Our Green Baby

We decided that we would have a green baby the day we found out I was expecting. When I say green baby I am not talking about an alien or plant. But to nurse and care for our baby in a conscious way. Minimizing the exposure of harmful substances and making as wise choices (economical, social and environmental) as possible. Letting her grow up with awareness of the environment and learn to care for the nature. To give our girl a chance to a future on a healthier planet. Can you think of a better reason to devote to a more sustainable lifestyle than becoming a parent?

Green baby. Our Green Baby | My Green Nook

Plant baby. Photo: daily sunny ©

One of the downsides not breastfeeding is the environmental issue. No food can be greener than your own milk. And sadly eco-labeled supplements are hard or even impossible to find. For instance many include palm oil which are grown on plantations known to be one cause of deforestation of rainforests. Being a threat to biodiversity and species like orangutans. This of course broke my heart to realize. Sometimes ignorance is a bliss. There are even brands which use aggressive marketing in developing countries. Promoting mothers to stop breastfeeding and give supplements instead. This in areas where clean freshwater is not available. Causing illnesses and death among newborn babies. This, sadly, makes many supplements far from sustainable.

As you may have noticed in my earlier post s and presentation I am striving for a greener living. Now I am more eager than ever but have less time and energy for research. So I am quite happy I got guidance from my sister-in-law A, other blogs and my previous findings. My green choices are hands on and not difficult to apply in the daily life with a newborn.

Cloth diapers there are several kinds and brands of them and you may choose one that suits your needs. All-in-one, two-part diapers or a hybrid between the two (aka snap-in one or AIO2). We had the opportunity to buy second-hand which made us able to try different alternatives and brands. Our favorite for now is a snap-in one diaper with a lower waist. It is very trim and comes in three sizes S, M or L. The second-hand market, via Facebook groups etc, have much to offer. And you can make real bargains. I have to confess when we got home from the hospital and during the first weeks we used disposable diapers. No one is perfect…

Cuddly diaper. Our Green Baby |My Green Nook

Cuddly Diaper. Photo: Charlotte, My Green Nook

Glass bottles for feeding instead of plastic. It reduces the risk of leakage of unhealthy chemicals. Though, I have to mention, most plastic bottles of today are free of BPA and other debated compounds. Glass bottles are user-friendly in many ways but not unbreakable. We chose a bottle with a protective sleeve which also gives a better grip. It is dishwasher safe and resist fast temperature changes. It can be sterilized by boiling it for five minutes. Spare parts as well as nipples with different flow are available. The bottle can be customized as our baby grows to adjust to change in needs.

Second-hand clothes are often softer and eventual chemicals have been washed away. We got a lot of clothes of my sister-in-law L. Her girls had worn them and she was happy to see them get used again. Since newborns grow fast and do not get too dirty the clothes look like new.

Second-hand gear allows you to save a lot of money. We got the baby carriage from my cousin in exchange for a computer screen. It was a bit worn but works and fills its purpose. He on the other hand bought it on eBay. The baby safe, for the car, we also got from my sister-in-law A. It was well used so the cover was pretty worn out but we bought a new cover. Now it looks fine.

Organic baby care is gentle to the skin and eco-labeled. Newborns do not need many products a good oil is all at start. You may even use an oil made for cooking. Avoid fragrance since it may cause allergies and asthma. And don’t you agree that the scent of baby is the best there is? I love to ‘sniff’ on my daughters head and get tickled by her soft baby hair. Use washable cloth wipes these are easy to make from used towels.

As our baby grows I have to find new ways to stay green. This progress I would be happy to share with you. Do you have any experiences from daily life with a green baby? What do you do to let your children grow up in a greener world?


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S as in Sedum

S as in Sedum. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook Family: Crassulaceae

Genus: Sedum

Species: Sedum acre

Common names: goldmoss stonecrop, mossy stonecrop, goldmoss sedum, biting stonecrop, wallpepper Swedish name: gul fetknopp

Sedum is a large genus of flowering plants commonly known as stonecrop. The genus has up to 600 species of leaf succulents, varying from annual and creeping herbs to shrubs. The plants have water-storing leaves. Sedum species are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Many sedums are cultivated as garden plants, due to their interesting and attractive appearance and hardiness. The various species differ in their requirements; some are cold-hardy but do not tolerate heat, some require heat but do not tolerate cold. Numerous hybrid cultivars have been developed. Sedum can be used to provide a roof covering in green roofs.

The leaves of most stonecrop are edible. But the ones of Sedum acre are somewhat toxic. The leaves contain an acrid fluid that also can cause skin rashes. It is native to Europe, but also naturalised in North America and New Zealand. In the wild Sedum acre grows in thin dry soils and can be found on shingle, beaches, dry-stone walls, dry banks, seashore rocks, roadside verges, wasteland and in sandy meadows near the sea. It can survive half a year without soil and water.

Sedum acre. S as in Sedum. Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge | My Green Nook

Sedum acre. Photo: Dick Culbert ©

Description: Sedum acre is a tufted perennial herb that forms mat-like stands. The stems are short and densely covered in leaves. At the flowering time in early summer (June-July), the stems lengthen and often gets pinkish-brown with the leaves further apart. The leaves are fleshy and shortly cylindrical with a rounded tip, like a sausage. Sometimes they have a touch of red. The starry flowers have bright yellow petals.

How to grow: Sedum acre is used in hanging baskets and container gardens, as a trailing accent, in borders, or as groundcover. It spreads when allowed to do so, but is easily controlled, being shallow-rooted. It grows as a creeping ground cover, often in dry sandy soil, but also in the cracks of masonry. It grows well in poor soils, sand, rock gardens, and rich garden soil, under a variety of light levels. With one exception it does not thrive in dense shade with limited water.

Living Roof – Sedum roof covering

Living roofs are not a new thing. It has a long history and due to its many advantages it has made a come back in todays societies. Green roofing reduces the heat radiation, cleans the air from carbon dioxide and pollutants. It also reduces the load on the stormwater system and conserves energy. Green roofs also provide habitats for plants, insects, and animals that otherwise have limited natural space in cities. All this makes green roofing a sustainable alternative to traditional roofs. And I think it is beautiful to see a living roof instead of a dead flat space. What do you think about green roofing?


© The photos are licensed by Creative Commons and some rights are reserved. License Attribution 2.0

Bokashi Composting

It is time to summon this weeks #CTWW Challenge – Compost. The theme during April is 2015 Year of the Soil. Read more about the theme and challenge on Reduce Footprints.

I wrote a short post about different compost methods earlier – read it in the post Greener Gardening Tools in the section called Compostation systems. Since I live in an apartment a compost can be hard to manage. I thought of a worm compost but realized it would take up too much space. And the poor worms would not be able to leave the bin. So I got the advice of a friend of mine to try Bokashi.

Bokashi Composting | My Green Nook

In a Bokashi the compostation is driven by microbes which you add in form of a granulate. The process is called fermentation and requires an anaerobic environment (non-oxygen process). I have started it up and will hopefully receive a terrific soil in June. I compost kitchen scraps like peels and other vegetable based matter in a bucket with an airtight lid. In a real Bokashi bucket there is a tap at the bottom where you get a concentrated nutritious fluid. After dilution you can use it to water your flowers with (both indoors and outdoors). When the bucket is filled (which in my case went very fast) the compost should rest in a couple of weeks letting the scrap get fermented. Then you mix the Bokashi with soil and keep it warm for about three weeks to end the process. In this stage the process is aerobic (needs oxygen) so do not cover the soil. Finally you get a very nice soil to plant your flowers or grow your veggies in. I will keep you updated.

I Failed Meatless Monday

I have to admit I failed this weeks Change The World (#CTWW) challenge – Meatless Monday. Why? I have no excuse and am not going to talk myself out of it. I feel guilty and embarrassed. But I take the criticism for being lazy, a bad planer and tired. These are no reasons to fail a quest that is so basic but what else can I say. Now I have confessed and will make it up to myself. I will have a meatless day this week. And with some planing I will manage to purchase the necessary ingredients. This by creating a menu for a day and make a shopping list to bring to the grocery store. And tomorrow is our food shopping day.

 

Meatless Menu. I Failed Meatless Monday | My Green Nook

 

Breakfast
Oatmeal Porridge, milk and lingonberry

Lunch
Broccoli Pesto recipe by Kristin at Dizzy, Busy and Hungry
with Bean Pasta and a Salad (carrots, spinach, swiss chard, arugula)

Dinner
Zucchini Pizza Crust recipe by Sam at Pancake Warriors
with Veggie Topping (arugula, cherry tomatoes, cheese)

In between meals – snacks
Raspberry smoothie recipe by Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb
fruit and nuts

As I always do I will drink loads of water. The ingredients will be organic and grown as close as possible. I have decided to go easy in the beginning eating a lakto-ovo-vegetarian diet once a week. This means I am allowing egg, milk and milk products in my meals. Some of you may think it is cheating but for me it is a step in the right direction. I will also have to read more about a vegetarian diet to make sure I get all essential amino acids, vitamines and minerals. I want all my nutrients to come from healthy and organic food. Stay tuned – I will leave a full report when I succeeded.

If you want to start a new greener and healthier life I recommend you to visit Deborah at Urban Naturale a blog where you find all about a Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Lifestyle. I can also recommend a visit to World Changing Me where you find quests challenging you in sustainability. The quests are leveled and include many topics so everyone can enjoy it. I think it also has an educational value so let your kids get involved too.

WE’RE CHANGING THE WORLD …
ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME

Cyndi at Reduce Footprints

Family Dinner

Family dinners is not always fancy like the picture below. But make it a social time spent together with the family as often as possible. No telly and no disturbance – just sit together enjoying your meal. Catch up and talk about your day. Let it take time and make it a relaxing pause between chores.

Dinner table. Family Dinner | My Green Nook

Nutrition and food is a hot topic today –  we can view it as a part of sustainability (health, agriculture, food industry, organic food, different diets, GMO etc). The #CTWW-gang is engaged in the discussion. This week Reduce Footprints gave us the challenge Family Cook Day. I must admit that I have not followed the guidelines but I keep to the subject. It is only me and my spouse in my family so far and we always purchase food and cook it together. Food and nutrition is an everyday thing which is vital for us. With the right choices we can live a healthier and more sustainable life. As always the process begins in our minds. And then we work on it step by step. Some of you may already have reached your goals others are on their way or maybe have not given it much thought at all. I believe in balance and knowledge. Balance as in we may treat ourselves once in a while but keep a healthy diet over all. Balanced nutrition and food intake is the key. Knowledge as in knowing the basics about nutrition and be able to make conscious choices.

I often stand among the groceries reading the labels and comparing different alternatives. Often the best thing is to cook your food from scratch – purchasing raw foods. Then you do not get all the additives and E-numbers. And always watch out for high sugar or salt content as well as sweeteners. Often light products contains sweeteners or high content of carbohydrates instead of fat. Next time you go to the grocery store check out the dairy department. Compare different yoghurt – fruit vs natural, low-fat (light) vs natural fat content. And while comparing calculate the price difference between organic and non-organic. Summon a weeks consumption – how much did it differ? Can you afford it? Is there anything else you can live without to choose organic?

Also look at the origin of your groceries where are they produced? Some groceries may have traveled world-wide before getting to your store. This is quite common for processed foods and ready to eat meals. Think about the seasons and buy local, organic vegetables and fruit when possible. But local can be tricky at least in Sweden since much is produced in greenhouses which often are heated with fossil fuels. Therefore organic food from abroad may be a better choice especially during the winter. Next time do the same at a different department. Soon you have got the grip and it will be easier from here on. And while at it a reminder – bring your own bags to the store.

A good eating habit starts in the cradle. Make healthy food a natural part of your family diet. A good standard to work from is the plate model which helps you provide a balanced diet. According to it a meal should consist of 50% fruit/berries and veggies, 25% proteins and 25% carbohydrates. The protein source may be vegetarian even if the picture shows meat. I usually save the fruit/berries and sandwich for a small meal in the afternoon since my blood sugar have a tendency to fall rapid. Instead of milk you can choose water.

Healthy meal. Family Dinner | My Green Nook

Read more about healthy cooking with and for kids as well as their parents:

I have decided to make at least one day a week vegetarian. I wish I could say I am a full-time vegetarian but I never manged to take the step fully. My only excuse is that we would have to make two separate dishes every meal. To justify us a bit we prefer organic meat from well-being, healthy livestock and mostly eat chicken, eggs and fish. We eat a well-balanced diet with lots of organic veggies and fruits. Using the plate model as a guidance.

 


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Plastic pollution

It is time to share my research from this weeks Change The World Challenge (#CTWW). This month the overall theme is Nutrition and this week we talk about oceanic habitats. The problem with contaminated seafood and plastic waste escalates. I guess you have heard the sad news about the plastic pollution in the oceans. If not I suggest you take a look at The Trash Vortex an article written by Greenpeace International.

Growing up in a world of plastic or rather the plastic era the material have become a part of everyday life. Going to the grocery store to purchase food you get home with loads of plastic packaging. Going to any store you get a plastic bag to put your purchases in. What do you do with all the trash? And have you ever wondered where it goes?

Beach. Plastic pollution | My Green Nook

Human impact. Photo: Hillary Daniels

Landfills and litter on dry land have been a discussed problem for a while and many countries have started to solve the issue. But the oceans have been viewed as perfect dumpsites. Ignorance and the thought – what we do not see does not exist – have ruled. Shutting our eyes and turning our backs from one of the worlds most sensitive habitats – the oceans. The system has just set of the alarm about plastic pollution in the oceans. It is scary how little we actually know of the oceanic habitats and the species living in them. For example the blue whale and the mystery around it. This huge animals have not been fully researched and I guess it is not the only species. What is happening in the depths are still undiscovered and left unanswered. So how do we dare to jeopardize these ecosystems?

Sea Otter. Plastic Pollution | My Green Nook

On of the oceans inhabitants, the sea otter. Photo: William Warby

The oceans are vital resources of food and a source of income for many people. But the plastic pollution have gotten into the food chain and contaminated our dinner plates. Beside directly harming wildlife. The problem will not solve itself. Plastic is not decomposable. When thrown away it stays in the ecosystem affecting all the living. Is it not time to act and stop this madness?

To every problem there is solutions. But sometimes we have to act immediately and this is one of those times. So what can we do?

  1. Reduce the usage of plastic. Take your own fabric bag to the store and shop with style. There are many lovely tote bags to choose from. Or why not design your own bag from recycled fabric?
  2. Recycle. Cut down on the waste and let your plastic be reused. If you do not have access to a recycle station ask your municipality. Be the force to interpret recycling in your area.
  3. Question the use of plastic containers ask for an alternative. Put pressure on the market by being an aware customer.
  4. Make changes at home. When buying new storage, utilities, etc skip the plastic and chose stainless steel, bamboo or other ecofriendly and decomposable materials.

Read more in Natural Resources Defense Council’s article Solutions to Plastic Pollution in our Oceans. Have you found any ecofriendly, pretty and useful alternatives to plastic to use at home? Please share your ideas by writing a comment.

 


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Indigenous culture

Today it is the International Women’s Day which should be acknowledged. But I would like to tell you an other story – the one of the swedish or rather Scandinavian indigenous people and their culture. The sámi (or saami) living in the Northern parts called Sápmi which stretches from Norway to Russia.

Sami people. Indigenous people | My Green Nook

Sámi couple in traditional clothes Photo: Tarja Mitrovic

As many other indigenous people and minorities the sámi has a history of being discriminated and they still are. Their lifestyle and culture have been questioned, neglected and violated. Even today decision-makers continue the injustices. But let us talk about the people rather than their misfortunes and suffering. The sámi people is living close with nature and show it great respect. Commonly known for being reindeer keepers living of the land. In history they were nomads herding their reindeer’s over vast lands. But the crafts, hunting and fishing industries are very important too. Their believes included shamanism and nature religion which had much in common with the indigenous people of North America. Today Sápmi is secular and do not belong to any religion. Politics have become important as a part of protecting the sámi traditions, culture and land.

Sámi flag. Indigenous culture| My Green Nook

Sámi flag of Sápmi.

There is one tradition I would love to share with you since I think it is so beautiful. The jojk, the traditional sámi song (or singing), which also was a part of their religion. Often very emotional, filled with heart and soul. This song is preformed by a young swedish sámi man as a tribute to his deceased friend. Listen via the link below:

Jon Henrik´s jojk for Daniel

Reindeer. Indigenous culture | My Green Nook

Reindeer. Photo: Harvey Barrison

Read more about the sámi people and their culture in Stories from my travels around the world and Sápmi.

 


 

2 Crochet Hooks

Conscious Shopping

It is time for Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW). This weeks subject is textiles and how we can share the resources. Have you ever wondered what your clothes and home textiles are made from? Or how they are produced? This might be an eye-opener and an easy access to information about textiles. By browsing the tag #CTWW in social media you will find more read worthy content on the subject. Please also visit Cyndi at Reduce Footprints to learn more about the challenge and textiles.

Conscious Shopping - Textiles | My Green Nook

Textiles are all around us. Photo: Peddhapati ©

As I wrote in a previous post, To consume or not to consume, the first thing to do is to cut down on your purchases. I know many of you love clothes, shoes, handbags and want to look fashionable. I do not blame you but I want to give you some advise. First of all organize your closet and make it viable. Think of what you need (and like) instead of just running to the store and impulsively buy something. It is amazing how many variations you may come up with just by having a good basic wardrobe. This enables you to just add a new top (or what you need) rather than having to buy whole outfits since nothing matches. Think quality and choose things you know will not go out of style in the first place. Like that little black dress almost every woman have in their closet.

Conscious Shopping | My Green Nook

Organized closet – a good start. Photo: Rubbermaid Products ©

While organizing your closet make piles with things to give to charity, sell, swap or refashion. In Sweden the SSNC have a yearly clothes swap day (this year April 18th) which is a great idea. Look for your local clothes swap day or start one. I have a friend who twice a year invites all her acquaintances to a clothes swap with mingle and food. I think it is a very nice initiative. So get some friends together and plan your own party.

I love to by second-hand but sometimes it is hard to find something I really like. Then it is time to get into the labels of sustainable textiles. I know this can be tricky and a bit boring but once you have learned you never forget. And sorry folks there are hustlers on the market – saying they are eco/organic/green but have no criteria for what they mean or lack a certification. To be on the safe side you may want to keep these labels in mind:

Click on the labels to learn more

GOTS

GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard

Oeko-Tex

OEKO-TEX International Standard - Textile label

EU Ecolabel

EU Ecolabel - European environmental label

Svanen/The Swan | Nordic Ecolabel

Svanen/The Swan. Nordic ecolabel.

SSNC´s Ecolabel | Good Environmental Choice

Good Environmetal Choice - Swedish eco-label

These are the labels commonly seen in Sweden. I know there are other labels – national, regional, type specific – so head out and look for more. Gather information about eco labels and sustainability labels used in your country. Feel free to share your discoveries with me by leaving a comment.


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Creative K Kids
Our Three Peas

Passion for Sustainability

As many of you already noticed I am all in for sustainability and it is a kind of passion. I love to interact with like-minded people, bloggers and organisations. One could think sustainability is a narrow niche but think again. What is sustainability? What does it mean?

When you have answered the questions you will know that it is applicable on everything and everywhere. The definition of sustainability is:

“…meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission, 1987)

Sustainability includes all areas of science and values. Arching between Economy, Environment and Society. It is only where the three pillars intersect that sustainability prevails. The concept of sustainability can be viewed like this:

Sustainability diagram - Sustainability concept | My Green Nook

This makes sustainability so challenging and sometimes hard to reach. You need to see the whole picture and at the same time break it down into details. Why am I telling you all this?

First, it is important to state what I mean when I write about sustainability. Second, I want to tell you about the Sustainability Living Blogs where you can add your blog and find like-minded bloggers. It is a great opportunity and a nice initiative by Kirsten at Sustainable Suburbia. I added my blog to the category General Slow, Sustainable or Simple Living Blogs since I write a bit of this and that. I suggest you take a peek by clicking the badge below.

Sustainable Suburbia: Striving for a lower impact lifestyle. Join the Sustainable Living Blogs Linky Lists

Did you find anything interesting or inspiring? I hope you did. Sustainability is fun and brain teasing. As a biologist and gardener I have the concept in the back of my head constantly. Trying to find new ways to think and act to solve old problems. Sometimes it goes easy and other times I get frustrated over the ignorance I occasionally meet. But I will not give up and I hope more will find the passion for sustainability.


 

Live It Up at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #56