A study in 2009 by The Social Studies Group, together with Gender and Eco-Trends Expert Andrea Learned, showed Greens Moms are committed to increasing environmental awareness and holding companies/brands accountable for their impact on the environment. So I’ve been admiring green Moms for quite some time so I thought it was time to talk to a practicing Green Mom. So I reached out to Helga of LiveGreenMom.com who I met through Twitter.
How did Live Green Mom get started? What inspired you? How long has it been around?
I started up Live Green Mom in late December 2009. I use the term ‘green’ to cover the whole phenomenon, recycling, composting, conserving energy, reusing, reducing, etc. I’ve been presented with what I like to call ‘green’ moments all throughout my life, starting back in 1982 when I spent a summer in Hamburg, Germany with my grandparents who lived there, and they brought their own bags to the store. And there were bins all around the city to recycle your used batteries. In 1982! How long did it take for those ideas to get to the United States? (Answer: too long!)
I wanted to ignore the whole recycling movement as I saw it gaining steam, especially when I was in college in the early 1990′s. I thought it was a hassle. It wasn’t until I became a homeowner and a mother that I saw more clearly there is a concrete reason behind being green and recycling and making sure your children do the same. We are running out of resources and essentially stealing from other poorer countries to cover our needs. I read somewhere that if the entire earth used up energy and resources the way the United States does, it would take SEVEN planet Earths to cover that demand. Whoa! Doesn’t that make you think?? The problem with telling a Mom “you need to go green” is that seems like a very tall order. Most Moms are overwhelmed trying to raise their children, keep up with the house & bills, get exercise, feed the family and carry a full or part time job. How can you expect a Mom to do it all? My theory is that ‘small changes add up’. You can tackle anything in life by doing a little bit at a time. Your education. Your mortgage. Relationships. Getting in shape. And going green! By making small changes here and there, a mother can feel like she is making a difference. Her husband and children can learn along the way with her. Everyone benefits without feeling necessarily burdened or deprived. I want to highlight the small green changes I have made that make the difference. My kids are totally on board. It has become a part of their everyday life, so it doesn’t seem like a big deal to them.
Tell me about how you live your green life?
Of course I recycle and reuse when I can. I compost, which is a fabulous way to keep your garbage output to a minimum. My family of 4 only produces one 1-gallon bag of trash a week. If that! I use a push reel mower on my acre of land (I’m the only power source!). I use a minimal amount of chemicals in my home. I clean with vinegar, baking soda, Borax. No chemicals on my lawn, nor do I water my lawn. Polish the furniture with homemade polish made from olive oil and lemon juice. Buy organic fruits & vegetables, meats that are as chemical-free as I can get them. We use washcloths instead of paper towels & napkins. Reusable bags, that’s an easy one. I live in an area where I can walk to services, such as my post office, bank, dry cleaners, drugstore, grocery store, etc. Walkability score is important to me, ours is a 69, which isn’t bad for a suburb! Whenever my husband brings up moving because we live on a main thoroughfare, I always remind him how much we both love how close everything is that we can walk to. I have a neighbor that moved a couple of years ago for that very reason, she didn’t love living on a main road, and says she has regretted it ever since, having to get into her car for every single errand. I would hate that!
Like I said, I’m a vinegar, borax and baking soda gal. My septic system loves it too! Cheap, effective, and I reuse the same containers over and over. There are some wonderful green products out there, but I like to keep it simple. I like Seventh Gen for my laundry detergent.
Do you attend green events?
I’ve attended a couple of green events in my area for Earth Day. Clean up our Town Day. (My daughter & I picked up 3 contractor bags of garbage in the half mile around our home. Yikes! But I live on a main thoroughfare) I’m just getting warmed up! I take care of so much at home, it isn’t easy for me to attend many events. I’m working first to make a difference in my home & with my children.
What’s your typical day if there is one?
Wake up & check the Blackberry. Go downstairs and get the kids their breakfast, tidy up. After the kids are either off to school or occupied, I get online and start checking my blog stats, answering emails, Twitter & Facebook fan page. Thank people for fanning me on Facebook or following me on Twitter. Retweet relevant tweets. Retweet some of my more popular older posts. Hootsuite is great for scheduling future tweets when I can’t be online. Especially overnight when my followers from the other side of the planet are awake & Twittering! I seem to have a decent following in Australia, Great Britain, and India. Start to work on my next blog post, hopefully I can get it posted before lunch. Submit my latest post to technorati, Reddit, Digg, Stumbled Upon, etc. Then I have to get on with taking care of the bills, the yard, errands, getting the kids off the bus, homework, dinner, bedtime. Jump on & off the blackberry all day to check Twitter & Facebook, I like to respond rather quickly, say thank you for the retweet or I appreciate you fanning me on Facebook. Check up on my blog after the kids go to bed, post tweets to Hootsuite for overnight tweeting. I like to shut down my laptop by 9 pm.
Do you have any tenets/beliefs you believe strongly about that marketers should keep in mind when they try to connect with Moms or on the “green front”?
That’s a good question! I think Moms have gotten smarter; we are more educated about the products coming into our homes. I would love to see more companies creating products that are made to last, toys, clothes, whatever, and tell us this fact. Devote some of your website to showing us how your product is made, how safe it is, how few chemicals you use, how to recycle it when you are done with it. Crayola has done a good job of this.
I would love it if more products were sourced locally and they advertised that. For example, I am on vacation right now at my rental property on Martha’s Vineyard, and I went to a new restaurant last night called Flatbreads Pizza. I believe there are maybe 10 around the east coast. To me, that makes it a chain. But this restaurant used ingredients that were mostly organic (90% is their claim) and local! I loved it! The salads were heavenly, from island greens and the pizza couldn’t have been gobbled up faster. Homemade sausage made right there, berries from a farm down the road for the vinaigrette. Delish! I made it a point to tweet about it, and will make sure my future renters know about it too. More companies could learn from this newer business model. It benefits everyone in the community!
What do you think about how Moms are using Social Media (Facebook, twitter, social sites, networking) to change the world.
I love it! What better way to spread the word! I learn so much from my Twitter buddies, when I have a green question or a Mom problem, I usually get an answer in record time. Grapefruit rinds in my compost bin? Nope, worms don’t like citrus! Who knew? Moms need other Mom’s advice. Facebook, Twitter, all of these social outlets, 24/7, what other generation of mothers had these kinds of resources? Best cloth diapers? Breastfeeding issues? There is a Mom out there with an opinion & advice somewhere in this world online waiting to tell you all about it. Bring it on!
You can also follow Mom-entum on twitter @hollypavlika.