April is officially Earth Month, but why not make every month Earth Month?
This years Earth Month theme is “Our Planet In Peril”.There are so many important issues plaguing our global environment, including climate change and air pollution. It’s time to step it up and for each of us to make conscious changes that will ultimately have a big impact on our planet.
Let’s focus on the earth every day together. Here are a few ideas to help you get started during Earth Month.
Remember Those Reusable Bags
I’m still working on this one, but I’ve come a long way. I try to keep several reusable bags on the passenger side of the car so I have easy access. I also keep smaller bags with me for trips to the pharmacy, bookstore or any other store.
Take a Waste-Free Lunch to School
Children’s lunches create more than 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year, which amounts to a crazy 18,760 pounds of trash annually from an average sized elementary school. That’s a lot of waste. Making a lunch box zero-waste through the use of reusable products will minimize the amount of garbage kids create through their school lunch. Check out some of my favorite waste-free lunch gear HERE.
Recycle Your Waste
It’s easy! Tom’s of Maine has partnered with TerraCycle®to provide a second life for empty and used toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, floss containers, mouthwash bottles, soap packaging, and antiperspirant and deodorant containers. They can be any brand. For information on how to join this free program click HERE. In 2014, volunteers kept 11,000 pounds of personal care packaging out of landfills. Big kudos to Tom’s of Maine, who gives 10% of their profits back to helping people and the planet.
Walk, Bike or Skateboard to School Instead of Driving
Now that the weather has finally warmed up we’re going to try to take advantage of the nice days by cycling to school as much as we can. This is a tough one for us since much of the path to school doesn’t have a sidewalk, but we’re giving it a try! It’s a great way to get some exercise before having to sit in a classroom all day. It’s also a great way to help improve air quality – less cars on the road emitting toxic chemicals into the environment.
Make Every Day Earth Day
How are your joining in the Earth Month fun this April…..and every day?
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Disclaimer: I work in partnership with Tom’s of Maine as a Goodness Circle Blogger and I am compensated for my work and receive products to test . The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like.
In my everyday life I work hard to care for my little corner of the earth. I’m not perfect, but I try to make a difference. Whether it’s recycling, eating organic foods or supporting companies that share my views, I continue to plug along-taking baby steps towards making the world a better place.
Being green on vacation takes effort
I just landed from an incredible family vacation. Incredible in the sense that we just spent 10 days hanging out, eating well, watching the sun set and doing a whole lotta nothing-together. What I noticed on this vacation is how easy it was to place most of my efforts to make the world a better place on hold.
Being green on vacation seems to be counter-intuitive. Vacation is for relaxing and letting go of all effort. So why does it take so much more of an effort to be green and make eco-friendly choices?
I think it comes down to being outside of our normal routine. Also, I’m relaxed and just plain lazy on vacation. Isn’t that a sign that the vacation is doing its job?
Now that I’m home I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my eco-errors and make a list of all the things I could have done to make this vacation, and all vacations, greener. I’m bringing this list with me next vacation!
How to have a green vacation
Bring reusable bags
There’s always enough room in the suitcase for a few reusable bags. We did a lot of grocery shopping this trip and it would have been nice to have my arsenal of reusable bags on hand.
Pack reusable water bottles
We all know that you can’t bring liquids through security. The solution is to pack a few empty reusable water bottles for the family. When you arrive at your destination fill them up and use them for the duration of the trip. Say goodbye to those plastic water bottles that are calling your name in every airport.
Conserve those towels and sheets
Many hotels have sheet and towel cards asking guests to consider not having sheets and towels changed every day. I don’t change my towels and sheets every day at home so why would I need that service on vacation? What a simple way to conserve water and energy.
Our room didn’t have any recycling options. It would have been simple to designate one of the garbage cans as a recycling bin to use throughout our stay. There were recycling bins on the grounds which could have been used to dump the recyclables from our room.
Bottom line: Vacation is a lot of fun, but we all have to work a little harder to keep it green.
With the help of Healthy Child Healthy World, MomsRising and Women’s Voices for the Earth I put together a petition asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®!
Please join me by signing the petition asking Procter & Gamble to take immediate action to remove 1,4-dioxane from Tide Free & Gentle® and any other Procter & Gamble products.
In 2007 the FDA began testing various lipsticks sold in the United States for lead. After testing over 400 brands, FDA scientists concluded that none of them contained unsafe levels of lead. In December 2011, the FDA updated its tests and posted the results on its website rather quietly. There are now two brands (Maybelline and L’Oreal) with lipsticks above California’s safe standard. These manufactures don’t actually use lead as an ingredient, the lead is considered an impurity. There are safe, non-toxic lipsticks out there. Make sure yours is one of them!
Too much Sodium
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 9 out of 10 Americans eat too much sodium. Surprisingly, they found that bread and rolls were the top culprits rather than salty snacks.
Have you ever cooked with dandelions? When the weather warms up there is usually a field of dandelions on my front lawn. Jeff over at Sustainablog shares 7 Recipes for Dandelions. I might have to try a few when the sea of yellow weeds reappears.
Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of an activist mom fighting for climate change might be like? Harriet from Climate Mama shares a day in her life. I have to admit, I was exhausted just from reading her post.
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out my new addiction (maybe yours too?), Pinterest. Come on over and find me!
Saltwater (and a lot of it) is sometimes added to meat and poultry products labeled “natural”
A while back I wrote about the misleading labels on hot dogs. There’s more to be concerned about when it comes to the labeling of processed meats and poultry. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Some unscrupulous meat and poultry producers add as much as 15 percent saltwater to their products—and then have the gall to label such pumped-up products “natural.” The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is calling for public comments regarding such labeling practices.
The “enhanced” poultry adds significant amounts of unneeded sodium to an otherwise healthy food, adding to Americans’ already excessive sodium consumption and gouging consumers with exorbitant prices for salt water. Consumers should not be misled by a false “natural” label claim and they have a right to label information that allows them to make informed, healthful decisions.
Click HERE tosend a message to the USDA today, urging an end to this deceptive-labeling practice.
Green Cuisine: Crock Pot Lentil Stew
Looking for a delicious stew to take away the winter chill? HERE’s a green cuisine recipe that will keep you warm and cozy, while the weather outside is frightful.
Green Parenting and Design Predictions for 2012
Inhabitots asked a few of their favorite bloggers (including me!), green-minded business owners, and a few of their own Inhabitots editors and writers to share their predictions for the year ahead. What will change in green design this year? How will the world move forward to provide a better environment for healthy families? Click HERE to see what we think.
Listening to all the Pinterest buzz, I decided to finally take the plunge and join in. Pinterest is a site that lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. If you aren’t familiar here are a few tips to get you started.
I’m definitely a newbie, but I’m really enjoying the creative outlet. Make sure you come and find me –FOLLOW ME and I’ll follow you back!
Are you on Pinterest? Leave your link and I’ll find you and hopefully others will too.
[Photo used under Creative Commons from D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty tired of hearing about all the toxic stuff that’s in our food. A while back I wrote about how artificial food dyes in are found in our food. A report, issued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, showed food dyes—used in everything from M&Ms and Fruit Loops to Kraft Mac n Cheese—pose risks of cancer, hyperactivity in children, and allergies, and concluded that synthetic food dye should be banned. But it’s not.
The piece that I find very disturbing is that artificial dyes are used in the US, but not in other countries. Why? Because other countries seem to get it, while the US continues to place cost before the likely health dangers to a human being.
BVO in soda
The US continues to make headlines, this time for allowing another questionable synthetic chemical in soda. Mountain Dew, Fanta Orange and other citrus-flavored drinks have an added synthetic chemical called brominated vegetable oil, or BVO. BVO has been patented as a flame retardant and many of our children (and adults) are drinking it.
After a few extreme soda binges — not too far from what many gamers regularly consume — a few patients have needed medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders, all symptoms of overexposure to bromine.
Here’s the kicker: BVO is one of a class of chemicals that are banned in the European Union and Japan and under close scrutiny even in the U.S. for building up in human tissue and breast milk.
However, the soda companies have been using a safe alternative to BVO in other countries for years. Seems like it would be a simple switch in the US-so why hasn’t it happened? The answer is probably cost.
BVO is now joining BPA in the growing list of scary chemicals found in our food. Here we go again-placing cost above our children’s health. Our chemical system is clearly broken.
What you can do?
Support the Safe Chemicals Act so that chemicals are proven safe before being added to our homes, schools, and places of work.
Talk with your pocket book. Don’t buy these products.
Talk with your children. Explain to them the risks and talk about safer alternatives (how about water?).
Talk with your schools. Make sure soda containing BVO isn’t offered in the cafeteria or vending machines.
Talk with the soda companies. Send an email or a tweet. Let them know that BVO doesn’t belong in our soft drinks.
What else can we do to get this toxic substance out of soda?
Last weekend Snowtober hit, leaving her mark around the Northeast. Trees went down taking power lines with them. Many lost power and it took days for electricity to return. Some still don’t have it back. Around midnight on the night of the storm we heard a few loud beeps and our house went dark.
Unplugged Day One-all is well
Waking up without power isn’t that strange. Really the only noticeable differences were the digital clocks were out, no hot water and no electronics. My iPhone phone was charged and I had an extra battery. We were stuck at home for the day since many of the roads were blocked by large trees and downed power lines.
Out came the lanterns, head lamps and blankets in preparation for when the sun went down. Our saving grace was our wood burning stove, which kept us toasty throughout our power outage.
Unplugged Day Two-it gets ugly
Power had not returned and my phone had died during the night. The vague reports suggested it could be a few more days before power was restored. Now I was beginning to feel that slight tinge of panic. How could I get anything done without my computer? Without my phone? Without an iPad? Without the internet? School was canceled for the day –thankfully my kids were resourceful and found a few fun games to play (with headlamps of course!). My in-laws had power a few miles down the road, so we packed up the car and headed to their home. I plugged in, connected and began to work. It felt good.
Is it an addiction?
We ended up having a wonderful few days together as a family. Our time together was uninterrupted. We were able to entertain ourselves with reading, board games and silly songs. My kids loved every minute of it. It was indoor camping (my only kind of camping). We spent a lot of time talking about people around the world who don’t have electricity. Almost one firth of the world’s inhabitants don’t have access to electricity. That stat blows me away. It really put things in perspective.
It was sometime around noon on Day Two, just as the feeling of panic was really setting in, that my ‘aha’ moment kicked in. I realized that I can’t live without electricity –I need my digital devices. And I know I’m not alone. But was this an addiction?
According to Daniel Sieberg, author of Digital Diet, an addiction is “when other people and other activities in your life begin to suffer because of something you know you should cut back on, but don’t”.
Does this describe you?
84% of people check their PDAs just before bed and as soon as they wake up — and an astounding 85% peek at their PDAs in the middle of the night!
The urge to pull out a cellphone even when someone you’re with is in the midst of a conversation with you.
Feeling isolated and anxious if you are offline for an extended period of time.
Creating tweets and FaceBook posts in your head as events are happening.
How to unplug and recharge
Snowtober had a profound effect on me. Finding the time to unplug, regroup, and recharge and spend uninterrupted time with family and friends is what’s really important. It’s also hard to make the time. I know that all too well. That Klout score could drop, clients are waiting, so much to do and so little time to do it. But does it all really matter in the scheme of things? Everything else will still be there when you come back. And if it’s not then it just wasn’t meant to be.
Have you asked yourself the addiction question? Do you unplug?
[Snowtober photos courtesy of Joel Alper. iPhone photo used under Creative Commons from Kenny Louie/Flickr]
It’s been a busy few weeks at Groovy Green Livin and I wanted to share some of my adventures with you.
Named one of the Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms
A belated and well deserved THANK YOU to all of you for your support. Thanks for making me laugh and feel the love throughout the voting period. It’s because of you that I was named one of the Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms by Circle of Moms.
Please take some time to check out the other eco-friendly moms. There are some pretty amazing women out there-both on and off the list.
Twitter Party hosted by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
Last night I had the privilege of participating as an expert panelist in a Twitter Party hosted by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. We had an hour (definitely not enough time) to tweet all about toxic chemicals and the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 proposed by Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey.
The party was both inspirational and moving-with so many passionate and articulate men and women contributing. There was a true sense of community and a feeling that the discussion can’t and won’t stop here.
Selected by Healthy Child Healthy World as Blog of the Week
I am honored to have been selected by Healthy Child Healthy World as their blog of the week. If you aren’t familiar with their site be sure to spend some time visiting. They do some pretty spectacular work protecting our children from harmful chemicals.
Guest on Mom Talk Radio
Tune into Mom Talk Radio this Sunday night at 8 pm EST for our roundtable discussion with Maria Bailey of Mom Talk Radio and Calley over at The Eco Chic, where we share easy tips for going green. No worries if you miss the show on Sunday- you can tune in anytime by selecting “Listen to Past Shows”.
Phew….that’s it for now.
What are you doing this groovy green weekend? Hope you enjoy!
[Photo used under Creative Commons from John Morgan/Flickr]