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Patricia Dines

Freelance Writer, Editor, Public Speaker & Graphic Artist

Specializing in Environmental & Community Topics

Do you want to hear about my print articles when they're released? Just sign up for my low volume writing announcement list (1-3 emails a month) at www.patriciadines.info/EList.


You're invited to come visit my blog, "The Life and Times of EcoGirl." In it, I explore a wider range of topics in a more informal, personal, and experimental way.

You might also like to check out my personal/spiritual blog, Life's Sacred Remnants.


Do you enjoy playing on Facebook? Then come visit my Patricia Dines page there. You can also check out my Ask EcoGirl page! It's an easy way to get my ongoing eco-information and actions in your Newsfeed, and show your support of my work!



RECENT NEWS: QUICK SUMMARY


I invite you to read my recent writing:

* The March/April 2017 Next STEP newsletter, which offers you information and tips for creating a less-toxic life!

>> You can also check out my past STEP newsletters at www.healthyworld.org/STEPRecent.html.

* I invite you to take a look at my spiritual storybook for people of all ages, "The Goddess Who Forgot That She Was a Goddess." This tale has been sent to soothe our sadness and nurture our divine blossoming. Get on my email list to be kept informed of events and special discounts.

* I invite you to check out my personal/spiritual blog, Life's Sacred Remnants. I invite you to check it out and let me know if it resonates for you!

* Ask EcoGirl: Water, Water, Everywhere!, Sonoma County Gazette, March 2014.

Note: The Ask EcoGirl column is on hiatus while I'm working on other projects, including two books! I invite you to get on my low-volume email list (above) to receive announcements when they are available.

* Ask EcoGirl: Keeping Your Clothes Out of the Trash, Sonoma County Gazette, January 2014.

* Ask EcoGirl: Savoring the Gift of Local Organic, Sonoma County Gazette, November 2013.

* Should We Fluoridate Our Community's Water? Sonoma County Peace Press, October/November 2013.

* Ask EcoGirl: Building Effective Community Teams, Sonoma County Gazette, October 2013.

* The Sept/Oct Next STEP newsletter, which offers you information and tips that help you create a less-toxic life!

>> You can also check out my past STEP newsletters at www.healthyworld.org/STEPRecent.html.

* Ask EcoGirl: The Art of the Yard Sale, Sonoma County Gazette, August 2013.

* Ask EcoGirl: The Rebel & The Status Quo, Sonoma County Gazette, June 2013.

* Investigating The Next STEP Mystery, Sonoma County Gazette, May 2013.

* Ask EcoGirl: Skillful Aim For Your Eco-Message, Sonoma County Gazette, March 2013.

* Ask EcoGirl: Supporting Effective Eco-Action, Sonoma County Gazette, January 2013.

* Ask EcoGirl: What Do We Do Now About GMOs?, Sonoma County Gazette, December 2012.

* Ask EcoGirl: Eco-Organizing Your Stuff, Sonoma County Gazette, August 2012.

* Ask EcoGirl: Building the Electric Highway, Sonoma County Gazette, July 2012.

* Ask EcoGirl: Greening Your Summer Vacation, Sonoma County Gazette, June 2012.

* Ask EcoGirl: Reclaiming the Sun as Our Ally, Sonoma County Gazette, August 2011.

* Ask EcoGirl: Is There Hope For The Planet? Sonoma County Gazette, July 2011.

* Ask EcoGirl: Love Your Local Activist/Change Agent, Sonoma County Gazette, May 2011.

* Ask EcoGirl: Are Smart Phones Green?, Sonoma County Gazette, February 2011.

>> You can check out all my past Ask EcoGirl columns at www.askecogirl.info/AEcolumns.html.

* Healing Our Culture's Abuse of the Earth, Part I, Sonoma County Peace Press, April/May 2011.

* Green Getaways, NorthBay biz magazine, July 2011.

* Profitable Green, NorthBay biz magazine, February 2011.

* Navigating Nonprofit Technology, NorthBay biz magazine, January 2011.

* True Green: Moving beyond greenwashing to create authentic eco-success, NorthBay biz magazine, August 2010. (The cover article!)

* A Deeper Shade of Green, NorthBay biz magazine, "Green Scene," March 2010.

* Sonoma Compost: Celebrating 25 Years, Sonoma-Marin Farm News , February 2010.

* Green Pinstripes: Bringing sustainability to the executive suite, NorthBay biz magazine, February 2010.

* Financing a Greener World, NorthBay biz magazine, August 2009.

* Uprooting the Environmental Causes of Poverty & War, Sonoma County Peace Press, August 2009.

>> You can see my my full list of articles at www.patriciadines.info/p_articleslist.html.
>> For my full portfolio, see www.patriciadines.info/i_portfolio.html.

Also of interest:

* Check out my new "insanely useful" Ask EcoGirl booklets. The first two selections are -- Detoxing Your Life and Healthier Houscleaning!

* My guest appearance on "The View from the Bay", the ABC TV talk show, offering eco-tips and talking about my work. August 19, 2009.

* My interview on planetshifter.com, August 2009.

>> Scroll down to read the details of these and more!


RECENT NEWS: DETAILS



The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: March/April 2017 (Click link to view/download)

* SEBASTOPOL RESIDENTS: Please remember to fill out and send in the yellow Feedback card that came in your Jan./Feb. bill. We want to know what's been useful to you in past newsletters, and how we can best serve you in future ones! Even just saying that you like the project is vital to support it in continuing.

Note: It's really best if you can fill out that yellow card. However, as a secondary option, you can download a replacement form at www.healthyworld.org/STEPSurvey.html. If you live in the town of Sebastopol, please be sure to write "Sebastopol resident" plus your address on it, so it will be counted as resident feedback.

* Weed, Medicine, or Food? Have you ever wondered about the wild plants that emerge this time of year? Some folks might call some of them “weeds” -- and prepare to spray them with toxic herbicides. But are they really foes -- or friends? It turns out that many can actually be added to your meals or used as healing medicine -- for free! Learn more about seven common local edible wild plants. (Article by local garden and herbal educator, Michelle Vesser, of Everything Sacred.)

* But Wait, There's More! This article offers more tips and resources for finding and using local edible native plants, including from herbalist Beth Riedel, AHG, NC. (And thank you to everyone who contributed to creating these articles. I hope that they inspire everyone to see the beauty and usefulness of these hardy volunteers.)

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.

Thank you to Jim Gleaves for his assistance with this project; to the City Council for creating it; and for City staff for helping to make it possible.

Recent reader feedback

"The latest STEP newsletter, dealing with safe handling of art supplies, is especially useful for me. I appreciate that here, as always, your advice is practical. Thank you very much."
- Carol Goodwin Blick

"Thank you heartily [for] your excellent two-page newsletter! I've learned so much from it that I would not have thought to research by myself. It's also a striking example of good citizenship at work!"
- Glenna Elliott

"Just wanted to say thank you for all your positive information. My husband and I are trying for our second child and I really appreciated the article regarding autism cases being higher when exposed to flea shampoos for animals. This was a great eye opener for me and I plan on using only non-toxic cleaners pre-pregnancy and forever afterwards. This type of information really does help all of us -- so again, thank you....I am so happy to be a part of such a caring community."
- A Sebastopol Resident




The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: January/February 2017 (Click link to view/download)

* It's Our Birthday! We're celebrating 16 years of of publishing The Next STEP. Thank you to everyone who supports this innovative community project for a healthier world. It's your handy guide to less-toxic living!
* SEBASTOPOL RESIDENTS: Please remember to fill out and send in the yellow Feedback card that comes in your Jan./Feb. bill. We want to know what's been useful to you in past newsletters, and how we can best serve you in future ones! Even just saying that you like the project is vital to support it in continuing.

Note: It's really best if you can fill out that yellow card. However, as a secondary option, you can download a replacement form at www.healthyworld.org/STEPSurvey.html. If you live in the town of Sebastopol, please be sure to write "Sebastopol resident" plus your address on it, so it will be counted as resident feedback.

* Advanced Ant Management. With the winter rain and cold can often come invasions of ants into our homes. It can be tempting to respond by pulling out a pesticide spray. But they've been shown to be no more effective than household cleaners and put your family's health at risk. Instead, try the easy least-toxic system I've developed over the years.

* Minimize Your Sanitize. Throughout our days, we can see hand sanitizers being used. But are they really safe and effective? Learn about their limits, buying less-toxic products, and using them safely.

* What Is Boric Acid? This less-toxic product can help with a variety of pests, if used correctly

* Timely Tips.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.



The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: November/December 2016 (Click link to view/download)

* Detoxing Your Holiday Greenery. As we hunker down inside for the shorter, colder days of winter, we often choose to bring nature in with us -- perhaps as a featured Christmas tree, cheerful poinsettias, or cut flower bouquets. But how often are we unknowingly bringing toxic pesticides in with our holiday cheer? Learn more about the issues and what to look for instead -- plus local eco-options!

Note: If you have added local eco-options to recommend, please email them to us at info [at] healthyworld.org for possible inclusion in our text version of this article at www.healthyworld.org/ecoholidays1.html.

* Timely Tips.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: September/October 2016 (Click link to view/download)

* Thank You For Your Feedback! Thank you to all the readers who took the time to send in your STEP Survey feedback cards. We love hearing your thoughts, and are delighted that 86% of you find The Next STEP newsletter helpful and interesting! We're also happy that 68% of you have used its information to tangibly reduce or avoid your use of toxics. Thank you also for your questions and article suggestions; they help guide us throughout the year. You can read more of the survey results in this article, and please feel free to share your thoughts with us all year 'round.

* Easy Answers. Here are some quick answers to reader questions, including: how to get the STEP newsletter by email; how to identify and discard everyday toxics; the date of the next Sebastopol Toxics Collection Day; and how to learn more about your product or topic of concern.

* Don't Just Toss That Cigarette. It can seem so easy, even cool, to just toss that unwanted cigarette remnant out the car window or onto the ground. After all, how much damage could it do? But those discarded butts add up to an estimated 4.5 trillion stubs a year worldwide. And, when they land, they leach toxics into our ecosystems, harm wildlife and pets, risk starting fires, cost dearly in cleanup costs, and compromise our local beauty. Learn more, including what you can do to support education on this community topic.

* Safely Going Back to School. Are your children being exposed to toxic pesticides during their school day? Here's how you can find out what's going on and take action about it.

* Detoxing Your Holidays. Discover a variety of tips for reducing your holiday toxics and helping your guests participate in your healthier practices.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: July/August 2016 (Click link to view/download)

* The Good, the Bad and the TSCA. The U.S. Congress has passed, and the president signed, legislation that provides the first serious update to our primary federal toxics law (TSCA) since its inception forty years ago (in 1976). TSCA has long been criticized for falling far short of protecting our health and ecosystems. These new updates offer some improvements, but also contain some serious downsides. Thus citizen watchdogging will be essential to ensure that we get the information we need to choose less-toxic products.

* DEET-Free 4 U and Me. With summertime outdoor activities often come swarms of insects -- and concerns about the illnesses they might carry. But too often the prescribed solution is a product that features DEET, a highly-toxic insecticide risks health harm in itself. Read about proven less-toxic options available.

* Local Toxics Disposal.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: May/June 2016 (Click link to view/download)

* Art Smart, Part II. Ah, the cheerful appeal of art supplies, standing ready to help us express and share our feelings and perspectives. But, unfortunately, there can be a serious dark side to these everyday products and their cleanup supplies -- risking harm to humans, animals, and our environment. Learn key basics for protecting yourself and those under your care. (Our focus in this part is solvent reuse, cleanup, and disposal.)

* Toxics Endangering. For the first time the EPA has analyzed the effects of three common pesticides on our nation's endangered and threatened species, as well as designated critical habitat. What did they find, and what can you do about it?

* Local Toxics Disposal.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.

Thank you to Jim Gleaves for his assistance with this project; to the City Council for creating it; and for City staff for helping to make it possible.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: March/April 2016 (Click link to view/download)

* Art Smart, Part I. As with so many everyday products, we can simply assume that any art material for sale (or in our homes or schools) is safe. However, these materials, and their cleanup supplies, can be quite toxic to us, animals, and our environment. Learn some key basics for protecting yourself and those under your care. (Our focus in this part is purchase and usage.)

* Toxic-Tinged Fog. Fog is such a lovely part of our local natural eco-cycles. But, a researcher wondered, could there could be toxics inside? Read about his findings and their implications.

* STEP Updates. We're honored that the Sebastopol City Council acknowledged our work and our 15th anniversary at its Feb. 16 meeting. We are grateful to the City and the community for their support of this innovative project for a healthier world. Learn more about what's up with STEP in this issue.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.

Thank you to Jim Gleaves for his assistance with this project; to the City Council for creating it; and for City staff for helping to make it possible.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: January/February 2016 (Click link to view/download)

* It's Our Birthday! We're celebrating 15 years of of publishing The Next STEP. Thank you to everyone who supports this innovative community project for a healthier world.

* SEBASTOPOL RESIDENTS: Please remember to fill out and send in the yellow Feedback card that comes in your Jan./Feb. bill. We want to know what's been useful to you in past newsletters, and how we can best serve you in future ones! Even just saying that you like the project is vital to support it in continuing.

* Being Persuasive. One question that folks ask me is how to entice others to join them in making eco-healthy choices. Constructive persuasion has been one of my areas of passionate study, so I share some of my suggestions here.

* U. S. Congress Passes Microbead Ban.

* Study Finds That Most Cancer Causes Are External.

* STEP Stuffer Update. Changes are afoot!

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: November/December 2015 (Click link to view/download)

* California Bans the Sale of Microbeads, Starting 2020. Microbeads, those tiny plastic microbeads being added to our everyday products, are going into our environment, harming creatures, polluting our water, and entering the food chain. So can California's recent microbead ban help? And what can we do until it goes into effect in 2020?

* California Plans to List Roundup's Glyphosate As a Carcinogen. Glyphosate is the world's most widely used herbicide, and we're all being widely exposed to it. But it harms our health and environment, and now cancer is being added its list of impacts.

* Detoxing Your Holidays. Here's a handy summary of our tips for avoiding toxics during the holidays. Plus you can use the key words to look for further information in our handy online topics index.

* Local Toxics Disposal. So where can you locally dispose of batteries, paints, stains, bulbs, and pharmaceuticals? This convenient list lets you know!

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: September/October 2015 (Click link to download)

* Discarding Your Pharms. As we've previously discussed, it's important not to put your leftover pharmaceuticals in the trash. That's because these potent materials will go from there into our ecosystems, polluting our water supplies and threatening harm to wildlife. I've recently learned another key reason: the risks of accidental consumption, intentional misuse, and illegal distribution. Learn more about this problem, and how to safely discard various types of medical substances.

* Prescription Drug Abuse. This handy box of quick stats reveal how serious this problem has become.

* Safely Tossing Out Body Care Products. A reader asked how to property discard body care products. Do they go in toxics disposal? Which ones should we worry about most? This article walks you through the disposal decision-making process, step by step!

* Local Toxics Disposal. The date of the next Sebastopol Toxics Collections Day, and more.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.

Thank you to Jim Gleaves for his assistance with this project; to the City Council for creating it; and for City staff for helping to make it possible.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: July/August 2015 (Click link to download)

* Keeping Toxics Out of Your Graywater System. California is experiencing one of its most serious droughts on record, and various water-saving remedies are being suggested -- including setting up graywater systems to reuse our household water. If you're considering one of these (or are even just bringing your waste water outside by hand), be sure to educate yourself first about certain key aspects, in order to protect your health, plants, and property.

* Eating Organic Drops a Family's Body Pesticides. We've previously discussed the evidence that the toxics in mainstream food end up in our bodies -- and that toxic exposure is linked to health problems. This article tells the story of a Swedish family who experienced this information in a more personal way.

* Toothpaste Microbeads Cause Dental Concerns. Adding plastic microbeads to our health and beauty products might seem like just a fun way to add color and scrubbing action. However, as we've previously explored, these never-biodegrading plastics harm our environment and bioaccumulate up our food chain. Now dental professional are concerned that their use in toothpaste could also be harming our dental health.

* Toxic Plastics Found in Large Fish. A recent study adds to the evidence that our culture's discarded plastics are permeating nature's ecosystems and wildlife -- and likely coming back to us in our food and water.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.


* My new personal/spiritual blog, Life's Sacred Remnants

I'm delighted to announce my new personal/spiritual blog, Life's Sacred Remnants. I invite you to check it out and let me know if it resonates for you!


The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: May/June 2015 (Click link to download)

* Thank You For Your Feedback! Thank you to all the readers who took the time to send in your STEP Survey feedback cards. We love hearing your thoughts, and are delighted that 84% of you find The Next STEP newsletter helpful and interesting! We're also happy that 65% of you have used its information to tangibly reduce or avoid your use of toxics. Thank you also for your questions and article suggestions; they help guide us throughout the year. You can read more of the survey results in this article, and please feel free to share your thoughts with us all year 'round.

* Easy Answers. Here are some quick answers to reader questions, including: how to get the STEP newsletter by email; how to identify and discard everyday toxics; the date of the next Sebastopol Toxics Collection Day; and how to learn more about your product or topic of concern.

* Don't Be Fooled by Hidden Toxics. Are you using a toxic pesticide without even realizing it? Do you know that innocent-sounding products such as "weed and feed" have serious toxics inside? Learn how to read past the marketing charm to understand the real risks of the products that you're bringing into your land and your home.

* Buying Organic Fertilizers. Buying better fertilizer isn't as easy as looking for organic on the label. That's because U.S. organic standards only cover food products, so garden products can say "organic" without meeting any external standards. Find out what to look for instead.

* The High Cost of That Deal. "Dollar" stores seem to offer us a great deal. Unfortunately, according to a recent study, serious toxics often come with that bargain.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

For more information about the STEP program, click here.


The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: March/April 2015 (Click link to download)

* SEBASTOPOL RESIDENTS: Please remember to fill out and send in the yellow Feedback card that comes in your Jan./Feb. bill. We want to know what's been useful to you in past newsletters, and how we can best serve you in future ones! Even just saying that you like the project is vital to support it continuing.

Note: It's really best if you can fill out that yellow card. However, as a secondary option, you can download a replacement form at www.healthyworld.org/STEPSurvey.html. If you live in the town of Sebastopol, please be sure to write "Sebastopol resident" plus your address on it, so it will be counted as resident feedback.

* Hiring Home Construction Help. So you're hiring a contractor or builder to work on your house. How can you be sure that they don't bring harmful toxic materials into your home sweet home? Get useful tips in this article!

* Controlling Crabgrass. If you have unwanted crabgrass in your yard, now's a good time to act (April through June). This is one of those cases where prevention truly is the easiest cure -- and can help you avoid the urge to use toxics later in the year.

* Another Reason to Remove Your Shoes. We've previously talked about how toxics can travel into our homes via our shoes. Well, it turns out that bacteria can also hitch a ride inside that way, transfer onto flooring, and from there get onto our surfaces and into our bodies. Here's more about the problem and how you can significantly reduce your exposure, without the use of toxics.

* Quick Steps. Find out about the next Sebastopol Toxics Collection, getting email delivery, our online index, and more. Thanks also to this year's STEP stuffers!

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.


The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: January/February 2015 (Click link to download)

* It's our anniversary! We're celebrating fourteen years of publishing The Next STEP (TNS) newsletter. Woo hoo!
* SEBASTOPOL RESIDENTS: Please remember to fill out and send in the yellow Feedback card that comes in your Jan./Feb. bill. We want to know what's been useful to you in past newsletters, and how we can best serve you in future ones! Even just saying that you like the project is vital to support it continuing.

Note: It's really best if you can fill out that yellow card. However, as a secondary option, you can download a replacement form at www.healthyworld.org/STEPSurvey.html. If you live in the town of Sebastopol, please be sure to write "Sebastopol resident" plus your address on it, so it will be counted as resident feedback.

* Skipping the Dryer Sheet Toxics. U.S. consumers spend an amazing $659 million on fabric softener dryer sheets each year. Unfortunately, though, toxics are often hiding within them, which can get deposited on our clothes and from there released onto our bodies as we go through our days. These harmful materials can also be released out dryer vents and into water supplies, thus impacting our neighbors and far beyond our modest everyday task. Learn about the risks and the effective options.

* Free Paint Available. The leftover paints and other products that we discard with the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency (to keep them out of the environment) can be picked up free at the Sonoma County dump. By using these, we save money while completing the ecological loop.

* Discard Your Techno-Gear Wisely. If Santa brought you new techno-gear this year, be sure to discard your unwanted items responsibly, to keep their toxics out of our shared ecosystems. That means first not putting them in the trash. But this article describes how you can also do better than the typical e-waste collection services.

* Good News From Minnesota. Minnesota has become the first U.S. state to ban the antibacterial triclosan from personal hygiene products. They hope to encourage other lawmakers to follow suit.

* Quick Steps. Find out more about upcoming toxic collection days, TNS email delivery, and article reprint information.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

Thank you to our wonderful STEP Stuffers! Your efforts really do help make this project possible.

As always, I am so grateful to the folks who came out in December and January to stuff The Next STEP newsletters. This year's STEP Stuffers were Judy Wismer*, Marilyn Madrone*, Michaela Miller*, Glenna Elliott, Renee Kramer, Holly Oswald, Chris Layton, and Colin Ramsey. (Folks with an * are Super STEP Stuffers, because they came to both the December and January stuffing events.) As usual, people had so much fun gabbing and connecting both times that they lingered afterwards to keep talking. Now that's a good sign! :-)

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: November/December 2014 (Click link to download)

* Prioritizing Your Toxics Reduction. As we learn about all the toxics that our culture puts into our everyday lives, it might seem overwhelming. We might worry what's lurking in our homes, offices, schools, parks, and elsewhere that's risking harm to ourselves, our loved ones, and our shared ecosystems. So, in this article, I outline key ways that you can identify what toxics might be in your life -- and prioritize those you want to reduce first!

* The EPA's First Final Risk Assessments in 28 Years. We like to think that the government is protecting us from toxic products, and sometimes that's true. But there are also vast areas that are poorly regulated -- such as the 80,000 chemicals used in the U.S. without full testing of their impacts on our health and environment. So the EPA's recent four final risk assessments are good news. But they also reveal how far our system is falling short, and how we need stronger regulations to really receive the protection we expect.

* Steering Clear of Rat Toxics. After years of pressure, a key rat product manufacturer has finally agreed to follow the EPA's science-based standards and modify its toxic rat products to reduce their risk. Still, its old products will remain in stores, and on our shelves at home and work -- so it's vital that we protect ourselves by knowing what products to avoid. Here's the info you need to do that!

* Quick Steps.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: September/October 2014 (Click link to download)

* Evaluating Toxics When Considering a New Home. Certainly, during the already stressful time of finding a new home, toxics can seem like just one more thing on a plate that's already too full. Still, we'll be living with the results of where we move, and a toxic place can make us feel sick and miserable -- as plenty of people's horror stories demonstrate. So I've made it easier for you by gathering together what I think are the key steps you might take to "look before you leap."

* Beauty Detox Redux. We've previously discussed how to avoid toxics in your health and beauty routine. Another tool that can help you are the certification seals on packaging. Learn more about what these handy symbols actually mean.

* Keep the Birds Singing Their Sacred Songs. One of the prompts for Rachel Carson's milestone 1962 book, Silent Spring, was a letter from a friend bemoaning the birds dying from DDT pesticide spraying in her area. So it's not a surprise that one of the threads in Carson's book was how sad the world would be without the sound of birds and other animals filling our lives. Since that book's publication, our culture has made notable progress in reducing the harm from DDT. And yet ... our birds are still dying at alarming rates ... and a recent study team seeking to understand why was surprised to discover how much of a role toxic pesticides continue to play in the songbirds' demise.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: July/August 2014 (Click link to download)

* Detoxing Your Body Care Routine. Every day, people of all ages and genders put products on their bodies (and those of others) without thinking about the toxics they might contain. But surely we don't have to worry, since they're on the outside of our bodies, right? Well, actually the skin is a porous organ and can allow many materials in. Learn what you can do to protect yourself and others.

* Sebastopol's Public Works Is Successfully Skipping Toxic Pesticides. A reader asked me if the City of Sebastopol is using toxic herbicides in its parks, because he'd seen a City worker spraying something around a tree's roots. I was glad to investigate, and it led me to wonder how the City's doing overall in avoiding the use of toxic pesticides, per the City Council mandate 14 years ago. Learn more about what I discovered.

* Finding Your Less-toxic Shower Curtain. As followup to my previous article, here's another local store offering options to the standard smelly toxic PVC curtains.

* Improving Toxic Labels for Sofas. California's rules now finally allow manufacturers to avoidtoxic flame retardants. However they still might be using them. That's why a new bill seeks to offer customers clear labels that indicate if these toxics were used or not. Firefighters, health, and environmental groups are co-sponsors.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: May/June 2014 (Click link to download)

* Thank You For Your Feedback! Thank you to all the readers who took the time to send in your STEP Survey feedback cards. We love hearing your thoughts, and are delighted that 90% of you find The Next STEP newsletter helpful and interesting! We're also happy that 73% of you have used its information to tangibly reduce or avoid your use of toxics. Thank you also for your questions and article suggestions; they help guide us throughout the year. You can read more of the survey results in this article, and please feel free to share your thoughts with us all year 'round.

* Answering Your Questions. Here are some quick answers to reader questions, including: how to get the STEP newsletter by email; how to identify and discard everyday toxics; the date of the next Sebastopol Toxics Collection Day; how to learn more about your product or topic of concern; tips for reducing water usage; and degreasing your drain.

* Skip the Microbeads. We might not even realize that microbeads have been added to many of the products that we use everyday, including facial scrubs, exfoliants, shampoos, and toothpaste. However, these materials are having a very real impact as they flow down our drains and into our rivers, lakes, oceans, and water supply. Once in the environment, they can absorb toxics and easily be eaten by wild creatures, displacing real food in their bellies, and causing illness and death. Plus these hard tiny plastic beads can bioaccumulate up the food chain into our food supply. Yum! Read this article to learn more about the problem, and the tangible actions you can take at both the personal and community levels.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Water, Water, Everywhere! (March 2014)
One of the unexpected positive aspects of our current drought for me has been seeing so many people invite and welcome the rain. I love watching us remember how essential water is, which we can easily forget in times of plenty. I hope that in this moment we'll expand ourselves to habitually cherish this vital element of our existence. To help you do that, this month's column offers six big picture ways that each of us can joyfully align our lives more with water's ways -- and, through that, protect it for ourselves, our ecosystems, and generations to come.

You can read this column in the March issue of the Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl7e.html. (The webpage has lots of additional useful information, resources, and links.)

I invite you to let me know if the ideas in this column, or any of my pieces, is helpful to you. It always encourages me to hear what's working for folks! You can also email your questions about going green to <EcoGirl [at] AskEcoGirl.info> for possible inclusion in future columns.

I also invite you to Like "Ask EcoGirl" on Facebook, to show your support and get this high-quality information in your Newsfeed! Join at www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.

You can also click on Published Columns to see all previous columns.

Reader feedback

"Anyone who is interested in preserving our earth, its creatures, their habitats, and well-being for all should be an EcoGirl fan!"
Debra Birkinshaw, Boardmember, Peace & Justice Center; Member, Green Sangha Sonoma County

"Excellent articles Patricia -- and fun to read! Congratulations on the colorful front page placement and thanks for continuing to make a difference for the masses by educating via your passion and talent for writing. EcoGirl will soon be flying into other communities and publications, I can feel it. Good luck with her."
Melissa Weaver, Educator, Enhanced Health Systems

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: March/April 2014 (Click link to download)

* Are You Tracking in Toxics with Those Shoes? As we look at how to protect our homes and families from toxic invaders, we might not even think about the harmful stuff we track in on the soles of our shoes. However, this turns out to be a significant source of toxics in our homes. Luckily, there are some easy remedies you can use to create a healthier home.

* BPA, Go Away. We're so commonly exposed to toxic BPA that an estimated 93% of us have it in our bodies -- and at levels shown to cause harm in animal studies. Children are especially vulnerable. Here's key information about what you can do today to trim your exposure.

* Protecting Our Water Supply. The current drought reminds us just how precious our water really is. In times of scarcity, it's even more vital to protect the water we have from everyday toxics. That's one of the reasons we do this work!

* STEP Updates. We give thanks to the folks who've recently helped the STEP project. Also, this is your last chance to give us your annual feedback. We have a replacement card if you need it. It helps even just to say that you value this community project!

* Timely Tips.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Keeping Your Clothes Out of the Trash (January 2014)
A reader asks what he can do with his unwanted clothes, to keep them out of the landfill. That's important because Americans today throw out 85% of our clothes and textiles, trashing 13 million tons a year. Plus, the production of our clothes causes harm to both our health and environment in many ways. So it's vital that we make full use of each item. In this column, I share my system for doing this by establishing easy everyday habits. Plus I offer key resources and ideas to guide and inspire your actions on this path.

You can read this column in the January issue of the Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl7d.html. (The webpage has additional information and links.)

I invite you to let me know if the ideas in this column, or any of my pieces, is helpful to you. It always encourages me to hear what's working for folks! You can also email your questions about going green to <EcoGirl [at] AskEcoGirl.info> for possible inclusion in future columns.

I also invite you to Like "Ask EcoGirl" on Facebook, to show your support and get this high-quality information in your Newsfeed! Join at www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.

You can also click on Published Columns to see all previous columns.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: January/February 2014 (Click link to download)

* It's our anniversary - We're celebrating thirteen years of publishing The Next STEP (TNS) newsletter. Woo hoo!
* SEBASTOPOL RESIDENTS: Please remember to fill out and send in the yellow Feedback card that comes in your Jan./Feb. bill. We want to know what's been useful to you in past newsletters, and how we can best serve you in future ones! Even just saying that you like the project is vital to support it continuing.

Note: It's really best if you can fill out that yellow card. However, if needed, you can also download a replacement form at www.healthyworld.org/STEPSurvey.html. Just please be sure to write your address on it if you live in the town of Sebastopol, so it will be counted as resident feedback.

* Avoiding Shower Curtain Toxics. PVC vinyl shower curtains can smell bad and bring toxics into our homes. Unfortunately, though, content labels are not required. So how can we buy less-toxic options? Find out more here!

* Safer Sofas Are Now Possible in California. Health advocates were glad to see California lead the country by offering manufacturers a new flammability test that can be met without using toxic chemicals. This test has also been shown to be more effective in preventing fires! Here's what's changed and tips for looking for a safer sofa.

* The FDA Finally Questions Toxic Triclosan. For decades, critics have said that triclosan (often found in "antibacterial" products) is actually no more effective than plain soap and water. Plus it compromises the health of people and the environment. So it's great to see the FDA finally propose higher standards for these products. Let's voice our approval so the new standards don't get watered down.

* National Toxics Law Reform Is Falling Short. Our national toxics law (TSCA) is largely failing in its mission to protect us from toxics in our everyday products. So I was cheered to see a broad alliance advancing TSCA reform in Congress. But the current proposal there would make things worse. This is a key time for "we the people" to stand up and insist on something better.

* Timely Tips.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

Thank you to December's STEP Stuffers! Your efforts really do help make this project possible.

As always, I am grateful for the help of this month's team of STEP Stuffers ---Judy Wismer, Marilyn Madrone, Sharron Joyce, and Linda Webster. As usual, folks had so much fun gabbing and connecting that they lingered afterwards. Now that's a good sign! Marilyn said, "I come here for my fun" and Judy riffed, "For a good time, call..." :-)

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Savoring the Gift of Local Organic (November 2013)
As the winter holidays come around again, I encourage you to include the bountiful and nourishing Mother Earth in your seasonal embrace. Among the items on my eco-gratitude list are the gift of local organic foods. I love how they fill my body with health and aliveness! Plus I'm thrilled to support local eco-farmers and ecosystems. Even better, I'm grateful that this simple (and delicious!) act helps us address the serious problems in our current food system that are harming our health, communities, and planet. Learn more about this easy way you can be part of the solution, why it matters so much -- and why it's vital to buy both local and organic!

You can read this column in the November issue of the Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl7c.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: November/December 2013 (Click link to download)

* Smoking Out the Reality of E-Cigs. The pitch for electric cigarettes (aka e-cigs) sure sounds appealing. But these largely unregulated devices often include ingredients that can harm both smokers and bystanders. They're not as innocent as they seem!

* Autism & Toxics. Two new studies reveal more about the connections between autism and pre-birth pollutant exposures. By understanding these links, we can help stop future illnesses!

* Decline in Toxic PBDEs Offers Positive Model. Toxic PBDEs are estimated to be in the bodies of 97% of Americans. But a recent UC San Francisco study finds that levels in Californians are dropping because of past state government actions to reduce our exposure. This demonstrates once again that supporting community-level actions is an essential part of protecting ourselves from toxics. So, what are the key community-level actions we can support now to help remove toxics from our products, bodies, and shared environment in the future?

* Timely Tips. Find out how you can identify the toxic materials in your life, discard them, and replace them with less-toxic solutions. Get information on the next Sebastopol Toxics Collection Day. Also, get ideas for detoxing your holidays, and sign up for the STEP email announcement list.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Building Effective Community Teams (October 2013)
Community groups are an essential tool in our work of reclaiming our health, communities, and planet. That's because they help us gather together the "people power" that's needed for bigger changes. And I'm grateful for folks who participate in them. However, they often can have negative dynamics that discourage participation and harm results. Unfortunately, it only takes one person playing by abusive covert Machiavellian rules to spoil the whole project. We can create healthier dynamics, but only if everyone pitches in. I've experienced a wide range of groups, including some amazing teams, and ones that could've been great. From these and other experiences, I've developed what I think are key tips for creating happy interactions, efficient productivity, and meaningful results.

You can read this column in the October issue of the Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl7b.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: September/October 2013 (Click link to download)

* Getting Your Land Ready for Winter. As the season turns towards fall and you start to plan for winter, here are some actions you can take to avoid the use of toxics and create a healthier yard and garden for yourself and your family.

* Clearing Poison Oak. It's also a good time to cut back any poison oak in your property, because the plant's fairly dry now and heading into dormancy. Learn the various ways that you can do this safely and without toxics.

* What Can Go in the Green Curbside Can? And what do you not want to put in there? Here's a handy list, grouped by "yard" and "household."

* Managing Your Weeds. As the saying goes, a weed is just a plant where you don't want it. This article summarizes a variety of non-toxic ways you can manage those rogue plants.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

My article in the Oct. Sonoma County Peace Press: "Understanding Concerns About Community Water Fluoridation"

Here's my introduction to the article:

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is currently exploring a proposal to put fluoridation chemicals into our main water supply. A final vote could happen in the next few months. How do we want them to decide?
 
On the one hand, proponents' claims for community water fluoridation (CWF) do sound appealing. Surely we'd all like to believe that putting something into our shared water supply could improve everyone's dental health; help folks in poverty; save us money; and not harm any people, pets, livestock, crops, wildlife, or ecosystems.
 
However, my conclusion is that these claims are fundamentally not supported by today's science. That's the reason that most industrialized countries have rejected CWF, and many people have taken a public stand against it, including thousands of top scientific experts, dentists, doctors, former Public Health Ministers, Nobel Laureates, and more. Many were once proponents, until they looked below the glossy surface.
 
I think we need to set a very high standard before we put any material into our community's water supply. We should do so only if it's proven 100% safe, effective, and necessary. To me, CWF fails all three tests.

However, some people are being persuaded by the pro-CWF sales pitch. Therefore, it's up to "we the people" to stand up and protect our local water, health, environment, and food supply. A key part of this is understanding and educating others about the foundational problems with CWF.

Continued at www.patriciadines.info/PPF.html.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

The Art of the Yard Sale (August 2013)
If you were thinking about hosting a yard sale this year -- there's still time! Yard sales are a great way to lighten your load, make a little cash, connect with neighbors, and make full use of your discards -- even those items that thrift stores won't take. So how can you hold a successful event? Here are some of the key techniques that I've developed over the years, which can help you save time, attract more visitors, pass along more goodies, earn more money -- and have more fun!

You can read this column in the August issue of the Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl7a.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

The newest Next STEP newsletter is released!

The Next STEP newsletter provides empowering information about toxics and alternatives. I'm the Editor and Lead Writer of the newsletter, which is a City of Sebastopol project, operated by volunteers, and distributed in City water bills. Issues are also available online. You can also contact me if you want to receive email alerts when new editions are published.

Current issue: July/August 2013 (Click link to download)

* Protecting the Bees. I've been delighted to see folks increasingly recognize the importance of bees -- and seek to address the threats to their well-being. After all, these social creatures are vital to growing our tastiest foods. Plus, they're a key species in nature, so their widespread deaths are warning us that our vital eco-support systems are being compromised. Learn more about the current threats, new information about the toxics connection, and the tangible ways you can help protect them.

* The Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion: Reading Behind the Headlines. Often our news offers us just fragments of drama without enough context to really interact with our culture in powerful ways. In this article, I talk about how the Texas fertilizer plant explosion isn't just an isolated headline event, but an example of the serious harm that common materials can do during their lifecycles. This demonstrates once again the far-reaching impacts of our consumer choices -- and thus the power of our healthier choices in helping to create a healthier world!

* Mercury in Local Fish. A recent survery of toxic mercury in our local fish caught everyone by surprise. Learn the news, risks, and causes of mercury in our fish.

* Timely Tips.

You can find answers to your specific questions about toxics and alternatives online! Just check out our online index by topic by clicking here. That page also offers you a chance to browse the descriptions of recent issues, to see what might catch your eye.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

The Rebel & The Status Quo (June 2013)
Often people see themselves as primarily either a traditional rule-follower or a rebel change-agent. Then they can harshly judge other people who they see as being in the other camp. How much time have we spent fighting in this dynamic? However, EcoGirl feels that both these urges are within all of us, that both these roles can bring positive contributions -- and that both can be expressed in negative ways too! By stepping back and getting a better understanding of each of these roles -- and how they can give their gifts more constructively -- we can break free of the harmful part of this pattern and greatly improve the level of our outcomes, both personally and collectively. That's because this understanding can help us be more empathetic of others, bridge viewpoints, combine the value of change and tradition, reduce unnecessary conflicts, and create smarter integrated solutions for our future. Read this piece to explore these ideas further!

You can read this column in the June issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6m.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

My article in the Sonoma County Gazette, "Investigating The Next STEP Mystery"

I invite you to read my light-hearted article about The Next STEP, told like an investigative mystery story.

Here's my introduction to the article:

It comes disguised as a modest newsletter, slipped inside Sebastopol's bimonthly water bills. For over 12 years now, its double-sided page has offered useful information about how folks can avoid our culture's common everyday toxics and choose healthier options instead. It seems innocent enough.

But lurking beneath the exterior of "The Next STEP" newsletter (aka TNS) is a deeper motive. The masthead offers a clue, saying that STEP stands for "Sebastopol Toxics Education Program." The Editor unwittingly reveals that it's an "innovative City-community collaborative project." It's devised, she says, not just to benefit individuals, but also to help residents work together in creating a healthier and safer town.

You can read the full column in the May issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.healthyworld.org/STEP-Mystery.html. Plus that webpage has links to more information about The Next STEP, the Press Democrat article about our fluoridation article, the related Sebastopol City Council meeting, and more.

My article in Pacific Health Magazine: "Understanding Concerns About Community Water Fluoridation"

I was delighted to be invited to write a piece about the problems with community water fluoridation for May's Pacific Health Magazine. This periodical is distributed to health professionals in San Francisco's North Bay!

I had fun writing/developing this information for a medical/scientific audience, because I think they really need to get this information.

I also think that this makes it a useful piece for folks to forward to more mainstream people. (The web version has the article text with citations, plus a PDF scan of the print version.)

Here's my introduction to the article:

The claims for community water fluoridation are certainly appealing. We'd all surely like to believe that putting a material into our shared water supply could improve everyone's dental health; save us more money that it costs; and harm no people, pets, livestock, crops, wildlife, or ecosystems.

Unfortunately, there is a body of scientific evidence that contradicts this idyllic scenario. Among the many public opponents to fluoridation of public water supplies are thousands of top scientific experts, dentists, doctors, former public health ministers, Nobel Laureates, and more. Many of them were formerly proponents of community water fluoridation until they reviewed the science and saw that their positions needed updating. Many industrialized countries have rejected this practice.

The scientific method requires a willingness to re-examine our premises in light of the evidence. Surely we only want to add a chemical to everyone's water if this is the best option and there is incontrovertible evidence of its 100 percent safety and efficacy. Does community water fluoridation (CWF) really meet those standards?

Continued at www.patriciadines.info/PHMF.html.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Action Groups: The First Meeting (May 2013)
Protecting our individual well-being must include acting at the community level, because sometimes that's the best, or even only path, to solution. And community action groups can help us amplify our power there. However, people often start action groups without realizing that they require specific skills. Even folks experienced in other aspects of community work can make basic avoidable errors that harm their cause and rebuff interested people. To help community groups get started on a good foundation, EcoGirl offers her list of six key first meeting errors, and their remedies. May they help improve our overall results!

You can read this column in the May issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6k.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Standing Up to Stop Fluoridation (April 2013)
Unfortunately, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recently took another step towards fluoridating our precious local water supply, even after many community members waited hours on a workday to speak against it. Certainly, the proponent claims for community water fluoridation (CWF) seem appealing, and I think many folks wish that it actually were an easy remedy for community dental health. However, that's not what the science shows, and it's vital that we be willing to look beneath the PR claims. And if we want CWF stopped, we're going to need to build a much larger public outcry against it, and within the next few months. Otherwise, we'll be the ones paying the price -- in our health, environment, and pocketbooks. Learn more of the key facts, with citations, in this column.

You can read this column in the April issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6j.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Skillful Aim For Your Eco-Message (March 2013)
Eco-writing doesn't have to be depressing. In fact, it's more effective when it's not! In this column, EcoGirl lists what she sees as the top harmful eco-communication approaches -- and the key principles we can use instead to encourage cheerful, constructive, and effective eco-action.

You can read this column in the March issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6i.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Should We Fluoridate Our Water? (February 2013)
Over the past few years, a controversy has been brewing in Sonoma County over the proposed addition of fluoride to the water supply for most of our homes, schools, businesses, and restaurants. This issue is coming before the Board of Supervisors again in the next month or two. But isn't fluoride a good thing? The well-meaning proponents do make appealing claims of public dental health benefits, especially for lower-income people. Unfortunately, though, these claims don't match the facts. This isn't the quick fix some want it to be! In this article, EcoGirl outlines what she sees as the core problems with fluoridation, and hopes that this helps Sonoma County reject it and pursue more sensible solutions. (This online version also includes additional supporting data and source links.)

You can read this column in the Feb. issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6h.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Supporting Effective Eco-Action (January 2013)
To protect ourselves and our families, it's vital that we integrate smart eco-behaviors into our everyday lives. However, not every problem can be addressed at an individual level. Thus we also need to regularly support community-level actions. In this column, EcoGirl talks about how we can easily fit that into our busy lives -- and help produce tangible and meaningful results that benefit everyone -- and our shared future. By joining our efforts together, we amplify our power to create a better world!

You can read this column in the Jan. issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6g.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

What Do We Do Now About GMOs? (December 2012)
Unfortunately, California Proposition 37 (GMO labeling) didn't win this election -- largely because of well-funded opposition ads full of GMO manufacturer lies. However, Prop. 37 did succeed in getting over six million votes and alerted many more people to the experimental and hazardous GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) that are increasingly being put into our mainstream food supply. It's exciting to see how many people want to keep taking action against these largely-untested "novel" materials that are putting at risk our food, health, farms, communities, and environment. In this key column, EcoGirl suggests the key priority actions we can take to stand up for our well-being -- plus a few suggested actions that she advises we skip. Please share this with your friends and allies!

You can read this column in the Dec. issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6f.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

Everyday Green: A Pop Quiz (November 2012)
This month, EcoGirl flips the format and asks her readers the eco-questions. Yup, it's time for a Pop Quiz! Here's your chance to see thebigger picture of how you're doing in some key green arenas -- and maybe identify some upgrade opportunties. You can also compare your scores with your family and friends, for a little competitive fun!

You can read this column in the Nov. issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6e.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

October 2012: Vote Yes on Prop. 37 for Labeling of GMO Foods
As expected, the GMO manufacturers have been spending millions of advertising dollars to try to talk voters out of our right to know if GMOs are in our foods. Don't be distracted by their deceptions! The truth is that California Proposition 37 is not complicated or expensive. It will just offer consumers the same right to choose that's enjoyed by people in nearly 50 countries around the world -- 40% of the world's population. People have worked for years to finally give us this opportunity in the U.S. Let's make sure it succeeds. Read this column for the key information to know -- and share it with your friends!

You can read this column in the Oct. issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6d.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

September 2012: Stand Up for GMO Labeling
Coming soon, Californians will have a unique and precious opportunity to stand up for our right to know when our foods contain experimental and hazardous GMOs (aka Genetically Modified Organisms). These hidden materials are shown to harm our health, environment, farms, and communities. Over 40 other countries have GMO labeling. So why don't we? Plus labeling in California will likely open the door to better protections across the U.S. But standing in the way of labeling is expected to be a serious GMO manufacturer propaganda onslaught. To keep this from working, we all need to educate/innoculate ourselves and others on this essential topic! To learn what you can do, read this handy summary and share it with others -- especially in California. This is a key moment on a vital issue!

You can read this column in the Sept. issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6c.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

August 2012: Eco-Organizing Your Stuff
One of my life's personal pleasures and challenges has been that I tend to collect a variety of cool things. It's not that I bring so many items home (well, except paper information), but that I tend to keep them longer to get full use out of them. It's been helpful for me to understand that this keeper side of me comes from some beautiful qualities in me, including curiosity, passion, caring, respect, remembering -- and my eco-values! And I notice that other eco-allies are often savers too. But how can we manage these valued treasures skillfully so that we're not mistaken for hoarders? Eek! I offer here the key tips I've developed for myself over the years, presented in an empowering and compassionate eco-perspective. (The website has more tips and resources beyond the print column.)

You can read this column in the August issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6b.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

July 2012: Building the Electric Highway
As we consider how to better align our activities with the planet's ways and our true shared best interests, a vital but challenging question is how to avoid the harm caused by our petroleum-powered vehicles. One key solution is electric vehicles (EVs), including plug-in hybrids, which can avoid emissions and access eco-friendly energy as it's increasingly put into the electric grid. EVs are finally becoming more available. Learn more about how Sonoma County and California folks are supporting this vision by investing in public charging stations, and thus helping build our electric highway! (Plus EcoGirl is celebrating her 5th anniversary. Woo hoo!)

You can read this column in the July issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6a.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

June 2012: Greening Your Summer Vacation
Summer's here! And with that comes the delight of summer vacations. So how can you honor the earth during your travels? EcoGirl maps it out for you! In this column, she outlines the key principles to keep in mind overall, then identifies specific tangible ways that you can joyfully implement them in your destination choice, lodging, transportation, and activities. Included are a variety of specific options in Sonoma County and the San Francisco North Bay, as well as general resources such as eco-car rental links.

You can read this column in the June issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5i.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

April 2012: Reclaiming Our Shared Power
We all certainly at times can feel hopeless about all the horrible things happening in the world, and wonder if we really can do anything to make a difference. But EcoGirl believes that we have much more power to impact our world and our future than we realize -- as consumers, workers, citizens, and community members. In this column, she gives four key steps for reclaiming that power, in joyful and constructive ways. How exhilarating!

You can read this column in the April issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5h.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

March 2012: Eco-Persuasion
It's a question surely faced by anyone who cares for the earth: how do we persuade other people to take action on eco-issue without making ourselves crazy? In this column, EcoGirl describes a tool she's adopted from the marketing domain to help tailor her message for her audience. When we can empathetically meet people where they are, we'll more likely be able to engage with them both respectfully and effectively.

You can read this column in the March issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5g.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

February 2012: Let's Play The Reuse Game!
In this column, EcoGirl introduces you to her fun new activity, which she calls "The Reuse Game." You might already know that reuse is a key component of reducing our impact on the earth and steering ourselves away from eco-collapse. But we can also have fun doing it! This article has lots of ideas and tips for being creative with your reuse. You can even turn it into a social activity! The web page also has lots more added ideas and resources. How lovely for all of us to get rewarded for treating the earth's gifts with respect!

You can read this column in the February issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5f.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

January 2012: Standing Up for the EPA
Some presidential candidates have said that they'd abolish the EPA, citing supposed benefits to voters. EcoGirl looks deeper and confirms that the facts just don't support these arguments, making this proposal indeed harmful to our health and shared well-being. This article can help you know the facts for yourself and to inform others, so that we can together stand up for the value of an even stronger EPA.

You can read this column in the January issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5e.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

December 2011: From Gratitude to Action
Too often, children can devour their Christmas gifts so quickly that they don't really experience or appreciate each one, let alone the person who gave it. In much the same way, our culture is voraciously turning the earth's amazing ecosystems into momentary objects that we barely notice and quickly become part of our overwhelming piles of waste. To help remedy this, EcoGirl offers some easy ways that we can redirect our actions towards sanity, and through this more fully enjoy the objects and experiences we have, reduce our harm to the precious earth, and help ensure that there will be happy times tomorrow!

You can read this column in the December issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5d.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

November 2011: Honoring Change and Tradition
Like many folks, EcoGirl has been fascinated and thrilled to see people come out onto the streets to call for major changes in our system's structures. These movements offer us a chance for the scale of change that we need to steer ourselves away from so many crises, including eco-collapse. EcoGirl offers her thoughts about how we all can respond constructively to the opportunity of this powerful moment, wherever we are; what she feels is vital for the movement's success; and how the earth's ways can (and must) be included in the new solutions. She also honors the tradition of our winter celebrations by offering organized and helpful lists full of ways that you can honor the earth in all your holiday activities.

You can read this column in the November issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5c.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

October 2011: Creating Sane Group Dynamics
A key way that we can work on eco-issues is through community groups, which allow us to join together in creating a better world. However, these groups are often so fraught with unproductive conflict and covertly harmful personal dynamics that people can shy away from them. Does it have to be that way? Or can we create productive and enjoyable experiences? In this piece, EcoGirl shares her thoughts about how we can constructively take on these groups' inherent challenges in order to build effective teams, move community issues forward, and support our own personal growth!

You can read this column in the October issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5b.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

September 2011: Speaking Effectively for the Earth
A reader asks how she can talk to her uncle, who's opposed to President Obama's recent increase in car mileage standards, because he thinks they're only harmful and that global warming isn't real. EcoGirl offers her two quick links to email him that address his key points, and offers her general suggestions for being persuasive in talking with people about eco-issues.

You can read this column in the September issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl5a.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

August 2011: Reclaiming the Sun as Our Ally
As climate disruption increasingly impacts our everyday lives, and nuclear energy has demonstrated that its risks far outweigh any potential benefits, the question becomes once again: How can we meet our energy needs in eco-friendly ways? A key solution, says EcoGirl, is for us to reclaim the sun as an elemental ally in our quest. Then she offers us a variety of specific creative ways that we can each do just that. After all, the earth receives 20,000 times the energy we use each year, giving us more than enough for our needs. All it takes is for us to put it to use!

You can read this column in the August issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4m.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


I invite you to read my new article in NorthBay biz magazine:

Green Getaways
by Patricia Dines
July 2011
NorthBay biz magazine
How North Bay businesses and visitors are finding fun and opportunity in local eco-tourism.

You can read this article in NorthBay biz's July issue, on various local newstands now. Or click here to go straight to my article online (including the "author's cut" of the text and a PDF of the magazine content with graphics). Enjoy!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

July 2011: Is There Hope for the Planet?
It's easy to feel disheartened seeing all the eco-crises in the world. Is there really hope, or is an early death for the earth just inevitable? EcoGirl answers that there is hope -- to the extent that we take positive actions. That's because the future scenarios aren't black-and-white but a range of outcomes that will unfold in better or worse ways depending on the choices that we make. What's even more exciting though is that we also benefit personally by taking constructive action for the earth and proactively embracing the upcoming changes, because it reduces our pain while creating more fun, aliveness, empowerment, and business opportunity. Why would we choose anything else?

You can read this column in the July issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4k.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

Read my new Peace Press article: Healing Our Culture's Abuse of the Earth, part II

Ah, the long-awaited part II of my article is in the June/July issue of the Sonoma County Peace Press. In it, I describe how we can apply the abuse model to help steer our culture away from eco-disaster and towards eco-survival and happiness.

To find out more about how we might do this, read my article in the June/July Peace Press (page 9) or click here. If you haven't read part I yet, click here. I hope you enjoy this article and find it useful.


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

May 2011: Love Your Local Activist/Change Agent
No matter how bad you think the world is now, imagine how much worse it would be without the change agents (by whatever label or title) who stepped back from their individual lives to imagine and create something better for their communities and our shared future. And yet those of us working for a better world today can often be considered odd ducks in this culture that's so often focused on immediate personal rewards. In this column, EcoGirl speaks up for her team of innovating pioneers, and suggests that a smart culture welcomes and nurtures its change agents, valuing their essential role in steering wisely and avoiding collective disaster. She hopes that you'll be empowered by this perspective -- and share it with others!

You can read this column in the May issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4j.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Read my new Peace Press article: Healing Our Culture's Abuse of the Earth

I was delighted to be invited to write another article for the Sonoma County Peace Press, published by the Sonoma County Peace & Justice Center. The article was for the Earth Day issue, and so I decided to discuss a topic I've been thinking about for a while: how the psychology of abuse is expressed not just in our culture's families but also in our businesses, politics -- and how we treat the beautiful sacred earth. Therefore, I feel that we can apply this model's principles to help steer our culture away from eco-disaster and towards eco-survival and happiness.

To find out more about how we might does this, read my article in the April Peace Press (first page) or click here. I hope you enjoy this article and find it useful.

And thank you so much to the people who support me and my work, including my ongoing development of my writing and my service. I am very moved and grateful. Please know that you are all woven into what I do. Thank you!!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

April 2011: Detoxing Our Products & Our World
How can we truly protect ourselves from the multiple toxics permeating our products, bodies, and world, given the overwhelming evidence that they're threatening both our health and the planet? This column describes some key resources to avoid toxics in our personal lives, as well as two approaches being taken to stop toxics at their source, Green Chemistry and California's Green Chemistry Initiative.

You can read this column in the April issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4j.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

March 2011: Detoxing Cookware
A reader asks how to avoid the toxic PFCs used to make nonstick pans and other consumer products. "What are our options?", she wonders. "Those nonstick pans are so useful!" This month's column describes the issues with PFCs, what products they're in, and how to help reduce our exposure by buying healthier cookware and more.

You can read this column in the March issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4h.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!

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I invite you to read my new article in NorthBay biz magazine:

Profitable Green
by Patricia Dines
February 2011
NorthBay biz magazine
Is it still possible for businesses to be both profitable and green? Regular biz contributor Patricia Dines talks with local business leaders to find out how green is weathering today's economic storms.

You can read this article in NorthBay biz's Feb. issue, on various local newstands now. Or click here to go straight to my article online (including the "author's cut" of the text and a PDF of the magazine content with graphics). Enjoy!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

February 2011: Are Smart Phones Green?
Smart phones, MP3 players, and other mobile devices are sprouting up all over the place. But are they good or bad for the earth? To help answer that question, EcoGirl walks through her assessment process for her latest purchase, the iPod Touch. The web version of this article also has additional information, resources, and app recommendations!

You can read this column in the February issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4g.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


I invite you to read my new article in NorthBay biz magazine:

Navigating Nonprofit Technology
by Patricia Dines
January 2011
NorthBay biz magazine
With budgets and workloads already stretched thin, keeping up with technological innovations can seem like just another task added to the overflowing plates of local nonprofits. But NorthBay biz has found good news about how nonprofits can unlock technology's potential to help them be more effective in their missions.

And when nonprofits benefit, so do we all! They're often the ones that lead in addressing so many shared community issues, from the environment to food security to community health to improving government.

You can read this article in NorthBay biz's Jan. issue, on various local newstands now. Or click here to go straight to my article online (including my version of the text and a PDF of the magazine version with graphics). Enjoy!

I had so much fun creating this story and am so proud of how it came out! I hope that it's fun and useful for you too. Please let me know what you think! And thanks to everyone who contributed to this piece.


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

January 2011: Connecting With Your Eco-Passion
Most of us love the earth, but amidst life's busyness, how do we make sure we follow through with our good intentions to take care of her this year? EcoGirl offers constructive tips for eco-motivating yourself in ways that bypass "should" and shame, and instead are fun, inspirational, and aligned with your other goals in life. Nurturing the earth can be a fun way to nurture YOU!

You can read this column in the January issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4f.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

December 2010: Nurturing Authentic Holiday Green
With so many companies claiming to be green, how do we choose products that are truly better for the earth? EcoGirl can help! Read her column this month for quick and easy tips for buying and being authentically green, this holiday season and all year 'round.

You can read this column in the December issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4e.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Ask EcoGirl's newest column is available

The newest Ask EcoGirl has been released and is ready for your viewing.

November 2010: Sipping Earth-Friendly Holiday Cheer
Does it really make a difference if we serve and bring eco-wines to our holiday events? Yes! Here are the reasons that they're indeed better for both your health and the planet. And they're tasty too! EcoGirl also gives you tips for sorting through the eco-labels to find ones you like -- and even lets you in on her local favorites!

You can read this column in the November issue of the wonderful Sonoma County Gazette, or at www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl4d.html. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, receiving email alerts for future columns, and including the informative and empowering EcoGirl column in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


I invite you to read my new (cover!) article in NorthBay biz magazine:

True Green
Moving beyond greenwashing to create authentic eco-success

EcoGirl Patricia Dines helps NorthBay biz readers see beyond enticing green façades to uncover the products and approaches that support true environmental change.
Everywhere we turn, it seems we're bombarded with ads for green products, services, political candidates, ballot measures and more. How on earth can we identify the ones we want to support while dodging the greenwashers -- those coated only with a superficial green veneer to coax us out of our hard-earned money and votes? More importantly, how do we accurately describe our own company's level of green without overstating it and risking the wrath of the green-savvy marketplace?

You can read this article in NorthBay biz's Aug. issue, on various local newstands now. Or click here to go straight to my article online (including my version of the text and a PDF of the magazine version with graphics). Enjoy!

I had so much fun creating this story and am so proud of how it came out! I hope that it's fun and useful for you too. Please let me know what you think! And thanks to everyone who contributed to this piece.


My new Green Scene column in NorthBay biz

I invite you to read my Green Scene column in the March NorthBay biz magazine, on newstands now or at this link, "A Deeper Shade of Green." This piece gives you a look into Petaluma's Sonoma Compost Company (SCC) and it's organic community composting operation. For 25 years, SCC has been diverting yard and ag waste from the landfill and turning it into useful organic composts and mulches. Yes, this is where your green can waste goes!


My new article in Sonoma-Marin Farm News

I invite you to read my article in the Feb. Sonoma-Marin Farm News, "Sonoma Compost: Celebrating 25 Years." This piece gives you a peek behind the scenes at the wonderful Sonoma Compost Company, which for 25 years has been diverting yard and ag waste from the landfill and turning it into useful organic composts and mulches that nurture local farms and gardens.

Editor feedback

"Dear Patricia -- Thanks for the story on Sonoma Compost. It's a great read that our readers will find both interesting and educational. We are happy to have the work of a pro and welcome further stories by you on topics related to the agricultural industry in Sonoma and Marin Counties."
Tim Tesconi, Editor Sonoma-Marin Farm News, Previously Ag Staff Writer for the Press Democrat (33 years)

Read my new article in NorthBay biz magazine:



Green Pinstripes
Bringing sustainability to the executive suite...

NorthBay biz talks with three "sustainability officers" to find out what such a job entails and how, little by little, they're helping North Bay companies reduce costs and save the environment.

... To learn more, we talked with three local pioneers: Lynelle Cameron, director of sustainability for San Rafael's Autodesk; Geof Syphers, CSO for Rohnert Park's Codding Enterprises; and Colby Eierman, director of sustainability for Glen Ellen's Benziger Family Winery.


You can read this article in NorthBay biz's Feb. issue, on various local newstands now. Or click here to go straight to my article. For the main Green Issue link, click here. Enjoy!

I had so much fun creating this story and learning more about what these folks are doing, and I hope you have fun reading it too. Please let me know what you think!

(And thanks to everyone who contributed to this piece, including Ryn Longmaid for the original title and idea spark!)



Announcing my new "insanely useful" Ask EcoGirl booklets

Eco-information is everywhere, but there's way too much to digest.

We're all drowning in eco-information -- and our overwhelm can keep us from acting. Where do we start? What are the most useful actions to take? How do we integrate this into our everyday lives?

Never fear -- Ask EcoGirl is here!

EcoGirl understands -- and comes to the rescue! She does the research for you, pulling together the key information that you need to move into action and get the results you need. This is the fast lane to a healthier life for you and the planet.

Booklet titles available

* Detoxing Your Life: Assessing & Reducing Your Exposure to Everyday Toxics

* Healthier Housecleaning: Easy, Less-toxic, & Cheaper Ways to Create a Sparkling Home

To find out how to order your very own copies of these "insanely useful" booklets, and be informed when new ones are released, click here.

EcoGirl: Making it easy to be green!

Reader feedback

"What impresses me is that it is SO comprehensive for such a small booklet. Often I see a flyer on one or two topics, but you have packed so much in this, plus given larger principles about how to think of these things. You give simple suggestions that anyone can follow and move themselves forward in the ecological movement -- and feel good about it.  You make it appealing to do, not a burden."

Don Scully, MFT


I have lots of great tips for greening your holidays!

First, you can peruse my current and past Ask EcoGirl columns, at www.AskEcoGirl.info/AEcolumns.html. I also have lots of great ideas at www.healthyworld.org/ecoholidays.html. I hope that you have fun exploring and find useful ideas. And please share your own tips with me as well. I love hearing other people's success stories.

May we all help create happy holidays for all!


Read my new article in NorthBay biz magazine: Seeking Fulfillment

Hi all -- My second article for NorthBay biz magazine is out! In this piece, I delved into a completely new topic for me: the story behind last May's stunning crash of market pioneer New Vine -- and what it revealed about the quietly booming market for third-party wine shippers.

With wine store shelf space very limited, wineries would like to reach customers directly, However, they're often stopped by complex and restrictive state shipping laws. Coming to the rescue are third-party wine shippers who navigate the shipping lanes behind the scenes, often in creative ways, thus giving wineries access to more sales.

This story was a fun chance for me (and I hope my readers) to learn more about the local wine industry, including this successful segment, as well as explore different models for reaching customers. I hope you find it of interest too!

You can read this article in NorthBay biz's new special Wine Issue, on various local newstands. Look for the wine glass on front. Or click here to go straight to my article on my website, which includes a scan of the article as published with graphics. Enjoy!

- Patricia


My TV appearance went great!

On Aug. 19, I was a guest on "The View From The Bay," a daily TV talk show on San Francisco's ABC station KGO. It's hosted by Spencer Christian and Janelle Wang and produced live in San Francisco.

Being on the show was lots of fun! I was delighted to share both my approach to eco-action (by inspiring and empowering folks to make a difference) and to offer their viewers some easy eco-tips. Plus folks heard about my Ask EcoGirl column and were invited to my presentations at the Napa Fresh Aire Festival, August 28-30.

For more about my appearance, including screen shots and a link to the video, see www.patriciadines.info/m_ViewBay081909.html


I had fun at the Napa Fresh Aire Festival Aug. 28-30!

I was glad to have a chance to talk with others about issues of health, the environment and more! For more info, see www.patriciadines.info/m_NFA0809.html


Read my new article in NorthBay biz magazine: Financing a Greener World

Learn more about Sonoma County's innovative SCEIP program, which offers government financing for increasing the energy or water efficiency of a home or business. It'll also finance solar and other alternative energy projects! These projects can save us money, improve our property's value -- and are vital to reducing our impact on the planet.

You can either see this in the August issue of this monthly magazine, or click here. (And thanks Cassandra for your help scanning the article!)


Read my new Peace Press article: Uprooting the Environmental Causes of Poverty & War

I was delighted to be invited to write about the environment for the Sonoma County Peace Press, published by the Sonoma County Peace & Justice Center. One of my passionate topics is the connection between environmental and social justice issues -- another chance for us to see that saving the earth is saving us humans too! This piece uses as an example the story of the Nigerian people and their journey with the oil industry.

To read the article, see the August Peace Press (page 5) or click here. (My web version also has bonus links for more information on the topics discussed!) I hope that you enjoy this article and find it of interest.

And thank you so much to the people who encourage and support me and my work, my ongoing development of my writing and my service. I am very moved and grateful. Please know that you are all woven into what I do. Thank you!!


Read the new interview with Patricia Dines on planetshifter.com

Patricia Dines was recently interviewed by Willi Paul of planetshifter.com. Read more at www.planetshifter.com/node/1244

EXCERPTS

"My vision is that EcoGirl will fly across the country, spreading her eco-empowerment to all!"

"(With my eco-writing and public speaking), I've been innovating different ways of relating to people -- by being inspiring, empowering, and useful -- and getting people excited about being part of the solution!"


** Become an Official Facebook EcoGirl Fan **
Stay connected to EcoGirl, and support her goals, by becoming an official Facebook EcoGirl fan. It's easy -- just click here <www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl>.

p.s. Note the new easier direct address -- who hoo! Note: It isn't case sensitive.


My new lead article "Greening Your Home -- With No Money Down"

On the surface, Sonoma County's new $100 million Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) seems simple enough, offering property owners government financing to install solar equipment and improve energy and water efficiency.

Yet, hiding beneath this mild-mannered exterior, lies a powerful tool to help us solve some of our most urgent shared problems. I've been watching this program emerge for a while, so I'm delighted to finally be able to tell you about its special features.

To read this article and find out more, see the April issue of the wonderful West County Gazette, which features this article on its cover. Or click here to see both text and PDF versions of the article.


I'm speaking at the March 28 Sustainability Conference

You're invited to my talk at the Sat. March 28 Sustainability Conference. It's being held at 1:45 at Nit's Thai House in Guerneville (just east of town).

My talk is titled "Detoxing Your Life." My goal is to support folks in nurturing the health of themselves, their families, and our shared ecosystem by reducing exposure to everyday toxics. I'll be offering a systematic approach I've developed for identifying the everyday toxics in all areas of your life, prioritizing the ones you want to reduce, and making a plan for doing so. We don't have to be powerless to the hidden toxics in consumer products! In addition to personal actions, I'll also take a look at community-level actions.

Bring your specific questions! I've been researching and writing about this topic for many years, including writing The Next STEP newsletter which gently educates people about everyday toxics and effective alternatives. I'll also be very interested to hear people's feedback on the model!

For a full conference schedule, see

http://sustainableconference.sc5.info/CONFERENCESHEDpublic2web.htm

I look forward to seeing you there!


My article alerts email list

If you want to receive email alerts when my articles are published, just email that request to me at <caphealthyworld [at] yahoo.com>. I won't use your email address for anything else.

I hope that you find my writing of interest, and that it serves our greater connection with nature's wise ways. Thank you to everyone who supports my work in the world; you truly do help make it possible.


I'm now on Facebook

How fun! (Thanks to Rachel Balunsat for encouraging me to do this.)

Oh, and for those folks interested in such things -- I'm also on LinkedIn, atwww.LinkedIn.com/in/PatriciaDines


Ask EcoGirl Flies Again -- In HopeDance!
Ask EcoGirl is appearing once again in the wonderful HopeDance magazine, with the column,"Taming Our Tiny Ant Friends." Yes, we can protect our homes without resorting to toxic sprays. Here's how!

View this column in the January/February issue of HopeDance and at <www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl2e.html>. Plus that webpage has information about sending questions to EcoGirl, being informed about future columns, and including the wonderful EcoGirl in your periodical.

Click on Published Columns to see all previous columns -- and future possible ones. Your input and requests are most welcome!


Patricia's Poem Published in the Wonderful We'Moon
One of my poems has been published in the 2009 We'Moon datebook. (We'Moon suggests the notion of women being related to the moon and its cycles.) I'm honored to be part of this beautiful best-selling goddess-inspired calendar, which brings forward wonderful words and images that honor the poetry of aligning with the Earth's sacred ways. Click here for more about We'Moon, including ordering their upcoming calendars and other products.


Lead Article: "Delighting in Our Delicious Local Farms"
The cover of the May West County Gazette features my lead article, "Delighting in Our Delicious Local Farms." The Editor, Vesta, asked me to write this piece, wanting to lead with something that was both fun and informative, which she knows I love to do. With my piece in hand, she did a beautiful job of laying it out. We've both been delighted to hear the enthusiastic reader feedback as well as see the issue fly off newstands -- with some places running out in just a few days! Yay team!! (Of course, she has lots of other wonderful articles in there too. She's great at bringing forward a diversity of interesting voices and info.)

You can view this article in the May issue of the West County Gazette. To download the PDF, click here.

Reader feedback

"Excellent articles Patricia -- and fun to read! Congratulations on the colorful front page placement and thanks for continuing to make a difference for the masses by educating via your passion and talent for writing. EcoGirl will soon be flying into other communities and publications, I can feel it.Good luck with her."
Melissa Weaver, Educator, Enhanced Health Systems

Patricia's EcoNews Blog (Reborn, In a New Updated Format!)

Here's a totally personal selection of news stories that I think are especially relevant for those of us who want a better world for all. Topics include the environment, energy, health, toxics, organics, the economy, true democracy, and community. Plus I include a little personal commentary along the way!


Your ideas and information invited for an article I'm working on:

Green consultants -- I'm looking for those in Sonoma County who offer to help a homeowner or small business be more green. I'm also interested in the experiences of those who've used such services, and the questions of those who would like to. Just email me at pd [at] patriciadines.info with your thoughts. Thanks!


What the Latest News About Organics Really Means
Scary headlines and inaccurate articles are clouding consumers ability to understand what's really going on right now. Click here to get the straight facts so you can make wise choices and take meaningful actions.


We Had Fun at the Harmony Festival

Patricia Dines was part of the Global Cooling Panel at the (wonderful!) Harmony Festival, Sunday June 10, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. It was fun to connect with folks and spread the word about the joy we can feel when we make a positive difference in the world.

The Festival is presented annually and has lots of fun people, information, products, music, and more. They call it "Northern California's Premier Music, Camping & Sustainable Lifestyle Festival." It's offerings include "World Class Music & Speakers on multiple stages for 3 Days and 3 Nights of Entertainment, Arts, Ecology& Healthful Living." This year's theme is "Promoting Global Cooling." For more information, see www.harmonyfestival.com.


Sebastopol Peak Oil Report Released
Patricia Dines was Executive Editor & Report Coordinator of the report, "Charting a Path for a New Energy Future for Sebastopol."

This report was produced for the Sebastopol City Council by the Sebastopol Citizens Advisory Group on Energy Vulnerability (CAGE). The purpose was to help the City explore how to maintain public services in the face of anticipated significant energy supply shortfalls (aka peak oil). Sebastopol was one of the world's first cities to take formal public action to explore this issue (just as it was one of the first U.S. cities to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions).

CAGE spent over a year in focused research and analysis, understanding the facts and possible scenarios, exploring innovative and realistic ways to approach these issues, and understanding the workings of Sebastopol's operations. The resulting report was presented to the City Council by Ms. Dines on April 3, 2007. All Councilmembers was warmly appreciative of the quality of the information and usefulness of the report.

Click here for the resume page summarizing the report and the responses. This page includes a link to an article about this report and a link to the final report.

Thank you to everyone in CAGE and beyond who contributed to this report's successful completion, and to the Sebastopol City Council for seeking to look forward and act proactively in the best interests of the community.



The photograph of Patricia Dines at the top of this page is by Chris Stewart, San Francisco Chronicle.
This entire website is (c) Patricia Dines, 1998-2017. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 3/17/17.
http://www.patriciadines.info/i_whatsnews.html