Living Green

Monthly news and tips focused on helping you create a greener, healthier life for the world around you.


Green tips for the season of giving

Joy, peace and jolly to you! Here at Oregon Environmental Council, we believe in the power and health benefits of celebration. We also believe the "season of giving” includes giving people the tools they need to act on their environmental values.In that spirit, we offer these green living tips for the holiday season:It’s a frustrating reality that children’s products still contain toxic chemicals (read more about how we're working on this)!There are a number of resources that identify kid's toys that avoid plastics, adhesives, and other components likely to ...

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Retailer report card for safer shopping

Some day, we will be able to trust in the chemical safety of the products we buy. Until then: we have the retailer’s report card. It shows how much progress 40 retailers have made to understand and eliminate toxic chemicals in everyday products. OEC is one of hundreds of allies in the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition, which has been challenging retailers to sell safer products since 2013. Read the full report at retailerreportcard.com The Good News:Apple, Target, Ikea and Wal-Mart are in the lead with strong policies to track and reduce ...

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Where there’s smoke….

Oregon is feeling the devastation of California’s fires this November, and our friends and neighbors will need our help to recover. We’re also likely to feel the smoke here in Oregon.(See NY Times: How To Help Those Affected by the California Fires).The jet stream can carry smoke and particles from Western fires all the way across the country, according to NASA. When weather pulls that smoke out of jet stream and down to breathing levels, it can harm health hundreds of miles away from the fire. We’re grateful for doctors, nurses and caregivers who help people ...

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Take a tick seriously

Our climate is changing and this will change our lives. It will also change the lives of all kinds of critters in Oregon. Which is why we'd like to talk about ticks and why it's important to take a tick seriously.We can expect insects—including ticks and mosquitos—will appear in different places, at different times, in different numbers, and with different diseases than they carry today. So what does that mean for our health?Doctors must learn to spot symptoms and identify disease that may be new to them. Public health professionals will be challenged to ...

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Top tips for Oregon summer adventurers

Adventuring in Oregon can do wonders for your mind, body and spirit—if you plan ahead for health risks in today’s changing climate.Whether your plan is to lounge in a local park or set off trekking the far-flung places, we wish you awe, bliss and delight!Before you go, know this: today’s summer hazards are different than they were a generation ago. Climate change and ozone depletion have changed the nature of bug bites, sun exposure, allergies and asthma.A little precaution can go a long way to keep these hazards from putting a damper on your fun.Take ...

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May is Bike Month!

After seemingly endless months of rain, Spring is here! Which means many of Oregon’s streets are now filled with even more bicyclists!Oregon’s most populated area, the Portland metro region, has the highest rate of commuters biking to work in the nation, which means we are collectively spending less money on transportation, driving fewer miles, and emitting less carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.To top all of that off, May is National Bike Month. At Oregon Environmental Council we are taking the opportunity to celebrate the many benefits of biking! More than ...

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To-do list for fresh indoor air

Want to breathe easy? We put together a long to-do list that includes ways you can reduce air pollution at home. Did you know? Indoor air is most often worse than outdoors. Reducing outdoor tailpipe and smokestack pollution will help, and so will our work to reduce toxics in consumer products. But in the meantime, here are ways you can clean up the air you breathe nearly every day.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air quality among the top five concerns for public health. Between smoke, dust, vapors and cleaning product resid...

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Skip the trip to DEQ! Hawthorne Auto offers DEQ, too!

On my list of to-do’s this month was taking my car to the DEQ to get its emissions tested.

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Add your kombucha to the bottle return bin

Starting January 1, Oregon’s Bottle Bill expands to include your energy drink or kombucha tea.Oregon’s Bottle Bill was introduced in 1971, in the early days of Oregon Environmental Council, thanks to the hard work of our members such as Don Waggoner and Rich Chambers. As the very first bottle bill in the U.S., it was created to address a growing litter problem along Oregon beaches, highways and other public areas.The Bottle Bill marked the beginning of the end for America’s “throwaway” culture. Before the bill, “no deposit, no return” bottles and ...

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Your Stress-Free Guide to Toxic-Free Holiday Shopping for Kids

Parents are already so overwhelmed just being parents, and the pressure of the holidays can compound these feelings. That’s why, when it comes to buying toxic-free toys for the little ones in our lives, we may feel torn. We want to make sure the gifts we choose are safe, but we also just want to get our shopping done. How do we begin to decipher the seemingly endless list of chemicals that go into making a toy? Why can’t we just trust that what’s on the shelves is safe?Luckily, there’s real holiday elves like Jennifer Coleman, Oregon Environmental Council’s ...

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