photo by ainamama.
Ela in her organic dress.
I first stumbled upon Jenn Savedge while doing a "green" search online. When I discovered her blog site, thegreenparent.com, I immediately knew this woman was a smarty. But she's so much more than just a green living advocate, she's a real mother (of Emily, 6, and Erin, 3) who understands how living a green life affects children not merely in the future, but here and now.
Jenn's books related to green living and kids--The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen's Guide to Saving the Planet; The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Environmentally-Friendly Living; and The Everything Green Baby Book: From pregnancy to baby's first year - an easy and affordable guide to help moms care for their baby - and for the Earth!--all are are fast becoming bibles of a sort to mothers and children who want to take going green to the next level.
Like many of you, I'm still raising my consciousness about environmentalism and learning more each day. That's why I wanted to share Jenn's story--perhaps her path will remind you of the true importance of green living too, and maybe even inspire you to action.
What was the actual catalyst for you to "go green?"
Good question. I have always been interested in "going green," although when I was growing up we didn't really call it that. I grew up in a small coal-mining town in PA where environmentalism was not really on anyone's radar. I was always that weird kid in high school that was picking up litter on the highways and trying to walk or ride my bike everywhere instead of driving (even though our town didn't even have sidewalks!)
I continued my green and natural lifestyle as I entered adulthood...I got an undergrad and a graduate degree in environmental science, and went to work as a National Park Ranger. But it really wasn't until I had children that I fully understood the importance of preserving the environment for future generations and taking responsibility for the actions that we take today.
So that's why the powerful books about green living and kids?
As I mentioned, I thought I was doing a pretty good job of going green before I had kids. I was concerned about the planet and able to use my time, money, and energy to protect it. So you can imagine my surprise when my first daughter was born and now I was thrust into a world of battery-operated, planet-trashing, disposable products. And on top of that, I also suddenly had no time, no energy, and a whole lot less money than I had before to devote to going green. So I started looking for tips and information that I could use to be more eco-friendly while raising kids. This led to my blog, thegreenparent.com and my first book, The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Earth-Friendly Living.
While I was researching about green parenting, I spent a lot of time talking to families...kids, parents, grandparents, and teenagers about their thoughts and tips on going green. I was particularly awe-struck and inspired by the teens I talked to. I mean, I was picking up litter on the side of the road when I was a teenager. But these teens are mobilizing community fundraising events to provide clean water to villages in India, or going door to door to explain to their neighbors the environmental damage that could be caused if a new natural gas plant is built in their backyard.
This inspired me to write The Green Teen and to make it as real and practical as possible. Instead of just telling teens to start a recycling program at school, The Green Teen takes teens step by step through the whole process...researching recycling programs, presenting a proposal to their principal, and hosting green fundraisers to raise start-up money for the project.
Why are green values important for kids to embrace? Do green values teach larger values?
I have yet to meet a teenager who cared about the planet who didn't also care about her community, her family, her future, and herself. That's why I think it's so great to teach kids about the environment and support their desire to protect it. Because if they can learn to love and respect nature, they will also love and respect themselves, their family members, and their neighbors as a part of that natural community.
Are you and your children becoming greener?