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Green Book Review: The Blue Economy, by Gunter Pauli

The Blue Economy, 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs is a phenomenal book I have been reading lately by Gunter Pauli, founder of Ecover, and The Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives organization. The philosophy behind the book is the recognition and emulation of the interconnectedness of the five kingdoms of nature. Pauli presents an alternative economic system where human processes are modeled after natural systems, and work with nature, rather than against her. ... read more

Cloth Diaper Myths

Myth #1: Cloth diapering is an all or nothing deal.
Reality: Not at all. Cloth diapering part-time makes sense for many people. Even if you replace just one disposable diaper every day with a cloth one, that is 365 LESS DIAPERS in the landfill. That is a huge difference. There are also hybrid diapers, which are cloth on the outside and use disposable liners. (Read here for more info on the types of cloth diapers)

Myth #2: Cloth diapering is expensive.
Reality: Disposable diapers are expensive! There is the initial overhead of buying cloth diapers, but since you can reuse them over and over again, you won’t have to spend money again on diapers in a while. Particularly if you use one-size diapers, meaning you can adjust the size to grow along with your baby. They can last for years! Check this chart out about the money savings associated with using cloth diapers. ... read more

Make a Solar-Powered Oven

I actually learned about this craft from an episode of "Curious George!"  :-)  George and The Man in the Yellow Hat made a lasagna this way during a blackout.  I thought it was a neat way to reuse a box, cook using just the energy from the sun, and do a neat little craft project.  How keen and green can ya get?!

All you need is a box (a pizza box is perfect, because you can't recycle those!), foil, plastic wrap, newspaper, and a knife.... read more

Green Company Profile: Crunchy Granola Baby

Why it's Keen:

Crunchy Granola Baby, in Salem, Massachusetts, sells organic and natural items for babies and kids. From cloth diapers to skin care to room décor, Crunchy Granola Baby offers an alternative to the Babies R Us-type stores of the world.  They even have a baby registry.  You can shop at their online store or you can visit their location in Salem

Jennie Cudmore, owner, opened Crunchy Granola Baby in 2006. Not only is Crunchy Granola Baby a great store, it is also a community center of sorts for like-minded individuals. She says, “I realized how great it would be to create a place where families could meet other families and feel comfortable just hanging out and, of course, spreading the 'green' word.” Their store hosts a variety of events.

Why it's Green:

Crunchy Granola Baby offers green products for the eco-minded parent. There are plenty of cloth diapers, organic babywearing equipment, linens, eco-friendly toys (which are a must for a teething baby who puts everything in his or her mouth!) and so much more. It can be hard to find a place with a good selection of organic and natural baby products, but Crunchy Granola Baby has them!  ... read more

Storing and Washing Cloth Diapers

I think that when people decide not to cloth diaper, a lot of it has to do with the "ick" factor.  I can understand that....but really, it's not as bad as you think.

We store our dirty diapers in plastic tubs with lids.  (i.e., medium-size Rubbermaid tubs)  You can also sprinkle some baking soda in there to help control any stink issues, but we find that just securing the lids on the tubs is effective enough.  

Some people store their dirty diapers in "wet pails."  This just multiplies the ick factor to me.  Wet pails are pails filled with water and usually baking soda, and you let the diapers soak.   I kind of think this method is disgusting (stagnant water with poop and pee in it?  No thanks!) and a little unsafe to have a pail filled with water when you have little kids around.  So I advise storing them dry.

When your baby is mostly just taking breastmilk or formula, you can just throw the entire diaper into the washer, poop and all.  Once they get a little older, you can just shake any solid poop into the toilet.  Some dunk the entire diaper into the toilet and swish it around, or some people buy a diaper sprayer.  

And now...here comes the washing part:... read more

Homemade Baby Food: Getting Started

If you're thinking about making homemade baby food for your little one, it's so easy and cheap cheap cheap.   Here's what you need to do to get started:

- Have your baby try different types of food.  I didn't want to make a huge batch of squash, only to find out that my baby hates squash.  Before making our own baby food, I bought a few jars of different types to get a feel for what my baby likes.    For store-bought baby food, I like Earth's Best the most.  I also like that they come in glass jars, which you can reuse for your own homemade baby food.  Wild Harvest and Beech Nut also still come in glass jars; Gerber Organic comes in plastic containers.

 

... read more

Different Kinds of Cloth Diapers

Do you want to start cloth diapering, but you're finding yourself overwhelmed by all the choices?  There are many different types of cloth diapers these days...and they're not your grandmother's cloth diapers with a big ol' safety pin!  There are lots of choices, and some are almost as easy as disposables!

First off, there is my personal favorite:  One-size pocket diapers.  I love, love, love BumGenius 3.0.   Pocket diapers are made with two layers sewn together to form a pocket.  You stick an absorbent insert into the pocket and viola!  That's your diaper.  They're really easy, and with the velcro on the BumGenius, they are just like putting on a disposable diaper.   The best part about the one-size diapers is that they're adjustable, so they can fit a newborn up until they're potty trained.  You can get years of use out of each diaper, which is great because these diapers are a bit more expensive than some other options.  In cloth diapering communities you'll see people abbreviating "one-size" to "OS."

That's my baby Isaac pictured above in a one-size pocket diaper.   Those aren't the BumGenius, however.  The one he's wearing has snaps instead of velcro, which in my opinion, causes them to leak a little because they can't get quite as snug.  I do know some people who like snap diapers, but these tend to be my back-ups.

... read more

Green education - top Green colleges and high-school initiatives

As the green economy has moved to the center of the economic recovery in 2010 and environmental and social reponsibility awareness have increased, more and more students are looking for 'green' education.

Nowadays, about two-thirds of college applicants are interested in environmentally responsible schools and whether the campus is ‘green’. Prominence, location and vibrant social life are not the only criteria. Several higher education collges and universities in the US have a strong commitment to sustainability and have been working rigorously to reduce their environmental impact. Some of their initiatives are inspiring as the colleges go beyond recycling or using biodegradable tableware and utensils in the cafeterias, or retrofitting solar panels on roofs. Several have organic gardens, waste treatment centers, and programs to offset carbon emissions.

Based on the results of a survey by the Sierra Club (published last October), read more about the school's list Colleges go green-The top eco conscious schools in the US.

Image from flickr.comImage from flickr.com

The younger generation is inspired into environmental activism and entrepreneurship even earlier. At the fourth annual Tech Titans of Tomorrow: Teens Plugges In 2010 conference on April 23, 2010, several outstanding teenagers presented their initiatives. Intersecting technology and environmental activism, there were two teen entrepreneur environmenatl teams who have been changing one school at a time, through an eductional initiative of climate change curriculum and lifestyle behavior changes to 9th grade students, as well as, energy metering and management in school facilities, reducing costs and alleviating scarce school resources. Read about Menlo-Atherton High School (Menlo Park, CA) and Harker School (San Jose, CA) and their  green teams: Green teen entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

... read more

"Cool It" by Raffi!

Who doesn't adore beloved children's performer RAFFI?  We recently introduced Raffi to our 5-month old, who loves it as much as I did as a kid.

 

I recently learned that Raffi is an advocate for the environment.  In 2007, Raffi wrote and produced a song about climate change called "Cool It."  Check out the video below!... read more

Nitrates and Homemade Baby Food: How to avoid nitrate poisoning

Homemade baby food is a great way to go green, but you may have heard about the risks of nitrates with homemade baby food.

Beets, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and cabbage are all high in nitrates. 

"Blue Baby Syndrome" can be caused by nitrate poisoning.  However, it's extremely rare and usually caused by contaminated well water, NOT homemade baby food.   It's also treatable, but PLAY IT SAFE!  Here are some tips to avoid nitrate poisoning from homemade babyfood: ... read more

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