Earth Day 2009: Let’s Make a Difference!

April 22nd, 2009

The Green Moms of the Green Moms Carnival are focusing on celebrating the true spirit of Earth Day.
As Alline Anderson of Passion for Green Business says, “Ah, Earth Day. Created in the 70’s to raise awareness, it has morphed into another demon shopping holiday – or has it? As the host of the Green Mom’s Carnival for this Earth Day, I am delighted to share the insights of some very talented, thoughtful women. Always impressive, they continue to astonish me with the ways they look at the world, and how hard they are working to make it a better, and greener, place.”

Come check out today’s Earth Day edition of the Green Moms Carnival at Alline’s blog, Passion for Green Business.

— Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Earth Day & Graham Crackers

April 20th, 2009

“Mama, can you fix my graham cracker?”

It was a plaintive question from a small voice in the back of the car. As parents, our instinct is to help our kids whenever we can. But sadly, I had to explain that some things — like broken graham crackers — can’t be fixed.

No sooner had I responded than it hit me. With Earth Day reminders all around us, I couldn’t help but take that question and apply it to the environment. How much of the environmental degradation will we be able to fix? What is reversible, and what is not ?

The answers are not simple.

And as Earth Day continues its metamorphosis into a Buy Green Holiday, it’s important to recognize that we can’t buy our way out of this mess. Sure, investments in certain areas can help, as can replacing toxic products with eco-friendly substitutes.

But what would happen if we all took a close look at our local environmental issues and tried to figure out what we could do to fix things? Here are a few things you do:
– Clean up the litter in a local park or along a river, as these people do in DC’s Rock Creek;
– Plant a tree or take inspiration from this 21-year-old and support a reforestation program;
– Support one of the many fine environmental organizations trying to make a difference in this tough economic environment. Some of my faves: The Nature Conservancy; Environmental Working Group; and Healthy Child, Healthy World. Others? The local groups working hard to make a difference in your own backyard. Here in the DC area that means groups like Friends of Rock Creek, The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Bethesda Green.

What have you fixed recently? Leave a comment and share. Really, I want to hear what you’ve been up to! Haven’t done anything lately? Hmm…quit surfing the ‘Net and get moving!

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009

5 Tips for Observing Earth Hour with Kids: Get More than an Earth Minute!

March 28th, 2009

Last year, my grand plans for Earth Hour were derailed by the reality of life with little kids: as I blogged here, I ended up with an “Earth Minute.”

This year, I’m determined to learn from the past and enjoy a less rushed and stressed experience. Here are five tips that I’m hoping will make for a more enjoyable family experience. Let me know what you think. How’d your Earth Hour go last year? And what are you planning tonight? (Yes, it’s tonight!)

1. Stick to Your Routines
Clearly, whoever dreamed up Earth Hour did not have little munchkins to put to bed. 8:30 p.m. is simply too late for most kids. If your tykes hit the hay well before 8:30, DON’T, repeat DON’T try to do something special. Odds are, you’ll regret it…

2. Pick a Substitute Time that Works for You
This year, we’re going to have our Earth Hour during dinner (candlelight dining with my three boys should be fun!). If that doesn’t seem to go well, I may try for a few minutes after dinner. But bedtime – it’s still 8 p.m., Earth Hour or not!

3. Use this as a Teachable Moment
My first grader’s school observed Earth Hour on Friday. When I asked him why they did it, he said, “To help the Earth and stuff.” Yet when I tried to make a correlation between Earth Hour and turning off the lights in his room before he rushes off for school, he didn’t quite seem to get it. That’s another reason to do Earth Hour at the dinner hour – it will give us time and context for a discussion about why we are observing Earth Hour.

4. Give Yourself a Break

If despite all your plans, things still go awry, give yourself a break. When I look back at this photo of my little Boo Bear a year ago, I can’t believe how small he was and how much I tried to accomplish despite that. So many of us parents – especially the Moms – are guilty of this. We simply try to do too much.

5. Celebrate with Your Significant Other
Another benefit to Tips #1 and #2 is that if you stick to your kids’ bedtime routine, odds are you’ll have some energy to celebrate the darkness of Earth Hour with your significant other and perhaps a bottle of sustainable wine, organic beer, and fair trade chocolate.

Sounds a lot better than last year! I can’t wait…

Tell me about your Earth Hour! Leave a comment and share!


Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Saint Patrick’s Day

March 16th, 2009

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

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

Have fun!

— Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Note: This is a lightly revised version of a post that ran on OrganicMania in ’08.

Better Late than Never: Happy Festivus

February 16th, 2009

The smell of fresh baked cookies greeted my brother-in-law, his wife and kids, as they arrived at the house today for our annual Christmas gift exchange.

No, this is not a re-tread post. It’s Presidents Day, and we’re finally getting around to closing out Christmas ’08. I do believe in stretching out the Christmas season (aka Slow Christmas), but even I’ll admit this was a bit extreme.

Yet in the Episcopalian-Jewish-Buddhist-Agnostic-Non-Religious-and Roman Catholic family I married into, Christmas celebrations are decidedly different than those I remember as a child.

And I couldn’t help but compare our belated celebrations to the tweets and emails I received earlier in the evening from my @greenmoms friends Janelle Sorenson of the non-profit Healthy Child, Healthy World and Sommer Poquette of Green and Clean Mom. Rather than miss participating in last week’s Green Moms Carnival, they added their posts today. “Better late than never,” I tweeted back to them.

It’s a motto this Mom can relate to.

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009

Real vs. Fake Inaugural Invites

January 19th, 2009

Take a look at these Inaugural Invitations. If you received both in the mail, would you know which to use? My neighbors were anxiously awaiting their Inaugural invitations when they received the invitation pictured above. And then, a few days later, they received the second set, pictured at right. When they received the second set, which is the set needed to gain access to the restricted viewing section, they realized that the invite sent by their local Congressman was intended as a general invitation to “attend,” but not the actual coveted tickets they were awaiting. They were a bit less charitable though, and called them “fake.”

What do you think? Are they “fake?”

And as for the actual tickets, gold tassels, gold engraving and all – they’re beautiful. To the right of the invitations are tickets to the Newseum, where yours truly, along with many working members of the press and thousands of fellow citizens will watch the Inauguration on the Newseum’s 40-foot-by-22-foot high definition media screen and in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Big Screen Theater, where news can be viewed on a unique 90-foot-long video wall. If we can get near the windows, we may watch the parade from there, or try to use our tickets (pictured above, far left) to the parade reviewing stand at 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue.

I hope to be live tweeting from the festivities and then off to a reception on Capitol Hill. It all seems a bit ambitious given the size of the crowds, but here’s hoping it will be worth it! I’ll be tweeting tomorrow from the Green Moms Carnival twitter account @greenmoms. Sign up to follow me there! And if you like what you see, please cast a vote for us in the Shorty Awards! If you have an active Twitter account, you can vote here!


Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Slow Christmas: And on the 10th Day of Christmas…

January 3rd, 2009

It’s hard to believe that more than a week has passed since Christmas Day. Many people plan to take down the Christmas tree this weekend.

What’s the rush?

It was a month ago that we discussed how to “Slow Christmas” to make it more meaningful.

By rights, today is the 10th day of Christmas, or Christmastide. You remember! The day when your true love is supposed to give you ten lords a leaping!

Of course, most of us are over the presents by now – particularly this year. But who wouldn’t enjoy a few more leisurely readings of the Christmas story, another lap of the train around the tree, or simply a quiet evening enjoying the beautiful decorations?

Take the time. Enjoy Christmastide. All 12 days. And when that’s over, you can have fun celebrating Epiphany on January 6th with a Three Kings Cake.

And then it’s time to finally take down the tree!

Until, then slow down, and enjoy a Slow Christmas!

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009

The One New Years Resolution Every Blogger Should Make

January 1st, 2009

If you’re like most bloggers, you’ve agonized over posts, debated how often to ask for a Stumble, and analyzed your web traffic more often that you care to admit. All that time adds up – in fact, according to Technorati, about half of all bloggers spend more than five hours per week on their blogs. Five hours per week? Those numbers actually seem low when you think about activist bloggers – those blogging about a cause near and dear to their hearts.

We lose ourselves to blogging and social media because there we find like-minded souls who encourage us to pursue those causes most important to us.

But as you make new friends amongst the Twitterati and in the Blogosphere, don’t forget the real world outside your door.

Too often this past year, I neglected real world friends and obligations because of my fascination with this alternate universe. The fact is, as wonderful as cybersupport can be, it only goes so far. You still have to trudge to the 7 p.m. PTA meeting, organize the Green Group at your school or office, or knock on doors to elect a political candidate.

This morning, as my first act of ’09, I organized a meeting to help green things up around my son’s school. I’ve reached the point where I stopped blogging about green schools – a cause near and dear to my heart – because I felt I wasn’t doing enough real work in my own neighborhood.

What do you care about? What do you blog about? Now what do you actually do? This year, keep blogging, but make something real happen in your own neighborhood.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Happy New Year!


Copyright OrganicMania 2009

My New Years Gift to You: Tip on the Best Value Sparkling Wine

December 31st, 2008

Well, I tried to take a blogging break over the holidays, but I can’t stand looking at that old Christmas gift post, so here I am sneaking in a post mid-afternoon on New Years Eve.

Most of us are looking to live a bit more frugally this year. (Of course, we’ve been sharing frugal and green savings tips on OrganicMania for more than a year now!)

So this year, instead of tipping back the Veuve Cliquot, I’ll be trying Graham Beck Brut, a fantastic bottle of sparking wine you can pick up at Whole Foods for $15, or perhaps find even cheaper at a local market. (Check here). As one expert put it, “It will be very difficult to find a sparkling wine this good at this price.”

All I know is, if you love Veuve, you’ll love this…and it’s a lot easier on the wallet!

Wishing you all the best for a Happy New Year!


Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Still More Shopping To Do? Be Cheap, Be Green!

December 22nd, 2008

There are only two more shopping days till Xmas. If you still have some gifts to buy, stop and take a deep breath. Do you really think you’ll find something meaningful at the last minute?

My DH and I admitted to each other this weekend that we hadn’t yet purchased gifts for each other. We’ve been so busy with the kids, work, and new routines for the holiday season that it took us all of 5 seconds to decide to forgo the gifts, and to funnel the money into a celebration of our tenth anniversary, coming up in January. Will I miss opening a little package on Christmas Eve? I have no idea, but I’ll let you know!

But let’s assume that you feel obligated to give a gift to your close relations or neighbors. Do they have kids? Last year my brother and sister-in-law gave us a night of babysitting. A $100 savings for us, this was a huge hit! The best gift we’ve received in years!

And if there are no kids involved? How about a promise to water the garden, walk the dogs, or otherwise pitch in for a friend or neighbor who may welcome a break. Why not give the gift of your company? How about a hand made certificate promising a lunch or coffee date?

And when all else fails, you can always bake Christmas cookies!

What are your plans for the holidays? Leave a comment and share! I’ll be checking in, but hope to go on a “slow blogging hiatus” over the next little while to enjoy the start of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Happy Holidays!
— Lynn