Today is Blog Day

August 31st, 2008

Today is not just the day before Labor Day – it’s also Blog Day. So what is Blog Day? It’s an event created to celebrate the diversity of the blogosphere. Participants are encouraged to share five new blogs with their own blog’s community.

Here’s the founder of Blog Day, Nir Ofir, on Blog Day: “Did you know that the majority of blog Readers read a very small number of top blogs? Is this social media? I initiated the blogDay in 2005 with the belief that bloggers should have one day which will be dedicated to discover new blogs and expose them to the world.”

I’ve chosen to share five blogs that are outside OrganicMania’s normal coverage of green and organic news and trends. Without further ado, here are five blogs I recently discovered that I hope you enjoy too:

1. Of course, how could I not pick the Blog Day founder’s blog, UGENCO? Short for “User Generated Content,” Nir’s blog focuses on UGENCO articles, news and views. As I literally just discovered this blog, I can’t say too much about it, but it has to be great, right?

2. Learning that Nir blogs from Israel made my thoughts turn to one of my favorite bloggers, entrepreneurs, and all-around “personalities,” Jeff Pulver. I met Jeff back in the ‘90s when he was starting the first Voice on the Net conference and I was Director of Marketing at Telogy Networks, a Voice over IP start-up (now part of Texas Instruments). Reconnecting with Jeff through his blog, his tweets, and his recent meet-up in DC has been a joy. Jeff blogs about diverse subjects ranging from this morning’s Tel Aviv “meet-up” breakfast to musings about how his twin sons will handle separation from always-on Internet access while at summer camp.

3. Charlene Li was known to me as one of the great Forrester analysts on social media and the co-author of Groundswell. But poking around Charlene’s new blog just the other day, I discovered her personal blog, Midnight Musings. Immediately l felt a sense of kinship with Charlene – like her, I’m a Mom who is working hard to balance self-employment and consulting with family life. Then I discovered that Charlene also posts on the great ….

4. Silicon Valley Moms Blog. SVMoms Blog is about “40+ moms [who ]write about being CEOs at work and CFOs at home, where houses are expensive, kids love sushi and have web businesses, and moms are too busy chauffeuring kids to raise a sword in the mommywars.” SVMoms Blog reminds me of why I always loved my business trips to Silicon Valley!

5. Idealist.org is a great site to check out for news about non-profits and the challenges facing them. I love this recent post reminding their readers that “charitable nonprofits in the US are simply forbidden from doing anything with the goal of affecting the outcome of any election, whether for President or for dog catcher.”

So Happy Blog Day! Now you can spend part of Labor Day cruising the blogosphere, discovering great new sites!

– Lynn

10 Tips to Green Your Labor Day Weekend: Green & Organic Savings Friday

August 29th, 2008

It’s hard to believe that Labor Day is here already. I know so many folks who barely rested this summer. But summer’s nearly over. That’s why it’s so important to take a break – even a small one- this Labor Day weekend.

And with worries about the economy weighing on so many people’s minds, it’s good to know that going green can actually save money. “Green” items such as recycled and biodegradable items have dropped in price due to rising demand.

Here’s a look at what you can expect at the stores this week-end as you stock up, along with 10 tips for greening your Labor Day holiday.

1. Need to mow the lawn to make your yard look beautiful? Forget about conventional gas and electric mowers. Go retro with a good old fashioned push mower. Not only will you help to save the planet, you’ll get real exercise too! If you must use gas or electric, how about sharing a mower with your neighbors?

2. Running out to pick up a grill? Big Green Purse author Diane MacEachern has some great tips on solar-powered and other “green grills” here.

3. Cleaning off the dirty lawn chairs? Remember to use green cleaners. There’s no excuse now, with prices down to $2.98 on Green Works cleaners, available at major stores including national supermarket chains, Target, and Walmart. Or save even more money by using a simple mix of vinegar and water. Want to cut the vinegar odor? Add parsley or lemon to your cleaning solution.

4. Thinking of showing off your patriotism with some red, white and blue party favors? Skip them. Be a true patriot and reduce your consumption of plastics and paper. Spend the money instead on compostable corn-based party plates and cutlery. But be sure to buy from a store like My Organic Market which will compost these items for you, since few municipalities offer composting and backyard systems won’t cut it.

5. Planning the menu? Re-think the beef. Beef is a key contributor to global warming. Can you go veggie? There are great veggie alternatives available like delicious veggie burgers, soy-based corn dogs, and of course the old staples of potato and pasta salad. And if you can’t give up the beef, check out Whole Foods, which has some great looking prepared burgers at just a buck a burger.

6. A hot Labor Day and kids? Whole Foods has Honest Kids Juice Quenchers are on sale for $7 for 2 boxes of 8 pouches, marked down from $4.69 each. And remember, at Whole Foods, even if it says “2 fer” you can actually get that price on just one item. Don’t forget to return the empty Honest Kids juice packs to Terracycle so they can make fabulous bags from them!

7. What’s a party without chips? Now’s a great time to try Snikiddy Snacks Grilled Cheese Puffs or Snikiddy Pizza Pie Puffs. They’re on sale at the Tenleytown DC Whole Foods for 2 bags for $6, down from $4.39 each.

8. Time to clean up? Whip out the biodegradable plastic trash bags, now as cheap as conventional bags at My Organic Market.

9. When dusk comes, and you head inside, open the windows instead of turning on the air conditioner. You’ll save money and the environment!

10. If you’re heading back home to the big city after enjoying time at the beach, you may want to check out the local farmers markets and grocers. We pick up organic fruits when we are in smaller towns that enjoy a lower cost of living than our big city home town.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Lynn

– Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Green and Organic Savings: Sampling a CSA

August 17th, 2008

Big purchases scare many people these days. So when it comes time to sign up for a CSA, worries may kick in.

Will I get more than just kale?,” you may wonder. “Is $900 for a season really worth it?”

The good news is you can sample a CSA’s bounty. Although few, if any, CSAs promote trial periods, the fact is that during the waning days of summer, many CSA members leave town for vacation and offer their weekly shares for sale.

For around $30, you should be able to pick up a week’s share, about two bags full of farm fresh produce, and depending on the CSA, you may also take home bread, grains, cheese, eggs, or even home-baked cookies.

For more information, check out the list of CSAs at Local Harvest. Then email or call the contact person and ask if anyone is trying to sell a week’s share while on vacation.

Good luck and leave a comment to let me know if you end up sampling a CSA!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

From Vision to Reality: Family Fights over Global Warming

August 11th, 2008

Last Monday, we celebrated a fantastic gathering of green voices here at OrganicMania. The Green Moms Carnival on Global Warming brought bloggers together to talk about steps we can take to slow, reduce or eliminate global warming.

I don’t know about you, but I was fired up to see so much passion and commitment. So not being one for a lot of blather, I set out to implement some of the ideas proposed by my fellow Green Moms, “Mothers of the Earth,” and “sons of Mothers.

Then reality intervened.

Changing patterns is hard. Doing things differently from other people is difficult. Living sustainably is a challenge.

Fighting with your kids over global warming? It’s the secret reality. I learned long ago I’m not all that unique – so if I experienced some recalcitrant behavior from my six-year-old, I could not have been the only “Green Mom” going through this.

It all started with a change in behavior – my DH normally drops our son off at camp on his way to work. This particular day, he was walking to metro, about 15 minutes away. Big Boy was running late, but he told me “not to worry,” that he could just be driven over to camp after Dad left and still make it on time.

No.

“What? Why not? I don’t need to walk. I get plenty of exercise at camp.”

“No,” I responded. “It’s not good for the environment. Driving cars too much is what’s causing global warming. You either walk now with Dad or you walk later, but no one’s driving you over there.”

Well, just imagine six-year-old rebellion.

“But all the other kids’ parents drive them there!”

“Maybe those parents are dropping their kids off on their way to work. But your Dad’s not driving today. So we’re not driving you today. We have to take care of the Earth. And sometimes that means not driving.”

It’s amazing how “mean” I’ve become since he turned six. Why do mothers change so when their sons hit six? Suddenly, I’m a real “meanie.”

Well, he did end up walking with Dad, but the ensuing drama caused DH to be late to metro. So all of a sudden, I wasn’t just arguing with my son, but now my DH was annoyed too. Even though DH agreed with me (but of course).

You need to be organized to be green.

You need to change your patterns. You need to plan. You need to think ahead.

It’s not easy. And if at first you don’t succeed, don’t beat up on yourself either. After all, I’m not one for beating ourselves up with “eco-sins.” I much prefer the term Eco-Mistakes.

So how’s the battle against global warming going on your end? What changes have you made to your daily routines? Enquiring minds want to know.

– Lynn

Organic Food Savings: Tweeting at Trader Joes, Whole Foods & Giant

August 10th, 2008

Note: The post below was written before the launch of the Green Moms Carnival on Global Warming. I almost didn’t post this because frankly, my thoughts are not on organic finds right now. But I thought I owed it to everyone who does come here looking for organic savings tips. So stay tuned for my next post, which will cover the aftermath of the Green Moms Carnival on Global Warming – how do you go from vision to reality?

——

You’d think I had a family of eight, not four, with three trips to the market last week. I should be eating less, not more, with the great Tweet-2-Fit weight loss challenge underway this week!

But getting out to three different markets does give one a good perspective on pricing. It’s really tough to say which market has the best deals – it all depends on your family’s buying patterns. And of course, it makes no sense to drive around in search of great deals. Not only is it bad for the environment, but with gas prices hovering around $4 anyway, it’s unlikely you’ll save enough money to merit another trip. But, with some advance planning, you can take advantage of the bargain specialties of each store when you happen to be nearby. I live in an urban area – there are four Whole Foods close to my regular haunts, plus Trader Joes, Balduccis, Giant, Safeway, and numerous CSAs, co-ops and farmers markets.

If you haven’t signed up for Twitter yet, you can sign up here. I’m finding it so useful to send out live Twitter updates on my organic finds that I’m loathe to write-up everything again on OrganicMania, especially on a busy week like last week when I was working on the launch of the Green Moms Carnival on Global Warming (and closing new business for my consulting practice!)

C’mon, join in…you’ll learn where I found organic apples at 3 pounds for $5 (incredible deal when they’re usually more than $2.50 per pound), which “great deal” on bananas was really not a great deal and why, and even be on hand when Baby Boo says fish (or feesh!) for the first time. Plus, did you know you can give time-outs in Whole Foods?

Happy Shopping!

Lynn

Green Moms Carnival Launches; Tackling Global Warming

August 4th, 2008

Today OrganicMania is featuring some great contributions from around the green blogosphere. We’re blogging about how we can make a difference in the fight against global warming. Most of us are Green Moms (aka Eco Moms), but we’ve got a few “Mothers of the Earth” and “sons of Moms” joining us too.

And yes, I know that this is supposed to be a web log – and not a diary – but these posts were so fantastic, I got carried away! So sit back, relax, grab something to drink, and enjoy!

Why a Green Moms Carnival? Well, as La Marguerite so aptly puts it, “Moms need to have a bigger role in the climate discourse. We are talking about Mother Earth after all. The qualities that come to us as mothers, as in giving, protecting, nurturing, and sustaining life, are the same ones that are needed to remedy climate change.” Read more here.

It was that post from La Marguerite which inspired this carnival, along with some encouragement from Alana at Gray Matters. While there are many, many “Green Moms” or “EcoMoms” blogging about everything from recycling to gardening, very few of us have been blogging about global warming.

Jennifer – aka “The Smart Mama” came to the same realization I did. As she put it, “Okay, here I am trying to protect my children from toxic chemicals so as to reduce their risk of adverse health effects, but it won’t matter much if they don’t get cancer if they can’t live here on Earth. If you read the reports on what will happen if we don’t do something right now, it is frightening and depressing… being non-toxic isn’t always the same as being green, so I decided to pay more attention to being both green and non-toxic.” Jennifer shares 10 simple steps any one can take to fight global warming.

Beth at Fake Plastic Fish is known for her campaigns to reduce personal plastic consumption and to lobby Clorox to recycle Brita water filters in North America, as they do in Europe. In this post, Beth presents a well – researched explanation of how plastic use contributes to global warming.

MamaBird at SurelyYouNest muses about her grandmother’s Depression-era sensibilities and how a respect for the mundane may be the simple solution to shrinking our carbon footprints. Enter a comment to win a copy of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Your Carbon Footprint.

Over at Green Bean Dreams, the Mommys are Roaring. Discover how you can find the strength to combat global warming and deliver a healthy planet to our children. Helicopter parent? Hover over something truly worth worrying about: global warming.

Wondering how to talk to your kids about global warming? Mindful Momma has some solid tips for you, as does MC Milker of Not Quite Crunchy Parent. And eco ‘burban mom shares how her kids responded to watching “An Inconvenient Truth.”

But get your act together first. Here are OrganicMania’s 10 Things You Can Do to Help Fight Global Warming. And Matthew, who is as he puts it, “the son of a mom” shares three things you can do to fight global warming over at Conservatives and Normals. Our other “token male,” Lane of veganbits.com, blogs about ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Anna at Green Talk questions whether or not we as a society have changed our behavior in response to the threat of global warming. She is tired of waiting for change. She offers simple suggestions, and challenges you to do the same.

And while we’re all trying to reduce our fuel consumption, many of us are wondering how. Read these tips from “Big Green Purse” author Diane MacEachern and you may just save $20 to $50 per month on gasoline.

Leave it to Jenn of Tiny Choices, one of our Mothers of the Earth, to use humor to ask two very serious questions: Do you think global warming is generally accepted as truth by this point? Have you run into skeptics, and if so, what’s the conversation been like? While you’re thinking about it, check out the video Jenn posted of humorist Jill Sobule singing “Manhattan in January.”

Tiffany of Nature Moms brought up the “climate crisis hoax” issue in a poignant post that received more than 19 reader comments! Seems she catches a lot of flack from her neighbors for fighting global warming, but as she points out, she values her environmental actions on many levels. Its simply the right thing to do.

Mary Hunt of In Women We Trust points out that while making sense of green claims can be tough, as more and more products with Product Life Cycle Assessments like the SMaRT Sustainable Product Standard are brought to market, it will be far easier to measure and quantify the pollution and carbon footprint of a product across an entire supply chain.

And if all this talk of global warming stresses you out, remember gardening is a great stress reliever. Did you know that you can reduce your community’s carbon footprint through gardening? Ivory of Little House in the Suburbs shows you how.

Because remember, at the end of the day, don’t you want to be remembered for treading lightly on this fragile Earth, our island home? That’s the question Karen of Best of Mother Earth asked herself after reading an article in National Geographic which “took all the plastics found in a typical American home and put it all out on the front lawn. It was a 2 page spread of junk, or things at the time I didn’t even know were plastic or petroleum derived. I was shocked….I personally want to be remembered for the footprint I don’t leave behind.”

Well put, Karen.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to all the bloggers who participated in the launch of this carnival. Special thanks to Green Beam Dreams for making a cool Green Moms Carnival badge which you’ll see posted on many of the Green Moms sites participating in this carnival, and muchas gracias to eco burban mom for sorting through the many submissions that came in to the carnival mailbox. (Not all were on global warming, but we’ll add yours in if they match a future topic). There were even a few who helped along the way, but could not get a post up today – so Gray Matters, EnviroMom, and Crunchy Chicken, we still love ya!

This will be a monthly event, with topics chosen by each month’s carnival host. So on the second  Monday in September, join MamaBird at Surely You Nest to discuss green topics around “Back to School.”

Want to submit a post for next month’s carnival? The theme will be “Back to School,” and it will be hosted by SurelyYouNest. To submit, just go to the carnival submission link here.

Whew! Please leave a comment and let us know what you thought about the Green Moms Carnival.

– Lynn

Ten Things You Can Do To Help Fight Global Warming

August 3rd, 2008

Global warming can seem like such a huge, depressing problem that it’s easy to wonder what one person can do to fight it. Sure, we all know that we can change light bulbs and buy hybrid cars.

But what else can one person do?

Here are ten ideas: Ten Things You Can Do. OK, maybe you think you can’t do all ten – at least not right now. But take a look at this list – I guarantee there’s something you can do to help fight global warming right now.

1. Sign up for alternate energy. Here’s how. Did you know that residential housing – not transportation – is the biggest contributor to global warming? In fact, globally the biggest contributor to global warming is US residential housing stock and the second largest contributor is Chinese heavy industry.

2. If you are renovating your home, or building a new one, insist on green building materials. This Green Home Guide from the US Green Building Council is full of helpful information.

3. When replacing your appliances, buy only those with the ENERGY STAR label. According to the EPA, replacing a 1990-vintage refrigerator with a new ENERGY STAR fridge would save enough energy to light the average household for nearly four months. Just remember to recycle your old one: RecycleMyOldFridge.com

4. Consider downsizing. Do you really need so much room for all that – stuff?

5. Move closer to sources of public transportation, or closer to your job. Better yet – see if you can telecommute.

6. Did you know carpooling has become chic? Start a carpool or better yet – walk or bike ride as much as possible.

7. Buy locally produced goods. They don’t need to be flown across oceans or shipped cross-country.

8. If the children in your community are bussed to school, ask why. Lobby your school district to open up shuttered buildings so that more kids can walk to school.

9. Ask businesses you patronize to turn down the a/c and to turn off the lights at night. Speak up. Customers matter.

10. The power of many like-minded people coming together is awesome. If your community doesn’t have a sustainability initiative like Bethesda Green, start one.

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any others? I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make a difference. Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

– Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

An Oldie But A Goody: Healthy, Organic & On The Road at Crunchy Domestic Goddess!

August 3rd, 2008

Crunchy Domestic Goddess is one of the blogosphere’s original “Green Moms.” Our goddess Amy was green before anyone called it green! So it’s a special thrill to have one of OrganicMania’s favorite posts, “Healthy, Organic & On The Road” featured over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. Check it out!

Amy’s been blogging since ’04, is a contributing editor at BlogHer and API Speaks, a reviewer at Green Mom Finds, a contributor to 5 Minutes for Going Green and she’s the “Eco Diva” at Blissfully Domestic. She is one of the most outspoken and well informed voices in the Green Mom blogosphere on issues including natural living, extended breastfeeding, and natural birth.

This week, Crunchy Domestic Goddess is featuring some of her favorite posts from other Green voices around the blogosphere. So go take a peek – it’s a great way to catch some of the best green posts around.

Thanks, Amy, for all you do, and have a great vacay!

– Lynn