Tag Archives: Children

Chocolate Bar Fundraising; Been There, Done That, Had to Buy A Bigger Shirt….

I love chocolate, good chocolate, real chocolate….. SOMETIMES, ok, well maybe more than sometimes, but that’s another blog.

chocolateAt home, we don’t generally purchase chocolate by the case, and we definitely don’t love middle-of-the-road chocolate enough to pawn it off to friend or acquaintance just to save a few bucks on a school field trip.

Here at home, like all homes; all we want is what is best for our family. We work hard to ensure our daughter eats well, and that we remain authentic to our core values.

Sure we use chocolate to make Smores when camping, and we indulge occasionally  in an occasional chocolatey fix, but we endeavor to remain true to what is important and that is our health and our future.

I am truly against chocolate bar sales as a standard in fundraising. I have been averse to it ever since I needed to peddle my first box of chocolate bridge mix door to door in 1975. Yuck!

I wasn’t intending for this to be a preachy blog; but as I re-read it, it seems to have taken on that slant. My apologies. When first conceptualized, it was meant to be funny and an exploration in the value of chocolate bar fundraising. I am not really sure there is a value in it. Seriously; besides the easy money, not really any value. I know I am not alone in my aversion to this funding strategy. I myself have become the proud owner and consumer of several cardboard box fulls of mediocre chocolate covered something. Yes I had to purchase them and inevitably consume them. Hence the title needing to buy a bigger shirt 😉

This is what we accomplish with this fundraising practice:

  • Pay inflated prices for some pretty poor quality chocolate
  • We enable colleagues and friends to indulge in the same chocolate, even though most of them are trying to avoid it
  • Sometimes we succeed in guilting people into supporting the cause for which we are raising funds, that by the way makes us really popular
  • We contradict the teachings of healthful eating that we teach our kids which is also part of our school curriculum
  • We indirectly support child labour and exploitation, (and possibly even slavery and smuggling)
  • We show our kids that quick and easy is the way to go, when really we want to tech them that things that are worth having are really worth working for
  • We negatively impact our health, since we all know that too much sugar and a dependency on junk food can lead health issues, cavities and obesity.

Seriously when was the last time your heard someone at the office say, “OH YEAH…. here comes Sally with the overpriced crappy chocolate, boy I can’t wait to pay $5  for some empty calories!” 

Not A Bigger T ShirtIsn’t it time that our fundraising practices actually mesh with our core values? Doesn’t it make sense that our children and youth reinforce what they learn through their activities?

At eCause Canada, we really believe that fundraising should not only be a way to support a cause, but to support the families health and the health of our planet as well as  reinforce the things that we are already teaching our children.

Fundraising needs to be win/win/win. In fact, if everything we did was to benefit health,of people and planet, we’d live in a much better world! And for that, I would most definitely buy the shirt!

To learn more about how your next fundraising program can be profitable, green and healthy, please email info@eCause.ca for information or complete the contact form right here in the blog.

Wishing you and yours good health and happiness along with an abundance of time to enjoy them!

Why Is There Microban on Our Kids School Supplies Repost from 2010

School ScissorsI am new to this blogging thing even though I have loved writing for more than 35 years so forgive me in advance for this moderate rant. I was school supply shopping today and I had a VERY difficult time getting scissors that weren’t treated with the anti-bacterial Microban. What? Are the kids in elementary school doing; surgeries instead of arts and crafts? When did the curriculum change. Aren`t the scissors going to be covered with glue and markers like the ones from the past three years? Why would the scissors need to be protected from algae or the “bacteria causing stains, odors and product deterioration”,(quoting from the Microban website.) What is in Microban? Apparently it is proprietary technologies, so we don’t know, the Environmental Protection Agency has classed Triclosan as a probable carcinogen. Isn’t Microban from the same family? Why would I want it on my kids hands?, the answer, I wouldn’t, germs and bacteria are necessary in our lives, they are what make us stronger and healthier, please share this information with friends and those you love, try not to buy into the “FEAR” that is being dished out. Teach your children the importance of good hygiene, and the need for us to live in harmony with all of the earth’s made micro organisms.

Safe in the Summer

Here we are. Summer is around the corner. Winter sweaters have made their way into the back of the closet storage and the shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits are re-inhabiting the dresser drawers as you are starting to think about protection from our glorious sun.

Without a doubt the love for your children and your desire to keep them from harm’s way has you insisting on a few seasonal things; proper sunscreen coverage, proper hydration, a hat for their heads, and sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.

Perfect, all the essential bases are covered! Or are they? In theory this plan of action is ideal, keep the kids protected from the harsh components of the elements and you are good to go. Unfortunately it is not that simple.

Google it, and you’ll find hundreds of articles on the dangers of most conventional sunscreens. Add that to the fact that there are not yet government regulations on most body care products and you have a recipe for false claims and questionable and unsafe ingredients in a HUGE majority of the sunscreens on the market. Many traditional sun blocks actually contain known cancer causing ingredients. This is a big concern when your intention is to PROTECT your children.

What is a loving parent to do? You’ll be glad to know that safe sunscreens do exist! Even some made right here in Canada, some are government certified and some are even eco certified. This is incredible news for those wanting to do the best for the health of their family. There is a great website with a database with invaluable information on thousands of body care products; it is called Skindeep and I highly recommend looking into the safety information on your sunscreens and any of the body care products you might use before slathering them on.

Proper hydration – this one is pretty much a no brainer, we play, we sweat, we need to hydrate. But HOW we hydrate, for reasons of our well being, is just as important as actually hydrating itself.  For health reasons as well as HUGE environmental reasons, make a personal promise to yourself right now – never use a plastic water bottle again! It doesn’t matter whether you recycle or not, they are toxic, toxic to you, toxic to our planet. For starters they are made from petroleum, and the multitude of chemicals in their composition makes its way into the water you drink and once there they are they known to negatively affect and wreak havoc on our endocrine systems. INVEST in the best, invest in yourself,  get a top quality water bottle preferably in an 18/8 stainless steel, (it should cost in the neighborhood of between about $18 and $25 dollars) and it should last you FOREVER. I have been using mine for 6 years! I have saved Thousands of dollars as a result, not to mention I personally have kept more than 12000 plastic bottles out of landfills, (I used to go through about 6 bottles a day).

Protective eye wear that filters out Ultra Violet Rays, (including the more dangerous UVB rays) are essential.  Even in overcast skies they can protect you and your kids from cataracts, as well as short-term eye damage including snow-blindness in the winter months.

Topping it off, a proper sunhat serves two major purposes; 1 – it is meant to shade you or prevent you from being in direct sunlight, and 2 – and this is actually even more important, it is mean to allow you to expel heat, so the traditional baseball cap is not the greatest of ideas, they tend to hold the heat in, which can lead to overheating, so a straw hat (while not the most fashionable choice) is really a better idea.

You love your kids and every year you tackle the same summer safety concerns. This year take a few extra minutes to look at the bigger and more long term picture. The small changes you make today to support the health of your kids and our planet may cost you a few dollars more initially but the payoff or ROI (return on investment is HUGE) in peace of mind and a healthful future for your family.

Be a JUICE Box Hero

Do you know how much your child weighs? If he or she is about 30 kilograms, chances are that’s how much waste he or she is generating at lunch time in school throughout the year. In other words, a school of about 300 students generates almost 9,000 kilograms of lunch garbage!  And are they packing? Juice boxes I mean? Juice boxes are typically made up of six layers of paper, polyethylene, and aluminum foil, making most of them non-recyclable and allowing them to hang out in our landfills for approximately 300 years before beginning to decompose. You know what else they’re doing? They are costing you a small fortune every year! In fact, in an average school year  of 180 days, at an average cost of 0.50 each, (much more for the “real juice” and consuming about two per day), you are spending almost $200 over the school year.  In reality, by making a one-time purchase of a reusable stainless steel bottle that you can fill up with water, milk or juice, you have healthier options to give your kids for a lot less money. It’s a no-brainer! Kick the juice box habit and help the environment as well as your wallet!

Make your child a super-hero; enjoy this great little video about the environmental impact of juice boxes on the planet.  Whether you choose to watch this with family and friends, or share and show this video to your classroom we hope that it will help encourage you to take the initiative to pack greener lunches this school year!

Black and White on Green Please!

Originally posted on eCause Canada Site May 3, 2011

There is a huge responsibility that lies in the hands of our environmental agencies. They need to tell us the black and white truth about what is GREEN!

We can’t rely on the corporations to disclose everything in their closets. Our government hasn’t put legislation in place to protect us. The only way to find out the truth is to ask the question, and do the research. We rely on our environmental organizations for their expertise and knowledge. We need to know what lurks behind the labels of the products on our shelves.

This blog is in response to a discussion I was having with The David Suzuki Foundations’ Queen of Green. She was asked outright are Mr. Clean products safe? The response included Proctor and Gamble’s response which says:
-Formaldehyde is not and has never been an ingredient.
– Ingredients have been safely and commonly used for many years.
– Has not been and is not being banned from any stores.

Lindsay Coulter aka Queen of Green suggested to her readers that if they value transparency then buy products that list ingredients or make your own products. I think this is a GREAT suggestion, but I feel the original question was never really answered;

Are Mr. Clean products safe? The truth is NO and the should have been the answer to the question. Mr. Clean products are not safe for you or the environment! It says right on the label, and if you look up the WHIMIS sheets of the product it is recommended to NOT pour into our water systems.

We are already drowning in a sea of Greenwashing, please let’s make it clear and simple for those wanting to make a difference!

Making Fruits and Veggies Even Better For You

 

* This post originally appeared on the eCause Canada website in June 2011    

We’ve all heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, or does it? If the apple is laden with chemicals, pesticides, and wax, how good for us can it really be? Well you are not alone in wondering what to do with when produce is and permeated with pesticides. Eliminate fruits and vegetables from our diet? Not a good idea! Some are just too yummy to turn our back on, and don’t forget an essential part of a healthy diet! Buying organic produce is always a great option as it promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. Cost and availability of local organic goods can sometimes prevent us from doing this. What’s a person to do? Wash your produce thoroughly is number one solution! Washing with water alone is often not enough since most pesticides are water-resistant. Suggestion – use a fruit and veggie-safe detergent or to make your own, which is even better! Here is a quick, simple and inexpensive recipe which will help remove bacteria and break down the pesticide and wax residue: Fill up a spray bottle with three quarters water and one quarter white vinegar. Spray, soak, rinse and enjoy; healthier and cleaner fruits and veggies of the season.

Safe Sun, Safe Sun Screen

* This Blog was originally posted on the eCause website on July 26, 2011 Question – How can you pick a safe sunscreen? Which ones are safe, healthy and effective?
Answer – With the help of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) study on sunscreens.

The known fact about sunscreens is that they help prevent sunburns, but in reality many are detrimental to our health in other ways. Some commonly found ingredients may heighten skin cancer risks while others don’t offer sufficient UVA protection. Most sunscreens give people a false sense of security, leading them to stay out longer in the sun and increase their exposure to harmful rays.

Learn what to avoid when buying sunscreens and understand why EWG favours mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (either with or without nano-particles), and always be cautious to avoid sprays and powders in this type of sunscreen due to the risk of particle inhalation.

So much information can be difficult to process and may discourage you from wanting any sun this summer, but remember that the sun offers a vital vitamin to your body, vitamin D. In fact, the main source of vitamin D in the body is found in sunlight and offers important health benefits. Vitamin D can strengthen your immune system, reduce your risk to various cancers (including breast, colon, kidney and ovarian cancers) and regulates at least 1,000 different genes governing virtually every tissue in the body. (Source – EWG Sunscreens 2011).

At eCause, our top three tips on safe sun exposure are:
1- Use a natural and safe sunscreen.
2- Look for shade, wear protective clothing and avoid intense sun exposure during peak hours (11am -2:00 PM)
3- Order your safe and recommended sunscreen for this summer in our online eCause Summer Picks eco-boutique!

Now available – Save with our sunscreen family pack, everything you need for everyone in the family.

Wishing you a safe summer full of sunshiny days!

*For a complete list of the sunscreen chemicals, toxicity concerns and associated risks, visit the EWG’s Skin Deep Database and read up on their complete 2011 sunscreen guide.