Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn Oakley and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Friday, November 21, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo- no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along.

My knitting frenzy has returned! Well, I'm not really sure I can call it a frenzy, but I am eager to knit and look forward to sneaking in a row here and there when I can.  I have made some progress on a  plain tunic for Phoebe. The yarn I am using is so very soft, which makes it so very easy to knit with.  I also just started Phoebe's Sweater for Phoebe (of course!). I found 4 skeins at the store and had to order 8 more (they are small skeins) and after using most of a skein to knit only 8 rows, I am worried that it may not even be enough!

I am loving The Uglies, another tween sci-fi read.The first 100-ish pages were sort of slow, but I am hooked now. There is a lot of environmentalism and ecology that underlies the themes in the book, so it is right up my alley. I am looking forward to reading the others in the series as well. I am also reading The Residue Years, a book that takes pace in Portland. It's always fun to read a book that takes place in your town. You can really let yourself sink into the story.  And, I am still picking my way through Childhood and Nature. There are so many great ideas in this book-- they don't really pertain to the college level, at which I teach, but I wish I could find a way to implement some of these ideas at Finn's school. 

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, November 17, 2014

GMO OMG: A Review and Other Musings on Genetic Modification


GMOs have been a hot topic in Oregon lately. Measure 92, which would have required genetically modified foods to be labeled in Oregon, just very very narrowly missed passing. I am pretty disappointed that it didn't pass and I am now feeling regret that I wasn't more involved with the campaign. I think it is ridiculous that there is no way to track these altered foods, especially since there have been no long term studies to test for safety. However, considering Monsanto and a few other agro-giants spent over 20 million dollars fighting against Measure 92, making it the costliest ballot measure in Oregon's history, and the margin was still obscenely narrow, I think we did OK. Monsanto can fight a few battles, but it can't keep forking out millions of dollars in many states every couple of years (or can it?). At least we know the word is spreading. I am convinced that we can get GMOs labeled in the not-so-distant future.
Anyways, GMO OMG is a new documentary from 2013. It is the story of a dad with three kids, and his quest to find out more about the food he is feeding his children. What are GMOs? Are they safe? Why are they such a big part of our agricultural system?
The film  does a good job of summarizing what GMOs are, what some of the problems with them may be, as well as talking about the political issues that surround them. At times the film can be a little extreme.... (spoiler alert)... like when he dons his children in hazard suits and masks to walk through a field of genetically modified corn. But, I think he does get his point across.
Despite already knowing a lot about GMOs, I found the film interesting, sweet and funny too. Plus, the sound track is killer. This is one to definitely put on your to-watch list.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Today I am feeling grateful for
  • two very silly children who remind me that life is for having fun
  • sunny days with colorful leaves still on the trees
  • our warm and cozy house during these cold Portland days
  • the hummingbirds that visit our feeder each and every day
  • a date night with hubby tonight
What are you grateful for today?

Playing along with the other Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Trashed: A Review


I just watched the 2012 film Trashed. The film started out a bit slow, and I was afraid it was going to be rather mundane... but I ended up quite enjoying it. The film is based in the U.K., but talks about trash problems throughout the globe. It touches on increased birth defects and cancer rates for people who live close to landfills. It talks about the huge amounts of waste in our oceans, and how that waste harms wildlife. Plastics can release chemicals, and they also absorb chemicals, making bits of plastic in our oceans turn into toxic pellets. These toxins accumulate in the organisms that eat them and then magnify as they move up the food chain. Many of these chemicals are hormone disrupters, which means they can affect reproduction.  Killer whales and other organisms at the top of the food chain carry the largest burden of these chemicals and their populations are now in decline because of this. In fact, researchers studying these animals often have to dispose of the carcass as hazardous waste because these animals have so many toxic chemicals in their system. Unbelievable. How did we ever let our planet get this way?
The film also discusses WTE (waste-to-energy) facilities, which burn trash to create electricity. I myself have toured a WTE plant here in Oregon, and the whole concept seems to make sense. We get rid of our waste, and simultaneously create electricity, without strip mining, fracking, or wars. However, the release of dioxins from these facilities is a huge concern. Dioxins are created by burning plastics and these nasty chemicals cause cancer and birth defects. These dioxins accumulate in organisms and sadly, when a mother gives birth to a child, she passes much of her accumulated burden of chemicals, including dioxins, on to her child. The effects of this can be seen with mothers in Vietnam, where Agent Orange (made by Monsanto, by the way) was sprayed during the Vietnam War. This Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxin, and many of the children in this area suffer from severe birth defects (still, to this day!). This part of the film brought me to tears... for the children, the mothers, and the complete injustice of our world.
The film, as most environmental documentaries, ends with some glimmers of hope for our future. Individuals making better choices when shopping (such as choosing products with less packaging), composting food waste, and making recycling easier. This film was a great reminder that as a population, we have a long way to go to fix the havoc we have reeked on our environment. And, in turn,  how much I have to do personally to play my part in this rehabilitation. 

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Friday, November 14, 2014


It has been cold here (for Portland, anyways!). School was even cancelled on Thursday due to icy conditions. I was hoping for a big snow, because, well-- it would have been nice to have been cozied up in the house for a few days, but I guess once "ice day" will have to do. For now. Enjoy your weekend!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yarn Along

 Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along.

It's only Wednesday morning and so far this week has been a bit strange... Monday morning Phoebe fell while running and broke her pinkie finger. (She was so brave.) Tuesday was extremely windy and we even lost our power for a few hours because of it. And it is still super windy as I type this. Now the weather is calling for possible snow here tomorrow, and I am taking my students on a field trip to a farm tomorrow morning. Well, maybe I am. For those of you who don't know, snow here is rare, which means when it happens, everyone sort of freaks out and people seem to lose all sensibility when driving vehicles. I love the snow, so I have my fingers crossed that we get some!

I have been more in a knitting mood lately, and although I haven't been too productive, I have been knitting a little bit each night. I have started a new plain tunic for Phoebe, in a lovely blue silk-wool blend that I got at Flock and Fiber this year. It feels lovely to knit with-- so cozy! However, I think it may get set aside soon so that I can start some Christmas gifts. I need to make a run to the yarn store this week-- I am very behind this year!

I just started reading The Uglies, another tween sci-fi read. I haven't read enough to give an opinion yet, although the first few chapters seem pretty strange.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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