Robin Shreeves

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On May 25th of this year over 2 million people in more that 50 countries around the world participated in a “March Say NO to GMOsAgainst Monsanto.” I participated in a local event here in Fargo and my friend, Robin Shreeves, wrote about the experience at Mother Nature Network.

The main purpose of the march was to educate people about Monsanto and genetically modified foods. And the momentum continues: “We are going to get involved heavily with the October 12 World Food Day,” said Nick Bernabe, March Against Monsanto’s Social Media Director.

While the details of the October event are still being worked out, the march organizers are helping promote the July 4 Moms Across America March, an event where citizens plan to march in local Independence Day parades nation-wide to show their support for GMO labeling.

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says no more than 90 days of testing is needed to ensure GMOs safety for human consumption, independent studies of several years continue to make links to major health issues. The FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods, Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lawyer and Monsanto Vice President for Public Policy, the biggest producer of GMOs worldwide, continues to refute the studies. (Source: http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/)

To read the article, visit http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/green-blogger-wendy-gabriel-shares-her-march-against-monsanto-experience.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Instead of buying stuff (remember last week’s Green caleigh-snowmanTip) invest in experience consumption.

What is experience consumption? It’s spending time, and perhaps some money, on experiences instead of material possessions.
Source: Robin Shreeves

I just read an awesome article at Mother Nature Network from my friend Robin Shreeves entitled Why I’m optimistic about 2010: Experience consumption. Robin explains how the recession has helped us remember our lives are not about the stuff we buy, they are about our family, friends and experiences. Does this sound familiar? Have I not been saying this forever?

Green Living is about living simply, sustainably and thoughtfully.

In her article Robin references a New York Times article that says a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online.

I don’t need validation from the New York Times or ½ of America… but it sure is nice for a change.

According to the Times’ article, The Department of Labor’s time-use surveys show a similar trend: compared with 2005, Americans spent less time in 2008 buying goods and services and more time cooking or taking part in “organizational, civic and religious activities.”

In a subsequent article, January’s ‘experience consumption’ ideas, Robin gives us some wonderful ideas to help us amass experiences and not stuff in 2010. Here are a few:

Volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen. After the holidays, many food pantries probably need a bit of cleaning out and organizing. Soup kitchens still need people to help serve. Volunteer by yourself or as a family for an experience that you won’t forget.

Make a big pot of soup from scratch. Try to use up as many ingredients that you already have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before you shop for new ingredients. Allrecipes.com has a great search feature that allows you to search by ingredients you have on hand. Type in the ingredients you have and put “soup” for a keyword and see what you come up with. When you’re done making your soup, share it with a neighbor or someone else you think may enjoy it.

Borrow some great food-themed movies from the library.Invite friends to bring a snack to share for a movie night in. Chocolat, Diner, Mystic Pizza, Who is Killing the Great Chef’s of Europe, Ratatouille, Babette’s Feast, Bottle Shock, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Scotland, PA are just a few titles to look for. I’m sure you can think of dozens more.

Some local ideas for January 2010:

Institute a family game night.

Take advantage of the season. Get outdoors. Go for a walk, go sledding, make a snowman or snow angel.

Pizza Pop Family Concert: “Children’s Stories Set to Music” from the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony. This delightful program is 7pm on Friday, January 22nd at the NDSU Festival Concert Hall. Bernard Rubenstein is conducting. For more information contact go to fmsymphony.org

If you have any experience consumption ideas for us, please leave them in the comment section!

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

GreenHour.org
Giving our kids (even big kids) unstructured outdoor play time makes them happier, healthier… even smarter. Learn more About Green Hour.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Robin Shreeves
is a work at home mom and freelance writer. A believer in writing Robin Shreeveswhat you know, she started writing about her family’s journey while going green on A Little Greener Every Day and eventually she found that people would pay her to write about what she was learning. She now has the best job ever, writing about being green for various websites including Mother Nature Network and Green Options Media network.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

My husband and I both work from home so almost every aspect of making my day-to-day life a little greener centers around our home. The first steps I took in going green were easy ones – changing out conventional light bulbs to CFL’s and replacing paper napkins and paper towels with cloth napkins and rags. Then I moved on to the more time consuming, possibly less convenient things (yet often quite enjoyable and fulfilling) like walking or riding my bike when possible, preparing meals from ingredients instead of buying convenience foods, growing some of our food, and hanging my laundry out to dry. It’s really become a process of looking at the things I do every day and seeing if I can find a way to do them in a way that does less harm to the earth. I don’t always succeed, but I have come a long way.

You are a self-proclaimed “locavore wannabe.” Can you explain why being a locavore is important to you?

How our eating habits affect the environment never occurred to me until I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. After I read that book, it occurred to me that I needed to change what my family eats for our health and the planet’s health. We do a lot of organics in our house, and whenever possible I buy from local, sustainable sources even if they aren’t certified organic. I call myself a “locavore wannabe” because where I live, eating local all year round is very difficult. I doubt I’ll ever do the amount of work it would take to be 100% locavore. But I do what I can, and I started South Jersey Locavore to help others in my region find sources of local food beyond the farmers market season.

Being a locavore isn’t just important to me for the environmental benefits, though. I’m finding that as I focus on local, sustainable foods, my family is eating a larger variety of foods than we used to. I find that I have more pride in what I place on my table. Even though I don’t announce that “these burgers I’m serving you came from grass fed, free-range happy cows” when I have a cookout, I seem to enjoy serving local foods more to my family and friends. There’s a sense of community and providing that comes along with it that I’m still trying to figure out how to articulate properly.

What have you found to be your biggest challenge as you create an eco-friendly home for your own family?

Honestly, the biggest challenge is my own disorganization. It takes a certain amount of planning and organizing to make sure we have enough time to walk or bike somewhere instead of jumping in the car. If I’m going to create meals from ingredients, I need to shop regularly to make sure those ingredients are in the fridge and pantry. I have to remember to actually get the laundry out of the washing machine early enough in the day to get it the line outside or it ends up going in the dryer. I’m not an organized person by nature, so I end up being my own worst enemy often in my battle to be more eco-friendly.

Not only do you have your own blog and write for a number of other green websites including an eco-friendly food blog for Mother Nature Network, you are a busy mom. Can you tell us one of your favorite fast recipes?

I’ve written about this recipe a few times recently, but really it’s one of my favorites. It’s called Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs, and I found it one of my go-to recipe sites, allrecipes.com. It takes about ten minutes to chop everything up and then you let it marinade all day. While the grill is warming, you pop everything on skewers, and it only takes about ten minutes to cook.

It’s great for the kids because they like the chicken and they can pick and choose the vegetables that go on their skewer. No mushrooms need ever taint their chicken.

What makes this recipe even better is that in the summer, it can be a local meal. I made it just last week and everything but oil, soy sauce and pepper was found at my local farmers market.

Marinade:

• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1/3 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic

Other Stuff:

• Whatever amount of chicken breast you want, cut in 1-inch cubes
• 2 inch vegetable pieces such as: mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, green peppers, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, onion

Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over cut up chicken and vegetables. Marinate for about 6 hours and then pop onto skewers. Grill on indirect heat until the chicken is cooked through.

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