October 25, 2011 09:00 AM

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, is in the middle of a very busy year.

The actress can currently be seen on the big screen in Abduction, as well as upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Officer Down, and is found online on Facebook and @ElisabethRohm on Twitter.

In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 3½-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — wants to know how you make “going green” work for yourselves as busy moms and for your children’s health.

Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm


We often think about the world we will leave our children. That’s natural. We recycle and talk about reducing our carbon footprint as if we knew how to make these huge life changes easily.

Yet for most of us, being aware in this way is totally new. It wasn’t a part of our own upbringing and it’s as if we have to commit to an entirely new way of thinking and altering our familiar lifestyles. Going green is a pretty daunting task for most of us moms. How are we supposed to add that to our ever-growing list of things to do, PEOPLE.com readers?

Then there are those of us, like my own mother, that get excited at the thought of figuring out how to live a more sustainable life. If you’ve read this blog before, you’ve heard me talk about how my mom was extraordinary at most things. You also know, ladies, that she recently passed away. That said, I find that I am constantly trying to live up to her expectations, referring to her once-present guidance and even exceeding her amazing achievements so that she can be proud of me from wherever she is in that wild blue yonder.

“Being green” was something she seriously excelled at. At the end of her life, she had actually gotten to the point where she was only eating what she grew. I know that seems impossible, but because of her devotion to this way of life I know that it is totally doable.

Before it became trendy and popular to be striving towards a more conscious lifestyle, my mom was wearing hemp, opting for bicycles over cars, feeding me raw food instead of processed and was absolutely committed to a toxin-free household.

Of course, I often begged for the desired Twinkie instead of the Tiger’s Milk bar she’d pass off to me and sometimes when I had the flu, I’d prefer those nasty antibiotics to the echinacea and goldenseal I’d ingest.

Little did I know at the time, what seemed like my weird hippie childhood was actually my mother paving the way towards a better, brighter and safer future for me. She was a “mom on a mission,” as I like to say, and while other families were still cleaning with the likes of Ajax, my mother used vinegar to clean those crevices. She was a crunchy tree-hugging gal. A true hippie!

“Never leave the lights on when you’re not in the room,” she would urge. “And never, ever waste water,” she would insist with a smile, as if we’d already won the war. Now I find that I’m trying to walk in her footsteps and teach Easton by example. Not always easy, is it? Like I said, for some of us it comes naturally but for the others it can be confusing and overwhelming. As if everything in your life needs to change.

And the economy certainly doesn’t help when we are looking for cheaper shortcuts. Where do we begin? We try to have all of this consciousness in our lives, and yet there is still so much room for improvement. I’m sure you will agree.

Actually, if you have any great, cheap “green” tips please share them here! We’d all love to see what you’re doing in your home to make a difference and promote sustainability. Together we will overcome our own comfort zones and achieve newer and better ways of living so that our children will be healthier and have the same wealth of possibilities that we’ve had.

All of this is on my mind today especially because I spent the last week learning so much about various people and organizations that are trying to make an impact, and I was inspired to share a few things I came across with you ladies.

Two weeks ago, I participated in a panel discussion about sustainability that was hosted by BMW I, which is their new sub-brand, at the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Manhattan. You see, even big corporations are striving to meet these challenges (now that’s exciting!).

BMW i3 and i8 are new vehicles that will be coming out in 2013. Get this, they are made out of carbon fiber and recycled materials. They are a huge step in the right direction. I was also pretty excited to find out that they are manufacturing these cars in Washington state by hydro-electric power. This is definitely tremendous progress.

With these new green cars, they are also launching a “hand tonic” by Susanne Kaufmann (who has an amazing and natural skin care line) that is totally organic and safe for our wee ones.

I walked away so impressed that even huge companies like BMW are committed to finding new ways to succeed. They have specifically created this new sub-brand of the company to develop not only visionary cars, but also to find products that make getting around our populous cities a little easier on the Earth. They are seeking solutions and are a great example of how corporations can lead the charge in ensuring the environment we leave to future generations.

The event helped me to realize that this is something I need to do more of not only as a person, but also as a mother. I must deepen my commitment to a sustainable future for Easton’s sake as well. Together we can inspire each other to try even harder in this fight. We can support each other by sharing all that we know, all that we are doing and not doing so that we can tackle this together and makes lasting changes.

On that note, I also spent some time with Healthy Child, Healthy World at their fundraiser last week, where Jenna Elfman was their MC. All of us moms and dads gathered in support of Healthy Child’s mission so that we can be better “parents on a mission” that are aware and actively protecting our little ones from toxins.

This is another group pushing for change, committing to a sustainable future and educating all of us on how to provide a safer world for our kids. You have to check them out and get behind them! Their passion is totally pure and the genesis of the organization is heartbreaking and life-affirming.

I urge you to check out their website and I thank them for already having a positive influence in my life. Last night I threw out those last few bottles of chemicals underneath our kitchen sink and vowed to eliminate all toxic foods too (once again). It’s a daily practice, isn’t it?

My mom knew all of this wisdom and she led the way for me to teach Easton. I, too, want to be a positive example of change for my daughter. Together, I know that we can do that. Please share your stories and let me know if you have any other advice, tips or tricks to make “going green” an easier process.

— Elisabeth Röhm

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