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The Green Mama

United Arab Emirates forces women to breastfeed and America freaks out

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Jan 31st, 2014

 The United Arab Emirates’ Federal National Council recently passed a clause mandating women breastfeed their babies for two years as part of their new Child Rights Law. 

And, of course, the world is going crazy over the news with every North American journalists and women’s organizations rushing to condemn the move (or so it would seem by reading some of the American press).

American mommy bloggers and activists and politicians are also freaking out about how wrong it is for women, how awful for the causes of progressive parenting, and then there is that extremely rare baby who can't have breastmilk at all (because of one of the extremely rare congenital disorders).

What happens when two ordinary Canadians decide to make an extraordinary difference?

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Jun 3rd, 2013

Children play at the Project Somos Children Village playground. Most children in Guatemala have never seen a playground before this one was constructed.

Project Somos Children’s Village: A home. A family. A future.
Project Somos has something very different about it: a kind of small-world magic that seems uniquely Canadian. Some of the biggest supporters have just sort of stumbled upon it and by some force feel the draw of the Project and before they know it they are hosting a 60th birthday party to raise money for the organization, or joining the board, or bringing their families to volunteer for a week.

This is the very magic that attracted me to the Project. I was attracted by the audacity of the vision: an ecological village that would raise orphaned children within families. I was so attracted that I brought my whole family to visit in 2011, just over a year after the founders, Heather Knox and Greg Kemp, moved there to start construction.

What YOU need to know about protecting your breasts after Angelina Jolie's mastectomy

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
May 24th, 2013

Angelina Jolie is known for her sex appeal. After undergoing a preventative mastectomy, many women are worried about their own breast cancer risk and wondering how to improve their breast health naturally.

What to learn from Angelina Jolia's preventative mastectomy and how women everywhere can empower themselves towards better breast health and worry less about breast cancer

Upon hearing that Angelina Jolie decided to have both of her breasts removed to help decrease her chances of developing breast cancer, I couldn’t help myself from researching the tabloids as if they were major medical journals. What woman could? There is no way that you are hearing it here first, so I won’t go into more than the basic details. Angelina Jolie revealed in a New York Times Op-ed on May 14, that she had chosen to have a preventative double masectomy because she is a carrier of the BRCA1 gene and thus was at an increased risk for developing both breast and ovarian cancers.

Vancouver's childcare crisis: Budding's flexible childcare offers new approach to an old problem

Sponsored Content
Feb 8th, 2012

When this Vancouver family couldn't find childcare, they decided to create an all-new, flexible solution.

  It didn’t take long after I moved to Vancouver to start

Vancouver’s Childcare Crisis, The issue made simple:

1.  Childcare fees are staggeringly expensive. In Vancouver, they can account for 20% of a family’s total expenses and these prices are rising.

2.  There are not enough childcare spaces for the kids who need them. “Only 14% or B.C. children under the age of 12 have access to a licensed child-care space,” according to a 2009 article by Rita Chudnovsky in the Straight.

3.  Funding changes on both the federal and provincial level have resulted in significantly less funding for childcare.

Election promise fulfilled: Vancouver's first flexible childcare opens

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Dec 5th, 2011

Fannie Smith is making use of Vancouver's first flexible childcare centre.

Less than one month after Mayor Robertson's re-election promise to provide 500 new daycare spaces, the city licenses the first flexible occasional care centre, providing for the part-time needs of up to 90 families at once according to a Buddings Flexible Childcare press release.

Fannie Smith has found an answer to a problem faced by hundreds of Vancouver families: what to do when her son's preschool hours don't cover the time she needs for her part-time job and other commitments. The need for more licensed childcare spaces in the city is so well-known that addressing it was part of Mayor Gregor Robertson's re-election platform, and in addition to more spaces, there is also an increasing demand for more flexible options, and varying schedules.

"I left my full-time job and inflexible schedule," Smith explains. "Now I spend three days a week in an office, do contract work from home and manage two other projects on a volunteer basis, all of which require uninterrupted work hours. We can't afford a full-time nanny, and since things are in constant movement, it doesn't make sense." 

The raw milk debate: Did Canada just give away your right to choose what you consume?

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Oct 17th, 2011

No right to milk for Canadians?

Hey Canadians, you have no right to drink milk says the Ontario Court of Justice. Specifically, the judge overturned an earlier court's decision to allow informed consent for cowshare members to drink raw milk in Ontario, saying" “The entitlement to consume milk, raw or otherwise, is not a Charter protected right.”

This declaration by a Canadian court came just on the tail of a similar declaration in a Wisconsin court which ruled that people in that U.S. state “do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice….” 

Antibacterial hand soap: the real danger lurking in school bathrooms

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Sep 16th, 2011

Anti-bacterial hand soap is a dirty clean says Health Canada.

It's school time again, and in every school bathroom across Vancouver you can hear the "splat, splat" sound of anti-bacterial soap squirting onto the hands of school children everywhere. So, what does the science tell us about anti-bacterial products and just how bad are they for our children's health?


How to green your child's school

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Aug 27th, 2011

Sick of school or just a sick school? The Green Mama shows you how you can make a real difference in the health of your child's classroom.

Ideally, every school setting would be green and healthy. After all, your child will spend 1/3 of his or her day there. Studies show that more than half of U.S. schools suffer from problems related to indoor air quality (which is typically more polluted than outdoor air, even in the best situations). Indoor air quality issues can affect teacher retention, student performance, (and ultimately) school funding.

Indoor air quality isn’t the only issue you can affect at your child’s school: food, toys, furniture, waste, cleaning, hand-washing and skincare routines are just some of the classroom practices that have a health effect on your child and the planet.

How to make compost in your apartment

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
May 16th, 2011

The Green Mama’s guide to backyard compost piles, composters, tumblers, vermicompost (worm bins), and electric-assist composters

I love composting. I know, organic decay isn’t a turn on for everyone, but it does have the potential, and for good reason. Organic items — things you can compost and turn into soil — make up 40 per cent of the garbage in most homes, and are the largest single category (unless you are a parent, and then disposable diapers might win as the largest single item.) If done right, a good deal or ALL of your kitchen waste can be turned into soil. 

Composting made simple

Composting is Sexy with the Red Dragon: the indoor, electric-assist composting appliance

Manda Aufochs GillespieSponsored Content
Apr 21st, 2011

This is a product review that turned into a love story.

It started out simple. I was going to review a composter. Although, not just any composter, an electric assist little number called The Red Dragon. I already find composting sexy. If you don't know, then maybe you will when you think of its impact.

Biodegradable materials make up 40% of the average family's garbage bag and as much as 65% percentage of landfills--and things in landfills virtually never biodegrade. That means that they don’t break-down (usually with the help of bacteria) into something like soil that “feeds” other life with its carbon. Hotdogs and newspaper (both potentially biodegradable) just sit in the anaerobic environment of a landfill and they sit there in tack for hundreds of year or forever. At my house they could be fertilizer within 24 hours.

Green Mama Red Dragon Review

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