October 9, 2009
At gift giving time, I become challenged to find presents for my children that fit my ecological standards and encourage our green family values. Haba's Terra Kids Camping Lantern fits the bill, as it requires no batteries and encourages children to include camping in their dramatic play, as well want to get outside during night time hours (of course, under adult supervision). This lantern has a compass on the top, a lightweight carabiner for clipping onto backpacks, and is powered by a hand crank. Just three minutes of cranking produces one hour of light, which also makes this toy useful in case of power outages. My son loves his Terra Kids Camping Lantern
Disclosure: This item was personally purchased for my son's birthday.
September 30, 2009
When I first read The Up Down Day by Brian D. McClure, I wondered why this book had been sent to Really Natural. It is a children's book about the world being turned upside down (literally), and a boy realizing you can't assume the world exists as you believe. The rhyming text is cute, but the examples of things going topsy turvy do drag on a wee bit, but overall this is a great children's book. The book ends on a very positive note emphasizing the universal nature of being, which is how I see the book tying into natural living.
Why do people live naturally? Many make changes for health reasons, but others recognize their relationship with nature is not dominion but interdependence. The Up Down Day emphasizes this oneness with everything. Author Brian D. McClure believes in this message so much that he donates 100% of profits from his children's books to "The Forgotten Children", and organization providing relief to children in Africa. Brian has even created a "universal flag" mean to unite rather than divide people of the Earth. McClure's organization is a recognized 501c3 Non-profit Organization.
September 25, 2009
KINeSYS SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray is touted as the world's first "ethical sunscreen" by its founding partners for supporting sustainable practices. As part of its commitment to the earth, KINeSYS uses "100% recyclable High Density Polyethylene (Bisphenol-A free)" and "non-aerosol pharmaceutical-grade sprayers disperse an ultrafine mist but result in no direct detrimental environmental effects". In addition, the company purchases "clean, emissions-free electricity generated by wind power to offset that used in our manufacturing process as well as our office" and is a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. KINeSYS SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray is free of parabens, alcohol, PABA, oil, and preservatives. It has received a safety rating of 3 out of 10 on the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) cosmetic database.
When reviewed on other blogs, such as Eco Child's Play, readers have questioned the safety of KINeSYS. In an open, honest dialogue, founder Jeff Kletter wrote to us:
I fully agree in this chemical laden world that we should find alternatives if possible. The problem is that "natural" doesn't always mean better. The reality is there is no such thing as "natural" sunscreen. The products that advertise and promote "natural or organic", are using physical blocks. As you may know, Sunscreen ingredients are regulated and are broken down into two groups: organic ingredients that tend to absorb UV light; and inorganic ingredients, which reflect UV light.
Inorganic ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide reflect radiation (which are often marketed as "natural, organic or chemical free" use an aggressive chemical process to make the minerals small enough and a mechanical process- still using energy), they provide protection from components of UV light. However, one of the issues with these ingredients is their opaqueness - they leave an unattractive white colored film on the skin. New technology has been developed that can eliminate this disadvantage. The processing of the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide into nanoparticles allows formulation of a product that is transparent, yet reflects all components of UV radiation. But, the jury is still out on the safety of nanoparticles. I have read numerous articles and I really don't know what to believe, as we did make a sunscreen with Micronized Titanium Dioxide. At this stage the EWG is re-evaluating nanotechnology...KINeSYS technically is "organic", but doesn't market it as "organic or natural" (we will never market our products as "organic or natural"). We are proud signers of The Compact for Safe Cosmetics, the products are not tested on animals, cruelty free and vegan.
There are other sunscreens with lower ratings by EWG, but at least I feel comforted by KINeSYS's commitment to the environmentally ethical practices.
August 7, 2009
One of my son's favorite books is William is Going Green
. Although I am not as enamored with the book as he is, for his birthday I sought out a comparable toy. I found the Green Toys Recycle Truck
, which is made from 100% recycled plastic in the USA.
Sort bottles, cans, and paper or just have a blast. Your eco-conscious little one will learn recycling basics while playing with this super cool recycling truck that has a movable recycling bed and open/shut rear door. The awesome eco-design has no metal axles. The Green Toys Recycling Truck is made in the U.S.A. from 100% recycled plastic milk containers that save energy and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
My son loves his truck and plays with it everyday.
July 29, 2009
My son received a Sprig Toys Eco-Truck Loader
. This toy is made from recycled plastic in Europe (Czech Republic) and contains no paints. It's durable, perfect for sand play, and comes with minimal packaging.
Sprig Toys, Inc., is an eco-friendly company dedicated to making the best toys
the right way.
Inspired by our collective desire to keep kids active and the planet healthy, Team Sprig is dedicated to infusing creativity, smart design, quality manufacturing, earth-friendly materials, product satisfaction and responsible business practices into a superior line of fun, kid-powered toys.
We help make the world a better place and we get kids off the couch. Pretty cool, huh?
My son loves his Sprig Toy, and Sprig is one plastic toy company
I feel good about supporting.
July 6, 2009
The ultimate upcycling company Terracycle
has partnered with Yak Pak
to create a unique, durable line of recycled billboard bags
The product line is hip, stylish and because each is made from a different cut of a billboard, every single bag is a one-of-a-kind piece of art. They are manufactured at a hydroelectric powered facility in El Salvador, which is wholly owned by Yak Pak who pays fair wages and assures proper working conditions. The product line includes a variety of functional shapes including messenger bags, backpacks, laptop sleeves and totes and are very affordable, with most retailing for less than $35.
According to Terracycle
, over 3,000,000 vinyl billboards end up in US landfills each year. Upcycling billboards into useful products helps close the loop and in my opinion, should be a requirement for any company that uses this form of advertising. Thankfully, Terracycle and Yak Pak are here to help!
July 3, 2009
It's Fourth of July weekend, and you are sure to be out and about with your family. Often when attending events, such as parades or fireworks, it is impossible to wash your hands before every snack, especially when your little Curious Georges
are off exploring. Clean George
all natural hand purifiers offer a great solution to alcohol-based hand sanitizers
Today, amid concerns that anti-bacterial soaps cause 'super germs' and alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain harsh chemicals that strip the skin of natural oils and are unsafe for children, Clean George announces an organically pure solution for disinfecting hands when soap and water aren't readily available. The company has just released the first organic hand purifier that is also a moisturizer-- one with no alcohol-based ingredients, phthalates or parabens which are ingredients commonly found in other hand-sanitizing products on the market today.
Clean George is made with ECOCERT, certified organic and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified ingredients, making it 100% eco-responsible. Clean George replaces chemical antibacterials with sustainably farmed tea tree and manuka oils, which are recognized natural antibacterials.
I love Clean George
products, especially the "Lovin' Lavender" scent. Each bottle costs about $10 and has 400 squirts equating to less than 3 cents a squirt. The bottles are also made of 100% post consumer recycled plastic.
June 19, 2009
Greensender, known to me for the adventures of Mini G
, is now creating customized Sigg water bottles
Greensender creates custom SIGG bottles by using a precision laser engraving process. Your design is created by etching away the top layer of color which exposes the vibrant metallic bottle underneath. The result is an exquisite and extremely durable mark that will make your SIGG bottle a prized possession, the envy of all your friends and an arrow in the quiver of environmental justice!
We all know the importance of using reusable water bottles over plastic ones
, but it can be difficult to tell your reusable bottle apart from your friends' bottles. Sure, Klean Kanteens and Siggs come in different colors
or designs, but even so, this does not make each one unique. For example at my daughter's school, several kids and teachers have the same Klean Kanteen
. We have tried to distinguish our bottles with stickers, but they always wash off. Dents in the bottle become the identifying mark, but Greensender's bottle shop
offers a better solution.
A customized Sigg water bottle makes a wonderful gift (maybe it can be a late Father's Day present?). It is also a great idea for camp or back to school, as your child's water bottle will be truly unique. My daugther LOVES her customized bottle from Greensender. They do an excellent job with the engraving, and the Sigg bottle is very durable. Sigg bottles are made in Switzerland, not China, which is another bonus for consumers.
June 17, 2009
Children deserve to be read to and sharing literature is a great way to learn appreciation for our Earth. The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales (One World, One Planet)
is a collection of stories and activities to inspire your family to become a "thoughtful caretaker of our planet":
In this beautiful anthology of folktales, young readers learn how different cultures around the world live in harmony with the rhythms and patterns of nature. Discover how to tread lightly on our precious Earth by following the easy eco-tips and trying out some of the fun and creative activities that accompany each story. The perfect gift for any eco-conscious child!
I love the story from Kazakhstan called "The Magic Garden". When finding a magic pot of gold buried in the land, two friend decide to buy seeds with the money and plant a garden after consulting a wise man and his students. Instead, when he reaches the market to buy the seeds, he uses the gold to pay for the release of caged birds meant for the Khan. Upset that there will be no garden and feeling like a fool, Arman notices the birds are planting a magic garden because he saved their lives. "Such is the story of the magic garden, which grew from the generosity of two old friends and the dream of a young boy."
When reading Earth Tales families explore Australia, Nigeria, USA, Bali, Kazakhstan, India, and Wales. Before each story, a little background on the part of that part of the world is given. Each story's moral teaches children to respect the Earth and the cultures of the world.
May 6, 2009
is a powerful movie that shows how children are being over medicated and dying from antidepressants and stimulants. Information on the serious side effects of these medications has been hidden by drug companies, and children have died as a result of this unscrupulous behavior. Drug companies have "made patients out of normal children for profit", and four out of 100 children die while on psychiatric medicine. These drugs were never intended to be used on children.
By employing the expertise of internationally respected professionals from the fields of medicine, ethics, journalism, and academia, GENERATION RX investigates collusion between drug companies and their regulatory watchdogs at the FDA and focuses on the powerful stories of real families who followed the advice of their doctors - and faced devastating consequences for doing so.
GENERATION RX is a film about families who confronted horror and found nowhere to turn for help - and how scores of children have been caught in the vortex of mind-bending drugs at the earliest stages of their growth and development. This powerful documentary also questions whether we have forced millions of children onto pharmaceutical drugs for commercial rather than scientific reasons.
Every family who is considering placing their child on psychiatric medicine should see this film.