Mommy Greenest TED Talk, Too

Where have you been? That’s the most-asked question I’m getting these days. When I put Mommy Greenest on pause in 2017 to focus on consulting with companies and non-profits, I had no idea I would miss blogging so much. Now I’m entering the next chapter of motherhood — the one where my kids go off to college and I wonder what the hell happened. I need a place to write about this new phase of life, and Facebook doesn’t count. So hi, I’m back. How are you?

In the last few years, my work promoting sustainability — and rallying against plastic pollution — has become more prominent, especially after two TEDx talks. I remember the first time I spoke publicly, when I addressed a group of supporters as Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World, and my legs were shaking so badly that I worried the audience would see the podium trembling. It wasn’t that I was afraid of speaking, but the subject matter was too important to screw up: I used the analogy of the canary in a coal mine to describe how the increase in children’s illnesses should alert us to the fact that toxic chemicals in the environment threaten us all.

I felt the same way about my 2017 TEDx talk. By that point, I had done many speaking engagements — one in front of 1,200 people! — but this was the first time that I had to memorize an 18-minute talk. And just like that first time at the podium, my overwhelming fear was that I would misspeak a statistic or inadvertently encourage viewers to misinterpret the theme.

Unfortunately, that was exactly what happened. As I shared in this TEDx talk, which I did in 2019, my theme of “Can one straw change the world?” resulted in some strange takeaways.

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Could Work At Home Help Solve Climate Change?

2020 was tied as the warmest year on record. The U.S. experienced more than 20 climate-fueled disasters, each totaling $1 billion in damages. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is 413 parts per million, the highest level it’s been in 800,000 years. That’s the bad news. The good news? If every U.S. worker who can telecommute did work at home just one day a week, we could help solve climate change. How?

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Mommy Greenest Loves: Superfood Facial Oil

facial oil

When I was 30, I visited a legendary Los Angeles facialist who told me to stop using so many hydrating products. “Your skin is naturally oily,” she said. “You make your own moisture.” From then on, I just used eye cream at night, and added sunscreen in the daytime — all natural and organic, of course. And that was that, for a while.

But now I’m 50, and it’s a whole different ball game. Why? As hormones plummet and cells stop renewing, my skin is becoming drier. In the past few years, I’ve tried a lot of different creams, but the only thing that seems to restore moisture is a pure, natural facial oil. I’ve been using certified organic argan facial oil for a while, but recently upped my game by switching to Superfood Facial Oil from British natural beauty brand PHB Ethical Beauty. It’s lightweight but seriously hydrating — my skin drinks it up!

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Essential Oil Natural Deodorant DIY Recipe

Have you tried plastic free natural deodorant? Now even mainstream natural deodorant brands are touting aluminum- and paraben-free — for good reason, as there is no excuse for putting toxic chemicals near vulnerable areas like lymph nodes and breasts. But most natural deodorants still aren’t taking on the plastic problem, and most are made with baking soda, which gives me a painful rash under my arms. (No. Fun.) Recently, I’ve been experimenting with essential oil natural deodorant blends and let me tell you: In the right combination they really WORK!

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My Electric Car Experience

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of owning an electric car since 2015, when I first met Josh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell, the amazing husband-and-wife team behind the “Fuel” documentary, which totally opened my eyes to the real possibilities of game-changing natural resources. (They’re also the powerhouse behind “Kiss the Ground,” which details how regenerative agriculture could solve global warming — but I digress.) Over the years, a few of my friends had tried plug-ins, but the ones I could afford wouldn’t get me to San Diego and back without charging, so I counted them out. Then Chevrolet offered to let me try out the new Bolt EV and let me tell you, it’s a game changer. 

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Are You Using Plastic Free Wipes?

plastic free wipes

They look like paper but they act like plastic: Studies show that as many as 50% of wet wipes contain plastic. That’s why I’m thrilled to have discovered organic and plastic free wipes from Natracare, which sponsored this post and makes plastic free wipes for baby care, makeup removal, and more.

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Father’s Day Gift: Nordgreen Eco Watch

nordgreen eco watch for father's day gift

I was looking for the perfect sustainable Father’s Day gift online, when I discovered Nordgreen eco watches. Designed by Danish designer Jakob Wagner, formerly of Bang & Olufsen, these watches have just the kind of streamlined, minimalist design that resonates with my husband.

Then I started reading up on Nordgreen’s sustainability cred. The hardware is crafted from recycled metal. Packaging is FSC certified, including cardboard from responsibly managed forests and felt upcycled from plastic water bottles. Lifestyle  photographs include reusable glasses with stainless steel straws, a subtle endorsement of the #plasticfree movement. Even the name has sustainability at its core, combining the words “Norwegian” and “green.”

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Breaking Up With Yoga

Twenty years ago I fell head over heels -- literally -- in love with yoga. It was a beautiful relationship, until it became abusive.

Twenty years ago I fell head over heels – literally – in love with yoga. After two previous decades filled with body shame and borderline anorexia, yoga taught me acceptance, and that strength was better than skinny. Through relationships, jobs, marriage, pregnancy – I practiced the day I went into labor – parenting, getting fired, my father’s mental illness, menopause, founding a company, and so much more, yoga was there for me, mentally and physically. Stepping onto the mat put everything into perspective. Stepping off, I took that perspective with me.

It was a beautiful relationship, until it became abusive.

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Coronavirus Gives Me Hope for Climate Change

puppy worried about coronavirus
Thanks to @sea_hugger for the inspiration!

As China shut down factories and refineries, the country’s carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 25% – about 150 million metric tons, which is equivalent to what the state of New York emits in a year. Satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency show dramatically reduced nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which are released by cars, power plants, and factories; carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal are similarly reduced.

In Los Angeles, where I live, our air has been cleaner in the past three weeks than in previous months, and traffic is moving nearly 70% faster than the weeks before the shutdown. Despite pressure from the plastics industry to abandon zero-waste strategies, most of us are trying to stick to our refillable, reusable, perpetually washable guns.

People’s lives are at stake. These are not sacrifices we would ever make voluntarily. But are there lessons we can learn?

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