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Green Is Not Just a Crayola Color

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Green is Not Just a Crayola Color…

Teach Your Children Well

Children learn by what they see, not what we tell them. Okay…that was not meant to be a guilt trip; I just want your attention. You need to understand that our actions have a direct impact, not only on our daily lives, but also on future generations. For those who came before me, being green or eco-conscious would never have entered their minds; the concept didn’t exist. Science had not yet come up against overpopulation, carbon emissions and super storms. Our parents and grandparents believed that working hard and living the American dream was their only lot in life. But that’s all changed now. Like them, we must work hard to provide for our families; but now we are also held accountable for their future. How we spend our time and money, and how we present our environment, both in our homes and our surroundings are vitally important as part of the rearing of our children.

Here are two ways we can help our children become more eco-conscious and acquire a more sustainable mindset.

  1. Live by example:

 What matters to you will matter to your children. Make a decision to engage in at least one or two new green initiatives around the house. When you throw something away…away is a place. Have you ever gone to your local landfill and seen the difference recycling makes? Teach your children that each item sent to the dump has consequences for their future. Learning to donate, recycle and repurpose is a great game changer in the home. Even if this is all you do in 2015-16, that’s a huge start.

  1. Play Green

Play has long been associated with achieving higher IQs. But this sort of play is not watching TV or video games, but the kind that fosters creativity

The search for toys that are both environmentally safe and imaginative can be overwhelming, as very little advertisement money is spent on such toys. But if you do your research and seek out local toy stores, you'll find a treasure trove of new discoveries. In the meantime, let me tell you what may be lurking in the toys your children already have. Because once you understand such hidden evils, I’m betting you'll be more willing to seek out safer alternatives.

In February 2009, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act adopted the ASTM F973-07 standard for allowable levels of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, and chromium. Toy cars in particular can be laced with some or all of these dangerous metals. And even though the law passed, you can’t assume that all toys are now safe.  You see, the Act didn't incorporate the inclusion of Bisphenol-A or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Now you may be wondering: Why are these chemicals in toys in the first place?

Plastics, fabrics and paints often contain a variety of substances that allows them to be durable, flexible, colorful or flame resistant. Your local ACE and Home Depot hardware stores carry a lead detector kits for under $15.00 (A small price to ensure lead isn’t lurking in your toy’s paint.) Unfortunately, there are no detector kits for toys containing Bisphenol-A or PVC (such as teething rings and bath toys).

So how Do I Find Safer Toys?

 Ask yourself two questions.

  1. Where is it made?

Many toys are made in China. If you are looking for toys in a big box store, you'll be hard pressed NOT to find a toy not made in China! After the recent onslaught of recalls in toys a few years ago--and continuing recalls–we are all   are much more aware than we used to be.  And while not all toys made outside the US are bad, if you have the choice to buy local, our economy will thank you for keeping your dollars here. 

A perfect example of a good place to shop is HYPERLINK "http://www.greentoys.com/" Green Toys. All their toys are made in the U.S. from recycled milk jugs.   

  1. Who can you trust?

Online shopping makes it easy to find out which toys are safe and where they are made. Most "green" online shops are family run. As they would want no less for their own children and grandchildren, you can be sure their standards are as high as yours. Just be sure to investigate their standards and ask questions.  You will find the owners are more than happy to tell you what you need to know".

Here are some of my favorite sites:

TheGlassBabyBottle.com

moolka.com

ecomom.com

mightynest.com

oompa.com

greentoys.com

planethappytoys.com

mylittlegreenshop.com

So you may be asking yourself, what does all this have to do with organizing? Everything!

Organizing is not simply making your environment neat and stress free, it about adopting change. Changing the way you think about your daily habits and consumer choices going forward. As an “ECO” organizer, I find my clients are very receptive to adopt a greener or eco mindset as the session’s progress. Organizing shines a spotlight on your current habits and as you change, adopting greener choices enhances this process.

One day, Green will be just another color, and our lifestyles will reflect a more intentional and sustainable quality of life. But our children have to learn it from somewhere, and they are not going to retain these teachings taught in schools. Parents, like the old Crosby-Stills-Nash-Young song, you have an obligation to “teach your children well.”

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Guest Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Dear Amy-

We are happy to write you about Eileen Koff.

Both of us are musicians and teachers; Dorothea Cook is a violinist who teaches in the Community Music Programs at Stony Brook University, at the Knox School, and has a private violin teaching studio; Peter Winkler is a composer and professor in the music department at Stony Brook.

We live in an old house filled with the residue of many years of family life. We had read many books about organizing, but we really needed the hands-on experience of working with a wise and thoughtful professional to turn our good intentions into reality.

We met Eileen Koff at an open house at Innovative Nutrition, the health store in Setauket, and quickly decided that she was what we had been looking for.

Eileen doesn't do your organizing for you. She is a teacher, and a very good one.

One of her important lessons is that it's not just about organizing things. We are learning from her that to be organized, you have to understand yourself, your values, what you love, and what your true priorities are. Sorting all that out isn't always easy, and it can require some serious soul-searching.

The organizing process involves both tangible and intangible things; it involves time-management as well as decisions about what to throw out, what to keep, and where things go.

Like all good teachers, Eileen can sometimes makes you a bit uncomfortable, as she challenges your old habits and ways of doing things. But as she says, it takes the eyes of a stranger to help you see your surroundings as they truly are.

The transformation of our house will not happen overnight, but Eileen is teaching us skills that we will be using for many years to come. Best,

-- Dorothea Cook and Peter Winkler