Because you really can change the world with the power of your purse!
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Because you really can change the world with the power of your purse!
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
When you walk down the isles of many grocers and retailers you will likely be overwhelmed with all the product choices you have. You may walk into the store with the idea to buy a bottle of laundry detergent but that becomes difficult when you realize you have 100+ product options for something that essentially performs the same function…cleaning your clothes. As if that wasn’t already headache inducing you also need to be aware that many of those products mat not be a safe choice to launder your clothing with and they won’t be labeled in way that clues you into this. We have to be savvy shoppers nowadays and do our research at home and so we know before we walk into the store what kind of products and ingredients we need to avoid for the health and safety of our family.
Many ask…why are stores permitted to even carry products that can be potentially harmful or hazardous? Great question. There is no good answer other than that our legislative bodies move incredibly slow and they often turn to advisers and scientists who have a vested interest in the chemical ingredients being investigated. This is why the US is a-okay with products containing ingredients that are banned in most other developed countries. Profit comes before human safety. This means it is up to YOU, the consumer, to research the products and find the safe ones. We vote with our dollars every day for the products we want to see on the market and we also try to move legislation in the right direction as well.
We also have another action we can take though and that is to start speaking out to our local retailers and telling them about our product concerns. We can vote with our dollars and use our words to urge them to take action. If we aren’t loud and clear about our desire to see safer products in the stores what motivation do they have to make change? They say that it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Well, we don’t have to be squeaky in an annoying sense but perhaps we could be a positive voice chirping in their ears now and again so that they start to see just how many customers want to see change.
This is why I adore the The Mind the Store campaign which is asking the some of the biggest retailers (the top 10) to get tough on the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals and remove products that contain them.
The targeted retailers are :
As a blogger I decided to join the campaign by visiting my local Kroger and speaking with the manager about the campaign and leaving with her the formal letter that can be obtained from the site. I kept it friendly and non confrontational. It helps that I actually shop there from time to time and live just down the street so when they see I am a concerned mom and customer they respond. This is actually the chain I grew up with, although it is called Fry’s in Arizona. I have been a shopper at Kroger’s since I was a kid. I really like the store and every year I am pleasantly surprised by how many greener and healthier options they have. They can do more though to protect their customers who may not have the time or inclination to do all the research required to know which products are safe and which are not. I asked that my letter be forwarded on to the decision makers within the company and this is something we can all do. Easy peasy.
Our government has overall done a sucktastic job up to now protecting us from us from the corporations who poison us with consumer products. We need to help the process along. Part of that is to become educated consumers and vote with our dollars to direct the market to where we believe it needs to go. Another part of that is highlighted by this amazing campaign…to be loud and clear with the retailers and tell in them in no uncertain terms that we demand healthier products. We need to let them know certain products and hazardous chemicals have no place in products offered to the public and that we think they need to step up and remove these items to protect their customers. We scratch their backs all the time with our heard earned dollars. We need a little scratching in return.
Please join the cause! Ask these retailers to Mind the Store to protect ALL families from toxic chemicals.
Friday, April 12th, 2013
This past weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the largest climate change rally in the history of the US. Some are saying it ended up being one of the largest environmental rallies in history as well. It was a humbling experience to march on Washington and stand united with others who share my concern for the environment and my frustration that progress on climate change has been virtually nonexistent. It was a doubly wonderful experience because I was able to take my 12 year old son with me and share the experience and the activism with him.
When I heard about the Forward on Climate Rally that was taking place in DC I knew wanted to attend. It works very well with my New Year’s goals for this year to be more involved with philanthropic activities and personal activism. I have a tendency to use my words more than my actual voice. I blog about important issues to help educate others, I encourage letter writing and petition signing, and I encourage voting with our wallets. What I don’t typically do is use my actual voice to get the message out. Trying to impact change with my blog is great but I also want my kids to see me going out and taking action as well. This year I want to step away from the computer and do more in person, for myself, but also for my kids who really cannot see what I am doing behind the screen.
I want to set an example for my children and show them that we must do more than gripe and complain about the issues and problems we see, that we have to take action. I took my 12 year old with me, so he could experience the rally and learn from those that attended it. We had many great conversations and I think he learned something valuable that he couldn’t get from just hearing mom talk or seeing a news story. I hope that it sets the stage for his own activism and that as a group we also made it clear to our political leaders that support for cleaner, greener action and legislation is in fact there. Attending this rally accomplished that and so much more.
My son enjoyed just about every aspect of the trip/rally, except perhaps the biting cold, but who did like that? He got to hear Rosario Dawson speak and she makes an appearance in a few of his favorite movies. I think that had to make an impression on him. Also amazing was the energy and enthusiasm of the 40,000+ people there. We met many great people, including the amazing folks we carpooled with and roomed with. They made the experience so much more and I look forward to teaming up with them again on other issues. Big sloppy kisses to the Sierra Club and Moms Clean Air Force who made this experience possible.
Another aspect of the rally that really stayed with me is just how diverse the people and interests were at this rally but how united everyone was. They all had different reasons for being there and different “hot” issues that they cared about… Tar sands, Keystone KL, coal, fracking, clean water, clean food, clean air, species protection, toxic environments for children, etc. There were also people there from a variety of states showing how the issues impact them personally. The large Ohio group for instance was very concerned about fracking. It is big issue for us here in the Buckeye state.
The energy was contagious. If we want to impress upon young kids that these are important issues and causes then we have to find a way to reach them. There were people of all ages there and getting to know them and learn about why they care so much ensures that you cannot help but care too. It was a great experience for my son and has spurred many deep questions about issues and politics. It was important for him to hear it from other people instead of just me. Sometimes I believe he thinks I am being overly dramatic. Now he knows just how many other people are concerned and that he should be too.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
When it comes to Government legislation I don’t tow any particular party line. I like to look at each situation individually and make up my mind. That means I may end up voting against implementing something like a smoking ban in bars (even though I think the habit is beyond disgusting) because I don’t feel my it’s my right to make a private business owner do things my way and I can always opt out of bar hopping if I want to limit exposure right? If I lived in California I would have voted yes on Prop 37 though, which would have forced food companies to label GMOs in their products because we ALL have a right to know what we are eating. No company should be able to be “mysterious” about food ingredients.
On both sides of issues like these you see the push for doing what is right, what is moral, and what is healthy for everyone. On the flip side you hear about how jobs will be lost and costs will go up when companies go under or pass the buck on to the consumer. All of it has to be considered and weighed carefully. We also have to be able to see when the arguments coming out of one of the camps are compete and utter horse crap (as in the case of those arguing against Prop 37). Sometimes people and planet HAVE to come before profit if we want to lead our children into a better world.
This is how I feel about plastic bags bans. I am for them in every instance.
Plastic bags present a huge planetary problem and the solution (a reusable bag) is so easy that it makes no sense not to do something NOW. These bags are ending up in our oceans and killing marine life. Birds and other animals (wild and domestic) can also ingest them and die because they are everywhere. It is estimated that many cities around the world are spending millions of dollars each year just to manage plastic bag litter because the patrons who use them are too lazy to make sure they end up being recycled or even taken to a landfill. They do property damage when they cause traffic accidents on the road or they get sucked in boat engines. They require lots of natural gas or oil to manufacture too. They are wasteful all around and an eyesore to look at, and let’s face it plastic bag litter is a problem everywhere.
I don’t want us to live in a nanny state any more than you do but I think we (as a race) have already shown that we cannot handle the responsibility of plastic bags and since they are plastic and likely to be around long after we have left this earth do we really have a right to use them and impact the planet and future generations in such a way? I say no. It’s time to ban them.
This great Pros and Cons chart from Factory Direct Promos makes the argument better than I ever could.
Reusable bags are a viable option for this problem. They cost very little and they last for a long time. Everyone can put on their big boy pants and big girl panties are start carrying their own bags to the store. There are no valid argument for why they shouldn’t have to…at least in my mind.
Which brings me to bag ban activism. Many cities are catching on to the fact that this legislation is sorely needed and the aforementioned company, Factory Direct Promos, has an awesome Plastic Bag Ban Map that helps keep you up to date on the latest legislation so you can help support this movement. It shows where they have been passed and where they have failed. It also shows where bag fees have been initiated instead. I have no problem with charging for plastic bags instead of banning them. Both are a step in the right direction…fewer plastic bags being consumed!
Until some of these initiatives reach our neck of the woods we can also do our part by using cloth bags ourselves and by gifting them to others so that they too can get with the program. One of my fave products is a cloth basket that fits inside a shopping cart and eliminates the need for bags altogether. Here are two in use by me and my family at Whole Foods…
We just put them inside the shopping cart when we arrive and then fill them as we shop. Everything goes onto the belt for scanning and payment and then everything is just put back inside the baskets. They come out of cart by using the handles and they go inside the trunk and are carried in the house just as they are. So easy!
If these are too pricey there are numerous affordable options on the market. There are even some that take the place of the produce bags that you put your loose apples, green beans, and mushrooms in. They are called EcoBags. Love them!
All of these make great gifts or products for yourself. It is important to use them and show others (including our own families) that it is important to do our our part to reduce plastic bag usage and pollution. The bag problem is just too big to ignore and until more people own this issue I will support bag bans and bag fees at every turn. I hope you will too!
This post is part of the Give the gift of a Plastic-Free World This Holiday and Join the Plastic Bag Ban Movement! blog carnival. Enjoy!
Monday, December 10th, 2012
I will be the first to admit that I am terribly bad about following what is going on outside my own local bubble. I don’t watch the news at all and what little exposure I do get to worldwide events is usually filtered through Facebook. That said, even I took notice when Malala Yousafzai, a sweet 14 year old schoolgirl in Pakistan, was brutally shot by the Taliban in retaliation for promoting girls’ education in her country.
I have an 8 year old daughter so this event really hit home for me. I am thankful that my daughter and I were born into the country and world view that we were. We are so fortunate and not everyone is so lucky. Many, many other young girls and women are born into a world were they must fight for even the most basic rights…such as the right to a good education. Millions of young children, but especially young girls, all over the world are denied access to education. When we hear this we are concerned and outraged but we have little idea if there is anything we personally can do to help.
Well, on November 10th we have the opportunity to unify and be heard in support of young Malala. Here is how you can help:
This post was written as a member of the Global Team of 200 – Mom Bloggers for Social Good.
Friday, November 9th, 2012