John Sarbanes, U.S. Congressman from Maryland ...

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Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland blogged on Earth Day about reintroducing a piece of legislation entitled ‘No Child Left Inside’. This would aim more government funding towards school programs that are environmentally focused and would help students become ‘environmentally literate’.

Besides teaching the next generation to make the environment a priority year round, Sarbanes states that, “Robust environmental education is a down payment to grow the next generation of scientists, promote environmental stewardship, and encourage Americans to live healthier lifestyles”.  Curriculum that would lead students and teachers outdoors during the school day would also help counteract the increasing time young people spend indoors due to video games and the internet. Click here for the full article.

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Runoff flowing into a stormwater drain

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Earlier this week, Bruce Dorries, member of Friends of the Middle River and professor at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton stepped up on WMRA’s ‘civic soap box’ to warn us about the environmentally damaging consequences of a neglected septic system. Listen to the audio here!

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Several downtown Staunton stores and empty storefronts will boast a “green” theme for the month of April as part of Staunton Downtown Development Association’s Earth Day and Easter activities.  Volunteers from Stuart Hall School and the Engage Outreach Team from Calvary Baptist Church started installing decorative paintings on several empty storefronts April 6.  The following participating merchants will also be highlighting all things “green” in their store windows, some with the assistance of Mary Baldwin College Alumni:

17 East Beverley Antiques 17 E. Beverley St.

Crown Jewelers 6 E. Beverley St.

The Museum Store 20 S. New St.       

Downtown at the Clock Tower 27 W. Beverley St.

Wilderness Adventure 50 Middlebrook Ave.

Black Dog Bikes 121 S. Lewis St.

Pampered Palate 28 E. Beverley St.

Sacred Circle 112 E. Beverley St.

H.L. Lang & Co. Jewelers 11 W. Beverley St.


Windows will remain throughout the month of April.


This Earth Day, The Nature Conservancy is encouraging people to eat smart, locally, and sustainably by participating in Picnic for the Planet. On April 22, 2011 people all over the planet will be stepping outside to enjoy green dining and great people.

Think of it as an opportunity to take the planet out for lunch for all it has done for us. RSVP to a picnic or sign up to have an event in your area by going to The Nature Conservancy online.

Green Cleaning products are not only healthier for the earth, they’re healthier for you too!  If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on pre-packaged eco-friendly cleaning products why not make your own.

If you have these 12 items you have everything it takes for most household jobs with minimum environmental impact: Water, Baking Soda, White Vinegar, Salt, Lemon, Vegetable Oil, Mineral Oil, Boraic Powder (Borax), Rubbing Alcohol, Corn Meal or Starch, Talc Powder, Club Soda.

Here are some recopies to get you started:

Odor Elimination: Use baking soda in the refrigerator to keep out odor. To clean out your garbage disposal simply drop a half of lemon and some baking soda into the disposal and run it with cold water and it will clean itself out.

All Purpose Cleaner: Mix a gallon of water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a 1/2 cup of white vinegar.

Carpet/Upholstery Cleaner: Combine 3 quarts of boiling water with 1 quart of white vinegar, 1 cup of boric powder, and 2 cups of corn meal. Vacuum before you treat the area, then apply the mixture, then vacuum again. If it’s a fresh spill use Club Soda.

Coffee or Tea Stains: Use a mixture of water, baking soda, and salt.

Squeaking Door Hinges: Simply use mineral oil.

Windows Cleaner: Mix 1 quart of water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and lemon juice. Mix it, spray it on your windows, and dry with a newspaper. If there is greasy residue use rubbing alcohol.

Grass Stains: Apply rubbing alcohol liberally then wash.

Grease or Oil Stains: Use Corn meal, corn starch, or Talc powder on the stain. Rub it in, let it set, and then brush or sponge away.

Laundry Softener: Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle.

Linoleum Cleaner: Mix 2 gallons of water with 1 cup of white vinegar to clean.

Silver Polish: Mix water and baking soda into a paste.

Mildew/Mold: Use a scrub brush to apply a combination of white vinegar, salt, and boric powder.

Pots/Pans/Oven Cleaner: Use baking soda and salt. (Don’t use in self-cleaning ovens)

Pet Urine: Use a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar to

dampen the stain then blot dry.

Vinyl Cleaner: Use equal parts water and rubbing alcohol.

Wood Polish: Use 1 part lemon juice and 2 parts vegetable oil to rub on and off.

Do you have any favorite homemade cleaning recipes? Share them below! Happy green cleaning, everyone!