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Rising Temperatures Cause Increased Smog Pollution

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People anticipate warmer weather, and with it, the chance to enjoy the great outdoors. It is important to note, however, that the higher the temperature outside, the higher the smog pollution index. This can spell disaster for many people, but especially those with Asthma and other respiratory problems.

Along with increased smog danger, summer brings increased pollen. Anyone with allergies is going to experience watery eyes, runny nose, and perhaps a nagging cough along with sneezing. These symptoms can put a cramp in even the most fun summer activities.

As if that weren’t enough, the wildfires which are plaguing the United States will increase the pollutants and upper respiratory symptoms even more. Put them all together, and you have a large group of folks who will not be able to go out and enjoy the summer. The EPA reasoned that breathing the ozone is comparable to having “sunburn” on your lungs.

So far, there are eleven states which have developed preparedness procedures, and the gathering of environmental monitoring systems. These states monitor the impact of air quality and climate change.






States which address air pollution and air quality:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Virginia

Some of the above states are increasing intelligence gathering concerning pollutants and air quality, while some, such as New Hampshire, are implementing procedures for emergency personnel to be able to handle increased health emergencies due to air quality.

It is wise for every individual to consider the air quality and their own health before venturing out for a day of fun in the sun. Those who use inhalers or other medications should carry them at all times. It’s a simple solution to pack them into a reusable bag and make a habit of taking it with you wherever you go. Have a bag with medications, tissue, sunscreen, and any other over the counter items you may need to make your outing or trip more comfortable.

The pollution solution is not one that will occur overnight. Protecting your own health and well-being should be the order of the day. Go out and enjoy the weather, but have your medications handy in case of an emergency. It’s going to be a smoggy summer.

Categories: It's Funky

Designing Your Own Reusable Bag

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Whether you need  2000, or 2 million bags, designing your reusable bag can be fun and creative. Although most businesses choose to have their logo, that rule isn’t carved in stone. Bags for personal use or family reunion bags offer a little more flexibility.

First, start with deciding which type of reusable bag you want. You may be thinking of a standard tote bag, or you may consider an entire line of bags, including lunch bags. There are many to choose from, and you may want to select several. Remember that the bags can be used for whatever purpose you would like. Wine bags, for example, do not have to hold wine. They can be used for storing craft supplies, or filling with different types of gifts to give to a special someone. You can also use many of the different types of bags to use for your children’s school bags. Think outside the box, or bag, if you will.

Also consider what type of material you want. Take a look at all of the different kinds of reusable bags. Consider what you will be using the bag for, and how sturdy it needs to be. Although, all of our bags are good quality, there may be a certain material you wish your bag to be constructed from. Perhaps you want non-woven, laminated, recycled, or insulated.

Next, decide which color, or color combination you would like. There is a wide selection here, so let the creative juices flow. You can match the color combination to play it safe, or you can go bold, and use contrasting colors for a bag that stands out. It’s completely up to you. If you plan to have a graphic, keep in mind how the colors will look together. You want the lettering and the graphic to be equally noticeable. Have a look at the gallery to see if anything sparks the imagination for you.

Once you have chosen the colors, you can add a graphic, and, viola! You now have a personalized reusable bag. You can use a picture you already have on your computer, or use one of the many royalty free graphics you can find on various sites online. It’s easy, fun, and inexpensive to do, so why not get started right now. Once you get started, you may just decide to create some for your book club, child’s classroom, and other groups. Yes, it’s that fun and creative.

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Reusable Bags Are the Perfect Gift for Family Reunions

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Whether it is your first family reunion, or it has been a long standing tradition, reusable bags can be a great gift for participants. Families gather from around the country, and in some cases, around the globe to remember old times, as well as make new memories. Sometimes these gatherings are small, but others grow to be quite large. There are often barbeques, and other activities that have been well planned out by the organizer. This can be a pain staking ordeal, especially for the first time. Family reunions are often planned out a year or more in advance. While it may be hard work, it is definitely worth it in the long run.

Giving reusable bags to participants of family reunions is both fun and functional. Family members can use the bags often, and it will bring to mind all of the good times had at the reunion. Many families opt to put their name, and a crest, or other memorable art on their bags. There are many colors from which to choose as well. If nothing else, simply something like “Murdough Family Reunion 2013” will do nicely. Of course, you can always come up with something fun and catchy, if you prefer. Either way, family members will have something which will remind them of the good times had at the reunion.

Malone Family Reunion Bag1

Depending on the circumstances, eco friendly reusable bags can be given empty, or filled with prizes and mementos. It can be enjoyable to design and fill the bags to give to family members. Participants are sure to love their thoughtful gifts, and it can all be done at a very reasonable cost. While planning your reunion, or even as a last minute thought, consider giving an eco-friendly, fun, and useful gift to those attending your family reunion.


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Canada Celebrates 30 years of Positive Environmental Impact

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Canadians care very deeply about their natural environment. Not only do they care about it, they deem it a major responsibility of the government to control and reduce harmful environmental factors. A study done in 2009 indicates that overall, there has been a very positive impact on the environment in Canada over the last 30 years. It did find, however, that in several areas, there was room for improvement. Still, progress is being made, and all indications lean toward further improvement in protecting the natural environment.

The areas studied were; air pollution, freshwater withdrawals and quality, GHG emissions, forestry, and agricultural soil quality, which are all a factor in environmental sustainability. Air pollution, proven to negatively affect health, has been somewhat of problem in Canada, as it is in other parts of the world. This one area alone is a deep rooted problem. Pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide is prevalent in urban areas. Some of these levels dropped during a period from 1996-2010, although nothing of great significance was recorded in the ground level Ozone. It has shown, however, that overall, Canadians are breathing significantly healthier air than they were back in 1996.

While the fight may be far from over, even some improvement is better than none. In America, the current administration has yet to put any significant practice into place that will promote a healthier environment. It has been proven time and time again that continuing on the path of pollution will cause irreversible damage to not only the environment, but to humankind. The governments around the world must begin to take action. The average citizen is not the major contributor to pollution. It is the big businesses and industries that plague the environment with pollutants.

Using reusable tote bags and recycling are wonderful opportunities for people to make a difference, but until businesses are held responsible and forced to act to reduce pollution, it may not be enough. These industries must listen to, and mimic the efforts and determination demonstrated by citizens everywhere before real change can begin.

Canada is making a difference, perhaps because they hold their government accountable. China is trying to do the very same thing, and has been in the news a lot lately. America must convince the powers that be to act accordingly to improve our environmental situation before it is too late.


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DiCaprio and Christie’s Art Auction and More Environmental Events

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Leonardo DiCaprio, star of the upcoming “Great Gatsby” movie has teamed with Christie’s  in an event that is expected to raise up to $18 million

Leonardo Di Caprio, helping and involved in environmental issues since 1998

dollars when all is said and done. On Monday, May 13th, an art auction will be held featuring, among many other pieces, Zeng Fanzhi’s “The Tiger,” It has not yet been decided which environmental projects will benefit from the auction.

Apparently, DiCaprio and his organization have been involved in environmental issues since 1998. He is working with many different artists in order to make this art auction a success. In 2007, he produced and narrated the documentary “The 11th Hour”, which deals with the state of the environment. His upcoming auction is said to be the biggest environmental event known.

While DiCaprio may be holding a grand event, there are events across the country which are being held to benefit different environmental issues. In some cases, such as the upcoming “The Decision Portraits by Sue Lenz”, in Chandler, Arizona, the art itself is produced from vintage and recycled materials. Others, such as the “Insects of the Giant”, in Hamden Connecticut, will feature a nature walk identifying and explaining various insects and habitats.

Checking the local paper, or online community events is a wonderful way to find out about upcoming environmental events. With Spring finally having sprung in most of the U.S., it is a great time to get out and about. Even if scheduling is tight, visiting a local nursery for a couple of new plants or making the decision to use reusable bags are great ways to contribute to helping the environment.

While most people won’t get the chance to enjoy the DiCaprio event, there are many ways to do your part. Large or small, efforts to reduce carbon footprints, reduce waste, recycle, reuse, and otherwise improve the “green effect” can make a difference.



Categories: It's Funky

All Creatures Big and Small

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This past Earth Day, and every year for that matter, we celebrate our home.  The earth.  We vow to do something in our lives to protect and better the place we all call home.  Hopefully, if enough people take that vow in their own small ways, we and protect and preserve our home for successive generations: our small steps moving together against corporate greed and successive global bad guys who lack foresight to protect our earth from harm.

Small voices are ours, but smaller voices come from the most helpless of all, those with no voice: our planet’s animals.

In the beginning, this planet teemed with life.  Vast herds of animals roamed the planet, lived their lives, multiplied and died without man’s intervention, protection or destruction.  Many came and some went as natural selection eliminated their kind, but never until the last two hundred years have so many animals gone extinct from the face of the earth due to the interference of mankind into their habitats.

Anyone who has ever had a pet can vouch for their influence on our lives.  Phrases like “unconditional love” and “endless source of amusement” and “loyal without question” serve to point out the special relationship we have with our pets. In the western world, we lavish affection, attention, and expense on our pets, providing them with a nicer lifestyle than the children of people in third world countries.  Some carry this pampering to extreme: birthday parties or weddings for cats and dogs costing thousands of dollars, coutourier gowns, jewelry, even miniature palaces built for pets that cost as much as college tuition would support a poor family for many years. We need not go that far to help the world’s animals.

The voiceless ones, those who are not housed or sheltered and protected, deserve a chance to survive.  Every creature, great and small, enriches our lives by their mere presence on earth. So many species, whether we are aware of them or not, are interdependent on other species in ways we have not yet discovered, and we are all made poorer when one of them disappears. Even those not so appealing may have attributes that can aid their human counterparts in ways in which we may not yet be aware.   An example: sharks, far from cute or cuddly have been shown to be able to help humans improve joint health from their cartilage. Starfish able to regenerate lost limbs possess proteins which are being studied to isolate this factor, and perhaps make regeneration of lost limbs possible for humans in the future.

Science suggests that for all health problems on earth, a solution exists somewhere in nature, if it can just be discovered. Discoveries occur every day, some in the most astonishing places. It is up to us, as masters at the top of the food chain, to protect and cherish the least of those who cling to us for their wellbeing and survival.

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Earth Day 2013, What You Probably Didn’t Know

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Earth Day 2013

Earth Day was first observed on April 22, 1970. Civil unrest was high because of the Vietnam War, and our industrial nation was spewing out a vast amount of pollutants without any regulation. While the two may not seem to be related, they actually are. It not only brought awareness to a growing problem (pollution), but also helped to give another avenue to the energies and passions of the anti-war protesters. While becoming aware of the environment did not change the views of either anti-Vietnam or pro-Vietnam, it did offer a way for people to become actively involved in an important “cause”, and one that could clearly impact future generations.

What began as a grass roots project has grown leaps and bounds since its inception. The first event saw the participation of 20 million individuals. Even businesses are getting into the act by giving away custom reusable bags, or materials to make small herb gardens. This is a good sign of progress. Businesses know that more and more people are becoming environmentally friendly, and they want to do business with companies and organizations that feel the same.

Earth Day is a way to bring annual awareness to our precious resources, and how to protect them. This should be done every day of the year, but Earth Day is a way to spark new interest, as well as encourage those who already take part in earth saving measures. One need not become a crusader in order to make a difference. Every small step, every move toward a cleaner earth makes a big statement, and a big impact. Buying reusable water bottles, using reusable bags, picking up the litter in a neighborhood park are all small, but wonderful ways to make a difference. Avoiding a  high pollution businesses is always effective, especially if enough people do it. Join the millions of people around the world and start preserving this earth for our future generations.


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Environmental News Put on Back Burner?

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Recently, the NY Times announced it would be discontinuing their “Green Blog” immediately. This followed a move a short time ago when they closed their “Environment Desk”. The LA Times has been putting an end to their environmental blogs as well. Both papers proclaim that they take environmental issues just as seriously as they always have, but need to better manage their resources. That seems odd, considering the NY times still has 9 blogs dedicated to sports.

It could be that there is no groundbreaking, earth shattering news on which to report. It could also be that they have simply grown weary of a topic to which the public seems to have cooled. It certainly cannot be that anything drastic has improved on the environment front. Cities continue to ban plastic bags, the uninformed continue to blog about the supposed health hazards of reusable bags, scientists continue to warn of the need for more environmental reform, so why the cool down?

Globally, people are overwhelmed with issues facing today’s world. While the environment is still on the minds of many people, news in the political and financial sectors seem to be taking the lead, not only in the media, but the minds of the public. It seems entirely possible that the public is, in general, suffering from shell shock. Everywhere one turns, there are major issues which all could result in disaster. More than actually forgetting about environmental issues, people may just be temporarily numb by other current events.

What is important, more than the coverage of environmental issues is that people are still taking action. Keep using custom reusable bags, keep recycling, and keep putting pressure on the biggest corporate polluters. It’s only a matter of time before something “newsworthy” happens, and the media begins to take notice once again.



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Are Reusable Bags Killing People?

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A recent paper by Jonathan Klick and Joshua Wright made the hypothesis that the recent plastic bag ban and resulted in an increase in food borne illnesses.  It also suggested that the death rate due to foodborne illness had increased due to reusable bags.  This resulted in a number of exaggerated headlines, and perhaps false information.

The original study and results were based on a number of emergency room visits and hospitalizations due to E coli in San Francisco County.  There was a marked increase in E coli cases shortly after the plastic bag ban was put into place.  One expert, however, pointed out that this study could be misleading. Tomás Aragón, a health officer for San Francisco and an epidemiologist at UC Berkeley, said the graphs are misleading.  He said that the study points out that something peculiar happened in San Francisco County, but it does not prove a link between foodborne illness and reusable bags.

The study showed an increase of foodborne illness but did not show that those who were using reusable bags were those were getting sick.  Without this connection, it is impossible to prove that the illnesses were due to reusable bags.

There are some safety measures, however, that can help prevent foodborne illness when using reusable grocery bags.  Using the same bags, one for meat, and another for produce, each time you shop use one precaution.  Wiping out these bags with a disinfectant cloth after each use also helps prevent foodborne illness.  Reusable bags can normally be thrown into the washing machine, and they should cleaned often at the very least.


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Reusable bags and Your health

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The use of reusable bags is beneficial to the environment; there has been some concern lately regarding reusable bags and health issues.  Switching from plastic to more porous bags does not have to be a difficult transition.  Nor does it have to compromise health.  All it takes is a few easy steps, which easily become second nature, and health safety issues can be put to rest.

  • Reusable bags which are made of cotton can be easily cleaned in the washing machine.  This becomes second nature very quickly.
  • Nylon/polyester reusable bags can be easily wiped out with a disinfectant wipe.  They can also be washed down by hand with warm soapy water.
  • Select one bag to always be used for meats, and another for produce.  Clearly mark each bag.  Plastic grocery bags can also be used free of charge to wrap perishable items.
  • Never store reusable bags wet.  Allow them to dry inside and out before storing.

The purpose of reusable bags used to achieve environmental health, but it does not have to come at the expense of personal health.  Keeping reusable bags clean is an easy habit to get into, and it soon becomes second nature.  Plastic grocery bags are being phased out.  Switching to reusable bags can be an easy transition.  Since most of the illness associated with reusable bags comes from either meet or produce, consistently using the same bag for each can considerably reduce the chances of contracting food poisoning and other food borne illnesses.

With that, your odds of becoming sick from your bags are probably 1000/1 in all reality.  We only feel we might mention it as the plastic bag companies seem to be grasping at this as fact and pitching it as a way to deter you from going the reusable bag way  in general.  With that being said, keep them clean and keep it green!


Categories: It's Funky