Earth Day 2011… 20 ways to “do something”!

Today, April 22, 2011, marks the 41th 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 2011: The lights dimmed all over the world!

earth hr + 11I hope you participated in Earth Hour! On Saturday, March 26th, 2011, from 8:30-9:30 pm, lights did dim all over the world!

The Mom Goes Green family turned off the lights for the third year and this year was no less exciting.  We started our day with a visit to The Rainforest at our beloved Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to really kick-off a day of appreciation for our planet and the wonders of nature.  For dinner we stopped off at a local Indian restaurant to feast on cuisine from yet another part of our our world.  And when we got home our kids rushed to take nice short showers (water conservation, right?) before we got started.EH Lond

The lights went out, the soy candles were illuminated and our celebration began.

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 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” and we snuggled under blankets on the floor to read stories from The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales.

EH EgyThis year’s Earth Hour had record participation (134 countries) and I wondered how many children from my kids’ school were participating with their families. Last week I sent home a notice with all 465 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.  Boston.com allows you to click the images and see the lights go off in locations around the world.  BuzzFeed shows you the before and after from 40 notable cities and AolNews gives you the grand tour of the entire spectacular event.EH NYC

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 2011: March 26 (can you spare the time?)

earth hr + 11I hope you’ve circled the date on your calendar! This Saturday, March 26th, 2011, 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 2010, 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 “vote” with me this year?

The A to Z Guide for a Green 2011!

hppy nw yr 2010Well, Hello 2011! For some of us, you couldn’t have come soon enough!

It’s a new year with a new chance to make a new beginning… our chance to make a real difference!

If you’ve been “putting off your greening”, I’m going to give you the A to Z list to get the ball rolling. (I think I’ve put together quite the extraordinary list, if I do say so myself!  Be sure to click on the orange links to learn more!)

Hold onto your “green” party hats, and let’s go!…

AAppliances, Animals – Buy energy efficient appliances when you need to make a replacement.  If you’re looking for a ‘cause’ that needs your assistance, donate to help save an endangered species.
BBamboo, Biodegradable, Baking Soda – Buy sustainable bamboo products (everything from towels to furniture).  Think biodegradable for all product choices (detergents, bath products, cleaners, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.).  Use eco-friendly baking soda for everything from health & beauty to cleaning your home.spry bttl
CCFLs, Cleaners, Compost, CSAs – Replace your lights with compact fluorescents.  Skip the chemicals in traditional, commercial cleaners and opt for eco-friendly choices. Start composing food scraps and other biodegradable materials.  Consider buying into a CSA for the freshest, organic produce.
DDonate, Disposable, Dry cleaningDonate your usable but no longer needed clothing, books, toys, household items and furniture to organizations that support the less fortunate, so they can be reused.  Eliminate anything intentionally disposable from your purchases. Look for an eco-friendly dry cleaner to avoid toxic chemicals.
EEnergy, EnvironmentTurn off electronics, computers, lights and all household appliances that aren’t in use.  Consider the effect on the environment in everything you do.
FFood – Make healthy choices of organic and natural foods instead of those filled with preservatives, artificial ingredients and chemicals.  Help your kids learn to make great choices too!
GGlobal warming, Glass, Greywater – Accept that global warming is real and we’re the only creature on the planet that can do something about it.  Recycle all glass (it can be recycled indefinitely!). Learn all the ways to put your greywater to work.
HHeating, HomeTurn down the thermostat.  Excess energy equals an excess of pollution. Make your home safe and clean, and simultaneously non-toxic, by cutting out all chemicals.
IIdeas Share what you know and learn with others.  It can have a fabulous snowball effect!  The ideas from our grandparents are excellent principals to follow as well.farmers produce
JJourney – Give yourself credit for the things you are doing and accept that going green is truly a journey!
KKidsGet your kids involved.  When they learn to respect the environment early in life, that lesson will stay with them forever.
LLandfills, Local – Remember that everything you toss in the trash winds up in a landfill, polluting the soil and water.  Buy local at every opportunity and, especially for produce, get the most out of your food.
MMattresses, Meat, Milk – When you replace a mattress, consider organic.  Traditional mattresses are filled with harsh and harmful chemicals.  Choose organic meat and milk to avoid antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones.
NNewspapers – When you need to keeps something hot or cold in transport, newspaper is an amazing insulator.  When you’re done, recycle them, always!
OOrganics, Outdoors, Oceans – Buy as many organics as you can… simple as that.  Getting outdoors will remind you of this beautiful world we are trying to preserve, and even if you can’t see an ocean from where you live, never forget how crucial they are.  Remember that allowing them to be polluted (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the Gulf Disaster) must be prevented.
PPlastic, Paper, Palm oil – Avoid the excessive use of plastics or at least make sure the plastics are truly recyclable.  Same goes for paper.  Be conscious not to be wasteful and recycle every unneeded piece of paper that comes your way.  Learn about palm oil and purchase only products that use the sustainable variety.nature kid
QQuit procrastinating and take the next step!
RRecycle, Reusable Bags, Rain barrels – NOT recycling is inexcusable.  Recyclables should never be thrown in the trash.  Invest in reusable shopping bags and stop contributing to the ‘one trillion plastic bags used annually, worldwide’ statistic.  Set-up at rain barrel to capture water for use around your yard.
SSchools, Shopping, “Shoes off – Get  involved at your children’s schools and put together programs to help them embrace recycling and the environment. Realize that every purchase you make has a greener option… it’s up to you to know the difference and choose wisely.  Adopt the “shoes off” rule and avoid tracking toxins and chemicals through your home.
TTrash, Trees, Travel – Make a conscious effort to reduce your weekly trash by not buying over-packaged products or buy only products in recyclable packaging.  Don’t cut down healthy trees… they are more valuable than just their visual beauty (think air quality, soil preservation, wildlife habitat… the list goes on and on). Don’t leave your green principals at home when you travel, take them with you!
UUn-green, Upcycle – When you see a “wrong”, you can make it “right”.  Speak up, help others and make a change that can make a difference.  Before you throw anything away, consider if it has a secondary use and upcycle.
VVinegar, Volunteer – The uses for distilled white vinegar are endless.  Buy some for cleaning, cosmetic uses, deodorizing, and pest and weed control.  Volunteer your time for an environmental cause.preserve wildlands
WWater, Water Bottles, WildlifeConserve water… contrary to belief, the supply is not endless.  Buy a stainless steel, reusable water bottle to avoid BPA and stop contributing plastic bottles to landfills. Contribute to causes that protect the habitats of wildlife and consider what you are doing to their “home” in your every action.
XXenagogue, Xeriscape – The definition of xenogogue is “guide”, so simply guide others and become a steward of both your home and the earth, and make informed choices.  Xeriscape in your yard by planting only native trees, shrubbery and flowers to prevent the need for excessive watering.
YYou – (YOU knew that one was coming too, right?) but sincerely, the changes you make in your daily life are all up to you.  Take what you know and put it to good use.
ZZoos, Zero-Waste – Support zoos that dedicate themselves to conservation and education.  Buy kits and containers that can be reused for lunchtime (or anytime) so that you don’t contribute to the approximate ‘67 pounds of annual trash created by a child’s lunch’.

globe_treeThere it is: A to Z (and I feel like I only scratched the surface!) But the main mission is to simply get started.  Don’t wait for tomorrow, and don’t expect you have to do it all at once, but do admit that we can all make little changes that amount to one enormous difference!

HaPPy NeW YeaR and cheers to making it (and keeping it) green!

Don’t let your silver “tarnish” your green reputation!

slvrware tarnishBy now, plans are likely well underway for your big holiday celebration. Maybe you’re hosting a party, celebrating Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at your house and (hopefully) pulling out all of your loveliest silverware and serving pieces (instead of all the throw-away stuff!).

Do those lovely pieces include silver?  Have you CHECKED your silver?  Maybe there are long periods between uses and you might want to check now to make sure they haven’t tarnish…

If they have, fear not! You can clean them without using any harsh chemical cleaners and concoctions.

Here are three easy and safe ways to get them sparkly and clean:

  • Line your sink with aluminum foil.  Place the silver on the foil and add boiling water, one cup of baking soda and a dash of salt.  Let the silver sit and in a few minutes the tarnish will transfer to the foil!  Then just rinse and dry.  (Remember to recycle the foil!)
  • You can polish and clean them by hand using a soft cloth and toothpaste.  Rinse them with warm water and dry.slvrbowl tarnish
  • Another by-hand formula is 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.  Clean them with a soft cloth with this solution… and again, rinse and dry.

So, shine ’em up, keep the chemicals at bay and let the party commence!…