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

Eco-Friendly Birthday Parties: Alternative Party Supplies

Tips for Eco-Friendly Birthday Parties | Eco-Mothering.com

I recently read that August is the most popular birthday month (and today happens to be mine!), which means there are thousands or even millions of birthday parties taking place this month. I love birthdays, and I love a good party. However, all the disposable waste that parties can create is a darn shame, especially when much of it can be avoided. When it comes to children’s birthdays, most people are in the habit of following the majority, which means paper plates, cups and décor in a popular licensed character theme and prettily wrapped presents of the latest plastic doll or truck. Nearly all of this stuff, including the cheap plastic party favors, gets tossed within a few hours. However, if you knew the effect all this paper and plastic waste had on trees, animals, our health and the planet, you might consider eco-friendly alternatives. (Which would likely save you … Continue reading

Guilt-Free Green Tip #8: Pick Up Your Dog Poop

Reasons for Picking Up Your Dog Poop | Eco-Mothering.com

After working eight years for my local environmental organization, Save The Bay, I learned quite a bit about marine pollution and its causes. And while some causes (like stormwater runoff) are out of our hands, there are others completely in our control. One of those is picking up dog poop. In 1991, the EPA labeled dog waste as a non-point source of pollution (alongside insecticides, oil, grease and acid drainage). Which means it’s a serious thing. Poop contaminates the ground around it and can also get washed into local storm drains and waterways when it rains. Benefits of Picking Up Dog Poop Healthier Pups and People Diseases such as E. Coli, roundworms, giardia and salmonella can be transmitted through dog feces to other dogs, cats or even people. (According to Stephan Budiansky in his book, “The Truth About Dogs,” there are 65 diseases that dogs can transmit to humans — … Continue reading

Top 5 Ways You Can Prevent Marine Pollution

Ways to Prevent Marine Pollution | Eco-Mothering.com

While the huge oil spills make the headlines, there is much more to marine pollution. Trash litters coastlines around the world. Man-made pollutants (like pesticides and pharmaceuticals) are entering the global food chain. There are “garbage patches” comprised of millions of pounds of floating debris in the Pacific Ocean, harming marine life and disrupting food chains. Our precious water resources need protection. The good news is that everyone can help stop marine pollution, even landlocked residents, because—get this—80% of the problem originates on land! Some of the biggest causes of marine pollution include trash dumping, pesticide runoff and improper waste disposal. Making individual changes at home can lead to big solutions. Here’s a few things you can do: Use that trashcan Too many people use public areas as dumping grounds for their trash. And what happens to the litter tossed onto sidewalks, parks and streets? It gets washed into storm drains and our … Continue reading

Top 5 Things You Should Know About Hazardous Waste in Your Home

Household Hazardous Waste | Eco-Mothering.com

I made a drop-off at the Eco-Depot last week. That’s Rhode Island’s household hazardous waste (HHW) collection agency. I’ve known about them for years but pure laziness has kept me from ridding our home of toxic products (some are even leftover from the previous residents). Scroll to the end of this post to see a partial list of what is considered household hazardous waste. It feels great to have finally made the trip. This isn’t to say that my home is completely toxin free. We have nail polish remover, antifreeze, craft glues, etc. that we still use. But getting rid of the old stuff has made a big dent, and it makes me breathe a little easier. Know the Dangers So there’s a can of old paint thinner sitting in your basement. Big deal. A few items don’t seem like much, but when you add up all the toxic products in … Continue reading

Eco-Mothering Celebrates Its 5th Anniversary with a Giveaway!

Can you believe it? It’s been five years since my very first Eco-Mothering blog post. A blog that originally existed on Save The Bay’s website and was only read by a few friends and colleagues. I blogged irregularly and infrequently those first several years, from 19 times in 2008 (to an all-time low of 6 blog posts in 2010—what was I doing that year?) until I got serious in October 2012 and whipped out 37 posts in three months. Between this blog and Facebook, Eco-Mothering now reaches about 20,000 people weekly. Woohoo! I love doing this. I love that my passions for the environment and for parenting have found this amazing intersection that inspires other people. Thank you for reading and for sharing. I’m celebrating my 5th anniversary with a personal giveaway of three eco-themed books for the family. (PLUS 2 Melissa and Doug Whittle World Wooden Farm Sets thanks … Continue reading