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Living Green in 2012

Jon Wittle

10. All-natural homemade treats…but not what you think: Etsy is a great website to find—or sell—handmade or vintage items. It's a marketplace for small businesses (many of them momtrepreneurs working from home) aimed at changing commerce to make it more fair, sustainable, and fun. And there is a vibrant green community within Etsy: Find these vendors by using tags such as “recycled,” “upcycled,” “repurposed,” and, of course, “eco-friendly” and “organic.”

11. Dishwashers that save energy—and the family budget: One of the most buzzed-about trends at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show was smart appliances that tell you the least expensive times to cook or clean. Smart refrigerators monitor daily use and climatic conditions, and adjust the temperature accordingly to keep foods fresh. I'm particularly impressed by GE's Brillion series of appliances. To avoid those energy-zapping wash cycles, the Brillion washer (below), with the help of your home's smart meter, runs during low-cost hours. You can even monitor the appliances' energy usage from an iPhone app. (geappliances.com)

12. My new favorite holiday: Food Day (October 24; foodday.org) celebrates healthy food produced in a sustainable, humane way. Last year there were 2,300 events across 50 states, including an “eat-in” in Times Square with Mario Batali. For adults, it's about supporting “real food” policy. (Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree used Food Day 2011 to announce a bill that assists small and midsize farms.) For children, it's about their health and well-being. A typical child's diet commonly increases the waistline and blood pressure, and puts the arteries on the road to heart disease. Food Day is helping change that.2,300 Food Day events across 50 states!

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