making the earth greener one tiny baby at a time

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy HalloGreen

Just hangin' with some pumpkins

Really, truly if we are looking to have an eco-friendly Halloween we really need to only be concerned with two things:  Costumes and candy. (Holiday decorations in general will be dealt with in a future post).

The easiest way to go green on a costume is to make it out of clothes and supplies you have around the house, or use a hand-me-down.  Some of the women in our mom's group got great costumes on consignment.  And the little ones are so, well, little that it doesn't take much material to get creative.  The worst choice you could make is to purchase a new costume out of synthetic materials...this is what we did.

Shame on us!  I am very crafty, but the thought of constructing a costume was just too over-whelming this year.  And when we looked online at the adorable, and I mean adorable costumes available for babies I just got caught up in the whole thing.  We bought her a peanut.  Not just the nut, but the whole shell.  But not Mr. Peanut.  She has no top-hat, monocle or cane.  Though I wish...a baby with a monocle would be awesome!

I couldn't even tell you what this peanut is made of.  It's some sort of dense foam layered over some sort of polyester.  I don't know what possessed us.  But I can try to turn it in to a positive by keeping the costume in great condition and giving it to baby after baby to prolong its life.

Luckily Phoebe is at an age where I don't have to be concerned about candy.  But none-the-less I wanted to do a little research and find out what the greenest candy options were.  When I did a random google search the first thing I came across was an article about green things to give out a Halloween.  They were the following:
Yikes!  I mean, I love pennies, apples, books and pencils, but it's Halloween!  It's Candy Day!!! And can you imagine how heavy our little plastic pumpkins would get if we went around collecting pennies or books from every household?
Then I found an article on making vegan candy corn.  Aye yi yi.  If I don't have the energy to slap a red onesie on my daughter and draw some black dots on it so she can be a lady bug, I am not shaping minuscule pieces of maize.
Third time is a charm, because I found actual candy!  The following website 
shows you different options you can order online and hand out including the "ultimate mixed bag of natural candy."  
You can also go to this website: 
and get a Halloween Fair Trade action kit.  Not only does it come with candy, but it is educational.
Great!  These are, of course, way more expensive than Kit Kat bars, so I wanted to find out what the best option would be for run-of-the-mill commercial candies.  This was a real challenge, because none of them are good for the environment in their packaging or production.  But here are a few things to keep in mind if you can't afford the organic stuff:
Anything packaged in cardboard is better than plastic.  You can recycle the cardboard, but those tiny insidious wrappers won't biodegrade.
If you are going with chocolate, Cadbury has just announced they will begin using fair-trade chocolate, and while Hershey's is NOT fairtrade, you can actually recycle Hershey's Kiss wrappers.
Avoid wrapping you little candies in a bigger plastic bag.  I know they are cute as can be, but they just get thrown in the trash.
Use a natural-material bag for candy collecting.
Most of all, walk the neighborhood instead of driving!  This is the most eco-friendly choice you can make on Halloween.

Don't forget to stop by and Toys-R-Us or Babies-R-Us and pick up your free little Unicef box to Trick-or-Treat with.  A donation as small as 7 cents can get a child clean water for a day.

And finally, I found this great website:
It is fantastic!  It tells you all sorts of things you can do from solar halloween lights to a national costume swap.  In fact, this whole blog entry could have just been, "Go to"

So check it out!  And (said in spooky Vincent Price voice) Happy Halloweeeeeeeeen!

totally depressing environmental fact:
200,00 children in West Africa work under forced labor on cocoa farms

totally exciting environmental tip:
If you own a cat (black or otherwise!), get some of these more earth-friendly litters:

- Silica gel pearls (made from sand, no dust)
- Recycled newspaper that's been compressed into pellets
- Ground corn cobs
- Extruded straw pellets
- Pine sawdust from lumber waste
- Kenaf plant pellets (a fast growing hibiscus)
- Other products made from cellulose fiber
Used cat litter can also be used in your garden as a mulch or fertilizer

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

So Sorry...

Phoebe bawling her eyes out because I sat her
down on a hill and she fell on her face...
and even worse I took a picture of it
Oh brother I am behind on this blog.  Which is great, because I was really looking for something else to feel guilty about.  What is it about being a new mother that has us feeling guilty about something ALL THE TIME?  Well let me take this moment to tell you this, and print it out and post it on your fridge; if you are loving, protecting and nurturing your child you have NOTHING to feel guilty about EVER!
There.  Now let's move on to all the things that make us feel guilty.

I can't tell you how many conversations I have had with my fellow parents that start with, "I feel so terrible, I..."  Most recently a friend shared with me her struggles with breastfeeding.  Although she went to amazing lengths to keep nursing her baby, but for medical reasons she had to switch to formula.  She truly had no choice but still manages to be wracked with guilt.  I feel guilty when I turn the television on around my daughter.  For the most part she ignores it, but there are those mornings when she wakes at 6 AM and all I want is a little "Today Show" to keep me from falling asleep at the high chair.  Somehow even though I have woken up with her, nursed her, changed her, snuggled her, played with her and given her home-made organic food, at the end of the day all I can think is how the background TV noises and images must be rotting her brain.  How could I do that to my child?

And then there are the actual times we inadvertently put our child in danger.  Like when I was cutting grapes for Phoebe and absent-mindedly handed her the grapes the the hand also yielding the sharp knife. Or the time I reached down to pick her up in her car seat and my heavy purse slipped off my shoulder and landed squarely on her face.  Or the time on vacation when I strapped her in to her car seat, only to realize as we arrived at our next destination that I never secure the actual car seat to the car.  I was heavy with guilt for days after that one.

Every so often I like to ask myself, "What would the world be like if everyone lived like I do?"  I think this is a good barometer for your daily life.  If everyone was like me there would be no plastic bags, an over-population of farm animals, and when a new line opened up in the grocery store every would say, "You were already ahead of me, you go first!"  People would always use turn signals and compact car spaces would be taken up by only compact cars.  We all might have type 2 diabetes from our sugar consumption and we would have higher-than-normal water bills because of our luxuriously long showers and incessant hand-washing.  But if we encountered a piece of trash on our neighborhood walk we would pick it up and the earth would be spotless!  And most importantly all of our children would be nurtured and loved.

The number one thing the Dali Lami will tell you to meditate on is compassion.  But some how we don't include ourselves in our compassionate mindset.  We are loving to our families, our children and the environment, but hard on ourselves.  I recently read an article where a woman asked each member of her family, "How can I love you better?"  What if you asked yourself the same question...

totally depressing environmental fact:
20% of preschoolers and 50% of all children are obese due to unhealthy food choices and sedentary lifestyles

NEW!  In addition to our totally depressing environmental fact, I will include an Uplifting Little Tip on how you can do something positive!

uplifting little tip:
if you can't afford a water-saving toilet, just put a brick in the water tank to lessen consumption.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Sound and The Fury

I would be lying if I said I didn't have a moment where I leaped over the coffee table (replay it in your mind in slo-mo) to stop my mom from opening a SunChips bag because I knew the sound could wake the baby from her nap.  Unfortunately it seems too many people have had this experience, and SunChips announced it is discontinuing it's compostable bag.  This is such depressing news!  And while part of me gets it (there was a whole facebook page dedicated to how noisy it was!) the other part finds it infuriating.  We really can't live with a noisy bag to lessen pollution?

Back when Phoebe was only a few weeks old I was desperate for sleep.  I was reading everything I could on getting a baby to sleep longer or more often.  At the time I was averaging four to five hours a night and would spend my waking hours wondering if someone could actually die from lack of sleep.  I came across something, somewhere, and once I read it I had a complete paradigm shift.  It basically boiled down to:  What makes you think you deserve eight hours of sleep?

Hold on.  But...I do!  I' sleepy....(tears, tears and more tears)...(dry the tears)...(think about it)...

That statement truly changed me.  We, and by "We" maybe I mean "People living in 2010" or maybe I mean "Americans" believe we have the right to certain things.  Like I have the right for my Internet connection to be fast or I have the right to not have my Trader Joe's stop selling that one product I love.  But the truth is these are all conveniences.  And once we get out of the mind set that we deserve our lives to as easy as possible, the easier it becomes to deal with life's annoyances.

[Side note: I was watching the movie "Summer Place" on Friday.  It was made in the 50's and a woman in the film keeps referring to her toilet as "my convenience."  I love it!!]

While shopping at one of my favorite stores, Green and Greener (, the owner told me about Fresh Kills Landfill.  I had never heard of it.  But apparently it is the largest man made structure that can be seen from outer space.  So I guess we have to make a choice; either keep filling the landfills, or wake your sleeping baby because you needed a salty snack.

totally depressing environmental fact:

Opened as a "temporary landfill" in 1947, The Fresh Kills Landfill covers 2200 acres, can be seen with the naked eye from space and is taller then the Statue of Liberty, at a height of 225 ft. It is situated on the western shore of Staten Island and is made up of four sections which contain fifty plus years of landfill, mostly in the form of household waste. The waste disposed at the Fresh Kills Landfill and the decomposition products of this waste contain numerous chemicals. The chemicals can enter into the environment in a variety of ways: releases into the air from barge unloading and garbage trucks unloading; the cement crushing trucks releases chemical dust into the air; and into the local groundwater by leaching.