Earth Day 2012… 20 ways to “do something”!

Sunday, April 22, 2012, marks the 42th Anniversary of Earth Day!!! (Yes!… this is our major holiday, fellow “greenies!”)

Earth Day was created in 1970 as a way to remind us to appreciate nature and this amazing planet we live on, and learn how to protect our environment and all of its inhabitants. (Did you know:) While it is celebrated in the Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is actually observed in the Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere (both days being the exact “middle point” of the season). Ahh… Earth Day trivia!

This year, find a way to celebrate! Take notice of all that we HAVE to celebrate and no matter how small and insignificant your actions may seem, they matter… they add up… they make a difference…

Take action, talk about it, MAKE a difference… EVERY day should be Earth Day!

Earth Hour 2012: The lights ‘turned off’ all over the world!

I hope you participated in Earth Hour! On Saturday, March 31th, 2012, from 8:30-9:30 pm, lights did turn off all over the world!

The Mom Goes Green family turned off the lights for the fourth year and this year was no less exciting.  We were thrilled to once again look out at the Cleveland skyline from our backyard and see it mostly dark (Thank you, Cleveland!).  Our hour (which actually stretched to over an hour and a half!) included venturing to every corner of the house and plenty of silliness along the way.  The kids’ flashlights (equipped with rechargeable batteries) were a great source for “The Shadow Puppet Show”.  We also had lots of great conversation about why Earth Hour is important and the family togetherness and “snuggle time” was a big bonus in my book!

We even created a great new game that we dubbed “Would you…/If you…” We all made up questions and everyone had to give answers for things like “Would you rather live on a mountain, in a forest, by an ocean, on a savannah or in a city?”  My daughter even asked “If you had a symbol to represent you, what would it be?” to which both of my kids answered, “Mom, that’s an easy one for you.  You’d be a tree!” … and they’re probably right!

Anyhow… this year’s Earth Hour had record participation.  Over 6000 cities and towns in 147 countries participated(!) and I wondered how many children from my kids’ school were participating with their families. We sent home a notice with all 492 of them(!) announcing Earth Hour.  If they sign the pledge that says they participated, some of them will be randomly selected to win an eco-prize reward including BPA-free water bottles, pencils made from recycled newspapers and TerraCycle pencil bags (made from upcycled drink pouches)!

If you participated, you literally joined families from all around the globe… Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Singapore, Beijing, Moscow, Sydney, Athens, Jakarta, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Oslo, New York City, Abu Dhabi, Bucharest, Capetown, Mumbai and Cairo (just to name a few!). When else can you imagine these cities and countries banded together in a unified cause? Earth Hour brought the world together in support of our common thread… Planet Earth!

You can still experience the magnitude of this event.  One thing I count on every year is from  Boston.com … it allows you to click the images and see the lights go off in locations around the world!

Quite powerful, I’d say.

Now, let’s see what we can do to take this momentum and not allow this event to become just ONE hour in an entire year… what can you do to make every hour Earth Hour?

Earth Hour 2012: March 31 (can you spare the time?)

I hope you’ve circled the date on your calendar! This Saturday, March 31, 2012, from 8:30-9:30 pm is Earth Hour!

Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, with 2.2 million homes and businesses turning off their lights for one hour as a “vote” FOR the earth, and a “vote” AGAINST global warming.  By 2011, this movement had grown to hundreds of millions of people, and even darkened the Sydney Opera House, Rome’s Colosseum, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Parthenon in Greece, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the Las Vegas Strip, New York City’s Times Square and landmarks around the globe.

Last year people from all around the world switched off their lights in a unified vote because, regardless of where you live, we all depend on the same planet! This is the perfect time to turn off the lights, discuss global warming and the importance of “being green” as a family.  Consider taking actions to assure that we aren’t polluting our earth and overusing resources in our everyday lives.

For more information, go to www.earthhour.org and sign-up to be “officially” counted!

Need some inspiration?

Or want to know what we did last year?… click here

now…

Will you (please) “vote” with me this year?

Say NO to Black Friday… say YES to 3/50!

Black Friday… I NEVER shop Black Friday! Instead, I celebrateBuy Nothing Day.  Every year.  Period.

Yeeeeess, I know… the bargains, the excitement, the tradition… I simply choose to spend the day NOT spending.  It’s a great reminder that we don’t need to spend obscene amounts of money, rise in the wee hours of the morning and push & shove our way to luxury items that aren’t even needed, if we really think about it.

First, let’s support “Buy Nothing Day” with a little “farewell-to-excess-spending” tribute:

Next, I want to tell you what I AM supporting this year.  It’s called The 3/50 Project… and I love it!  The whole idea is to pick three independently-owned local businesses and spend $50 with each of them (thus the 3/50 concept!).  If we did this each month, it would generate $42.6 BILLION in revenue. Can you even imagine that?  I think it sounds amazing.

So, I don’t want to rain on your parade (I know some of you may love Black Friday) but somewhere along the line, let’s give some ‘locally-owned-love’….

… as the figures tell us, it can make quite a difference.

10 simple steps for a green Thanksgiving…

thanksgvg tblTo me, Thanksgiving has always felt like the holiday with the greatest “green potential”. There are no gifts, costumes, candy or extra, elaborate frills.  It’s simply about family gatherings, feasting on the bounty of the season and giving thanks for everything we have.  There are so many ways to avoid over-abundance… (well, with the exception of over-eating!)

Everything from the decorations, to the food, to the clean-up can be exceptionally green.

Here are the things to keep in mind:

  1. Invitations – forgo the paper invitations and send Evites instead.  You’ve probably already handled this task, but this rule goes for any gathering!  And if you do need to mail invitations, look for those made of recycled paper.
  2. Decorations – in many cases, you need only walk into your own backyard: leaves, acorns and twigs can be turned into amazing arrangements. Combine them with colorful gourds, Indian corn, squash and apples and you’ve just captured the season!  Afterward, compost or add them back to nature.
  3. Food – visit your local farmer’s market for all of the most amazing produce.  Go organic.  Think acorn squash, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, apple and pumpkin pie! And seek out an organic, hormone-free, steroid-free turkey (if it will be a part of your feast).
  4. Drinks – serve organic drinks or consider a local brew… or, if you’re lucky (like me!) and surrounded by local wineries, a local wine!
  5. Tableware and serveware – stop saving “the good dishes” and silverware!  Use them!  Glasses, cups and stemware?  Get them out! Forget the disposable “anything”.  You can even score inexpensive cloth napkins and table coverings at any dollar store.crncopia
  6. Consider the temperature – ovens heat a house quite quickly… and so do lots of people… so turn down the thermostat or, in warmer climates, keep ceiling fans circulating or windows open to keep the indoors comfortable.
  7. Recycle – that should go without saying, but just remember to make it happen.  Cans, jars, containers, bottles, anything and everything possible.
  8. Don’t waste leftovers – keep only what you know your family will eat.  Send the rest home with your guests.  Start thinking about containers now (no styrofoam plates or plastic-wrap, please!).  You can even ask guests to bring their own glass or ceramic dishware… why not?! And if you compost, toss in those food scraps.
  9. Clean-up – use your dishwasher, but make sure you fill it first.  For the big jobs, you’ll need to use some elbow-grease, but be sure not to leave the tap running endlessly.  And get out your green cleaners.  You can get back to “shiny & clean” without harsh chemicals.
  10. Although it has nothing to do with being green… give thanks. Ask everyone at your table to share a thought. It will certainly put happiness in the air, and that’s absolutely free!

Now, if you need some of those ‘leaf, acorn and twig’ decorations I mentioned, email me… and then back up a truck… I have enough in my own backyard to supply your whole neighborhood!