The Fifth R….Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…and When All Else Fails…

April 3rd, 2011

With Earth Day approaching, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the 4Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

When you look at this brush, what do you see?

Baby Bottle Brush

An old baby bottle brush that should have been thrown out when baby stopped bottles?  Thrown out?!

Didn’t I mean recycled? Well, that would be nice, but unfortunately baby bottle brushes aren’t typically recycled by municipalities…they’re incinerator bound.

So how do you reuse a baby bottle brush when there are no more baby bottles?

Pass it along to someone else in the new baby stage? Sell it at a consignment shop?  Hmm…I don’t know what things are like in your neck of the woods, but here in Bethesda, the odds of a new Mom buying a used baby bottle brush are just about…nil. Although it’s easy to sanitize a baby bottle brush, used baby bottle brushes just don’t pass the ick test…

So here’s where the 5th R comes in to play….Repurposing….

The Fifth R...Repurposing

After all, when the babies are grown, there’s much more time to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine!

What have you repurposed lately?

Leave a comment and share!

— Lynn



Earth Day Reverie

April 22nd, 2010

For a green blogger, what one chooses to post on Earth Day carries quite some significance.

I debated.


I thought about adding my voice to those expressing disgust at the commercialization of Earth Day.  But I tried that two years ago.

And this year?

The same company that I took to task on Earth Day 2008 had their PR firm approach me about publicizing their tactless displays…

I thought about writing an update about  “A Travesty on Earth Day.” It was two years ago Earth Day when  a Bethesda developer chose to chop down eight beautiful, healthy, four-story high, towering trees in the heart of downtown to make way for a condo building….

photo empty lot

Two years later…and those trees are gone forever, with no luxury building in sight.

I thought about writing an update post on the launch of my client, Green My Parents.

web ad_0041910_outlined

But heck, I spent the better part of the day tweeting about Green My Parents anyway!

Instead, I decided the best thing I could do for Earth Day was to get outside.

Watched as  my eldest boy admired a tree branch.


Let my younger son think that leaves were a type of “toy” from the Earth.


And me? There’s nothing like lying in the soft, sunlit grass – enjoying Mother Earth. (Even when reminders of the constant pull of our commercial culture are literally right at hand).

And your Earth Day?

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

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;
  • 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,, Environmental Media Association, Earth Echo, Alliance for Climate Education (ACE,) Kiva.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

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

A Travesty on Earth Day

April 23rd, 2008


It happened on Earth Day, in Bethesda, Maryland. In a city which has an innovative program underway to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. In a county that on that very day passed a green building law as well as laws requiring Montgomery County workers to use biofuels and to justify the use of SUVs. In a country whose President posed for a photo opp planting trees to commemorate Earth Day.

Eight healthy, beautiful, four story tall trees adjacent to a city sidewalk felled to make way for yet another condominium building. This happened on Earth Day. Really.


Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Serendipity: Earth Day During TV Turn-off Week

April 22nd, 2008

No doubt the blogosphere will be abuzz today with recommendations about how to spend your Earth Day. Clearly, if you can pick up some litter or skip a car trip, you can make a difference. But what else? How can you celebrate a meaningful Earth Day with a child?

Maybe it’s not just serendipity that causes Earth Day to fall during TV Turn-off Week. Maybe it’s Divine Inspiration.

As Treehugger pointed out, “The sad truth is that the average American kindergartener can identify several hundred logos and only a few leaves from plants and trees.”


Why not use this week, when the TV is off, to teach your kid how to recognize different trees? It’s okay if you don’t know yourself…just grab a book or an Internet print-out like this one.

The best way to develop an appreciation for the Earth and its fragile bounty is to spend time with her most magnificent creation, Nature. If a child learns to love plants, trees, and animals, he’ll naturally want to learn how to take steps to protect Nature.

So this Earth Day – TV-Turn-Off Week, get outside and appreciate what we’ve been given. Then think about what you can do to help preserve it for future generations.

Help a child learn to recognize a Maple leaf as quickly as he may recognize a McDonalds logo.

Happy Earth Day.

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Easy Green Weekend Project #3 – Earth Day Weekend!

April 18th, 2008

With Earth Day coming up on Tuesday the 22nd, there are Earth Day festivities going on all weekend long. What a perfect, easy green weekend project!

Here’s a look at fun Earth Day weekend events across the US, around the world, and in your own backyard:

The Green Apple Festival will be held in eight U.S. cities – D.C., N.Y.C., Miami, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, L.A., and San Francisco. Check out the details here at screamtobegreen.

For a look at other activities, check out this searchable list at the Earth Day Network. You can search for worldwide activities – it’s a great tool.

The Sierra Club has tons going on, as you would expect. They’ve got a terrific searchable tool, too. See it here.

And check this out: Google has a fun interactive map that allows you to put in a note about what you will be doing on Earth Day.

In your own neighborhood? How about something as simple as cleaning up a trail? Or picking litter up off a city sidewalk?

And if you’re in my neighborhood – Bethesda – check out this fun and educational event planned at Wiggle Room – all about Practical, Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic Choices for Baby. (But you need to RSVP!)

What are you doing this weekend? Leave a comment and share!

— Lynn

Greenwashing Earth Day! Oh, No! Say It Ain’t So!

March 25th, 2008

Say it ain’t so. If environmentalism were religion, this marketing campaign from my beloved Barnes & Noble would be a blasphemy. Take a look at this pic:


Yes, you saw it correctly the first time. Did shock and disbelief make you look again? That’s what happened to me when I saw the sign “Celebrate Earth Day…All Products Made from Eco-Friendly Materials” perched above a table of plastic shrink-wrapped notebooks made of recycled paper.

Really? Since when did plastic shrink-wrapped books become eco-friendly? We should all be looking for ways to reduce our consumption of plastic, especially on Earth Day!

Twenty lashes with a wet noodle. This one goes down as one of the worst examples of corporate greenwashing I’ve seen. Sorry to single you out, Barnes & Noble, but please, drop this campaign!

Here’s a free green marketing tip, B&N. Ditch these signs (please recycle them!). How about some free author readings of the “green books” you had on display next to your plastic shrink-wrapped notebooks? Share some ideas from great green authors about how to go green. Now that would be a terrific way for B&N to celebrate Earth Day! Don’t like that idea? How about doing a better job of promoting your used books on Barnes & You know, reduce, re-use, recycle…

Have you seen other pathetic corporate attempts to celebrate Earth Day? Leave a comment and share!

— Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania