Parents Make Schools Green

By: Tovah Paglaro, David Suzuki’s Queen of Green

Photo: Parents make schools green

Moms and dads drive schools to go green. (Credit: vadot via Flickr)

When it comes to creating safe, toxin-free classrooms, parents are leading the way.

They’re regular moms and dads, whose concern for their children’s future and well-being have pushed them to take extraordinary action:

People like Tamara Rubin — who responded to her children’s lead poisoning by developing tools and resources for parents to test for and take action on lead in schools; and Lori Alper — whose petition to eliminate toxic phthalates from school supplies and lunch boxes has more than 60,000 signatures and the attention of the Wall Street Journal. (Have you signed yet?)

Could you be one of these change-leading parents?

We think so! When I asked Lori about her journey to eco-advocacy, she explained that while living an organic, non-toxic lifestyle can directly affect personal health and well-being, it’s our collective voice that brings about widespread change.

What would you do to keep your kids safe at school?

Talk to teachers, school administrators and/or the parent advisory council about detoxifying your kids’ classroom:

1. Take care of the air. An open window or air-cleansing plant helps create a healthier classroom.

2. Switch to “Ecologo” or Green Seal cleaners. Products with either certification are recommended by the Ontario school board.

3. Declare school a scent-free zone. Kids as young as eight are using cosmetics (like hairspray, deodorant and lip gloss) loaded with fragrance, which is associated with rising asthma and other childhood respiratory conditions in North America.

4. Ditch antibacterial soaps. Many antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, a Dirty Dozen ingredient to avoid. According the Health Canada, plain soap and water is the most effective (and safest) choice for school bathrooms.

It starts with each of us, but takes a community! The Green Moms Collective has ten tweetable tips you can share to spread the word and lead the change.

As important as what’s in the classroom, is what our kids put on before they get there.

Teens — and even pre-teens — are using cosmetics. Help the kids choose products free of the dirty dozen. Adria Vasil (Ecoholic) has some great lip gloss recommendations and our brigade homeopath, Kelli Christine Ewing, promises this DIY deodorant really works!

Next week we’ll also catch up with JoAnn Fowler of Sappho cosmetics, whose dedication to toxin-free makeup has taken Hollywood by storm. Try it yourself with this week’s Better Back to School giveaway — $350 worth of toxic-free makeup! Scroll down to enter now!

Tovah Paglaro, a fellow Queen of Green

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