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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Ultimate Non-Material Green Gift Guide: Part 5

Let's face it, some people just don't want or need any more stuff. For those who have everything, you can make a donation of time or money in their name to a cause that could really use it. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Gifts that keep on giving:

-U.S. Savings Bond
-Plant a tree in someone's name
-Make a donation to Heifer International or their favorite charity
-Volunteer for their favorite organization or community group like Habitat for Humanity

The Ultimate Non-Material Green Gift Guide: Part 4

Hiring someone local to provide a service is a great way to green your gift. Not only are you avoiding buying more stuff, but you are also supporting people in your community. There are many services that you can provide yourself, like a foot massage for mom or washing your dad's car. When I was a kid, I would make a booklet of gift certificates for my mom, that she could redeem for things such as "a back massage" or a "mowing the lawn". These types of gifts are always greatly appreciated!

List 7: Services that you can buy:

-landscaping service
-snow removal service
-cleaning service
-window washing service
-car wash
-pet sitting

List 8: Services that you provide:

-organize mom's spice rack or dad's tool box
-polish grandma's silver or jewelry or grandpa's shoes
-take someone's well loved shoes to be resoled to give them a new life
-wash their car
-e-cycle your families old electronics and they will be very grateful to get rid of them
-tune up their bike
-give them a manicure, pedicure, or massage
-clean and organize mom's makeup bag

Check out the Non-Material Gift Guide Part 5

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Ultimate Non-Material Green Gift Guide: Part 3

Nothing says "I love you" like a pile of fresh baked cookies. Any gift you make yourself, like food or crafts for instance, is probably the nicest gift you can give.

List 5: Homemade Gifts:

-baked cookies, cakes, muffins
-roasted mixed nut
-chocolate covered nuts and dried fruit
-home brewed beer
-a favorite dish
-candy/ fudge

List 6: Handmade/DIY Gifts:

-make a swing out of a piece of wood and rope, hang it from a safe branch for your favorite kid
-refurbish a piece of furniture
-put a new picture in an old frame
-make a quilt from old favorite textiles like tees, jeans and prom dresses
-fix a favorite thing that's broken
-make crazy crayons out of broken crayon pieces
-ornaments and decorations
-make gift tags out of last years holiday cards
-a wreath from a cut from a tree branch in your yard
-put loose photos in an album
-write a poem or a story

Check out the Non-Material Gift Guide Part 4

The Ultimate Non-Material Green Gift Guide: Part 2

Lessons, classes, tickets, seasons passes and memberships are great gifts that keep on giving well passed the new year. This might be a great opportunity for your grandma to finally take that pottery class she's been talking about. Tickets to a play or concert are a great treat that they'll always remember. And season's passes to a museum or zoo is a great gift that they can enjoy all year long.

List 2: Lessons and Classes

-dance lessons
-music lessons
-singing lessons
-martial arts
-yoga class
-art class
-pottery class
-scuba diving lessons
-cooking classes
-tennis lessons
-golf lessons
-swimming lessons
-horseback riding lessons
-skiing lessons
-ice skating lessons

List 3: Tickets for Two

-tickets to sporting event
-season's tickets to any of the above

List 4: Seasons Passes and Memberships

-the zoo or aquarium
-state park
-their favorite organization like the Audubon Society

Check out the Non-Material Gift Guide Part 3

The Ultimate Non-Material Green Gift Guide

I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet! Every year we are bombarded with the message that we need to shop till we drop for the holidays. That's why I am presenting The Ultimate Non-Material Green Gift Guide good and early, so that you know that there are many options for great gifts that are good for the Earth and for all the people on your list. If you watched The Story of Stuff video below, you're probably convinced as I am, that we need to stop consuming so much stuff. As Annie Leonard points out, 99% of the goods we purchase end up in the trash within 6 months! And to make the matters worse, much worse in fact, for every one can of garbage we throw out, 70 cans of garbage were created just to make all the stuff in that one can we're throwing out.

The holidays don't have to be a time of waste and pressure to buy, buy, buy. Over the next week I will post a growing list of over 60 ideas for non-material gifts. You'll save money, stress and the environment while giving people gifts that are personal and meaningful. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please share!

List 1: Gift Certificates

-the movies
-a massage
-a spa/salon
-a batting cage
-a golf course/ driving range
-a favorite restaurant
-an eco-friendly dry cleaning gift certificate
-an ice cream cone at their favorite ice cream shop
-a gym membership/ personal training session
-Local Harvest, where they can get local grown food delivered to them right at home.

Check out the Non-Material Gift Guide Part 2

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tiki the Penguin

Tiki the Penguin is a really fun and informative website for kids all about the environment. It's filled with funny illustrations and even reader-submitted jokes that make learning about the planet fun. But Tiki's site has a serious message, and doesn't back down from being honest about how people are hurting the planet and how we must be part of the solution.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Story of Stuff

"The Story of Stuff" is a must-see video about where all of our "stuff" comes from, how it's made and where is ends up. Not only that, but the effect that the manufacturing, selling and disposing of all our "stuff" has on our planet, our bodies, and even our happiness. Going to the store will never be the same again!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Volunteering...The New Patrotism

There has been quite a lot of buzz in this election season about volunteering and serving our communities. People all over the country are getting excited to be apart of one movement or another to make the world a better place. Protecting the environment is one area where we can use all the help we can get.

To find out how you can get involved and volunteer in your area, visit the website Service Nation and join the movement. Once you sign up, you can do a search for volunteer opportunities in your community in a variety of areas. I did a search for environmental and animal opportunities and found 300 different places where I could volunteer!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Together Green

Together Green is a fun website to put your enthusiasm for protecting the planet into action. This website, an alliance of the Audubon Society and Toyota, is a place where you can learn about actions that you can take to protect the environment. You can find out how and where to volunteer in your community. You can also share green project ideas or get inspired by the many cool green projects that other have shared. I think I could spend all day on this site getting ideas!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Candidates and the Environment...You Decide

As the exciting election season comes to a close, it sure would be nice if young people had a say in who will be running the country. Well guess what? You do. Your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, even older siblings will listen to you if you tell them how important issues like global warming are to you. You can help them decide who to vote for by educating them with the facts.

You can start off by pointing them in the direction of the candidate's websites to hear what they have to say about their stance on environmental issues. Click here to read John McCain's plan to fight global warming. Click here to read Barack Obama's plan.

Next, point them in the direction of The League of Conservation Voters, or the LCV. The LCV is an organization that aims to educate the voting public on environmental issues and where the candidates stand. They have investigated both candidate's plans as well as their past voting record and given them a report card. That's right, even politicians get report cards! Click here to see how John McCain scores and here to see how Barack Obama scores.

How the next president handles the global warming crisis will make all the difference in your life and the planet's future. So don't be afraid to speak up!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Easy Going Green Playing Cards

Remembering to be green doesn't have to be a chore. By learning a few basic green tips at a time and making changes in your daily life, you can make a real difference in the struggle to protect our planet. One way to learn green tips the fun way is to play with Going Green Playing Cards. Each deck has 52 cards with poems on environmentally-friendly activities and tips on how to make green changes right away. And they eco-friendly to boot! The cards are made from recycled materials with vegetable based ink and include a reusable muslin bag rather than a box.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tonight! October 21st

Tell mom or dad to dust off the ol' vcr, or set the DVR to record Frontline's 2 hour special on PBS on Global Warming called HEAT. The show starts at 9 pm.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Exhibit on Climate Change

If you happen to live in the New York City area, or are planning to visit anytime between now and August, be sure to check out the new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History on Climate Change. And if you won't have the opportunity to check it out in person there is still a lot to see and learn on the exhibit's website. They even have a cool section for kids where you can learn how to build your own terrarium, quiz yourself to see how much you know about climate change, play games and puzzles and do many other fun activities.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Green it yourself video: reed placemat

Here's a fun project for those with nimble fingers! Try making a placemat, table runner, wall hanging or even a cool "twig man" halloween costume using reeds or twigs from your yard. Click on the link below to learn how.

green it yourself video: reed placemat

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

RSVP Mr. President

You may be too young to vote. But you are not too young to demand that the next president take a real stand against global warming. The website is asking you to join with thousands of others around the world in inviting Senator McCain and Senator Obama to pledge that they will attend the UN Climate Meetings this December if they become president. It's as easy as tying your shoe. And, you can also upload your very own video message for the candidates.

The is a global movement aiming to help solve the climate crisis by educating people about the number 350. 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide--measured in "Parts Per Million" in our atmosphere. 350 ppm--it's the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Club Green

Now that you are a settled in back at school, it's a great time to start an environmental club at your school, place of worship, or in your community. Running a club can take a lot of work though, so make sure to get some help first.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Meet with the principal or leader of your group to discuss your club with them. Let this person know that you have already taken action in your own life to go green and why you think it is important for your school or group to have an environmental club.
2. Get a sponsor or a mentor. A teacher or other adult can help you with some of the responsibilities involved in running a club and speak on your behalf.
3. Recruit members. Spread the word by making announcements, putting up posters, and handing out flyers and inviting classmates to join. Be sure to include a phone number or email address for them to contact you.
4. -Set up an introductory meeting to decide how your club will be run. Discuss what you would like to accomplish. To keep your group focused, pick one goal that you can all work toward accomplishing. Create a task sheet to delegate responsibilities to all members.

Here are a few ideas for projects and activities your club can take on:

–Set up a recycling system in the school cafeteria.
-–Organize an after-school toy swap.
–Plant a small organic garden that will provide fresh vegetables for the school cafeteria.
–Support local wildlife and reduce CO2 in the air by planting trees, shrubs and flowers on school grounds.
–Have a garage sale and give proceeds to you favorite environmental organization or a local pet shelter.
–Organize trips to the local zoo.
–Organize special events like a “Kids Walk to School Day” or “Create No Trash Day”.
–Make posters to educate others about what they can do to leave a greener footprint.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Robert Kennedy on the "qualities of youth"

"Our answer is the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress. This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease."
- Robert F. Kennedy

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Understanding Global Warming

I came across this great interview with Professor Michael Oppenheimer on the website Professor Oppenheimer is a Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University. He clearly explains global warming and greenhouse gases and explains how humans are causing them.

VideoJug: Ozone And Greenhouse Gases

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Green Olympics

All across the world, eyes will be focused over the next few weeks on the athletes competing in the Olympics in Beijing. There are a few that are should be admired not only for being world class athletes, but for speaking out about protecting the environment. Grist has put together a great list of these Green Athletes. Check out what they are doing to make a difference.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuvalu, a disappearing tropical paradise

The nation of Tuvalu is a string of low-lying islands midway between Hawaii and Australia. After the Vatican City, this remote nation of 11,600 people is the second smallest in the world. It may be a small country, but it has big problems.

Tuvalu, along with many other islands, is very vulnerable to the threats of climate change. The islands, which sit just three feet above sea level, will completely disappear as sea levels rise. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations-sponsored group made up of more than 2,000 scientists, predict that global warming will cause oceans to rise as much as 3 feet in the next 50 to 100 years.

Many of the people of Tuvalu aren't waiting around to see their beloved island home slowly disappear under the waves. They are migrating to other countries like New Zealand and Australia, where life is very different for the Tuvaluans. Coming from islands with few cars and quiet communities, where knowing how to fish and climb a tree are the two most important skills for survival, the hustle and bustle of city life in their new countries is a huge cultural shock.

Immigrants from Tuvalu are part of a rapidly growing group known as "environmental refugees." According to the United Nations, there are currently more than 20 million environmental refugees worldwide, more than those displaced by war and political repression combined. By 2010 the number will grow to 50 million, and 150 million by 2050.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Going global

All over the world, voices are speaking up in concern for our planet. From Singapore to Portugal, from Argentina to South Africa, our collective voices are growing stronger and bolder. Although our struggles maybe very different, and the consequences of global warming and the loss of natural resources and habitats may be greater on some, we all are fighting to make a difference and be heard. It can be easy to get swept up in our own worlds and not realize that the fight to protect our planet is a truly global one.

For the next month on the Green Guide for Kids we will be taking a look deeper into the environmental issues facing communities all over the world. If you would like to contribute or share your own story, pictures or ideas, they would be very welcome. When you share your ideas with others on the Green Guide for Kids, you have a truly global audience. People from 99 countries around the world have visited this site for information and inspiration.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us

The Green Guide for Kids is one years old! Here's a look back at some of my favorite posts:

Plant native trees
What's so bad about carbon?
The real dirt on cleaning products
Focus the Nation Webcast
You are what you eat
Happy birthday=happy environment

And don't forget to leave a comment...we want to hear your ideas!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Al Gore's 10 year challenge

Al Gore challenged America to use 100% renewable energy sources for our electricity within 10 years. Here are some highlights from his inspirational speech.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

School's out!

So school is finally out for summer. You are now free to sleep past 8:00, have sleepovers in the middle of the week and hang out by the pool with your ipod. While in school it can be really hard to find time to do extra curricular activities. Now that you have so much time you don't know what to do with, check out these youth environmental clubs. Kids all over the world have joined these groups to meet cool people, have thrilling and rewarding experiences and to make a real impact. As the good man Gandhi once said: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Roots & Shoots
– Roots & Shoots offers wonderful opportunities to join in and get involved. Roots & Shoots teams make positive change happen for their communities, for animals and for the environment through projects, special events and global campaigns. It is a youth–driven network of 8,000 groups in 100 countries guided by the priciples and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist, environmentalist and humanitarian. "Her firm belief that young people, when informed and empowered, when they realize that what they do truly makes a difference, can indeed change the world, is at the very heart of our program."

Global Kids – Their mission: "To transform urban youth into successful students and global and community leaders by engaging them in socially dynamic, content-rich learning experiences." This group is based in New York City, and their online programs have reached millions of youth in over 100 countries.

Green Guerillas
– "uses a unique mix of education, organizing, and advocacy to help people cultivate community gardens, sustain grassroots groups and coalitions, engage youth, paint colorful murals, and address issues critical to the future of their gardens." They are located in New York City and their members are all ages and from all walks of life.

Teens for Planet Earth
– Is an online resource for teens to learn more about the environment and conservation, and to guide them through the process of taking action or starting an environmental club in their own community.

The Jason Project – is "A nonprofit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society, JASON connects young students with great explorers and great events to inspire and motivate them to learn science."

If you have a group of club of your own that you'd like to share, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sad day for Santa

For the first time in human history, the North Pole could be ice–free this summer. According to Live Science, what was predicted to be a possibility of happening decades from now, is happening right now.

News like this reminds us of what we are fighting for. As a kid, you have been put in the very unfair position of having to worry about such a daunting catastrophe as global warming. You should be spending your summer days carefree. But just as adults have a lot of thinking and work to do to put a stop to global warming, you as a kid also need to step up and realize the impact you have on the world around you. What can you do today, right now, to help the planet? Can you walk or ride your bike instead of asking for a ride? Can you start that compost pile you've been thinking about making? Can you write a letter to the editor of your paper? Can you turn off the air conditioner and go swimming? How about just unplugging unused gadgets and appliances?

When we take a look around us, there is always something that we can do to leave a greener footprint. Today is the day you can make a difference.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Green Squad

Did you know that the average kid will spend over 14,000 hours in school by the time they graduate? Knowing this, you would hope your school was a healthy green place for you to learn and play. But just like our homes, our schools need Green Warriors like you, making sure they are healthy for your body and for the planet. The Green Squad over at the Natural Resources Defense Council are doing just that. Join them as they investigate how green their school really is, and learn how to make your school and the planet a greener place.

Monday, June 9, 2008

National Get Outdoors Day

This Saturday June 14th is National Get Outdoors Day. If you and your family spend a lot of time outside then you know how great it is to spend the day, or even a few hours, exploring, digging, hiking, running or climbing in nature. But if going outside is a rare event for you and your family, this Saturday is a great opportunity to get back to nature. The event will be celebrated at more than 54 locations across the US.

Visit Green Hour, to learn more about National Get Outdoors Day, as well as learning more about spending an hour outside everyday.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Principals for Change

Principals for Change, a non–profit organization founded by Pennsylvania educator Aaron Steinly, are embarking on a March from Pennsylvania to Washington D.C. to raise awareness about our national energy crisis. This inspirational group will be putting one foot in front of the other for 9 long days. They will be joined along the way by supporters, students and fellow educators. The walk cumulates on June 13th in Washington DC with a rally.

The organization aims to raise funding for educational grants for teachers to do "green projects" with students. They believe that schools and students can help solve the energy crisis through education. (I agree!)

Here's their itinerary of their journey if you want to join them and show your support. 

Be sure to visit their website and blog for up to date info on their journey and to find out more about how you can get involved.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hey NYC Teachers, this one's for you

The New York City Compost Project holds NYC Teacher "Wormshops," a workshop on composting for the classroom.

"Composting with a worm bin is a practical, tangible approach to introducing natural science and recycling in the classroom. It appeals especially to tactile learning styles, allowing students to directly experience abstract notions by bringing textbook examples to life."

I wish I were a teacher, sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's getting hot in here...

It's inspiring to know that students today are using their smarts for more than just writing papers and taking quizzes. High school and college students are mobilizing around the country and taking a stand on environmental issues. It's Getting Hot In Here is a collection of voices from the student and youth leaders of the global movement to stop global warming. This online community features inspiring posts from over 100 writers from countries around the world.

If you are looking to get involved with a youth environmental action group, this is the site for you, and be sure to check out the summer opportunities while you are there.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Start a Revolution!

Speak up! Make a fuss! Protest! Be heard! Be demanding! Be stubborn! Say no! Break the rules!

Most periods of great human progress were met with strong resistance. It took forward thinkers and brave men and women to lead the way. You may also face skepticism and indifference along the way, but just imagine if Susan B. Anthony or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had thrown in the towel because what they were trying to accomplish was unpopular.

Now it’s your turn to lead the way. By now you probably have a few ideas of your own. New ideas and solutions are what fuel a movement and what will keep the Green Revolution alive

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day, Mother Earth

Hey kids...did you remember that Mother's Day is Sunday? Well, if you forgot, don't fret. It's not too late to do something for your mom that she'll never forget. All across the country this Mother's Day weekend, Moms and there kids will be coming together in groups to draw or paint a picture of what's most important to them in the face of climate change. This event is being organized by the folks at Sky1. Visit their website to find an event in you area. Or you can really impress your old lady and host an event right in your backyard.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What About Water?

80% of the Earth is covered with water, yet only 3% of it is fresh water, and less than 1% of all water is ok for human consumption. The rest of the water is salty ocean water, or fresh water that is frozen in a glacier. And of that tiny 1% of fresh water that we can use, an even tinier amount is used as drinking water. There are many places in the world that are reaching the limits of their water supplies. As populations rise, and the climate gets warmer, more and more people will not have access to fresh water. In fact, it is predicted that 2 out of every 3 people with suffer from water shortages in the next few decades.

Here’s what you can do:

Did you know that every time you flush the toilet, it uses five to seven gallons of water? That means that in a year you will flush about 13,000 gallons of fresh water down the toilet! Luckily there is an easy solution if your home does not already have ultra–low flush toilets. Find a small plastic juice or water bottle, soak off the label, fill the bottle with water and close the cap tightly. Place the bottle in the tank of the toilet, making sure to position so that it won’t get in the way of the flushing mechanism. This is called displacement. The bottle will fill part of the space in the tank that water would normally fill. You will save 1 to 2 gallons every time you flush! Try this in all of the toilets in your home, and estimate how many gallons of water your family will save.

Other tips for saving water:

–Turn the water off while brushing your teeth, washing your hands and doing the dishes.
–Take shorter showers. See if you can get your shower time down to less than 5 minutes.
–If you help out with the dishes, fill the sink or a tub with hot water to wash the dishes in. Rinse the clean dishes in another tub of hot water or rinse them all under the faucet at once to reduce the time that the water is running. Make sure to only run the dishwasher when it is full.
–The same applies to laundry, only run your washing machine when you have a full load.
–Water your lawn and plants in the morning or evening. Water evaporates 4 to 8 times faster during the heat of the day. Use a watering can instead of a hose.

How much water does it take to...

-Take a shower or bath…17 to 24 gallons
-Brush my teeth…2 to 5 gallons
-Wash the car…50 gallons
-Use the dishwasher…8 to 15 gallons
-Run the washing machine 35 to 50 gallons for each load
-Watering the lawn with a sprinkler…210 gallons per hour

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pillow case tote bags

I just came across this cool project on that would be a great activity for Earth Day. Use this tutorial to learn how to make your own tote bags out of old pillow cases. They can be simple or you can embellish them with your own "flare!" And as if you need any reminding, we all need to bring our own bag and say no to plastic as much as possible.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Earth Day Goodies

A great way to lighten your footprint and get cool stuff this Earth Day is to swap the stuff you no longer want with the stuff you'd like to have. In honor of Earth Day this Tuesday,, a website where you can trade the books, DVDs, CDs, and video games you have, for the ones you want, for free, will be donating $1 dollar for every trade made on Earth Day to The Sierra Club.

National Geographic Kids’ series on PBS Kids, “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies,” celebrates Earth Day and Mothers Day with special themed episodes and companion activities on the PBS Kids/Mama Mirabelle website - where kids can continue the celebrations online, outside and with their families and friends.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How To Do Things...the green way

I have an article featured on How To Do on packing an eco–friendly school lunch. My piece is one of several articles on Green Living in honor of Earth Day. Check them out, there are many great tips!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Happy Birthday=Happy Environment

Birthday parties come and go in a whirlwind of shrieking kids, inflated balloons, sugar highs, and greasy pizza. Left in their wakes are piles of plastic cups, forks, and plates topped with barely eaten birthday cake. A dozen new toys means mounds of packaging and wrapping paper will end up in the trash, along with the old toys now being tossed to make room for the new. Why is it that kids birthday parties too often turn into a frenzy of waste? Having a green party can be as easy as pie. Just incorporate all the eco-friendly changes you have made in your home while planning your party.

Here's some tips to keep it green:

-Send out evites instead of regular paper invitations.
-Use real silverware, or reuse plastic ones.
-Use real or biodegradeable plates and cups.
-Use cloth napkins.
-Instead of giving cheap plastic party favors, be more creative and give something that you made, like these homemade crayons, or that will be useful, like pencils.
-Host a party outside and enjoy the day without depending on store–bought games. Go to the beach, the park, the pool or play games like tag and wiffle ball.
-Prevent all the waste involved in receiving gifts. Here's a guide to turning the usually wasteful and over done gift giving aspect of a birthday party into an opportunity to help out one's community.

Here's a video with some more earth–friendly party tips:

How To Host A Green Event

Monday, March 24, 2008

Recipes from the garden

After all that hard work in the garden, you’re probably hungry! Here are some great snacks that you can make using ingredients from your garden.

Salsa Fresca
1/2 medium onion
1 jalapeno stemmed and seeded (less if you don’t want it too hot)
2 cloves of finely minced garlic
4 tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

Coarsely chop onion, jalapeno and cilantro and put in medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well and serve.

Optional ingredients: basil, corn, black beans, chopped green, red or yellow peppers, green onions, diced zucchini and shredded carrots. Salsa is a recipe that you can experiment with depending on your tastes and what you have in your garden.

Mini Pizzas
1 Tomato chopped
Several leaves of basil chopped
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mozzarella or parmesan cheese
Several slices of toasted bread

Combine chopped tomatoes, basil and olive oil in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Place one spoonful of mixture on each slice of toast. Top with cheese and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bug–Off Bugs! Gardening without Pesticides

Whether you think bugs are icky or cool, they are total pests when they eat our plants. Most of the food you buy at the supermarket is grown using pesticides to keep bugs at bay. Pesticides are chemicals that kill insects, weeds, rodents, fungi and other creatures. But there are many helpful creatures that we want to keep around because they pollinate flowers, eat the pests that damage crops, help recycle nutrients by eating dead plants and animals, and aerate the soil by digging and burrowing. Pesticides are also very toxic for your health. Luckily there are ways to scare off pests without hurting yourself or the environment.

Here’s what you can do:
–Clear your garden of weeds and dead plants, which are breeding grounds for insects.
–Plant a variety of vegetables and rotate your crops every year. Pests are often attracted to specific plants, so when planting is mixed pests are less likely to spread throughout a crop.
–Water your garden early in the day so that plants are dry for most of the day. Wet foliage encourages insects and fungus.
–Attract beneficial pest–eating bugs to your garden buy planting flowers such as cosmos, sunflowers, sweet alyssum, corn cockle and marigolds. Marigolds also have a strong stench that deters pests.
–Plant an herb garden. Some good pest–warriors are coriander, dill, caraway chervil, fennel, and parsley.

And when all else fails, you can concoct your very own homemade bug spray. Here’s the recipe:
– Mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap with one cup of vegetable oil.
– When you are ready to spray, combine one or two teaspoons of the mixture with a cup of water in a spray bottle and shake well.
– Spray the infected plants, but be cautious not to spray when the weather is too hot, as vegetable oil can burn plants in hot weather.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Container Gardening

Lacking space or a yard to plant a garden? No problem! Start a container garden in a flowerbox or a large flowerpot.

Here’s what you do:

1) Get one or more containers with drainage holes, making sure that the container size is big enough for the type of veggies you want to grow.
2) To help with drainage, place a layer of pebbles or gravel in the bottom of each container.
3) Make a planting mix by combining potting soil and compost and fill the containers almost to the top.
4) Follow the instructions on the seed packet and sow in your seeds. Thin out your seedlings as they grow.
5) Water your garden when it feels dry.
6) Harvest and enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Grow Your Garden

Mud pies aren’t the only delicious dish you can concoct in your backyard. Grow your own garden and you will have an abundance of fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruit right from your back yard.

Gardens need three important things: light, soil, water and space. Find a location for your garden that is flat and sunny. Once you have picked out your plot your ready to go!

You’ll need:

–Seeds, compost, a rake, a hoe, a trowel, and a spade

Here’s what you do:

1) Sketch out a garden design, remember to start small, and leave plenty of room for a path between each row of plants.
2) Dig the earth in your garden plot to loosen the soil. Add compost to enrich the soil.
3) Sow in the seeds following the instructions on the packet. Thin the seedlings when they begin to appear to leave enough room for your vegetable to grow.
4) Water your new garden, and keep it moist.
5) Weed your garden of those pesky, space-–hogging weeds.
6) Harvest your fruit and veggies when they are ready.
7) Eat and enjoy!
No sure what to plant? Here are some combinations of plants that grow well together:
Tomato & basil – basil improves the flavor of tomatoes and keeps away flies and mosquitos
Chives & carrots – chives boosts the flavor and growth of carrots
Cucumber & oregano – oregano keeps cucumber beetles away

Tip: If you live in a northern climate, you might want to get a jumpstart on growing your seedlings. Make your own mini-seed pots using an old Styrofoam egg carton. Cut off the top of the carton and poke holes in the bottom piece for drainage. Fill it with a mixture of compost and potting soil and plant a few seeds in each one. Place the top of the container underneath and water. In a few weeks they be all set to transfer to your big garden!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Worms in my kitchen!?!?!
Composting when you don't have a backyard

Ordinarily it would be pretty hard to convince your parents to allow you to keep worms in your kitchen, but Vermicomposting is a great way to make compost that the whole family can get excited about. Worms make compost by eating then casting (what you and I refer to as pooping) organic matter that is very high in nutrients and free of bacteria. If you are lacking in outdoor space or just like playing with worms, this effective way of composting is a great alternative. To learn more about composting with worms, get a book from your library or search online for how–to's, such as this kitchen-composting guide.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Spring is in the air

This week at the Green Guide for Kids we will be talking about gardening. Spring is right around the corner (yeah!) it's a great time to think about planning a garden. First things first, you'll need some nutrient rich soil. Compost tackles so many concerns at once, from organic fertilizer to reducing your household waste. Here's a little background info to get you started:

Dirt, Glorious Dirt

Next to your brother’s shoes, there is nothing stinkier in your house than your garbage can. The reason that garbage smells so bad is also the same reason that cow manure stinks, and why landfills are such a danger to our climate. What you smell is methane, that dangerous greenhouse gas we talked about. Methane gas is the by–product of anaerobic bacteria slowly breaking down the garbage. Because the garbage in landfills is compacted together, only Anaerobic bacteria (meaning without air) can survive. Aerobic bacteria (meaning with air) thrive in compost heaps where there is plenty of oxygen. In fact, millions of microscopic organisms set up camp in a compost piles, quickly devouring and recycling its contents to produce a rich organic fertilizer known as humus. This process does not produce methane and therefore should not stink. That is, unless, your brother decides to compost his socks.

You can cook up your own compost pile in your own yard by following this easy recipe. Here’s what you do:
The ingredients:

Green plant matter: fresh plant material such as weeds, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters.

Brown plant matter: dried plant matter such as fallen leaves, branches, straw, cornstalks, newspaper and sawdust.

Air: remember that those aerobic bacteria need oxygen.

Water: they also need water. Keep your compost moist like a wrung out sponge.

1) Choose a place in your yard that is level and approximately 3x3 feet.
2) Put down the brown and green matter.
3) Cover the pile with an inch of soil and mix well.
4) Turn the pile every week to let air in. Keep the pile moist.
5) Stand back and let the chemistry happen! In 10-12 weeks you’ll have a nice pile of cooked organic soil.

Did you know?
—The average household produces more than 200 pounds of kitchen waste every year.
—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cites landfills as the single largest source of methane emissions to the atmosphere.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

Did you know that not only is it your right but your duty to write to your government representatives? Senators and Congresspeople are elected by the American people to represent their interests when writing and voting on laws. So let them know how you feel about protecting the environment, and that you are holding them accountable for the future of the planet!

Your letter does not have to be long or have big fancy words. Just speak from your heart and let them know how you feel. If you can get your friends and classmates to write letters, all the better!

Here are a few topics you could write about:
Global warming
Renewable, clean energy
Protecting endangered species
Preserving wildlife habitat
Protecting our waterways and oceans
Keeping toxic chemicals out of the air and the products we buy

And don’t be afraid to go straight to the boss:
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A nobel speech...

I want to share with you Al Gore's inspirational speech he gave while accepting the Nobel Peace prize two months ago. It is a bit long, but well worth reading. This would be great to read aloud with your parents. Here's a quick excerpt:


"...We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal challenge.

These were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real or imminent; that it would affect others but not ourselves; that ordinary life might be lived even in the presence of extraordinary threat; that Providence could be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves..."

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Eco Moms in the NYTimes

Here's an interesting article from the New York Times about EcoMoms, a new movement of mothers across the country who are striving to create a healthier home and planet for their children. The article links to two great blog,Eco Chick and Green & Clean Mom. Their blogs have great resources for moms!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Nature Journal

A nature journal is a notebook or sketchbook that you record your observations and thoughts in when you are in nature. Find a natural place outside to explore. Sit quietly and let all your senses awaken to the world around you. Imagine that you are experiencing this environment for the first time and record in words and pictures what you see, hear, smell and feel. You can write a poem or describe in detail a single plant. If questions pop into your head write them down, too. Notice the similarities and the differences between things. Imagine how all the living things around you, from the worm deep beneath the ground to the tree that reaches many feet into the sky, are connected. Think about how each one affects you, and how you affect them.

Make your own Nature Journal from recycled items from around the house!

You’ll need:

– Scrap paper that is all the same size
– A piece of colored paper or any paper you would like to use as a cover
– A stick about 7 or 8 inches long
– A rubber band that is long enough to stretch the length of the stick
– A hole punch

1) Place one piece of paper blank side up on top of another piece with the blank side facing down

2) Glue, staple or tape the two pieces together. Repeat this a few more times until you have a nice stack of paper.

3) Gather all the paper together in a pile with the colored cover piece on top. Fold the papers in half.

4) Use the hole punch to punch two holes 1/4” from the folded edge and 1 1/2” from the top and bottom.

5) Through the back of the book, thread one end of the rubber band through the top hole and insert the stick into the loop.

6) Thread the other end of the rubber band through the bottom hole and insert the stick into the loop.

Tip: You can attach a plastic ziplock bag to the back of your journal to collect things you find while exploring.