Caring about the environment is patriotic.
October 28th, 2010
If you haven’t stocked up yet on sweets for the trick-or-treaters, there’s an easy choice you can make to go greener this Halloween, and it doesn’t involve shelling out a lot of dough for organic candy: Buy Nestlé instead of Hershey’s.
Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff over at Mommy Greenest tells us that evidently Hershey’s still hasn’t cleaned up its act when it comes to fair labor practices. And when I say “fair” labor practices, I’m not talking about making sure that workers get their full 30-minute lunch break; I’m talking about not perpetuating child slave labor.
Nestlé, on the other hand, has instituted The Cocoa Plan, by which the company is working to improve social and environmental conditions for its cocoa farmers. Among the initiatives? Improving access to water and sanitation, preventing malaria, and improving the quality of locally sourced raw materials.
Baby Ruth or Butterfinger?
October 26th, 2010
[Watch video on WGNTV.com]
If you think the word budget shouldn’t come within 10 sentences of the word baby, think again: Babies actually require very little in the beginning. They don’t need much entertaining, the milk is free, and all those bouncers and activity stations and fancy outfits will do little more than add clutter to your once well organized abode once you realize that your little one is a sleeping/eating/pooping machine that will turn whatever outfit he or she is wearing into a giant napkin.
You want to make sure, however, that the essentials you do buy are as safe and healthy as possible. There are more than 80,000 industrial chemicals on the market in the United States today, few are regulated, and many of the most harmful ones — like BPA, formaldehyde, and dioxin — make it into baby products.
So check out some of my favorite picks for a lean, green nursery, above, that I shared with WGN Chicago viewers last Friday. They’ll leave you with enough spare change to start Junior’s college fund.
October 20th, 2010
I’m heading to Chicago later this week, and one thing will be new about my traveling experience: Since the last time I’ve flown, full-body scanners have made their way to Los Angeles International Airport. Haven’t seen one yet? These hotly debated new security fixtures act like a virtual strip search, using X-rays to produce images of everything from your boxers to your kidneys.
The first point of contention is that this new technology is an invasion of privacy; the second — and the one that’s more relevant to this blog — that it may be hazardous to your health. The TSA and FDA are saying that the low dose of radiation doesn’t pose a threat; some scientists are now calling that into question.
From Time Magazine:
Even if it is the amount of exposure that government officials say it is, I refuse to be a guinea pig for an experiment on the cumulative effects of low-dose radiation. (Remember shoe-fitting fluoroscopes?) I’ll be requesting a frisking instead.
October 18th, 2010
Like a lot of vegetarians/flexitarians (I’m the latter), I rely on dairy for a big chunk of my calories. When I was pregnant, my calcium cravings were particularly intense: I could easily clear a four-pound tub of yogurt a week. But all that’s over since I discovered my little lady is sensitive to milk; as long as I’m breastfeeding, it’s good-bye gelato.
After giving up milk products for a month now, I started wondering: What impact does going dairy-free have on the planet? Factory farms aren’t just for meat, after all; there are 9 million dairy cows in the US, and the methods used to produce conventional milk (organic is only 1 percent of the market) take their toll on the environment. (Not to mention human health — see last week’s Eco Etiquette.)
And that’s when I discovered a very inconvenient truth: According to a recent study, chicken has a lower carbon footprint than dairy. Should Meatless Monday now also be Milk-less Monday?
October 1st, 2010
Having a child isn’t exactly green, but I always knew I could at least be the greenest mommy on the block. Not as easy as I thought: I’ve been truly humbled by how gloriously some of my eco efforts have failed since welcoming our beautiful and healthy Isobel Beatrice into the world on Aug. 30.
There have been some successes, of course: It turns out that cloth diapers are a cinch, thanks to receiving four months of diaper service as a gift; and I swear that the gentle swaying of our organic Hushamok is the reason why Izzy’s been practically sleeping through the night since Week 2 (more on that to come).
But oh, have there been failures. Turns out that no matter how proficient you are at carving out your perfect little eco existence when it’s just you (or you and your husband), all of that goes to &$%# once you become a parent. To wit:
I’ll elaborate on all of these in the weeks to come, but here’s the bottom line: I have newfound respect for all of you out there who are trying to balance what’s best for the environment with what’s best for your family. Looks like the new mommy me is going to have to be a lot more flexible.
Do this now: Looking for great green parenting advice? There is a Mommy Greenest! Click here.
October 1st, 2010
Is Gulf seafood safe to eat? FDA and NOAA have maintained since the spill that it is; this, despite congressional testimony in August that revealed that some of the more crucial testing had not been conducted.
(My favorite reassurance comes from the Q & A section of the FDA site: Available information indicates that the dispersants being used to combat the oil spill do not accumulate in seafood and therefore there is no public health concern from them due to seafood consumption. Really? I think I’d like to hold off until I hear more about that unavailable information.)
Well, here it is, via HuffPo: