Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Marcal's Small Steps paper products

I have a great job. Sometimes I get sent huge boxes of organic fruit to review. Some days I get to sit by the pool and work remotely. And sometimes I get sent free ... toilet paper.

Yep, toilet paper. I know there are some extreme greens who don't use it anymore, but my family still does, and I don't see that changing any time soon. A few year ago we used both toilet paper made from unrecycled materials and what we called grown up wipes - the Cottenelle wet wipe stuff. But we realized it was not good for the earth and got rid of the grown up wipes and switched to toilet paper made of recycled materials (as opposed to recycled toilet paper - ew!)

I was sent a box of Marcal Small Steps recycled paper products to review - toilet paper, paper towels, tissues and napkins. According to the Small Steps website, Marcal has been making its paper products from recycled paper, not from trees.

I didn't know that. I also didn't know that Marcal is located right here in New Jersey and "uses recyclables from more than 600 municipalities from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and New England. The company is one of the largest employers in New Jersey, employing over 900 people." Hey, my kids homework papers could end up as our toilet paper.

The products are made from 100% premium recycled paper. They are whitened without chlorine bleach and contain no dye or fragrance.

We've used the toilet paper. It's not soft and thick, but I don't care. It's toilet paper. We've always used the larger 1000 sheet type rolls anyway because they cost less and last longer. I saw no difference between the Marcal Small Steps toilet paper and any other 1000 sheet roll I've ever used.

The tissues are similar - not soft and thick, but they get the job done. Same with the paper towels.

I've actually used the napkins before. We had a large cook out, and I bought them. They work just like any other disposable paper napkin.

We do regularly use disposable paper toilet paper and tissues. We do not regularly use disposable paper towels or napkins. I use rags and cloth napkins in my day to day life. But, once in a while, I buy paper napkins - usually when I'm having a large crowd. I also buy paper towels and keep them under the sink to clean up stuff you really just want to throw out - like the cat's fur balls. I'd say I go through three rolls of paper towels a year. 

Whatever paper products I'm using, whether I'm using them regularly or once in a blue moon, I buy them made from recycled paper. The Marcal Small Steps are a great option when I do because they work well, and they aren't priced out of my budget like some other paper products made from recycled materials. 

Have you checked out the $1 charity fundraiser that I'm participating in with a group of other fine eco-bloggers? We're trying to raise money for an environmental group and those who donate get to vote on who gets the money. Please consider voting and donating a dollar.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer slow down

I'll be blogging less over the summer on A Little Greener Every Day.  I will be posting regularly on Tuesday and Thursday for the summer, with a few willy nilly posts thrown in when I feel like it. 

I know this might wreak havoc on my stats. I'll have to live with that. With the boys home for the summer and my commitments to paying clients, somethings got to give. South Jersey Locavore is going to go down to Monday, Wednesday, Friday for the summer. By doing it this way,  I'll be eliminating one whole post every day that I need to write.

I love both of these blogs and I appreciate the readers who come here because they believe I have something to say. I really appreciate that. 

But my boys appreciate not having a crazy busy mom, and I owe them my time. Plus they're a whole lot of fun.

If you have an RSS feed and don't have A Little Greener Every Day in it yet, please add it so you'll catch when I do post this summer. And always come back on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Have you checked out the  $1 charity fundraiser that I'm participating in with a group of other fine eco-bloggers yet? We're trying to raise money for an environmental group and those who donate get to vote on who gets the money. Please consider voting and donating a dollar.

Image: Mike Baird
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Book giveaway: David Suzuki's Green Guide

Welcome to week two of Robin is purging her office. Actually, we're purging lots of rooms and spent the better part of the last two days clearing out the room we call The Internet Cafe. It's a small room right off the kitchen that has the boys' computer in it, book shelves and a small table where my husband and I frequently drink coffee and work on our laptops - hence the name of room.

It's also where the boys do their homework, and by the end of the school year we were knee deep in papers and other stuff that had piled up in the small space. Purging when you're trying to be environmentally friendly is tough. I recycle all that I can and find new homes for useful things we no longer want, but sometimes there is no other option for some things than the trash can. 

But I digress. You want to know about this week's book giveaway. I'm loving this giveway option to find homes for these books.

David Suzuki's Green Guide: How to find fresher, tastier, healthier food. Create an eco-friendly home. Make sustainable transportation choices. Reduce consumption and be a green citizen.
(Seriously long name for a book, isn't it?)

I reviewed this book for Sustainablog last year. It's an information intense book. It's kind of like a resource guide for greening most of the aspects of your life.

A disclaimer: I've written a bit in the book. There are some passages underlined and a few written notes that I jotted down to remember when I wrote the review. The book is in great condition except for that, though.

Here's what you have to do to win this book:
  • Leave a comment in the comment section saying you'd like the book. 
  • Make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. The winner will be chosen randomly. If I chose you and find there is no way to contact you directly, I will chose another random winner. You can either leave your e-mail address in your comment, make sure that there is a link along with your comment that leads me to contact information, or as some smart people did last week - leave me your twitter name.
  • Live in the U.S. Sorry, I can't ship to other countries at the moment.
  • The contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Monday, June 29th. Winner will be announced onor before Wednesday, July 1st. (okay, I just realized July is only one week away - scary)
Have you checked out the  $1 charity fundraiser that I'm participating in with a group of other fine eco-bloggers yet? We're trying to raise money for an environmental group and those who donate get to vote on who gets the money. Please consider voting and donating a dollar.
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Please Give Just $1 For The Charities That You Help To Choose

As writers, we know that part of good stewardship is sharing information, but even the most intelligent among us can not make change without DOING something. So The Good Human & Twilight Earth, along with Grass Stain Guru, Lighter Footstep, My Green Side, The Smart Mama, A Little Greener Every Day, Fake Plastic Fish, Allies Answers, and Natural Papa have teamed up to carry our message with one united strong voice. The message is that there are great organizations out there which are suffering in this economic downturn through decreased donations...and they need our help! So we have decided to give you, our readers, a voice and a choice. We have decided to take on a very simple fundraising mission, and we are asking you to donate just $1.00.

A single dollar; that's all.

Who cannot afford a buck even in these times? We know you can spare a dollar to help out our fellow humans!

But how do we all decide which charities to give 100% of all monies raised to? Well, we are going to put it to a vote and let you guys decide. The 10 websites participating have chosen 5 charities for all donors to vote for, and we are going to let you guys choose which two of them will receive the all monies donated.

Our purpose in doing this is three-fold
  • It gives YOU a voice. As loyal readers and stewards of our environment, we want to offer you the opportunity to make a difference without breaking the bank.

  • It gives the two charities with the most votes some much appreciated funds to continue their mission

  • It allows all of us an opportunity to connect as a community of like-minded people working for the common good of ourselves, our families and our planet.
If the community of folks who care about our planet cannot come together to rise up to a challenge, who will? That is why we are asking you for a $1 donation. While $1 may seem insignificant all by itself, by pooling our resources together we really can make a difference in these tough economic times. $1 is less than the price of a candy bar and can usually be found under the seat cushions of your couch. Won't you help 2 of these charities with your $1 donation? (Now, if you want to give more, please - feel free. We won't stop you! And by all means, send this to everyone you know so we can raise even more!)

Below you will find a poll and a Paypal donation link asking you to choose which of the 5 charities your favorite is. We ask that you please donate a dollar to the charity pool if you are going to vote, and know that even if your absolute favorite does not finish first or second, all the money donated will be going to worthwhile causes. If everyone we know who reads our sites, our Twitter feeds, our Facebook sites, etc. donates just $1, imagine the impact we can have as a group. And please, spread the word!

The poll has closed. Thank you to all who participated!

Please take a moment to vote for your favorite and to donate just a single dollar to these charities.
Times are tough and our collective might can really help them out. The results will be tallied two weeks from today, and we will write another article detailing the amounts and the two charities who garnered the most votes and will be receiving the money collected. It's only $1, so please donate!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And the winner is...


I'll be shipping National Geographic's True Green Home to deoxy who told us about one way she goes green in her home

Right now I'm trying to make my skin care greener and less toxic. I'm using jojoba oil as a moisturizer while I use up the rest of my cleanser. When it is gone, I am going to try using a mix of Castor and jojoba oils for the oil only cleansing method.

So far the jojoba is working wonderfully as a moisturizer. I was a bit skeptical, since I have somewhat oily skin, but I only use a tiny amount and have had nothing but good results.

I'll probably post the next book I'm giving away later this afternoon or evening.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Obama's United We Serve campaign is quite green

President Obama launched the United We Serve campaign over the weekend. The campaign urges Americans to do their part in the road to economic recovery by volunteering in areas that can help in the efforts. 

In the video below, the president reminds Americans that it's not just the governments job to fix our problems. One of the examples he uses is an environmental one.

"We can invest in clean energy, but we need people to use energy efficient products in their homes and train for the green jobs of the future," he tells us.

There's an even a home energy audit toolkit on the United We Serve website. One of the volunteerism suggestions on the site is to form a home energy audit team in your community. 

Other "green" ideas on the site that have toolkits are:

Organize a book drive - used books are greener than new books
Organize a clothing drive - again, used is greener than new

There is also the option of creating your own project and registering it on serve.gov. You can also register ones that already exist.

Take a look at the video below and ask yourself, "How can you volunteer to help America and help the environment at the same time?"

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Book giveaway: True green home

It's time to purge. My office is getting out of control, and I have to do some clearing out before I get swallowed up. I've been sent quite a few books over the past year to review, and I thought I could share the wealth with my readers by giving some of them away while clearing some shelf space for myself.

I'll be giving away one book a week until I've gotten rid of all of them.

First up is National Geographic's True Green Home: 100 Inspirational Ideas for Creating a Green Environment at Home. You can see my original review of the book here.

What do you have to do to win this book? It's simple.
  • Leave a comment in the comment section saying you'd like the book and list one thing that you do around your own home to be more green.
  • Make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. The winner will be chosen randomly. If I chose you and find there is no way to contact you directly, I will chose another random winner. You can either leave you e-mail address in your comment or make sure that that there is a link along with your comment that leads me to contact information.
  • Live in the U.S. Sorry, I can't ship to other countries at the moment.
  • The contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Monday, June 22nd. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 24th.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Welcome to wordless Wednesday

I've seen people do wordless Wednesday on other blogs - they post a picture instead of writing for the day. I take a lot of pictures. I mean a lot of pictures. So I thought I'd join the wordless Wednesday crowd. Each week I'll post a picture of something that has to do with being green or something that's worth being green for.

Okay, enough words.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Greening the end of school

It's the last week of school. I cannot wait for the boys to be done school so we can slow down our pace and have fun. We've all earned it.

As the kids come home with backpacks full of stuff, here are some ideas for greening the end of school.
  • Go through everything that the kids bring home and see what can be saved for next year. Each year, we get a supply list and not all of those supplies are consumable. Some things you may be able to save for next year are scissors, calculators, rulers, highlighters or binders. When your kids bring these things home, put them aside to be used again next year so you don't have to buy them again.
  • After you look through the tons of papers that come home, make sure the ones you aren't keeping end up in the recycle bin. Or, if the backs of the papers are still good, use them for scrap paper or in your computer printer.
  • Take a good look at their lunch boxes, thermoses, drink containers, etc. Can you get another year out of them? Clean them up, perhaps sprinkle them with a bit of baking soda and set out in the sun for a bit, then put them away for next year.
  • Inspect backpacks. They can be reused next year, too, if they are in good condition. 
  • This would be a good time to go through your kids' books, too. Their reading levels have gone up over the year, and some purging might be in order. Give away to younger friends or relatives (or donate) books that your kids have moved beyond. Make sure there are enough books at their reading level to have on hand for the summer. Visit the library for appropriate books or see my post on greening your summer reading list for ideas on how to stock your home library with less of an environmental impact.
One last thing. If you find that things like backpacks and lunch boxes are still in good condition, but your children are no longer interested in the super heroes or tween stars on them, help them to make a better choice with their next purchases. If you're going to allow them to get new ones, donate the still good ones, and then help them to choose ones that won't go out of style so they can use them until they wear out, not until they're out of style.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Don't throw away your old television set

The day my mom has been dreaded has arrived. Television broadcasts are going all digital. My brother took care of getting her a conversion box, but she still has been a little concerned about it all.

I was going to write a post about how to properly dispose of your old television set if you're deciding to go the route of buying a new TV instead of just a conversion box, but as I was checking my RSS feeder this morning, I saw that our friend Adam Shake from Twilight Earth has already done it. So why reinvent the wheel.

The gist of it is to make sure the TV gets e-cycled (electronic recycling) instead of tossed in the trash. There's a lot of good, reusable materials in old televisions that don't need to end up in landfills. You can hop on over to Adam's post TVs Go All Digital Today - Don't Toss Your Old One - eCycle Instead for the details.

Daily Invention

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

We're hippies

I found this little gem I had written last fall for a website that never got around to publishing it. I thought instead of letting it languish in my documents folder, I'd share it with you.

I had an unexpected knock on the door this morning. It was the local phone/internet/cable company canvassing the neighborhood looking for more business. The man noticed that while we had their phone and internet service, we were not taking advantage of their television service.

“We don’t have TV,” I said to him.

I got a very strange look. Not even an incredulous, “You don’t?!” Just a stare.

Clearly he needed more explanation. I said the first thing that popped into my mind.

“We’re hippies.”

“Oh,” he replied and smiled. I said something else about not wanting our children to become little consumers so we banned commercial TV from our house, but I can’t be sure of what I said exactly. I was too surprised that the “We’re hippies” comment was so easily accepted and understood because we’ve been trying to explain for months to friends and family why we unhooked our TV from all cable, even basic cable, rendering it useless for watching broadcast shows (we can still watch DVD's on the TV).

While I won’t pretend saving money wasn’t a part of our decision, a bigger part of the decision for me was getting my children away from television commercials. According to the book Affluenza by DeGraaf, Wann and Naylor,

The average American will spend nearly two years of his or her lifetime watching TV commercials. A child may see a million of them before he or she reaches the age of twenty. There is more time devoted to them now – the average half-hour of commercial TV now has eight minutes of commercials, up from six two decades ago. (p.149-150)

Those statistics are simply unacceptable to me. There are many reasons why, but lets just look at this from the environmental perspective. Over consumerism is a huge environmental problem. All of the things that we think we must have take resources to produce. And, when we realize they weren’t all that important to begin with, disposing of them becomes an environmental problem.

I know I can’t keep my children away from the knowledge of all of the advertising that is aimed towards kids these days. They will still see it when they are at their friends’ houses. They will still get it at school. They will still see it on every inch of space that the marketing gurus can find to slap it on. But, they will not see one million of them while sitting in my living room. I will not allow it.

I know that unplugging the TV is a bit extreme. It won’t work for everyone, especially those who are huge sports fans or news junkies. But it works for us.

I think it’s important for families to find a way that works for them to expose their children to less advertising and commercials. To do what they can to limit the exposure to consumerism and the “gotta have it” attitude that is prevalent today.

It may mean setting limits on TV time. It may mean using a DVR to record programs and watching them with your kids – fast forwarding through the commercials as you go along. It may mean getting rid of TV altogether like it did for my family.

And don’t worry – limiting TV time or getting rid of it altogether won’t turn you into a hippie. But if you find people questioning your choice, you can always fall on saying you are one. Apparently, it works.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Some national parks going fee-free for three weekends this summer

On Monday, I wrote about getting your kids out into nature so they can learn to love the earth so they want to treat it right. The National Park Service has a deal this summer that can help you do that for free. For three weekends, more than 100 National Parks that usually charge fees will be going fee-free*.

The following weekends will be fee-free:

    * June 20-21, 2009 (Father’s Day weekend)
    * July 18-19, 2009
    * August 15-16, 2009

In addition, many national park concessioners are joining the National Park Service in welcoming visitors on this summer’s fee free weekends with the their own special offers.

*Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Greening the summer reading list

Schools are ending for the summer (yay!), and children are coming home with summer reading lists. You may even have some books on your list that you'd like to read when you have some extra leisure time this summer. I've created a list for myself* so I make sure that I can in some pleasure reading - which for me is anything that is NOT related to the environment these days. 

How can you gather the books on your list while doing little harm to the environment? Go pre-owned. 
  • The library - I've read that library usage is way up in this economy so if you are going to use the library to get required books, you may want to pre-order them if your library allows. My library allows me to go online and select a book. If it's available they pull it from the shelf, and it's waiting for me when I get there. If it's checked out, it tells me when it's expected to be returned, and how many other people are waiting for it first. 
  • Library book sales - You can get books very inexpensively at library book sales, but you never know what you'll end up finding. If you're looking for specific books, it will be hit or miss. If you or your kids are just looking for something that catches your interest, this will be a great place to find it. You can go to booksalefinder.com to find library book sales in your area.
  • Yard sales - Again, it's hit or miss, but you never know when the yard sale gods will smile down on you.
  • Trade books you don't want anymoreSwaptreePaperback Swap or Book Crossing are sites that allow you to trade books (and other media) and help to match you up with someone who has what you want and is looking for what you have.
  • Buy used online - eBay; half.com; amazon; barnes and noble; alibris - these are all places where you can buy used books online. Be careful to make sure that the books are used; these places sell both.
  • Put out a request - Send an e-mail to your friends and family or put out a request on Facebook to borrow a specific book. If your 10th grader needs to read The Count of Monte Cristo for summer reading, someone you know is bound to have a copy of it.
You can also green your summer reading by downloading a book and listening to it on your mp3 player; however, I still like to have an actual book in my hand.

Any other ideas on where you can get used books to fulfill your summer reading list?

* I know you're dying to know what's on my summer reading list.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Get your kids out in nature

On MNN's The Green Parent video series this week, Keri Greenwald talks about getting your kids out into nature so that they can learn to love the planet that you are trying to teach them to take care of.

Our friend, Bethe Almeras from the Grass Stain Guru would certainly agree. And so do I. We need to get our kids outdoors more, and not just on the ball fields for organized sports. They need to have unstructured free time to explore nature, get dirty from head to toe, become connected to the nature around them so they can feel an ownership (but a nurturing ownership - not a I can do whatever I want with it cause it's mine type of ownership).

Related Posts:


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Friday, June 5, 2009

The right to hang

Hang-dry that it. Our home blogger over on MNN, Matt Hickman, had  a post yesterday about states tackling clothes line hang ups. Okay, welcome to day two of my ranting (well, as much as I can rant) about things that the government shouldn't be doing because we could just be doing it ourselves! Yesterday, it was banning and taxing paper and plastic bags. Today, it's drying clothes on the line outside.

There's a "right to dry movement" brewing that's out there just waiting to lower people's property values and revert families back to the 1920's. Oh, wait, no that's not what the movement is trying to do. It's fighting to make it legal for people to save energy, keep greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere, and save money. Seriously, we need the government to make this LEGAL?

According to Matt's post

Clothesline bans, usually enacted by homeowner and condo associations, operate under the guise that they these simple energy-savers are unsightly blemishes on urban and suburban landscapes. States including Florida, Colorado, Utah, and most recently, Maine, have right-to-dry laws intact while other states such as Maine and Hawaii have similar bills in the works.

Yes, state legislatures have had to spend man hours and tax payer money to make it legal for people to dry their clothing outside. Does anyone else find this ridiculous? 

Here's what happens when I put my clothes out to dry:
  • I get fresh air 
  • I get a little exercise (hey, after a certain age just bending over repeatedly to reach into the laundry basket is considered exercise)
  • I have a chance sometimes to chat with my neighbor (who is not offended by the site of my clean laundry)
  • I save money
  • I reduce my green house gas emissions
  • I save energy
Exactly which one of those activities is so offensive to other people that the state needs to mandate that I have the right to do it?

There's a website dedicated to hang drying called Project Laundry List. They educate about line drying and they work with community activists to bring about a change in local policy. They also maintain a Community Registry of places that ban or restrict clothesline use.

I don't know. Am I missing something here? Are you against drying clothes outdoors? Do you know someone who is? Could you explain it to me, please?

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

You aren't still using plastic bags, are you?

It's been a while since I've brought up reusable bags. But a couple of items caught my attention this week, and I thought the subject was worth bringing up again.

The first is that this past Monday was one year since China banned supermarkets, shops and other markets from supplying free plastic bags. In that year, 40 billion bags were kept from being used. The equivalent of 1.6 million tons of oil was saved, too. People in China are gradually getting used to bringing their own bags. Plastic bags haven't been totally done away with in China. People can buy them, and some stores are still giving them away despite the ban. China Daily reports that 

The State Administration of Industry and Commerce issued a regulation that any shopkeeper who provides free plastic bags to customers will receive a 10,000 yuan fine. However, only very few people receive fine in Beijing. 

Here in the US there are individual cities that have banned plastic bags. San Francisco banned them in stores over a year ago and since then 5 million plastic bags have been used each month in the city.

Yesterday, news came that Washington DC is on the verge of instituting not a ban, but a 5 cent tax on both plastic and paper bags. 

You know what, this annoys me. Not that I think people should be using plastic or paper bags willy nilly. It annoys me because the government has to place these bans and taxes on something that companies and the public could so easily take care of themselves.

Both Ikea and Whole Foods have gotten rid of plastic bags without any edict from the government. I know lots of people who now carry reusable bags not because other bags aren't available at the store but because they think it's the right thing to do. 

This is such an easy fix, why do we need the government to fix it for us. Why should city, state or national governments take time, money, and man power to create these laws, bans and taxes on bags and then have to enforce them. It's just lazy on our part. 

I admit, I don't always remember my bags. Once in a while, I will take a plastic bag and then reuse it and make sure it gets recycled. Most of the time, though, if I forget my reusable bags, I  put the food back in the cart and transfer it to my car without bags or carry the item I'm guying out in my hands. It occurred to me one day that I used to shop at the bulk store BJ's, and they never had bags. Everything just went back in the cart and was carried in the house piece by piece. Why shouldn't I be able to do this in a regular grocery store.

I just don't get it. Why is this switch so difficult for people? Why does it take governmental interference to get us to do the easy, sensible thing?

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Video: How single stream recycling works (with an unexpected guest appearance by me)

A while back I wrote about the fact that my town was going to single stream recycling. Paper, glass, and metals are co-mingled in one container and they get sorted later at a facility. I found this video from ZapRoot on YouTube that shows how it works once it gets to the recycling center. 

I had already decided I was going to post the video here when I got a big surprise. Right around the 1:30 mark, I show up behind the woman who is talking. There is an older post of mine from Sustainablog titled Shouldn't Every Day Be America Recycles Day by Now? that is on the screen behind her. Funny.

The part about recycling ends halfway through the video and then some other random weird stuff comes up. You can continue to watch if you want, but the part I'm interested in having you see is in the first half.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Three secrets to eco-fun for Father's Day

This month, Lynn and Corey from Celebrate Green have sent us some tips for Father's Day which fall on June 21st this year. That' s only three weeks away, so it's time to start planning how you're going to honor the dad(s) in your life this year. Lynn and Corey have some ideas that are eco-friendly for us.
Let's face it, as much as we love dad, he can be a tad difficult to shop for. It's not so much that he's picky. It's more that his needs and even wants, tend to be simple. He's happy with less which of course, makes him a perfect candidate for green giving.

So this year, why not come up with great gifts that honor dad and the Earth and that cost little in terms of money or the planet, And whether we're talking about your dad (if you're reading this), or your kids' father or grandad, be sure to look for ways to put more meaning in the greening.

Start by focusing on doing instead of buying. What if your dad were king for a day? What would would his perfect day look like? Would he sleep late? Enjoy breakfast in bed, or brunch served outside? Would he like to work in the garden kids by his side, fly a kite or go for a hike? Would he love to see his bike sparkling clean or that light that's been broken for years, fixed? Whatever his wishes might be, consider how you can make them come true by planning the perfect day. And before each activity, you can loudly proclaim, "By order of King ____, we, your loyal subjects are thrilled and delighted to accompany you as you ________." (And don't forget to make a crown and award it in a ceremony for which you--and/or your kids, write a heartfelt script.)

Make or embellish a gift. According to
www.ShopLocal.com, more than 50% of those polled said they are never fond of their Father's Day gifts. So one more tie or pair of socks doesn't cut it. Again, look to your dad's likes for ideas. If he's into reading, make him a clock from a book on a subject to which he's addicted, or choose a favorite old CD and do the same. (You can purchase clock works for under $10 from a crafts store, or if you have an old clock and are handy enough to take it apart and recycle the works, all the better!)

Most dads can never have too many t-shirts. Purchase
organic cotton ones, then have kids personalize them using fabric crayons. When a friend and and her brothers were small, her mom gathered all the children together for this project. Years later, when their dad had worn out the three tees, mom turned them into pillows.

Or why not repurpose a beloved, out-of-style shirt, into a pillow--no sewing required. If dad used to dig cowboy apparal and has a favorite fancy shirt stowed in the back of the closet, wrap it around a pillow and set on dad's favorite chair. Keep the memory, lose the embarrassment of him, heaven forbid, wearing the oldie out in public!

Think gifts from the heart. Whether you're six or sixty, you have personal gifs to offer dad. To make your offer even more meaningful, let him know you'll do something special for him once a month for a full year. You could make him a calendar with your monthly contribution written on each date or secretly add them to his PDA, phone or digital calendar.

Below are some ideas to use as a jumping off point. When you think about your relationship with your dad and your own talents, you'll come up with 12 perfectly tailored gifts.
  • Send him notes in his lunch.
  • Make him brownies or his favorite treat.
  • Go for a walk together.
  • Take a lesson from him in anything he likes to do (fishing? woodwork? cards?)
  • Shine his shoes.
  • Accompany him to an activity he enjoys.
  • Teach him something you know how to do.
  • Make a video about dad.
  • Wash his car.
  • Write poems or stories with dad as the hero.
  • Go camping if he enjoys this, even if it's at home or in your yard
  • Plant a tree, bush or flowers accompanied by a handmade wooden plaque with dad's name and date.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at www.CelebrateGreen.net

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Monday, June 1, 2009

New Green Parenting Video Series

Over on Mother Nature Network, there's a new green parenting video series that I wanted to share with all of you. Keri Greenwald from Responsible Mommy will be doing a series of short videos that help parents teach their kids how to easily live a little greener.

The series launched today. Here's the first video. 

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