come from, and where does it go when we throw it out?” She traveled the world in pursuit of the answer to this seemingly innocent question, and what she found along the way were some very guilty participants and their unfortunate victims.

Written by Leonard, the film was produced by Free Range Studios, the makers of other highly popular web-based films such as “The Meatrix” and “Grocery Store Wars.” Funding for the project came from The Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption and Tides Foundation.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Indoor Environmental Air Quality

Feeling good in our homes or offices isn’t just a matter of having a beautiful space. No matter how fabulous your furnishings, a poorly designed indoor environment can literally make you sick. Building green means considering not only the environmental impact of materials and construction, but also the physical and psychological health of the occupants.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) addresses the subtle issues that influence how we feel in a space. It’s not some airy-fairy concept; these are scientifically proven facts. Companies that make the move to green buildings have employees with lower turnover rates, fewer sick days and higher productivity; schools demonstrate higher test scores, lower absenteeism and heightened academic enthusiasm among students. At home, of course, these factors are vital, since the way we feel at home affects every area of our lives.

Some can argue that it is not only desirable, but also a fundamental human right to live and work in spaces with healthy indoor environments. Buildings enhance people’s lives when they permit ample air circulation, maintain clean air and comfortable temperatures, and allow individuals to have a sense of control over their own indoor experience.

1) Design a sense of control over personal space.
People generally experience a greater sense of well being when they can make easy adjustments to their immediate space, such as through operable windows, skylights and sliding doors. Particularly in shared spaces, like family homes and offices, it’s important to feel that the indoor environment can meet your own needs. Climate controls designed into multiple rooms can also promote comfort and conserve energy by allowing temperature changes only where needed.

Studies show that employees are actually far more productive in an office space that permits awareness of outside conditions. Isn’t it nice to be able to look out on a tree or garden — or better yet to step out for a few minutes for mid-day stress reduction?

2) Help buildings breathe better.
Spaces that are closed up like hermetically sealed boxes can cause pollutants to accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems and contribute to Sick Building Syndrome. Instead, naturally ventilate spaces as much as possible without compromising reasonable humidity levels. Variations in temperature are also important — spaces kept at a constant temperature do not mimic our natural internal fluctuations, and can cause a sense of malaise.

The building envelope can provide cross ventilation through narrow floor plans and openings in floors and ceilings that allow vertical circulation. Solar chimneys and other types of stack ventilation draw heat up and move air even when there is no breeze outdoors.

When using mechanical ventilation, make sure that the “exchange rate” is high, meaning that the majority of air in a space is coming from the outdoors, thereby reducing the amount of pollutants inside. Fan-powered ventilation is recommended to remove air from single rooms, such as bathrooms and kitchens, where the pollutant levels from human activity, cleaning agents and mold are high. Air handling systems use fans and ductwork to constantly remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned air to strategic spaces throughout a building.

3) Reduce indoor air quality problems at the source.
Identify potential sources of indoor pollution that stem from design choices, existing conditions, and lifestyle activities. Moving into a new home, remodeling a space, and bringing in new furniture can expose inhabitants to abnormally high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are the toxic gases, such as formaldehyde, released from everyday materials that are responsible for contributing to cancer, asthma, fatigue, and other ailments. Formaldehyde is found in household products and fuel-burning appliances, “permanent-press” clothing and draperies, and many paints, coatings and glues. The most significant source is pressed wood products for cabinetry, furniture, and subflooring.

4) Eliminate poisons and beware of harmful pest control substances
Use non-chemical methods of pest control when possible. If the roach won’t take to being led outside with a nudge from a newspaper, then be sure to ventilate the space well after using a pesticide. Natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects and break down more quickly in the environment than synthetic chemicals do. Don’t forget that they are still poisons and harmful to humans. Try Poison-Free Ant & Roach Killer, which uses food-grade Mint Oil to kill bugs in seconds. It’s also a good habit to frequently wash indoor plants and pets, which attract bugs indoors.

To control pollution already existing in a house, test basements for radon, and other spaces throughout for excessive dampness and mold. Prevent mold growth, which also contributes to asthma, fatigue, and other ailments, by preventing the accumulation of water at drainage systems and at areas where mechanical ventilation condensates. Also inspect the house for leaky pipes, windows, skylights and other areas to eradicate problems from mold. The Environmental Protection Agency’s website contains strategies for improving the quality of indoor air in your home.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Using dōTERRA Essential Oils to Help Counteract Bad Air Quality

Using dōTERRA Essential Oils to Help Counteract Bad Air Quality

Brrr, it’s cold outside! And depending on where you live, the air quality you are being exposed to right now might not be so great. In fact, air quality seems to be a trending news topic worldwide. Cold weather often leads to a temperature inversion where cold air is trapped underneath warmer air, resulting in hazy skies and poor air quality from the suspended pollution.

Pollution can have a significant impact on human health, the economy, and the environment. Negative outcomes from exposure include respiratory and cardiovascular problems, reduced visibility, degraded water quality, contributions to global warming, poor air quality, and public health risks.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), pollutants released into the air can impact air quality, as well as terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems when the pollutants fall back to Earth. When particles and gases are released into the air they are exchanged with the Earth’s surface. Some chemicals that are in the air-surface exchange (including nitrogen, sulfur, and mercury compounds) can have a significant impact on the environment, and sometimes human health.

Air quality can be determined by the type of gaseous and particle pollutants found in the air we breathe, and more than half of the people in the U.S. live in areas that do not meet the health-bases air quality standards established by the United States. Poor air quality can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems along with tens of thousands of premature deaths each year! Read more about air qualityhere.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some of the major sources of pollution are caused by emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents.

Many people have starting to take an initiative to help eliminate pollution and bad air quality in their states. Mothers in Utah have even started a rally to call for a statewide movement towards clean energy.

Although you may not have a lot of control over pollution and air quality outside, you do have control over the air quality in your own home. The EPA lists poor indoor air quality as the fourth largest environmental threat to our country. The American Lung Association recommends that the first line of defense against indoor air pollution is finding ways to keep the pollutants from being added to the air in the first place. Read more about measures you can take to improve indoor air quality in your home.

Luckily, using and diffusing essential oils on a regular basis in the home can help eliminate indoor pollutants and pathogens. Start by diffusing our Purify Cleansing Blend, On Guard Protective Blend, or Breathe Respiratory Blend to help improve indoor air quality. Also, you’ll want to replace any chemical or toxic substances in your home, such as your cleaning cabinet and medicine cabinet.

If you or any loved ones suffers from asthma or other respiratory issues, read our previous blog post on Breathe Respiratory Blend to see how it can be a complementary support agent for your health. Breathe works great to open airways and soothe lungs irritated from breathing contaminated air. Begin by massaging Breathe onto the chest area with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. Remember, bad air quality is usually at its worst with extreme hot or cold weather, so limiting outdoor exposure during those times may be best for your health.

Here is a list of essential oils that can help get rid of bacteria, germs, fungi, and mold to help reduce indoor pollutants in your home:


Cypress, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Marjoram, Melaleuca, Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Sage, sandalwood, Wild Orange, Wintergreen


Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Melaleuca, Oregano, Sandalwood, Thyme


Eucaluptus, Lavender, Lemon, Melaleuca, Patchouli, Sage, Sandalwood, Thyme


Bergamot, Clove, Eucaluptus, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Melaleuca, Oregano, Patchouli, Roman Chamomile