Welcome to the Blog for Busy Moms!
This blog is the home of THE MAMALUTION! Calling all moms, grandmoms, sisters & aunts to tap into their instinctual & intuitive wisdom to save the day! It is time for our collective voice to be heard.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Here's your chance to take action!

Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) is a national, women-centered environmental health and justice organization that works to eliminate or substantially reduce environmental toxics impacting human health and to increase women’s participation in environmental decision-making. For the month of April they are helping women across the country host Green Cleaning parties for families and friends to inform them about the toxicity of products on the market and how to replace them with non-toxic cleaners they make themselves.

Toxic chemicals invade us in every arena of our lives. There are some 85,000 chemicals in the consumer marketplace and only a fraction of them have ever been tested for their impact on human health. Many of these chemicals are now known or suspected to contribute to a long list of diseases including cancer, developmental disabilities, heart disease, infertility, and reproductive harm. Many of us use cleaners to create a clean and healthy environment. But some of the products you use may actually be harmful to your health. Certain household cleaners contain toxic chemicals linked to birth defects, fertility problems, asthma and more.
EPA research has found that the air inside the typical house contains levels of pollution 2-5 times higher than the air outside and in extreme cases can be 100 times more polluted. Nowadays the average American spends about 90% of time indoors! According to a study of human fatty tissue samples, every American man, woman and child carries at least 700 pollutants in his or her body and the average sample in breast milk produced by American women contains over 100 contaminants. Recent cord blood studies of infants at birth found over 200 different chemicals!

The use of synthetic chemicals is a big industry: a 17 billion dollar cleaning product industry and a 35 billion dollar cosmetics industry with the majority of these chemicals being unregulated and untested. Currently there are over 80,000 chemical compounds in existence and less than 10% have been adequately evaluated for human or environmental safety.
In the US alone, more than 500,000 chemical products are available to consumers with more being produced each year and our government continues to overlook the severity of the issue. This is insane! Let’s use our dollars and demand products that are not damaging to us or the planet! Together, we are powerful!

Mother Earth is speaking loud and clear these days in an attempt to communicate her distress. We need to take immediate action to remedy her ailments within our own homes. Seemingly harmless everyday items such as toilet bowl cleaners, laundry detergents, shampoos, cosmetics air fresheners, antibacterial soaps as well as the prescription medicines we take - are polluting our planet as they wash down our drains.

Consider hosting your very own Green Cleaning party! Get all the details at http://www.womenandenvironment.org/greenclean/host/index_html
Their website provides everything you need to know to host a party as well as informative fact, including
WVE’s Household Hazard report. By hosting a party, you will help spread the word about an important environmental health issue.
If you are in our area (Hartford, CT) we will be hosting our own Green Clean Party on Friday, April 4th at 6pm, followed by our Free Film Series and the showing of documentary Blue Vinyl. We'd love to have you join us! If you are a mom interested in learning more about green cleaning and even how to turn it into a business where you live - let us know and we will put you on the list for one of our upcoming ventures...coming to a city near you! Wise women putting the world back in order, one household at a time!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Best Food On The Planet

Its not about where you are, but rather the course you have charted. The only rule: In order for your family to live a sustainable life – you HAVE to have a plan! This stage requires us to ANALYZE our behaviors and develop tangible strategies.

Mothers for the most part are natural planners. We make multiple decisions daily. Living a sustainable life requires a lot of planning – especially when you have large family with diverse needs! We have found that by establishing core values to live by we are able to define the parameters to work within.

For example, transitioning to eating all organic food was a deliberated process. First we had to get around our preconceived ideas about organic food – “it costs too much, it doesn’t taste as good…”. We had to determine eating all organic food as a priority. Once we unraveled our misperceptions we realized that what it would require is some adjustments to the way we were used to eating. Figuring out how to make this happen in our lives was the next step.

We also don’t shop or eat the way most American families do these days. For example, we eat very little packaged or processed foods. Sometimes we have to be creative, but in the long run ,we probably save a ton of money by eating whole foods that we cook or prepare ourselves - even with the high cost of organic produce, which is what we primarily eat.

Every once in awhile I have one of those days where I get frustrated at the lack of options available to us as an organic family. After much hard work and effort we have all reached a consensus on what we will and will not eat and we live our lives accordingly. We are all in agreement that we will only eat organic with exceptions to some locally grown foods for our own health and that of the planet. This resolution has limited us to only one place to eat out in our state that is within our budget and something we all enjoy (besides our own organic café). Going out to eat is a special treat that we savor only on special occasions.

After homeschooling six kids and preparing three meals a day, seven days a week, some nights I just want a break. Perhaps I didn’t plan our dinner options well enough in advance and would like to have something ready to go with little thought involved. Last week I had one of those nights with my oldest being picked up from dance class at 8pm. We had few interesting food options to work with. My husband and I are eating all raw living foods. Our oldest is eating vegan with no wheat; the second oldest, vegetarian, and our only boy - no dairy. This leaves only three with no specific dietary needs or requests, and one of those three being my pickiest eater. Augh! It was looking to be some kind of “special” night for sure.

Our one “special” place to eat out is a twenty minute drive one way without traffic. That’s a lot of CO2 for us because we have designed most of our activities around the central location of our home and business which are a five minute walk away from one another. It is 5:30pm and everyone is hungry. I pull myself together and devise a plan, and quick. It always seems to work out and the kids deal with it. Tonight’s best option would be a simple meal of cooked quinoa and steamed veggies. We might not have the most interesting meals every night but we do eat what we refer to in our family as “the best food on the planet”.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A look into YOUR life

We are at a critical and stirring point in our history. We know this to be true. No longer can the earth regenerate and replace resources at the rate we are consuming them. What do we do? It is time to change our ways and we are just the generation of mothers to do it!

Making the change may seem daunting or difficult at first. But as we recognize the imperative link between our behaviors and what is going on in the world, we begin to accept our role in the big picture and are motivated to shift our habits.

As mothers, there are several ways to begin implementing more sustainable practices into our homes. Let’s look at how it is possible to integrate concepts of sustainability into a typical day of an average family right here in the US...

“The wind-up alarm clock that has long been out of style but you still very much like rings, and you are up, ready to take on the day. The water in the bathroom runs cold, but quickly the solar thermal water system delivers it steaming hot as you splash it on your face. Ever since the installation of the new water filtration system the smell of chlorine and fluoride that our government adds to all municipal water is now just a memory.

In an effort to conserve water, your husband installed a low flow shower head and everyone in the family has agreed to keep their showers to five minutes. You dry your face with the towel that you had just yesterday washed with your non-toxic bio-degradable detergent – its surface still stiff from your very own solar clothesline. You save energy by line drying but switching over to renewable energy was probably the biggest sustainable accomplishment yet.

You brush your teeth with your recycled plastic toothbrush, and wonder how many yogurt containers it actually takes to make one of them. Your bathroom now showcases all non toxic body care products & cleaners these days. You committed to purchasing only environmentally friendly products after hearing a talk on the watershed issues not only facing your own town but the entire nation as well. It really sunk in knowing that everything we wash down our drains ultimately ends up contaminating our water sources and affecting all of us.

Likewise, once the realization that you were able to do your part just in the ways you shop took hold, you began to look at other ways you could have an impact through your every day purchases. Why support big corporations that are wreaking havoc in the environment when you can support the local economy by buying close to home? There is power in knowing that you can change the world simply by the way you shop!

Last year you began searching out local food sources and started shopping at farmers markets and even joined a CSA. Now, you and your family are enjoying amazing local and organic foods that do not have to be fumigated, irradiated or transported (usually before they have been allowed to ripen). Eating this way has proven to be beneficial in so many ways – from feeling good about feeding your family such high quality foods to getting to know farmers and others in the community statewide.

In doing so, you realized lots of others were thinking just like you. Farmer’s Markets are popping up all over the place. In fact, Farmer’s Markets are one of the fastest growing segments of the business economy, second only to Wal-mart. This year you and the kids are thinking about planting a garden of your own. You see visions of your kids with their hands in the dirt.

You recall last night’s late night reading on growing sprouts. Amazing that sprouts have more nutrition than even the best organic foods and can be grown in the smallest of indoor spaces – a counter or shelf in your apartment or house! One pound of sprout seeds cost less than one dollar and produce ten pounds of food. Sprouts alone could end world hunger!

It’s lunch time and the kids are hungry – so you cut up some organic veggies for them to munch on while you get them bowls of soup you made earlier that morning. You were shocked to discover that ninety percent of all the foods on grocery store shelves contain some kind of genetically modified food last year and finally switched to buying only organic.

The up front cost seemed higher at first but when you eliminated the packaged, processed foods from your purchases and starting buying bulk whole foods, the cost actually went down. It was a bit challenging at first but after the resistance passed the kids actually seem more calm and focused.

It was also decided as a family to try and support local retailers, including consignment stores (your husband is happy!). The drastic reduction in your spending in these areas allowed more freedom in other areas to buy items on your wish list such as the water filtration system and organic bedding.

All in all, you noticed that your spending habits in general began to lessen as you became more conscious about your purchases. As a family everyone began feeling empowered and even discussed what to buy before hand rather than buying things on impulse that weren’t really needed. The times you do find yourself at a store these days you make sure to bring your own reusable bag and one for each kid.

Off to the capitol for the protest to ban PVC from all kids toys that the local Environmental Justice Group has been working on for some time. You realized that working on issues that impact the environment on the legislative level was an important part of action to be taken as a family. The family hops into your biodiesel Excursion with kids and signs in tow.

Another big ticket item for you was looking at how to transport your family around. Luckily you were able to convert your diesel SUV to biofuels and on warmer days are able to run B100 (pure veggie oil). Even still, you are cautious about the amount of driving you do and try to consolidate all your errands rather than making multiple trips. Buying your food bulk from the co-op every other week helps as does living a close distance to where you have your business.

Looking back over the past year you are impressed with the amount of changes you and your family have been able to incorporate into your every day lives. You feel accomplished knowing that all of the little actions you have taken along the way have not only made a difference in the world but also in your quality of life.”

Becoming a sustainable you! Some simple steps:

*reduce energy usage & support clean energy options
*carpooling, using biofuels, driving a hybrid car
*swap clothes with friends or shop at consignment shops
*support the local economy by shopping locally & at farmers markets
*plant a garden, share your harvest with neighbors & friends
*buy bulk organic foods and limit purchases of packaged, processed foods
*protect your health & the watershed by buying only bio-degradable and non-toxic cleaners
*eliminate your use of plastic, especially plastic water bottles & bags – use reusable ones instead

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Next Step

It is time to wake up and face the challenge facing us today! This is a call to mothers everywhere! It is time to tap into your feminine intuition and save the day! Those of us raising children during this critical time have a responsibility and an obligation to teach them new ways of living.

Teach them to adapt, to be flexible, to be strong both in body and spirit. Teach them to conserve, share and prepare. In what ways are we personally willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary for the survival of our planet?

Now that we realize there is a problem, it’s time to RECOGNIZE our personal role and the responsibility we have as mothers. The patriarchial prototypes of the past are outdated and obsolete. We need a new way of looking at the world so that we can salvage what is left.

Let’s take the little bit of time we have and prepare our families for the re-building of our fragile planet. Let’s honesty look at how have we contributed to this existence we as a society have created for our children and future generations.

We must be willing to look at our own personal footprints and begin to live our lives differently. We must stay open to all possible solutions and be willing to try new things. Simple stuff like buying whole foods instead of packaged foods, using reusable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles, using reusable bags instead of plastic bags to even bigger things. We must move through the fear to the other side without becoming paralyzed, immobilized or tranquilized.

Show your children you are powerful! Use your voice. Demand change from political leaders. Use consumer dollars only to support businesses that are ethically and environmentally sound. Boycott large corporations and research the companies you buy from.

Demand products that are earth friendly. Companies will listen. Money speaks. You vote every time you purchase something. Do not compromise your values for comfort. Live your life from a place of integrity.

Share your insights, inspiration and information with everyone around you. Everyday is an opportunity to discover, uncover and try something new. We are the voices for Mother Earth.

Share your hope, your passion and your visions for a sustainable future. Don’t sit around and wait for others to solve the problem. Be pro-active right now, right here in this moment. Start with something simple. Use these words as a guide to inspire, motivate and activate!

Mother Earth is about to give birth to a new way of living on this planet. Let’s dream together the possible and put the action behind the dream to make it come true. We can take the time to make this a priority. We can face our fears and change our ways. Women, mothers themselves, are the ones with the power to shape the consciousness of future generations. It’s up to you, to me, to all of us.