July 22, 2010

the story of cosmetics

I'm very excited that the team at The Story of Stuff has created a short film with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The film takes a big, depressing problem and presents it in a concise and approachable way. In the film Annie Leonard describes "how major loopholes in U.S. federal law allow the $50 billion beauty industry to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with no required testing, no monitoring of health effects and inadequate labeling requirements—making cosmetics among the least-regulated consumer products on the market."

On a related note, this summer I finally read Not just a Pretty Face by Stacy Malkan. It is a great book which contains much of the same information but in greater detail. Both the book and The Story of Cosmetics film are in association with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of non-profit groups working to eliminate harmful chemicals from personal care products.

I love the medium of the film, and how it is sure to be shared virally across social media and email to reach so many people. Check it out and pass it on. If you're interested in learning more, pick up a copy of Not Just a Pretty Face and also check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

May 6, 2010

children's medication recall

As you've hopefully heard by now, last week there was a sweeping recall of popular children's medications including Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and Benadryl. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is voluntarily recalling all lots that have not yet expired of certain over-the-counter (OTC) Children’s and Infants’ liquid products manufactured in the United States.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare is initiating this voluntary recall because some of these products may not meet required quality standards. This recall is not being undertaken on the basis of adverse medical events. However, as a precautionary measure, parents and caregivers should not administer these products to their children. Some of the products included in the recall may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles. While the potential for serious medical events is remote, the company advises consumers who have purchased these recalled products to discontinue use. Consumers can contact the company at 1-888-222-6036 and also at www.mcneilproductrecall.com.

I wasn't able to post about the recall right away, but was reminded of it today while speaking with my sister. My nieces have been using lots of these products this winter while battling various ailments and illnesses. My sister was wondering if the company was offering refunds on all the bottles she had already purchased. It seems that indeed you can request a refund on your products on the company's website.

Remember, if you have medicine to dispose of it is best to check and see where it can be disposed of safely. Don't pour it down the toilet or into the sink. Check earth911.com for a list of places that will accept medicines for disposal. Many municipalities and stores (such as Walgreens and Costco) will accept the medications and dispose of them safely.

100 awesome blogs

Mom Go Green was recently included in a list of 100 Awesome Blogs for All-Natural Moms, compiled by Nursingschools.net. So nice to be included! The list has many excellent blogs which are good resources on a variety of topics.

April 30, 2010

oil spill

image from NOAA

In brief:

The US administration has banned oil drilling in new areas of the US coast while the cause of the oil spill off Louisiana is investigated.

From the AP:
"The oil slick could become the nation's worst environmental disaster in decades, threatening to eclipse even the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Exxon Valdez, the grounded tanker that leaked 11 million gallons in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989. The sheen measured about 70 miles by 130 miles as of Thursday, and officials expected to update that figure Friday.

It imperils hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife along the Gulf Coast, one of the world's richest seafood grounds, teeming with shrimp, oysters and other marine life.

"This is a very, very big thing," David Kennedy, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press about the spill. "And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling."

Read more here.

"The harm right now to the fishing industry and to the economic sector is just almost incalculable." - Richard Arsenault, a lawyer for a group of Louisiana shrimpers

"Every a**hole who ever chanted 'Drill Baby Drill' should have to report to the Gulf Coast today for cleanup duty." - Bill Maher via Twitter

For more information about the spill and the aftermath, visit NOAA.

April 26, 2010

earth day posters

In my Earth Day post I mentioned a poster contest held by Martha Stewart Whole Living in collaboration with Pencil. New York City public school children participated in the contest. I was always entering poster contests when I was in school. I am happy to share some of the entries. You can visit the Whole Living website to see all the finalist posters.

April 22, 2010

earth day 2010

Happy 40th Earth Day! I often don't even have a post on Earth Day, which might be surprising given the theme of my blog. While the intentions might be good, I find that there is so much hype and green messaging happening around this date that it gets kind of overwhelming. Do all the stories and events inspire you to change some habits? Or does it perpetuate a crunchy, eccentric ethic?

On the local radio morning show this morning they had a guest (a business reporter from the newspaper, I think) who said he believed true environmental change will happen through financial incentives—that at the end of the day, it is all about money. For industry, government, and maybe many folks this is probably true. Switching to solar looks a lot more appealing when there is a huge rebate check from the government to do it!

In thinking about Earth Day, I've put together a few of the most inspirational events and announcements that I've received:

Moms Rising is asking folks to join in signing an Earth Day letter to Congress urging support for safer chemicals in products used by babies and children, and in all consumer products. It is a quick and easy (and important!) thing to do.

Environment California is calling for donations to help ban plastic shopping bags in all of California. A great step considering all that plastic floating in the Pacific.

Who doesn't love a good poster contest, especially by students? Martha Stewart’s Body+Soul: Whole Living magazine partnered with PENCIL (a New York City public school education organization) to celebrate Earth Day this year by sponsoring an Earth Day Poster Contest at ten New York City public schools. They are having an exhibit of the posters tonight, but I won't have images to share of them until after the party. What a fantastic and engaging idea!

Al Gore, the founder of Repower America, sent a message asking people to call their senators. There will be legislation introduced in the next few days looking to improve the US climate policy (which is far less progressive than many other countries).

"Today, on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the world is looking to the U.S. for leadership on climate. Call your Senator to tell him or her to fight for the strongest possible clean energy and climate legislation. Call now: 1-877-55-REPOWER (1-877-557-3769) And then report your call here. "

Repower America has done a great job at refreshing the Earth Day message with Biz Markie. They say, "it's easy to succumb to doom and gloom. But each of us came to this movement because of the joy we find in working together to build a sustainable future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. Today, on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we have come together in this video to share that inspiration -- all while joining in the call for the strong clean energy and climate legislation our nation needs."

You know that I'm a big believer in protest and reform through song and smiles!
Happy Earth Day.

April 14, 2010

catherine mohr builds green

I just watched this video from TED and wanted to share it. Catherine Mohr humorously shares her experience of building a green house. The surprising lesson is that "sometimes what you are not expecting to be the biggest changes are [the biggest]".

It is a short video which inspires one to really question green propaganda vs. actual fact.

April 11, 2010


It seems I've been blogging in my head and not actually writing and posting my thoughts. These recent thoughts (which have yet to be written) all seem to be about food. It makes sense, really, since I'm a mom and in charge of feeding my family something somewhat nourishing.

My journey with this blog has been to share things I learn about relating to the health of my family and the environment—so naturally food fits right in there.

I'll skip straight to today's food dilemma: tuna.

My son recently discovered that he liked tuna salad sandwiches. I love it too, but had actually been avoiding it because of issues with mercury and also with BPA in the cans. Surely there is some small quantity of it that would be okay?

I found this information on the NRDC website:

"Since children get most of their mercury from canned tuna, it is important for parents to limit their children's consumption to less than one ounce of canned light tuna for every 12 pounds of body weight per week, in order to stay below the level of mercury the EPA considers safe. That means that a child who weighs 36 pounds should not eat more than 3 ounces (half a standard-sized can of chunk light tuna) per week. Children should avoid albacore or white tuna because the levels of mercury are higher."

At the store earlier today I had found 2 kinds of tuna at the store that looked interesting.

This first one is a brand I've loved for a long time. The quality seems good and I like that it is local. I hadn't known about the albacore being higher in mercury. So I looked at the Dave's website and learned that the albacore they catch is much safer because they use smaller, younger fish from colder waters. These fish have not built up the mercury levels that the older, larger albacore have. I also read on their website about the differences between their tuna and national brand tunas. They have completely sold me! I'm feeling much better about serving their tuna. You can even see pictures of each of their fishing boats online.

The second kind of tuna I found at the store today was Wild Planet. I haven't tried this brand yet, but the label sure got my attention since it addressed many of my concerns.

But the real test will be if the tuna sandwich gets eaten in his lunch.

March 30, 2010

jamie oliver's food revolution

Are you watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? Because you should. Everyone should—no matter where they land in the range of food preferences.

This show brings the food messages we've been hearing to a small American town. The reality and reactions will amaze you. I think the biggest take away lessons are to avoid processed foods and to eat as much fresh food as you can. It sure is easy to say that when I live in a location that not only offers a year-round abundance of amazing foods, but celebrates food and cooking as an art form or elite sport.

One of the focuses of the show so far is school lunch programs. Parents everywhere will be amazed to see some surprising truths.

Watch Jamie's show. I've seen the first 2 episodes so far and can't recommend it highly enough. Even my husband is hooked! You can see it online or on ABC Friday nights. Share the link. Spread the word!

March 27, 2010

earth hour 2010

Don't forget Earth Hour is TONIGHT! Turn off your lights tonight, Saturday March 27th from 8:30–9:30 p.m. Light a candle and join people around the world to make a statement.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The CN Tower in Toronto, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.

Earth Hour 2010 takes place on Saturday 27 March at 8.30pm (local time) and is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world. It is a call to stand up, to take responsibility, to get involved and lead the way towards a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to Asia to the Americas will stand in darkness. People across the world from all walks of life will turn off their lights and join together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet. So sign up now and let’s make 2010 the biggest Earth Hour yet!

March 10, 2010

google adds biking to maps

So excited that Google has added a biking option to their mapping service. As you can imagine, choosing a bike-friendly route really makes a huge difference when trying to navigate an urban area. A few weeks ago my husband and I biked across the city with our kids in his cargo bike. It would have been so great to have a bike route planned to avoid steep and busy streets! Can't wait to try this out (especially now that I have a new bike—a surprise gift from my husband!)

February 9, 2010

not jello!

It's been awhile. What could bring me back from my blogging hiatus you ask? Was it more data about plastic in the oceans? New developments from Copenhagen? No. I'm back because of Jello.

Seriously, I spotted some natural "Jel Dessert" at the natural foods store and wondered where it had been all my life (or at least all my kids' lives). I've bought Jello a handful of times in the past while caring for a sick family member, who for whatever reason couldn't eat solid food. With all the effort I've made to improve our nutrition and cut artificial ingredients, it seemed strange to buy something like (bright blue!) Jello.

Natural Desserts line of dessert jels are gluten free, vegan, dairy free, Kosher dessert jells that are manufactured using an exclusive blend of vegetable gums. They aren't new to the market or anything, I just hadn't noticed them before.

It might not seem like a big deal, and honestly, I only need to buy it once every few years, but spotting this product at the store solved a huge conundrum for me. It reminded me about the reason that I started writing this blog in the first place (almost 3 years ago!) These days there are so many fantastic resources sharing ways to be green, go green, have green babies and homes, etc. Even I got tired of hearing about it all.

I hope Mom Go Green is a respite from the save-the-planet urgency. I hope that by sharing little bits about things that I find personally interesting, someone else will also find them interesting and helpful. I hope you are as exited about this not-jello as I am!