Beware the Chocolate Monsters: Keep Slave Labor Out of Halloween

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

For most of us chocolate is a happy part of Halloween. It’s hands-down the best treat in the bag—so popular, in fact, that kids have to keep an eye on their chocolate-pilfering parents at this time of year. So, it’s especially ironic that this beloved sweet treat is a living nightmare for the children who are caught in the chocolate slave trade. Continue reading

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A Green Lining to Economic Downturn

25 Green and Cheap Ways to Live

by Sarah Lane at ProgressiveKid

As the struggle in the economic markets rages on, you can feel confident that your family’s particular financial concerns are pretty much irrelevant in any specific plans to slow down the slide of our economy into a likely recession. We regular people (a.k.a. nongazillionaires) are simply going to have to take care of ourselves and each other. And when it comes down to it, making like Buddha and saying to yourself (I’m paraphrasing here), “I don’t have any control over it anyway,” might be the healthiest strategy in terms of your own emotional and mental health. Continue reading

Beyond Climate Change 101

Discovering a Life of Purpose Along the Way

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

As with all meaningful change, there is no simple fix for our climate change crisis. There is no pill, band aid, 12-step formula, or “expert’s” advice to heal Earth or its life forms. There is no “clean” nuclear power that will preserve our current luxuries without risking even more environmental disaster, no green product that will redeem generations of overconsumption, no fluorescent light bulb that will reverse the excess of our industrialized systems, no recycling process that can restore forests, no zoo or seed bank that can preserve our world’s biodiversity, no replacement planet we can relocate to. For worse and for better we are stuck here with our mess and our weakness, our solutions and our strength. Continue reading

Declaration of Independence

American flagby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

Two hundred and thirty-two years ago today, our forefathers, supported and counseled by our wise and steadfast foremothers, declared in a moving and revolutionary document their independence from the tyranny of a colonial rule without representation and began the effort to design a radically new type of government founded on the principle that all men, and regretfully only men and not quite all of them, are created equal and that government should be of, by, and for the people. Since that time, our most wise and courageous ancestors, including among numerous others Chief Sealth, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King Jr., César Chavez, and Rachel Carson, have with equal elegance asserted additional essential truths about the value of people of all colors and races and both genders, about our brother and sister animals, and about the forests and mountains and rivers of our nation. But today, we, the descendants of these people of vision and principle, have lost our way and stoop on the edge of moral decay, spiritual ignorance, and self-destruction. Continue reading

Mystery Unclogged Part II

Storm drainby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

(Read Part I of this two-part series on our national wastewater problem.)

In Part I we examined the contents of our wastewater and how the most common wastewater treatment systems work. Now we will examine how well the systems work at keeping those problematic wastewater contents from being released into the environment.

The State of Our Infrastructure

In the American Society for Civil Engineers’ 2005 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, wastewater management in the United States was given a grade of D- (down from a D in 2001). Here is a summary:

Continue reading

Mystery Unclogged Part I

Drainby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

Spoiler alert: If you have maintained any illusions that your drains are magical tubes that “disappear” inconveniences, I’m about to ruin them for you. Look away! Flush and run!

It is more pleasant not to think about what happens to the expired Children’s Motrin you pour down the drain, what the Liquid Plum’r really does, or where the Tide with Bleach Powder goes. But there are so many of us on the planet sharing a shrinking space that we all need to think about what we are dumping and where. Continue reading

Hot and Bothered: Change for the Climate!

Plastic Bagsby Julie at ProgressiveKid

There is no shortage of nature loving in my extended family. Among us are hikers, bird watchers, gardeners, animal lovers, campers, and even a few eco-activists. When we travel, we often seek out parks and preserves or cabins on wild beaches, and we come back with a tedious number of photos of wildlife and nature scapes. So it is perplexing to me that many of them have failed to take basic steps to address climate change at home. I’ll admit, in fact, it is at times quite maddening, especially since I wrote a book on climate change, regularly blog about it, created an educational game on climate change, and make appearances to educate kids and parents on the subject. Continue reading