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Well said...

"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." Rachel Carson





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Friday, October 30, 2009

Recycling 101 and America Recycles Day


In honor of America Recycles Day coming up on November 15th, I thought I'd re-post my handy guide to reducing, reusing and recycling. We could all use a refresher once in a while! To learn more about the day jump over to the Little Green Blog.

The 3 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We’ve all heard this catchy phrase. The last R, recycling, tends to get all the credit. Reducing and Reusing, however, are even more important. If you can reduce the materials you consume you will not only create less waste, you also won’t need to worry about what to do with all the things that you buy when you are done with them. Reuse is a great way to make the most of the things that you do buy. Once you no longer need or want something, pass it on! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Buying or trading vintage, refurbished and used items is a fun way to get cool stuff while preventing pollution and saving the earth’s precious resources.

You can recycle up to 84% of your trash simply by taking it out of the garbage can and putting it in the recycling bin. Items made from recycled materials take far less energy and create only a fraction of the pollution to produce than items made from brand new materials. And of course, imagine the natural resources that are saved!

Here are some great ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle:

– Buy only what you need and use all of what you buy.
– Avoid buying things that use excessive packaging and buy in bulk.
– Buy durable things that will last a long time
– When things break, see if they can be fixed before throwing them away.
– Wash and reuse plastic cups, utensils and bags.
– Precycle by buying products whose packaging can be recycled
– And always bring your own bag! If you are just buying a few things just carry them in your hands.
– Complete the cycle and buy products made from recycled materials. When you buy products made from post-consumer recycled materials you are helping to reduce carbon emissions and saving resources.

Did you know?

–If all the other people on the Earth used as much "stuff" as we do in the U.S., there would need to be three to five times more space just to hold and sustain everybody.
– Americans throw away about 40 billion soft drink cans and bottles every year. Placed end to end, they would reach to the moon and back nearly 20 times. Recycling an aluminum soda can saves 96% of the energy used to make a can from ore, and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.
– Every pound of solid waste that goes into a landfill results in 2 lbs of greenhouse gases
– Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
– Every glass bottle recycled saves enough energy for a 100 watt light bulb to be lit for 4 hours.
– You’ll save two pounds of carbon for every 20 glass bottles that you recycle.
– Only about one-tenth of all solid garbage in the United States gets recycled.
– The average American creates 56 tons of trash every year.

Here’s Your Mission:

Set up a recycling system at home and at school.

1) Ask your local municipality for recycling guidelines and bins.
2) Set up a place in your home for the recycling bins. The garage or big roll–out kitchen drawers are good places.
3) Make a label for each bin clearly listing what items belong in them.
4) Bring your recycling to the curb on recycling day.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

181 countries...5200 actions...1 message


On 24 October, people in 181 countries came together for the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet's history. At over 5200 events around the world, people gathered to call for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis. Amazing photos came in from around the world. Visit 350.org to see more of them!


My husband and I marched across the Brooklyn Bridge with hundreds of others...in the rain!...to raise awareness on global warming. People all around the world went to amazing lengths to get the word out.

But it doesn't stop here...with the UN Climate Conference a little over a month away, we must continue to speak up and make sure our elected officials around the world hear us loud and clear. If you live in the U.S., search for their contact information here. If you live elsewhere in the world, search for their contact info online.

Friday, October 23, 2009

350.org Day of Action - Tomorrow!!!


Tomorrow's the big day. Hundreds of thousands of people from 179 countries (and counting!) around the world will stand together to demand action on climate change. Join one of thousands of actions...there's bound to be one near you! Let us know if you are taking part and where. If you would like to send me photos I will share them on the blog next week. I will be joining Greenpeace and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge. Hope to see a few of you there!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rachel Carson - Brave Advocate for the Environment


“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.” -Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson, (1907-1964) was a writer, a scientist, an ecologist and a brave advocate for the environment. As a young girl, Rachel’s mother nurtured her daughter’s love of nature. She studied the sea, plants and wildlife, and taught others about the living world around them through her books and articles. As a young woman, she became the Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where she wrote pamphlets on natural resources and conservation. Carson strongly believed that people are integrally linked with nature, and must learn to care for it, rather than overpower it. One article she wrote, “Help Your Child to Wonder,” (1956) aimed to teach people about the wonder and beauty of the living world.

In 1962, Carson published the book SILENT SPRING, and with it the environmental movement was born. The book was written to raise awareness of the great harm that synthetic chemical pesticides had on the environment. It took great courage for Carson to speak out against the agriculture and chemical industries. But she firmly believed that we as human beings are just as vulnerable to the toxic pesticides we spray on our fields, homes and trees as the insects themselves are. In defending her book, Rachel Carson stated: “We still talk in terms of conquest. We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature.”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Speak Out Against Climate Change - Oct. 24th!!!



This Saturday, October 24th, tens of thousands of people from 162 countries around the world will make a their voices heard and demand a real commitment from leaders to tackle climate change. The grassroots organization 350.org is organizing this event, in hopes to familiarize the world and our leaders with the number 350. Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity.

With less than two months until world leaders meet in Copenhagen at the UN to discuss a treaty on climate change, this international day of action comes at a critical time. Experts believe that the proposals on the table will not be enough to stop the worst affects of global warming.

Please join in the movement and add your voice to the millions of others around the world who demand real solutions!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kids Speak Out On Climate Change



Let world leaders know that you are ready at tcktcktck.org.
Today is Blog Action Day, over 9,000 bloggers around the world are blogging about global warming.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Big Ideas for a Small Planet



Did you know that there are dogs working to save wildlife? Watch the video to find out how, and visit Sundance Channel's The Green to see what other amazing things people, and animals, are doing to protect the planet.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nature Detective


Hey Kids!

Did you know that we share our homes and yards with many creatures…other than your little brother? From tiny spiders to foxes, creatures live all around us, even if we can’t always see them. Sometimes we just have to use our sleuthing skills to find the evidence.

Can you spy any of these signs of wildlife?

-A nest

-A feather

-A spiderweb

-A nibbled leaf

-A shed exoskeleton

-Animal tracks in the snow, dirt or sand

-A burrow entrance

And now, try to spy the things a creatures needs to survive:

-Nuts, seeds and berries

-Pollen for bees

-Tall grasses, brush and trees to hide and nest in

-A source of water

With the evidence you find, can you make up a story about one specific creature’s day?

This post originally appeared on the Little Green Blog.

10 little things...

The Audubon Society has composed a great list called "10 Things You Might Not Know About The Food You Eat." To see more 10 Things lists, visit Audubon.org.
  1. The average fruit or vegetable we eat has traveled 1,500 miles to reach the table.
  2. About 40% of our fruit is imported from outside the United States.
  3. The vast majority - around 80 percent - of the energy used by the food industry goes toprocessing, packaging, transporting, storing, and preparing food.
  4. Domestic food transport creates 120 million tonsof CO2 emissions annually.
  5. Fresh peas can be produced with only 40% of the energy required for frozen peas.
  6. Children who eat conventional diets are shown to have six times the amount of pesticides in their bodies as children who eat organic diets.
  7. The world's fish species, more than 70% of which are overfished, could be replenished throughsustainable seafood management.
  8. Many farms offer weekly or monthly subscription baskets of fresh produce, flowers, fruits, eggs, meat, milk and other locally-grown and organic products.
  9. New York City's venerable Greenmarket helps preserve over 30,000 acres of working farmland.
  10. Organic crops contain significantly higher levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorous than conventional fruits and vegetables.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Here Comes Science! An interview with John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants


It isn't often that kids and adults can agree on music. Your parent's might have been thinking less about making you happy and more about their own sanity when they bought you your very own ipod. But alas, there is hope! Parents, kids and especially teachers will all agree that They Might Be Giants' new cd/dvd Here Comes Science is totally awesome. You won't be able to resist tapping your feet and singing along to songs like "Photosynthesis" and "Roy G. Biv". And the great animations make it impossible to ignore all the fascinating facts about science coming your way. Eco-minded kids and parents will especially like the song "Electric Car". See video below (...isn't it amazing how many animals you can fit into one electric car?!?)

John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants was nice enough to answer some questions about their new release.

Green Guide for Kids: Did you like science when you were a kid?

John Flansburgh: Neither John nor I were good students, but we were curious about the world. Books like "How Things Work" and pop science television shows were fascinating to me as a kid, just as Mythbusters is to me now actually!--just understanding the real systems and phenomenon within nature and technology.

GGFK: In the DVD, you make being a Paleontologist seem so cool. If you weren't a musician, would you like to be a scientist?

JF: Even if I wasn't a musician I don't know if any of us have the patience or focus to be scientists! Danny put that song together, and his kids are pretty dinocentric and I think the song came out of that interest. The video for the song has gotten a little bit of criticism from actual paleontologist because it shows Danny working in what looks like an archeological site, where most paleontologists evidently do their research indoors.


GGFK: When I was listening to Here Comes Science, I learned so many amazing facts. For example, one million Earths could fit inside the sun. What's the most amazing thing you learned while making this CD?

JF: That living things are mostly made up of just four elements!

GGFK: My favorite song on the CD is Electric Car. Do you drive an electric car?

JF: My most recent car purchase was an impossibly old Ford pick up truck for hauling logs around in the Catskill Mountains. but maybe that counts just on the recycling side of things! I don't think there are any fully electric cars on the market, although every day there is another tantalizing miniature electric car prototype in the news. It would be very exciting to see them take over New York City. A couple of friends of mine have hybrids and I have to say driving in near silence is pretty cool. It just seems so much smarter in the engineering than gas cars. But while the song is kind of an idealized dream of a world of electric cars, I feel a little nervous that it's message might inadvertently end up feeding shortsightedness on our national--or really worldwide--environmental challenges. It's simply not a given that electric cars for the moment won't just shift much of the problem from one behavior to another. How we're going to fuel any vehicles of the future is a huge unanswered problem, and as a culture we urgently need to focus developing alternative energy sources. Personally I think it's important that people know there is no such thing as clean coal no matter what the ads on tv say. Okay. I'll step down from my soap box now.

GGFK: What are some things They Might Be Giants do to protect the environment?

JF: As I am on the road touring with the band is a harsh reminder that as a business we are so far away from being eco-role models. I've been able to make more progress when I'm back in New York. My wife and I actually can often eat entirely locally grown food as much when we're in the country, which isn't hard since there is so much local farming. I feel I'm just waking up to how to actually reduce my consumption in small doable ways, but it is a constant issue. Our friends got my wife and I into composting which is much less gross than I thought, and a great way to avoid creating landfill. I've completely flipped over to green cleaning products which is honestly ridiculously expensive, but I can't see ever going back. They smell way to good.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Best Friends for Life

If you are trying to live a green lifestyle, it's hard to not feel guilty at times when shopping. We are constantly faced with tough questions, like "what was this made from?" "where was this made?" "who made this, and were they given a fair wage?" That is why you hear the term environmentally sustainable attached to many products these days. Environmentally sustainable means that a product or process meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The Leakey Collection is company who not only create environmentally sustainable jewelry but also provides jobs for 1200 Maasai people from the Rift Valley in Kenya. To create their cool friendship bracelets, they use fallen dead wood and grass. Harvesting the grass works to preserve the wetlands by making room for the plentiful grass that cattle eat.

Their new product, two identical ZuluSport bracelets, are connected with a raffia tie that friends cut together and make a wish! What a cool way to show how much you care about your BFF, and the world!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hey Teachers!


Here's a great way to peak kid's awareness of the water cycle, and how it is linked to many environmental issues, by joining in with kids all over the world in conducting research. The Global Classroom Project (TGCP) is a collaboration of thousands of children from 15 countries around the world. Classrooms participate by monitoring, measuring and recording rainfall data. Registration is open for this project that lasts for one more week.

To learn more about the project and the water cycle visit tgcproject.org.