Friday, November 27, 2009

A Big Thank You -- Environmental Awareness Success

As I get toward the end of the year and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to thank the sponsors who have helped me to give my environmental work a lift:

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make a Planet and Family Friendly Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving! It doesn't require candy or presents. The weekend is long. Family is full. And after the meal is done, there's lots of relaxation.

This year I ordered a heritage turkey. Makes me feel better about the meat part. Here's more info on choosing a sustainable turkey.

And, going back to the basics of Thanksgiving gives us a more planet friendly approach to the holiday.

Here's some tips --

Plan to take time: The irony of today’s world is that you have to set aside time to relax.Preparing a Thanksgiving meal that is meaningful and home-based takes time. So, plan for it. Take off the day. Ask for family help. Work together to prepare the meal and create family ties and traditions in the process.

Cook up a storm: Cooking your own food tends to not only be healthier and more cost effective but also promotes family bonds and traditions. At its most basic, you have the turkey, potatoes, gravy, another vegetable or salad, rolls, and a dessert. The easiest way to learn how to cook is from a parent, relative, or friend. Keep it simple and build from there. And in the cleanup, recycle all your packaging and compost your uncooked veggie and fruit scraps. You can also compost any used paper napkins and bread scraps.

Be happily picky: Your future food security and safety depends on choosing food that is raised more sustainably with the least amount of chemicals and closest proximity to where you live. For your turkey, make the effort to go organic, certified humane, or heritage.Heritage turkeys help to protect poultry diversity. If you choose a smaller turkey, this will help to offset the expense. Also choose organic or locally produced vegetables whenever possible; seasonable is best.

Really says thanks: What is your family really grateful for? Say it with word and deed.Speak up at the family meal and have father, mother, or another family member state the obvious – what you are celebrating Thanksgiving for. Then, strengthen those family ties by doing things with each other over the holiday. These are traditions and memories that stay with you. And having had a very stressful year for most of us due to economic trying times, studies show that this reconnecting with family and friends is one of the best ways to relieve that stress.

Connect beyond the bird: After Thanksgiving, you can connect with nearby food groups to learn how to cook better, how to find cost-effective local foods, and to support community-based agriculture. Go to sites like slowfoodusa.org and localharvest.org or your local farmer’s market or farm to find fresh, regional food, understand local food issues, and eat more seasonably all year round.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Of Men and Boys, Chemicals Never Looked So Guilty

There are two new studies that have just come out that shower guilt all over two types of chemicals that wreck havoc on the bodies of boys and men. I wrote about these two chemicals in my book The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home (St. Martin's Press). They are:
Environmental Working Group has reported on the hormone-altering effects of BPA for some time. But on their website, they are now reporting yet another piece of evidence that supports the fact that BPA causes sexual disfunction in males who are regularly exposed to the chemical. See the story here. Here is also a link that talks more about BPA in a previous post of mine.

Now, in a very surprising study being reported on by the BBC in Europe, the University of Rochester is releasing a study that shows that phthalates alter the brains of baby boys, causing them to engage in more feminine behavior. This is because they disrupt hormones. Phthalates are found in MANY places -- plastics (especially PVC), personal care and household products, glues, paints, and beauty products. Essentially, we have been surrounded by phthalates for a very long time. In my book, I talk about detailed ways to avoid them, including some product recommendations. There is also some info on Environmental Working Groups website.

If you are concerned with knowing what is in the products you buy and banning some particularly egregious chemicals from the marketplace (such as BPA and phthalates) due to them having detrimental effects on your children and your family, then write your state and federal officials at Congress.org. At the very least, if these chemicals are not banned, we should be warned through proper labeling. Your voice counts!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How Green Are You? Top 10


A Harris Interactive poll was recently released that outlined where we are putting action and money in being green. The top 10?
  1. Turn off lights when you leave the room (83%)
  2. Always/often recycle (68%)
  3. Always/often reuse whenever possible (65%)
  4. Replaced lighting with energy-efficient light bulbs (63%)
  5. Making efforts to use less water (60%)
  6. Paying bills online (46%)
  7. Donated an electronic device for recycling (41%)
  8. Switched to paperless financial statements (40%)
  9. Unplug electrical appliances when not in use (40%)
  10. Purchased locally grown produce (39%)
The study administrators say "Many people are beginning to take some steps that save energy or water and reduce their carbon footprint, to slow global warming. As such, this poll is encouraging in showing that it is possible to change human behavior in ways that can make a difference. But – to mix metaphors – we have only scratched the surface of what is possible."