Spend Earth Day with Disneynature’s “Earth” (+ giveaway!)

earth

(This giveaway is now closed for entries… congratulations “Marisa”!)

Last year was the first time we really participated in Earth Day.  We planted a small tree in our yard (that shortly thereafter became a deer’s lunch… but at least we tried!), read some books about the Earth and had an eco-friendly dinner complete with some dirt for dessert (don’t call the authorities – it was just the dessert that LOOKS like dirt!)earth-elephants

This year I was so excited to learn that Disneynature is premiering its first film, Earth, on Earth Day, April 22, 2009.  The trailer looks just incredible.  Narrated by James Earl Jones, this film tells the remarkable story of three animal families and their amazing journey across the planet we all call home.  Earth combines rare action, unimaginable scale and impossible locations by capturing the most intimate moments of our planet’s wildest and most elusive creatures.  In fact, it’s directed by the same creative team behind the Planet Earth series (that we love!).

To make this an even more impactful event, Disneynature will also plant a tree in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (the most endangered rain forest in the world), in honor of every moviegoer who sees the film in its opening week.  If a weekday viewing isn’t possible, you can plan for the weekend too, and still make a difference!

canvas-toteTo top off this great effort, Disneynature has also offered a giveaway to a Mom Goes Green reader.  This Earth-branded package (valued at $60) includes a canvas tote, a biodegradable tumbler, a fleece blanket and a tree seedling (that hopes NOT to become a lunch!).  To enter this contest, just leave a comment and tell me how you will spend Earth Day this year. You can also send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog or write about this giveaway and link back.earth-whales

A random winner will be selected one week from today’s post (US residents only, please… sorry!)

So plan your Earth Day activities, schedule a viewing of Earth and enter to win… all in celebration of this great planet we share!

“Hug” wildlife… (so we don’t kiss it goodbye).

We all just concentrated on raising awareness of global warming during Earth Hour, and one of the topics that came up that night was the plight of the polar bear. THIS did not make our daughter happy.

polar-bears1Our daughter’s beloved polar bear may actually become extinct during her lifetime.  (If you want your heart crushed, take a moment to watch this.)  And there are 10 others that top the list of animals that WILL become extinct in ours.  Can you even imagine these animals completely fading from existence?

Two organizations I love are WWF and National Wildlife Federation.wwf

Since 1961, WWF has been working to save endangered species and protect their habitats – polar bears, orangutans and tigers top the list.  (Well, that certainly covers some of my family’s favorites.)

And for over 80 years, National Wildlife Federation’s mission has been to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.  (And isn’t that what we all want?)

Both of these organizations do an amazing job of working tirelessly to protect and preserve nature and animals through education, advocacy and action, and (despite recently commenting about an nwfabundance of mail from NWF!) I whole-heartedly support both of them.  They are also great resources for information, ideas and ways to get your family involved… and for our children, this is so crucial.

In fact, the next time you need to give a gift, consider shopping their stores – “adopt” an animal, “plant a tree”, buy a magazine subscription – or simply consider donating to their cause. We all have a long list of people who “have everything”, so next time make the gift truly meaningful.

Our daughter was so inspired to help save her beloved polar bears that she wants to donate some of her own money.  And I’m absolutely going to let her.

Want to shorten your life & be unhappy?… cut down trees.

Well, that was harsh.  But research has shown that it’s true.

treed-street-2I’ve talked about my frustration with my neighbor cutting down all of the trees in her backyard, and then (as if a “tree-hating virus” had attacked the street) my other neighbor cut down healthy trees too!  We were all heartbroken at this senselessness, but there was little we could do to stop the insanity.

I wish I could have shared the results of the latest research with them before the chainsaws-went-to-town.  We all know how environmentally important trees are – for providing oxygen and shade, improving air quality, conserving water, preserving soil and supporting wildlife (as both food and habitat), but the latest research has found that trees actually make people live longer and feel happier… and that doesn’t really surprise me.

According to studies:  (1) treed streets have a lower rate of crime, (2) residents have happier relationships and (3) perform better in tests; (4) trees help us to psychologically rejuvenate and they even (5) impact our “physical, psychological and social well-being”; (6) residents live longer and (7) have an overall better health and (8) children behave better in a “nature setting” than in a treeless area, especially those with an attention dtree-hugeficit concern… all I can say is “amazing”.   The research even showed that those with less access to green space (even if only a nearby park) have a shorter attention span, poor management of major life issues and poor impulse control.

I’m definitely not a supporter of money spent frivolously on silly research but I admittedly like that these studies support what I’ve suspected all along:  aside from the environmental importance of our precious trees, they truly have an altering effect on our well-being.

Today, I’m asking you to… hug a tree, love a tree, feel grateful for every tree you see… and please, don’t cut the healthy ones down… because they have a greater impact on our lives than we ever realized.

*(tree hug photo:  Jim Sabo)

Water, aqua, H2O. You name it… but just conserve it.

I constantly try to find ways to conserve water.  It seems like a no-brainer of being green.

But I just received a little “schooling” from the back of one of our daughter’s books (the only books I seem to read these days!).  It’s a tidbit I had never heard, never realized or maybe never paid attention to, even if I had heard it.  The fact is this:

Only 1% of our Earth’s water is usable:  97% is salt water, 2% is frozen in glaciers and it’s disappearing at an alarming rate.  10% of the U.S. relies on the Great Lakes for their water supply and they are at their lowest point in 80 years.

(I’d also like to point out that it seems like there has to be at least 1% frozen on my roof and about to rip down my gutters, thanks to our recent arctic weather, but that’s beside the point!…)  I just never recognized that we are really, TRULY, working with such a limited supply of water.

When I blasted Starbuck’s for pitiful practices and water-wasting ways, I gave some ideas for conserving water, like efficiently using appliances, capturing water, checking for leaks and the-ever-popular “shorter showers”, but I only scratched the surface of indoor water usage.  So first, ask yourself if you want to make sure we conserve that mere 1% we’re counting on. Then take the time to read 111 ways to conserve water.  No kidding.  111 ways… and although some of them never even crossed my mind, their impact can be huge.

The average American uses 100 gallons of water per day… care to help me change that?

A Great Green New Year’s Resolution

It’s New Year’s Eve!  A brand new year to bring brand new things, but the holiday has likely overwhelmed us and we’re left with some guilt in the wake of it all…

And now I’m sitting here thinking New Year’s Resolutions.  Sure I’m feeling guilty for over-consuming at all of those holiday gatherings… and, selfishly, not for any “green” reasons… but because my pants are tight and I need to make more frequent trips to the gym!  I’m also telling myself that I need to relax more, worry less and “not sweat the small stuff”.  Of course, I want to find ways to be a better mom and wife… and organize those things that have been neglected by over-committing myself.  (And did I mention those pants?!?… augh!)

But one other less selfish thing comes to mind… volunteering.  I want to do more.  And, instead of just talking about going out and making a difference, I want to stand up and really do it!

I recently discovered Together Green, an organization that will help connect you with all sorts of conservation projects around the country.  They have a calendar of events, volunteer days and links to other volunteer sites. Plus, their Be Green Action Center will give you the most amazing ways to go green in your daily life — at home, work, and travel, and in your community.  Choose what you want to do, and they’ll give you ideas of actions to take.  A great, great resource!

I’ve also discovered great opportunities through:

So many ways to get involved, so many opportunities, so much “difference” to be made!

SO, for my New Year’s Resolution, I vow to get out and “do”.  I know it will mean that I’ve taken the next step.  And it’s another great way to get my kids involved too… that lesson will last them a lifetime.  Would you consider joining me in this resolution?

(Perhaps it will even help me with that “pants” issue!)