Feb 082013
 

… as things stand we’re all being used as guinea pigs in the great test of new product safety.”
-Mark Bittman, The Cosmetics Wars, The New York Times, Feb. 6, 2013

Mark Bittman’s article on cosmetics testing in The New York Times highlights the fact that personal care product makers don’t have to prove that the ingredients in their shampoos, toothpastes or other cosmetics are safe before you use them.

The Environmental Working Group (E.W.G.) offers a database of more than 79,000 personal care products, from soap to lip plumper ranked by level of hazard. The database is an excellent way to find out what is in you and your children’s products.

 

 

 

 

Jan 302013
 

The film,  ‘Play Again’  highlights the importance of play and nature and asks the question ‘What are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature?’.

The film’s synopsis : –

‘One generation from now most people in the U.S. will have spent more time in the virtual world than in nature. New media technologies have improved our lives in countless ways. Information now appears with a click. Overseas friends are part of our daily lives. And even grandma loves Wii.

But what are we missing when we are behind screens? And how will this impact our children, our society, and eventually, our planet? At a time when children play more behind screens than outside, PLAY AGAIN explores the changing balance between the virtual and natural worlds. Is our connection to nature disappearing down the digital rabbit hole?

This moving and humorous documentary follows six teenagers who, like the “average American child,” spend five to fifteen hours a day behind screens. PLAY AGAIN unplugs these teens and takes them on their first wilderness adventure – no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no virtual reality.

Through the voices of children and leading experts including journalist Richard Louv, sociologist Juliet Schor, environmental writer Bill McKibben, educators Diane Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, neuroscientist Gary Small, parks advocate Charles Jordan, and geneticist David Suzuki, PLAY AGAIN investigates the consequences of a childhood removed from nature and encourages action for a sustainable future.’

From more information www.playagain.com

Dec 052012
 

“For the child…it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow…. It is more important to pave the way for a child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts that he is not ready to assimilate.”
Rachel Carson

“First and foremost, our job as heart-centered educators must be to understand the potential of each ‘seed’ we are nurturing.  The great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals said it well: ‘The child must know that he (or she) is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him (or her).’  Supporting the miracle of each child’s uniqueness does not lend itself to standardization.  It is not ‘convenient.’  It may seem easier to find a one-size-fits-all way of delivering and assessing learning, but if we pay attention, the natural world will help us realize the futility of trying to do so.  Nothing in nature, including human beings, can be completely ‘standardized.’ (1)

We need to advocate for an education based on the understanding of our children’s uniqueness. This is a fundamental right of every child.

Jane Hanckel

(1) http://www.childcareexchange.com/eed/view/3223/

Sep 122012
 

A must watch segment on ABC TV’s Catalyst program on plastic waste and our environment.

Plastic Oceans

Oceans are silently choking on our plastic waste. Plastic and synthetic materials are the most common types of debris in our oceans and are having horrific impacts on marine wildlife and systems. As an island continent ‘girt by sea’ marine debris is of particular importance for Australia. Creatures get entangled in plastics and drown and ingested concentrated toxins from plastics pose a threat to the health of the food chain. Plastics also transport and introduce species into new environments. Anja Taylor catches up with the CSIRO research team spearheading the Marine Debris Survey, a world-first study of the plastics around our coastline.

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3583576.htm

Sep 032012
 

 

Harvard scientists have studied effects of fluoride in drinking water and found that high levels of fluoride lowers children’s IQ. They looked at 27 studies from across the world and found a direct link between IQ scores and the levels of fluoride in the public water supply.  The study’s aim was to investigate the effects of increased fluoride exposure and delayed neurobehavioral development. (1) Children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas. The children studied were up to 14 years of age, but the investigators speculate that any toxic effect on brain development may have happened earlier, and that the brain may not be fully capable of compensating for the toxicity.

“Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain,” says Phillipe Grandjean adjunct professor of environmental health, Harvard School of Public Health. “The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.” (2)

How to avoid fluoride in your water?  Installing a rainwater tank or using a reverse osmosis filtration system are two practical solutions. For more details on reverse osmosis see link. Speak to your local council and express your views on fluoride in your drinking water.

(1) Environmental Health Perspectives, 2012; published online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104912

(2) http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi.html

 

Aug 262012
 

 

Can shopping save the world? The Story of Change urges viewers to put down their credit cards and start exercising their citizen muscles to build a more sustainable, just and fulfilling world.  From the makers of the Story of Stuff www.storyofstuff.org

Being a citizen is about acting on our responsibility to stand up for the planet and our children.

Eco parenting is currently developing an innovative, engaging and interactive 3D ‘look inside the human body’. This 3D pilot will demonstrate a child’s wellbeing and the links to diet, lifestyle and environment. If you would like to support this project and receive a one on one consultation with Jane Hanckel and a signed copy of her book then please click here.

Jul 032012
 

 

“The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner’ is an inspiring film by BBC documentary filmmaker, Jonathan Stedall.  Rudolf Steiner’s contribution to modern day life ranges from a wholistic ecological approach to education to agriculture, medicine, science and art. A comprehensive film for anyone wanting to explore the work of one of the 20th century’s visionary thinkers. Stedall presents Steiner’s life through the eyes of people who lives and work have been inspired by Steiner.

The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner – Trailer from Jonathan Stedall on Vimeo.

The complete film is downloadable for 5 pounds (UK – approx $7-8 US/AUS) by following the links

Part One http://steinerfilm.fetchapp.com/sell/uzeshara

Part Two http://steinerfilm.fetchapp.com/sell/oquoceip

Mar 162012
 

Healthy food does not have to be more expensive. The Harvard School of Public Health’s Health Prevention Research Center came up with simple tips for after school programs to keep the cost of healthier snacks down:

  • Do not serve sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Serve water every day.
  • Serve a fruit and/or low-priced vegetable (such as carrots or celery) every day.
  • Allocate price savings from replacing 100% juice with tap water towards purchasing and serving whole fruit because of its higher fiber content and effects on satiety.
  • Offer fresh fruits or vegetables over more expensive canned or frozen versions.
  • When serving grains (such as bread, crackers, and cereals), serve whole grains.
  • Avoid foods with trans fat.

These tips are useful for parents wanting to save money and provide healthy food for their children.  The ‘eco parenting – growing greener children’ book is an excellent evidence based research book that provide multitudinous reasons why parents should choose healthy food for their children.

 

Feb 282012
 

 

The rose is said to represent purity and perfection and now it has been documented that it can reduce stress.  The Japanese Journal of Pharmacology reported that researchers found that the simple inhalation of patchouli and rose oil reduced sympathetic nervous activity by 40%, with rose oil reducing adrenaline concentrations by 30%. (1)

When my son was in kindergarten, he would receive a lavender face wash before leaving for the day.  In the last five years we have introduced using flower essences along with other eco parenting initiatives, into parent education programs in Australia.  Children and parents receive massages with a fine sphagni rose or lavender oil.  A lavender face wash is used to help settle the children at rest time.  The parents have reported that the children are calmer and more relaxed.  They are now using the oils to help their children get a good nights sleep.

(1) Green Med Info, http://bit.ly/w0QO0r