Sunday, October 14, 2007

October 15th Blog Action Day

Share the Message!

At Barefoot Books, we are concerned with the impact of climate change on the lives of children and the world they will inherit. We've partnered with The Green Parent, Kiwi Magazine, and Roots & Shoots to bring you playful and engaging resources for discussing the climate crisis and respecting our planet. Take a look around to find fun activities and specific, simple strategies that can be used to help preserve our planet’s precious resources!

To get you started I have made a list of 15 things you can do to help the environment!

1. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store

Top Facts - Consumption

  • Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
  • According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)
  • According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year—900 per person.
  • According to Australia’s Department of Environment, Australians consume 6.9 billion plastic bags each year—326 per person. An estimated .7% or 49,600,000 end up as litter each year.

    Top Facts - Environmental Impact

  • Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
  • Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
  • As part of Clean Up Australia Day, in one day nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.
  • Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.
  • According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78° North [latitude] to Falklands 51° South [latitude].
  • Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.

  • Top Facts - Solutions

  • In 2001, Ireland consumed 1.2 billion plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag consumption tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to this reduced production. Governments around the world are considering implementing similar measures.
  • July 2003, goes live, advancing the mainstream adoption of reusable shopping bags.
  • Each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime.

  • 2.Recycle what you can!


    Recycling is the third R of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product. This section of our site provides information about how to recycle, why to recycle, and what you can recycle. And of course the Earth 911 green recycling locator box above can help you find where you can recycle. Just type in what you want to recycle on the left side and where on the right side by entering your zip code or city and state.

    Recycling Facts & Figures

    • In 1999, recycling and composting activities prevented about 64 million tons of material from ending up in landfills and incinerators. Today, this country recycles 32% of its waste, a rate that has almost doubled during the past 15 years.
    • While recycling has grown in general, recycling of specific materials has grown even more drastically: 50 percent of all paper, 34 percent of all plastic soft drink bottles, 45 percent of all aluminum beer and soft drink cans, 63 percent of all steel packaging, and 67 percent of all major appliances are now recycled.
    • Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 2005, almost 9,000 curbside programs had sprouted up across the nation. As of 2005, about 500 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials.

    Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    3.Eat locally produced food!
    Try a local CSA

    Why Is Community Supported Agriculture Important?
    • CSA's direct marketing gives farmers and growers the fairest return on their products.
    • CSA keeps food dollars in the local community and contributes to the maintenance and establishment of regional food production.
    • CSA encourages communication and cooperation among farmers.
    • With a "guaranteed market" for their produce, farmers can invest their time in doing the best job they can rather than looking for buyers.
    • CSA supports the biodiversity of a given area and the diversity of agriculture through the preservation of small farms producing a wide variety of crops.
    • CSA creates opportunity for dialogue between farmers and consumers.
    • CSA creates a sense of social responsibility and stewardship of local land.
    • CSA puts "the farmers face on food" and increases understanding of how, where, and by whom our food is grown.

    Special thanks to the contributors to this description of CSA: Robyn Van En, CSA of North America (CSANA); Liz Manes, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension; and Cathy Roth, UMass Extension Agroecology Program.

    Thanks to Community Supported Agriculture of North America at University of Massachusetts Extension for allowing us to post this article.
    For more information on Community Supported Agriculture, please contact The Robyn Van En Center for CSA at:

    4. Don't buy bottled water bring your own from home!

    Try Sigg's they are indestructible and wonderful!

    See my post on the 14th about water bottles :)

    5. Trade instead of buying.

    Try Freecycle it is fun and free!

    Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.

    6. Carpool or share a car.

    Igo is a great option for people who might only need a car some of the time.

    I-GO Green Benefits

    I-GO is dedicated to improving the environmental quality of the Chicago region by promoting a Low Carbon Diet.

    7. Use public transportation, bike, or walk.

    8. Plant native wildflowers!

    9. Time your showers to avoid using too much water.

    10. Switch to long lasting low energy light bulbs.

    11. Unplug seldom used appliances.

    Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot.

    Purchase appliances and office equipment with the Energy Star Label; old refridgerators, for example, use up to 50 more electricity than newer models.

    Use e-mail instead of paper.

    15. Buy green electricity - electricity produced by low - or even zero-pollution facilities (NC Greenpower for North Carolina -

    Water Bottles

    We as a family have been trying to be more envorinmentally friendly and one of the things we are doing it not buying water in bottles! A great water bottle we have found that is indistructable (trust me my kids have tried) is the Sigg's.
    You can try and win one on Mamanista's Blog.
    Contest ends November 6th.

    Here are just some of the reasons why you should use Sigg's instead of plastic water bottles;

    National Geographic: The Green Guide (July/August 2007 issue)

    From childhood, we're told to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Unfortunately more and more Americans drink those eight glasses out of plastic bottles—a convenience that stuffs landfills, clogs waterways and guzzles valuable fossil fuels.

    Not only does bottled water contribute to excessive waste, but it costs us a thousand times more than water from our faucet at home, and it is, in fact, no safer or cleaner.

    Water aside, the plastic used in both single-use and reusable bottles can pose more of a contamination threat than the water. A safe plastic if used only once, #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) is the most common resin used in disposable bottles. However, as #1 bottles are reused, which they commonly are, they can leach chemicals such as DEHA, a known carcinogen, and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), a potential hormone disrupter.

    While single-use water bottles should never be used more than once, some reusable water bottles simply shouldn't be used. The debate continues over the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical known to leach out of the #7 polycarbonate plastic used to make a variety of products.

    Our Take: As the battle over bottled water rages on, the best reusable choices come in stainless steel, aluminum and non-leaching plastics. Our store offers several of the brands endorsed in this story.

    Link: Tapped Out: The True Cost of Bottled Water

    Slow Food USA

    ...Most of the price of a bottle of water goes for its bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing and profit. Transporting bottled water by boat, truck and train involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. More than 5 trillion gallons of bottled water is shipped internationally each year... As further proof that the bottle is worth more than the water in it, starting in 2007, the state of California will give 5 cents for recycling a small water bottle and 10 cents for a large one.

    Just supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, according to the Container Recycling Institute...

    More than 1 billion plastic water bottles end up in the California's trash each year, taking up valuable landfill space, leaking toxic additives, such as phthalates, into the groundwater and taking 1,000 years to biodegrade. That means bottled water may be harming our future water supply...

    Los Angeles Times

    Evidence is mounting that a chemical in plastic that is one of the world's most widely used industrial compounds may be risky in the small amounts that seep from bottles and food packaging, according to a report to be published this week in a scientific journal.

    The authors of the report, who reviewed more than 100 studies, urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to re-evaluate the risks of bisphenol A and consider restricting its use...

    Link: Study Cites Risk of Compound in Plastic Bottles.

    Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club

    Choose your plastic water bottles carefully -- Clear, lightweight, and sturdy polycarbonate plastic bottles are standard equipment for millions of hikers and babies. (They are usually labeled #7 on the bottom; Nalgene is the best-known producer.) Since polycarbonate bottles don’t impart a taste to fluids, many users assume they are safer than bottles made out of other kinds of plastic. But now an accidental discovery has cast doubt on their safety.

    "We just stumbled into this," says Hunt, "but we have been stunned by what we have seen."

    Most at risk, says Colborn, are people with developing endocrine systems: pregnant women and newborns, followed by young children, and women who might get pregnant.

    Link: November/December 2003 - Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club.

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Now Until October 31st if you sign up to receive the Preschool Rock Newsletter you will get a coupon for 10% off your on-line Barefoot Books purchase!

    They are also offering a free coloring book!

    Giveaway on Silicon Valley Moms

    How can you participate in this giveaway? In the comment on the SV moms site tell them about your yoga or exercise stories. Are you a yogi, gym rat or never make the time to get that body in to shape? Really, tell us your accomplishments, goals or desire to get yourself back to the gym. We want to hear it all!!! Please make sure you leave your name and email address. (We promise NOT to share your email address with anyone! We just need to contact you if you win.) Rebecca (our contact at Barefoot Books) will select the four lucky winners. Please only enter one time. The comment section will close on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 3:00pm PST. The lucky four winners will be announced later that day.


    Crunchy Domestic Goddess

    Herb The Vegetarian Dragon

    Win it!

    If you’d like to win your own copy of Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon, please leave me a COMMENT on the Crunchy Domestic Goddess Blog STATING WHAT BOOK YOU LIKE BEST FROM BAREFOOT BOOKS. Make sure to include a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, Oct. 16. The winner will be chosen at random (using and announced on Oct. 17. It’s not required, but please feel free to post about this contest on your blog if you’d like to share the love. :)

    I will be doing a number of giveaways on other blogs this holiday season. If you would like to have a Barefoot Books giveaway on you blog shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment here.

    Monday, October 1, 2007

    The Tear Thief

    This is such a sweet book. This afternoon we had some friends over and another mom read Tear Thief to all of the kids. Talk about hearing a pin was so quiet I couldn't believe it. I was going through trying to finish up doing my inventory after the weekend sales and I couldn't help forgetting about what I was doing and just listening to my wonderful friend reading this magical book. What a special day!