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Movie Review: WINDED

First Wind Turbine in North America

First Wind Turbine in North America

By Elena Christopoulos

Last night I watched a great film, created by Mitch Haigh. It was called ‘Winded’. Mitch goes on a journey to find the real truth about Wind Turbines. The film looks at both sides of the debate and controversy of Wind Turbines, specifically the concerns of residents from Prince Edward County located in Ontario, Canada. Mitch is a resident of Prince Edward County where heated debates continue with regards to Wind Turbines and in the film he seeks out answers that he needs. His path took him to the first urban Wind Turbine in North America, which is located in downtown Toronto, quite close to the financial district. He concludes the film with an informed decision that he is pleased with, one that I am pleased with as well. At the end of the day, many people are afraid of ‘new’ things and of change. I respect that. I also feel with additional education people will embrace renewable energy, specifically in the form of a lovely wind turbine. I hope to see more YIMBY’s along my travels. What is a YIMBY? It is an acronym for ‘Yes In My Backyard.’

With Earth Day fast approaching, surely you too are looking for a way to express your inner green.  Purchasing natural products for yourself, your family and your home, as well as using alternative energy sources like wind and solar are all eco-friendly practices.  Remember, Earth Day is every day.

Enjoy the film. Great work, Mitch.

Elena Christopoulos is an environmental consultant based out of Los Angeles and Toronto. Ms.Christopoulos has advised some of North America’s most recognizable Fortune 500 companies, and also advises political campaigns and parties on electoral strategy, in both the public and private sectors in Canada, Europe, and the United States.

Her areas of specialty: are green environmental initiatives, alternative energy and health related initiatives and she is often referred to as a ‘wind guru’.

In 1997 she implemented the first urban turbine in North America (erected in downtown Toronto in 2002), the first community-owned power wind project in Ontario, and she has been involved in similar projects worldwide ever since — implemented recycling programs globally and lobbying for environmental issues to help frame public policy.



What Yoga Can Do For You

By Mike Valenti

Babies are born yogis. Once we were all able to pull our toes up by our ears and laugh about it. Then we aged, got injured, and began carrying stress in our shoulders and back.

In short, we lost our balance.

Yoga is an ancient practice that helps create a sense of union in body, mind, and spirit. It brings us balance.  Once you begin practicing yoga, it will become a part of your physical, mental and spiritual life.

 

Yoga becomes part of your physical life. Your body grows stronger, more toned, and more flexible as you move from one asana-or pose-to the other. “Rather than building muscle, yoga builds muscle tone.  Because yoga helps maintain a balanced metabolism, it also helps to regulate weight. Additionally, yoga stretches muscles lengthwise, causing fat to be eliminated around the cells, thus reducing cellulite.

You may do yoga poses throughout the day, perhaps after hours at your computer in order to stretch your stiff shoulders and arms. When you need a boost of energy, do energizing poses. When you are feeling exhausted at the end of the day, do restorative poses.

The physical benefits: Creates a toned, flexible, and strong body. Improves respiration, energy, and vitality. Helps to maintain a balanced metabolism. Promotes cardio and circulatory health. Relieves pain. Helps you look and feel younger than your age. Improves your athletic performance.

Yoga becomes part of your mental life. Yoga teaches you to focus on breathing while you hold the poses. This attention to breath is calming; it dissolves stress and anxiety. Use yogic breathing on the tennis courts, in the dentist’s chair, or when you are stuck in traffic.

You should always leave a yoga practice feeling energized, not tired. If you feel tired after yoga, it means you spent the time “fighting” yourself, trying to force yourself into poses. In yoga, you “surrender” to the pose by letting go of the tension.

The mental benefits: Helps you relax and handle stressful situations more easily. Teaches you how to quiet the mind so you can focus your energy where you want it to go – into a difficult yoga pose, on the tennis court or golf course, or in the office. Encourages positive thoughts and self-acceptance.

Yoga becomes part of your spiritual life. Yoga is practiced by people from all religions; it is nondenominational. Yoga teaches “right” living in how we deal with ourselves and others. As you work on a difficult pose, learn patience, forgiveness, and the value of gentleness. Yoga advocates proper eating, but you don’t have to be a vegetarian to practice yoga.

The spiritual benefits: Builds awareness of your body, your feelings, the world around you, the needs of others. Promotes an interdependence between mind, body, and spirit. Helps you live the concept of “oneness.”

There have been some medical studies on the positive effects of yoga. And a growing number of doctors are following the lead of some progressive cardiologist and incorporating yoga into their patient recovery programs.

But for the most part, the evidence of the benefits of yoga is anecdotal. They range from the simple “I can touch my toes again” to “it helped me handle my disease.”

Anyone can do yoga, no matter how young or old you are, whether you’re a couch potato or a professional athlete. Size and fitness level do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose. The idea is to explore your limits, not strive for some pretzel-like perfection.

Start by going to a yoga class. Look for a teacher who challenges you but does not push, who offers modifications, and who works one-on-one with students. Wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move. Use a yoga mat for cushioning and to keep from slipping. If there is no yoga studio in your town, practice with a video and read books. Just remember one thing: “No pain, no gain” is NOT the yoga way. If it hurts, stop. Patience and feeling good about yourself and your world is the way of the yogi.



Choosing Natural Products and Supplements

By Mike Valenti 

Choosing Natural Products

Choosing Natural Products

Here at EnviroCitizen.org we are committed to educating and informing people about natural products.  We are also committed to making a robust selection of natural products available in our online superstore.  How to choose natural products and natural supplements has as much to do with what to look for as well as what to avoid.  We hope this is helpful as you carefully read the labels of the personal products you choose for yourself and your family.

The way we look is a direct result of what we put into our bodies. The food we eat and the beauty products we use greatly affect our outward appearance. Unfortunately, it is a fact that like our food supply most of our beauty products are full of toxins, preservatives, and even poisons. These are put in our beauty products in order to give them a longer shelf life and thus give the companies that manufacture and distribute them more profits. In order to be a healthy consumer, we must make conscious choices at the check-out counter by choosing natural and organic beauty products.

Don’t be fooled by advertising. Most of the beauty products you see on TV and in magazines are marketed to us to convince us that we need their product to look younger, sexier, and thinner. In fact these products actually age us because of all the poisons, toxins and preservatives in them! When we use these products on our hair, skin or nails we are putting these toxic substances directly into our bloodstream.

The cosmetics industry is amongst the least regulated industries under the jurisdiction of the FDA. This means that we have to be cautious and aware of the products we are using. Even some natural products contain hidden toxins and preservatives so it is important to read labels carefully. One way to avoid this is to purchase products that are organic. Your hair, skin, and body will be on their way to being beautiful and glowing the way nature intended!

Read Your Labels:
At EnviroCitizen we believe it is important to read the labels of the products you buy.  That is why we make every attempt to make all information available to you in our product descriptions.  If your shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wash, deodorant, make-up, shaving cream or lotions contain any of the ingredients below, avoid them or ditch them immediately:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Literally a poison that causes eye irritation, scalp irritation, and tangled hair.

Parabens: (methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl): These preservatives are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries that are linked to breast cancer. The E.P.A. has found that they interfere with your body’s endocrine system: your hypothalamus, your ovaries, and your thyroid

Propylene/Butylene Glycol: The main ingredient in antifreeze. Need more be said?

Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea: Preservatives used in cosmetics that release formaldehyde and cause dermatitis.

Synthetic Colors and Dyes: Cancer-causing toxins that often lead to skin allergies, and a whole host of other problems. Most dyes are not regulated by the government and may be linked to allergic reactions, skin rashes, hyperactivity and asthma.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids: Popular skin exfoliating acids which compromise the skins protective functions and possibly even alter the natural biorhythms of the skin with long term use.

Diethanolamine/Triethanolamine: Causes dryness of hair and skin, and when mixed with certain chemicals, becomes carcinogenic.

Give your Makeup A Makeover!
The lungs breathe, and so does the skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ. Toxins enter and exit our bodies through our skin. Lotions and powders may soften the skin temporarily, but they actually end up inhibiting the health of our skin by weighing it down and causing it to sag and age.

Anything we put on our skin is absorbed right into our body. This goes for our makeup too. You want to be sure your makeup is mineral-based and free of chemicals, preservatives and dyes. Chemicals in your makeup not only go directly into your bloodstream but also clog your pores and cause your skin to age prematurely.

Choose natural mineral-based makeup. Mineral-based makeup contains all natural elements from the earth broken down into tiny particles so it can be easily absorbed into our skin. These natural minerals contain skin-healing properties and give us that natural “glow.”

Spare Your Hair:
Typical hair shampoos and conditioners are full of toxic chemicals and preservatives. Using regular shampoos on your hair can be like using laundry detergent on your hair. And what happens when you use laundry detergent to wash your clothes? The fabrics break down and fall apart. Your hair is doing the same thing. These harsh detergents are stripping your hair, robbing your hair and it’s becoming finer, thinner and weaker. So it’s not you, it’s what you have been doing to your hair.

Again, read your labels. Buy only natural hair products and you can reclaim those lustrous locks!

Beautiful Supplements:
You can also add these great supplements to your diet to improve your beauty routine:

Antioxidants: Antioxidants have numerous health and beauty benefits including diminishing cellulite, increasing metabolism, and keeping your skin youthful and hair soft and vibrant. You can get antioxidants from antioxidant rich foods such as fruits and vegetables and liquids such as teas and juices.

Wheat Grass : Full of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients, wheat grass juice is a powerful body cleanser with incredible healing properties. Wheat grass can help with skin problems such as eczema and sun damage. The chlorophyll in wheat grass cleanses and rebuilds the bloodstream and combats toxins.

Spirulina: A blue-green algae with more protein than soy, more iron than beef and more vitamin A than carrots. Spirulina is the ultimate anti-aging food especially good for healthy eyes and strong vision because of its beta-carotene content.

Borage Oil: Also known as Evening Primrose Oil, Borage Oil restores moisture to dry/damaged skin. It can provide relief for chronic skin-care problems such as eczema or acne.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C boosts immunity, treats and prevents colds, protects your skin from free radicals, and aids in collagen production. Use organic face and body products with vitamin C for clear, more radiant skin.

Vitamin E: A natural antioxidant, Vitamin E protects the skin from environmental factors and benefits your cardiovascular system and prevents the breakdown of your body’s tissue.

Coenzyme Q10: A powerful supplement that fights free radicals and is anti-aging; Coenzyme Q10 stimulates tissue regeneration and reverses skin aging.

At EnviroCitizen, we hope that you will always remember that everything you put in or on your body affects you- inside and out. We hope this helps in making informed choices that will lead to a more vibrant, healthy life.



Which Way is the Wind Blowing in Ontario, Canada?

Elena Christopoulos - The Wind Guru

Elena Christopoulos - The Wind Guru

By Elena Christopoulos

 

On the 6th of October this year an election will be held in the province of Ontario and the ‘environment’ has become a hot button topic; with the focus on the Great Lakes Wind Turbines. 

The Premier of Ontario seems to be stuck in the blade of a turbine as he flip-flops on a ‘possible’ moratorium on the development of wind farms in the province of Ontario. This will also impact the United States, as there was a plan to look at the Great Lakes as a place to install wind farms to benefit both countries. 

Apparently, there is not ‘enough science’ to develop these wind farms and onshore wind turbines are causing health issues. As a scientist, environmentalist and a proud Torontonian who installed the first 90m high urban wind turbine in downtown Toronto, this disturbs me on many levels.  We have proven studies regarding sound emittance, radiation, bird migration and there is little to no evidence of any health issues caused by wind farms. 

In 2007, Mike Daulton, Director of Conservation Policy for the National Audubon Society, stated, “On balance, Audubon strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative energy source that reduces the threat of global warming. Each individual wind project, however, has a unique set of circumstances and should be evaluated on its own merits.” 

Wind turbines are one of the safest energy sources yet developed.  In comparison, there are tremendous files and research on polluting coal-fired plants and the deadly health related issues that they have caused for years. 

Oh less we not forget the hidden dangers of nuclear power plants. Why don’t we strengthen standards for the release of the carcinogen tritium from them? Tritium, found in nature in tiny amounts and a product of nuclear fusion, has been linked to cancer if ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin in large amounts. It now taints at least 27 of the United States 104 nuclear reactors — raising many concerns about how it is escaping from the aging nuclear plants. 

President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, called for “building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants.” His 2011 budget request to Congress called for $54 billion in additional loan guarantees for nuclear power. 

In the United States there are 104 nuclear reactors operating in 31 states that provide only 20 percent of their nation’s electricity. But they are responsible for 70 percent of the power from non-greenhouse gas producing sources, including wind, solar and hydroelectric dams. Many of the nuclear plants in Canada and the United Sates were built in the 1960s and 1970s and they are leaking tritium. 

I hope this piece causes you to think and engage in dialogues with your friends, family and co-workers. If you have any comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. Global warming is not a myth; there is the science to prove it indeed exists. I just hope that we continue to develop green energy technologies and implement them. Or will these ideas just be caught up in a political juggernaut and be blowing in the wind. 

Now to hear that wind turbines are possibly causing health issues is alarming as it is simply not true. If you live in the province of Ontario, Canada, I implore you to vote this year on October 6th and find out for yourself the accurate research about these ‘green energy’ turbines. 

This proud Canadian scientist is not so proud right now. We are smarter than this! Each vote does make a difference. Please use your voice and vote! I know I will be voting. 

________________________________________________________________________________ 

Elena Christopoulos is an environmental consultant based out of Los Angeles and Toronto. Ms.Christopoulos has advised some of North America’s most recognizable Fortune 500 companies, and also advises political campaigns and parties on electoral strategy, in both the public and private sectors in Canada, Europe, and the United States.  

Her areas of specialty: are green environmental initiatives, alternative energy and health related initiatives and she is often referred to as a ‘wind guru’. 

In 1997 she implemented the first urban turbine in North America (erected in downtown Toronto in 2002), the first community-owned power wind project in Ontario, and she has been involved in similar projects worldwide ever since — implemented recycling programs globally and lobbying for environmental issues to help frame public policy. 

This ‘wind guru’s’ latest achievement is erecting the first wind turbine on a community college campus in LA County.



How To Be Green With Natural Skin Care Products

Natural ProductsBy Mike Valenti

In today’s more environmentally-friendly world, people are becoming more aware of all the benefits they can get from natural skin care products. They will actively seek out green or eco-friendly products to use as part of their daily skin care routine. It isn’t surprising, then, that skin care products manufacturers are opening their eyes to the current wave of consumers who wish to buy green products, and labeling them as organic or natural, depending on the ingredients.

There are differences between organic and natural products, although the terms are often used interchangeably. Natural products for skin care have ingredients that come from nature and that have not been processed. This includes products with minerals, vitamins and fruits. Aloe Vera is also a natural product, but that doesn’t mean that Aloe Vera plants are grown in an organic way, and there may also be chemical or synthetic ingredients used.

Organic skin care products, on the other hand, were processed without the use of pesticides or chemicals during the growth of the plants used in their production. Chemical processing is also not utilized in organic products for skin care.

Natural skin care products are an excellent addition to a serious skin care regimen. Products made with natural or organic ingredients may not be used by people with allergies to the natural ingredients, but otherwise, products that are green are often healthier for you to use. You can test for allergies by applying just a small area of natural products to be sure you don’t have a reaction.

Botanical products are also used frequently in products for skin care. This category includes products with ingredients that were derived from trees or plants, like coconut and Aloe Vera.

Companies that manufacture green skin care products may use ingredients that are organic, natural or botanical. When they are marketing products for serious skin care, the greener companies will strive to use more organic or natural ingredients in their products, so that you will be using ingredients that are healthy for you, and so that their processing can be better for the environment.

Check for the most prominent ingredients, which will be listed first, so you can select products with natural ingredients near the top of the list on the packaging. In this way, you can choose natural products that will help your skin to stay healthy, made with processes that also help the health of the environment.

Natural products are well worth the time it takes to find them. These products should be safe for you and your children as well, and they should be made in a way that does the least harm to the environment. There are many chemicals in most skin care products, and your skin will thank you for selecting products that use natural products instead of chemicals.