Green gift guide II: gifts that give back!

christmas globeTick, tick, tick… yes, the countdown clock to Christmas seems to be moving at warp speed!

I’ve given my list of favorite green gifts for when you want to give something tangible.  But there is certainly another way to go…  for gifts that don’t clutter up a home or sit unused in a drawer or closet.  These are the gifts that give to a worthwhile cause:  wildlife, nature or the environment.  They certainly need the “gifts” more than we do!

So, here are some ideas for when you want to give a meaningful gift that really counts:

  • Adopt an Acre of Rainforest and other of earth’s wonders (The Nature Conservancy) – for preservatiglobal warming bearon and restoration of some of the world’s most amazing places
  • Adopt an Endangered Species (WWF) – to protect endangered animals and their habitats
  • Adopt an Animal (National Wildlife Federation) – to protect additional animals and their habitats
  • Rescue the Reef (The Nature Conservancy) – for preserving an undeniably crucial part of our world’s oceans
  • Plant a Billion Trees Campaign (The Nature Conservancy) – for protecting and preserving Earth’s largest and most endangered tropical rainforests in Brazil
  • Give-a-Tree (Arbor Day Foundation)– plants a tree in one of America’s National Forests in honor of a recipient
  • Change the Present – you can contribute and honor someone by helping to restore a fragile ecosystem in Kenya, purchase carbon offsets, plant trees, preserve wildlands, adopt wildlife or any one of about 1600 causes of your choice!

If you want to give a gift that supports a worthwhile cause but still gives to the recipient too, consider:coral_reef

  • A zoo or aquarium membership – there are 218 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums in the US and all are dedicated to excellence in animal care and welfare, conservation, education, and research that collectively inspire respect for animals and nature (but please, no circus tickets!).
  • A botanical garden, arboretum or nature center membership – again, they dedicate themselves to the conservation and preservation of nature and the environment, and help us understand the delicate and important connection between people and nature.

And finally, one of our favorite gifts last year:

  • Kiva – Through their gift certificate program you can “loan” your gifted money to a “working poor” recipient of Kivayour choosing.  (We selected a man in Tajikistan who desperately needed money to buy seeds for farming and help support his family.)  Once they are able to repay the loan, you are given back your donated money to grant to another needy recipient… and this wonderful cycle starts all over again!

These should be the choices for the person on your list who has everything… on second thought, these choices should work for anyone and everyone… it is truly better to give than to receive!

Mom Goes Green’s “favorite green gifts” guide.

christmas bulbThe holidays are fast approaching… (as if any of us needed a reminder!).  With only two weeks to go, I thought it was long overdue to write my list of favorite green gifts… the tangible stuff, when you want to give something that won’t make you feel too guilty and stay true to being green…

So, without further ado, here is what I love to give:

  • Live plants – they add life to any home and help cleanse the air by consuming CO2 and giving off some nice oxygen.starter kit 2
  • Starter Kit for Change – it’s packed full of green goodies (including a fabulous one-of-a-kind reusable fabric tote) to get someone set on the road to thinking green.
  • Threadless Tees – they have great nature- and eco-themed tees for absolutely everyone, so you can help someone spread an earth-friendly message (and they are having an amazing sale right now too!).
  • Reusable bottles, bags & lunch kits – they all keep trash from landfills and the bottles also assure that we avoid harmful BPA.
  • Green movies – consider movies like An Inconvenient Truth, Wall-e, Planet Earth or The 11th Hour… they all send an impactful message.
  • Bamboo & organic cotton – so many things to choose, including cutting boards, cutlery, bowls, wine racks, towels, clothing… ecousablebamboo and organic cotton is amazingly sustainable and a lot less harsh on the environment.
  • CFLs & rechargeable batteries – they save energy and keep battery trash from landfills (and they save the recipient some money too!).
  • Electronics solar charger – free energy from the sun… what could be simpler?
  • Homemade gifts – whether it’s a batch of homemade cookies, or something creative made from materials you have at home, you and your kids can create perfect gifts (think candle holders made from jars, pencil holders made from cans, or a framed work of art from your children).
  • Organic treats – everything from organic fruits to chocolates, to beers and wines or coffees and teas, organic is always a fabulous choice…  and it supports the choice for organics.
  • Natural, biodegradable bath products – something that’s not harsh on our skin and bodies, plus something that doesn’t harm the environment is a great choice.
  • Upcycled products – “all that is old can be new again”… you can find totes, baskets, jewelry, clothing, rugs abamboo bowlnd even furniture.
  • Local gifts – (again) those beers and wines, produce, art or just any locally-made products simply supports those local merchants and artists and avoids the emissions created from transporting products from remote regions of the world.
  • Think of others – if you can find it in your heart, give to a charity.  Whether it’s a new gift for a child or family in need, or the donation of things you no longer want (clothing, toys, books, household items, etc.), there is always someone less fortunate than we are and reusing anything that still has usefulness is both environmental and a true gift for those that need our help.  Find the time and make a difference for someone who needs our love and assistance.  It doesn’t need to cost a dime and I assure you… it will help your heart feel full!

earth heartThis list could truly go on and on, but the main objective should be to give something that YOU can feel good about, but also something you know can (and will) be used too.  A needless, useless gift will only become house-clutter and then eventually cast off to a landfill.

The clock is ticking but hopefully you found a new idea to help… Happy Green Shopping!

Meat protein with a side of junk food & antibiotics, anyone?

During the holidays we’ll all likely plan special meals along with doing our best to simply find ways to provide our families with daily nourishing meals… something that isn’t always easy, given the pace of life.  But what if I told you that, along with your healthy meals, you could be unknowingly serving up an unhealthy dose of “junk food and antibiotics” with it?

pink pggHow, you ask?  Well, my dear friend, Kev, just sent me some information about a practice happening in livestock farming that really, really infuriates me (right along with my disgust for genetically modified food).  It seems farmers have turned to feeding their non-organic animals (pigs and cattle for food sources) things like expired junk food, including “cookies, licorice, cheese curls, candy bars, french fries, frosted wheat cereal and peanut-butter cups”.  This is their inexpensive solution to the rising prices of REAL feed because local manufacturers will sell their cheap cast-offs and expired products to farmers by the truckload.  Can you even imagine how unhealthy these animals must be and all of the literal garbage that is being stored in the meat we consume?

This repulsive practice is just as bad as farmers feeding their cattle corn.  Sure, it doesn’t sound as bad, but these poor animals’ digestive systems aren’t made for corn… they’re made to eat grass.  But when fed corn they often become very sick and susceptible to many diseases.  They are then treated with huge amounts of antibiotics to keep them alive and you guessed it…. those antibiotics get passed right along to all of us too.  (This is only the start of the story, but you can read more here.)cow2

I just don’t even know where to begin with all of this.  I am on the verge of going vegan.  HOW can these practices be acceptable by the FDA?!?  But, sadly, they are.  And we all need to know it.  It is not regulated… at all. It’s also no wonder we have so many diseases, disorders and deficiencies in this country… our brains and our bodies are malnourished or fed with things we don’t even realize we’re eating.  Shameful.

I buy all organic meat, (a proposition that can be unbelievably expensive), but the more I learn, the more I realize that this is the only choice for my family.

We’ve always been told “you are what you eat”… well, let’s all remember, “you are {also} what you eat eatstoo…

Easy holiday gift idea: Win a FREE Citizenpip Lunch Kit!

(This giveaway is now closed for entries.  See “comments” for winner.)

Well, I am officially in Stress-Out Land thinking about the holidays and all that needs to be done.  Shopping  (NOT “checked”).  Christmas cards (NOT “checked”!).  Tree up and house decorated (NOT “checked”!)   Outdoor decorations and lights (NOT “checked”!).  Yea, I’m way behind… and I’m starting to sweat!

prsntsSo today, instead of a mind boggling post, I’m just going to help a reader get one item out of the way so I can get to some holiday “business”!

Let me first tell you about Citizenpip.  They sent me this fabulous lunch kit that will put at least one recipient on my gift list in the “checked” column.  It’s their Soup to Nuts Kit that includes an insulated lunch bag, stainless steel water bottle, insulated food jar, four food containers, a stainless steel fork and spoon set and five cotton napkins.  Everything is BPA-free, safe, reusable, eco-friendly galore and super cute! Perfect for avoiding all of that needless lunchtime trash, so yes… one little recipient on my list is going to be happy and really GREEN this Christmas.

Do you have someone on your list that would love a lunch kit too?  Well, I know you would certainly love giving one(!) and today, you can win a FREE Square Meal Kit right here! It includes an insulated lunch bag, stainless steel water bottle, four citiznpp kitfood containers and five cotton napkins.

All you have to do is leave a comment saying you’d like to win and tell me who you’d like to “gift” it to, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog. The winner will be selected one week from today’s post. (US entries only… sorry!)

If you don’t win, don’t worry!  The fine people at Citizenpip are offering an extra something for Mom Goes Green readers.  You can get a free fork & spoon set for every order over $50 (use coupon code: MOMGOESGREENgives at checkout), and for every $10 you spend, Citizenpip will plant one tree in partnership with Trees for the Future.  That, alone, should give you the warm, green, fuzzies!

So, while I try to de-stress and get something accomplished, take a chance at winning a gift that will make you feel a lot better too!

Natural home remedies for “that time of year”…

wsh hndsSo, have you heard?  It’s flu season!!! Yea, I know. If you haven’t, you’ve been inhabiting another planet!  This year it’s especially “shoved in our faces” and it’s starting to make me a little crazy.

There’s no better preventative measure than washing your hands.  Soap and water, and plenty of it.  I used to hassle our kids about making sure they used the warmest water they could stand but, in reality, hot or warm water doesn’t cleanse a pair of hands any better than cold water… “it’s all about the friction, baby!”  So (when you have access) soap and a good scrubbing at any temperature does wonders.surya hnd sanit

I’ve also armed myself with some of Surya Brasil’s new Organic Hand Sanitizer while away from home.  It’s made of moisturizing botanicals, proteins and minerals instead of harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients.  This happens to be one of the few, true organic hand sanitizers… not “greenwashed” like far too many others.

But, if all else fails and you do need to find a remedy for what ails you, I found a great post from Simple Mom.  Here is just a snippet of some great natural home remedies:

  • Ginger – for congestion, throat irritation and nausea
  • Garlic – for antibiotic and antioxidant properties, and cholesterol controlgingr
  • Honey – for an energizing immunity boost, coughs and colds
  • Turmeric – for antibiotic and antiseptic uses
  • Pepper – for improved digestion
  • Cloves – for antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and aphrodisiac properties (woohoo!)

(For more details, check out her original post.)

If you’re like me, you have a very empty medicine cabinet.  I don’t like to take antibiotics, medicines or any prescriptions… for anythingever.   I’m the crazy woman that rejected any painkillers less than 24 hours after my c-sections… both times. (You should have seen the nurses’ faces… their mouths dropped open and they all said “honey, are you suuuure?!?” Yes, I was sure!)

So, if the “bug of the season” gets your down, or you want to do a little preventative maintenance, STOP before you grab your car keys… and turn to your cupboards before your local pharmacy.