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Laurie David      

Producer, Activist Author,The Family Dinner: Great Ways To Connect With Your Kids One Meal At A Time

Laurie David is passionate about helping America's families sit down to dinner together again. But in this day of 24-hour technology, overscheduled kids and quick, processed meals, who has the time to make a sit-down meal with the family?

Consider this: • Most meals last less than 20 minutes. • At least 25% of dinners are eaten on the couch or in the car. • 75% of families watch TV during meals. • 35% of what we eat every day is fast food. • Childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years.

All these changes in our culture have turned what was once a shared family activity, into an inconvenient-and often solitary- exercise.

The good news? The solution is as close as your kitchen or dining room table.

The results are profound: • Studies have found a strong link between family dinners and reduced drug use. • Teens with more than 3 family dinners a week were 50% less likely to struggle in school, get into fights, think about suicide, and have sex. • Kids want it! 84% said they preferred family meals over dining solo.

Not only do family meals provide much needed nutrition, but they are also one of the key places children develop self esteem, resiliency, patience, listening skills, vocabulary and empathy. They offer a sanctuary of stability and confidence in a world filled with disruptions and doubt. It's an antidote to the isolation and superficiality of the world we all move through today.

Perhaps best known as the producer of An Inconvenient Truth, Laurie is the author of the bestselling book The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time. With input from more than 50 experts in everything from parenting to poetry to pasta, the book is chock full of fantastic family approved recipes, dinner conversation starters, ways to express gratitude, green values for the kitchen and a whole lot more.

Laurie shows families how to cut through the fog of computers, television, texting and busy schedules to sit down together again, as a family. The results are surprising, gratifying and even life-changing.

Well known as an environmental activist, Laurie has produced several projects to bring the issue of global warming into mainstream popular culture. Her documentary film on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, won the Academy Award, and her TV specials Earth to America! and Too Hot To Handle, were seen by millions of viewers. She founded the Stop Global Warming Virtual March and authored the bestselling books Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You! and The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming, which received the prestigious Green Earth Book Award in the nonfiction category.

Declared "the Bono of climate change" by Vanity Fair magazine, Laurie has been widely featured in the media and has been profiled in such publications as People, Glamour, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, Self, Elle, Seed Magazine, Wired, House and Garden, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times. She is also a featured blogger and consultant for The Huffington Post.

Laurie has received numerous honors and recognition for her work on behalf of the environment, including the EPA Climate Protection Award, Audubon Society's Rachel Carson Award, National Wildlife Federation's Conservation Achievement Award and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Forces for Nature Award. She was also honored by Los Angeles' Children's Nature Institute for her commitment to the environmental education of young children.

As a trustee of the NRDC and a founding member of the Detroit Project, Laurie has spearheaded numerous public education and action campaigns urging Congress and auto-makers to raise fuel efficiency standards and make higher mileage cars.

In January of 2004, the NRDC opened the David Family Environmental Action Center. It features museum-quality exhibits on issues such as global warming, ocean pollution, everyday toxins, and green building solutions. Endowed by the David family, the Center encompasses much of Laurie's passion and dedication for the environment and activism to protect it.

Speech Topics

The Family Dinner

It’s an all-too common scenario today. Due to a nonstop stream of scheduling conflicts, distractions from the TV, computer, Blackberry and other devices, the regular family dinner has become the exception rather than the norm. Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar? Dinners eaten standing up in front of the microwave… in the car on the way to or from an activity…several different meals prepared to accommodate the likes and dislikes of different family members…everyone else done with their meal before you’ve even sat down to eat yours?

Laurie David, activist, and author of The Family Dinner, would like to change all of that and have families sit down together again. Research has proven that everything parents worry about—from drugs and alcohol, promiscuity, obesity, academic achievement and just good old nutrition-can all be improved by the simple act of eating and talking together around the table.

Laurie speaks from her own experience confronting the challenges of raising two teenage daughters. By starting to do family dinners and making them a priority, she saw a shift in attitude (from her kids and herself). Dinner was no longer a chore to get through—it became a daily gift of quality time with her girls to look forward to. As her daughters got older, she saw how the dinners kept her family connected, through good times and challenging ones as well.

With her realistic, practical, fun and creative advice, Laurie shows audiences how the dinner table can be a place for lively conversation, a secure place where family members can express feelings, a place to practice how to listen, debate and discuss. It is where kids can develop healthy eating habits, an appreciative palate, green values and become truly engaged.

It isn’t about adding more “shoulds” to your life or feeling guilty about what you have or haven’t done. It doesn’t even require hours of preparation or an apple pie in the oven. It doesn’t even have to happen at night. It’s about recapturing the superbly simple practice of sitting down and eating together…as a family.

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