Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Me... celebrate Earth day?

For most of my life, I rolled my eyes when Earth day rolled around. When I was a kid, I wasn't into the whole "save the whales" thing; I never had an obsession with dolphins; my back-to-school shopping never included buying recycled notebook paper. To me, saving the earth was some abstract idea meant to make people feel guilty, but I didn't think you could actually make any long-term difference as an individual.

Then I started thinking about getting pregnant. I wanted to be as healthy as possible for the new little one.

And stumbled on some great reading material: I started with Nourishing Traditions, which made me question everything I thought I knew about diet and health. Then I moved onto The Omnivore's Dilemma, which blew my mind. I suddenly realized that pesticides sprayed on some random strawberries in some random country, didn't just affect the bugs eating the strawberries. The farm workers were getting sick from the pesticides, the whole county nearby would get sick drinking the water that would run off the farm, the animals would ingest the pesticides and we'd end up eating those animals (and strawberries!), and somewhere along the line, even the soils would become unbalanced and unhealthy... Oh, and then there's the whole issue of the strawberries being shipped long distances, using up our fossil fuels, and polluting our air. And it isn't just some abstract person's air, it's MY air, the air we're all breathing.

I kept reading up on the subject, and landed on the book "The Complete Organic Pregnancy," and then completely turned my life around. No longer was I going to think about environment the same way. It wasn't just "the environment," it was MY environment! The things we wear, touch, slather on, eat, and breathe, can expose us all to toxins! So, I started using biodegradable cleaning products, healthy beauty products, started using glass instead of plastic (especially for food!), got an organic mattress for my baby's crib, now use a fabric shower curtain instead of vinyl, started eating only organic food, and the list continues!

Now, I look for ways to buy healthy, handmade, local products wherever and whenever I can. Buying a product directly from the person who made it is by far the healthiest consumer habit. Etsy is one of my favorite ways to do that. How is it healthier?
  • no involvement of a big factory, polluting our air and water
  • there's little to no waste involved : your item is only created when there's a need!
  • products on Etsy often use recycled or "upcycled" goods: meaning no outgassing of new plastics, no new materials made, nothing added to the landfill!
  • less packaging!!!! you didn't buy that item because of its flashy plastic container and label - you bought it because it was great in and of itself!
  • and the benefits are even more monumental for your kids: you can buy wooden or cloth toys (since plastics have been linked to cancer, hormone imbalances and more), clothes and bedding made from natural fabrics, etc!
I Etsy :)

(I mean, how could you pass up these cute little slippers from prettylittle, anyway?!)

(Or this fabulous purse from fiaz co?!)

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