The Global Energy Crisis Is A Slippery Slope

You’ve probably heard it before: the world is heading toward an unprecedented economic and energy crisis. You’ve seen it in documentaries such as “An Inconvenient Truth,”  and the latest global warming/impending energy catastrophe commentary by Leonardo DiCaprio, “Before the Flood.”

Documentaries such as these aim to highlight the environmental issue of global warming. Aside from the certain obvious factors contributing to the global warming debate, the rapidly deteriorating state of the U.S. energy grid, coupled with our and rest of the world’s dependency on natural gas and fossil fuels, are other intricate and inseparable contributing factors to global warming that extend beyond the dilemma of the Earth getting warmer. 

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Both political and financial constituents are factors at play when considering the implications of continuing reliance on government supplied energy sources, nationally and internationally. The state of the world’s energy systems are in disrepair to say the least; the United States in particular, is vulnerable to a rapidly deteriorating energy grid. Furthermore, volatile relations between foreign nations that are politically unstable continuously threaten harmonious relationships between energy dependent countries. 

The United State’s Energy Grid is in DisRepair & Requires Millions in Repair

The United State’s energy grid was first constructed back in 1882, and despite the significant growth in the amount of power distributed to American citizens throughout the years, the grid’s basic structure remains virtually unchanged and has never been updated. The energy grid is comprised of a diverse network of power plants and transmission lines that carry high voltage electricity to substations, which then converts the electricity to lower voltage energy, which is then distributed to neighboring homes and businesses. This, in a nutshell, is how we receive electricity.

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According to the International Business Times, the United States’ power grid is responsible for more blackouts in the US than there are throughout the rest of the world. Many of these outages are due to weather related incidents. Every time the grid fails, 

“Each one of these [blackouts] costs tens of hundreds of millions, up to billions, of dollars in economic losses per event,” said Massoud Amin, director of the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota.

The reason why this is such a big problem stems from the fact that the power grid has never been updated, and a detailed plan to update and modernize the grid still remains to be seen. Whenever a major storm strikes the U.S., the power grid is vulnerable to its forces, facing further damage to an already worn infrastructure. Inevitably, American taxpayers are the ones who are then left without power and water for unknown and even extensive periods of time. It is also the people who are responsible for subsidizing the grid’s failures.


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The State of Our Energy Grid is Only the Tip of the Iceberg:

Global reliance on fossil fuels and crude oils to generate electricity has long been a subject of debate among environmentalists. Now more than ever, the global warming dilemma has become increasingly pushed to the forefront of world-wide debate and concern.

Dependence on foreign countries who are politically unstable or whose relationships could crumble at any moment leaves the receiving country vulnerable to cyber attacks, terrorist attacks, and an indefinite halt of electricity and water resulting from any such scenario. These are just a few of the many potential precarious consequences of depending on foreign sources of energy. 


The Installation of Smart Meters: Cause For Concern

In an attempt to offset the inevitable failings of the US power grid by helping people better monitor their energy use, energy companies in recent years have began installing “smart meters” in nearly 70 million homes and businesses. Smart meters are devices that monitor a home’s use of energy by the hour, and allow for a two-way communication between the electric company and the residence in order to observe how much energy is being generated on at least an hourly basis. However, despite it’s “innovative” technology, smart meters haven’t done anything to reduce the cost of energy bills for Americans. 

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Additionally, the installation of smart meters have presented another problem: links to potentially serious health problems. Smart meters operate on the same system as microwaves and cell phones: by EMF, electromotive force, or electromagnetic field. The result of EMF’s are electromagnetic radiation, which is the energy projected from EMFs. The problem with EMF’s is the higher the frequency, the higher the risk for adverse health effects. Every person’s body operates with its own kind of electromagnetic frequency, and when the body is exposed to high frequency, artificial forms of EMFs, it can cause a wide range of effects ranging from sleep disruption, to compromised immune systems, endocrine disorders, and even cancer. Furthermore, smart meters still do not address the fact that the power grid needs an over $170 billion dollar upgrade by 2025 still remains in effect. Meanwhile, the electric bills continue to increase.


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Energy in Europe & Australia:

As a whole, the European Union (EU) is similarly back-to-the-wall when it comes to its energy acquisition through foreign non-renewable energy sources. Despite the Paris conference that declared Europe would make significant advances to the implantation of renewables, the EU still relies on over half of its energy stemming from non-EU member countries which import a variety of energy; including fossil fuels, crude oil, and natural gas. The past decade alone has seen over a 10% increase in the EU’s dependency on energy imports, as compared to the 1980’s, where it was only 40%. 

European countries like Germany, Portugal, Sweden, and Norway have taken the initiative to gradually phase in renewables like solar and wind, with each country having a specific target for the percentage of renewables the country utilizes by 2020. It may appear like Germany has a sophisticated hold on renewable energy, but it’s turning out that its carbon emissions are still rising. Germany’s remaining nuclear plants are required to continue running in order to account for the variables of solar and wind, thus producing a costly overabundance of energy.

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Surprisingly, another country esteemed to be at the forefront of renewables, Australia, has, 

“.. the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent and consequently some of the best solar energy resource in the world. The regions with the highest solar radiation are the desert regions in the northwest and centre of the continent,” according to the Australian government.

Despite their desirable affinity for solar power, Australia only derives 2.4% of their energy from PV (photovoltaic,) solar power. However, Australia has plans to triple its large-scale solar production with a nearly $1 billion investment in constructing 12 new solar plants. In the meantime, Australia and Germany’s electric bills remain steadily elevated while the countries attempt to balance the current integration of solar and wind energy with fossil fuels. 


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Solar Energy in the U.S.

According to GTM Research, the market analysis division of the energy news site Greentech Media, solar energy usage has increased significantly since 2010, with over 1 million homes and businesses across the United States now using solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to produce their own energy. In 2015, 7% of the U.S.’s energy came from renewables, and a new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that close to 40% of our energy could potentially be derived from solar energy alone. Despite these increases in solar energy usage, electric bills still remain high in the U.S. According to WalletWeb, 

“[In 2016] energy costs eat between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income, with the poorest Americans, or 25 million households, paying the highest of that range.”


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The Takeaway:


The demand for renewables across the board is blatantly apparent, if not incredibly necessary for the global economy to progress. However, even for individual countries poised to take the renewable energy market by storm,  the transition period still proves shaky while the world is caught amidst the juggle between current balance/reliance on foreign nations and fossil fuels, aging power grids and infrastructure investments, coupled with the costly undertaking of integrating renewables into the picture. 

The question that remains to be seen is at what cost do we wait and see before life as we know it proves us to be much more vulnerable than we think.


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30 Eco-Chic Etsy Holiday Gifts Everyone Will Adore

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. You can read our full Affiliate Disclosure here.

Every holiday season, most people clamor for the latest electronic trend: a brand new phone, a larger and “more hi-def” tv, the latest Google product release.

These gadgets certainly are exciting to give and to receive, but we challenge you to think on a smaller scale; get more personal. With more and more world-wide attention being focused on eco-friendly sources of energy, power, and other alternatives to our every day lives, the biggest changes usually have the smallest of beginnings. Whether you are already eco-conscious in most of your day to day choices, or you just dutifully recycle your water bottles, it doesn’t take as much effort to be green and on trend as you may initially think.

While technology has afforded us so many cool gadgets today that our parents and grandparents couldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams, it has also afforded us the luxury of not even having to leave our own homes to shop. Online shopping provides not only convenience to our hectic, daily lives, but it can, on the flip side, also provide an earth-friendlier solution to inevitable commercialism madness.


Shopping online is eco-friendly in several ways:

  • It means you aren’t producing excess fossil fuel by rushing about in your car from store to store,
  • You avoid wasting plastic and paper shopping bags,
  • You do not have to purchase wrapping paper, unless you choose to have your gifts shipped to you for wrapping, which would result in more waste than if you have it shipped directly to your far-away friends and family.
  • You can find a much wider selection of eco-friendly presents online than you could by shopping in your local malls and stores, (ENTER: Etsy.)

Etsy is like the world’s market place of underground, eco-friendly, small business owners. Literally. The site is teeming with earth conscious creatives who want to share their passions with the world! Want to know just how simple it is to find eco-friendly goodies on Etsy? Simply type in “eco-friendly..” and a variety of search suggestions pop up, including ‘eco-friendly gifts,’ ‘eco-friendly jewelry,’ and eco-friendly engagement ring.’ (And isn’t it the perfect time of year for engagements?)

Since we at Primal Kidz Mag were absolutely gaga over the idea of not only supporting small business owners, but the environment as well,  our editors teamed up to find the best and coolest eco-friendly Etsy gifts this holiday season. These Primal Kidz curated Etsy products are perfect for nearly anyone on your list; they are affordable, trendy, and best of all, they are earth-friendly and made by real people who are just as conscious about their products and the environment as well!


For Babies & Toddlers:


1.) Vegan & Soy Free Personalized Name Crayons

 eco-friendly name crayons Etsy

These adorable crayons are made by The Little Tree Shop, an eco-conscious shop in California that specializes in cute crayon shapes, including these personalized name crayons! Most crayon companies, (including the few ‘green’ ones), use a combination  of GMO soy wax and paraffin, the latter of which is a byproduct of petroleum! Even many of the beeswax crayons on the market only use a small percentage of beeswax, while the rest is paraffin. Little Tree crayons, however, only use candelilla wax, and do not use soy, paraffin, or even beeswax, making these crayons eco-friendly and vegan! There are several other crayon designs, and multiple colors to choose from. All crayons come in a cute box or tin! Coupon code PRIMALKIDZ gets you 10% off!


2.) A Montessori Inspired Wooden Puzzle

montessori wooden leaf toy puzzle eco-friendly wooden toy

Montessori toys are wonderful because they encourage children’s natural play tendencies to explore and learn. They function on the idea that simplicity is best, and leave the blinking lights and obnoxious, loud sounds at the door. This Montessori-inspired wooden leaf toy is hand made by Tinocchio Toys in Israel, and can be shipped worldwide. It is made from pure wood and the paint that is used is lead free with a water-based coating!  The leaf puzzle can be assembled in a variety of ways, allowing for different levels of difficulty and related skill. Coupon code PRIMALKIDZ gets you 15% off at checkout!


3.) Organic Toddler Nap Mat

eco friendly organic toddler nap mat

Is your child in daycare or preschool? Nap mats used in most day care centers and preschools are made with yucky, plastic chemicals like PVC that are harmful to health and can cause a wide range of health concerns. Instead, spring for one of these organic nap mats by Organic Designs Co. They are handmade in the United States with 100% pure organic materials, both inside and out. The nap mat is perfect for children under 6 years old, and can be used for sleepovers too! This particular design is a limited edition one, and there are several other cute designs to choose from. Each nap mat comes with an attached organic fleece blanket and a detachable organic pillow! Coupon code PRIMALKIDZ gets you $10 off all organic nap mats if you order by December 31st! 


4.) Monkey Farts Whipped Body Butter


monkey farts organic body butter

Before you get all, ‘I don’t want my kid to smell like a monkey fart,’ this all natural body butter does NOT smell like actual monkey farts! In fact, Monkey Farts Body Butter by The Organic Body Boutique smells like a monkey’s tropical oasis, which we are assuming would include lots of ripe bananas, coconut, and other tropical fruits like oranges, kiwis, and grapefruit. You don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals coming into contact with your child’s skin either; this body butter is only made with shea butter, vitamin e, tapioca starch, and essential oils. If your child is prone to dry, cracked skin or deals with eczema and other skin conditions, this body butter will help to heal and soften their precious child skin!


5.) Monogrammed Organic Kid’s Bathrobe

monogrammed organic bath robe towel

Personalized gifts are always special to receive because they feel, well, more personal! Kids especially love to have things with their names on them! These cute bathrobe towels by Organic Towel are made out of 100% organic certified materials; the inside is made of terry and the outside is velour. There are several gorgeous colors to choose from, as well as tons of stylized fonts! These robes also ship super quick, they can be expedited in two days! 


6.) DIY Fairy Garden Set

doiy faery garden set

Get back to nature with this DIY Super-Sized Fairy Garden Kit by Moss House Miniatures. Big or small, your kids will absolutely love putting together their own Fairy garden with this all inclusive DIY kit that comes with everything you need to build a deluxe fairy garden. This is a gift that keeps on giving, because you get to spend time making the garden with your kids, and it can be reassembled again and again! Your kids will love placing the garden in different areas of the house, by windows, and even outside on your porch. Moss House Miniatures also has all kinds of miniatures available to make your faery gardens come alive! Coupon code PRIMALKIDZ gets you 10% off the Super-Sized Fairy Garden Kit!


7.) DIY Terrarium Set

diy terrarium set for kids

If fairy gardens won’t make your child leap for joy, this DIY terrarium set just might! Perfect for the active, outdoorsy and nature loving child, this Mod Moss Terrarium kit by the Terrarium Supply Co is a neat and inexpensive gift that will engage your child in building a deeper appreciation and love for nature. Plus, kids love to build things! This complete kit includes everything you need to build a Moss terrarium, and they have lots of other terrariums to choose from as well! Coupon code 20PRIMALKIDZ gets your 20% off at the Terrarium Supply Co!


For A Teen, Twenty-Something, Or Bestie:


8.) Henna Coffee Mug

ceramic henna coffee mug

Chances are,  you know someone who is a coffee lover and who also appreciates art, and this Hand Painted Henna Mug by Filomena Mehendi will be right up his or her ally. Made of pure ceramic stoneware, these coffee mugs come in several sizes and various designs, all of which are painted carefully by hand with henna, an eco-friendly dye. The earthy colors and hand painted henna designs will certainly appeal to hipsters, teens, and latte lovin’ young adults alike. These unique coffee mugs ship worldwide from Portugal.


9.) Organic Deep & Dope Tank

organic tank top deep and dope grunge organic tank

If your teen isn’t all peace, love, and henna, not to worry, because this gift guide isn’t just for the crunchy granola ones. This Organic Deep & Dope Tank by Organic Punk is proof that being eco-conscious doesn’t mean you have to conform to anyone’s perceived ideals on being a sustainable thought leader. Organic Punk is best described as a mind/body immersion of rock and skater punk with a vegan/crunchy fusion. This cotton polyester blend tank is made with eco-friendly, vegan ink and is handmade in California. 


10.) Organic Bee Venom Lip Boosters

organic bee venom lip plumper

For the ultra diva in your life, these Organic Bee Venom Lip Plump Boosters by Urban Eco Beauty are the secret, VIP organic version of Urban Decay, before Urban Decay was Urban Decay. These lip plumping glosses are completely filler free and Paleo friendly, and are all made with organic and natural, nourishing ingredients. Organic New Zealand bee venom is the active ingredient in these naturally plumping glosses. Bee venom is nature’s equivalent to botox! Manuka honey, bee pollen, and beeswax are also stimulating ingredients in these glosses, while organic oils and vitamins nourish your lips. Choose your color or buy all five! Coupon code PRIMALKIDZ10 gets you 10% off at Urban Eco Beauty!


12.) Rose Quartz Necklace 

eco friendly rose quartz necklace of protection and love

Rose quartz is a stone that goes back in ancient history as a stone of beautification, protection, and love. Rose quartz is known to govern the heart chakra, its pink color serving as a resemblance of the love and balance that the stone attracts. From self love, to platonic or romantic relationships, rose quartz has been known to protect against negative energy and to promote only love, manifested in all kinds of relationships. This Rose Quartz Necklace by Organic Olivia is a wonderful gift to give to fashion conscious teens or young women. Its  simple, pale pink gem pairs perfectly with many outfits and will be sure to bring positive, loving energy her way!


13.) Rose Gold Leather Bracelet


rose gold leather birthstone bracelet

Wrap leather bracelets are a trendy jewelry style for almost any age, but is especially popular among older teens and twenty-somethings. These customized leather wrap bracelets are plated with rose gold and contain a Swarovski birthstone crystal, of which you can specify for your personal order. The leather band can be customized to nearly any color you like as well. CozyDetailz make these bracelets by hand in Portugal and ships them world wide. 


14.) Natural Purple Clay Face Mask

natural purple clay face mask

Purple clay is not a clay you often see in the United States! This Natural Purple Clay Mask by Herbana Cosmetics will give your beauty guru bestie goosebumps when she sees her face smeared in neon purple clay. This mask is not artificially colored though; it’s sourced from Greece and uses natural violet clay and purple clay, along with aloe vera and natural essential oils, to purify and rejuvenate sensitive skin. Purple clays are rich in silica and magnesium, both of which are important ingredients in building collagen and firming skin. 


For Your Girlfriend Or Wife:


15.) Spank My Booty Scrub 


While your girl may love getting kitchen supplies or cute lingerie every Christmas, this holiday season get her something that’s solely for her! Spank My Booty Grapefruity Sugar Scrub by Dirty Girl Body Beauty is full of ingredients that will naturally brighten dull, winter skin. The scrub is handmade with organic cane sugar, almond oil, jojoba oils, essential oils and natural gel food color. Its sweet citrusy scent will invigorate and relax for a truly pleasurable spa-at-home experience. 


16.) Vegan Leather Bag

eco friendly vegan leather purse

If you can’t afford to take your woman to Europe this holiday season, buy her a bag from Europe! This Vegan Leather Bag is an extremely unique and extraordinary gift. It is a portable painting; hand-painted by designer Velibardo in Bulgaria. While it resembles something Pucci or Gucci might create, you will not believe how extremely affordable this bag is! Not to mention it is a one-of-a-kind European piece!


17.) Black Obsidian Bracelet

eco friendly black obsidian bracelet

This Black Obsidian Bracelet by Living Earth Jewelry is a natural, negative energy absorbing stone. Even if your girl doesn’t believe in the healing capabilities of stones or gems, the bracelet is a fashionable statement piece that will pair well with any outfit. It’s casual but elegant, simple yet high style. If it helps ward off a couple of arguments between two lovers or friends, then that’s just a bonus! Each order comes with personalized crystals picked out by intuition as a free gift!


18.) Square Pendant Necklace

eco friendly square pendant necklace

These Square Pendant Necklaces are truly an eco-friendly and sustainable gift for your special lady. Handmade in Pennsylvania, these necklaces are crafted out of tree branches from the designer’s backyard wood, and are then finished with a resin gloss. Custom orders are also welcomed at Starlight Woods jewelry. 


19.) Old Mine Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

eco friendly diamond engagement ring

Old mine cut diamonds are extremely rare finds in the jewelry world. Old mine cut diamonds are also the closest you will probably get to a raw, untouched diamond; furthermore they are recycled diamonds, rather than newly mined ones, so they are considered eco-friendly. Altana Marie is an internet diamond store based out of California that specializes in sourcing eco-friendly, old mine cut diamonds. They can work with you on custom orders and help you find the perfect ring! Their prices are also extremely reasonable and comparable to any traditional diamond store, except with Altana Marie you get a much more personal, customizable, and eco-friendly experience!



For The Man (or Men) In Your Life:


20.) Organic Vanilla Beard Balm 

organic vanilla beard balm for men

Does your man rock a beard? If so, you know he is dead serious about his locks. This holiday season, do him a favor and help him eliminate harmful chemicals from at least one source in his life: his hair products. Organic Warm Vanilla Beard Balm by Nature’s Skin Nutrition is one of those really cool, rare finds that looks and smells like a brand name product, but sans the gross chemicals. Nature’s Skin Nutrition products are all made with organic and natural oils and essential oils that are healthy to skin, and not irritating like mainstream men’s products are. Nature’s Skin Nutrition also makes a ton of organic versions of popular mainstream brands like Polo, as well as a ton of original scents. Everything is handmade in Oregon and custom orders are available too! Coupon code PRIMALKIDZ saves you 15% through February 1, 2017!


22.) Obsidian Dice


Black obsidian is a stone that has been known to stimulate the release of negative energy. If your man is a lover of anything involving games or a casino, a little dose of luck might be the best thing he gets this Christmas! These two pure, Black Obsidian Dice by Organic Punk come in a black vegan leather pouch, and protection of negative energy invading your zone. 


23.) Apple Bourbon Candle

apple bourbon soy vegan candle

Even if your man isn’t big on bourbon (or drinking for that matter,) he will absolutely love the smell of this Apple & Bourbon Soy Candle. The sweetness of vanilla, apples, maple, and bourbon are a tantalizing aroma that appeals to almost everyone. Organic Punk also has a ton of scents that you can almost smell through your computer; but better yet, all her candles are vegan and made with non GMO soy wax and natural essential oils. 


24.) Onyx Exchange Solid Colognes – Pick 3 

onyx exchange organic solid cologne pick 3

The Onyx Exchange is changing the way men do cologne. This all natural, chemical free version of men’s cologne combines easy functioning with the desired result in a non toxic way: smelling like a boss. Hand made by two men in Indiana, The Onyx Exchange utilizes the simplest and most effective natural ingredients like beeswax, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, and a variety of essential oils. This Pick 3 option is a perfect gift for any man. Can’t decide on your scents? Editor’s picks: Constantine, Sapphire (custom blend,) and Ember.


25.) Recycled Crown Royale Desk Clock

recycled clown royale desk clock

If you’re dating (or married to) a “man’s man” who loves his man cave, then look no further for a great, eco-friendly gift. This recycled Crown Royale Desk Clock is one of many clocks created by Etsy shop Ray Mel’s,  which were salvaged from empty hard liquor bottles and wine bottles and made anew into clocks! This clock is a really neat gift idea for the man who already has everything. If your man doesn’t like Crown Royal, no need to fret because there’s lots of vintage bottle clocks to choose from!


For Moms:


26.) Caprese Tomato & Basil Candle

caprese tomato and basil scented candle

Is your mama an Italian mama? Even if she doesn’t hail from the mother-land, it’s hard to resist the smell of vine-ripened tomatoes and sweet basil. Artificially scented candles can be bothersome to many, causing eye and nasal irritations because of the harsh chemicals utilized in traditional scented candles. This Caprese Tomato Leaf and Basil Candle by the Onyx Exchange is made of soy wax, is hand-poured,  and is naturally scented with essential oils.


27.) Organic Yoga Pants

organic yoga pants

With top name brands like LuLu Lemon and Lula Roe leggings leading the current Yoga-wear trend, why not give the mom in your life a trendy gift that is slightly more special and unique than the popular store bought ones that everyone else has? These Organic Yoga Leggings by Purusha People are 100% handmade in California out of 92% organic, US grown cotton and 8% spandex. These gorgeous organic yoga leggings are just one pair of the many mystical yoga leggings and yoga tops that Purusha People creates. Not only are their active wear hand sewn, but they are also hand dyed! Each pair is made with love, and they also do custom orders!


28.) Organic Spa Bath Gift Set

organic spa bath set

Every mom loves to be pampered, but most spas (even the pricey ones) use products that are filled with chemicals and toxic ingredients. If you’re not lucky enough to live near an organic, chemical free spa, why not give your mom this Organic Spa Gift Set by Deep Leaf Organics that she can enjoy from the comfort of her own home? This set is completely free of any and all chemicals, and is hand-made with organic, all natural and skin-loving, luxurious ingredients that will deliver a full spa experience. This set comes with a Flower bath tee with therapeutic bath salts, a cocoa butter and french pink clay bath bomb, a cocoa butter body moisturizer, and a soy hand-poured essential oil candle. If you purchase from the shop, mention Primal Kidz and get a coupon for your next purchase!


29.) Recycled Vodka & Wine Bottle Bangles

white vodka bottle bangles

For the mom who really enjoys her jewelry  these Recycled Vodka Bottle Bangles will delight her when she realizes how unique these bangles are. Dessin Creations specializes in making by hand bangles from recycled wine bottles, vodka bottles, and other glass alcoholic beverage bottles. Even if she is not over the moon about the idea of wearing used alcohol bottles, the gorgeous design and impeccable craftsmanship simply can’t be ignored. Dessin Creations also creates gorgeous bangles out of other kinds of bottles, including rare colors of glass that are reminiscent of sea glass. Coupon code PRIMALKIDZ15 gets you %15 off good through December, no minimum order!


30.) Pure Silk Hand Dyed Cochineal Scarf

pure silk scarf hand dyed and eco friendly

Truly a work of art, this Pure Silk Scarf was created by My Bird Song Designs with thoughtful precision and love over the course of a week. The scarf is imprinted with authentic botanical silhouettes harvested from the designer’s own backyard. The scarf is then hand dyed with eco-friendly dye that came from the Cochineal, an insect used for centuries as clothing and cosmetic dye.  My Bird Song Designs handcrafts other kinds of scarves as well, and each one is incredibly unique to the nature of hand dying.


 Want even more ideas for holiday gifts?

Check out Etsy’s Editor’s Picks Holiday Gift Guide for some serious gifting ideas!!

A Complete Green Halloween Guide For Crunchy Moms

This article was formatted for Primal Kidz Mag, was written by Larraine Roulston, and appeared on The Green-Mom blog in its original form.

This Halloween, be EEEKO friendly!

While the Halloween hype typically consists of treats and festivities adorned with orange and black, this year parents and “crunchy moms” alike can GO Green for Halloween simply and inexpensively with a few slick tricks.


Dressing up eco friendly costumes halloween

  • Costumes can become much more creative by looking in your closets for old clothes, hats or fabrics. A trip to a thrift store may also provide some good choices. Use older, recycled (fabric) costumes from siblings, family members, or friends.
  • Cheap costume jewelry should be avoided, such as painted pearls and trinkets, since they have been known to contain lead.
  • Face paints can be made naturally at home or you can use a more natural brand without lead, parabens, heavy metals, bismuth, and other artificial ingredients. Insead, use this all natural Halloween face paint recipe or use this brand free of those nasty chemicals.

Over the years Halloween masks have proven to be somewhat dangerous for vision, and so  face painting has become more popular, but unfortunately these traditional Halloween face paints have been found with scary stuff lurking in the ingredients. Increasing awareness about harmful chemicals found in everyday cosmetics and personal care products should cause us to step back from the merriment to inquire about this colorful “goop.” What’s more, when it is time to retire the little goblins, witches, rock stars and princesses to bed, all those chemicals get washed into our water supply, possibly affecting our drinking water and polluting the rivers, lakes and eventually the ocean.

Talk to your children about the risks of chemical exposure: informed youngsters will still embrace the mystery and fun of the night.

Halloween Parties Wreak Havoc On The Environment

green halloween party

Another frightening aspect of Halloween is “The Party” where billions of dollars are spent on cheap decorations, food in non-recyclable packaging and party supplies that generally end up in landfills. If you are hosting a party, take up the challenge: go for Zero Waste.

  • Decorate with nature by using branches and leaves.
  • Make paper decorations that can be either reused or recycled. The fresh aroma of homemade (Paleo!) brownies will set the tone as well.
  • Use china plates or recycled paper plates, napkins, and utensils.
  • Eliminate balloons, straws and other non-recylcable disposable cutlery.
  • Place recycling containers and pails around the house and outside to collect food and any paper products for composting.
  • Obtain a spooky ambiance by using beeswax candles and/or LED lights. Beeswax candles are a safer option that paraffin candles that are made from petroleum and burn less cleanly, and LED lights last as much as 133 times longer than incandescent bulbs and cost 80% less to use.

Halloween falls directly after Waste Reduction Week (October 20-26).

Halloween with all its activities provides a perfect opportunity to encourage children to practice the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). Incorporating some or all of the above tips above will help to ensure a less toxic and chemical free Halloween for not only your children but for the environment as well. A few more tips to reduce your carbon footprint this Halloween can include:

  • Placing your Jack O’Lantern in a corner of your yard will allow it to decompose slowly, providing an excellent example of home school Biology 101.
  • Opting for non-food treats like pencils, stickers, or word searches, and using treats that are wrapped using recycled content, such as cardboard boxes of raisins, which can be recycled again.
  • Selecting Fair Trade chocolate is another conscious decision that works to promote fairness for the international growers who work hard for a living.
  • Walking around your neighborhood, the traditional way, when trick or treating, rather than hopping in the car. 


larraine roulstonA mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children’s adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at Castle Compost.

Cancer Causing School Supplies – What You Need To Know, AND What You Can Do!

Note: This post was originally written and posted by Leah Segedie on

Now that the kids are ready go back to school, it’s time to answer this question: Is it possible to get the kids back to school without toxic chemicals in their school bags? Typical school supplies and gear often contain a mix of chemicals associated with cancers, birth defects and other medical and physical troubles for children.

The Problem: Toxins in Our School Products.

In 2012, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEF) issued a report about the danger of back to school supplies, stating that “seventy-five percent of children’s school supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates.” CHEJ reports that phthalates have been linked to asthma and birth defects and can be found in everything from lunch boxes and backpacks to binders and rain gear. Another source of phthalates is PVC found in vinyl and vinyl coatings – as well as many plastics, including cling wraps. This is also a carcinogen and has been linked to breast cancer.

Another toxin to avoid is plastic. BPA, which used to be frequently found in plastic products, is a known endocrine disruptor. However, according to Rodale News, the science journal Environmental Health Perspectives published a 2011 study showing that BPA-free can be just as much or even more of an endocrine disruptor than BPA plastics. In fact, the article makes a good case for the toxicity of all plastics. All of them either contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogens outright, can become toxic when mixed with products you may put inside, or leach toxic chemicals on their own.

And finally, while avoiding plastic, PVC’s and other toxins may sound like common sense, another unsafe product that schools often require in their school supply lists is hand sanitizer. Many popular brands contain triclosan, which is not only being studied for its role an endocrine disruptor, according to CNN, but a recent study linked it to breast cancer. Dr. Anna Bowen, a medical epidemiologist at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has stated that “triclosan-containing products don’t provide any disease protection beyond what you get from washing with soap and water.” While it certainly can be challenging for teachers to make sure their students wash their hands as much as they need, there are other options to make sure your child is safer. Hand sanitizers may also contain other toxins your child may be sensitive to such as triclocarban, alcohol, fragrances or dyes. In addition, using hand sanitizer may eliminate too much bacteria and that can aid in the rise of more resistant bacteria, exposing your child to harm.

How Can Parents Protect Their Kids from Toxic School Products?

It’s time to clean out all these products from our kids’ backpacks! While this is certainly a challenge, I’ve found it easiest to remove one item at a time. This will give you time to find alternatives that best fit your family. Here is a list of what to look out for and what you can do to ensure your child goes to school toxin-free:

Remove: Plastic sandwich wraps and tin foil
Replace with:

Remove: Toxic lunch bags
Replace with:

  • Recyclable paper bags. This is especially useful if you or your school practices a zero waste lunch policy. Just make sure the kids don’t throw out the bag but recycle it.
  • Fabric-made lunch bags made from organic cotton, hemp or wool.
  • Lunch bags free from PVC, BPA, and Phthalates – like these from Pack It.

Remove: Plastic and vinyl lunch containers and bottles
Replace with:

  • Stainless steel: These are usually an investment, but they will last a long time. For younger children, make sure they can open and close the locks. These are available in a variety of options: bento boxes, bottles, small containers, lunch packs and more.

Remove: PVC, vinyl and synthetic rubber rain boots, coats and gear
What you can do:

  • Again, avoid shiny gear and seek out PVC-free solutions, such as Puddle Gear, which makes PVC-free and phthalate-free rain gear.
  • Remember that if you are using waterproof nylon, it is neither biodegradable nor environmentally-friendly but you can recycle it for other children with proper care.
  • Buy natural rubber rain boots.

Remove: Backpacks that contain PVC
What you can do:

Remove: Hand sanitizers
What you can do:

This may seem overwhelming, but once you start to change over school supplies, you’ll want to move more plastics out of your kitchen too! For example, we use glass containers mostly. (Many school do not allow glass containers so I didn’t recommend them above.) Need more suggestions?

Read CHEJ’s Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies for a complete list of what to avoid (PDF). Going back to school clean and green takes effort and a bit of an investment, but your child’s safety at school is worth it.


Disclosure: Dr. Bronners has worked with Mamavation on campaigns.


Leah Segedie is the founder of the Mamavation community, ShiftCon Social Media Conference, food activist and social media consultant. Through the Mamavation community, she teaches “digital moms” healthy living practices to combat disease in their home. The community members of Mamavation have lost over 3,500 lbs. Leah is also a very passionate food activist. She organizes trending twitter parties monthly to educate the public about the food supply and other issues impacting public health. 


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