Memorial Day… celebrate your freedom…

flgToday I wish to celebrate the sacrifice and service of all those who have given their time to honor us and our country by serving in our armed forces and protecting our freedom…  it is because of those men and women that we have the right to make choices.

Today, give thanks and make the RIGHT choices in their honor, in honor of our country, and in honor of Mother Earth that graciously provides for us each and every day!

My thoughts on the Gulf oil spill… (heartbreak and fury)…

oil slckOver the past 39 days I’ve been asked (countless times) my thoughts about the Deepwater/Gulf Oil disaster… I find the situation both infuriating and heartbreaking.  This has become a full-scale environmental disaster and sadly, it is all man-made.

It is now believed that 12,000 barrels of oil are streaming into the Gulf on a daily basis.  There are 100 miles of beaches, marshes, wetlands and barrier islands now being destroyed along the Louisiana coastline and what took nature thousands of years to create is taking no time for man to destroy.  The harm created to the environment and wildlife is staggering and sadly, no amount of clean-up will allow nature to repair itself in our lifetime, or potentially even within our children’s. This is what I find heart-breaking.

What I find infuriating is that in the hour before the explosion, there were three indicators that a failure could actually occur.  All warnings were ignored and resulted in the loss of eleven lives and now the environmental devastation we are hearing about daily.oil brd

Even if the oil were stopped today, let’s remember that it took a month for the oil to reach the shore so there is now at least another month’s worth of oil still on its way to make landfall….the destruction will continue to spread.

I could get extremely political with who’s at fault and who should be fixing the problem but it seems to me… umm, BP?… you BUILT it, you KNOW how it works… fix it, stop it… NOW! A private corporation created it, not our government, and only they would have the intense understanding and technology of deep sea drilling.  Am I crazy to believe this?  And now I understand that after creating such a disaster, BP may only be liable for a cap of 75 million dollars of the cost to repair the damage and clean up this mess.  But the damage will never truly be repaired. Sickening.

Gulf Oil SpillI, for one, will never patronize a BP for any reason. I understand that all U.S. BPs are franchised and some may say that this will only hurt the business owner but, regardless, they are still supported by BP and I will not give them my money.  There are too many other choices and I will allow myself to run out of gas and walk before I stop at one of their gas stations or stores (my husband already boycotted them recently for charging $1 for air!).

But no matter how large a boycott would become it would be matter of principal alone, because BP is too large and powerful and cannot be destroyed… I only wish I could say the same for our environment.

(*View The Washington Post’s presentation of photos of the environmental disaster and destruction of wildlife)

How does YOUR sunscreen rate for safety (and chemicals!)?

sunshnNow that the countdown to the final days of school has reached “10 days and counting” all my kids can talk about is all the fun we’ll have this summer and our annual beach vacation!

But any parent knows that fun in the sun also means extra caution to make sure our precious little ones (ourselves included!) don’t get fried during “sun fun”, so if you haven’t bought it already, sunscreen is sure to be a purchase in the very near future.

The concern with sunscreen is the presence of some nasty chemicals that we really don’t want to apply to our bodies daily, or even “frequently” for that matter, since they absorb into our skin and accumulate. Many are believed to cause hormone disruption, cell damage and allergies, amongst other things. They include vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), Oxybenzone, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Mexoryl, Avobenzone… augh!… just a bunch of things that we could really do without!sunscrn

So instead of laboring over labels and trying (sometimes in vane) to decipher the ingredients… (drumroll, please….)  Environmental Working Group has released its 2010 list and ratings of over 500 sunscreen products.  Believe me, it is much easier to find one on the “best” list and just know you have a good product to keep you safe from the sun AND the nasty chemicals.

You can also look-up the products you have been using to see how they rate.  Sadly, all of ours were in the “caution” category so Mom Goes Green will be doing her research too.  Fortunately, EWG has done most of the work for us, so the answers are just a few clicks away.

Now check it out, slather on the good stuff and GO PLAY… summer is almost here!

Simple kitchen tip: cook & conserve

pot on stvEach and every day, I “cook up some love” in the kitchen by way of plenty of home cooked meals.  While they may not be gourmet, they are loving prepared to keep my family healthy and nourished.

But there are also some very simple ways to cook up some conservation too… by way of not overconsuming energy and resources.  At first glance it may not seem like much, but add it up over time and you’ve also cooked up some conservation!  Give these simple tips a try:

  • Skip preheating the oven – if you are roasting, broiling or baking for an hour or more, don’t preheat.  It simply isn’t necessary.  You can also shut off the oven 5 minutes before your cooktime is complete… the oven still holds the heat and keeps on cookin’!
  • Use the right size pots and pans – small pots and pans on large burners waste energy and resources.
  • Use lids – yes, a covered pot of water does reach boiling quicker than one that is uncovered.  And crank it up (as long as the flames aren’t escaping the sides). Water doesn’t need to slowly reach a boil, so get it rollin’!ovn open
  • Use the microwave – whenever a microwave can be used for cooking or to do the early steps, use it!  Microwaves use 4-5 times less energy than your oven.
  • Prepare only what you need – while cooking up a tremendous batch of whatever you’re serving may sound like a good idea at the time, make sure it will actually get consumed instead of eventually winding up in the trash or disposal.  If not, food obviously goes to waste but all of the resources to produce that food got wasted as well.

See… simple! Happy cooking and conserving!…

“The Green Book” Giveaway… yes, for FREE!

join green(This giveaway is now closed for entries. See “comments” for winner announcement!)

A healthy mantra to carry through life is “don’t sweat the small stuff!” While I DO attempt to do this in my everyday life, I often fail on a daily basis, in epic ways … I seem to sweat everything! (And anyone who truly knows me would probably agree!)

Well, it just so happens there IS a time when sweating the small stuff might actually do a world of good. I will begin this explanation by first saying that I’ve always felt that going green isn’t just about installing solar panels on your rooftop or buying a hybrid car… it’s about doing all the little things in our daily life that can make a great impact.

Want to know one of my sources for all of these little “daily life tidbits”?… well, it’s a fantastic little book called The Green Book.  It has shown me countless and simple ways to put conservation to work.  It includes tips for everything from home, to work, to school, to shopping, to travel…. all organized in a tidy, easy-to-grasp package.the grn book

And if you think the “little things” can’t possibly amount to much, read this excerpt from the book:

“You create 4.5 pounds of trash every day.  Over the course of your life, that will total six hundred times your average adult weight… in garbage.  Broken down, your torso would be paper.  One leg would be yard trimmings, the other food scraps.  One arm would be plastic with a rubber hand.  The other would be metal with a wood hand.  Your head would be glass, and your neck would be all the other stuff.  In the end, we will each leave a ninety-thousand-pound legacy of trash for our grandchildren.”

In usual Mom Goes Green fashion, I have a copy I’d like to share with a reader… interested?  Well, just leave a comment here saying you’d like to win, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog.  Facebook friends can also leave a comment to be entered. The winner will be randomly selected on June 4! (U.S. entries only… sorry!)

So join me in changing “the small stuff”… and I promise, you won’t even have to break a sweat!