Sunday, September 7, 2008

Green Moms Carnival: Back To School Edition

Ladies and germs, children and adults, I welcome you to the September edition of the Green Moms Carnival: the Back To School Edition! Bloggers of all stripes have contributed thoughtful, funny, and inspiring ideas on greening your child's school experience. Read one, read them all...and then skip on down to leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win some eco-friendly back-to-school gear.

Autumn Beck presents How To Start Cloth Diapering on a Budget posted at All About Cloth Diapers. Autumn posts about how to get started with cloth diapers for less than $125.

Tela Kayne presents School Lunches - What are Your Children Really Eating? posted at babyminding.com and reveals some of the scary-sounding ingredients in typical school lunches.

Karen Hanrahan presents Back To School at Best of Mother Earth with tips on everything from nurturing your own mom-self through healthy eating and exercise, to avoiding refined white sugar and consumerism, and organizing the influx of kid artwork. She's even got a tip for negating the evil of nitrate-laden hotdogs!

Diane MacEachern (author of Big Green Purse) presents Taming the Back-To-School Shopping Beast and Check Out Maggie's Organics for Back-to-School Shopping with plenty of tips like "Go shopping in your closet first!" and, well, a source for organic toddler socks which came in plenty useful in our household.

Crunchy Chicken presents Reducing School Bus Emissions with a sample letter to send to your school district to get them to consider switching from diesel to something with less harmful emissions.

EcoBurban Mom presents The Future of School Lunches (on the USDA reauthorization of The Child Nutrition Act - head over there asap as you must comment by Oct. 15th) and 4 back-to-school tips for 'that mom' (including knowing your own kid - maybe he'll use up 75 #2 pencils, maybe only 1...depends on the child, right?).

Fake Plastic Fish presents E+Co Pencils Not So Eco, Actually with an insightful example of how important it is to read the label -- and then use your own judgment to decide if there's greenwashing in your hands.

'Burban Mom presents We Needs Us Good Edgewcashun at Going Green with an action item: telling your reps how much we need to fund environmental education (and PE, for cryin' out loud) via the "No Child Left Inside" legislation due up for a vote this week.

Going Green Mama presents Dishing Up Healthier Lunches and reminds us not to overpack the poor kiddo's lunchbox which means "you’re setting them up to overeat or to toss the rest, both of which have negative consequences." Hear, hear!

Gray Matters presents Going Green in Preschool with a lowdown about her kids' snack policies and how she's managed to honor her green roots while working around school regulations (something we all have to navigate).

Greeen Sheeep presents Back to Eww School with her wistful musings about saner school supply lists (can we just use up the old supplies?!) .

Sommer presents Triclosan and a Non-Toxic Classroom, Eco-Friendly School Lunch, and Healthy Breakfast Ideas posted at Green & Clean Mom. Thanks especially for the alternatives to triclosan - I haven't been able to stomach the smell of it since I was pregnant (a surefire way to tell if something's toxic, imho).

Green Bean presents Education is Eco-Logical at Green Bean Dreams with a comprehensive list of ways to push yourself beyond the basics.

Green Style Mom presents Green Education at her blog (where she's "trying to be myself, be a mom, have some style, have some fun...and do it all in an environmentally friendly way.') Love this post about ways to inculcate little greenies at home, where learning begins: "We aren't waiting until our kids are older or waiting for a good green school curriculum. In our house, we don't just act responsibly, we discuss it. We are building a base that will be expanded as they grow. A way of life that is inherent to them as recognizing letters and counting objects."

Green Talk presents Thrifty Is The New Green for Back To School Supplies with a paean to being thrifty and using up what you've got before heading out for (eco-friendly) supplies. She's also written up a great rundown of Eco Fundraising Made Easy and Profitable tips (like recycling phone books! yeah!) and a snapshot of Project Kool which is also a fundraiser (reusable lunch sacks) dreamed up by a 12 year old!

Jennae Petersen presents Green Rooms in a Box Series: A Modern, Eco-Friendly Nursery Under $2500 posted at Green Your Decor. Jennae notes, "This eco-friendly nursery costs less than $2500 overall, and every single item in the room has green qualities. Not a bad budget if you're starting from scratch, from the ground up."

Mary Hunt presents Time To Start A Class War... at In Women We Trust with a rundown of The Eco-Women Alliance's suggestions for greening a school (email her if you want a more complete version of this handy checklist) and her musings about her favorite lunchboxes.

La Marguerite presents Getting Biodiversity on the Cultural Radar Screen with a plea for all moms - and dads - to help spread the biodiversity message in schools!

Mindful Momma presents The Price We Pay for Back2School Cool at ...adventures in living a green & healthy life with a tongue-in-cheek gentle razz of the barrage of advertising she's resisting as she sends her boys to school.

Tiffany Washko presents Back to School - Green Style posted at Natural Family Living Blog.

Lynn Miller of OrganicMania, founder of this marvelous carnival, presents Green Mom Culture Shock: Back to School, musing about going "from the friendly confines of the Green Mom blogosphere to the public school system."

Ena Clewes presents Dealing With Garden Pests the Organic Way - Gardening Articles - Organic Gardening posted at Organic Gardening. As she notes, "for many gardeners, a good offense is better than a good defense when it comes to pests in the garden."

Yours truly presents Back to School: Greener Fundraising Ideas and Back to School: Waste-Free Lunches. Long-winded posts with resources for you to use on both topics. ;)

The Green Parent presents Add Some Green to School Lunches and suggests an "offer vs. serve" cafeteria policy and a "Giveaway Table."


The Not Quite Crunchy Parent presents Ten Ways To Make School Green All Year Long
at her blog (love her tagline - she's "Not quite crunchy, not quite mainstream...news, tips, and information for parents in the middle") with reminders of some basics we can use all year long, like heading to the library (oh, that new booklust, sigh).

Jennifer presents Back to School With Asbestos?? at The Smart Mama with simple steps to reduce asbestos exposure should your child's school be, well, crumbling and old like the rest of America's....

Jenn at Tiny Choices presents DIY: Reusable Sandwich Wraps with a whole host of linkety-goodness on how to make a wrap-n-mat knockoff (possibly one without a plastic liner!).

Thanks once again to Lynn Miller at OrganicMania, the founder of the Green Moms Carnival, for bringing everyone together, and to all of the fine writers who contributed such thoughtful posts about greening our children's lives at school.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a lunch pack sampler of 3 lunchbox napkins and a snack bag made from upcycled vintage fabric at The Guestroom Closet (woo hoo! a fellow DCUM and local business for me) and an assortment of bags from ecogear (organic cotton kid's green messenger bag and toddler natural-with-pink-trim backpack, and a PVC-free-nylon navy adult pack). To enter, leave a comment below about the best tip you got from reading a carnival post about greening schools...and share a new idea of your own. Post your entry comment (with a valid email with which to contact you!) by Friday, Sept. 12th and I will pick a random winner.

42 comments:

Mother Earth said...

Look at this very fine collection of maternal souls... nicely wrapped in surely you nest style and spunk. Truly inspirational

contessa20 said...

I love the DIY reusable sandwich wraps. I've been interested in those for awhile now but not the icky PVC most of them are made from.

My tip is make your own hand sanitizer. 1 C. aloe vera gel, a few Tbs. witch hazel, about 10 drops each peppermint and tea tree essential oils. Put it in a pump and don't worry about the nasty chemicals in the commercial hand sanitizer that so many teachers require their students to use.

MamaBird said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mother Earth!

Love the hand sanitizer recipe, Contessa!

stacey said...

What a wonderful collection of ideas! This site is just fantastic!I can't wait to read more closely... I was really interested in reading more about school lunches. This will be the first year that my daughter will be able to participate in one day of school provided lunch and quite frankly that is probably one day too many!

MamaBird said...

Thanks for stopping by, Stacey! You'll find lots of great reading at all the participants' blogs... and for lunch ideas search for bento lunches (Biggie, Vegan Lunch Box -- there are wonderful sites to help you out).

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh wow- this is awesome! I really appreciate Mindful Momma's The Price We Pay For Back2School Cool... we're the same way here and I think that since this is all my kids know and we explain to them why they don't have all those other things the other kids have, they seem to get along JUST fine!

Steph

Lynette {Radio} said...

Wow what a great resource! This blog post is getting bookmarked for sure!

Diane MacEachern said...

It's great to see so many blogs about ways to make going back to school not only green but economical. The more parents realize that "eco" friendly means "budget" friendly, the better!

MamaBird said...

Steph, I totally agree - love Mindful Momma's reminder of the eco version to "Just Say No."

Lynette - yup, loving that my reading list is so convenient at the moment!

Diane - yes, green and frugal is a powerful message - combined with real teeth in the regulation and labeling of products thanks to work like yours. I so appreciate the work you're doing to make sure that using our pocketbooks doesn't support greenwashing.

Lynn from organicmania.com said...

MamaBird, thanks so much for this great collection of posts. I can't wait to dig into everything.

I went from "Culture Shock" to "Mad as Hell and Not Gonna Take it Anymore" and have grand plans for greening the schools, focusing on a campaign to re-open shuttered schools to cut carbon emissions.

I think my blog is going to go from "OrganicMania" to "AngryGreenMom."

Love to you and the other sisters-in-arms!

And by the way (tongue in cheek), I think we're all already random winners! :)

Anna said...

Wow! I loved everyone's posts. Contessa20, what a great tip.

I also liked the reusable sandwich wraps.

Although this isn't really "green" tip, get your kids to be on a regular sleeping cycle during the year (which includes weekends). The more rest they get, the less they will get sick, the less gas used and time you will spend at the doctors, less medicine going in landfills, etc. Who wants to deal with a cranky child?

I should follow my own tip when I am up late at night writing my blog rather than sleeping. So this tip includes all of us!

MamaBird said...

Oh, Lynn, I *so agree* that we are all already random winners! Commenter of the day... ;)

Anna - love, love your tip. Agreed that it is ALL about the sleep (for everyone, not just kids). More rest, more time, better organization, more thought and care in planning... Perfect way to frame the issue.

Selfish Mom said...

I liked GreenStyleMom's idea of teaching at the mailbox. I usually just grumble about the catalogues and junk, dump them in the recycling bin, and do nothing to stop the flow of more. I'm going to have my son help me contact a few of the biggest catalogue offenders. I do most of my shopping online anyway, even from places that send catalogues.

I'm not sure I have a tip of my own to add. I try to do what I think is reasonable - recycle whenever possible, re-use when it's not too much of a pain, use environmentally-friendly light bulbs, bike or walk instead of drive. So I guess I have more of a request than a tip: if you are doing everything that you can to save the planet, please don't be too hard on those of us who aren't. The fact is, 99% of the world is never going to be as good to the environment as you are, but a lot of people do get the impression that if they're not cloth diapering or composting then they're just bad people, and it turns them off from doing anything to help. If everyone could do a little something, without feeling like they're failures for not doing enough, the world would really be a more pleasant place.

The Not Quite Crunchy Parent said...

Thanks so much, Mama Bird - this looks great!

I've posted our carnival on a few social networking sites- I hope we have more and more green moms join us!

MamaBird said...

Hey Selfish Mom - totally agreed on the whole live-and-let-live concept. Life's too crazy for all of us to be judging others, right? You might like OrganicMania's post on being Greener Than Thou. ;) She hits the nail on that head. Personally? I live in such a glass house (literally! with an energy inefficient sunroom!) that I do try not to throw those eco stones. Thanks for the reminder!

Green & Clean Mom said...

What an amazing collection of posts, ideas, and inspirations. Yahoo! I am impressed and will be consumed with the reading.

Jenn said...

Look at all of these great green posts! Thanks so much for putting all of this info together in one spot. I'm going to stumble this, Digg it, and Tweet it to spread the word!!
--Jenn

MamaBird said...

Thanks to The Not Quite Crunchy Parent and The Green Parent (you're all supermoms to me!) for the social bookmarking love and to Sommer from Green & Clean Mom for reading as well as inspiring us.

BananaBlueberry said...

I love the idea and helpful hints on reusable sandwich wraps!! And I love the green moms carnival- what a great idea!

Great work :)

kimberly/tippy toes said...

Great compilation! I'll be heading over to learn to make sandwich wraps now...

Lisa Sharp said...

Great posts but I wish there were more just green carnivals. I'm not a mom so I don't get to do a lot of these things. *sniff sniff* My husband is a public school teacher so I still have a "kid" in school. lol

MamaBird said...

bananablueberry and tippytoes, yes, I totally have to try out those wraps (I actually commandeered her post for the carnival cause I loved it so much)

and Lisa Sharp! we need you for the next round, cause the word 'mother' is loose in this group. no entendres there! ;)

Tech Savvy Mama said...

I've heard great things about the reusable sandwich wraps from other preschool moms and appreciate Contessa20's hand sanitizer "recipe." I like that Gray Matter's preschool is asking the birthday child to donate a book of their choosing to the school library in lieu of treats since books are a nice gift everyone can enjoy all year round. Thanks for sponsoring this month's carnival and giveaway!

The Guestroom Closet said...

We're loving this discussion, thanks so much for letting us be a part of it! Great ideas all. You can bet we'll be following (and participating) in future carnivals..,

Going Green Mama said...

Nice collection of posts! I've enjoyed some of them already and am looking forward to reading the rest.

Contessa, I do like the hand sanitizer recipe idea! Thanks for sharing!

Expatriate Chef said...

I recognize so many of these folks! Tip would be the farmtoschool.org program. Very cool.

The EcoChic Organizer said...

I LOVE this!! So much fantastic information!!!! I am totally in favor of withdrawing from more organized sports in favor of playing the same sports with your neighborhood friends. I have talked with my son's teacher and I am donating all the recycling bins to the school & picking it up each week. Big task & totally worth it!!

Laura/CenterDownHome said...

Mamabird, I wrote a comment on back-to-school from the perspective of the unschooler, but it sounded all superior and snotty, even tho' I didn't mean it that way and I deleted it. I'll just say that our back-to-school budget is zero. And it's a good thing for our one-income family.

Bobbi said...

WOW - so many links, so little time!

Maya said...

I'm loving the carnival and the inspiration! I tried to find out what the next carnival will be but nothing is listed on the calendar...can you direct me where to look? Thanks!

MamaBird said...

Maya and all interested - the next carnival will be held at Green Bean Dreams -- please send all entries to greenmomscarnival at gmail dot com. The carnival's topic will be a Green Halloween and it will take place on the first Monday in October (get your entries in a week before (Monday, Sept. 29).

Hippy Goodwife said...

Wow! What a great site to stumble on! I just wrote a post about my youngest sons green-er birthday party. I am really proud of all we managed to make with things that were here in the house anyway.

I love reading everyone ideas and tips.

Karen said...

I really liked the non-triclosan options Green and Clean mom offered. That's really useful. Especially when the kids and I are someplace where handwashing is not available or not easy. Also, the hand sanitizer recipe from Contessa20--(just be careful with the tea tree oil--some people are sensitive/allergic to it, so test it first...).

My tip: If your school offers hot lunches and sells or includes plastic water bottles with lunch, see if you can get the lunch program to jettison the bottled water and require the whole school to bring their own reusable water bottles for lunch instead. My children's school gave everyone a reusable bottle with the school logo when they stopped giving bottled water with hot lunches. What a reduction in trash!

Karen said...

Oops, forgot to leave my e-mail address for the contest: kesamuels at sbcglobal dot net.

Oh, and one more tip that's also a fun kid project: My children have to bring a snack to school. Instead of throwaway paper bags, I bought unadorned, unbleached and undyed little reusable canvas snack/lunch bags, handed my kids markers and paints, and had them decorate their own. That way, they have a unique bag that they are less likely to lose.

Green Bean said...

MamaBird, Thanks for the mention of the October Carnival. The topic will actually be Commericalization of Holidays. It will be hosted at Green Bean Dreams on October 6. Please get your entries in, via greenmomscarnival at gmail dot com, by Monday, Sept. 29.

Lisa said...

Mamabird, thanks so much for posting all of these fabulous tips and resources. I'm especially excited to find out about The Guestroom Closet. I was just looking at patterns for reusable snack bags... but this is MUCH easier! What a great little store!

Janelle S said...

I know I'm late to the game here, but I am so impressed with all of this great information!! Collective wisdom is an amazing thing...

The one comment I will add that is similar to GreenStyleMom's teaching at the mailbox is to get your kids involved in everything you advocate for at their school. Let them help come up with ideas for raising awareness about issues like turning off light switches or reusing paper. Empowering kids in this way leads to amazing things (and they are great at being the in-school gentle naggers so you don't have to be).

I can't wait to hear more from this inspiring group of moms! At HealthyChild.org we'll be blogging about specific school issues throughout the year and I'm going to do my best to give all of you easy solutions that fit into busy schedules. Let me know if there are specific things you'd like to know more about!

Nora Bee said...

Wow! This is enough reading to last me awhile and turn me green in the meantime. Thanks! Nora

Ivory Soap said...

I would love to submit to your carnival! It's wonderful. But, on blogcarnival it doesn't show any upcoming issues, so I thought it was 'over.' Glad to know it's still going.

Ivory

www.littlehouseinthesuburbs.com

CelebrateGreen said...

This is a great collection of ideas. Even though I don't have kids anymore, I'm a writer in the "green space" so this is helpful. Excites me that so many women are taking the reins and leadership in eco-awareness. Keep up the great work everyone!

Warmly,
Lynn

Pink & Green Mama said...

Fabulous post! Wish I could have participated! I love your blog. So glad I found it! We green mamas have to stick together.

Steven said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Deborah

http://maternitymotherhood.net