Tag Archives: localism

Stop Buying Water for Your Shower

We all know that bottled water is bad.  It’s usually just tap water put into plastic bottles and dropped off in pallets at our local grocery store.  You end up paying dollars for something that costs cents when it comes out of the faucet in your home.  Add in the plastic waste and you get a bad environmental actor that no one wants to defend.

But what about your shampoo and shower gel?  Look at the first ingredient.  I am betting dollars to donuts that the first ingredient listed is water.  How much water?  Seventy to eighty percent depending upon the formulation. [1]  Shower gel is in the same boat and considering its rise to prominence over bar soap I am guessing that most people have multiple bottles of what is mostly water in their showers. [2]

Every one of those bottles of shampoo and shower gel are just a step up from buying bottled water.  I have always been a bar soap guy finding the entire loofah and shower gel combo unsatisfying on a number of fronts.  Foremost among those is what wondering what is lurking in the folds of that loofah that do not get clean.  Sorry for that image, folks.

Bar soap is the easy answer to shower gel.  Hell, it’s also one of the easiest things to get from a local provider because almost every farmers market I have been to over the past decade has a soapmaker or two.  Or you could get the soap that I like the bestPacha’s Dirty Hippie.

The shampoo angle seems a little harder until you do a little digging.  I would not have thought twice about it until a friend re-gifted me a Lush Seanik shampoo bar.   All I could remember thinking was why I did not come across this concept sooner.  Now, I do not care to afford Lush’s products although I do love their ingredients and social bent.  Once the Seanik bar ran out I bought some J.R. Liggett Old Fashioned shampoo bars and I am working through them currently.

Bar soap and shampoo bars come with none of the packaged plastic waste that comes from shower gel and liquid shampoo.  If we really want to make a change in the way we consume things we really need to examine the nature of the products that we buy and the packaging that those products come in.  A little paper wrapper seems like a much better solution than an empty plastic bottle.


  1. http://chemistscorner.com/how-shampoos-are-made/
  2. http://fortune.com/2016/08/25/bar-soap-declining-sales/

Friday Linkage 2/3/2017

Well, this week happened.  It was a week in which I found myself agreeing with Dick freaking Cheney.  The man better known as W’s Darth Vader actually came out against Trump’s horrible ban on refugees as “against everything we stand for and believe in.

Never mind the failure to actually limit immigration or entry into the United States from countries that have exported terror to the United States—yes, I am wondering why Saudi Arabia was left off the list and it could not have anything to do with Trump’s sons business dealings.  You remember that Eric and Don Jr. are running the empire now, right?

On to the links…

This Map Might Make You Think Twice About Trump’s Immigration Ban—I wonder why Donald Trump and Steve Bannon did not include Saudi Arabia—home to almost all of the 9/11 terrorists—on their list of countries?  Oh right, conflicts of interest:


Republican Bill to Privatize Public Lands is Yanked after Outcry—Your voices matter.  When a snake oil salesman like Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is forced to back down amid public outcry, you know something is working in this messed up world.  Keep up the heat and make sure that every member of Congress knows that we are watching.

‘It’s A Big One’: Iowa Pipeline Leaks—The number of gallons of diesel fuel leaked is being debated.  Of course the oil company says it is fewer than reported, but who really believes them?  Remember this every time someone says that oil pipelines are so safe.

US Coal Industry Will Continue Historic Decline Through 2017—In spite of Donald Trump’s rhetoric coal will continue to fall out of favor in the U.S.  It is called a death spiral for a reason.

The Great Energy Disruption—When you go back and look at these projections, as the author points out, many of the assumptions driving the models are wrong…to the better.  Renewable energy generation has gotten cheaper, faster.  Energy storage has gotten cheaper, faster.  The beat goes on.

Who Installs More Solar Power? Republicans and Democrats are Pretty Much Tied.—Must not be any of the Republicans elected to Congress.  Those guys hate solar.

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt May Be The Start Of The Everyday Electric Revolution—This is why the Chevy Bolt may be the true winner of the electric vehicle war to come…it’s kind of boring, in an everyday get my stuff done kind of way.

The Next EV Revolution: Think Trucks and Buses—If you are looking to get some serious savings in terms of oil consumed in the transportation sector look to heavy duty commercial vehicles.  This quote from the article encapsulates the opportunity perfectly: While medium and heavy trucks account for only 4% of America’s 250+ million vehicles, they represent 26% of American fuel use and 29% of vehicle CO2 emissions.

Chart of the Month: Driven by Tesla, Battery Prices Cut in Half since 2014—Think about that for a moment—battery costs have been cut in half in approximately three years.  This is before the Gigafactory and mainstream EVs really hit the market bringing some true economies of scale to bear:

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Going Local: The Solution-Multiplier—In the age of Trump local matter more than ever.

Diageo Opening Guinness Brewery in US—With all the great craft beer in America, do we really need Guinness to open up a destination brewery?  I have had their rye pale ale and it does not belong on the shelf with a hundred other great American beers.

Nation’s Bacon Reserves hit 50-year Low as Prices Rise—In case your week was not crappy enough there may not be enough sweet, savory, delicious bacon to salve our wounded souls in the era of Trump.  WTF?

Friday Linkage 1/6/2012

The Iowa caucuses are now over.  Thank god–though not in the way that Rick Perry thanks god because those ads are just too funny.  Now I can open my paper and not see an ad for Mitt Romney.  Now I can turn on my television and not see an ad attacking Newt Gingrich, though none of it was paid for by Mitt Romney.  It was just an organization staffed by former Romney associates and paid for by Romney supporters.  I never thought I could actually feel bad for Newt.  Now I can answer my phone without fear of a robocall.  Finally, I can finally stop worrying about someone Googling “santorum” at work.  Whew!

One thing that tires me about the caucuses and the coverage of the event is the generalities that commentators paint Iowa with.  60% of Republican caucus goers were evangelical Christians. Listen to the most of the pundits and you would think that 60% of Iowans were evangelical Christian.  No, 60% of the 122,000 people who attended the Republican caucus were evangelical Christians.  At least the pundits were not as bad as this jackass.

Top 10 Anti-Environmental Things Congress did in 2011–As if we needed a reminder of how lame our elected government can be and the near victory of Rick Santorum proves this out.

The Rhetoric of Fossil Fuel Independence is Dead–The U.S. is now a net exporter of refined fuel products.  We are part of the global system whether twits like Palin or Boehner want to believe.  Ironically, renewables allow the U.S. to actually be energy independent.  Thank god–not in the way Santorum thanks god–I do not have to hear “Drill baby drill” anymore.  It did not make sense four years ago and it makes no sense now.

EPA Regulations will Create More Jobs than Keystone XL Pipeline–As if the claims about the Keystone XL pipeline’s job creation ability were not overblown enough, it looks like the “job killing” regulations to restore the Chesapeake Bay may actually create jobs.  Of course, this is like listening to people receiving government salaries from government jobs telling people that the government cannot create jobs.

Republicans Don’t Want to Talk About Infrastructure–Just like they will not admit that the government can be effective at creating jobs, Republicans are adhering to a policy of not talking about spending money on infrastructure which is something that only the government is effective at accomplishing.  Clowns.

Difference Between Resilient and Sustainable–Okay, using a zombie apocalypse is probably not the standard fare for describing the difference between sustainable and resilient but it works.  We need to make sure our systems are both resilient and sustainable.  The best systems are paragons of both concepts and the only path forward that makes sense.

Greasy to Gourmet–The parade of stories about schools improving lunch programs is encouraging.  It is also one of those moments that I have at the grocery store all the time.  Go into the grocery store and get excited about the produce and the organic section and what not.  Next, go to the aisle with Hamburger Helper and realize how much of that crap is still on the shelf and how many people are buying it.  Ugh!

Walmart is Taking over Our Food System–As if the Hamburger Helper scenario is bad enough, just start thinking about the impact that Walmart has on our food system.  Aside from the macro level problems associated with so much control exerted by so few entities, really pay attention to the value that Walmart puts on an excellent produce section.  Compare that to my local full service grocery store–in this case Hy-Vee–that has people dedicated to produce and the same people work in those jobs for years.

Another Reason to Eat Locally–As if the thought of Walmart taking over the food system does not make you shudder enough, the spectre of big organic should as well.  Just because it is organic does not mean it is good.  You can produce organic milk in a feedlot and you can have an organic industrial tomato.  It’s just a label that specifies a certain number of practices, it does not represent an equitable regime.

Slab City–I remember reading about this place in John Krakauer’s Into the Wild about Christopher McCandless.  The place always seemed like a weird nowhere out there in the wide open space of the American southwest.  The desert does weird things to your mind.

Salvage Creativity–I wish I could be as creative as some people are with salvaged materials.  I am never able to see a pile of old door knobs and say, “Wouldn’t those make a great surface for a patio?”  Wait a second, that sounds like a Portlandia skit.

Friday Linkage 9/2/2011

September is upon us and I have been preoccupied spending the last few days of summer consumed with making my own beer.  Oh well, to each his or her own.  The first carboy of beer is fermenting nicely in the basement as evidenced by the consistent stream of bubbles coming out of the fermentation lock and the kräusen is looking good.  I have put in an order for some more ingredients so that I can start to develop a signature style of beer.  On to the links…

Local Food Movement is Rooted in Globalization—Very interesting article on the origins of the foods that we consider to be local.  We, as humans, impact our environment to an unimaginable degree.

The Triumph of Jamie Oliver’s Nemesis—I firmly believe that what Jamie Oliver is trying to do with regard to school lunches is one of the most admirable endeavors undertaken by a celebrity in recent memory.  Too bad more people do not see the simple wisdom of feeding kids better food in the one environment that can be controlled.

LAUSD Hopes Kids will Actually Like Healthier Food—Maybe the message of the most recent season of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution sunk in at the LAUSD.

Beavers are in Hot Demand—Not in the way that you might think if you are based in Nevada, but beavers are in high demand because the little animals are one of nature’s best engineers.  After eradicating the furry friends ranchers are finally realizing that the landscape benefits and humans cannot replicate thousands of years of evolution.  Imagine that.

Early Sign of the End of Bt Corn—It looks like the indiscriminate use of gene splicing to produce pest and herbicide resistant crops has actually now led to the creation of super pests and super weeds.  Then consider that the same thing is happening with antibiotics.  All so that we can eat more corn and soybean based products or raise animals in CAFOs.  Good choice.

Peer-to-Peer Pioneer Sees Bicycles Pier-to-Pier—Mark Gorton, known for his involvement with Limewire, has a vision of transportation and the automobile is not the central component.  It’s transportation on the human scale.