…a last “look” at Earth Hour 2009…

Okay, I swear this will be the last post about Earth Hour (at least for this year!…)

earth-hour-switchTake a last look at some famous landmarks and locations around the world turning off the lights for Earth Hour.  This whole event still amazes me!  (Beginning with the second photo, you can click on the image to see it fade.  However, you will need javascript to enjoy this feature.)

And while I’m already “here” – I never gave any real credit to WWF (World Wildlife Fund) for being the driving force behind Earth Hour!  Thanks, WWF!  We loved casting our vote!

How the Mom Goes Green family spent Earth Hour!

We counted down… we turned ‘em off… WE LOVED IT!!!

earth-hour-sydneyOur kids were so excited that we were participating in Earth Hour that they ran around the house screaming the minutes until the lights went off.  We watched footage from around the globe as landmarks went dark and each and every time our kids squealed “Keeewl!”  I was ‘Twittering away’ up until the last moment and even had an exchange with Diddy (how crazy is THAT?!?) when he thought it started at 8:00.  (He apologized and corrected himself to his 300K+ followers!)

At the risk of sounding cheesy, it was really heartwarming to be a part of something that was embraced by such diverse cultures around the world.  Nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries around the globe participated – from Sydney to Jakarta, Singapore to Beijing, New Dehli to Moscow, Cairo to Athens, Stockholm to Rome, Paris to London, and NYC to Las Vegas and LA – the lights went to black in each of our time zones, but we all celebrated our incredible bond and let our voices be heard.  I was truly moved. earth-hour-egypt

Okay, enough of the mushies… but sincerely, we had a great time being a part of this worldwide “vote” against global warming.  Since we were blacked out, the kids did get a little FREAKED out so we let them have flashlights (with rechargeable batteries, of course!).  We spent the hour cheering for Earth Hour, making silly shadows in the illumination of the flashlights, and talking about global warming, being “environmental” and why we were participating in the event.  Our daughter was a little disheartened by the story of polar bears because, as she put it, “Polar bears are my second-most favorite animal in the whole world, Mom!” but I think it really drove home the effects of global warming and gave her a clearer understanding.

We were thrilled to look toward downtown Cleveland (that we can clearly see from the back of our house) and see that some of the skyline had gone dark (kudos, Cleveland!).  We even moved from room to room in our house to see how cool the darkness could be but also felt grateful that, on a “regular” night, we are lucky enough to turn on lights when we need them.  We even took time out to read a story from the Barefoot Book of Earth Tales (giveaway still open!) by flashlight, while snuggling on our bed!

earth-hour-kuala-lumpurOn a side note (as Recycling/Environmental Program Chairman at our daughter’s school) I sent out an invitation to participate in Earth Hour to all 418 students.  They participate, sign the pledge to say that they turned out the lights and can win prizes for doing so.  I’m so excited to see how many of them joined us!

Overall, I think it was a wonderful night and an amazing symbol that we are all unified in our concerns for this wonderful planet we share.

After the lights were turned back on, I think our son summed it up best by saying “That was the best “Errf Hour” in my whole life, ever!” Yes, sweetie, it certainly was.

Three thoughtless things…

… that have been on my mind…and just won’t go away, so here goes:

nwf-magazines2To the marketing department at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) – we subscribe each of our kids to one of your children’s magazines, because they are both fun and educational, but why, oh why (when both of their subscriptions expire in JULY) have you been sending us renewal reminder notices in the mail every month since DECEMBER!?!  We also subscribe because we consider it a contribution to a great cause but you are wasting a TON of paper on these mailings as well as eating up the money, in your expenses, that we are trying to contribute!  We get it; we’ll renew, but really… cut it out!  (Yes, I emailed them.)

To AXA Equitable that manages my 401K rollover – that Annual Report that you sent is like a New York City Metropolitan phone book.  I neither read it, nor understand it.  What a waste.  Let your clients opt-IN to receive them.  I want to opt-OUT of that unbelievable waste!… and I did!

To the knuckhead who tossed the trash out of their car window and into the middle of my street – are you serious?  Honestly?  You couldn’t find a better way to get rid of your trash? How about… oh, I don’t know?…. a TRASH CAN!  (Aughhh!)  You must know the guy with the newspaper!

(And to the sweet elderly gentleman who backed up, got out of your car, and picked up the trash before I could get out of my slipper and into my shoes – THANK YOU!  At least someone is thinking… and considerate!)

Did some senseless, thoughtless waste “get to you” this week?  Feel free to vent… you’ll feel better!  I sure do!  (….now breathe!)

Take a “Barefoot” walk through Earth Tales (giveaway)!

(NOTE:  This giveaway is now closed for entries.)

Since the day our kids were born we’ve always read to them, even before they were old enough to hold a book (sometimes I read “Parents” magazine aloud while I nursed them!) and as a result, nightly stories have become a regular part of our lives.

Now we’ve progressed to where our daughter is able to read to us (and boy, is that amazing… and sometimes alarming when our kids’ show switches off, the “On Demand” screen is promoting “grown-up shows” and our daughter screambarefoot-logos “Mom!  What’s ‘Sex & The City’?”… oh yikes!).

Despite a new reader in our house, we still snuggle up and read to them and as they grow and become more aware of what the stories actually mean, I’ve really tried to buy books with a message.  One outstanding publisher I recently discovered is Barefoot Books – their vision is to “celebrate the world’s diversity, encourage children’s independent spirits and build enthusiasm for reading, creativity and discovery!”… just what we’re looking for!

The latest, greatest selection to hit our bookshelf is The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales.  It’s a compilation of some of the sweetest earth stories from different cultures around the world and how they live in harmony with nature.  They even include kid-friendly eco-tips and activities following each story.earth-tales

Any day is a great day for fantastic stories like these, but in celebration of our upcoming Earth Day I have a copy I would love to give away to a reader! Just leave a comment and let me know if you have a favorite Barefoot Book; but if you’re a newbie, that’s okay too… let me help you get started!  You can also send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog or write about this giveaway and link back. It’s a perfect book for your kids or a gift for the little eco-minded one in your life! (My kids really LOVE it!) The winner will be randomly selected one week from today’s post (and again, US entries only, please… sorry!).

In addition, the fine folks at Barefoot Books are offering a 10% discount now until April 30, 2009.  Just use code: SCETALES at checkout.  Plus, for every Earth Tales book you purchase, Eco-Libris will plant a tree in your honor in celebration of Earth Day.

So kick off your shoes, enter to win, buy a copy and take a Barefoot walk through Earth Tales!