Green Moms Carnival Launches Monday: Tackling Global Warming

July 30th, 2008

A year ago I didn’t think of myself as a “Green Mom.” Sure, I was environmentally aware, and I tried to do the right things for Mother Earth, but I didn’t associate myself as being part of a larger movement.

Well, take a few months, a heavy dose of the green blogosphere, and media attention focusing on the “Green Mom” or “Eco Mom” phenomenon and just imagine what happened.

Not only did I start to identify as a “Green Mom,” but my interests broadened beyond organic foods, natural products, recycling and pollution control to encompass a whole range of other environmental topics, most of which were brought to my attention by a wonderful sisterhood of Green Women Bloggers.

From Jessica at Surely You Nest I learned about the hazards of lawn pesticides; Beth at Fake Plastic Fish taught me how to reduce my plastic waste, and from Heather and Renee at EnviroMom I learned that those folks in Portland, Oregon have thought about everything green!

But it was La Marguerite who prodded me to think more deeply about global warming. Of course I knew about it already. But it seemed remote. And what’s worse, it seemed scary. As one friend confided, “Being a mother is anxiety-provoking enough. I don’t need to read something that’s going to make me even more anxious.”

And the fact is, most “Green Mom” bloggers have only skirted the issue of global warming. Sure, we refer to it, but by and large our blogs are full of far more references to CSAs, organic cottons, phthalate- free toys and recycling than to the depressing news about global warming.

La Marguerite tried reaching out to the Mommy Bloggers with her Green Drop project. She even profiled some Green Moms like yours truly on her own blog. But it wasn’t until she wrote this poignant post, “Mothers Needed to Protect the Earth,” that I really started thinking harder about harnessing the power of the Green Mom blogosphere to draw attention to climate change and to advocate changes to slow the rate of global warming.

What if, instead of blogging about our usual topics, a group of Green Moms focused on global warming instead? As a marketing consultant, I know any campaign to bring about change starts with raising awareness. One way to do that is through message repetition. What better way than to get a group of Green Moms blogging about global warming?

So this Monday, check back at OrganicMania for the inaugural posts of the Green Moms Carnival. It will be a compilation of posts about global warming from around the Green Mom blogosphere. And what’s more, we’ll have some honorary “Green Mom Earth Mothers” joining us too…

(And yes, the Green Moms Carnival will blog about other topics besides global warming in upcoming months. But I do hope that we continue to use the carnival as a venue to discuss global warming).

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Organic & Green Savings: “Green” Household Cleaners

July 26th, 2008

A reader comment from a “surprised Mama” has been weighing on my mind. “Surprised Mama” wrote in regarding this post about using green cleaners (or spider webs!) as a way to get kids involved in housework.

“I just found this article today while looking for ways to get my kids involved in helping me clean the house. I did not know that there were organic cleaners and not
having a lot of money to start with I normally buy the cheaper cleaners on the market. The toxic ones. I just went and read the bottles and was just thrown.
I need to ask though. Are organic cleaners comparatively priced to the cheap ‘dollar store’ variety? I’d love to be green but I don’t have a lot of money. I technically live below the poverty line and I am a full time college student, single mom of two.”

I responded to Surprised Mama’s comment and emailed her as well, but decided that this question was important enough to warrant a post. After all, if Surprised Mama wondered about how to afford “green cleaners,” no doubt there are other Moms out there wondering the same thing.

The good news is, you can actually make non-toxic cleaning supplies for less than you’d pay for those nasty toxic ones as the Dollar Store!

All you need is some baking soda, white vinegar, a spray bottle and some rags. Here are some great “recipes” for cleaning solutions for just about anything you can think of: tubs, floors, toilet bowl, windows, drains, countertops, oven, even copper.

And if looking at a link and printing it out is too complicated, check the back of the baking soda boxes. Some, like the 365 brand from Whole Foods, even carry easy “cleaning recipes” on the label. What could be easier, cheaper, or greener?

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Organic Food Savings: How That Bag of Grapes Became More Expensive

July 20th, 2008

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It happened to me so many times, I almost thought I was losing my mind. I’d see a large bag of grapes priced reasonably, and decide to buy some. But when I went through the check-out, invariably I would notice that my “good deal” didn’t seem so good. Sometimes I’d ask to verify the price and hesitate when I heard the reply. Yet when the clerk asked if I wanted to keep them, I’d invariably feel a bit embarrassed and say yes.

Those were back in the days before the stock market meltdown, rise in energy costs, and deflating of the housing bubble. With food prices among our largest recurring purchases, it pays to look a little more closely at what gets put in the shopping cart.

And as my alter ego – OrganicMania – I feel newly emboldened to do so.

So when I saw a bag of organic grapes labeled $3.99 per pound, I almost nabbed them, but then I decided to look more closely to see how much the bag actually weighed. Well, surprise, surprise – no weight label on the bag of grapes. It wasn’t until I put them on the scale that I saw the grapes weighed more than 3 pounds, meaning the bag wasn’t $3.99 – it was more than $12!

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Since grapes are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of foods with the highest pesticide residue, they should be eaten in their organic form whenever possible. But for many families, that’s just impractical due to the high cost. So what can you eat instead of organic grapes? Well, as we’ve discussed here, at $2.99 per pound, organic strawberries are a good deal – even if they’re no longer cheaper than conventional strawberries, as they were until recently.

Organic plums are another good value. The Tenleytown DC Whole Foods has organic black plums on sale for $1.99 per pound, a savings of $1.00 per pound. Just how many plums do you get for a pound? As I live-tweeted here, depending on size, you’re looking at four to five organic plums for $1.99. A much better deal than those organic grapes!

Other deals this week? I live blogged about them from my mobile phone via Twitter. Check out my tweets here, here and here. And sign up here to follow OrganicMania on Twitter!

What did you see in the stores this week? Did you find these tips helpful? Please leave a comment and share! You’ll make my day!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

BlogHERs Worrying About What to Wear

July 17th, 2008

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On Friday the BlogHER conference, expected to draw more than 1,000 female bloggers, gets underway in San Francisco. It’s the “it” event if you’re a woman who blogs. In a sure sign of giddy anticipation, some tweets and blog posts are full of questions from women wondering what to wear to BlogHER.

For a while, I considered attending, but something stopped me. Among my reasons for skipping the conference was the realization that although some of my anonymity has been stripped away as my blog has matured, I enjoy being just a voice in cyberspace, with a tad of mystery still attached. And frankly, the fact that I still haven’t taken off “the baby weight” makes me feel self-conscious when meeting people.

Of course, I’ve reached out to some of my new bloggy friends by phone or email, but for the most part, they’ve never seen me. These friendships are pure. They’re based on a meeting of the minds, shared ideals, an appreciation of the other’s good humor, and in some cases, the kinship of motherhood.

At times, alone in my home office, I’ve wondered what it would be like to meet my bloggy friends in person. At a luncheon for local power blogger Geoff Livingston, I got my answer.

“Lynn,” my neighbor and bloggy friend Julie Power called out as we walked into the hotel, “Lynn, is my hem straight? Does this dress look okay?”

Now, if you’ve ever read Julie’s witty posts about Internet marketing, you would surely believe that this is a woman who could care less about hems and dresses. She’s got so much else on her mind!

After assuring Julie that she looked just swell, I settled in to listen to what Geoff had to say. But something distracted me. It was all the people in their business suits. I was listening to their voices, as I do when I make calls from my home office, but I was also noticing their appearance. I was making mental notes of who was old, who was young, who was slim, who was overweight, who was well spoken and well dressed and who was not.

It actually shocked me that I focused on appearance so quickly, but I know all too well that this is normal human behavior. I noticed that instead of intently focusing on the words forming from this person’s inner core, I was focused on the external packaging as well.

It reminded me of a time a few years back when I telecommuted and had met very few of my work colleagues. One of the writers I shared a warm banter with shyly confessed one day, “It would be funny to meet you, Lynn.”

When I asked him why, he said, “Well, I’ve worked with you for years but never met you. And in my mind’s eye, I’ve decided that you look just like Catherine Zeta Jones.”

I laughed and confessed that like Catherine, I’m a brunette, have roots in Bermuda, and am a Mom. The similarities stop there, but I didn’t want to quash his dream.

So have fun at BlogHer, ladies. Don’t worry about what to wear. And as for me, just call me Catherine. Catherine Zeta Jones.

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Organic Food Savings: Are “Two-fers” A Good Deal? And More on those “Late Night” Specials at Whole Foods

July 12th, 2008

We’ve all been there: cruising the store aisles when suddenly, a great sale catches our eyes. Two for $1.50, Regularly $2 each, the sign reads. Sounds like a good deal! But is it?

Well, it’s a good deal if you are a huge fan of the canned organic beans or mustard or cereal or whatever it is that’s on sale. But what if you just want to try a new item, and figure a sale is a good time to try? Buying two may be overkill.

Did you know that many stores’ registers ring up each item at the “two-fer” sale price? So you really don’t need to buy two of the sale items…it’s just a suggestion. That’s what some of OrganicMania’s field research turned up this week as I prowled the store aisles.

The only time when the two-fer or three-fers really mean what they say? On flowers and live plants, you almost always need to buy the two or three items together to get the discounted savings. Or at least that’s what some of my anonymous grocery store sources told OrganicMania!

And those late night sandwich specials at Whole Foods that I blogged about here? If you were following OrganicMania live tweets this week, you already know that Whole Foods starts reducing those prepared food-case sandwiches a bit earlier now. So starting at around 9 p.m., you can pick up sandwiches at $2 off. Then, closer to closing, come the real deals – two for one.

While we’ve been talking about the great berries on sale – organic strawberries as cheap as conventional – unfortunately not all organic berries are great deals right now. Organic local New Jersey blueberries are still quite expensive compared to conventional, as I tweeted here.

And finally, yes rocks are organic, but not something I recommend. See this tweet. All’s well that ends well.

Did you find any good deals this week? Leave a comment and share!

Looking for more Organic Food Savings Tips? Check out OrganicMania’s extensive archive of organic and green savings tips posts here.

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Thrilled that Blogging Continues to Change My Life

July 8th, 2008

Shortly after starting OrganicMania, I wrote this post about How Blogging Changed My Life, which ran on LaMarguerite. As I wrote then, I “realized that organics and green living are more than simply an interest of mine. I want to find a way to make these passions fit into my work life too. This is obviously a huge change, and I’ll be blogging more about this as I explore what new doors may open for me.”

Happily, many doors have opened since that post. Not only do I want to share this good news with all those who have encouraged my efforts with OrganicMania, but I think it’s important to do so in the interest of “full disclosure” as well.

When I started OrganicMania, my marketing consultancy was focused on technology businesses, which was a logical step since I had spent my entire career in high tech marketing. Yet when it was time to explore social media and blogging, I chose to blog not about tech marketing, but about organics and going green.

Now, thanks to OrganicMania, I’ve expanded my marketing consulting business into the organic, green and non-profit sectors. My new clients are: Mom Made™ Foods, a leading brand of organic children’s foods; Livability Project, an organization focused on building sustainable communities; and .ORG, The Public Interest Registry, which manages the .ORG top-level Internet domain.

At times this journey seemed like something straight out of Oprah. Following my bliss was scary for me, as there was no defined career path, no specific roadmap to follow. There was no rational plan for how all of this unfolded. I met Heather Stouffer, founder of Mom Made, after she left this comment on OrganicMania. I met Dave Feldman of Livability through my volunteer work with Bethesda Green. In fact, I’ve met so many amazing people through OrganicMania – that’s another way blogging has changed my life, and another post for another day.

Thanks again to all of you for your support.

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Best Green Tip for Your Beach Vacation

July 3rd, 2008

Heading to the beach this weekend? You no doubt made peace with the fact that you’ll be adding to your carbon footprint — hey, anything for some fun in the sand and surf, right?!

But you can still do something to minimize your environmental impact on the beach. And no, I’m not referring to picking up trash on the beach – although that’s always a good idea.

What does nearly everyone do at the beach? Shower! There’s nothing better than those wonderful outside showers. But when you soap up, the soap runs into storm water drains that often lead directly to the ocean. The soap run-off is toxic to marine life.

And those “earth friendly” biodegradable soaps and shampoos? Well, according to this report from the Maryland Department of the Environment, even “a flush of ‘biodegradable’ soap suds will still harm fish or invertebrates in your local stream.”

That was news to yours truly, who regrettably had lathered up outside on more than one occasion with “earth friendly” biodegradable soaps. In Rehoboth Beach, our favorite seaside destination, the storm water drains flow directly to the Atlantic Ocean and to a fresh-water lake, which was recently the scene of a massive fish kill due to environmental toxins from storm water run-off, among other suspected causes.

So enjoy your outside shower, but skip the soap and shampoo. Save the real clean-up for the inside shower!

Happy Fourth of July!

Lynn

Update: Here’s another good piece about the misconceptions regarding biodegradable soaps.

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania