Creating the Green Home: Balancing Health and Sustainability

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  • Where you feel safe
  • Game Ripping plastic with teeth Folding or playing with electrical cord Stomping around our house in shoes that have just been outside Leaving the toilet seat up Breathing in that fresh paint smell, new car smell or just cleaned smell Opening the microwave impatiently before it finishes cooking
  • Speak about details on each
  • Description of one chemical, example Plastic PFOA
  • EWG
  • Add details- how? What’s going on?
  • 1998! Talk about EMF’s!
  • Add more to this! Great!
  • Have people choose commonly purchased items Write on board 4 groups each choose one item, map out the answers to the questions, large paper, markers Say, these maps demonstrate the web of life
  • Creating the Green Home: Balancing Health and Sustainability

    1. 1. Creating the Green Home: Balancing Health and Sustainability NEXUS Green Building Resource Center, Boston 12.13.08
    2. 2. What is a Green, Healthy Home? <ul><li>You don’t have to worry about toxins or hidden dangers to your health or your kids </li></ul><ul><li>You can be completely comfortable and knowledgeable about the products you buy, use in your home and live with </li></ul><ul><li>You minimize your impact on the earth by engaging in sustainable practices </li></ul><ul><li>You are thinking about what’s best for all of life in the long term </li></ul>
    3. 3. Name That Toxin! <ul><li>VOC’s </li></ul><ul><li>PVC </li></ul><ul><li>PBDE </li></ul><ul><li>PFOA </li></ul><ul><li>BPA </li></ul><ul><li>Pthalates </li></ul><ul><li>Chlorine </li></ul><ul><li>… And more! </li></ul>
    4. 4. Where can I find these chemicals? <ul><li>Plastics </li></ul><ul><li>Household cleaning products </li></ul><ul><li>Cosmetics </li></ul><ul><li>Furniture </li></ul><ul><li>Electronics </li></ul><ul><li>Food </li></ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul><ul><li>Air </li></ul>
    5. 5. Toxins and Toxicants in the Home: where can they be found? <ul><li>Mattresses ( Flame retardants, formaldehyde ) </li></ul><ul><li>Under the Kitchen Sink (VOC’s,acute poisons) </li></ul><ul><li>Carpets (Solvents, PFOA’s, neurotoxins) </li></ul><ul><li>Toys (Plastics, Lead, Hormone Disruptors) </li></ul><ul><li>Plastics (BPA, Pthalates, PVC) </li></ul><ul><li>Electronics (PBDE’s) </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Care Products (allergens, hormone disruptors, carcinogens) </li></ul><ul><li>Mold/dust (captures particulates of the above) </li></ul>
    6. 6. How do they behave in our homes? <ul><li>Offgas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We breathe it in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Affects nervous system, respiratory system, indoor air quality, outdoor smog </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Particulates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free floating, invisible, attach to dust </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We inhale, touch, eat </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can stay in our system and affect health of the entire body over time </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. What happens after we’re done with them? How do they behave in the environment? <ul><li>From production to emission to exposure to disposal, these chemicals alter and negatively impact life on earth </li></ul><ul><li>Plastic…in albatross </li></ul><ul><li>PFOA’s…in polar bears </li></ul>
    8. 8. There is no “safe” level of toxins in the body. <ul><li>Our bodies must juggle many potential health burdens </li></ul><ul><li>Known dangers: lead, arsenic, formaldehyde, dioxin… carcinogens, hormone disruptors, allergens, more </li></ul><ul><li>Unknown risk factor </li></ul><ul><li>Chemicals found in babies, humans, animals, plants, food- all over the world </li></ul><ul><li>Do we want to risk it? </li></ul>
    9. 9. The Body Burden (ewg) <ul><li>Complex chemical cocktail </li></ul><ul><li>What happens when we put these together? </li></ul><ul><li>Persistence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sticking around, in our body and on the earth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bioaccumulation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increases exponentially </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Synthesis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combinations are mysterious and sometimes deadly </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Potentiation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact with one can make another more harmful </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Other Environmental Dangers in the Home <ul><li>Electromagnetic Fields/Radiowaves </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Electronics, Computers/TV’s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Electric Appliances- refrigerators, stoves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Microwave </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wireless Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cellphones/towers/antennas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Portable phones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mold/Dust </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Where did they come from? <ul><li>Industrial revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Created POP’s </li></ul><ul><li>(fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals developed for warfare) </li></ul><ul><li>molecular approach as opposed to behavioral </li></ul><ul><li>No precautionary principle for chemicals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innocent until proven guilty </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. The Precautionary Principle… <ul><li>“ When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” </li></ul>
    13. 13. Safer Alternatives for You and for Kids <ul><li>Choose all green/organic personal care products (soaps, shampoos, makeups) </li></ul><ul><li>Choose eco-friendly cleaners that are kidsafe </li></ul><ul><li>Replace plastic with wood or silicone, bottles with glass </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t renovate with conventional materials, or conventional paint- use area rugs, no-VOC paint, and innovative green building supplies and décor </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize time near electronics such as computers, tv’s, and routers </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize cellphone use, especially with children! </li></ul>
    14. 14. Safer Alternatives, cont. <ul><li>Clean regularly to eliminate dust buildup or mold </li></ul><ul><li>Try not to bring PVC (polyvinyl chloride) products into the house </li></ul><ul><li>Use a water filter in your sink and shower, don’t buy bottled water </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid drinking, eating and heating food in plastics as much as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate exposure to formaldehyde by not choosing pressed wood or treated wood products </li></ul><ul><li>Eat whole and organic, locally grown foods </li></ul><ul><li>Always choose the organic, non-synthetic option whenever possible! </li></ul>
    15. 15. How to create sustainable lives? <ul><li>Sustainability: </li></ul><ul><li>Living in such a way that preserves, protects and restores our health, communities and environment, and does not compromise life for future generations. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Questions to ask <ul><li>What is this item made of? </li></ul><ul><li>What resources and chemicals are needed? </li></ul><ul><li>How much energy? </li></ul><ul><li>How is it grown? </li></ul><ul><li>How are people employed in the process? </li></ul><ul><li>Does this item create waste or pollution? </li></ul><ul><li>Where does the waste for this item go? </li></ul><ul><li>What impact does that waste have on the environment? </li></ul><ul><li>Will it be near you, or other people? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What impact will it have on those people? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What transportation is required? </li></ul>
    17. 17. Eco Ethics <ul><li>Could Earth support all the world’s people at my standard of living? </li></ul><ul><li>Do good things come from each dollar I spend? </li></ul><ul><li>Do other species or people struggle or suffer as an indirect result of my lifestyle? </li></ul><ul><li>Should I be allowed to consume more than others? </li></ul><ul><li>Are wars being fought over resources I use? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I support corporations or industries that damage the environment or exploit workers? </li></ul><ul><li>Is my lifestyle in alignment with my values? </li></ul>
    18. 18. Greening your home 101 <ul><li>Change to Compact Flourescents (CFL’s) or LED </li></ul><ul><li>Get a programmable thermostat </li></ul><ul><li>Unplug </li></ul><ul><li>Drive less- Walk/Bike More </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid turning on the hot water tap (sink, washer, dishwasher, shower) </li></ul><ul><li>Buy something used instead of new (or, buy less in general) </li></ul><ul><li>Use canvas bags at the store- all stores </li></ul><ul><li>buy local organic food - “eating is voting!” </li></ul><ul><li>Compost </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in renewable energy </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid plastic packaging- bring your own! use an alternative, or cook at home </li></ul><ul><li>Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer, Avoid conventional dry cleaners </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t idle your car </li></ul>
    19. 19. When you make green choices: <ul><ul><li>Your awareness about issues improves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your health improves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You’re setting a good example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Money going to a good place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Saving money in long run </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leaving some food, goods, services for others in other parts of the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helping slow warming, preserving our future </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making a statement about the value of life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improving your quality of life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reducing demand for harmful exploitative businesses and products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Letting people know what matters to you with your dollar or your voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leaving some resources..and hope! for future generations </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. resources <ul><li>Learn more… </li></ul><ul><li>www.ewg.org </li></ul><ul><li>www. myfootprint .org </li></ul><ul><li>www. healthandenvironment .org </li></ul><ul><li>www.coopamerica.org </li></ul><ul><li>Take action… </li></ul><ul><li>www.change.org </li></ul><ul><li>www.healthytomorrow.org </li></ul><ul><li>www.safecosmetics.org </li></ul><ul><li>Where to buy… </li></ul><ul><li>www.greenhome.com </li></ul><ul><li>www.gaiam.com </li></ul>
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