The Mindful Merchant

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Climate Change – a child’s perspective December 2, 2009

Filed under: children,climate change — MindfulMerchant @ 11:37 pm
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The United Nations Summit on Climate Change begins December 7th  in Copenhagen.  Leaders from 192 countries will gather to discuss and hopefully agree to effective and aggressive new environmental solutions.

While sitting around the kitchen table doing crafts I asked my children and some of their friends what they knew about climate change, and told them about the meeting in Copenhagen.  I asked them this question.   “Do you think it is important Stephen Harper, and the other world leaders make better, tougher laws to protect the earth?”  Here are their responses and pictures.



“People who pollute on purpose should get into trouble, maybe go to jail.  Then more people would listen and stop doing it.” 

Gillian – 9 years old










Ella – 9 years old








“They should stop people littering.  Litter and garbage makes everything sick.”    Ashley – 7 years old










“They should make better laws so the water is not polluted…I have to drink it.  So does my dog.”      Chloe – 7 years old









“I don’t get why you need laws…just don’t hurt the earth!”     Charlotte – 6 years old









“We need good pollution laws so all the animals on the earth are healthy and happy.  Hey, are we animals too?     Sarah – 7 years old











“Too much global warming means we will be worried about water.  Without safe water we can’t grow food.  We can’t live.”  Amanda – 8 years old








“People should stop throwing garbage in the water, cutting down trees and polluting the air so we don’t hurt animals.  Leaders have to care about these things”  Marin – 9 years old





Why is it children understand the gravity of this situation, yet so many grownups cannot?   Climate change threatens our prosperity, our health, the environment and our children’s future.  Let’s hope this summit ensures long-term commitments, strong agreements and real environmental benefits…for the world.   We will soon know if Stephen Harper and the other world leaders have the comprehension, wisdom and compassion of a young child.




Inspiration November 20, 2009

Filed under: children,eco-friendly,environmentally friendly,reduce — MindfulMerchant @ 4:14 pm
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plastic bags 003 I have known Amanda since the day she popped out into the world 8 years ago. I think that is why it surprises me when I hear how she is growing up…much quicker than my brain can process. Amanda is a happy, smart, theatrical, imaginative ball of energy. Somewhere along the line, she learned to read, write and become a concerned, active citizen of the world. I cannot pinpoint exactly when this happened but I suspect it has something to do with parenting, the educational system and Barney.

Yesterday while chatting with my pal Alli, Amanda (her daughter) came into the room. She had news so exciting it was worth interrupting our conversation. She told us about a letter she received from the “Lunch Lady”. Apparently, Amanda was very concerned about the amount of plastic (specifically plastic bags) the Lunch Lady used for the school lunch program. Amanda voiced her concerns to her teacher who in turn, suggested she write a letter to the Lunch Lady directly. High five teacher!

Amanda received a lovely letter from the Lunch Lady explaining that the plastic bags she had been using were biodegradable and made from corn. She told Amanda that reducing plastics and garbage were her companies concerns too. The result was that Amanda’s letter prompted the Lunch Lady to eliminate the use of plastic bags all together, even though they were biodegradable. She also committed to reduce the litter generated at all the school lunch programs. (Lunch Lady provides lunches for schools throughout Toronto.) Way to go Lunch Lady!

I am impressed. Thank you Amanda for the important reminder to take action and that every individual can make positive environmental changes…even a child.





I know more about computers than my 8 year old…maybe. November 14, 2009


6e62514e9aa0e1c6[1] I remember being so impressed there were computers in my daughter’s junior kindergarten class. It did not take long before she was comfortable navigating her way around a computer. Now I learn useful tips and shortcuts from my eight year old. That is humbling.

The other day I casually made one of those stupid “When I was little” comments when a few of our children’s friends came over to play. Never say anything that begins with “When I was little” unless you really want to feel prehistoric. The kids were chatting about their favourite computer games while sitting down for a snack. I piped in with “When I was little, there were no computers at school or at home…we used typewriters”. The room fell silent. Everyone turned to look at me in amazement. No computers? What is a typewriter? Followed by the inevitable “Wow, you are OLD!” comments. That night before bed, I dug out a neglected jar of wrinkle cream and tried to target certain areas.

The girl’s school does a great job educating children about environmental issues. They come home with new earth friendly ideas, (see my post on candlelit dinners) pressure us to make more green changes…and be consistent.

Now that the children are a little older, they are starting to learn about pollution, endangered animals and the effects of climate change. My husband and I do not always know how to answer their questions. While searching for information I discovered a few educational web sites that I like to explore with the kids. They talk about environmental conservation, concerns, wildlife protection and making a difference in the community. The best part is they deliver the information in an interactive, and  fun way. These websites are not just for children or teachers – I learn something every time we play a game or take a quiz.

First, I must give my cyber safety shpeel. Just a reminder to make sure your children’s computer time is a safe experience. Sit down with them, read instructions together and pay attention to their activities on line. Sometimes being in the same room while they are working on the computer is not enough supervision. Be careful and cautious.

Here are three educational websites that I think are worth checking out.


National Geographic Kids.

Our kids like the People & Places section (See and read about the 7 wonders of the world or tour Greece)

Space and Science section (Find out if Pluto is no longer a planet)

Just Joking (Me, I am not so crazy about the jokes after a few weeks – but our kids love it and it gives them a good reason to call the Grandparents)

Recipes from around the world (like Kwanzaa Creole Bread Pudding)


Eco Kids Canada

What a good site for quizzes! We love quizzes.

This is a great resource for information under Homework Help – Climate change, renewable energy, First Nations & Inuit, Earth Day, Waste and Wildlife.

Very good print outs for colouring. A fun craft for young children.


EEK ! – Environmental Education for Kids

This is my favourite site.

We like Critter Corner to read about all the critters of the world. It shines a light on endangered species.

Our Earth discusses our environment and environmental issues in an easy and direct way.

Natures Notes taught us about Phenology. (Nope. I am not telling you what that means) It encourages observation, something all children do so well.

They even discuss environmental jobs…like a Hydrogeologist. How cool is that?


Children learn from modeling. They follow our lead in life and when it comes to environmental issues, we should try to discuss, be enthusiastic, and act. If you are curious or interested in eco-friendly websites for children these are my suggestions to start. Have fun!