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    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Green Mama, Part One

    In the past few months I’ve developed an inconvenient habit of filling extra garbage pails with soda cans, appropriating buckets to store empty plastic bottles, and tucking used grocery bags into any available nook. My house and garage are overrun with recyclables. We don’t yet have recycling service with our waste disposal, but I got to the point where picturing those cans, bottles, and bags in the dump made me uncomfortable. But I didn’t know what to do. After all, if I fully committed to recycling, wouldn’t my life quickly be hijacked by green Dos and Don’ts?

    And then I read Tracey Bianchi’s Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet. I’m not kidding when I say that this book has me seeing everything differently, but best of all, Tracey gives moms like me permission to care, to change, to do our best, and to NOT FEEL GUILTY for what we simply can’t do.

    Tracey agreed to do an interview for Breathe In Breathe Out. We’re giving you a chance to win a signed copy of her book so be sure to comment to have your name entered in the drawing. This will be a two part interview so come back tomorrow for more green tips and comment again to have your name entered in the drawing a second time.

    Ok, here we go!

    ED: Your book is full of green tips and ideas tailored specifically for busy moms, but I wondered if you’d share one simple thing we moms can do in our daily routine to be more green—maybe one habit to break or one little extra step we might not have thought about before.

    TB: Taking our time and just slowing down! Sometimes this is one of the greenest things we can do. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life with our kids and it moves fast. But when we actually stop and think for a moment we find that we have the time to make smarter choices in how we eat, and what we carry around with us. We have time to remember the reusable coffee mug or time to walk to an errand rather than drive. Sometimes all it takes is a minute to take a deep breath and think straight. So I would say slowing down a bit is a huge step!

    ED: I was particularly excited to read that by purchasing certain kinds of chocolate or coffee, I can actually do right by the earth and help someone thousands of miles away (thereby offsetting my calorie guilt.) Can you talk about fair trade and give us some of your favorite brands?

    TB: Fair trade is a growing conversation that so many people find exciting because it gives us as the consumer more power in our purchases. Most of us want to make a difference but we just don’t know how. And, most of us will make regular purchases of some sort, whether groceries or gifts for people etc. Fair Trade is a great way to make all those purchases count. Fair Trade, simply put, means that the people who made the product you purchase were paid fairly and treated equitably for their work. Something that is not as common around the globe as we might think. Living in the US there are labor laws to protect our workers. This is not the case around the world and in many countries from whom we import goods. I am a raving fan of a few organizations that offer lots of fair trade items. Ten Thousand Villages and World of Good are to organizations that sell a wide variety of crafts and art. I also love Equal Exchange for their chocolate and coffee.

    ED: If you could be an environmental superhero what would be your superhero name and what super power would you have?

    TB: Oooh, that is a fun one. I think I would name myself the Caffeine Queen. Not exactly a green name but I do believe that with the right amount of coffee (fair trade of course) anything is possible. So I would be the Caffeine Queen and my power would be to get rid of all the single use items we use in a day. From plastic bags to sandwich baggies to water bottles.

    ED: You recommend buying local produce whenever possible, but here in Colorado that would mean we’d only have vegetables three months out of the year due to our short growing season. What’s a mom to do?

    TB: Good question. I actually lived in Denver for a few years so I feel your pain! It is hard to get fresh stuff in some climates. You can buy stuff that is as local as possible whenever true local food is not available. For example, if you buy your apples from the grocer, buy the apples from Washington State rather than the apples from New Zealand. Also, think about eating seasonally. You will get a longer growing season from which to buy your local produce if you eat what is in season in your area rather than what is in season in Southern California.

    Be sure to check back tomorrow for more from Tracey and leave a comment for your chance to win Green Mama!


    Beth K. Vogt said...

    Gotta say I love the superhero question! I'm intrigued by her "Get rid of the one use items" suggestion. Wondering what she uses instead of plastic sandwich bags.
    And the idea of slowing down being "green"? Love that too!

    Daphne said...

    Slowing down is absolutely the advise that I need. Just last week I had a head slap moment when I was handed my latte at a coffee shop only to realize that I did have a reusable travel mug in my car. I don't get my coffee out of the house very often, so it is an undertandable lapse, but still, a couple of seconds would have taken care of it. And my latte would have stayed hot longer.

    Kay Day said...

    A plug for my friend: www.strawberriesnsunshine.com is a friend of mine who makes reusable sandwich bags. She also makes adorable diapers that fit like disposables.
    She even makes re-usable feminine products for those willing to go that far!

    I love to buy as local as possible, but I also love pineapple! Not many of those around here. I am very grateful for boatloads of pineapples and bananas, but at the same time, why should I buy tomatoes and onions from Mexico when they grow much closer?
    I love the low guilt approach. I think many of us avoid the whole thing because we're afraid we won't get it right.
    Thanks for the great interview!

    http://traceybianchi.com said...

    Hi Kay and Beth! Kay, your friend sounds great with her reusable bags! I use a brand called Snack Taxi. There are tons to choose from out there. Lots of people making them on Etsy these days too. Glad the slowing down is resonating with people. Life moves way too fast and we miss so much every day. Thanks for stopping by to check out Evangeline's interview!

    Sonia said...

    Hey Beth! I have a couple tupperware containers made for sandwiches. Also, when I was in CA earlier this year, my mom and I made several eco-friendly sandwich wraps. I'll have to show you sometime!