Laurel Peltier

Laurel Peltier writes the environment GreenLaurel column every Thursday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.

Climate Change: Why the Numbers 450 and 7 Matter

from 'Chasing Ice'
from ‘Chasing Ice’

Have you ever looked back at a situation and wished you’d had some key information? Those little bits of knowledge that would probably have led to a different decision? 

In the hopes of sharing some key info and fending off future regret, you might be interested in climate change’s two critical numbers: 450 and 7.  Paying attention to these two numbers and knowing their future impact on your life may influence decisions you make today, and possibly drive better outcomes tomorrow.

Tips on Recycling Your Christmas Tree


TreeSniff, sniff.  It’s time to bid farewell to your Christmas tree, if you haven’t already. Read on for tips on how to recycle your Christmas tree in Baltimore.

Recycling Burned-Out Holiday Lights

Recycle your used holiday lights at MOM's Organic Market in Timonium.
Recycle your used holiday lights at MOM’s Organic Market in Timonium.

Finally, a place to recycle all those dead holiday tree string lights!

MOM’s Organic Market in Timonium has a great Recycle Center that not only accepts shoes, batteries and corks, but also collects incandescent holiday string lights until January 31, 2015.  MOM’s Organic Market sends the lights to a recycler who shreds the lights and then separates into PVC, glass and copper. Last year the environmentally-focused retailer collected over 64,000 feet of lights. MOM’s Organic Market will even offset your roundtrip to the store by purchasing carbon credits through TerraPass.

Fracking’s Air Pollution: Disgusting, Toxic and Legal

This massive fracking well is ~15 acres and is located at the top of a flattened mountain in Doddridge County, W.V. Trucks get to well by driving up a narrow 2 mile country road lined with about 40 homes.

“What’s that smell?”

I asked that question when I caught a whiff of metallic gas while standing in Lyndia’s front yard.  Her house is four hours west of Baltimore in West Union, a town in Doddridge County, West Virginia. Ten active fracking wells sit within one mile of her home.

Doddridge County is a hot spot in our country’s fracking boom. I visited the fracking fields there last June to learn first-hand what it’s like to be a “fracking neighbor.” I define fracking neighbor as someone who lives near a natural gas hydrofracturing, a.k.a. fracking, well. According to the Wall Street Journal, 15.3 million people live within one mile of a fracking well. In only nine years, five percent of Americans are now fracking neighbors, and that’s because 100,000 fracking wells have been drilled across 31 states. 

Giveaway! Body Shop’s Colour Crush Nails Collection

Body Shop's "5-free" Colour Crush Nails collection leaves out 5 nasty chemicals.
Body Shop’s “5-free” Colour Crush Nails collection leaves out 5 nasty chemicals.

You did read our How Green is Your Mani-Pedi? post, right?  Now that you are more informed about the toxins not in your nail polish, it’s time to give eco-friendly nail products a try and The Body Shop is here to help.  With the company’s tagline, “Beauty with Heart,” the Body Shop is known for keeping people, animals and the planet in mind when developing personal care products.

Leave a comment below to enter the Baltimore Fishbowl Body Shop Colour Crush Nails Collection Giveaway. Three winners will be chosen on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.  Each kit will be mailed to the winner and will include eight Colour Crush nail varnishes, a Body Shop Gentle Nail Filer, a Body Shop Nail Art Pen and the much gentler and new Sweet Almond Oil Nail Varnish Remover. The gift basket is worth $90 at Body Shop stores.

How Green is Your Mani-Pedi?

Body Shop's Colour Crush Nails line has 24 colors and is a "5-free" formulation excluding some nasty chemicals.
Body Shop’s Colour Crush Nails line has 24 colors and is a “5-free” formulation excluding some nasty chemicals.

Every two weeks or so, many women take part in a satisfying beauty ritual: the mani-pedi.  But what’s in those shiny and colorful nail polishes? Are there any chemicals to avoid?  Though you won’t find a chemical-free nail polish or remover, smart brands have developed some that work without toxins.

How to Donate & Recycle ANYTHING in Baltimore



It’s going to be chilly this Thanksgiving weekend making it an ideal time to clean and purge your closets and clutter. But where are the best places to donate or recycle your discards, even the weird stuff like those golf clubs, art supplies or gardening tools?

Help is on the way! Check out the How to Recycle or Donate ANYTHING in Baltimore Guide. Also find tips on effectively and safely using the free web site to give away literally anything. That used soaker hose and oddball table really are someone else’s treasure. 

Join B’more Solar Energy Co-op and Save Big

Baltimore Interfaith Solar Co-op gest area solar buyers deep discounts by buying as one group. Now that's kumbaya harmony.
Baltimore Interfaith Solar Co-op helps buyers get deep discounts by buying as one group.

If you’ve had the slightest inkling that solar-powered electricity may work for your home, you should check out the Baltimore Interfaith Solar co-op. The solar co-op was created by two very cool non-profits, Interfaith Power & Light and Community Power Network, and any Baltimore City and Baltimore County homeowner can join until November 30th.

The co-op’s mission is simple: help bring affordable renewable energy to everyday homeowners. By bringing a bunch of solar buyers together and bidding as one group, the co-op’s recent fall bid netted a 30 percent discount as compared to buying a system on your own.

Dominion’s Cove Point: Poised to Open the Door to Fracking in Maryland

Maryland walks the fracking plank.
Soon, a shipping tanker will dock at Dominion’s Cove Point natural gas facility pier in Lusby, MD and bring U.S. fracked gas to Asia. So much for energy independence.

As Marylanders have been pushing for wind energy, installing compact fluorescent lightbulbs and shelling out storm water and ‘flush’ fees to clean the Chesapeake Bay, our federal government approved a massive energy project here in Maryland that couldn’t be farther from “eco-friendly.”

Filtering Baltimore’s Drinking Water: It’s Worth the Trouble


IMG_2895Charm City has darn good tap water which is so nice to know because more of us are hitting the tap and forgoing plastic bottled water.  You should also know it’s smart to filter your home’s tap water because it contains unavoidable chlorine byproducts that form between the water plant and your tap. The good news is that simple carbon filters help make your water healthy and tasty and many convenient options are available.