Green Your Easter!

Today’s Lesson: Think Before You Buy

Egg-Basket

Picture courtesy of:  http://www.blisstree.com/2013/03/22/beauty-shopping/natural-easter-egg-dyes/

Each Holiday presents a unique opportunity to either change our wasteful ways or get caught up in the consumer frenzy that not only costs us extra money but also makes us miss the point and purpose of these celebrations.  Easter isn’t really about candy or eggs or gifts it’s about celebrating the fertility of the Earth or depending on your beliefs the resurrection of Christ.  Neither of these things have anything to do with buying plastic baskets that will just get thrown in the landfill.  So how can you still have all the fun Easter has to offer without hurting the planet and thus yourself and your children?

*Make Easter Your Holiday.  What does this holiday mean to you and your family?  What do you want it to mean?  Think about this before you get caught up in the frenzy of  “Easter”.  Talk to your kids and family about why this day is a celebration and make it uniquely yours.  If we do this we have a better chance at steering clear of the consumer culture which drives us to spend and not think.  Here are a few lessons we can learn and pass on to others.

Save Lives: Buy organic or fair trade chocolate and send Hershey and other large chocolate suppliers a clear message.  Hershey and other chocolate conglomerates get cocoa at the cheapest prices they can, in doing this they disregard the fact that many of their suppliers use forced child labor practices.  Many of the companies say they will make the necessary changes to ensure their chocolate isn’t supporting these types of operations but they have made little progress to date.  So give them an incentive to change faster by boycotting them. This is also a great time to tell your children why your not buying them their favorite Cadbury chocolate eggs anymore.  If you tell your child “We aren’t supporting them anymore because we are going to support companies that protect kids like you in other countries, does that sound like a good idea to you?  Are you ok giving up the Cadbury egg because they don’t protect children and instead having this candy that does?”  I bet you your children will be more than happy to change. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/02/hershey-child-labor_n_2060702.html

 Just Say No to Plastic:  Holidays are filled with plastic crap that grabs our    attention for one day and is then off to the landfill the next.  Instead of buying those colorful plastic Easter baskets first see if you have any wooden ones around your house that you can reuse or any type of reusable basket.  If you fill that thing with toys and goodies, your kids aren’t going to care what it looks like.  Or buy a nice basket that you can use again and again.  Also put down that creepy plastic green imitation grass, and walk away.  Instead make some out of green construction paper or go grab some from the back yard.  When your hand goes to that cheap, plastic holiday ornament try to stop and think, do I really want this?  Do I really need this, can I make this out of something else that wasn’t made in a factory in China?  Or can I simply just live without it?  Plastic is becoming a huge problem not only in our landfills but in our oceans.  Currently in the Pacific Ocean there is a patch of floating garbage the size of Texas and it’s all our plastic junk.  You can imagine this isn’t good for the ocean or the life in it, which directly effects us.   http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/pollution/trash-vortex/

Be a Good Egg:  Buy local Free Range eggs.  For years I bought cage free eggs thinking I was doing the right thing for chickens.  Then I found out that “Cage Free,”  just meant that the chickens were in slightly bigger cages!  I was outraged, I mean they are seriously just lying to us and the FDA is ok with that.  Your best option is to buy your eggs from a local farmer that you know raises their chickens outside. This isn’t only better for the chickens but you will also taste the difference in the eggs.  If you can’t find local eggs at Whole Foods you can get Humane Certified Free Range Eggs.  Yes they more expensive but aren’t you, your children and being humane worth a few extra bucks?  The answer if you have to think about it is yes!  http://www.humanemyth.org/cagefree.htm

Making a ham or lamb? Make it local or humane!  Factory farms are horror houses not only for animals but also for the people working in them and for the diseases that run rampant because of them.  The giant hog farms are responsible for a lot of toxic waste entering our waterways and polluting our air and land.  So get your meat from a local farmer or store that caries local meat.  This website will help you find a farm near you. http://www.localharvest.org/csa/.  Whole Foods also has meat that meets strict humane and environmental standards.  If something must die so that you may live don’t you think they should live and die well?  http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/ffarms.asp

Go All Natural!  Want to dye your eggs but hate artificial dyes?  This website gives great tips on how to use produce and spices to naturally color your eggs.  http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=resources&id=9045605 The only problem I have with this is that it does seem a bit wasteful so try to use the food you use to extract the coloring instead of just tossing it out.  For instance if you use blueberries for their juice, use the excess crushed blueberries on toast or make a sauce so they don’t go to waste.   I’m thinking different colored teas would work great to like green tea (green), lemon (yellow), raspberry (red), blueberry (blue), mango (orange)  and I’m sure there are lots of others if you check  out the tea section at your local store.  There are also natural dye kits that you can buy at Whole Foods.

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