Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Archive for the ‘Charitable Alignments’ Category

Don’t just hug a tree … plant a new one

I grew up in Canada, so when I think about forests, I picture majestic, sky scraping old-growth trees in the Rocky Mountains and journeys along the Trans-Canada Highway passing logging trucks stacked with the biggest toothpicks in the world. As World Environment Day approaches (June 5), the United Nations General Assembly wants everyone to think of forests and how they play a key role in the battle against climate change.

To raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, the UN has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests, and World Environment Day (which started in 1972) is one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.

On a more local level, I have decided to mark the day this year by getting involved in a community tree-planting initiative with Greenfleet and Parks Victoria. Next Sunday, they are hosting a free, family friendly event in Berwick, Victoria, with tree planting, nature walks and children’s activities. Itty Bitty Greenie has donated 100% recycled paper colouring pages and 100% recycled eco-star crayons for the kids, as a fun way to educate about the importance of conserving and recycling paper in order to save trees. :)

And for those who don’t know about Greenfleet, they are an Australian not-for-profit environmental organization that encourages businesses and individuals to avoid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and then offset any remaining emissions by planting native forests.

Unfortunately global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – every year, 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed – but it is by raising awareness, educating and getting involved in some way that we can all make a difference. As one of my Canadian heroes, environmentalist David Suzuki says: “Environmentalism starts at home.”

For more interesting facts about forests and the United Nations Environment Program, visit their website:

For more information and to register for the free Greenfleet / Parks Victoria Community Planting day, visit:

A guilty pleasure

When Easter rolls around, I’ll be the first to admit that all thoughts turn to chocolate. And I’m not the only one, as chocolate is a $100-million industry in Australia and a $100-billion industry world wide. But also like many people, until recently I gave little thought to how cacao was harvested – where and how – and I had no knowledge that much of it involves child or trafficked labour.

A new report released by World Vision Australia reveals that most of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, where children as young as eight years old are taken from their families to work in the cocoa fields of Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

“We’re eating cheap chocolate because of trafficked children, child slavery, hazardous labour, and it’s so simply fixed,” said Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision. “It’s simply fixed by as much as two cents extra on a $10 chocolate bar.”

The issue for consumers though, is that even through most of us would be willing to pay a little more for it, fair trade chocolate is often not easy to find. A quick trip to the local supermarket this week to stock up on Easter supplies was disappointing for the lack of fair trade options – and rather than buy the cheap chocolate that was there in abundance, I went home empty handed.

“Our report shows only 1 to 3 percent of global cocoa supply is ethically certified today. Despite the best projections for growth in ethical cocoa, it’s expected 60-75 percent globally will still be uncertified in 2018,” Costello said.

So, like many things – unless consumers choose to “vote” with their dollar to support ethical brands, we will continue to contribute to the problem. I guess this gives new meaning to the Easter egg hunt … how far do we have to hunt for fair trade brands?

Here is World Vision’s guide to buying Fair Trade chocolate in Australia:

Click here to read the full report: Our Guilty Pleasure: Exploitative Child Labour in the Chocolate Industry

*with files from ABC News

Greenie goes pink

pink morning tea
These days it’s a safe bet (but unfortunate fact) to say that most people have someone in their lives who has been affected by breast cancer, and I am no exception. That is why, when October rolls around, taking part in various initiatives to help raise awareness and funds for the cause becomes a priority.

This time around, with the recent launch of Itty Bitty Greenie’s online eco-shop, I took the opportunity to run a month-long “think pink” campaign offering 30% off a different pink item from the store each day in October (it’s amazing how much stuff for little girls is pink!), and also donating $1 from every sale to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Itty Bitty Greenie's stall at the Pink Morning Tea

Itty Bitty Greenie's stall at the Pink Morning Tea

Itty Bitty Greenie also took part in a few other breast cancer benefits, including a “Girls Night In” online chat & charity auction hosted by Connect to Aussie Mums, and a pink morning tea hosted by local business owners Lisa Dale from Signed, Sealed, Delivered, and Lisele Rankin from Cupcakes by L. At both events we donated one of our organic pink baby dolls, made by Dandelion Earth Friendly Goods, a company that also supports the cause by donating a percentage of the profits from each doll sold to various breast cancer research projects.

The morning tea was held at Lisa’s home in Glen Waverley and what a day it was! Other local businesses set up stalls and donated food and prizes for a silent auction, there was pink champagne and goodie bags and even a petting zoo for the kiddies. Needless to say, I was impressed – and how could I not be, when so many people come together and donate their valuable time and effort to the cause?

I’d like to thank Lisa & Lisele, Peace & Katy from Connect2Mums and all of Itty Bitty Greenie’s customers, followers and “likers” who supported these initiatives. I am happy to report that together we have raised more than $2500 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.