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Greenmom’s Guide to Going Green 101

"Treat the earth well: it is not given to you by your parents, it is loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." (Ancient First Nations Proverb)

We all want what's best for our children -- and that includes protecting the world they live in and the earth that they are growing up in. However, not all of us are able to give up our gasoline-powered cars or install solar panels in our home. Not yet anyway... As busy moms, we need green living to be as viable as possible. And guess what? It is! It really only takes small changes and little bits of effort to make a difference. At Greenmom, we aim to provide moms and families with tools and means for making these gradual changes. And believe us -- if we can do it, so can you! Here are some really easy steps that you can take right now towards a more sustainable everyday life and future:

Goodbye yellow incandescents! If you walk down our street at night, ours will be the home with glowing white-light-lit windows. We replaced all our incandescent bulbs with Energy Star compact fluorescent bulbs that we bought at Home Depot. They last longer (up to 10x longer!), use up to 75% less electricity, are brighter, emit less heat, and greatly reduce greenhouse gases. Best of all, all you need to do is make the trip to Home Depot or The Superstore and buy the light bulbs! After you count the number of bulbs that you need first, of course. And just in case you're wondering what difference your switching to CFLs will really make in this world, Natural Resources Canada reports that "...if every household in Canada (is) to replace only one incandescent bulb per household with ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs, Canadians could save more than $73 million in energy costs each year." Click here for more information on CFLs from the Ontario Ministry of Energy

Walk, bike, hike or TTC it with your kids! Until we can buy a hybrid vehicle that is big enough for our family, we continue to drive around in a gasoline-powered vehicle. However, weather-permitting, we try to walk, bike, hike or TTC. Given that we adults need 10,000 steps a day for optimum health while our kids need 12,000 (6-12 year old girls) to 15,000 (6-12 year old boys), walking does more for us than get us from Point A to B. Make it an adventure or walk/bike towards a fun destination! By the time my daughter was 2 1/2, she had memorized all the subway stops on the Yonge line. Taking the train or the bus also allows for some quiet (avoid rush hour!) and quality time for us to talk with our kids too.

Say "NO, THANKS" to plastic bags! Bring your own canvas or cloth grocery bags or invest in the $0.99 bags that some ecologically-aware stores offer. Costco sells ginormous bags for $5.00...you get a free work-out too trying to haul the full bags back home! For a while there, I honestly tried to give recycling the plastic bags a try - but they were just coming in faster than I could use them for garbage, packing up shoes, lunches and whatnot... Take it a step further and say "NO, THANK YOU" to plastic bags from any shop -- most of us moms tote around bags big enough to hold our children anyway so we might as well stuff it with our shopping. Better yet, invest in some compact “parachute bags” – foldable/rollable nylon bags that you can keep in your purse. We call them “parachute bags” because when they unfold, they can hold not only our shopping, but my daughter’s coat, hat, mitts, scarf, and stainless steel water bottle as well.

Happily, our Ontario government supports this initiative: "The provincial government wants Ontarians to cut in half the number of plastic shopping bags they use over the next five years. Ontario is one of many jurisdictions around the world trying to curb the growing number of plastic bags, which are made from petroleum products and take hundreds of years to break down." (Kerry Gillespie, The Star, May 9, 2007)

Pack bagless snacks and lunches and BYOW (Bring Your Own Water)! Use re-usable containers instead of plastic wrap, aluminum foil, parchment paper and Ziploc bags. Aside from eliminating waste and litter, sandwiches stay un-squished and so do pre-cut fruits and veggies. Best to use lead-free containers and safe plastics (#2, #4 and #5) too! Forego plastic bottled water for your own gourmet home-tap water in reusable water containers – we love our stainless steel water bottles because they are not only indestructible (great for kids!) but they also never make our water taste funky.

Just a spoonful of dish detergent makes magic with vinegar and water! Cleaning has never been a passion of mine and before I discovered the non-toxic joys of using natural cleaners, I had a great excuse to clean sparingly. Try these earth-friendly and non-fumey alternatives:

• MIRRORS, BATHROOM, KITCHEN: 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of pure liquid soap in a spray bottle. (Vinegar kills bacteria, mold and fungus, and cuts grease too!)
• WALLS, FLOORS, TUBS: use plain old baking soda mixed with water
• RUGS, CARPETS: baking soda or cornstarch deodorizes and cleans
• LAUNDRY BLEACH ALTERNATIVE: fresh lemon juice

GREENMOM 2008

ABOUT GREENMOM

Greenmom is a movement and a company that is dedicated to changing the world by changing the way moms and families make consumer choices. They advocate for and promote choices that benefit our families’ and our planet’s health, our local community and economy, and the people who produce these goods and services. Founding mom Monique Fabregas is an aspiring martial artist, excommunicated architect, environmentalist, breastfeeding and natural parenting advocate, outdoor enthusiast and bookworm, whose passion for ethical practices and better health for her child, her family and the environment led her to the creation of Greenmom. Together with Debra Scott (Administrator & Web Developer), Danielle Arnold (Community Coordinator), and Kelly Drennan (Communications & PR) the Greenmom team prides themselves with their high ethical standards, their dedicated efforts to move towards a safer, healthier and more sustainable tomorrow for our children.

For more information or to arrange for interviews, please contact:

Green Mom
Monique Fabregas
Phone 416-485 – 9167
Email monique@greenmom.ca
Web www.greenmom.ca

 

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