Where you SHOULD be celebrating Earth Day!…

earth day logReady for the answer?… Cleveland, Ohio!

Oh, quit your groaning!  I don’t want to hear the pitiful “mistake on the lake” jokes and all the incessant “your river caught on fire” stuff.  (The truth of the matter is there were a LOT of rivers catching on fire over 40 years ago in industrialized cities, but it just so happens there was a news crew in the area and we got plenty of (unwanted) coverage, and this fire actually ignited (no pun intended) the conception and passage of the EPA’s Clean Water Act…  so shush!) 🙂

Anyhow, why should you be in Cleveland for Earth Day?  Well, because our beloved Cleveland Metroparks Zoo hosts EarthFest, the longest-running Earth Day celebration IN THE NATION and the largest environmental education event in Ohio!  (… See, I told you!)  This year’s celebration will be held on April 18 and includes over 175 exhibits for climate change solutions (from transportation, to home, to food choices).  And the zoo will be wind-powered for the day too!

This year actually marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 22). It was created in 1970 as a way to remind us to appreciate nature and learn how to protect our environment.  While I truly believe that EVERY DAY should be Earth Day, this is a great time to celebrate planet Earth!  Hopefully you will find an event that is as much educational as it is a celebration.  Check out the Earth Day Action Center,  the EPA Event page or your local zoos, nature centers and communities for event possibilities.join green

Whatever you do, just celebrate and embrace Mother Earth for Earth Day and continue that momentum every day of the year!  If you can’t come to Cleveland then, sadly, you will miss the Earth event of the year… maybe another time.  😉

(See…  Cleveland isn’t sounding so bad after all, is it?)

Is your favorite restaurant thinking green?

Having just celebrated Mother’s Day it’s likely many of us got treated to at least one “dining out” meal over the weekend.

dinnerWe celebrated at one of my favorite local joints because I prefer to forgo the overabundant waste and excess of those overpriced Mother’s day buffets!  I was also sure NOT to walk away with any Styrofoam to-go containers and brought my own cup for my to-go java after our meal.

But aside from those two little eco-friendly tricks, what do we really know about the restaurants we frequent and if the prep of our food isn’t leaving an eco-UNfriendly footprint the size of Mount Everest?

I recently learned about Ruby Tuesday’s on-going initiatives and it’s so amazing to hear about a chain of more than 900 family-friendly restaurants making strides to be more environmentally-friendly as ruby-tuesdaywell.  From their supplies and paper products to packaging for their foods, they’re making a tremendous effort to cut down on the waste.  Other changes include using menus on recycled paper with soy inks, glass washers that use less water and soap, CFLs, better thermostat controls and low-flow water nozzles.  They have even enacted a policy that prohibits delivery trucks from idling in their parking lots.

Applause to you, Ruby Tuesday!  They have even developed a site, www.AGreenRuby.com, so guests can track all their changes and hear updates.

greenhouse-tavernAnd if you are lucky enough to live in Cleveland, you need to visit The Greenhouse Tavern – Ohio’s first certified green restaurant.  The Greenhouse Tavern combines organic and environmentally-friendly ingredients with a commitment to recycling, composting and alternate energy to serve you the greenest meal in the state!  I haven’t been there yet, but you better believe I will be soon!

On the other hand, there are plenty of times when a quick run for fast food becomes a necessity, especially with kids.  Greenopia has compiled a great list of fast food giants (and sogreenopiame of the growing chains) and rated them on their eco-friendliness, using their “4-leaf green rating system”.  Take a look, for those occasions when you need a quick bite, and you’ll feel better about making good choices.

Wherever we choose to eat, I like supporting restaurants that have standards and support my green values. Maybe you feel the same? After all, we are giving them our green, so it would be great to know which ones are “giving back” a little green too!

A fabulous “Brownies” weekend & a plastic bag nightmare…

girl-scoutsThis past weekend Mom Goes Green got back to nature… as a chaperon of the Girl Scout Brownies camping weekend!

We were good citizens of the planet by walking delicately on developed paths, talking about the importance of nature and including recycling in our weekend.  It’s so sweet to see how those little girls embrace the idea of taking care of Mother Nature and respecting the earth.

When we returned from camp, it was another beautiful day and (although exhausted!) we wanted to enjoy what remained of the weekend, so we headed to a park, on the lake, near downtown Cleveland.  The lake was whipping up some fabulous winds but no one seemed to mind.  What I DID mind was an astonishing collection of plastic bags that were matted to hundreds of feet of chaiplastic-bag-trashn link fence that surrounds a nearby marina.  I wish I had a camera with me so I could show you this amazing eyesore, but I assure you, it was disturbing.

I don’t think this is so much of a commentary on Cleveland as it is of our overuse and reliance upon these disastrous plastic bags!  I wish I could have picked every single one of them out of the fence and tossed them back at the litterbugs that allowed them to become trash.  I also worried about them eventually blowing into the lake. If I had more time, I would have collected them, but dusk was coming and I had sleepy kids and no gloves!  I just wonder when adults are going to realize what our sweet, little Brownies already understand.

I recently learned about Ireland’s “charge” for plastic bags.  If you don’t bring your own reusable, you will pay 33 cents for every single plastic bag you leave with.  FABULOUS idea!  As a result, the use of plastic bags has dropped 94%.  I applaud you, Ireland!  San Francisco has also banned plastic bags, so why can’t we make that happen everywhere?  I know there will be plastic bag advocates who will come up with some reason for this being un-American, but I will always disagree.  A reusable bag can be purchased for 99 cents, and the resources they will save and the pollution they will prevent is immense.  (Let’s remember, there are 4 to 5 TRILLION plastic bags distributed worldwide each year and the negative effects are immeasurable!)

payless-bagI also want to mention a wonderful new program from Payless ShoeSource, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy.  Buy this adorable reusable bag for $1.99 and $1 will go to their “Plant a Billion Trees” Campaign, so a tree can be planted in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (the most endangered rainforest in the world). With this project everyone wins, so buy some!

I already own about 15 reusable bags, but I don’t think I can pass this one up.  Mom Goes Green is a bona fide REUSABLE BAG junky and I will never let a plastic bag become fence decoration!

…aaaand we’re back!

I’m back up and running.  We have power, phone, our safety and our home — something that many, in the wake of Hurricane Ike, cannot say.

Our utility company said we peaked at over a million customers without power and we’re now down to about a quarter of a million… and some, whose power will not be restored until sometime Sunday…eek.

I’ve been seeing the aftermath and hearing chainsaws all day but, again, we have our safety and our home to be grateful for.

…sending all the best to those who can’t say the same…. wish I could hug you…

Take a hike, Ike!

I suppose I should have been saying this Sunday afternoon BEFORE the remnants of Hurricane Ike decided to take his hike through Northeastern Ohio, mix with a cold front entering from the west and stir up 70 mph winds that toppled trees, ripped down powerlines and left us WITHOUT power or phone.  Yippee!  Thanks, Ike!

It’s not fun around here.  They say it will likely be FRIDAY before everything is restored.  FABULOUS!  But at least we’re not in Galveston…  🙁

That’s where many of our power crews have gone to assist in restoring their power first.

Right now, I am away from home, on borrowed power, with a borrowed connection and I am, unfortunately, on hiatus until everything is restored.

It’s the power and force of Mother Nature.  Don’t suppose it has anything to do with global warming, do you?  Hmmmm…..