At this point in the election cycle, it’s pretty easy to lose sight of what’s at stake when we head to the polls to vote. Things have gotten ugly and out of hand and there’s so much hatred and animosity. These days it’s hard to imagine a “United States of America” since division and divisiveness are working against us. With November 8th being the official day to vote, we all have a responsibility to ensure that this horrible cycle stops now.
For many of us, Election Day is already here. We have an incredible opportunity in many states to show up at the polls early to vote. Although yesterday was a crazy day, I found some time in the early evening to cast my ballot because so much is at stake.
We haven’t heard much by way of agreement in the months leading up to the election, but there are a few things I think we can ALL agree on: harmful pollution, climate change, and toxic chemicals are putting our families at risk. And these issues are impacting all children, regardless of their family’s political affiliation.
As parents, we care about our children and grandchildren and will do anything to protect them. We know that harmful pollution is making our children sick and increasing the threat of climate change. We also know that toxic chemicals don’t belong in any products sold to our families. There’s so much more work needed to ensure that our children are safe.
By electing candidates who care about these issues we can give all children a voice and a fighting chance. Here’s why it’s important to vote:
CLEAN AIR. Air pollution from fossil fuels leads to bad air quality in too many communities. Increases in smog can trigger asthma attacks and exacerbate other chronic health problems. Do not let your child’s health be voted away to protect polluters’ profits. Instead, VOTE to protect little lungs from toxic air pollution.
CLIMATE CHANGE. The same harmful pollution that is making our children sick is causing rising temperatures and extreme weather events. Our changing climate is making smog worse. It increases respiratory health threats, particularly for people with allergies and asthma. Also, intense heat waves exacerbate heart and lung conditions. VOTE for candidates who support proposals to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. And vote to put our country on a clean energy path while protecting American jobs!
TOXIC CHEMICALS. Dangerous chemicals are found in our daily lives. They often enter our homes and bodies without our realizing it. In fact, these chemicals may not even have been disclosed, identified or studied. Thousands of toxic chemicals found in everyday products are linked to potential reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, birth defects, cancer, asthma, headaches and skin irritants. Children are among the most vulnerable to such chemicals.
It’s Wednesday and all over the internet you will find photos with no words of explanation. Why? Because pictures say a thousand words and today is Wordless Wednesday.
I have a friend with a bike. A really cool bike. He is a true greenie. He uses his bike for much more then just transportation. Can you see what he’s transporting here?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a car driving an average of 12,500 miles per year will expend 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide. If you ride your bike to work one day each week instead of driving you could reduce your to global warming impact by 20% each year. Just think what an impact we could have if each one of us committed to riding a bike -clean air and less pollution all around.
Look what else can be transported via bicycle.
Here we have his trusty bike that can clearly do anything delivering another bicycle to it’s new owner. I think this is the ‘Superman’ of bikes.
Do you ride your bicycle? To work? For pleasure?
Thank you to my friend Joel for sharing some of the amazing things he can transport with his bicycle.
Happy Friday! There are lots of things happenings in our Groovy Green World. Here are a few to kick-start your weekend.
National Stroller Brigade
Next week I’m headed to Washington DC for the National Stroller Brigade with Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and countless others. I’ll be meeting with Massachusetts Senators Kerry and Brown to ask for their support of the Safe Chemicals Act. Let me know if you’re planning to be there. Even if you’re not headed to DC you can take action HERE. I’m honored to be included in this exciting event. More details to come….
Green Child Magazine
The new issue of Green Child Magazine just hit the shelves and it’s gorgeous. The summer issue is packed with information on healthy foods, how to teach kids where their food comes from and an interesting interview with Green Living Expert, Sara Snow. Click HERE to read the magazine.
If you’re planning a vacation this summer, check out my article on traveling green with your kids. You can find it on page 10.
Yoga and Clean Air
Yoga has played a central role in my life for the past 16 years. I haven’t been consistent in my practice, but it comes into my life when it’s needed. Whenever we are confronted with a challenge, both on and off the mat, yoga provides us with the tools to create positive change. Air pollution is one of the larger, looming issues we all must combat that directly affects us during our yoga practice and throughout life. See why I think yoga and air pollution don’t mix in my post over at Moms Clean Air Force.
With summer just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about ways to cool off during those hot summer days. Popsicles are a great way to cool down. Most of the Popsicles found on the shelves at the market are filled with processed sugars or sugar substitutes such as high fructose corn syrup or Aspartame. So I decided to make my own. HERE’s the recipe if you want to give it a try.
Have a wonderful weekend! Are there any questions or messages you’d like me to deliver on my trip to DC?
My son showed me this morning the flowers that are already starting to pop out of the ground. It feels too early in the season for flowers to bloom, but our winter was so mild that I’m sure the plants are completely mixed up. So are the birds for that matter. They’ve been chirping since February.
This week was filled with excitement on the Groovy Green Livin home front.
Tide petition takes off
At last count the petition asking Tide to remove a cancer causing chemical from its Tide Free & Gentle® laundry detergent was up to 72,000! That’s incredible in my book of incredible. The petition also made a guest appearance on CNN iReport. Hopefully Procter & Gamble (the makers of Tide) will listen to our plea.
I had a lot of fun talking with a few of my favorite grandmas about their take on clean air. My mother, Lynn from Celebrate Green, Linda from Citizen Green, and Sheila offered up their hopes and dreams for their grandchildren in my post for Moms Clean Air Force.
Childhood asthma on the rise
The Huffington Post wrote a fantastic piece on childhood asthma. I couldn’t agree more with what Sylvia Brandt said in the article:
“Any person who would say that the EPA should be eliminated or its ability to regulate reduced, should have to sit in the emergency room holding the hand of a child who can’t breathe.”
If each of us put a little thought into our driving we could become eco-friendly drivers, making the world a bit cleaner and greener for us all. Over at Momtastic this week I shared a few green driving habits to incorporate into your driving routine.
Hip eco-friendly bag up for grabs
Don’t forget to enter the BagInspiration giveaway! The Be-Bop bag is a pretty cool addition to anyone’s bag collection.
Around 11 p.m. most nights I begin my nightly ritual. This routine has been in place since my three boys were born. I methodically go from one bedroom to the next listening for the same sound. Sometimes I hear it right away and other times it takes a few seconds, but I don’t leave until the sound I’m waiting for is confirmed: their breath. Then I’m able to sleep.
When my kids were infants there were times when their breath sounded different or strange. There were nights when they would snore or hold their breath for what felt like an eternity.
Then came asthma. When one of my son’s was around 2 years old we started what became our annual trip to the hospital for severe breathing problems related to asthma. Watching him wheeze and struggle for a single breath is a vision that’s hard to shake. And I know I’m not alone. There are so many children and families afflicted with breathing issues.
Review and Giveaway
There’s a new resource available for both new and veteran parents that would have been incredibly helpful when my children were infants: Take a Deep Breath:Clear the Air for the Health of Your Child, a book written by Dr. Nina Shapiro.
Looking for a simple way to improve your indoor air quality? House plants are the answer. So often we forget that the environment has the natural ability to clean itself. Many common houseplants act as an air filter, removing toxins from the air we breathe. They are known to produce oxygen from CO2 and they absorb toxins including benzene (gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics, and rubber), formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene (printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, and adhesives).
A few years back NASA scientists studied nineteen different plants over a two year span to see which did the best job cleaning the air. They found that some house plants were better than others. The NASA studies recommend that you use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers to improve air quality in an average 1,800 square foot house. The more they grow the better job they’ll do for you.
My slightly brown thumb has been working hard to keep 7 indoor plants alive for a few years. I wish I could tell you that I always remember to water them and that I talk to them when I’m bored, but I don’t. My 7 plants are low maintenance and thriving.
If you’re like me and your thumb isn’t the slightest bit green, it’s still worth investing in a few house plants to help remove the toxins from your indoor air. Take this list with you and add a few plants to the spaces you spend the most time indoors- your office and/or your home. When it’s time to buy a gift for your children’s caregivers, a plant makes the perfect present.
Top 10 Houseplants that Clean the Air from the NASA Studies
As the year-end approaches and the holidays are officially upon us, I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for stopping by Groovy Green Livin. I am so grateful for all of you who have reached out through comments, email, Facebook, Twitter and in-person. To all my old friends and new, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now it’s time to kick off our shoes off and relax for a few days. Before I sign off there are a few things to share:
If you haven’t heard the great news- we are one step closer to Clean Air.
Just yesterday the EPA and the Obama Administration issued the first ever nation-wide Mercury and Air Toxics Standard which will protect babies, seniors, and all of us from harmful air pollutants like mercury, arsenic, dioxin and acid gasescoming from coal-fired power plants. These plants are the largest source of mercury pollution in the United States.
Last minute holiday tips and eco-friendly wrapping ideas
On the J.R. Watkins Naturals Clear Conscience Blog Micaela from Mindful Momma put together a few simple tips to make the holidays a more mindful and meaningful occasion. The list includes some great reminders such as: “Every single bus driver, teacher and nice neighbor does not need a gift. A thank you card and a kind word are often more than enough.”
On the J.R. Watkins Naturals Clear Conscience Blog I added a few eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas. We have a lot of old calendars lying around and the pages make great wrapping paper for smaller gifts. For the larger gifts we use newspaper or brown paper bags that my kids decorate with markers, stickers and stamps.
I ended up trying both latke recipes this week and I must say they were delicious. Do you have any latke recipes that you can’t live without?
As of this afternoon the long awaited school vacation week will officially begin. I will be spending the next week recharging and bonding with my family on our local ski slope.
May whatever you do to celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year bring you much joy and happiness. I am going to take a few days off from writing and I will be back in 2012 with more groovy green info to share.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Wishing you much love and groovy greenness in the new year.
What are your holiday/vacation plans? Whatever they are enjoy! I look forward to connecting with you in 2012.
[Photo used under Creative Commons from D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]