In this installment of Ethical Exploits, contributor Matt Lara deals with a lot of liquids - from the oceans that float Sea Shepherd to unclogging your drain without dumping deadly chemicals into the water  - and from homemade grapefruit juice and ethical bathroom cleaners to soda that funds dog shelters. These every-day tips and tricks are always tested, tried and true by Matt, himself. .


by Matt Lara

He Sells Sea Scarves

I was able to score a sample one of these awesome scarves designed by a friend of mine. They are handmade and great for mild spring weather. The skull design may look familiar to you, as it's the logo for Sea Shepherd. If you haven’t heard of Sea Shepherd yet, they are one of the ballsiest groups out there. With help from such folks like Bob Barker and Ady Gil, they utilize direct-action in helping maintain natural ocean ecosystems. Much of their work was shown on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars. These scarves really do grab attention and provide the perfect opportunity for everyday advocates to spread awareness on such an incredible group. Check out the goods (coming soon!!!) here.

Drain Drama

I had a pesky clog in my bathroom sink, and rather than continue to buy expensive and nasty chemical un-cloggers, I decided to do some research on more natural (and cheaper) ways to put my sink at ease. It turns out you don’t need much more than baking soda, vinegar, and water. And you may just need some good, old’ fashioned elbow grease with a plunger.

I sprinkled about ¼ cup baking soda into the drain, and then poured in 1 cup of vinegar. The two components fizz and help loosen the grime lodged in there. Remember the fizzing action from that volcano you made in the grade school science fair?

The verdict: I had to repeat this process twice. The sink still seemed to be clogged and draining slowly, so I went at it with the plunger. Lots of gunk came out into the sink, so I cleaned that up then repeated the process one last time. My sink drains beautifully now. Apparently, flushing regularly with boiling hot water helps keep clogs clear as well. So, there’s yet another home solution without crazy chemicals, and far less harm done to aquatic ecosystems.

You can check out more detailed instructions here.

Method Acting

O, Method…how do I love thee? Why is that I get a little giddy when a refill for your foamy hand soap comes in a more earth-friendly pouch rather than yet another plastic bottle?  I get ever so joyful from using your daily shower spray to help keep the shower from getting mildew—and to help make the big clean-ups far more manageable. And, I was so electrified to hear that your newest line of laundry detergent comes in a super-concentrated formula that pumps straight into the washer. Yes, you pump—as in, no more pouring to some mysterious fill line on a plastic cup. I know you love me too, from your letter to me (your loyal patron) on your website:

this is the product

“method was founded on the vision that business could be an agent of positive change and a source of solutions to social and environmental problems. The first step of this vision is the responsibility to ensure that our products truly strive for sustainability - from the safety of the materials they are made from, to the ways that they are made and shipped, to the partners we work with in our supply chain.”

From the way I’m acting, you’d think I had just discovered how affordable your products are. Which gives all the more reason to love thee. Let me count the ways…

Fresh and Fruity

Good, healthy whole foods—who says they have to be fancy? Most of the time, the simplest way is the best way. The theory of Occam's razor should have a supplemental cookbook. Something as easy as a fruit plate is yummy, and provides more than enough vitamins and minerals. In fact, nature designed fruit to be appealing to mammals like us, in hopes we'd carry off the seeds and help spread their genes. Check out these amazing grapefruits from my neighbor’s tree. I was never a grapefruit fan until I juiced these giant beauties and sweetened with a tad of maple syrup. Enjoy reading about the healthy benefits of a simple grapefruit.

This Post is Going to the Dogs…

Hey New Yorkers, love your doggies? Wanna spoil them? Check out Anything Pawsible at the Ninth Avenue Street Fair this weekend. My good friend Vincent Gerrard (a veteran actor/producer) created this portable pet store. They specialize in one-of-a-kind pet items, along with organic treats and eco-friendly toys. Their goal is 100% green.

If you stop by their booth this weekend, any purchase of a toy, shirt, bandana or pet treat helps fund Broadway Barks, the annual pet adoption celeb-event. A few Broadway stars will be manning the Anything Pawsible booth:

  • • Saturday, 5/15 12pm -1pm: Tony nominee Jan Maxwell now starring in Lend Me a Tenor
  • • Sunday 5/16 12pm -1pm: Tony nominee Kevin Chamberlin now starring as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and Dashaun Young now playing Simba in The Lion King.
  • • More info on the street fair here.

And if you’re on the west coast…I stumbled upon this sweet little root beer company called Margo’s Bark. is an all-natural cane sugar soda. I know, again with the carbs Matt, but all those summer barbeques are on the way, and this stuff is great. And what makes it even greater is that 100% of the profits from Margo’s Bark goes to supporting dogs in city shelters. The taste is sweet, happy, and fizzy sans the junk you get in mainstream sodas like phosphoric acid, preservatives, and corn syrup. If you’re going to have that once-in-a-blue-moon soda pop, why not help our furry friends get a forever home? Margo’s Bark is available at these locations.