The Tales of Goodness blog shares the details of our family’s attempts to make the world a better place for our children. We take on a new environmental, health or socioeconomic improvement project each week and share our findings on the site. The blog is focused on (1) sharing the details of our experiences in an open, candid and humorous manner, and (2) inspiring others to do what they can to change the world.

Each post in the blog contains the following sections.
“Our Challenge” details what our family sets out to do in a specific week.
“Our Tale” chronicles the experiences of the family throughout the week.
“Our Findings” openly shares all findings – good or bad.
“The Goodness” is a summary of the impact of the change on the world overall as well as any projections about the impact others might make.

Here’s what’s on the roster for 2011.  This is subject to change.

May 30 – June 3:  Spend Responsibly: GoodGuide your groceries. Our challenge is to take our actual grocery list and research the best product option for each item using the GoodGuide site, which provides an expert-driven rating system for most consumer goods.  We will share cost comparisons for our usual brand vs the new brand as well as our overall impression on the difficulty of the process. Is it affordable for us to do the right thing?  Can we adopt the change as part of our life?

June 6 – June 10: Drive Responsibly: Reduce your carbon emissions. Our challenge is to figure out just exactly how much pollution our cars and driving habits are making and then do our best to reduce them.  This may include changes to the vehicles, changes to our driving practices and changes to our modes of transportation overall.  What changes do we feel are sustainable and what is our new carbon footprint?

June 13 – June 17: Live Responsibly: Give the gift of time. Our challenge is to spend one weekend day per month with the kids doing a volunteer activity. Our tale will detail our process and progress selecting an activity, organizing the activity and then actually doing the activity (with a baby and a toddler).  Will this be a success from our perspective?  Will the kids have fun and learn anything?

June 20 – June 24 – Good All Around: Become a flexitarian (a weekday vegetarian). Our challenge is to become flexitarians.  Our family will not eat meat Monday through Friday.  In our version of flexitarianism, we will still eat fish and eggs during the week.  What are the cost and health impacts of excluding meat from our diet?  Can we adopt this change permanently?

June 27 – July 1: The Un-Challenge: Can meditation help the world (starting with us)? Our challenge is to see if we can find a way to incorporate daily meditation into our lives.  And to see what impact it has on our lives and the lives of those around us.  We’ll meditate twice a day each day for 20 minutes – once in the morning and once at night.  We’ll share our pulses, blood pressure readings and general feelings from both before and after.  And we’ll decide if we should continue the practice for a while – or forever.

July 4 – July 8: Go local. Our challenge is to figure out how to buy only local produce, dairy and meat.  We’ll share our experience finding, cooking and eating local only. We will determine if it is affordable and convenient for us to buy local and whether we will adopt the change as part of our life.

July 11 – July 15: Go paperless. Our challenge is to figure out how much paper we consume, what it means for the environment, and how we can cut back.  How much can we cut back and how will it help?

July 18 – July 22: Take the BPA Challenge. This week we’ll be changing it up a bit.  Instead of creating our own challenge, we’ll be taking Healthy Child Healthy World‘s BPA Challenge.  This is all about using our consumer power to tell organizations to stop packaging our products with BPA-containing products that are harming our children – not to mention our food chain.  How hard will it be to cut all BPA from our lives?

July 25 – July 29: What to do when you can’t recycle glass. In our hometown, we cannot recycle glass.  Our beer and wine bottles can be dropped off at the local bottle return where they are taken to be refilled.  Excellent.  But what about our cooking oil bottles?  Our empty pickle and olive jars?  Those get put directly into the garbage.  And then into the landfill.  This week, we’ll be considering a few options, including (1) finding someone who’ll take it and use it, (2) finding ways to re-use it ourselves, and (3) just not buying it.  Stay tuned to find out how we decide to deal with this dilemma.

Aug 1 – Aug 5: Take an eco vacation: When less is more. I guess we took what could be termed an “eco vacation”. We did not really intend it as such, but when we compare it to our past travel experiences, we had a very minimal footprint. If we had wanted to, we could have challenged ourselves to be green this week and we certainly would have passed the test.

Aug 8 – Aug 12: Cut the power. As part of another blogging project (Get Off The Grid – How To Pursue Alternative Energy At Home), we’ve learned that we are wasteful users of electricity.  We certainly didn’t intend it to be so, but with knowledge comes power (if you’ll pardon the pun) and we’ve learned that we’re using more than our fair share.  This week, we’ll be going through our power cutting checklist and trying to reduce our household consumption.  Check back with us to see how we did.

Aug 15 – Aug 19: Share the goodness: Foster a child. There are so many causes. In our family, we each have a small “charity budget” and we allocate it as we see fit. We feel that this helps us focus our dollars on the causes we want rather than simply donating to those who happen to ask. Still, as I browsed through the various Child Sponsorship websites tonight, my maternal instincts went wild. I don’t know how much longer I can resist these babies in support of other causes. This week we’re going to look into how helping these children helps the world in general. Are there better ways to help them? To help us all?

Or check out our summary of the summer’s activities in Going From Zero To Green – The Goodness Challenge In Review.

Got an idea you’d like us to try?  Post a comment on this page.

Image: jscreationzs /

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