What’s in Our Water? Breaking Down Marine Pollution

What's in Our Water? | Eco-Mothering.com

This Save The Bay graphic for the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) shows a breakdown of trash pieces found along Rhode Island beaches and coastlines last year. It amounts to nearly ten tons of trash—and that’s just in the smallest U.S. state. According to the Ocean Conservancy, more than 18 million pounds of trash was collected by ICC volunteers in 2015. That’s equal to the weight of 437 whale sharks!   While cigarette butts are the biggest offender, the remainder consists of food and drink packaging: glass, metal and the dreaded plastic. Plastic pollution clogs coastlines, harms marine creatures and leaches toxins into our waters. It is believed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, some floating and some in the deep sea. How Does the Trash Get in our Water? The bulk of it flows downstream, meaning it comes from land-based sources (litter, overflowing trash cans, … Continue reading

What Are Wetlands? (And Why We Should Value Them)

What Are Wetlands? (And Why We Should Value Them) | Eco-Mothering.com

Wetlands are areas where water mixes with or saturates the land at least part of the year. Areas like bogs, swamps, vernal pools and salt mashes are considered wetlands. While they may not be as scenic as other landscapes, wetlands are vital ecosystems that provide habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife. Below, you’ll learn why we should value wetlands, plus fun ways families (or classes) can learn more. What Do Wetlands Do? They filter pollutants from the water, trapping heavy metals, phosphorous and other toxins in their sediment. They act as a frontline storm defense against strong winds and tidal waves, reducing a storm’s impact and preventing erosion. They collect and store flood water. Acting as sponges, wetland vegetation absorbs heavy rain and snow melt to keep rivers at normal levels and prevent flash flooding. On the other end, wetlands can also recharge groundwater supplies and control flow … Continue reading

Why Trees Are Awesome (and Why You Should Plant One)

Benefits of Trees | Eco-Mothering.com

Most everyone is familiar with Joyce Kilmer’s poetic line: “I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.” What makes trees so lovely? They tower over our landscape with their leafy, needled and willowy beauty; mark the cycle of the seasons from stark nakedness to riotous colors; and serve as symbols of strength and flexibility. We know trees are good for the earth, but do we really know why? Here are some reasons behind the awesomeness of trees. Let me know if this doesn’t make you want to hug one or plant one — which you can do at the end of this post! Trees Conserve Energy and Water. Placed strategically, trees provide shade to homes and office buildings, either reducing the need for air conditioners or cutting AC costs by 15-35%. Trees planted in cities help combat the “heat islands” of unending asphalt and concrete. … Continue reading

Sing for Climate Change Action

Taking Action on Climate Change | Eco-Mothering.com

Recently, my daughter came home singing this song she had learned in school. “We need to wake up, We need to wise up, We need to open our eyes and do it now, now, now! We need to build a better future and we need to start right now! We’re on a planet that has a problem. We need to solve it, get involved, and do it now, now, now! We need to build a better future and we need to start right now!” View full lyrics of “Do It Now.” These were fabulous words to hear Sofie singing around the house. And then I discovered it was part of a global movement to affect change at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. From November 30-December 11, 190 nations will convene in the City of Light to discuss ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond the year 2020 (when … Continue reading

Exploring Nature with Kids

Exploring Nature with Kids | Eco-Mothering.com

Next week is the fall equinox, and I have nothing planned. My family used to do a better job of celebrating the earth-based holidays, usually with a hike, ritual or anything else based in nature. Lately, we’ve been more focused on social events with other families, whether that be a polo match, a movie night or King Richard’s Fair. Digging through some old blog posts, never published on this site, I was reminded of our nature journeys with a two-year-old Sofie and the things we learned from those experiences… From October 2008: America’s Stonehenge We donned our hiking boots again this past weekend, this time trekking to New Hampshire for some leap peeping and a visit to America’s Stonehenge. Didn’t know we even had a Stonehenge on this side of the pond, did you? A maze of chambers, walls and ceremonial meeting places built by ancient people, America’s Stonehenge is most likely … Continue reading

An Award-Winning, Eco-Friendly Children’s Book: “Earth Remembers When”

Review of the eco-themed children's book, Earth Remember When by Dawn Wynne | Eco-Mothering.com

I am so pleased when I see another eco-themed book on the market, especially in children’s literature. Making the environment a regular part of our children’s vernacular is an important step in them becoming stewards of the earth. My latest discovery, Earth Remembers When by Dawn Wynne, is an absolutely stunning picture book with many layers to enjoy. Layer 1: Reading the rhymed story in which the narrator reminisces about a clean, abundant earth when forests covered the world and foods came from the ground instead of a box. Even though my seven-year-old reads on her own, she wanted me to read this book to her, and we cuddled on the sofa together. Layer 2: Studying Gloria Piñeiro’s beautiful illustrations of oceanscapes, sunlit forests and wildlife families. Her work is vibrant and nostalgic, rich with lush detail. Layer 3: The pages fold out to reveal a very different scene of … Continue reading

Top 6 Eco Alternatives to LEGOS

Eco-friendly LEGO alternatives | Eco-mothering.com

Everyone loves LEGO. Their popular brick system has been around since the 1950s, inspiring creativity in generations of children. Still, they’re made of plastic, which takes an environmental toll.    While the LEGO company does get kudos for making long-term sustainable plans — they aim to manufacture their products close to the point of sale to reduce transportation emissions and to operate energy-efficient factories, including renewable energy sources like a wind farm in the process of being built — their current partnership with the Arctic-drilling Shell oil company flies in the face of those values. Click here for an awesome and affecting LEGO MOVIE-inspired video from Greenpeace to spread awareness about drilling in the Arctic — then sign the petition.  We forget that LEGO is not the only constructive toy out there. Perhaps you want your kids to play with safer and greener toys. Maybe you’re tired of supporting a hugely … Continue reading

The When, What and Why of EARTH DAY

Celebrating Earth Day | Eco-Mothering.com

April 22 is Earth Day, which had been around just slighter longer than I have. Now celebrated globally, it began in the United States in 1970 as a day to raise awareness about the environment. Prior to that, the environment was pretty much defenseless. People had little to no control over the pollutants in their air. Animal species were declining in great numbers. Companies could dump toxic waste into a local river without being held accountable. Lots of citizens were angry, but nothing changed. Putting environmental action on the political agenda was the brainchild of Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, who was inspired after viewing the decimated landscape from a California oil spill. When Nelson went public with his idea of a national day for the environment, the response was enormous. Newspapers and magazines built momentum while grassroots organizations across the country rallied to make Earth Day “the most famous unknown … Continue reading