October has finally arrived. With the shortening of the days and the cooler autumn nights we’re reminded that Halloween is just a few weeks away. In preparation of the coming holiday, and all the fun that leads up to the big day, we at Green Apple Supply wanted to give some tips on how you can make your Halloween an eco-friendly and healthy holiday for you and your family.
Tag Archives: green
I love this time of year when we can appreciate the first stirrings of winter. Autumnal colors, cozy evenings by the fire, and warm, comforting drinks help us usher in the seasonal shift. But the season is fleeting and I’m often left still wanting as the branches become bare and the snow begins to accumulate. Yet I find the brevity of the Fall a very appropriate place for Thanksgiving—the shorter days an apropos reminder of the ephemeral moments of joy, health and peace that might otherwise go unrecognized.
Many of us take time out this month to show our appreciation by expressing daily gratitude or volunteering to support those less fortunate. In the hope that we can each find a way to give back this season, here are 5 creative ways of expressing thanks:
1. Give thanks – Has someone gone out of their way for you? Is there a particular person who may at times escape your attention? It could be someone very close (a spouse, parent or coworker) or someone with whom you have very little contact (the cleaning staff in your office, mail carrier or toll taker). Take the time to thoughtfully craft a letter—the old-fashioned way—in your handwriting on a piece of quality paper. Let them know you’re thinking of them this Thanksgiving.
2. Give a gift – Of course, there are some for whom you wish to show your gratitude with a gift. I like to bring gifts that are lasting, personal and that don’t have to be shared at a gathering (like wine or dessert). That way, once the season has passed, they have a lasting memento of your appreciation.
3. Give a donation – Thanksgiving is such an appropriate time to make a charitable donation in honor of someone you want to acknowledge. It’s the perfect opportunity to show your appreciation while truly honoring the season. Check for local Thanksgiving donation opportunities in your area.
4. Give (it a) rest – This is also the time of year to set petty differences aside. Whether you call a temporary truce, agree to disagree, or make lasting peace, this is not only a gift to you and your adversary but a treasure to the whole family.
5. Give your time and attention – Don’t underestimate how impactful your presence can be! Whether you visit an elderly family member, stop by the office of an unpopular coworker or sit down beside a destitute individual on the sidewalk, taking time out of your day to let someone know that you see them can make all the difference. So many of us stumble through the world, lonely and adrift. Stop for a chat. Make eye contact. Let them know you care.
A very wise friend once told me that “we cannot let perfection stand in the way of progress.” That statement has stayed with me for years, running through my mind at opportune moments, always with a little picture of her smiling face attached, as if it were a Facebook post. It is with me when I am sourcing new products for Green Apple Supply and trying to assess their level of sustainability. And it is with me when I am tempted to judge another's use of products I see as poisons. And it is definitely with me on the days when I feel overwhelmed by the task ahead and exhausted by the endless work of saving the planet from humanity, or maybe more accurately, saving humanity from itself. And her voice speaks the loudest when I find myself speaking to someone new to the green movement. Someone who would like to make safer choices for themselves and their families, but are overwhelmed by the idea of where to start or what to buy. This is arguably when my messaging is of the utmost importance. It is the first impression of what it means to be eco-friendly, a person’s lasting idea of just how hard this change is going to be.
It is so tempting to brazenly spout all of my eco knowledge; to become a geyser of the terminology, facts, experiences and wisdom that I have picked up along the way. But this is the time for discretion. This newcomer need not understand the challenges I face, now miles down the road; they need only understand the steps they must take tomorrow.
In fact, it’s not yet time for sharing at all. Knowing that someone wants to go green is not near enough information to elicit a compelling response. What are their specific reasons for going green? I can tailor my response to their desires. Although the “perfect” version of sustainability may be an interconnected web of all actions and all things, those desiring cleaner air to breathe may take an entirely different path than those considering the health of wildlife or those specifically upset by a particular illness.
I set out to dedicate the month of August to Back-to-School blogs, which seemed very logical at the time. After all, it’s back-to-school season and Green Apple Supply was inspired in part by a particularly poignant back-to-school shopping experience. Yet, here I am, one week in, with writer’s block. How is that possible?!
I have spent the past week tossing and turning back-to-school blog ideas around in my head, asking for input from friends, family, complete strangers…and nothing. Although I am unquestionably dedicated to the health and safety of our children, the idea of blogging about the specifics of their day-to-day is not where I want my blog to focus. Quite frankly, the variety of blogs is astounding – I would be arrogant in assuming that I could do better than the amazing options that already exist.
I want to dedicate my blog to the core concepts behind Green Apple Supply and Compassionate Capitalism. I want to discuss how they have infiltrated my life and I want to inspire others to bring them into theirs. Of course, these concepts have relevance to back-to-school season, but I feel that was adequately covered last week. And these concepts are bigger than any one “season”. This is about bringing business strategy and sustainability, in all senses of the word, into our daily decision making.
One red, spiral, 80-sheet, college-rule notebook? A blue, 3-ring, 2-inch D-ring binder? Sure, back to school shopping is stressful enough without adding yet another thing to the list. But, with everything we are learning concerning the vulnerable state of our planet, purchasing eco-friendly school supplies should not just be another item. It should be at the top of the list. We send our children to school for a comprehensive education, preparing them for the challenges they will face as adults. One of the largest (if not the largest!) challenges facing our children today is maintaining the Earth for future generations. Both during school and outside of it, they are constantly faced with pressure to make “green” decisions. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” has become the “Duck and Cover” of this generation. Like the imminent threat of bombing, it is impossible that this sort of pressure isn’t affecting our children’s mental health and feelings of security. In the article, “No Kidding, One in Three Children Fear Earth Apocalypse,” the article reports that “one out of three children aged 6 to 11 fears that Ma Mother Earth won't exist when they grow up, while more than half—56 percent—worry that the planet will be a blasted heath (or at least a very unpleasant place to live).”
By supplying our children with eco-friendly school supplies, we reinforce the hard work we do at home and we teach them that helping the planet is universal. You keep it in mind at home, at school, at work…Everywhere. Children today are already faced with an overwhelming amount of mixed messages. They are encouraged to recycle, which is inexpensive and easy, but organic foods that require quite a monetary investment may not be accessible, despite their importance. Likewise, saving water and energy are encouraged, but hybrid or electric vehicles are not. Naturally, most consumers make decisions based on their pocketbooks. But it is important to recognize that many of these decisions fly in the face of what we are teaching our children.
It’s an amazing feeling to be able to look back on any successful endeavor. And it’s that much sweeter when your professional goals align with your personal values, the way that Green Apple Supply’s do with mine. After over a year of hard work, modifications, setbacks and uncertainties, seeing our new site come alive last week was beyond thrilling! And our customer response was both humbling and exhilarating—the emails and phone calls of support were so very meaningful! Thank you for each and every word!
And since Green Apple Supply has truly been a family endeavor, it was also incredibly fulfilling to watch my husband and children enjoy the week’s success. On July 30, my daughter’s 10th birthday and the date of the relaunch, my first blog posted. So I started the day by reading it to her. It is rare that we can find a reason to celebrate her disease and recognize it as a tool for growth and success. Yet I could see the pride and realization as it shone in her eyes, growing stronger with each word.
Until the following summer, when I was busily placing reorders for the upcoming school supply season. One of our major suppliers was sadly no longer able to keep afloat. I was heartbroken for him and worried for The Green Garage. We sourced many of our most popular products through his store. So, after some complex conversations, he agreed to sell us his remaining inventory, along with the name of the eco side of his business, Green Apple School Supply.
By then, we had already expanded from the sale of school supplies into household goods, gifts and toys. After all, kids went home from school every night and I wanted to offer families the most green options possible. So we dropped “School” and became Green Apple Supply.
The “Green Apple” makes perfect sense. It’s fresh, appealing, earthy—a great image for an eco organization. But the “Supply” threw people for a loop. But to me, it made perfect sense...
As our new lifestyle in our new home (yes, we moved!) became cleaner and greener, I noticed our pocketbook becoming leaner and leaner. It struck me as patently unfair that providing a healthy home for our family was obscenely expensive, and therefore impossible for most of the population.
Fast forward another 2 years, once we have moved to Evergreen, Colorado, where we could live in a more natural (i.e., less concrete) environment. I had moved from protective mama bear to rabid environmentalist. It was a school supply shopping trip to a big box department store that finally sent me over the edge. I looked from our basket full of school supplies to my two precious children, and back to the basket, and then I asked my kids just how many rain forests they thought were in our basket. And how much plastic? They answered “a lot!” to both and we decided that, more than “a lot,” it was “too much,” and we walked out of the store.
As we marched out, I was fiercely proud of their decision to leave. I was also freaking out. Where were we going to find eco-friendly school supplies? And although my kids might have eco supplies on the first day of school, how many of their friends would find themselves and their toxic shopping carts going through the checkout line. Ensuring that my kids went to school with safe supplies only went so far. I had to ensure that all kids had access to them.
As Green Apple Supply celebrates it’s new web design, I thought it appropriate to go back to the beginning and tell you the story of who we are, how we came to be, and how we got our name. So to kick off our new site, I hope to introduce you to Green Apple Supply in a series of posts about our history. First, who are we and how did we come about?
Almost 7 years ago, our daughter, Kiki, was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, a brutal auto-immune disease that left her limping, exhausted, and in terrible pain. After researching the disease and its possible causes, the most likely trigger was our home. At the time, we lived in Houston and our home (where we lived when Kiki was between 3 months and 2 ½ years old) was located on a plume of contaminated groundwater from which VOCs may have been seeping into our home. Her diagnosis immediately sent me into mama bear mode—I was obsessed with making sure that our family was, from that point forward and to the best of my ability, free from the threat of toxic chemicals.
Sometimes I think about how they say that everything happens for a reason. And those reasons sometimes seem sinister—like the day Kiki got diagnosed. They also say there are six degrees of separation between any two people. As I sit here today, I wonder if there aren’t the same six degrees of separation between those bad things that happen for a reason and the resulting good of their outcomes.
Our daughter’s disease was most definitely painful but it changed our lives in such a dramatically positive way. Without a doubt, my family is better off as a whole—maybe even healthier despite the arthritis, than we were previously. We immediately began eating more healthfully and extracting chemicals from our daily routine. We began spending time outdoors, appreciating our natural surroundings. We became environmentalists.
Everything may not happen for a reason, but it was in her disease that I found my purpose. I could not sit idly by while innocent children continued being poisoned by environmental toxins. I became an activist; an outspoken, unafraid champion for my daughter and everyone else’s and we founded Green Apple Supply.
The six degrees between our daughter’s diagnosis and today’s celebration are poignantly communicated in today’s date, July 30, my daughter’s 10th birthday. Looking back on the seven years following her diagnosis, I can honestly say that I have found peace with her disease. I can see that, regardless of the why and the how of our difficult situation, we are better human beings as a result. And as we celebrate her birthday and our re-opening, we also celebrate her blessed remission.
Happy Birthday to our beautiful Kiki!
Welcome to our green family.