It's that time of year again--a time for looking back, taking stock, thinking of the most memorable things that happened within the last twelve months. And of course, it's the time of year that we get deluged with lists! The 10 Best Movies of the Year. The 10 Most Intriguing People. The 10 Best Top 10 Lists...well, you get the drift. So who am I to buck the trend? Following are My 10 Favorite Green Resources for 2012 (in no particular order). These are the environmental blogs, books, and ideas that have inspired me to be ever-greener. Just think of them as 10 holiday gifts from me to you--gifts that keep on giving, are clutter-free, plastic-free, battery-free, and just plain FREE. And please, feel free to re-gift them! (Note: The books are still free if you get them from the library.)
1. Little Eco Footprints. I subscribe to many green blogs, but my #1, must-read-it, always-love-it blog is Little Eco Footprints. The blog's writer, Tricia, lives in Australia with her husband and adorable daughter (whom she refers to as "Little Eco"). As she introduces herself: "I write here about learning to live better with less. I dream of living close to nature; having space to grow food; having a little ecological footprint; and being part of a community." Her goal for the past year was to avoid shopping malls and big-box stores, and to support local farms and merchants instead. I love her recipe for homemade play dough--there's just something magical about a hunk of fresh dough that turns every child into a wannabe Auguste Rodin.
2. Beth Terry's blog, My Plastic-Free Life. Think of this as a companion piece to her habit-changing book on the same subject (which I'll review in a future post). I haven't come across anyone better than Beth Terry for researching the monumental problem of plastics in our society, and suggesting what we can personally and collectively do about that problem--all without the "gloom and doom" factor.
3. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael
Pollan. Yes, I know this book was published in 2007; however, this is the year that I finally got around to reading it--and now I wish that I'd read it sooner. Thanks to this book, no more McDonald's food for me (or at least
a drastic reduction of it--since I read the book in January, I've taken the kids to McDonald's exactly three times, when we were seriously on the fly). Also thanks to this book: My addiction to Pepsi has been kicked, cold-turkey.
4. Richard Louv's blog: Children & Nature Network. As I wrote in my review of Last Child in the Woods (see sidebar entitled "Green Books for Adults" on the home page), I feel like I grew up with Richard Louv. His childhood was so similar to mine, with a neighborhood full of children all outside, playing together, and exploring from morning 'til evening. Now, his blog continues the inspiring work that he began with his books--citing studies of the changing times, and suggesting how we can re-introduce nature into family life. He's consistently interesting and informative.
5. Posie Gets Cozy. Technically, this choice is not an environmental blog. However, in the green spirit of unplugging and simplifying, Alicia Paulson posts exquisite photos not only of Oregon (I really must visit someday...), but also of the beautiful simplicity of everyday life, of home-made food and hand-sewn things, of quiet moments, of people and pets she cherishes. It's so peaceful and calming, and is the perfect antidote to technological overload. If you've had a long day and night at your desk, filled with number-crunching and telephoning, then make your last stop of the night here, at Alicia's home, before you turn off your computer. Sweet dreams!
6. The Minimalist Mom. Rachel Jonat, the Canadian author of The Minimalist Mom blog (who currently lives on the Isle of Man), inspires me with every single post. I just discoved her blog within the last month, but there's such a treasure trove to dig through in her archives. My two favorite articles so far are Toy Clutter Confessional and Farewell Facebook. Jonat makes so many thoughtful points, I want to follow them all--in moderation. As I said in my post entitled The Many Shades of Green (or: "Get Off Your Green High Horse!"), we're not all at the same levels of environmentalism--and the same goes for minimalism. (By the way, Jonat admits that she's not 100% minimalist either.)
7. Clean. This blog, written by Rachel Jepson Wolf, is subtitled "Your (Crafty, Organic, Bubble-Filled) Happy Place." Gotta love that. I also love the nature photos, tutorials, and good humor, such as this photo of a puppy licking off the Thanksiving dishes completely inside of the dishwasher (scroll down within the link). Plus, Rachel's children are ethereally beautiful, and if I believed that children should be models (my jury is still out on that case), I'd tell her to sign them up, STAT. Her photos of them are just amazing.
8. Treehugger and Live Green. Be Green (LGBG). Yes, I know--those are two things, not one. But they are different sides of the same coin. If you've got a lot of free time (does anybody?), then Treehugger.com is your definitive resource for everything green under the sun. But, if you want a concise, more manageable recap of what's going on in the (green) world this week, that's where LGBG comes in. They research a wide range of green news and then hand-pick the highlights, along with links to the original sources where you can read further (if or when you find that free time). The site isn't just green news stories, though--they also offer good ideas like putting together an earth-friendly holiday party. (Disclosure: LGBG recently featured Joyfully Green [thank you again, LGBG!]; however, I'd been reading and enjoying their blog before they contacted me to let me know about their review.)
9. Go Explore Nature. Blogger Debi Huang and I are like-minded mothers living on opposite coasts. We're both trying our best to nurture a deep appreciation of nature in our children by creatively exploring the outdoors. Actually, she's much better at getting her kids outdoors than I am (probably due in part to the fact that she lives in sunny L.A. and not the chilly Northeast, so she can do things like taking her kids on nighttime strolls in their pajamas during the holidays). But, she also offers up trillions of creative nature projects that you and your kids can make indoors or out. I particularly like her twig stars (which can be made to celebrate Hanukkah, too), and her "Give a Kid a Camera" series.
10. Get Going, Get Green! Blogger Fredi Baker is a self-proclaimed "green geek," but she's also a tireless investigator of everyday things that could use some serious second thoughts. She's delved into everything from the spooky facts about Halloween candy to fossil fuels in airplanes. It's a big world out there, and somehow, she's covering all of it (or large swaths of it!), with a view to greening it. Lofty goals, down-to-earth writing. Love it.
I hope you will enjoy these "gifts" as much as I do. Happy holidays, and have a happy, green new year!
Food for thought: Do you have any green websites, blogs, or books that inspired you this past year? Kindly let me know about them in the Comments section below.
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