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May 9, 2010
In our natural instinct to protect our children, we sometimes (often?) get waylaid by products that end up doing more harm than good, but make a nice profit for the manufacturer. A chemical called triclosan is a case in point. It’s supposed to vanquish “germs,” that is, bacteria or microbes. You’ll find it in liquid soaps, toothpastes, acne creams, and wipes, as well as in surprising places such as cutting boards, bath towels, plastic sandals and children’s toys. Its sibling chemical, triclocarban, is used primarily in deodorant bar soaps and in many cosmetic products. We spend almost $1...

Victory! Marsh Fork Elementary Secures Funding for Relocation

May 2, 2010
On Friday April 30, the Governor of West Virginia held a press conference to announce the secured funding of a new elementary school. Located 300 feet from a coal ash silo due to the practice of mountaintop removal, Marsh Fork Elementary has been the center of a controversial school siting fight for more than 6 years. If you don’t already know, mountaintop removal is a nasty practice of extracting coal by blowing up thousands of years old mountains in communities throughout Appalachia. Corporate greed, lack of precaution, and a disregard for the value of the people that make up these...
Renee Blanchard's picture

A Food Safety Emergency That Needs Attention NOW!

April 27, 2010
After way too many food recalls and contamination scares in everything from peanut butter to spinach, Congress is taking action. The U.S. Senate is about to consider a critical food safety bill that would ramp up protections against food contaminants like E.coli and salmonella. This is already an incredibly important bill for moms and families, and it is backed by unusually strong bipartisan support- but there’s even more to this story. In addition to addressing the potential risks of accidental food contamination, the Senate is also poised to address other hidden dangers lurking inside most...

Nerve Poisons Have No Place Near Our Children and in Their Food

April 27, 2010
Toxic chemicals designed to cause neurological damage are being pumped into our children’s environment and food, as parents and teachers struggle to help vast numbers of children with growing rates of neurodevelopmental and learning disabilities. A prime example is the pesticide “chlorpyrifos.” It is one of the “organophosphates,” a class of chemicals originally developed for use as nerve poisons in wars. Although it has been banned for residential use, chlorpyrifos is widely used in agriculture, and exposures for farm worker children and others living in rural farming areas are very well...

Happy National Healthy Schools Day

April 26, 2010
Today is National Healthy Schools Day. A day to learn, discuss, and implement healthier and safer practices in our nation’s school. Eliminating toxic chemicals and taking on more environmentally friendly standards isn’t always simple, but there are several ways to get started. Here are three. (1) Get your children involved: Our kids are pretty damn good detectives and like to ask a lot of great questions, so make sure they play a lead role in developing goals and making changes at their school. A good first semester goal is to survey all the cleaning products used throughout the school and...
Renee Blanchard's picture

April 25: An Inflection Point on Climate

April 23, 2010
Happy Earth Day all! Speaking of which, this info is just in from Denis Hayes, the international chair of Earth Day 2010 (and national coordinator for the very first Earth Day in 1970). Sounds like a great event...with terrific music ~Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner by Denis Hayes Earth Day Network is organizing a huge event on the Mall in Washington DC on April 25. The goal is to demand tough, effective climate legislation and a swift transition away from 19th century energy sources. “So what?” you may be asking yourself. There have been a lot of climate rallies over the last 25 years and Congress...

It's Earth Day, and we've got you covered!

April 22, 2010
My kindergartener went to school today with an empty 2-liter bottle. The plan? Quite frankly, it's a mystery to me, but I know it involves celebrating Earth Day, so I was happy to do my part by digging through the recycling bin for the perfect contribution. She, like millions of kids across the country today, will come home excited to tell me about her Earth Day project. How will I respond? I'll proudly tell her I also did my part for the environment today by sending a letter to Congress urging support for safer chemicals in products used by babies and children, and in all consumer products...

Healthy Soup or the Stroke du Jour?

April 22, 2010
I love black beans generally and black bean soup in particular. Filling and inexpensive, beans are high in dietary fiber, low in unhealthful fats, and hospitable to garlic, onion, red pepper, and spices. If you were having lunch at a restaurant, black bean soup could be the healthiest thing on the menu. Or, it could be a bowl of stroke du jour. If you’re at all skeptical of whether the federal government should regulate the amount of sodium in processed or restaurant food, consider Chili’s. A bowl of black bean soup at Chili’s contains 1,480 milligrams of sodium. For fully 70 percent of the...
Mike Jacobson's picture

Earth Day a Time for Green Moms to Shine

April 22, 2010
For those amazing eco-moms out there, this week may be quite busy. Thursday is Earth Day and there are thousands of events being held nationwide to honor our planet - be they stream cleanups, advocacy days, or just working in the home garden with their kids. Here at the Sierra Club , we know a good many fantastic eco-moms making a difference, but we thought we’d choose an extra special woman to profile for this Earth Week post: Mary Brune . Mary is the wife of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune , and mom to Olivia (age 6) and Sebastian (age 1) - and she and her family are about as...

Kids Behaving Brilliantly

April 21, 2010
When I was young, I volunteered for various organizations and I participated in an academic extracurricular group known as the Future Problem Solvers of America, but that was the extent of my adolescent efforts at having a positive impact on the world. I don’t think I had ever heard of anyone young doing something world changing (sheltered child I was) and I certainly didn’t feel empowered to be the first. Today, kids blow my mind and give me enormous hope for the future. Consider just these five: • Adora Svitak , a 12-year-old who is a published author and was the youngest speaker at the TED...