Thursday, August 8, 2013

Instant Karma for Non-Profit in San Bernardino, California

Sometimes humans do things they aren’t proud of. Most of the time those people try to make amends or apologize for their transgressions. Though not always. Sometimes people don’t try to make up for their morally questionable behavior at all.

But then other times…

Other times the person who did something morally and/or ethically wrong makes good on that wrong in a truly bizarre and profound way.

In the case of the non-profit at the San Bernardino County Sexual Assault Services office, the people who broke in and stole a bunch of technology instantly attempted to reverse their karma by giving back.

Not by donating to the non-profit organization. Not by volunteering. But by bringing back all of the items they stole and leaving them on the doorstep with a note of apology for having taken them in the first place.

They literally gave back!

Accordingto the story on 4 NBC Southern California, Willian Avila reports that the burglars originally broke into the office on July 31 through the roof. The neighborhood was then canvased and word was spread about who was robbed and what was taken from the office run by executive director Candy Stallings.

And that’s when the most amazing thing happened. The story states “The following morning about 4:30 a.m., Stallings said she got another call from police about suspicious activity taking place at her office.”

When she showed up she discovered all her items had been returned along with a note from the thieves apologizing for taking them because they “had no idea what [they] were taking.”

It was reported that even though the police had to hold onto the note for evidence, Stallings made a photocopy of the emotionally charged piece of paper to frame and hang on her wall.

Now that’s what I call a beautiful display of instant karma!

Click on the linked text above to read the full story on 4 NBC’s page.

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Published in multiple print and online sources, Author, Blogger and Freelance Writer Jenn Flynn-Shon has been writing for publication since 2001. Follow her antics on twitter @jennshon

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Prayers for the Families of the Arizona Firefighters Who Gave their Lives in Yarnell

Here in Arizona summer fires are common and expected. With conditions so dry, lack of moisture hitting ground level, big storms that build near the mountains and the lightning strikes that go with them, there usually isn’t a year where a fire doesn’t start.

This season the first major fire broke out in Yarnell, Arizona (northwest of Phoenix) on Friday June 28, 2013. Tragically, on Sunday June 30, 2013 nineteen members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots out of Prescott, Arizona lost their lives while trying to contain/fight the fire now deemed the deadliest in state history.

As of today, July 2, 2013, the blaze still burns out of control and has claimed over 8,000 acres.

According to the loss of these brave men isn’t only devastating from a human and heart-aching perspective but also because they represented about 20% of the entire PFD, a truly hard-hitting blow.

Please take a moment and send a prayer to the families of these heroes who fought on the front lines in order to try to save homes and businesses in and around Yarnell, Arizona.

To those nineteen brave men who have left the Earth I say your service will never go unrecognized and your spirit will live on through those who loved you.

Image courtesy

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Published in multiple print and online sources, Author, Blogger and Freelance Writer Jenn Flynn-Shon has been writing for publication since 2001. Follow her antics on twitter @jennshon

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Becoming a Freelance Writer with an Eco-Friendly Kick-Off Article on Yahoo! Voices

Image Courtesy domdeen
In the fall of 2012 I started to invest time into learning how to become an online freelance writer. I followed blogs, newsletters, read everything I could and began working on my headlines and copy. In November I was sidelined with health stuff and put my freelancing on hold. Now I’m back at it, healthy and energized!

My first article published on Yahoo! Voices is something I’m proud of. And I know it’s going to be something you enjoy reading as well.

Read the article on eco-friendly weed killing best practices

The article was conceptualized, researched and written by me and I feel it’s some of my best work to date. I share some tips and tricks for the most effective and more importantly natural ways to kill your weeds when trying to stay within a budget.

And as we Greenies know sometimes it’s even cheaper (or outright free!) to use natural methods for taming the garden jungle.

Here’s an excerpt:

“…you should start to see the edges of the leaf begin to curl and turn brown. Within twenty-four hours your weed should be dead. If the weed hasn't died by the next day just repeat the vinegar process. This is especially effective for areas where there are cracks in the pavement, in gravel areas, on pathways, or even around the…

Thanks for always being supportive readers and I look forward to my next approved submission on all things eco-friendly. This freelance writer gig isn’t so bad; getting paid to do what I love is pretty much the bees knees!

Have a Green week!

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Published in multiple print and online sources, Author, Blogger and Freelance Writer Jenn Flynn-Shon has been writing for publication since 2001. Follow her antics on twitter @jennshon

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Growing a Small Container Garden for Health

There’s a buzz right now and it all has to do with GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms. Using genetic engineering of the organism itself scientists can create an entirely new one from the original. And these modifications are purported to be beneficial as it will allegedly increase the food supply.

The jury is still out as to how healthy these practices are and many people are skeptical of what all this engineering of our food will do to our bodies. That was one of the main reasons my husband and I decided to start a small container garden in our yard.

According to the article What are GMOs? by Theresa Phillips

"Despite efforts to control gene expression there are many unanswered questions and issues that arise and stand in the way of full acceptance of GMOs by the public. Fear of the unknown is one cause of public reluctance to use GMOs and GEMs. However, this concern is validated whenever a specific case proves the technology has gone awry, and is widely publicized. Examples of this are products that have allegedly caused the mass destruction of non-target insect populations by genetically modified cash crops or bioethical issues surrounding questions of seed ownership once a crop has been harvested, and issues over the cost of seeds and availability to farmers."

As you can plainly see the issue is a big deal and something everyone in the United States and beyond should be invested in learning about as they do their shopping.

In an effort to reduce, and soon eliminate, GMOs from our diet we decided to grow a healthy number of veggies in our small container garden.

This year in just seventy-five square feet, split between two areas in the backyard, we grew spinach, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes. Plus we had some basil, parsley, rosemary and lavender interspersed with the veggies.

We already harvested the spinach and broccoli. Sadly the cauliflower didn’t make it. Our meals have made use of fresh herbs and just recently we pulled up three huge hauls of carrots.

Now the tomatoes are coming. And oh my goodness are they ever!

It feels great, literally and figuratively, to be eating fully organic food that we grew in our own backyard. I wish I could say I was the green thumb in this household but my husband is the growing genius around here.

As our resident gardening authority, I asked him what he did to create such a healthy bounty in our yard and he happily replied,

Choosing plants that would yield a big crop in a small space, and ones that we enjoyed eating, was key.  Small space gardens are easier to keep watered here in the desert, and all in all require very little extra care beyond water and mulch.

Big crop in a small space was an understatement when it came to the number of carrots we pulled up this spring. We’re both excited to have veggies and herbs to munch on through this early part of summer here in Phoenix. Plus I know they’re free of pesticides, additives, and/or modifications other than those nature intends - like a split in the skin or an unexpected color.

Do you want to grow your own veggies to avoid GMOs? Matt has some tips to make your garden grow in a small space.

Matt’s suggestions for a successful small space garden

► Water in the early evenings - the plants can then absorb the water overnight before the evaporation of the day sets in.
► Water slowly and deeply - I use a garden hose with homemade holes poked at strategic locations for each plant and run it for about an hour when I water.
► Train your plants to be more drought resistant.  Water them daily when first planted, but ease them off slowly.  Even here in the desert, I only water every 2-3 days for about an hour, and our tomatoes have very little leaf wilt or signs of stress.
► The smaller the container or space, the more often you need to water, but do less water more often.  Don’t drown your poor plants!!
► A nice thick layer of mulch!  It helps retain the moisture, and will keep the plants warm in the spring and cool in the summer.

I hope you have a chance to get out in your own yard and consider growing something delicious in a small container garden this summer so you too can live GMO free!

Where do you get your veggies? Do you know where they originated? Do you have space for a small garden or have a Farmer’s Market close by to acquire fresher, healthier vegetables? Talk about your experience in the comments!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chill Out: Five Ways to Beat the Summer Heat while Staying Eco Conscious

Hello from sunny, and scorching, Phoenix, Arizona! It is mid-May and our temperatures have already started hitting the low 100 range on a somewhat regular basis. I can’t say for sure if this is early since it’s only my third summer here but it sure feels early. I started looking for alternatives to beat the summer heat while staying as eco conscious as possible.

Here are five simple things anyone can do to stay cool and comfortable even on the hottest summer days.

Adjust the thermostat by two degrees

This sounds like a small thing but by setting our air conditioner to kick on at eighty degrees instead of seventy-eight we can save approximately 2% in energy costs. The reverse can also be beneficial to cost and energy saving – turn the thermostat down in the winter. The two degrees on either end will barely be noticeable to the body but it will sure be noticed by the wallet when the savings roll in over the course of the year.

Block passive solar from entering the house

I use heavy weight velvet drapes in the living room and dining room, darker lined curtains in the bedroom, and wooden blinds in the kitchen. What do all these rooms have in common? They’re on the south face of our home where the sun pours in during the entire day. The curtains on the front of the house (north face) are lighter weight and lighter colored. Sunlight can still brighten up the house from these windows but the warming that comes with the sun doesn’t have to bake our rooms in the process. Once the sun passes by each of the windows I can pull back the curtains to let late afternoon light into the home. Bright and sunny doesn’t have to mean hot and wasteful!

Cover the pool

We opted to purchase a home with a pool, something we use just about every day from May through October. Not only does jumping into the pool help to cool us off (another way to eliminate air conditioning!) but it’s a soothing water feature in our yard. However, a pool uses a lot of water which is not only a hit to the wallet but is also a tough thing to justify wasting even a drop of here in the desert. When we first bought this place there were weeks we lost a full inch (or more) from our pool. By installing a simple solar cover (trimmed to fit our uniquely shaped pool) we are able to save from massive evaporation in our dry climate and not only cut back on the water bill but also extend our swimming season on either end of the summer.

Run the ceiling fans, not the AC

Installing ceiling fans is another great way to keep cooling (and heating) costs down. We leave our fans circulating all the time as it keeps continuous airflow through the house even when the air conditioner is off.

Invest in natural fiber clothing

I’ve seen a whole bunch of adorable sun dresses and other summer clothing on display recently but I’ve walked away from purchasing because of one reason – man-made fibers. Polyester and nylon may feel like they’re lighter weight because they’re so light to the touch but it’s an illusion. Synthetic threads such as those don’t breathe the same way a natural fiber like cotton, bamboo, hemp, etc. breathe because they are tighter woven in order to maintain a specific shape. Wearing them close to your skin will actually keep you warmer because the body’s internal cooling system (sweat) gets trapped under their surface with no way to escape. A natural fiber will help to wick away perspiration from the body but also release it into the air more quickly meaning the sweat can help keep the body cool. Cotton, bamboo, hemp, linen, etc. are wonderful alternatives to synthetic fibers and your cool bod will thank you for making the investment!

With just a few simple steps those of us in warmer climates will enjoy their hot and steamy summer by staying cool as a cucumber in the crisper drawer!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Phoenix Edition of Natural Awakenings Magazine

As I was leaving my Chiropractor’s office a few weeks ago I noticed they had a stack of Natural Awakenings Magazine marked as Free on the top of the checkout counter. I grabbed one so I could check out the content inside. I was pleasantly surprised!

The magazine is 60 pages in full color and that includes the front and back covers. The photo on the front of a butterfly on a flower (above) was sweet and made me think of spring right away. In Phoenix that means I’ll be turning on the air conditioner full time pretty soon. I want to find other ways to cut back or conserve so I opened up the magazine in search of tips.

There were articles on Earth Day, cleaning without five harmful chemicals, women’s issues, and lots more. The pages are newsprint and as the publisher says in his letter:

We proudly use recycled newsprint in our publication because it’s the gentlest option for the environment. Glossy paper requires substantially more chemicals and manufacturing processes, and it’s harder to recycle.

I was impressed from the first page! As I read articles written by environmentally and health minded women and men I was reminded of many things I’d read before as well as had my eyes opened to quite a few new facts. For example, in the article “Hormones Have Strong Impact on Weight Gain” by Alan Christianson, NMD I read that the hormone cortisol elevates in stressful circumstances. I didn’t know about this particular hormone before so it was nice to learn while reading.

With a calendar of events and Community Resource Guide in the back and a plethora of advertisements for consumers to find natural/holistic/organic/inner peace related companies the magazine is a complete package for anyone whether new to the area or not.

I’m giving Natural Awakenings 4 and a half green leaves and going now to sign up for their eMag email delivery so I don’t miss any great ads or articles!

To check out the magazine online please visit them at Natural Awakenings – Phoenix Edition

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Important Notice About the EPA and some Pesticides

A few days ago I was reading through my local paper and a story struck me as very huge. Unfortunately the article was just a small blurb on an inside page. I wished it had been bigger so it seemed right to share the story here on Green Leaf Reviewer.

I cut the piece out and inadvertantly forgot to note the date it ran in my paper so I apologize for not being able to provide that information. It first ran in USA Today on March 28, 2013. The story is quoted from USA Today but I originally clipped it out of the Arizona Republic.

Study: Two thirds of pesticides got flawed EPA approval

Many pesticides used in consumer products and agriculture received federal approval through a loophole that doesn't require thorough testing, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental group.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency used a regulatory loophole to approve 65% of 16,000 pesticides that pose a potential threat to public health, according to the two-year investigation by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The authors say the EPA's database makes it unclear how many of those pesticides received adequate, if any, testing.

"People should be concerned, because we have examples of at least two pesticides on the market that shouldn't have been approved," says NRDC attorney Mae Wu, who co-authored the study with Jennifer Sass, a senior health scientist. Wu points to nanosilver, which was approved as an anti-microbial agent in clothing but may damage brain and liver cells, and clothianidin, which was designed to be absorbed into plant tissue but is passed on fatally to bees and other pollinators.

"EPA has not yet had a chance to carefully review the issue brief," the agency said in a statement. It cites its own internal review, posted on its website, that said subsequent pesticide information submitted to the EPA "confirms that products initially registered on a conditional basis are not posing unacceptable risks to human health or the environment."

In that review, however, the EPA said it had widely (98% of the time) misused its "conditional registration" of pesticides from 2004 to 2010...

What would you like to see done to clean up this issue?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

First Annual Arizona Gives Day

The entire state of Arizona - lawmakers, grass-roots activists, businesses, non-profits, and the citizens - are all coming together on Wednesday March 20, 2013 to celebrate the new partnership appropriately dubbed Arizona Gives Day.

This initiative was born just under a year ago when it was brought to the table by Patrick McWhortor and Marissa Theisen of the groups Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and the Arizona Grantmakers Forum. They were looking for a day of giving in our state that would be a collaboration between every citizen who calls Arizona home.

There are over 800 non-profit organizations participating in the day of giving tomorrow. Donations can be made online and the website is very easy to navigate. Recipients are involved with every corner of life for Arizonans.

Categories include:
  • Animals
  • Arts & Culture
  • Children & Youth
  • Community & Society
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Humanitarian Aid
  • International
  • Religion
  • Science & Technology
To find out more about a cause or organization you'd like to support on Arizona Gives Day, visit then donate as much as you can to help our state aspire to even greater heights!

Not in Arizona? No problem! We'd be happy to accept doantions coming in from across the country or across the globe!

Together, we can make Arizona the most generous state in the nation for even one day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

AAA Magazine As A Green Resource

I've been a member of the AAA Organization for as long as I can remember driving a car. They provide a valuable service, many in fact, and I've made use of their emergency roadside assistance in multiple capacities over the years. Recently while reading my Highroads magazine I came across a small article regarding Green Shops.

A car can be a huge strain on the environment if not properly maintained. Emissions are forefront in many consumer's minds these days but there are other factors that car maintenance can impact which may not even make our radar as we get our cars serviced and cleaned.

Solvents, fluid disposal, spills and energy efficiency are commonly overlooked pieces of the car care puzzle.

I get my oil changed, clean the interior and exterior of my vehicle and make sure my tire pressure is optimal for better gas mileage but where we take our cars to have these services performed can be just as vital as making sure the tasks are completed. AAA has compiled a list of over thirty shops that are on their Green Shops list in and around Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

Per the Highroads magazine:

Performing beyond the standard environmental regulations, these shops have adopted additional environmentally friendly practices including:

- Using low-hazard, low-pollution solvents or water-based cleaning
- Recycling and reusing fluids whenever possible
- Practicing spill prevention, sealing shop floors, and recycling oil
- Saving energy with efficient lighting, "green" office equipment, and energy-efficient air conditioning
- Properly maintaining plumbing, installing low-water use fixtures, and using desert landscaping and dry-floor clean-up procedures
If you're in the Phoenix or Tucson area you can learn more about the shops on their list by visiting the AAA Green Shops. To find the list of Green shops in your area contact your local AAA office for more information.

It's just one way we can all ensure we do our environmental part.