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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How To Fight Coronawashing

“Fife Ethylene Plant” by Richard Webb is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency shocked environmentalists by announcing that companies do not need to meet environmental standards – including monitoring and reporting – during the coronavirus outbreak. This week, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than 20 environmental groups petitioned the EPA for more “stringent disclosure,” calling the memo a “license to pollute” and a “clear opportunity for abuse.”

The EPA move is “essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future,” said former EPA Office of Enforcement head Cynthia Giles, and even more frightening given the fact that air pollution makes people more vulnerable to viruses like COVID-19 because it lowers our ability to fight off infection and may, in fact, help spread it.

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Can You Avoid Plastic Pollution In A Pandemic?

reusable washable shopping bags

Last week, my husband unloaded eight paper shopping bags filled with plastic-wrapped food. After decades working on sustainability – and the last four years focused on single-use plastic, including a TEDx talk last year and another in 2017 – the sight made me physically ill. This is the third week of shelter in place for most of the country, including Los Angeles, where I live. And while most of us spent the time battling alternating bouts of terror and boredom, the plastics industry was in attack mode. As the New York Times described, “The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic.”

Coronawashing. That’s a new one.

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How To Rock A Zoom or Videoconference

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff with zoom filter

Even before sheltering in place, I spent more time meeting colleagues and co-workers on screens than I did in person. In many cases, we’re in different countries and time zones so the communication is 100% virtual, yet on the rare occasion when we meet in person I already feel like we’re old friends. But conference calls and video chats are funny places. Little things can add up to big annoyances. Small challenges in communication can dramatically impact work flow. So I’ve put together this handy-dandy guide to help.

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Mommy Greenest TED Talk, Too

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 that 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 it, and Facebook doesn’t count. 

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 the full 18-minute talk had to be memorized. My idea worth sharing was, “Can one straw change the world?” 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.

As I shared in last year’s TEDxSantaBarbara, that’s exactly what happened.

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About Mommy Greenest

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff in Paris

Welcome! If you found me by choice, thank you—and if you accidentally stumbled in and are about to click away because you think I’m going to wax philosophical about the joys of dressing your kids in hemp, stick around.

I’m not here to preach. I might use biodegradable bathroom cleaner, but I’m not about to deny my three children the occasional hamburger—though I can’t help reminding them what factory farming is doing to the planet. I live by example, but I’m not a sustainabully. (Yes, I made that word up.)

Since I began publishing EcoStiletto in 2007 and blogging as Mommy Greenest in 2008 (the two merged under the MG umbrella in 2013), I’ve written about feeding my kids organic food, battling a lice infestation without chemicals (they won), DIYing natural perfume and disposing of off-gassing toys (“Doll? What doll?”).

When it comes to my three children, I follow the Precautionary Principle as established by the United Nations in 1982. It states that, “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

I try to raise my family with this knowledge in mind, but—like all of us—sometimes I fail. So maybe I’m not the greenest mommy on the block. Who cares? The point is, I try to make daily choices that can help us create a healthier lifestyle—without judgement. And on this blog, I share information about those choices with you.

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