Think Raising Green Kids is Tough? Try Greening Your Parents! (And Vote Today at Pepsi Refresh!)

March 31st, 2010

Maybe I’ve had it wrong all along.  I’ve been blogging  about helping parents to raise green kids,  when maybe it’s the kids who need to green their parents!

That’s the premise behind Green My Parents, a green youth movement launching Earth Day  to help young people teach their peers and parents how to work together to go green through simple, everyday actions that not only help Mother Earth, they save money! Starting with a small group of “Green My Parents Champions,” these kids are committed to recruiting 100 kids to help save their parents $100 at home through simple, energy savings steps. The movement will grow as those 100 kids recruit another 100 kids and so on until they reach their goal of saving $100 million for American families – and greening the planet at the same time.

I’m blown away by the kids behind this movement. Check out:

  • Adora Svitak, a 12-year-old who is a published author and was the youngest speaker at the TED 2010 conference. She says, “ As one of the champions for GreenMyParents, I feel strongly that we can inspire our families, our communities and our country to successfully face and overcome the most important challenge of our time.”
  • Jordan Howard, 17, a senior at Environmental Charter High in LA, Green Ambassador Youth leader, and prolific speaker and blogger who inspires at her blog jordaninspires.com;
  • Alec Loorz, a 14-year-old who founded Kids Against Global Warming as a 12-year-old. He gave over 30 global warming presentations before being invited by Al Gore to be formally trained with the Climate  Project in October of 2008.  He is now the youngest trained presenter with The Climate Project.
  • Ally Maize, who three years ago, as a 15-year-old started the Green Youth Movement, whose goal is to “educate kids all over the world on living green, and to one day establish this very important information as part of the curriculum in our elementary schools.” and
  • Erin Schrode, a freshman at Columbia University and  founder of Teens Turning Green who wrote a great blog post about just what Green My Parents means to her. Erin just returned from a trip to Haiti that was sponsored by Green My Parents.  As Erin put it, “Every penny I raise for Haiti will go DIRECTLY to development efforts on the ground and the creation of a sustainable healthy peaceful nation for the future.”

Talk about positive role models for youth! (I don’t even want to imagine the college application essays these kids have put together!)

There’s a lot already going on – you can follow GreenMyParents on Facebook and Twitter and keep up with the movement on our website.  But the official launch is on Earth Day, when the Green My Parents book (and more) comes out. So stay tuned for more deets!  And please, join in! God knows, we need to green those parents!

Some of the other organizations behind Green My Parents are:  National Wildlife Federation publisher of Ranger Rick Magazine, Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Program, Carbonfund.org, Environmental Media Association, Earth Echo, Alliance for Climate Education (ACE,) Kiva.Org, DonorsChoose.org, Kids vs. Global Warming, Green Youth Movement (GYM), Teens Turning Green, SlowFoodUSA, ProjectSprout, Rise Above Plastics, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Green Charter Schools Network, Environmental Charter High School, Green Ambassadors, and many others who are joining us every day. Care to join in as a sponsor or a member? Just leave a comment here, @ us on Twitter, leave a message on our Facebook page, or whatever is easiest. We’ve got a lot of work to do!

Note: GreenMyParents is a new client of my consulting firm, 4GreenPs. I’m thrilled to be working with them to help this movement take off!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

Kids and Earth Hour: Finally, We’ve Got It Down!

March 27th, 2010

Ever since Earth Hour debuted in 2008, I’ve struggled with how to incorporate the late evening holiday into my childrens’ bedtime routines. The first year, we celebrated what I called an “Earth Minute.”

earth-hour

Last year, I had it all figured out: I shared all the details on   Five Tips for Observing Earth Hour with Kids:

1. Stick to Your Routines

2. Pick a Substitute Time that Works for You

3. Use this as a Teachable Moment

4. Give Yourself a Break

5. Celebrate with Your Significant Other

But this year?  Well, Big Boy’s in second grade now. So when they celebrated Earth Hour at school, he actually understood the concept.

I spent the day today at a Green Jobs Internship Fair, talking to scores of amazing young people bent on using their talents to help save the Earth. Exhausted, I returned home. Earth Hour? They celebrated at school this year. My son understood. He was falling asleep as the last flickers of light left the sky.

– Lynn

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania


My Take on Expo West

March 18th, 2010

So you might be wondering what happened….. I posted about how I would be blogging from Expo West…and then…nothing. (Well, except for all those tweets!)

Well, today my post about ExpoWest  went up on the Seventh Generation community blog. You can read it here.

It was a great experience, and despite my good natured complaining about Food Porn and Organic Kid Marketing, I hope to make it back to the show again next year!

– Lynn

SeventhGen Blog Badge

10 Tips for a Really Green Saint Patrick’s Day

March 17th, 2010

Note: This is a lightly updated post I run every year at this time. I guess every year I hope the Giants and Safeways and other grocery stores and mass merchandisers will stop hawking so much crap on Saint Patrick’s Day. But as this picture I snapped yesterday attests, they’re still at it….

stpattysephoto

Flowers are great….green plastic hats and plastic wrapped flowers – not so much!

The “green” holiday is becoming anything but green. Back when I was a kid, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day was simple. You put on some green clothing, perhaps a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button, and made sure to down some beer that night. If you truly had the Luck of the Irish, you got to watch or march in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.


But like everything else in our consumerist society, we’re being prompted to buy more “stuff” to celebrate properly. I’ve admitted to loving the tacky, tacky side of Christmas, replete with blow-up inflatables and lighting, but decorating for the holidays is a longstanding tradition. Do we really need more inflatables barely three months later? This year, St. Patrick’s Day inflatables have popped up on suburban lawns, biding their time till they end up in our landfills. (Check it out here). And more and more, the retailers are offering special Cheap Plastic Crap for St. Patrick’s Day. Cheap Plastic Crap is bad enough in kid’s goody bags. Do we really want to encourage it on St. Patrick’s Day too?

Here are 10 tips for celebrating a truly green, eco-friendly St. Patrick’s Day. Have fun! Luck o’ the Irish to you!

1. Wear Green

2. March in or Watch a St. Patrick’s Day Parade

3. Enjoy Some Irish Spirits (and if it’s beer you’re drinking, opt for organic!)

4. Sing Irish Songs

5. Visit an Irish Pub or Restaurant (Walk or take public transit if you can!)

6. Bake and Decorate Some Green Cookies or Cupcakes

7. Skip the Corned Beef, Go for the Cabbage (Why? Cattle farming is a contributor to global warming).

8. Say No to Cheap Plastic Crap for St. Patty’s Day

9. Say No to St. Patty’s Lawn Decorations and Inflatables

10. Smile and Say Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Have fun!

– Lynn

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania

Blogging and Tweeting at ExpoWest, Courtesy of Seventh Generation

March 11th, 2010

For years, I’ve wanted to attend the Expo West trade show, held every spring in Anaheim, California. It’s the largest show for natural and organic product makers.  Expo West is THE place to find out about new trends, and to meet the people behind the  brands. It is there that retail outlets like Whole Foods discover new items to stock, and it is there that manufacturers unveil their new products.

First my former client, Heather Stouffer of Mom Made Foods, tried to convince me to go. Then Seth Goldman of Honest Tea offered me a free pass. But it was just too much – Boo was too young, my business too young, and the timing just wasn’t right.

This year, I’m pleased to say that I’m traveling as one of four bloggers invited by Seventh Generation, to “experience our world,” as their Storyteller put it.

SeventhGen Blog Badge

I’ll be joined by  Diane MacEachern and Jennifer Taggert, whom I know well as Founding Members of The Green Moms Carnival.  (And both women are talented authors in addition to bloggers. Their books, Big Green Purse and  Smart Mama’s Green Guide are two must-read books for any Green Mom!)  Our quartet will be completed by @rockinmama, whom I’m looking forward to meeting.

ExpoWest will be one of those places where I  straddle the worlds of Marketer (4GreenPs) and “Green Mom” blogger (OrganicMania).

But that’s what we women do all the time, right? Mother, daughter, working woman,   wife, volunteer, neighbor, friend, activist…if there’s one thing women are adept at doing, it’s juggling.

But here’s the deal. It’s required by law that bloggers disclose their business relationships. (In fact, I just talked about this issue at this webinar over at Sustainable Brands Forum Bootcamp!)

So here are the terms of my relationship with Seventh Generation.

First, Seventh Generation is a client of my consulting practice, 4GreenPs. However, my  work for Seventh Generation is not connected to this trip to ExpoWest, nor to these blog posts.

Seventh Generation is paying for my trip in return for:

A post about my experience at the show on the Seventh Generation blog; and my attendance at these eight events:

  1. Seventh Generation Broker Reception;
  2. Drinks and appetizers with Seventh Generation founder Geoffrey Hollander and their still relatively “new” CEO, Chuck Maniscalco  (I’m REALLY looking forward to this, especially since Geoffrey Hollander is a widely revered pioneer in the green business world and Chuck Maniscalco has a very traditional “Corporate America” business background like mine.)
  3. A book signing and seminar on Geoffrey Hollander’s new book, “The Responsibility Revolution: Winning in the Next Generation of Business.” (This is another event I’m really excited about!)
  4. Future of Wellness Seminar with Dr. Alan Greene. I was fortunate to meet my “twitter pal” Dr. Green at GreenFest  (see our pic below). But I’m embarrassed to admit that in all the excitement, I forgot to buy his book and have him sign it! So I’ll look forward to chatting with him again, learning from his amazing insights into childhood development and nutrition, and finally leaving with a signed copy of his new book!
  5. Dinner with Seventh Generation’s SVP of Marketing and Sr. Marketing  Director. I’ve only spoken briefly by phone with Kristen  Deshaies, the Marketing Director widely credited with Seventh Generation’s popular first television ad. I’m eager to talk with both her and Dave Kimbell about media strategy  at Seventh Gen. I’m particularly interested in what they are doing to support traditional media – the cornerstone of our democracy. Bloggers are ok, but buy more print ads! Save the newspapers!
  6. Honestly, the only thing I’m NOT looking forward to is this 8 a.m. Saturday session on “Seventh Generation GIVE (Generation Inspiration via Education). I’m sure it will be interesting, but I am NOT a morning person.
  7. Another event I’m really looking forward to is a B Corporation reception. B Corporations are all the rage with sustainable brands, and I am VERY interested in learning more about the B Corp set-up. (My own firm is an LLC).
  8. Dinner with Jennifer Cinadr, director of GIVE program.  This will probably be where I ask Jennifer to repeat all those factoids I couldn’t quite take in at 8 a.m.! (Just kidding).

All of my posts from the show will be marked with this disclosure icon provided by Seventh Generation.   The company specified that my tweets and blog posts do not have to reference Seventh Generation, although it’s very likely that many will, simply because….well, look at how I’ll be spending my time!  It’s a packed agenda.

I expect to be tweeting from both of my accounts: @OrganicMania as well as @4GreenPs  with the hashtag #ExpoWest

Please let me know if there’s anything you think I should be sure to check out at the show.  I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of people whom I’ve gotten to know through the whole bloggy/tweety world, to learning more about the world of natural products marketing, and to meeting the team from Seventh Generation.

And I’m curious to know…for those of you bloggers and PR people who have been involved in other sponsored trips – a la Walmart 11, #SocialMediaMoms, Lego Atlantis, etc, how does this agenda and the expectations compare?

What do you think of sponsored trips for bloggers?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

– Lynn

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania

Teaching Financial Literacy & Values or NO, The Lego Company is NOT a Charity!

March 10th, 2010

tweet yesterday about teaching financial literacy through allowances caught my attention, mainly because I’m expecting to start work shortly on a new client project that will engage kids with financial issues (in a green way, of course!… More to come on that when it’s finalized).

As @johnlanza said, allowances are a great idea.

BUT there’s so much more involved than simply handing over $x a week to spend on stuff…Especially if your values are trying to teach kids that we don’t need so much of the stuff that consumes our environmental resources.

A few years ago, when Big Boy was 5, I took a class in allowances at a wonderful local non-profit parenting organization, The Parent Encouragement Program.  Their philosophy is simple:  start allowances at age 5 to teach saving, spending, and charity, and adjust the allowance over time as your child grows.

We started at age 5 with $3 for spending, $1 for a charity of my son’s choosing, and $1 for savings.  Very early on he grasped the concept of “saving” up for large purchases (you guessed it – Legos). It would take him 10 weeks or more to save up for a decent-sized Lego, but he did it.  His first charitable donation was to the local Bethesda library.

Two years on, he’s getting $7 a week, with $4.50 for spending, $1.50 for saving, and $1 for charity.

Judging by the number of Lego pieces I trip over in our house, I think he’s got too much spending money.  He’s deposited $272 in the bank, and he loves reading the bank statements when they arrive. (I miss the days of the old passbook savings accounts – which made the money somehow seem so much more tangible.)

But it’s the charity thing we’ve had the hardest time working on. Somehow, my complaints about Lego’s exorbitant prices have been misinterpreted. He became convinced that Lego must charge so much because they need the money. Therefore, in his mind, The Lego Company is  a charity. And for several weeks, he was bound and determined to donate his charitable savings to The Lego Company. But of course, I wouldn’t allow it!

He’s now finally got the concept of for-profit corporations down pat, and as the note below attests, his charitable contributions will be flowing to Haiti and Chile.

“Dear X,

I am donating  $X   to give to Haiti and Chile.  I hope this money will help the people in Haiti and Chile for food and water.

Sincerely,

XX”

Do you give your kids an allowance? What’s worked for you?

– Lynn

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania

The Hypocrisy of Cancer

March 7th, 2010

“Thank God for those writers, activists, and demonstrators who have the courage to dig around in the manure and expose hypocrisy,” my rector said this morning from the pulpit.

That was it!

I could have blogged about my contempt for pinkwashing, defined here as “the term used to describe the activities of companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to rising rates of the disease.” Or I could have asked why the many  environmental links to cancer are not more widely acknowledged in our society.

But then again, why did I want to risk being pegged yet again as just  one of those “hysterical Mommy bloggers?”

Sadly, many people shrug off cancer, perhaps as a means of coping with the fear of this horrible disease.  “Everything causes cancer!,” they’ll joke. “We can’t live in bubble wrap,” they’ll say.

It  doesn’t have to be this way. If we would only clean up our environment, ban known carcinogens from use in our personal care products and household cleansers, and prevent exterminators from spraying pesticides inside homes,  we’d be well on our way to reducing and preventing the increasing numbers of breast cancers.

Don’t just take it from me. Listen to what these experts say about environmental linkages to cancer. And please check out the round-up of posts on this topic from the other members of the Green Moms Carnival. Among them are some experts as well. We’re posting Monday over at Nature Moms.

  • The Breast Cancer Fund: “No more than 10 percent of breast cancers are genetic, and science points to toxic chemicals and radiation as factors in the sharp rise of breast cancer incidence.”

    • Dr. Devra Lee Davis and the Environmental Health Trust. Dr. Davis says, “We should…find  safer substitutes for the things we use every day that appear to be toxic, according to their labels…For nearly a century, the following things have been understood to cause cancer: tobacco, benzene, asbestos, tars, sunlight, hormones, and radiation.”

    To be kept informed of the latest developments in the fight against cancer-causing environmental contaminants, follow these groups:

    – Lynn

    Copyright OrganicMania 2010

    The Green Moms Take on Environmental Links to Cancer

    March 5th, 2010

    Next Monday the Green Moms Carnival members  will host our 26th carnival. We’ll  tackle environmental links (or causes, depending on your perspective) to cancer. I’ll admit I’ve become radicalized about this subject. Despite all the talking about “finding a cure for cancer,” we actually are a lot closer to knowing what causes many cancers than the mainstream public believes. If we cleaned up our environment and took the toxins out of the products we use everyday, I believe we’d find that our cancer rates would dramatically decrease.

    .

    greenmoms1

    My very first post here at OrganicMania was about cancer, and that was before I was aware of the many environmental links to cancer.  Cancer is a subject that’s close to my heart, having two parents who battled cancer – my mother  successfully, and my father  unsuccessfully. I also lost my mother-in-law to the disease, and many other cousins, aunts and uncles.

    Cancer is  a subject I’ve wanted to revisit, and that’s why I asked Tiffany of Nature Moms if she’d host this carnival. Most of us know Tiffany as one of the trailblazers in “green mom” blogging. But Tiffany is also a young woman who battled cancer in her 20s. Her experience caused her to examine the environmental causes of cancer. I couldn’t think of a better host for this carnival.

    If you’d like to contribute a post to the carnival, it’s not too late. Just include a link to Nature Moms, to the home page of the Green Moms Carnival, and email your submission to greenmomscarnival at gmail dot com by Sunday morning.

    We’re going to be talking pinkwashing, carcinogens, plastics, coal, household cleansers, you name it….we’ll put it on the line.

    Join us. Monday at Nature Moms.

    – Lynn

    Copyright OrganicMania 2010