5 Green Parent Posts: Mickey Hart, Generation Green, healthy children, Technorati, Gawker

Don’t forget to click on the titles to read the full articles on the original sites!

1.  Huffington Post:  Mickey Hart: There’s a Fire on the Mountain

Neuroscientists also have shown that the brain is hardwired for music, innovation and creativity, all other human activities follow. No human culture known to historians or anthropologists has ever existed without music and dance. The arts are a necessity for insight: the arts make us human.The energy that you acquire from art and music turns inspiration into invention. This allows an inventor to dream up something never envisioned before and creates new industries and good-paying jobs.

 

I don’t propose to simply add art or music classes to the schedule. I mean making the arts a key variable in the STEM equation. Art sparks creativity and instills a sense of wonder and discovery without which learning often winds up being nothing more than rote memorization. Instead of teaching our kids to memorize well, we should be teaching them to think for themselves and to apply their imaginations. We need to fill their heads with more than just facts if they are going to compete in the global economy that is a knowledge economy. Creative thinking is what is needed to, in President Obama’s words, “out-innovate” and “out-educate” the rest of the world. It’s creativity that links education and innovation by taking what is learned in the classroom and using it to make something new.

Art in the classroom not only spurs creativity, it also inspires learning. More organizations concerned with the state of science education in this country are beginning to embrace this idea. The National Academy of Sciences, for example, is reaching out to the artistic community through its Science & Entertainment Exchange, which matches scientists with filmmakers to more accurately portray science — and scientists — on screen. It also encourages collaborations between teachers and creative figures in the entertainment industry, including video-game designers, to develop tools to stimulate learning.

2.  generation green: Eco-Tip: Avoiding Toxic Chemicals in Kids PJ’s and other products

Some sleepwear for children ages 9 months to 14 years may contain flame retardants, but  sadly, there is no sure way for consumers to know if sleepwear on store shelves contain flame retardants.  This despite animal and some human studies that suggest flame retardants may impact children’s health, with problems such as delayed puberty, hyperactivity, decreased memory and learning, suppressed immune systems and cancer. One study found children have more than three times the levels of flame retardants found in their mothers’ bodies.

Since there are no regulations requiring labeling to indicate when pajamas (or other children’s products) contain flame retardants, our best advice is:

1. Choose snug- fitting sleepwear: Select sleepwear that is marked with a permanent tag that says “must be snug fitting” and “not flame resistant.” Making pajamas tight fitting is one way clothing makers can comply with “flame resistant” regulations without using potentially toxic chemicals.

2. Stay clear of 100% cotton sleepwear that is labeled as treated with Proban or Securest: Some 100% cottonsleepwear is treated with non-halogenated flame retardants called Proban or Securest.   We do not have full safety information on these types of flame retardants, but if you wish to avoid all flame retardants, you should also avoid these products.

3. Children’s sleepwear sized under 9 months should not contain flame retardants: Sleepwear sized under 9 months does not have to meet existing flammability regulations so it is unlikely that these products would be treated with flame retardants.

3.  healthy children: AAP Updates Recommendations on Car Seats

Children should ride rear-facing to age 2, use a booster until at least age 8

New advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will change the way many parents buckle up their children for a drive.

In a new policy published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics(published online March 21), the AAP advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

4.  Technorati:  Japan’s Nuclear Nightmare: What Do We Tell Our Children?

How much of Japan’s horrific nightmare can a child bear to see? How much should we let them watch on the television news? These are the critical questions parents must face in the wake of Japan’s Triple Threat Crisis.

I was fourteen years old when President Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba. I remember teachers at school making us children go through practice drills in anticipation of a nuclear war. We were asked to get underneath our desk and stay there, as the entire school went through practice drills as if a nuclear bomb would drop at any moment. Looking back on it now, I had no idea of the massive devastation that a nuclear bomb would cause, and I certainly had no idea that hiding under that desk was unlikely to offer protection in the event of a nuclear attack. Still, I had nightmares for weeks following the standoff between the USA and Russia.

I’m concerned that the delicate young hearts and minds of our children are not ready for viewing the carnage in Japan, nor am I convinced they are ready for a discussion on the effects of nuclear fallout. But, if parents don’t discuss this with their children, are we potentially placing our children in harm’s way in the event the big one hits home?

For parents, the choices they make can have a dramatic effect upon the child. So it is understandable that parents would be reluctant to allow their children to see the images in Japan, which portray the horrors of natural disasters. Yet California experiences earthquakes on a regular basis, and parents living in that state must explain to their children what is happening when the child experiences the sensation of the earth moving. They also have to give their children instructions on what to do when the earthquakes occur. It is the reality of life in California.

5.  Gawker: Whole Foods Is Slowly Killing Bolivians

Thanks to places like Whole Foods and people like Dr. Oz, Bolivian children are at risk of malnutrition. Why? Because of America’s sudden love affair with quinoa — that tasty little chenopod that most wrongly describe as a grain. The Timestells us why we should feel guilty for eating it:

Now demand for quinoa (pronounced KEE-no-ah) is soaring in rich countries, as American and European consumers discover the “lost crop” of the Incas. The surge has helped raise farmers’ incomes here in one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries. But there has been a notable trade-off: Fewer Bolivians can now afford it, hastening their embrace of cheaper, processed foods and raising fears of malnutrition in a country that has long struggled with it.

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Sudhamshu

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