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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « May 2012 | Main | July 2012 »

    June 26, 2012

    Women Leave Rio+20 Motivated to Galvanize Sustainability Around Family Planning and Reproductive Rights

    Rio ProtestThere is a direct correlation between access to voluntary family planning, women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability. And though the official delegates to last week’s “Earth Summit” tried to water it down, thousands of grassroots activists (left) made it one of the biggest issues to rock Rio+20, as the event was also called.

    Why? Because ensuring that women have full reproductive rights creates one of the most desirable “two-fers” on the planet. Complete access to voluntary family planning is among the quickest, simplest, and most affordable ways to improve women’s quality of life. It is also one of the most direct, immediate and cost-effective ways to reduce climate change. In fact, studies show that slowing population growth by giving women access to the contraception they already want could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 8 and 15 percent [PDF] — roughly equivalent to ending all tropical deforestation.

    Mom childWomen took these issues to Rio because more than 200 million women in the U.S. and around the world cannot choose whether or when to have a baby, simply because they don’t have access to voluntary family planning. Groups like the Global Fund for Women and International Planned Parenthood Federation spent several days last week making their case, button-holing delegates, meeting with celebrities, blogging and Tweeting, and protesting in the streets.

    In the end, as Grist reported, the Rio+20 outcome document – though 49 pages long and consisting of 23,917 words – mentions women in less than 0.01 percent of the entire text. And only two of the 283 sections addressed women’s needs for family planning. Of the seven priority areas of discussion at the summit, none included language endorsing the idea that access to contraception is a basic human right. In fact, language to that effect was specifically removed from earlier drafts of Earth Summit recommendations, primarily at the insistence of the Vatican, which interprets endorsement of reproductive “rights” as endorsement of abortion.

    Continue reading "Women Leave Rio+20 Motivated to Galvanize Sustainability Around Family Planning and Reproductive Rights" »

    June 21, 2012

    Earth Summit Delegates Refuse to Recognize Women's Reproductive Rights

    At Rio+20, the "Earth Summit" taking place in Brazil, the slogan is "The Future We Want."

    What "We" are they talking about?

    Family planning photoCertainly not the more than 200 million women in the U.S. and many developing countries who lack access to voluntary family planning. That has become abundantly clear as the summit prepares to wrap up without including either family planning or a broader agenda for gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, and women’s empowerment in the primary summit agreements.

    This refusal to acknowledge reproductive rights as a core tenet of sustainability is outrageous. It also flies in the face of previous UN conferences that supported family planning for a host of human and environmental rights. Indeed, the International Conference on Population and Development  (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994 was a watershed moment when women’s rights advocates, demographers and 179 governments came together to design a new model for development that made the empowerment and health of women and girls a  top priority. Cairo transformed a term that few people knew—reproductive rights—into a concept recognized around the world.  The ICPD not only affirmed the right of every girl and woman to quality sexual and reproductive health care and freedom from discrimination, it underscored its centrality towards achieving a harmonious and sustainable environment.   

    Continue reading "Earth Summit Delegates Refuse to Recognize Women's Reproductive Rights" »

    June 18, 2012

    I Joined the Go Green, Get Fit Challenge!

    Starting today and continuing on for the next 12 weeks, I'll be part of a group of inspiring women, coaches, nutritional experts, fitness trainers, and health and wellness companies that will be working together to get fitter and healthier -- and maybe even lose a few pounds.

    Get FitActually, weight loss is not as much a goal for me as getting strong and staying healthy! I generally don't have a big appetite, and I've gotten the message about fatty, sugary foods and how they screw up your body, so my weight has been pretty manageable over the last 10 years or so. I actually trained for the Marine Corps marathon some years back, and like to think I would have finished it, had I not blown out my knees somewhere along mile 16.

    Where I need help is in the strength department. I've never had much upper body strength, but isn't it about time I had the power to open a jar of spaghetti sauce without needing the help of a brawny guy? Besides, as I get older, I'd like to do what I can to ward off osteoporosis, arthritis, and other illnesses. Load-bearing exercise, like lifting weights and walking or running, helps build strong bones and muscle power. It sounds like it's worth the effort.

    Continue reading "I Joined the Go Green, Get Fit Challenge!" »

    Be One of The First to Get An EcoCentric Mom Discovery Box!

    EcoMom---300-x-250-Rectangle-32EcoCentric Mom is a new monthly product delivery service devoted to finding healthy, natural and organic products for babies, moms, and moms-to-be. (I introduced you to them here, when I also reported that I've signed on to be one of their two "Green Living Experts!").

    This is how it works: Once you sign up, every month you will receive a box full of new "green" products to try. You can choose from three box options:

    The Mom Discovery Box is for any mom, from the first timer to someone whose kids may have already left the nest. Each month your box will contain a range of skin-care, make-up, food and/or spa products - things you might have wanted to try but never got around to, or brand new products you're hearing about for the first time.

    Baby1The Mom-to-Be Discovery Box products will range from skin care, make-up, organic whole food and prenatal vitamins to non-GMO foods and treats and products specifically developed for mom-to-be. Once your baby has arrived, you can move to the Ecocentric Mom Discovery Box and continue to pamper the new eco mom you've become.

    The Baby Discovery Box is for newborns to 18 months. Each month you'll be introduced to items ranging from diapers and wipes, skin creams and washes, and non-toxic BPA-free toys to feeding products, organic 1st foods and organic cotton clothes.

    Membership in EcoCentric Mom has just opened, so don't wait too long to sign up to take advantage of this fun and helpful service.


    Full disclosure: I am a paid expert for EcoCentric Mom and will be receiving a commission on memberships generated through Big Green Purse. Those commissions help make it possible for me to maintain this website at no cost to you. The mission of EcoCentric Mom dovetails perfectly with the mission of Big Green Purse, which is to empower women to use their consumer clout to protect their families and themselves by choosing the greenest products and services available. Thanks!

    June 13, 2012

    At Rio+20, Women to Set Sustainability on Achievable Course with Sharp Focus on Reproductive Rights and Family Planning

    You don’t usually hear the words “sex” and “sustainability” in the same sentence.

    Rio+20That will change on June 20, when the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, opens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to the clamor of thousands of women demanding a global commitment to family planning.

    They’ll be making a strong case. Studies by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and The Futures Group have shown that empowering women to have babies when they want could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 8-15%. That’s comparable to stopping all deforestation today, or to increasing the world’s reliance on wind power 40 times over.

    Strengthening women’s reproductive rights would have another obvious benefit: it would improve the quality of life for women around the globe. More than 200 million women in the U.S. and developing countries are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant. Yet often, these women lack access to birth control pills, IUDs, diaphragms, and other means of modern contraception. Consequently, one out of every four births worldwide is unplanned, resulting in 42 million abortions each year, killing 68,000 women as a result.

    Continue reading "At Rio+20, Women to Set Sustainability on Achievable Course with Sharp Focus on Reproductive Rights and Family Planning" »

    June 12, 2012

    Kids Drive Moms' Passion to Save Energy, Join Team ENERGY STAR

    Using energy efficiently is the key to many of the health, environmental and even financial crises we TeamES_Badge_FINface. Burning fossil fuels like coal and oil pollutes our air and water, contributes to asthma and other respiratory problems, and is a major cause of climate change. It's up to all of us to do what we can to make a difference, and most of us try to do our part, especially where our families are concerned. That job has gotten a little easier with the launch of Team ENERGY STAR, a new program to get kids and their parents engaged in simple actions that collectively can have a big impact.

    The program has received a strong welcome from many moms who have made the connection between their kids' future and the energy we use. Here are some of the reasons why they care and what they're doing about it.

    Continue reading "Kids Drive Moms' Passion to Save Energy, Join Team ENERGY STAR" »

    June 11, 2012

    "Carnival" Tomorrow Will Highlight Many Moms' Energy Recommendations

    Pondering womanWhat do moms think about energy? Find out right back here tomorrow at the carnival we're hosting to celebrate the launch of Team ENERGY STAR

    If you're a blogger and want to join in, all you need to do is write a post that includes a link to . If you don't have time to write a new post, update an existing one about energy efficiency, the focus of EPA's ENERGYSTAR program.

    Whether you post or comment on the carnival, please join us at 2 p.m. EST for a lively Twitter party to share information and ideas on how to get kids, in particular, involved in saving energy. #TeamENERGYSTAR.

    June 06, 2012

    Tired of Telling Your Kids to Turn Off The Lights? Let Team ENERGY STAR Do It!

    Using energy efficiently can be as simple as turning off the lights or computer when they’re not being used. The challenge is getting people – especially kids – to pay heed.  Starting today, the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program is going to make that task much easier, especially for us parents!

    TeamES_Badge_FINENERGY STAR is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that helps us save money and protect the environment and our health through energy-efficient products and practices.  In 2011 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 41 million cars — all while saving $23 billion on their utility bills and reducing the pollution that contributes to heart disease, asthma and allergies.

     As impressive as that is, the job is far from done. Climate change is still rising, and our health and the health of our kids is still at stake.  We can make a difference by teaching our kids to save more energy at home. That’s where Team ENERGY STAR comes in.

     Team ENERGY STAR is EPA’s new initiative to engage and educate American youth and their families about saving energy at home. Team ENERGY STAR gives kids and families knowledge and tools they can use to preserve our environment, help protect the climate and create a healthier world.

     I’ve already joined the team myself. But one person a “team” does not make. We all need to join in and do our part. Here are three important reasons why I think it’s worth your while.

    First, without question, energy efficiency makes life healthier for our children and family. Climatechange will likely increase the number of people suffering from illness and injury due to more pollution, extreme heat, floods, storms, droughts and fires as well as allergies and infectious disease. The elderly, the very young, the disabled, and the poor alone are especially vulnerable, as are people with heart disease or asthma. Climate change is also expected to cause more severe allergy symptoms because a warmer climate promotes the growth of molds, weeds, grasses and trees that cause allergic reactions. The more efficiently we all use energy, the less likely we are to get sick.

    Second, Team ENERGY STAR will make your job explaining energy efficiency to your children easier. I know that sometimes my kids think I’m a broken record, the way I nag them to turn off the lights and their computers. But the activities Team ENERGY STAR has come up with offer a creative and fun way to motivate the whole family to feel like they’re doing their part together to save energy. With Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax as the engaging theme for Team ENERGY STAR, kids can learn and have fun at the same time. 

    Finally, joining Team ENERGY STAR will help you save money. The typical household spends more than $2,100 per year on energy. With ENERGY STAR, you can save over one-third, or more than $700, on your household energy bills without sacrificing features, style or comfort. 

     Team ENERGY STAR has already lined up some important and influential partners, like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Do Something, one of the largest organizations in the U.S. for teens and social change. But it’s up to each and every one of us to reach our own kids and families.

    Energy star resourcesKids can join Team ENERGY STAR by visiting where they will get easy-to-download educational and interactive materials, such as a comprehensive Action Kit, the ENERGY STAR Home Check-Up, a Lorax activity booklet and a Lorax mustache-making kit. Kids are also encouraged to come back and share their stories about protecting the environment by saving energy, which will be showcased on and throughout social media.

    In fact, Team ENERGY STAR is part of a multi-year EPA campaign, Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR, developed to engage Americans of all ages in saving energy and money and protecting the environment with ENERGY STAR. Millions of people are getting involved, joining their neighbors in this grassroots movement to help protect the climate by saving energy. You can see how people and organizations all over are making a difference with ENERGY STAR by viewing EPA’s ENERGY STARs Across America map.

      Energy Star pledgeBTNYou can also attend an event in your area to learn ways to take control of your energy bills while contributing to a cleaner environment. Plus, if you take the ENERGY STAR Pledge at, you’ll join 2.8 million other Americans who are taking action to protect the climate.

     If every American household took part in the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Pledge, we would: save more than 126 billion KWh/yr of electricity, save $18 billion in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 20 million cars.

     Get more information and join Team ENERGY STAR here.

    Please leave a comment below when you join Team ENERGY STAR.

    And please come back on June 12, when Big Green Purse will be hosting a carnival of posts from many bloggers who support energy efficiency and Team ENERGY STAR.


    Full disclosure: I am a long-time independent advocate of energy-efficiency and the ENERGY STAR program. I am currently working as a paid consultant to introduce Team ENERGY STAR to parents and families.

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