A dense forest is a beautiful landscape that provides a home for countless living things. Rainforests, deciduous, and evergreen forests are all unique in how they affect the environment as a whole. A single tree from those forests may not have a noticeable impact on the environment itself, but a single tree can have a huge impact on human lives—both individually and collectively.
Through the window in the secret annex where the Frank family hid for over two years, Anne would often look out and see a beautiful white horse chestnut tree. The white horse chestnut was one of the few things Anne could see outside the small space she shared with her family and four others who were also forced into hiding. She references the tree several times in her famous diary, which chronicled her personal thoughts, feelings and experiences during the holocaust.
In Anne’s writings, it’s clear that she viewed the white horse chestnut as her sole connection with nature, that the tree became a symbol of her longing for freedom. “As long as this exists,” she wrote of the tree, “how can I be sad?” It’s easy to imagine Anne spending many an afternoon gazing out at the tree as the seasons changed—leaves growing and falling, birds nesting and hatching, the wind causing the branches to sway.
The white horse chestnut was ordered to be cut down in 2007. It was in danger of falling due to fungal and moth infestation, and had become a safety hazard. However, passionate neighbors and friends eventually stepped in and were able to save the tree by installing structural supports. Unfortunately, just a few years later, the white horse chestnut was destroyed in a storm. Now, only a stump remains at the site.
But the tree lives on.
Before it died, seeds were taken from Anne’s white horse chestnut; seeds that have now been gifted and planted throughout the world—including school grounds named in honor of Anne Frank. Through the enduring image of Anne’s white horse chestnut—and its many saplings—we have a physical reminder that there’s always beauty and hope to be found in the world. Even in the darkest of situations.
House plants have long been prized for their beautiful appearance. They tend to give our homes a more pleasant and comfortable feel—studies show they help improve mood and mental health, too. But did you know house plants can also help with overall physical health? By acting as organic filters, common household plants can naturally improve the air quality within our homes, removing toxins and other pollutants in the process. In addition to helping regulate humidity, house plants can eliminate mold spores, dust, bacteria, synthetic chemicals and other allergens, too. However, as far as air-filtering goes, not all plants are created equal. And, unfortunately, some of the very best air-purifying plants are toxic for pets. So, what house plant is right for you? We’re going to help you find out.
Here are ten of the best air-purifying house plants (Don’t worry—we’ll let you know which ones are pet safe!)
Aloe Vera (NOT Pet Safe)
This ornamental succulent is popular for its good looks, skin benefits and, in some cases, even its taste. Less known, however, is aloe vera’s skill for removing toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde and benzene, which are commonly found in household cleaners and paints.
Spider Plant (Pet Safe)
This resilient and low maintenance plant can remove up to 90% of formaldehyde, benzene, styrene, xylene and carbon monoxide from the air. A single spider plant is able to efficiently filter a room of approximately 200 sq. ft.
Peace Lily (NOT Pet Safe)
Famed for its delicate beauty, the peace lily is one of the most visually appealing ways to purify your home’s air. Benzene, xylene, toluene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde—the peace lily removes all these toxins. It also cleanses the air of acetone, which comes from electronics and adhesives, among other household items.
Bamboo Palm (Pet Safe)
Requiring only moderate sunshine and capable of growing fairly large, the bamboo palm makes for a great house plant. According to NASA, bamboo palm is also one of the most effective plants at removing air pollutants, especially formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, xylene, benzene and chloroform.
Ficus Tree (NOT Pet Safe)
Although this little tree is toxic for pets, it has a wealth of benefits as an air purifier. It can remove bacteria and mold spores from the air, too. Your ficus will do best in indirect sunlight (too much sun can burn the leaves) and in relatively humid conditions.
This cute little perennial is a staple of many households due to its inexpensive cost and vivid colors. But the gorgeous garden mum is also a powerful air purifier, capable of ridding your home of ammonia, xylene, benzene, toluene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.
Golden Pothos (NOT Pet Safe)
Ideal for offices because it requires little sunlight and can grow in cooler temperatures, the golden pothos is both attractive and useful. Although toxic to pets and people if ingested, this plant is a superstar at improving air quality. It’s especially good at removing carbon monoxide, making it a great fit for garages and other work spaces, too.
Boston Fern (Pet Safe)
The Boston fern has been enjoyed as a house plant for centuries. This small, unusual looking plant needs constant sunshine and fairly humid conditions. Prized as one of the most efficient natural air purifiers, the Boston fern helps remove formaldehyde and xylene from the air. It’s a mild air humidifier, too.
Dracaena (NOT Pet Safe)
Dracaena is ideal for newly carpeted and newly furnished homes because of its unique ability to remove high levels of formaldehyde from the air. This sturdy, easy-to-grow plant also helps fight against benzene, xylene and toluene, all of which are known carcinogens.
In celebration of Earth Day—and Earth Day Texas—we’re taking a closer look at recycling. Many of us recycle the basic things—paper, plastic, cans, etc—but there’s a whole a world of recyclables that most of us are throwing in the garbage.
From batteries and video games, to inhalers and metal keys, here are 41 things you might not now you could be recycling.
Replacing your carpets? Have unused rolls lying around the house? Don’t throw them to the curb. New rolls can go to Habitat for Humanity. The Carpet America Recovery Effort can help you recycle the old ones. Many carpet manufacturers will help recycle your carpet, too.
Throwing away batteries can be terrible for the environment. Recycle them instead. Many office supply stores like Office Depot offer battery recycling. Even some Ikeas have it, too.
3. Cardboard boxes
People always need boxes. Try donating them to nonprofits or shelters—they’re often in dire need of cardboard boxes. Businesses that collect at least 100 boxes each month are also eligible to resell their boxes to UsedCardboardBoxes.com.
A simple scratch is enough to turn CDs into garbage. But don’t place them in the trash—The CD Recycling Center can help you recycle them instead.
Throwing out clothes is a waste. Visit your local Goodwill or other thrift store to donate them instead
6. Clothes Dryers/Washing Machines
Everything you need to know about recycling large appliances can be found here
7. Fluorescent light bulbs
Fluorescent light bulbs leak mercury into the environment when broken in landfills. Home Depot, Lowes, Ikea and similar locations commonly accept fluorescent light bulbs for recycle. Visit search.earth911.com to find a location near you.
Call your city’s recycling center or a local waste management company to see if they recycle toilets. Most Habitat For Humanity locations will also accept used toilet donations.
9. Ink Cartridges
Re-manufacturing plastic ink cartridges requires 80% less energy than making new ones. In other words, be sure to reuse and eventually recycle your cartridges. Many office supply stores will refill them for you. Call the cartridge manufacturer for advice on how and where to recycle them.
Made from a variety of materials, computers are notoriously difficult to recycle. However, most computer manufacturers have take-back or trade-in programs where they’ll collect your computer in order to reuse its materials. Call your manufacturer for more details.
11. Video Games
The aforementioned CD Recycling Center will accept and then recycle any video game discs you might have. For all cartridges, Nintendo offers a take back program where they’ll recycle your games free of charge. They even take non-Nintendo brand games, too.
12. Motor Oil
The EPA has said that “If all the oil from American do-it-yourself oil changers were recycled, it would be enough motor oil for more than 50 million cars a year.” Needless to say, recycling your motor oil can make a real difference. Consult your local service station or auto shop to learn how.
13. Cell Phones
The best way to recycle your cell phone is to donate it to Verizon’s HopeLine program, which benefits survivor’s of domestic abuse.
14. Sports Equipment
Sporting equipment is best recycled through reuse. Sell or donate it to your local Goodwill, thrift store or Play It Again Sports location
15. Athletic Shoes
Don’t throw out those tattered old running shoes. Instead, send them to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program, which accepts any brand of old sneaker and recycles them into various sport courts and fields so kids around the world have more places to play.
16. Cooking Oil
Many cities offer cooking oil recycling. Call your local recycling center for details.
17. Construction Wood
It’s not always been easy to recycle wood. But now there’s a great resource to show you how and where. Visit reusewood.org to learn the most efficient way to recycle all that extra wood.
Rather than tossing out your old bicycle, donate it to Bikes of the World, which collects, refurbishes and then donates bikes to lower-income people and various institutions in developing countries.
All those unused and broken crayons don’t have to end up in the trash. Crazy Crayons is an organization that will recycle your old crayons into new, fun, multicolored ones.
20. Holiday Lights
To learn how to recycle those old xmas lights, click here. Many Home Depot and Lowes locations will recycle them, too.
21. Christmas tree
There’s tons of fun ways to reuse and recycle your old xmas tree—take a look.
22. Wine Corks
Recycled wine corks can be used to make everything from insulation and car parts, to yoga mats and sports equipment. Several health food stores like Whole Foods have drop boxes for collecting corks for recycling. ReCORK is another option—they’ll recycle your corks into shoe soles and other clever products. Check their site for drop off locations.
A thorough guide on recycling your trophies can be found here.
There are several organizations that accept bras to benefit women in need. Here’s a great resource for choosing what option is best for you.
25. Greeting Cards
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children accepts greetings cards of all shapes and sizes and reuses the materials to create new ones. Funds from the new cards go to benefit abused and homeless families.
26. Packing Peanuts
Most cities don’t have options for recycling Styrofoam peanuts. However, many packaging stores like UPS will accept them for reuse. The Plastic Loose Fill Council can help you find a location near you.
27. VHS Tapes
Recycling tapes can be tricky, but it’s possible. Earth 911 is a great resource for learning how.
Millions of Inhalers go to waste every year. But there’s good news: Inhalers can now be recycled through the “Complete the Cycle” campaign.
29. Brita Water Filters
When it comes to Brita filters, there are several options to choose from when recycling them. Consult this resource for detailed instructions.
Cosmetics contain many chemicals harmful to the environment (including lead), and in most cases cannot be recycled. However, these products can be repurposed in a number of creative ways. As far as the packaging goes, many of the larger makeup retailers collect cosmetic containers for recycling—including MAC, Lush, Aveda, and Origins. Some even give gifts or gift cards in exchange.
Before tossing out your old mattress in favor of a new one, check with your mattress’ manufacturer—chances are they’ll help you recycle it. However, if they don’t, you’re not completely out of luck. Check with your city, many areas have recycling centers that will take mattresses off your hands.
32. Apple Products
Apple products are one of the easiest things to recycle. Apple locations accept all their products back for free recycling.
33. Cars, Boats, and Motorcycles
Junkyards are often the best way to properly dispose of your vehicle in a way that insures most of its materials will be put to good re-use. Junkmycar.com—something of a virtual junkyard—is another viable option. Bonus: both choices are likely to earn you some extra cash.
34. Hearing Aids
The Starkey Hearing Foundation collects all makes and models of hearing aids to benefit the hearing-impaired all over the world.
The American Birding Association will take your donated backpack and give it to scientists who will use it in the field when tracking neotropical birds.
36. Wedding Dresses
Brides Across America accepts recently used wedding dresses and gifts them to United States military brides in need. In addition to dresses, the organization accepts weddings accessories like veils and tiaras, too. Why toss out your dress when it could go to a cause like that?
The Keys for Hope Foundation is a non-profit that donates 100% of its proceeds to help feed those in need by helping to stock community food pantries. Keys can also be recycled as scrap metal at your local recycling center.
Upgrading your ratty old Crocs? Take them to your local official Croc store to be recycled or reused. The company’s “Soles 4 Souls” campaign helps put shoes on the underprivileged and others in dire need of footwear.
You might be surprised to learn that hairdryers are easily recycled. Simply locate your closest scrap metal recycling center, drop it off, and you’re done!
40. Juice Pouches
Strictly speaking, these aren’t recyclable. However, TerraCycle will donate 1 cent for each juice pouch collected, and donate the proceeds to the non-profit or school of your choosing. TerrarCycle provides free shipping for sending in the pouches, too
41. Ziploc Bags
Yep, you can now recycle Ziploc Bags. Just watch:
42. For everything else, TerraCycle has your back!
At Cedarcide, we’re passionate about leading sustainable, environmentally responsible lives. To help share our enthusiasm for environmental education and awareness, we spoke with Earth Day Texas’ Michael Cain about everyday things we could all being doing to reduce our ecological footprint. Cain has been on the founding board of Earth Day Texas, the nation’s largest Earth Day event, since its beginnings in 2010. From 2014 to 2015, Cain served as the organization’s executive director, and is now the president of The Earth Day International Film and Media Festival, which is set to launch this coming April.
Consider Reducing Your Beef Consumption.
“One of the more obvious choices you can make is to reduce the amount of beef you eat. Many will say ‘oh, I can’t do that,’ but the idea is that everyone can reduce their intake even if they don’t want to stop eating beef altogether. In an ideal world, if we were all vegetarians or vegans, we’d see an immediate reduction of about 17% in the amount of carbon dioxide that’s being put out into the planet. Roughly 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions—more than all the exhaust from all the world’s transportation—comes from agriculture. So you can imagine what a change it would make if we all just reduced the amount of beef we consumed daily.”
Be Mindful of the Clothes You Buy
“A lot of people will be surprised to learn that fashion is the second largest source of pollution in the world. Clothing dyes eventually come out of clothes and often end up in rivers and oceans. Another problem is that many clothes are manufactured so cheaply they’re essentially disposable, but if you buy clothes that are of higher quality—that last longer—you’re not only reducing waste but also reducing the amount of unethical labor used in the creation of clothing around the planet.”
“Eating organic, eating locally and seasonally—that’s a big thing that you can do. For example, something like eating sustainable seafood is a change that you could consider making. About 90% of all the world’s fisheries are either fully fished or over-fished. So looking for sources of food that are working within a sustainable model is always the way to go.”
Drink Filtered Water
“This is an easy one: drink filtered tap water, don’t buy plastic bottles. We’ve consumed forty-eight billion bottles of water since 2012. Nearly every piece of plastic that was ever created still exists today. So, even just bringing and reusing your own bottle can make a significant dent. All of those plastic bottles, even the recycled ones, have to be transported, and that’s another source of exhaust. The reality is that we all feel good about recycling, but the majority of those bottles are not being recycled, so they end up in our landfills, rivers, and oceans.”
Monitor Your Home Energy Usage
“75% of the electricity that powers our home electronics is consumed while those electronics are turned off. Unplugging things like stereos, speakers, laptops, and televisions, certainly when you’re not around, is a great way to conserve energy. I think an energy audit from a reputable source is a great way to understand how much energy you may be losing, especially from your roof, for example. That’s one of the largest sources of wasted energy in the home.”
Bonus: Think Beyond Yourself!
“Ever since the birth of my first child, I find myself thinking about what kind of planet I’ll be leaving for my two daughters. I feel that as a father I have a responsibility to lower my eco footprint and to educate my daughters about the need to live responsibly and sustainably. I look forward to leaving them clean beaches and beautiful forests, which I see as part of creating a better life for them. I encourage you to think beyond yourselves, to think about what life will look like after you’re gone, and to do what you can to make the future of our planet a better place.”
Living in the modern world has its advantages and disadvantages. Technologically speaking, we’re far better off than we were, say, 100 years ago. Nutritionally speaking, we’re far worse in many ways.
As surprising as it might sound, nearly all Americans suffer from at least 1 form of nutritional deficiency.
One of the most common deficiencies is Vitamin D. In fact, most Americans aren’t aware they suffer from a lack of Vitamin D. This is partly because we all tend to believe our diets are rich with it (people who drink lots of milk, for example, would never guess they’re deficient). What most people don’t realize is that, despite its name, Vitamin D is not technically a vitamin in the traditional sense. It’s actually a steroid hormone that we’re meant to receive primarily through sunlight, not diet.
Who is Vitamin D Deficient?
Thanks to various scientific studies, we now know more about our body’s relationship with vitamin D. Some of the results are staggering.
· The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 32% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. This percentage vastly increases when considering the CDC used vitamin D levels not consistent with optimal health.
· The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that children between the ages of 1 and 5 were 50% likely to suffer from insufficient Vitamin D levels. They also reported that children between the ages of 6 and 11 were a shocking 70% likely to suffer from insufficient levels!
·Most researchers tend to agree the general population is somewhere around 50% deficient.
· It’s estimated that about 95% of senior citizens are vitamin D deficient due to their lack of sun exposure and the fact that their bodies naturally produce less vitamin D than younger individuals.
· People with an increased level of skin pigmentation, such as from African, Middle Eastern, or Indian descent, are also at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. It was found that their skin may need as much as 10x more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a person with fairer skin.
Signs You Might Be Vitamin D Deficient:
There is only 1 known way to detect if you’re vitamin D deficient: blood testing. That being said, there are a number of “signs” or “clues” that indicate vitamin D deficiency:
· You have darker skin. Darker skinned individuals are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency
· You’re over the age of 50. As you age, your skin becomes less efficient in converting sun exposure to vitamin D.
· You suffer from bouts of depression. Your brain produces serotonin—a mood-regulating hormone—when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Feeling “blue” can be a sign your brain is not producing enough serotonin due to lack of sun exposure, and therefore vitamin D.
· You’re overweight or unusually muscular Because vitamin D acts more like a hormone than a traditional vitamin, those with excess body fat and large amounts of muscle in turn require additional Vitamin D
· You have a sweaty forehead. One of the earliest signs of a vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head.
· You have problems with your gut. Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, having stomach issues can prevent your body from absorbing it.
· You have chronic aches and pains in your bones. A vitamin D deficiency can affect skeletal health. As a result, your bones ache and throb.
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin D?
There are a variety of benefits and health attributes associated with vitamin D. Here are some of the most important:
· It’s good for your bones! Having a sufficient amounts of vitamin D in your system allows for proper calcium absorption.
· It’s important to cardiovascular health. Vitamin D is important for reducing the likelihood of atherosclerotic heart disease, hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.
· Vitamin D is an immune modulator, making it very important for preventing autoimmune disease.
· It helps in fighting infections of all kinds, including the flu
· It helps with DNA repair, which is crucial to a healthy immune system.
What Are Optimum Vitamin D Levels?
An ideal range for general health and regulation is somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml. However, without proper blood testing, it’s all but impossible to know exactly what your levels are. If you’d like to know exactly where your own vitamin D levels stand, getting a blood test at a local clinic is the easiest method.
How Do I Reach Optimum Level?
As far as how to reach optimum levels of vitamin D, sun exposure is generally the easiest way. As stated above, taking a supplement orally is not a sufficient substitute to sun exposure. Staying in the sun for roughly half the time it takes for your skin to receive a mild sunburn is usually an ideal amount of time. For example, if you get a mild sunburn after 20 minutes of sun exposure, then 10 minutes will likely be enough time to raise your Vitamin D production. If you have to count exclusively on an oral supplement, then remember to take Vitamin K as well as—it helps the body with vitamin D absorption.
How Do You Get Fleas?
Contrary to popular belief, contracting fleas has nothing to do with the cleanliness or condition of your home—fleas can and do infest everyone. However, fleas usually enter your yard via wild animals, such as squirrels, rabbits, feral cats, possums, etc. Then, either you, your family or a pet unknowingly bring these outside fleas into your home. Dog Parks, neighboring pets and outdoor activities such as hiking, dog-walking and hunting are also common sources of flea infestation.
What Do Fleas Look Like?
Fleas have three primary life stages: Eggs, Larvae, and Adults. Flea eggs are small (about the size of a salt granule) and white; Flea larvae look like small, milky-white caterpillars, ranging between 3 to 5.2 mm in length. Adult fleas are dark-brown to reddish-brown, about 2.5 mm in length, with thin, flat, wingless bodies and long legs.
What Do Flea Bites Look Like?
Flea bites are small, red and extremely itchy. On humans, bites usually occur on the legs and feet, though flea bites can potentially occur anywhere on the body. Skin reactions such as hives, swelling, or rashes near the bite site are a common symptom of flea bites. Although flea bites rarely result in disease in humans, fleas are in fact carriers of various diseases and bacteria, including tapeworm, typhus and cat scratch disease.
What Are the Signs Of A Flea Infestation?
Locating and identifying a flea infestation is normally quite easy. Whether crawling within your pet’s fur or sprinkled throughout your carpet, fleas are not usually difficult to spot. Flea infestations spread quickly, so it’s crucial that you find and treat them as early and as fast as possible. Here are the signs to look out for:
- Excessive pet scratching (this is often the first sign of flea infestation)
- If you suspect fleas have infested your pet, check their skin for adult fleas and red or black dots (flea droppings). Fleas usually infest the hindquarters of dogs, and the neck and face area of cats.
- Flea eggs (these are white, about the size of a grain of salt, and often too small for the naked eye to see)
- Small dark specks on linens, bedding or clothing that appear to jump or fly (these are adult fleas moving throughout your home)
What To Do If You Have Fleas
At Cedarcide, we recommend using only all-natural, eco-safe methods for getting rid of fleas, with fogging (indoor) and spraying (outdoor) being our preferred methods of treatment. If you think you might have fleas, you need to act fast before the infestation spreads. For detailed instructions on getting rid of fleas, download our How To Get Rid Of Fleas ebook: A 5 Step Guide.
They’re a healthy alternative to processed dog treats
First, and most importantly from your dog’s point of view, they taste delicious! Carrots not only provide a significant amount of nutritional benefits, they also taste good to your pets. They are slightly high in naturally occurring sugars so they’re viewed as a treat of sorts by your animals. It’s important to mention that in order for your dog to enjoy the nutritional benefits of carrots (which will be discussed below), the carrots must first be slightly cooked or steamed because the wall of cellulose within carrots is not digestible by dogs.
They’re good for their teeth
Chew toys are commonly used for the sake of “scraping” pets’ teeth in order to clean them. Carrots, in regards to their natural texture, could be considered a mini chew toy on steroids in that they are a tasty treat as well as a natural tooth brush.
They’re good for cholesterol
These treats are good for your animals’ cholesterol due to the low-fat and low-calorie nature of carrots. If an owner wants to treat their dogs with a “good behavior” snack, carrots are a great choice when trying to limit the amount of high-calorie doggie treats their pets receive.
The Beta-Carotene is good for their eyesight
Just as the old common adage might suggest, carrots are good for people’s eyesight as well as for dog’s eyesight. The Beta-Carotene prevalent in carrots in a natural anti-oxidant and a natural eyesight enhancer for your pet.
They’re rich in Vitamin A
Vitamin A, along with Beta-Carotene, can help your dog’s eyesight, improve their skin, and also foster a healthier and shinier coat. Vitamin A, as a general rule, is good for the overall health of your pet and is a great immune system booster. Keep in mind not to overdo allowances of Vitamin A as it could become toxic in extremely large quantities. That being said, it would take a significant amount of carrots to reach that point. So as long as you don’t give your animal an entire bag of cooked or raw carrots, you won’t run into this problem.
They’re a good source of Fiber
Because carrots are naturally high in fiber, they can be a good “regulator” for you pet if he or she is suffering from constipation or loose/irregular stools. Adding some additional fiber to your pet’s diet can help add consistency to your dog’s “business.”
Remember, treat your dogs to these tasty, healthy snacks in moderation, and unless the purpose of you feeding your dogs carrots is for cleaning their teeth, remember to always slightly cook or steam your carrots so that your animal can reap the nutritional benefits from their goodies!
Flea collars are one of the the most popular options for treating and preventing fleas in both dogs and cats. Typically, flea collars work by either transferring pesticides to your pet’s skin or by giving off a harmful gas that’s toxic to fleas. Unfortunately, the same features that make flea collars effective also make them dangerous to both pets and humans—serious, even life threatening, side-effects have been linked with exposure to the chemicals within flea collars. The following is a list of reasons why it’s important you stop using flea collars on your pets as soon as possible.
A study conducted by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) concluded that flea collars, even when used as directed, can have “serious health consequences to humans.” The NRDC found that unsafe levels of pesticides from flea collars can remain on a dog or cat’s fur for weeks after initial use. These pesticide levels exceed acceptable EPA exposure limits, posing a serious risk to both adults and children when playing with pets wearing flea collars.
“It was also discovered that flea collar toxins are readily transferrable, moving easily from a pet to furniture, children’s toys, even directly to humans.”
One of the most common (and dangerous) chemicals found in flea collars is Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), an organophosphate insecticide that works by interrupting a flea’s central nervous system. Unfortunately TCVP—which the EPA lists as a carcinogen—also wreaks havoc on the human central nervous system. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that organophosphates are a central ingredient in several biological weapons, including nerve gas.
Worst of all, children and pregnant women are especially at risk—learning disabilities, motor development, hyperactivity and behavioural issues have all been tied with exposure to flea collar pesticides. Public Health Scientist Miriam Rotkin Ellman—a key scientist in NRDC’s studies—has said,
“with a pesticide it doesn’t take very much to cause effects that will stay with kid[s] for the rest of their lives”
While residual toxins from flea collars can be hazardous to humans, they can be outright lethal for your pets. Ranging from skin irritation and gastrointestinal distress, to organ failure and even death, flea collars have a long history of harmful effects in both cats and dogs. When used as directed, flea collars are still known to cause severe chemical burns and seizures in pets. A quick look at product review sites like Consumer Affairs or outlets like Amazon is enough to get a sense of the suffering flea collars commonly inflict on pet owners. In cases of ingestion or misuse (placing a dog-specific flea collar on a cat, for instance), flea collars are regularly fatal, with smaller and older pets being especially vulnerable. Flea collars are also notorious for interfering with pet medications—sometimes counteracting them, sometimes rendering them deadly. Even under ideal conditions, flea collars can be fatal to dogs and cats, as sensitivities to chemicals or allergies usually remain unknown in pets until it’s too late.
They’re Not As Effective As You Think
In contrast to received opinion, flea collars are not exactly highly effective. In most cases, flea collars can be useful at preventing flea infestations (if toxic treatments can be considered useful) but not at treating them. In fact, many flea collars are not even strong enough to kill adult fleas. Even when properly used, flea collars only serve to protect the area on or around your pet’s neck. Considering fleas tend to feed and hide primarily in pets’ armpits, groins, bellies and backsides, it’s not hard to see why flea collars are only so effective at controlling flea infestation.
At Cedarcide, we only recommend the use of all natural, eco-friendly alternatives when treating your pets for fleas. Thankfully, there are many pet-safe, family-safe options when managing and preventing flea infestation. Here are some of our favorites:
Consult a vet before use on older, pregnant or nursing animals
- An all natural, non-toxic Flea spray
- Apply as needed, especially before walking pets outdoors or at pet parks. Tip: For dogs, moisten a bandana with an all natural insect repellent for a non-toxic flea collar alternative.
- Flea Combs
- Flea combs help to both identify and treat flea infestations
- Bathe Your Pet Regularly
- Regular bathing helps keep fleas off your pets. No need for toxic flea & tick shampoos—soapy, warm water is sufficient to kill adult fleas and flea eggs.
- A natural flea & tick brush
- A flea and tick brush that dispenses natural insect repellent is among the most efficient and effective methods for treating your medium to large-sized dog for fleas
- Wash pet bedding weekly
- Regularly washing your pet’s bedding is essential to preventing flea infestation. Use hot water and include a water-soluble insect repellent for added protection.
- Care for your lawn
- Keeping your yard clutter-free and trimmed (grass, shrubbery, etc) will help prevent fleas from making a home in your yard.
- Keeping your yard clutter-free and trimmed (grass, shrubbery, etc) will help prevent fleas from making a home in your yard.
Nobel-prize winning author John Steinbeck once wrote, “There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp.” From spading the soil to planting the seeds, to nurturing the plants, to harvesting the resulting fruits, vegetables or flowers, the process of starting and maintaining your own garden can have immeasurable benefits for the mind, body, and soul.
Learn a New Skill
So maybe you don’t exactly have a green thumb; maybe you always forget to water that desk plant you bought last spring, or the flowerbed in your front yard is overrun with weeds. That doesn’t mean you can’t acquire the skills needed to tend a garden. Like anything else in life, it just requires a little practice and dedication and that thumb of yours will start changing colors before you know it.
Although startup expenses can be a deterrent, a longtime commitment to growing your own fruits and vegetables can make its mark on your grocery bill. Freezing or canning your harvest can help extend the shelf life of your produce to help you save year-round.
There’s a certain peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly where your food came from and how it was treated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 29 pesticides in the average American’s body. Growing your own produce is one way to help yourself come in below that average.
Don’t tell me you’re going to grow all these beautiful fruits and vegetables and not eat them. Studies have shown that people who grow their own produce are more likely to eat healthier. After all, once you’ve had a perfectly ripe tomato fresh off the vine, greasy fast food just doesn’t have the same appeal.
Locally Grown is Better For You
Produce begins to lose its nutritional value the second it’s picked. That’s not to say store-bought produce has no nutritional value, but broccoli can lose up to half it’s vitamin C on the journey from truck to store shelf to fridge than it does when it goes straight from the garden to your kitchen table.
Share the Love
You’d be surprised how much your friends, neighbors, and coworkers might appreciate some spare peppers. Sharing your harvest doesn’t only improve your relationships with these people, but also encourages them to eat healthier and try new dishes that feature your ingredients.
It’s pretty difficult to grow a garden from the couch in the living room. Not only does gardening get you more sun exposure for some much-needed vitamin D, but three hours of gardening can burn as many calories as an hour at the gym. Why pump iron when you could be aerating a garden?
Make it a Family Affair
Working a garden together can be a great way to bond as a family. Plus, it’s a great way to get kids away from their electronic devices and connected with nature. Kids are also more likely to try more fruits and vegetables if they’ve been exposed to gardening.
Everybody has to deal with stress. Whether you need to reduce your road rage from your morning commute or calm your nerves for an upcoming presentation at work, stepping away from all the bells and whistles of modern technology to enjoy the great outdoors can work wonders for your mental well-being.
Reap What You Sow
There’s an unquantifiable satisfaction that comes with reaping the fruits of your own labor—especially when those fruits are literal fruits. Basking in the achievement of your own hard work is something we could all use a little more of.