Jessica Alba has started an online company for green childcare products. For $85- $100 you can have a month’s green diapers and wipes delivered to your door. Depending on where you live and what age your baby is, the average price of buying disposable diapers from the store for a month is about $80, cloth diapers washed by a service every month costs approximately $80, and cloth diapers washed at home for a month is around $20.
So Jessica’s company is economically comparable, the products are innovative and high-quality, and the philosophy logical. A free trial is offered to experience the products and service. The company is called www.honest.com and it also offers other convenient green baby products like baby shampoo, body balm, laundry detergent etc. A portion of proceeds from sales is donated to www.baby2baby.org which provides childcare basics to those in need in the LA area.Â Jessica’s product is in the higher price range, but wipes are included, the environmental and health impacts are positive, and the product is delivered directly to the customer’s door every month.
From her home in Australia, to the slums of Bangladesh, Amanda Ryan is an earth angel who is proving that age and experience mean little when it comes to making a big difference.
When you read Amanda’s resume, its hard to believe she was in high school just four years ago. The Bachhara company director, founder of JAAGO Australia and fair-trade fashion designer has never let her age or lack of formal experience stop her from achieving what most others could only dream of.
She left her hometown of Wollongong, Australia, at 16 to live and study in Japan. This led her to work for an international non-profit organization and later to travel through India volunteering for charitable organisations. Amanda discovered while the need and chaos of India overwhelmed many people, it balanced her out. So, she began searching for new opportunities to live and work in Asia – a quest which led her to the slums of Bangladesh and the people of JAAGO.
Describe yourself when you were young… did you always know you wanted to make a difference?
When I was young I guess you could say I was the class clown and constantly in trouble. But I was always extremely interested in international politics and what was going on in the world. In high school I would often attend events on human rights, making the long trek by myself on a train from Wollongong
Ive always known I would do something along the lines of what I am doing now. My current path a been shaped and molded along the way as I have learnt more about myself, the world and what I can do in it. There was never really a point where I said “okay now Im going to be a charity worker or philanthropist”. Its more the fact that Im choosing to be a human being who sees all other human beings as my equal and they deserve my respect and as much assistance as I have within my power to give.
What is it about JAAGO and Bangladesh that speaks to you?
My first international volunteer stint was to India. As soon as I arrived in Delhi I felt like I had returned home. I think the chaos of countries like India and Bangladesh level out the chaos of my personality and I feel a real sense of peace being there.
After volunteering at a leprosy colony and girls orphanage in India I realized this is what I wanted to do with myself and I set about trying to research how I could open up and school that would allow children to have the basic right of being able to dream of a bright future. I was deeply saddened in India when I saw that the dreams I had as a child of being a teacher or a doctor or a dancer. Is not a luxury these children have. For me if I could not pursue my dreams I would not be me. Because I can pursue my dreams I am making a contribution to the advancement of our world. Just thinking about all the wasted potential of these beautiful children is heart breaking for them and unfortunate for the whole world.
When doing research about organizations that had a similar ideal to my own about non discriminative assistance, I came across Korvi Rakshand and the Jaago foundation. Two weeks after introducing myself to Jaago founder Korvi over email I quit my job was on a plane and arriving in Bangladesh with my life savings to volunteer for two months.
How has the work youve done so far made a difference?
I dont really know what we measure making a difference on. But I know that 320 children who never had a chance to go to school now have a chance to because of Jaago. This will grow to around 600 by next year with the development of two new schools being built. I think the real difference is the difference.
What is your day-to-day life like?
At the moment my day-to-day life is pretty crazy. A week feels like a day and a month feels like a week. Natalie (Bachhara business partner) and I are extremely passionate about our vision and live and breathe Bachhara constantly. On top of that I am also working on getting Jaago Australia the charity established and trying to help out a school for autistic children in Bangladesh. Im just extremely thankful I have an amazingly supportive partner and family surrounding me.
How can others help?
The thing I really love about Bachhara is that it is so easy to help. Since I have started my work in Bangladesh so many people have contacted me wanting to know how they can help and up until now I have not had an easy way to give people the “how” to help. Women especially always want to look beautiful and as Westerners we will always shop and consume. Bachhara gives you a chance to still do those things without the guilt. You know that youre supporting an intuitive cause that is providing €˜real change in the lives of so many disadvantaged people in Bangladesh.
When are you next off to Bangladesh?
Natalie and I will both be heading to Bangladesh in January to start production of our summer 2011 line. We both love being in Bangladesh very much. Our sewing centre is just off the Jaago Foundation school in the Rayer Bazar slum. We have become familiar faces in the slum area, much to the amusement of the locals. Two tall white women with kids hanging off us constantly provides quiet a show for the local slum dwellers.
How are you helping autistic kids in Bangladesh?
I assist at a school that autistic students. In Bangladesh, autism is something most people know nothing about. Most autistic children are given to an orphanage at birth or they spend their lives indoors in their family home to avoid public embarrassment. I came across a school that happened to keep receiving a large number of students who were autistic yet not diagnosed. I have been doing my best to introduce them to people who know more about autism and provide as much awareness and education on the disability they are dealing with.
Parents now have an alternative to the toxic plastic bottles, which research has shown leaches the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) into food and drink.
Jen Moore, founder of Pura Stainless, has developed an electro-polished stainless steel bottle thats BPA free, hygienic, lightweight and durable. Best of all, it wont leach chemicals into the drink inside.
Children worldwide are being united through a project that aims to bring awareness to climate change. The Climate Quilt Campaign encourages students to design pledge patches from recycled material, each featuring their promises to preserve the planet’s future. Kids worldwide can have their pledge patch included on the quilt, which was this week shown on Good Morning America (pictured). See www.climatequilt.org.
The Climate Quilt Campaign (www.climatequilt.org), an International initiative created to encourage youth worldwide to get involved with protecting the environment was recently on display at the UN Climate Conference and is now headed back to the US for Earth Day (April 22).
Years ago I read that children should be kept at least two feet from the television because of harmful electronic emissions. Is this still relevant? Is there a difference regarding this between older and new flat-screen models? – Horst E. Mehring, Oconomowoc, WI
Luckily for many of us and our kids, sitting “too” close to the TV isnt known to cause any human health issues. This myth prevails because back in the 1960s General Electric sold some new-fangled color TV sets that emitted excessive amounts of radiation-as much as 100,000 times more than federal health officials considered safe. GE quickly recalled and repaired the faulty TVs, but the stigma lingers to this day.
Why its great: While The Looking Book is aimed at children, it’s also a great reminder for big kids too: take time to unplug yourself from your computer, television and iPod, and get back to nature. Take time for the simple stuff. Learn to breathe again and be at one with the world outside. With many children addicted to the modern technologies that fill our homes, this beautifully illustrated book (thanks to artist Patrice Barton) teaches there is a world of possibilities outside the front door. It just takes a little imagination to get Kenny and Mikey past the front step.
Whos reading it: Parents who want to show their children there’s more to playing than hooking up Nintendo or spending hours in front of a computer screen. The Looking Book is also a favorite among kids who love to explore and put their imagination into practice.
What youll learn: That it’s important to stop and smell the roses. That using your imagination may well be the key to helping your children use theirs.
As Christmas day nears, I’ve been thinking about jolly ol’ Santa and his love for milk and cookies … how his turning vegan could be the biggest gift to vegan activists everywhere.
Did you know that moving house can be one of the most stressful times in your life? Its right up there with losing your job, divorce or the death of a loved one, as one of the biggest causes of stress.
With much green talk amongst industries and households, eco industry watchers are saying the world has officially entered an emerging green economy – a trend that will only continue to gain momentum, says eco-expert Kim Carlson.
If you live in or are planning a trip to the UK this month, sign up for the Embercombe Sustainable Parenting Weekend, set for August 14 through 16.