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Coalition wants to help families go green

By Heather Kemp

hkemp@dailydemocrat.com

With Earth Day happening Monday, the Woodland Coalition for Green Schools has launched a pledge to helpmore people becomethe green sheep of their family.

A way to protect children from untested and potentially harmful chemicals found in everyday products both at home and in school, the pledge involves three promises: signing up for a monthly email newsletter about simple and affordable ways to remove “toxics” fromyourhome, committing to being a “green sheep” for your family and community and sharing the information learned with others and collaborating to make area schools healthier and more sustainable places to learn.

“As a single mother on a budget, I want to emphasize that you don’t have to be Gwyneth Paltrow to afford to go green,” said Liza Grandia, the coalition’s coordinator.

The UC Davis Native American studies professor continued: “Each month will have a different focus on a theme centered around a newchemical of concern. We will give popular summaries about new studies coming out (many of them from UC Davis), describe possible effects on children, and then offer easy steps to remove them from the home with frugal alternatives.”

Topics planned for the near future include plastics and BPAs, cleaning products and sunscreen.

Coalition member Clara Olmedo shared a bit about her journey to “go green.”

As someone who suffered from multiple sensitivities, Olmedo lived with migraines. Certain products like Dawn soap would trigger the headaches and even anxiety. She says she started to see symptoms in her children when they were exposed to specific chemicals as well.

After learning about the Woodland Coalition for Green Schools and getting to know Grandia, Olmedo made many lifestyle changes. She explained a few: “I clean my house with vinegar and baking soda, our personal products are fragrance free and plantbased or natural, we use natural detergent and we stopped the use of fabric softener, we stopped using plastic products to store food, we buy organic and produce that is in season, we have minimized buying processed foods and we use no pesticides in our home,” Olmedo said. “We have even stopped buying plastic bottled water and my kids and I all have our own refillable water bottles and we recycle.”

As a result, she said her migraines have become less constant. She also spends less money than before because she does not purchase “expensive products and boxed items.”

To spread the word, the organization will have a booth at the Honey Festival, happening Saturday, May 4 in downtown Woodland.

They are also looking for more people to get involved and make their homes, and ultimately schools, greener.

“We would love volunteers to help with newsletter layout, translation into Spanish, and organizing outreach activities like films and discussions,” Grandia said. “If we can find the funding, we’d like to publish the newsletters into brochures or a small booklet.”

Grandia says their mission may expand to include all of Yolo County at some point.

The Woodland Coalition for Green Schools was created by parents, teachers, staff and students in 2017 to work for environmentally healthier and sustainable schools. Its goals are to remove environmental health hazards from campuses, reduce the district’s ecological footprint and educate the next generation of environmental citizens, according to its website.

Learn more about the pledge and sign up via woodlandgreenschools. org.

“As a single mother on a budget, I want to emphasize that you don’t have to beGwyneth Paltrowto afford to go green.”

— Liza Grandia, the coalition’s coordinator

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