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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.
  • December 06, 2013

    Use the 'So Kind' Registry to Simplify Your Holidays

    Sokind_logo If right about now you're really fretting about the commercialism of the holidays, take a deep breath, settle back, and click on the SoKind Registry. It's a one-stop way to give meaningful gifts without getting caught up in the expensive "more stuff" trap that often bogs down even the most conscientious among us.

    The registry is the brain child of the wonderful Center for a New American Dream, the same folks who have been inspiring people to simplify the holidays by focusing on what's meaningful, not only on what can be bought. The So Kind Registry works in two ways. One, it encourages people to create their own non- or not-too commercial wish lists for things like music lessons, homemade dinners, museum memberships, babysitting help, or their favorite charities. Two, it allows gift givers to skip the mall and a bunch of "stuff" in favor of making gifts of time or donations to people who would really enjoy and value them. Like the idea but don't know what to put on your registry? The website offers this handy list of gift ideas to get you thinking. 

    Continue reading "Use the 'So Kind' Registry to Simplify Your Holidays" »

    December 06, 2012

    Quick, Homemade Jams and Applesauce in Beautiful Jars Make Special Holiday Gifts

    Want to make your own food gifts for the holidays? Here are two recipes - one for homemade cranberry jam courtesy of Whole Foods, one for homemade applesauce courtesy of me - that are simple, delicious, and guaranteed to inspire anyone who receives them to lick her lips!


    Cranberry jam This recipe cooks up in minutes. I made a version of it as a cranberry chutney for Thanksgiving, adding a sprinkle of ground ginger rather than nutmeg to give it a little zing.  Spoon it into clean glass jars, and wrap in a lovely tea towel - or just crisscross a ribbon around it and add your personalized gift tag.

    By the way, I make gift tags by recycling Christmas cards I received the previous year. If you cut out rectangles with pinking shears, they're quite cute!


    • 1 (16 ounces) bag fresh cranberries
    • 2 apples (Fuji, Gala and/or Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and grated
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


    Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, until cranberries have popped open and mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer to small jars, if desired. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

    You can find more DIY food gift recipes from Whole Foods here.




    ApplesApples. That's it. I usually use a combination of Honey Crisp and Winesap, but you should use whatever you like to eat. If you're not sure, just go to your farmer's market - chances are they'll have lots of apples and will be happy to cut you some slices so you can choose one or a combination.


    Peel all the apples. Cut out the core, then slice into eighths. Put into your food processor and puree.

    That's it.

    I like applesauce made this way more than cooking down the apples and then pureeing them or mashing them up. They're more flavorful, and easier, too, as it saves me a lot of time not standing over a boiling pot of apples making sure they don't burn.

    One tip: Once I have a big pile of apple peels, I put them in a pot of water and add a couple of cinnamon sticks and some whole cloves. I turn the heat to low and just let the aroma from this apple "potpourri" fill the house. It's heavenly.

    July 25, 2012

    Want a Plastic-Free Life? Buy This Book ASAP!

    Plastic-Free-cover-258x300How much money do you waste buying plastic every year? It’s probably hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Even though it’s that much money, you may not realize how much you’re spending because so much of the plastic we buy is hidden in products that we think are plastic-free. Fortunately, by following even a third of the suggestions in this new must-read book from plastic-free visionary Beth Terry, you can start saving a lot of that money rather than throwing it away. You might even save enough to put your child through college!

    But let’s back up a minute, to the original question. How much money do you waste buying plastic every year? I’ve written about why using less plastic matters here. In short, the stuff is made from oil and other toxic chemicals, can make us sick if we’re repeatedly exposed to those chemicals, and wreaks havoc on wildlife and the environment.

    If you’ve given up buying bottled water, use your own reusable cloth shopping bag and maybe grow some (or most) of your own food, your automatic response might be: “Almost none. I don’t buy plastic.”

    But chances are, you’re still subsidizing the use of a fair amount of plastic, since almost everything anyone buys these days comes either shrink-wrapped, padded in plastic balls or peanuts (yes, polystyrene is a form of plastic), encased in a plastic package of some sort, or wrapped in paper that’s been coated with a plastic film so thin you don’t even notice it.

    One area where I’ve become particularly aware of how much plastic I consume is in the bathroom. Even though I don’t use a lot of cosmetics and follow a mostly “natural” hygiene regimen, now that I’m paying attention, I’m appalled at how many of my personal care products come packaged in plastic. I’ve switched to bar soap that’s sold either wrapper free or wrapped in paper, my face cream comes in glass jars, and my hand salve comes in metal tins. I use wash cloths instead of disposable wipes to remove dirt and make-up, and a crystal for deodorant. But my shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, toothpaste, sunscreen, and mouthwash? They’re all packaged in plastic. Ditto for the blush, mascara and lip gloss I apply.

    Continue reading "Want a Plastic-Free Life? Buy This Book ASAP!" »

    January 23, 2011

    Washington, D.C. Woman Shifts $1,029 of Her Household Budget to Go Green

    It's one thing to say you want to be "eco friendly." It's quite another to put your money where your mouth is and spend real dollars on greener products and services, especially in these days of tight budgets and an uncertain economy.

    Bonnie Coggins Yet that's exactly what Bonnie C., a 26-year old resident of Washington, D.C., has done. Bonnie is single, lives in an apartment, and works for the U.S. Government. Here's her story:

    "I read a blog post of yours last year encouraging readers to redirect $1000 in spending to green purchases.  This really struck me, and I decided to try it.  I hit $1000 in December when I installed my own programmable thermostat.  Here's how I did it:


    Used furniture (sofa, dining table, patio table, TV, TV cabinet): $340, but the TV and cabinet were free!

     Used Bike: $250

    Garden Plot, tools, soil: $200

    Organic Food: $75

    Glass food containers: $40

    Organic Body Products: $5 (but I've only run out of toothpaste, so I expect this number to grow)

    No VOC Paint: $40

    CFL Lightbulbs: $20

    Green Cleaning Products: $25

    Programmable Thermostat: $34

    Total: $1029

    Even though I live in an apartment, I installed the thermostat and painted - I'll change them back when I move out.

    I think it's also interesting to note that most of these purchases saved me money.  I'm 26, and I don't have a large budget to reallocate, but by buying used items, I must have saved hundreds.  The lightbulbs and thermostat will save me money, AND I don't have to get out of bed in a cold house!  I also bought a fuel-efficient Honda Fit that gets about 34 mpg on average for my typical commute, but 37-38 on long road trips.

    This year I'm planning to shift more spending towards food and beauty products.  I'm also trying to get a roommate, which will not only cut down on expenses, but house 2 people using about the same energy as 1.

    Most of these were really easy changes, but I'm still getting over sticker shock of organic food and beauty products.

    Changing out the thermostat was surprisingly easy.  Yes, there were tons of poorly labeled wires, but we followed the directions carefully and it only took about 30 minutes.

    Next I'm looking for a roommate!  I'm also going to try to get into composting.  And I'll keep migrating to better food and beauty products."

    Bonnie's also going to keep working on her boyfriend, who was helpful if skeptical"He was reluctant at first," she says, "but had a positive view after we finished those projects (installing the thermostat and setting up the garden plot)."  I'm still trying to get him into better toiletries and food, but he was a quick sell on green cleaning products!"

    Thanks for blogging and motivating me!"

    As Bonnie knows, every dollar you shift makes a difference. The way you spend your money is your first line of defense against products that contain toxic ingredients or waste energy. Just as importantly, buying "green" encourages companies to reduce pollution and use water and other natural resources with greater care. Plus, choosing more environmental options often saves you money immediately. For all these reasons, the Big Green Purse One in a Million campaign inspires people to set a goal of shifting at least $1,000 of money they'd spend anyway on the most environmentally-friendly products available.

    Thousands of people have already committed to shifting their spending. Why don't you? You can sign up here.

    For more inspiring stories like Bonnie's, start here.

    January 17, 2011

    Hate Clutter? 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Cut It.


    In my house, clutter is a "five letter word" that actually means "paper - and too much of it."

    Summer food, office 080 Too much junk mail I won't read. Too many newspaper advertising supplements I don't use. Too many coupons I don't clip. Too many business cards from people I don't know. Too many receipts I don't need. Too many empty cardboard boxes I can't fill. Too much throwaway packaging I can't use. (Yes, this is what my desk looks like every now and then...cluttered!)

    Maybe all this papery nonsense served a purpose at one time, but it becomes clutter in my eyes when it physically gets in my way. It's especially annoying when it covers my desk or makes a mess of my coffee table. Then, it can take me HOURS to go through it, sorting, shredding, tossing, WASTING precious time. To add insult to injury, all this wasted clutter weighs down the recycling bin I have to lug out to the street every week. 

    Plus, it pains me to think about the environmental impact paper clutter has. According to, a group that works to reduce unwanted junk mail, more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. Just creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars.

    What to do? Reduce, Reorganize, Recycle

    My anti-clutter crusade is based on these three strategies. I am reducing the amount of waste paper coming into my house as much as possible. I've re-organized my filing systems slightly so I can keep track of the minimum amount of paper I need to hold on to. And I'm recycling the rest.


    1) Pay bills and bank online. Many banks now actually charge their customers a monthly fee to send them a paper statement (my Bank of America outlet charges $8.95/month for this "service."). So not only does online banking reduce the clutter in my house; it saves me money, too. Plus, paying bills online gives me longer access to my capital, since I can pay bills the same day instead of having to send a check a week ahead of time. In addition, I'm saving money on postage - not a lot in a month, but dollars that will add up over time.

    2) Read newspapers and magazines electronically. Why? To avoid all the ads. The news part of the paper is actually rather thin; the advertising supplements are huge. If I bought what they're selling it might make a difference, but I don't.  When I want to know what a store has on sale, I check out their website before I go shopping, or pick up their sales paper when I enter the store. If I want the coupons, I can usually find them online: there are all kinds of mobile phone coupon apps so you can skip the print-out completely. (You can find coupons for green products here. ) Meanwhile, I read the paper on my laptop or my phone. I don't have an e-reader, but you could certainly read newspapers and magazines there, too.

    3) Share or go to the library. Sharing works especially well for for magazines. I share a variety of magazines with my neighbors, and drop in at my local library for others.

    4) Stop junk mail and unwanted catalogs. You can use a service like who will contact junk mailers on your behalf. What I've found, however, is that the most effective solution is to call the contact number directly on the mail or magazines I don't want and ask them to remove me from their lists. Here are more services that will help you stop junk mail from cluttering your house. You can also put a "No Solicitations, Please" sign on your door or mailbox so people won't leave their sales fliers at your home.

    5) Skip paper receipts. I don't take receipts at the ATM, the gas pump, or the grocery store. I've discovered that grocery stores will usually take back a product they sell without a receipt; but honestly, I almost never take anything back to the grocery store, so why bother with the receipt? I only take receipts when I buy hard goods, like clothing or some kind of equipment. I keep all receipts in a file, just one file per year, so they're not on my desk. NOTE: Whole Foods market gives its customers the option to receive receipts online, though I don't want this clutter in my e-mail box, either.

    6) Limit business cards. I recently threw away a shopping bag half-full of business cards I'd accumulated over the last couple of years because they were just cluttering up my office. I couldn't remember who most of those people were, anyway - and I'm sure they don't remember me. Now, I only give out business cards to people whom I really should be networking with, and I only take business cards so I can follow up with people I really want to be connected to.

    7) Carry reusable bags. In addition to grocery bags, you can use small mesh bags for produce or grains you buy in bulk. I have a couple of snazzy shopping bags I use when I go clothes shopping, too. Plus, I just say "not" to the extra tissue paper some stores like to wrap around the items I buy. 

    8) Use a blackboard. Note pads and stickies are supposed to keep people organized, but they're a big source of clutter for me, given how easily they stack up. A clutter-free alternative? Blackboards. Put one in the kitchen where you can leave "notes" for family members, put one in your office or workroom so you can write notes to yourself.

    9) Consolidate.  Right now, I'm in the process of consolidating the contents of five different notebooks into just one. It will make my life sooooo much simpler. I'm also consolidating paper files into fewer folders that have only the essential papers in them. Everything else is headed to the recycling bin. Speaking of which...

    10) Make recycling easy. Keep a recycling bin nearest to where the most paper comes into your house or where it creates the most clutter. Some options: 1)Near the front door, so you can deep-six unwanted mail before it makes it to the dining room table. 2)In the kitchen, so you can easily recycle packaging. 3)In your office, so you can keep paper from piling up on your desk.

     For more anti-clutter strategies, don't miss this month's Green Moms Carnival, hosted by Amber at


    August 25, 2009

    Natural Weed Control: Battle the Hassle and Banish the Herbicides

    Dandelionflower Weeds! Don’t you hate em?

    And no wonder.

    Weeds are like those prank candles people put on top of a beautifully decorated birthday cake. You go to make your birthday wish --only to have it thrown back in your face when the candles refuse to blow out. No matter how often you blow, the flame reappears. Then, just when you think you’ve finally won, you realize you’ve sprayed wax all over the cake, leaving you both defeated and wishless.

    Although the scenario is an obvious exaggeration, it highlights the challenge you face every time you try to control weeds. They keep coming back. And if your only solution is to use chemicals to control them, well, it’s a lot like spraying wax all over your delicious cake.

    There are some environmentally friendly herbal and biodegradable sprays you can use to control unwanted plants. But before you take that step, try these practical, eco, and cheap cultivation techniques.

    Go back to the beginning. The key to safe, environmental weed control lies in creating great growing conditions for your desired plants. Weed seeds exist in every garden, but healthy soil will discourage them from growing . What can you do? Aerate your lawn to keep the soil loose and fertile. Water foundation plants so they’ll stay healthy and grow to the appropriate size. Add compost and sunlight to build a nourishing environment for the plants you want to thrive. 

    Play around with your planting.  Space your plants closer together. As the plants reach maturity their leaves will touch and help block out light to the ground below, making it more difficult for weeds to survive. You can also try competitive planting, such as putting some bushes or fast-growing annual plants in your bed to prevent  weed seeds from germinating. To avoid buying expensive nursery plants,  save money by swapping plants with friends and neighbors instead. 

    Mulch heavily. A thick layer of mulch keeps the light from reaching the weeds. Bonus? Organic mulch such as straw, grass clippings, leaves and shredded bark will nourish your soil as they decompose.

    Continue reading "Natural Weed Control: Battle the Hassle and Banish the Herbicides" »

    July 17, 2009

    Environmental Action is Easy With Our New Tool Bar

    Toolbarpic1 Waste less time searching the Internet for environmental ideas and links. Use the new Big Green Purse tool bar for direct and easy access to all things green, including:

    * hand-picked links to save you time and money

    * Google-powered search to make finding green product reviews, shopping links, and lifestyle tips fast and easy

    * Alerts to your desktop via our frequent blogposts

    * Easy-to-find info especially on organics, recycling, Fair Trade, and energy.

    We've done the research so you don't have to! Download your tool bar in seconds, and save hours looking for information that's already on Big Green Purse.

    June 15, 2009

    Environmental In-Box: Planet Matters Water Filtration Bottle

    What's stopping you from using a reusable water bottle? Worries that tap water isn't safe to drink? The inconvenience of carrying around a clumsy bottle that doesn't fit in your purse, briefcase, or cup holder? Concerns about BPA in plastic water bottles?

    Planet matters bottle Planet Matters claims it tackles all three issues head on with its water filtration bottle. Big Green Purse intern Rachel Haas took at look at the product claims, compared it to similar bottles, and wrote this review.

    What Is It? Planet Matters uses a unique water filtration system to provide clean water that is affordable, convenient, and safe to drink.  In addition to reuseable water bottles, the company produces canteens, water pitchers, water pumps, water bags, emergency packs, in-line filters, and replacement filters.The reuseable products are designed to replace throwaway plastic water bottles. Throwaway plastic bottles have become the bane of the environment as well as our pocket books, given that they are made from scarce petroleum, do not biodegrade, and cost many times more than tap water.  

    The Product:  Planet Matters uses an Ionic Absorption Micron Filter to remove up to 99.99% of the contaminants and pollutants found in fresh water—including giardia, cryptosporidium, DDT, and heavy metals like cadmium and lead. One 18-oz water filtrtion bottle can clean up to 50 gallons of water before the filter needs to be replaced. The bottle itself is BPA-free and made of #4 low density polyethylene, so it will not leach Bisphenol-A into your drink

    What I like:  The bottle easily fits in your hand or in the cup holders in your car. If you are on the go, the hand strap is convenient to wear on your wrist or tie on your big green purse. The water flows through the cap easily and tastes great. Because it is so portable, I can drink filtered water anywhere at anytime. I also love the design—the green insulator sleeve on the bottle is attractive and makes it easy to grip. 

    What could improve: A cap on the bottle protects the items in my purse or bag from getting wet and keeps the bottle free of dirt and other contaminants. However, the bottle spout closes too easily—I had trouble consistently keeping it open when I was drinking water. A minor design improvement could fix this with no impact on performance, I'm sure. Also, it's not clear that Planet Matters has set up a system to recycle its filters. Thanks to consumer demand led by Beth Terry at, consumers can recycle the filters they use in Brita water pitchers with Preserve, a company that turns them into toothbrushes, table ware, and kitchen appliances. Contact Planet Matters to encourage them to set up a similar filter recycling program.

    Continue reading "Environmental In-Box: Planet Matters Water Filtration Bottle" »

    December 21, 2008

    Top Ten Ways to Green The White House, Inside and Out

    White house 2 Barack is talking about putting in a basketball court. Michelle is picking out china. And their daughters have plans to redecorate their rooms. When the Obamas move into the White House on January 20, they'll immediately start putting their mark on the nation's most historic residence. Environmentalists are hoping that mark will be a bright shade of green.

    The new first family would hardly be starting a revolution. As far back as June, 1979, Jimmy Carter attempted to increase the energy efficiency of the 132-room building when he had installed a $28,000 solar water heater on the roof of the West Wing. In 1993, President Clinton commissioned a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute that identified a number of improvements that could reduce the White House's environmental impact, such as upgrading the HVAC system and improving the energy-efficiency of the windows. In 2002, solar photovoltaic panels were installed on the roof. By 2007, the White House also sported compact fluorescent light bulbs, "smart" lawn sprinklers and energy-efficient mini-vans.

    But the Obamas could make greening the White House even more meaningful - by taking steps that reflect their willingness to change their lifestyle as well as the building itself.

    Here are my top ten recommendations for what they should do, inside and out.


    1. Secure LEED certification for the White House. This standard offers meaningful guidelines to help buildings and, increasingly, homes reduce the amount of energy they consume.

    2. Change all lighting fixtures to LED lights. Many bulbs in the White House have already been replaced with compact fluorescents. But LEDs save even more energy, and because they contain no mercury, pose no health concerns to consumers.

    3. Maximize energy efficiency. Plug computers and other office equipment into power strips that turn on and off automatically. Install light sensors in offices to do the same thing. Use programmable thermostats to turn the heat down in the evening and up (but just to 68 degrees in winter) during the day.

    4. Make cleaning green, too. Choose cleansers that are free of phthalates (synthetic fragrances), antibacterial agents, phosphates (especially for dishwashers) and other toxic ingredients.  Green Seal can provide a list of environmentally-friendly products certified "green" for buildings the size of the White House.

    5. Favor organic towels, bedding, and fabric for the reupholstering that will go on as the Obamas update the decor. Every president gets a new rug for the Oval Office. Pres.-Elect Obama could have his woven from fibers made from 100% recycled soda bottles.

    6. Repainting? Use paints free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are known to contribute to respiratory illness, headaches and air pollution.

    7.  Institute a no bottled water policy. Every member of the first family, and all cabinent members should regularly use their own BPA-free reusable water bottles. This should be true not only at cabinet and staff meetings, but when Mr. Obama takes to the basketball court, too.

    8. Adopt a green diet. Eat less meat, and serve organic, locally-grown food - for the White House mess and state dinners as well as the residence.

    9. Reduce water use. Retrofit faucets, showerheads, toilets to use water as efficiently as possible.

    10. Whatever they buy, choose certified products and services. The Obamas can show Americans how to avoid "greenwashing" by buying products whose environmental claims meet independent third-party standards. While they're at it, they can join the One in a Million campaign and intentionally shift the White House operating budget to green goods.


    White house  1. Eliminate use of pesticides and herbicides. The White House perches smack-dab in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where the main source of pollution is chemical runoff. Eliminating toxic landscape chemicals would help protect the quality of one of America's most productive estuaries.

    2. Go native. Replace large sections of the White House lawn with native trees, bushes and flowers. Need some advice? Ask the native plant societies in Maryland and Virginia.

    3. Plant an organic vegetable is encouraging the First Eaters to plant a "Victory Garden,"  with produce going to the White House kitchen and local shelters.

    4. Compost. Kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and yard waste can be composted on-site, with the resulting natural fertilizer applied anywhere on the White House's 18 acres.

    5. Install green roofs. Roof space not taken up by solar hot water heaters or photovoltaic cells could be planted in greenery that provides added insulation to the White House and helps offset its carbon footprint.

    6. Put up an outside clothesline. I don't necessarily want to see the First Underwear waving in the breeze. But how about using solar energy to dry towels, sheets, and t-shirts?

    7. Use electric lawn mowers, hedge trimmers and chain saws. Electric gardening tools reduce noise and air pollution; they'll be easier to use if the farthest reaches of the White House grounds don't require as much maintenance because they're planted in native grasses and groundcovers.

    8. Set up carpools and vanpools for White House employees. Encourage use of mass transit. The White House is no more than a 15-minute walk from subway lines that serve most of the city and many of the suburbs.

    9. Install rain barrels. The White House grounds already feature a sprinkler system. How about taking wate conservation a step further, and collect roof water into rain barrels that can irrigate flower beds, bushes, and that Victory Garden the Obamas are going to grow?

    10. Turn part of the grounds into a kids' playground. Many children today suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder, a lack of relationship to nature because they spend so much time indoors. Build the Obama girls a playground that includes tree houses, a pond, birdfeeders, and someplace they can play hopscotch without worrying about getting chalk on the floor.

    December 07, 2008

    Green Moms Urge Obama to Adopt Prevention Agenda

    When it comes to protecting the environment, it seems like we’re always playing “catch up.”

    We’re trying to catch up on shutting down toxic waste sites. Catch up on eliminating dangerous chemicals from our personal care products. Catch up on – and this is a really big one – removing all the climate-changing carbon dioxide we’re emitting into the atmosphere.

    It’s a frustrating game, since we never really manage to get caught up. America’s environmental legislators and regulators are mostly focused on clean up – trying to solve a problem after it’s occurred. No one, it seems, remembers the sensible adage, “First, do no harm.”

    So… what would happen if the game changed? What transformations could occur if, instead of focusing on cleaning up problems after the fact, we made it a priority to prevent them in the first place?

    Obama change That’s the topic Green Moms Carnival grapples with this month. Understanding the importance of preventing problems before they occur, and enthusiastic about the presidential election of “change” candidate Barack Obama, we are urging the President-Elect to adopt a prevention agenda as the guiding principle for his environmental policies.

    How? Beth Terry at Fake Plastic Fish urges the President-Elect to “change the fundamental basis on which prosperity is measured. Is the American Dream the pursuit of newer and bigger houses and cars and the latest gadgets? Higher consumption of the earth's resources? Is that what healing the economy means?”

    Beth thinks a better approach is to encourage deeper American values, like voluntary simplicity, sustainable living, and connections among people over material wealth. “The world cannot afford for us to continue trashing the planet as we have been,” she notes, reminding Obama that he is in a unique position to “change the course of our imaginations and help us redefine how we measure prosperity.”

    Over at The Not Quite Crunchy Parent, MC Milker reminds Mr. Obama of the need for standards to make it easier for consumers and manufacturers alike to raise the environmental bar. Says MC, “It just requires someone in authority … to stand up and say, “Hey, let’s get some clarity around this issue.” Mary Hunt at In Women We Trust urges the next president to  “Please put Accountability and Transparency into the green market by invoking sustainable product standards - consumers demand it, investors need it and manufacturers will take the easy way out if you leave it up to them (which is what they are doing right now).”

    Mary also reminds us all that “An ounce of preventative education is worth a pound of bail out cure when it comes to creating a stable economy and green jobs.” Her informative post about the efforts of the L.A. Community College District to save energy on nine campuses could help instruct the president-to-be on effective ways to build or retrofit thousands of energy-efficient buildings to prevent additional CO2 build-up, help companies save money, and protect natural resources.  

    The Crunchy Chicken also encourages Mr. Obama to focus on “investing in green and renewable energy, the accompanying jobs that would be created and the resulting impact on climate change, air quality and environmental health. It's a one-two-three punch that is low-hanging fruit to some really tough problems.”

    Alline Anderson muses at Ecovillage Musings about the need to keep the trains running – Amtrak trains, in particular. “Remember that our country is vast, and that ecologically-sound, dependable, economical transportation is needed beyond the Northeast Corridor… America needs our train service back.” Urges Alline: “Please do not follow the pathetic example of your predecessor George W. Bush, who in his final budget sought to cut Amtrak's subsidy by more than a third, or $500 million. Please be the change that we all seek. We are counting on you.”

    When you talk about prevention, you have to talk about preventing danger to children. Says Anna Hackman at Green Talk, "Mr. President-Elect, we need to stop the exposure of toxic chemicals by updating the 1976 Toxic Substance Chemical Act (TSCA). A law that grandfathered 62,000 chemicals presumed to be safe... It is a re-run not worth watching.”

    Asks Anna, “Please explain to me why manufacturing companies are not required to provide health and safety studies prior to chemicals coming onto the market? 20,000 new chemicals have come onto the market since TSCA was enacted.” Enacting the Kid-Safe Chemical Act would “put the burden of proof on the chemical companies to prove that a chemical is safe before it is allowed on the market.

    Green and Clean Mom's Sommer Poquette also argues in favor of the Kid Safe Chemical Act, noting in a letter addressed to President Obana, "You have children. I have children. We have that common bond and wanting to keep them safe and healthy is certainly your priority and mine. When your wife was pregnant did you ever test her umbilical cord for toxins after either of your daughters were born? We didn’t for my two children but if we had, we might have been surprised to find that there could have been over 300 industrial chemicals that were pre-polluting our babies in their safe wombs. Really who would think that a child is not safe inside their mother’s womb?"

    Talking about food is the issue nearest and dearest to Karen Hanrahan. At Best of Mother Earth, she writes, "Our nation needs to shift the way we eat. To me, this begins with the seeds we plant and the way we farm them. It continues into priistine manufacturing practices  and with policies that supports and reeducates families about getting back to eating locally and seasonally."

    Michelle ("Green Bean") of Green Phone Booth agrees. "If the world switched to an organic agricultural system that relied on compost and cover crop, we could sequester up to 40% of current carbon emissions. But that is just the tip of the quickly melting ice berg. Rebuilding our food system would preserve open space, reduce toxins in the air, ground and water, nurture biodiversity, secure our food from terrorism, reduce obesity, and create tens of millions of green jobs," she writes.

    Jennifer Taggart at The Smart Mama encourages President-Elect Obama to lead by example – starting with the White House. How about cleaning the residence with non-toxic chemicals? Drinking from reusable water bottles? Serving locally grown and organic food? 

    Heather at EnviroMom also volunteers to give the White House a green mansion makeover. While you’re thinking about scrubbing down the Lincoln bedroom with baking soda and vinegar, Heather encourages you to answer two interesting questions: 1)” What are some things you would be willing to change if our President-elect requested it (assuming that you respect him and believe in his reasoning)?  2) “If our government did issue 'environmental guidelines' -- you know,  kind of like the food pyramid -- would you follow them?” 

    Micaela at Mindful Momma wraps it all up with a comprehensive list of "hopes and dreams" that would go a long way towards helping the Obama Administration think preventively about protecting the planet, including a reminder to uphold and strenghten organic agriculture standards, make food safety a top priority, and ensure the safety of children's toys, drinking bottles and personal care products.

    Greenmoms1 Do you have your own questions to pose? We invite you to comment on any or all of these blogs; then head on over to The Prevention Agenda forum and add your ideas to the list. We'll be pulling together some recommendations prior to Obama's inauguration, and welcome your suggestions.

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