A More Sustainable Lunch Continues….Oct. 8th

Today’s entry focuses on how to reduce waste and packaging when it comes to the lunchbox. In our featured video, Lily shows us not only what the contents of her lunch look like but how it is packed.

  • reduce, reuse, recycle may be words that seem over played but they really cut to the basics and are in the right order of operations. If you are striving for a more whole foods diet for health reasons for example, you will have the bonus of reducing plastic and cardboard packaging that are ubiquitous in the processed food aisles of the grocery store. You may also be using more bulk foods, which will prompt you to have glass or tin containers to hold your bulk foods, and nearly completely eliminate plastic containers and throw away boxes. Instead of grabbing a box of “insert comfort food here” you may learn how to make more things from scratch, one recipe at a time replacing such things as granola bars and cookies and turning them into secret power foods with nut butters and coconut sugars instead of processed sugars and empty calories.
    • DO THIS MORE: Bulk foods are now widely available

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AND LESS OF THIS: health food stores have attractive and tempting packaging!

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Sometimes it is easier to get kids on board than to “sustain” sustainability, so we want to hear about your “reduce” and “reuse” hacks, including containers, bento boxes, lunch bags, etc… especially home made and low cost options. Here’s a great read on high quality sustainable and safe lunch boxes, Here’s some wild ideas from a sustainable restaurateur to cut your food waste, including how to tell if your eggs have gone bad, and some pretty wild ideas on how to eliminate packaging in your kitchen or pantry.

Coming soon, a guest blog on healthy lunch ideas, organic and humane products, local and home grown produce, and recipes galore!!

Baby Steps to going OrganicOct. 13th

I never thought I could go organic. In fact, I thought it was something that only the very wealthy could really afford to do! But I am realizing, anyone can go organic…it just takes baby steps!

Upon reading this weeks Simple as ABC, O-Organic for Life….I was finally rejuvenated in believing that I can help my family go organic without breaking the bank!

Some of the simple steps made total sense to me….and challenged me! For example, “Grow your own organic produce.” We started a garden over the summer. It wasn’t too hard or costly at all! Everyone can do this, even if ti’s out of a ceramic pot…it can be done…

Baby Steps!

I can see clearly now……VISUALIZE!May. 31st

The latest Simple as ABC had me thinking hard! V = Visualize! For some reason this tip resonated with me as I am at a point in my life where things are going well! So why visualize now? Why not? Why not go farther into my own to see more and perhaps gain more insight. Why should I wait for desperate times to figure things out (and yes, I have done that too!) So inspired by this weeks tip I revisited an old vision board that I just love, but then decided to create a new one.

The first one reflects many of the things I currently “have.” I use the word “have,” lightly as I really don’t own any of these things, but I do feel as if they are accomplished.

 

This one is “new” and really made me think. Especially as I was putting it together. I decided to go stick pin on this one because I want to be able to make changes and go with the flow….as is life. If I don’t get something done or reach a goal, it’s ok. I’ve made it ok to change…thus setting myself up for success! If I would have known I could do this years ago, I would have saved myself anguish over those things I didn’t not accomplish. But better late then never to give myself permission to try again…to visualize again and to change.

This is a wonderful, easy project to do for yourself. And it doesn’t need to be just for yourself….think family, goals, work, health, etc. You can be as broad or specific as you want. But mostly give yourself permission to explore!

If you get a chance post links in the comments to your own vision boards and share what you see!

Until Next Time!

Karma CapitalismJun. 2nd

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Yes, I can make a difference!!

I know the question is: how am I supposed to significantly impact the course of so many of these multi-national, multi-million (or billion!) dollar companies that are involved in all manner of harmful practices, whether it be sheer volume of carbon in the atmosphere or unlawful employment practices?

The simple answer is to vote with your dollars. Every dollar you spend at a local natural foods grocery store that supports local farmers, you vote for local, sustainable business. Every dollar you spend at McDonalds, you vote for deforestation of the rainforest, questionable food sourcing, and the proliferation of diets high in fat and calories.

We’re not trying to pick on McDonalds here we’re just sayin!

Simple Steps:

Of course we all need to shop for food and supplies, but where we choose to buy can make a difference.

  • * Shop at local farmers markets and support local businesses. I prefer the selection at my local WhizKids toy store over Toys R Us any day!
  • * Take a few minutes to research the brands you are choosing. This website will link you to hundreds of corporations. You can read for yourself which have a good environmental reputation, and which dont. Broken down into categories (i.e. Fast Food, Clothing, Cleaning Products) which highlight major brands, this site will then also offer alternatives.
  • * Choose not to support companies with questionable track records where it comes to ethics and sustainable practices. For example, when you learn that it is and was the responsibility of BP to maintain the safeguards against oil spills and to provide emergency response and containment when accidents do occur, make a conscious decision not to buy gas at ARCO (the American BP brand.)

Junk your Junk MailMay. 11th

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Not only are pieces of junk mail annoying they are harmful to the environment! More than half of Americans claim to despise receiving junk mail. Together, there are ways we can stop receiving junk mail and help save millions of trees.

Junk Mail Facts

New Dream.org has a great list of facts to show the magnitude of this destructive phenomenon. A couple of tidbits from that list include:

  • More than 100 million trees worth of bulk mail come to Americas homes in a year.
  • In 2005, 5.8 million tons of catalogs and other direct mailings ended up in the U.S. municipal solid waste stream enough to fill over 450,000 garbage trucks.
  • The production and disposal of direct mail consumes more energy than 3 million cars.
  • Other facts we found:
    • 250,000 homes could be heated with one day’s supply of junk mail click here
    • 44% of all junk mail goes into landfills unopened click here

Simple Steps

  • Sign petitions to stop some of the biggest perpetrators of junk mail
  • Purchase items online that you would normally buy through catalogues
  • Do billing online to also reduce paper waste from monthly bills, paper checks and bank statements
  • For a fresh look at what to do once you have junk mail, check out LiveSans and learn how to create decorative envelopes to send to out again. Fun to do with kids!

Insulate Your HouseApr. 26th

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A little insulation protects the environmentand can save you money!

60% of the existing homes in the US are not insulated properly and are wasting energy and money is yours one of them? By properly insulting your home (one of the least expensive home improvements), you can reduce your energy consumption and bills, improve your comfort, and create a healthier environment and more resources for your childrens future.

Simple Ideas

  • Find out how your home measures up by learning what areas in a home should be insulated. Go here.
  • Do it for the money too! Insulation pays itself off fast and keeps paying off with life long energy savings. Estimate your potential return on investment.
  • Believe it or not! Proper insulation saves 12 times as much energy per pound in its first year as the energy used to produce it.
  • Take your pick. Choose from Natural Cotter Fiber, Cellulos, fiber glass, rock and slag wool insulations. Do the research and choose whats right for you.
  • Stop the energy loss! The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that up to 40% of a home’s heat loss can be from air infiltration, and heating and cooling account for 50 to 70% of energy used in the average American home.

All insulation products installed in U.S. buildings save consumers about twelve quadrillion Btu thats enough energy to supply the total energy requirements of Florida for 4 years. Lets keep the savings going!

Help at HolidaysApr. 12th

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Helping others will make us all happy.

For most of us, Holidays have become a ritual of giving and receiving gifts – gifts that often end up in the bottom of a closet or in the trash. Let’s remember that ‘giving’ to loved ones during the Holidays doesn’t have to equate to over consuming, depleting our resources, or adding stress (and trash) to the environment. By thinking creatively, you can enhance your familys experience of gift-giving by helping others who are less fortunate, helping our planet to be healthier, and helping our children to grow and learn what it really means to give.


Simple Ideas

  • Take your children to a local organization where they can volunteer to help others who are less fortunate.
  • Go online as a family to Oxfam International where together you can choose a specific country and cause to donate money to. Its a good reminder that there are crises occurring all over the world.
  • Give a less tangible and more rewarding gift. For example, you can plant a tree in a friends name. Trees for Life International will plant 10 trees in a developing country for only $10. And since one apple tree can provide more than 10,000 pounds of food in its lifespan, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
  • Be selfless! For your next birthday, ask people to donate to your favorite organization or to a specific cause as their gift to you.
  • Feed The Children! Through this non-profit you can feed 3 children in 1 month with a $24 donation. Its an easy donation to make when you know that every day almost 16,000 children die of hunger-related problems, and in total 1.02 billionpeople across the world are hungry.

Make others and ourselves happier during the holidays by helping out a little and of course helping out at any time during the year is a great thing! Author Susan Skog is insightful in her book The Give-Back Solution: Create a Better World with Your Time, Talents, and Travel (Whether You Have $10 or $10,000).

Green Tip of the Week – Week FFeb. 14th

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Forget the plastic bottles and go for reusable.

Its easy to fall into the habit and the trend of drinking bottled water. But think for a moment before you pick up your next bottle of Aquafina…it comes from tap water. And how about the amount of jet fuel wasted on bringing bottles of water over from Fiji, not to mention the added plastic waste?

If you make it a habit to stop using plastic bottled water and start filling reusable bottles with filtered or tap water, youll not only save yourself from the toxins that many plastic bottles release, but youll stop adding to the growing plastic waste that pollutes our oceans and our planet.

Simple Ideas:

  • Be as thrifty on water as you are on gas the price of a litre of bottled water is often more expensive thanthe price of a litre of gas. In addition, youre already paying for quality tap water in your municipal taxes.
  • If you dont like the taste of tap water or dont think yours is safe, use a filtering system like Bria. Or if you must buy it, get spring water thats sold in large, reusable bottles.
  • Consider the greenhouse gas emissions that come with the bottled water that traveled across the world just to get in your hand.
  • Try not to add to The Great Garbage Patch in our ocean. Its roughly the size of Texas and contains approximately 3.5 million tons of trash – a lot of which is plastic.
  • Know that tap water is safe. The quality and safety of US tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, and some cities like San Francisco test their water more than 100,000 times a year to ensure it meets or exceeds water quality standards. Plus in the US, between 25% and 40% of bottled water sold is actually reprocessed tap water.

Think Beyond Plastic and do everything you can to stop using bottled water and reduce the threat that plastic poses to our children and our planet.

Green Tip of the Week – Week 7Feb. 14th

Grow_Ur_Own

plant the seed and watch it grow.


If you start growing your own food youll improve your health, connect with nature, save money, and teach kids where food really comes from (and its not the grocery store). The good news is that growing your own food isnt as hard as we may make it out to be, and it can be quite rewarding.

Simple Ideas:

  • Turn any space into a garden whether its a windowsill, a balcony, a roof, a community garden, or an acre in a backyard. No direct sunlight? You can even grow indoors under lights.
  • Do it for nutrition. Vegetables start to lose valuable nutrients the moment theyre picked, and it doesn’t get any fresher than straight from the garden to the table.
  • Let your kids dig in and grow their own garden. Theyll be more likely to each fruits and vegetables if they grew them.
  • Do it for the money. According the National Gardening Association, the average 600 sf garden costs $70 to plant, and produces about 300 pounds of fresh produce worth $600. That’s a $530 return on your investment.
  • No time to garden? Do the next best thing, support local farmers by buying a share in a local CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture)

Simply put, gardening can have a positive impact on your entire family. Read up on ways to get your kids involved and really enjoy creative family time together.

Green Tip of the Week – Week EFeb. 14th

Educate_Kids

Lead by example.

Don’t worry, educating your kids to be earth conscious is much simpler than it sounds. Kids naturally mimic the way we approach tasks, so if you set a good example on ways to be earth conscious then your kids will be encouraged to do the same.

Simple Ideas

  • When youre driving in the car, listen to music by artists who offer positive messages about sustainability, such as Sing and Learn with Diana andEarthworm Ensemble.
  • When youre at the grocery store, teach your kids to choose products with minimal or no packaging, and explain to them why.
  • When youre at home, make a point to keep the lights off when not in use and run water at a pencil-thin stream your kids are watching you!
  • Start a fun, earth-friendly project with your kids. Instead of throwing away veggie and fruit scraps create a composting pile. If the U.S. had composted the 25 million tons of food waste we sent to the landfills in 2005, it would have had the equivalent greenhouse gas impacts as if we removed 7.8 million passenger cars from the road.

Check out these other simple ideas to Go Green with Your Kids and discover ways to lead by example throughout your day.