Posts Tagged ‘what to do’

Hubby came home the other day, dropped his backpack on the floor, walked over to the cabinet, pulled out our Nalgene bottles, and threw them all away. His school, Tufts University Medical School, just released a study showing that bisphenol A, a chemical that Nalgene uses in its bottles, causes all sorts of childhood behavioral problems, cancers, and fertility problems. Yikes! We have been nursing Nalgene bottles since we were 19 years old! And our children each had their own Nalgene bottle. So that explains those aisle 4 meltdowns in the grocery store…

plastic.jpegBisphenol A is not just used in Nalgene bottles, but also in canned foods, BABY BOTTLES! and disposable water bottles. Look out for the #7 on the bottom! And what else, I wonder? And if the evil Bisphenol A isn’t leeching into my water, are there other chemicals that are equally or more toxic that we’re ingesting? When I look around our kitchen, I see a plastic Brita filter, plastic milk jugs, plastic sippy cups, freezer filled with plastic ziplocks holding leftovers, ice cube trays, all my canned crushed tomatoes, and oh….. plastic bagged everything from cereal to crackers to my broccoli that is sitting in it’s plastic produce bag in the fridge. God help me if I find out that plastic is evil, because I don’t know how to live without it.

Here’s another creepy bit about plastic: when manufacturers are making plastic products, including our children’s toys, they make one version for the E.U., which has much stricter environmental and health standards than ours, and another version, complete with evil, leeching toxins for us. Isn’t that nice.

So, what to do? Call your congressperson and ask them to advocate for stronger standards, start petitions, and if you have the time and energy, please do it for me, too.

As for me for now, I’ll start at home by tossing all my sippy cups and tupperware that were years old (the longer the plastic is used- and especially if it is dishwasher-washed (God, help me!), the more probable chemical leeching is. Nice.) , and buying Pyrex glass storage containers. I’m not sure how this is going to work out with my 1 year old tearing through the cabinets and literally smashing everything he finds onto the floor. Isn’t Pyrex supposed to be unbreakable? Unbreakable glass… hmm.

I know that researching environmental evils can be a scary downward spiral which is hard to break out of. I’ve been there before, in college, when I first realized that every article of clothing I wore was made by some child laborer in a windowless factory, and that destroying CDs releases toxic chemicals into the ozone. I eventually got so overwhelmed, along with everyone who had to listen to me, that I let go. I now shop at BabyGap and Target, I throw old CDs out, and I don’t even have a compost in my back yard.

I think it is, like everything else in life, a balancing act. How do we live consciously and responsibly without losing our minds?

Here’s another person, mother, and friend of mine who has more good insight into this topic: Product of Compression


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If you are a fellow mother or father of young children, I would like to know how you are dealing with the state of the world. Not the world of playdatets, diapers, and tea parties, but the world beyond. This is something I have been struggling with since my first was born. (Well, okay, maybe a year after my first was born, when I remembered that a world did exists outside my door.)

In days of yore, I worked at Oxfam America, and at the International Rescue Committee, helping refugees resettle in San Diego. (That’s right, can you imagine moving your family from war-torn Sudan to plastic and palm-treed San Diego? It definitely took some assistance.) I was also a Peace Corps Volunteer and did my share of traveling. I was plugged into international politics and felt like I was doing something to help. In college, I volunteered at the local homeless shelter. I voted. I vote.

But voting is about all I do now, and I can’t even say it is with much knowledge about the issues or the candidates. I usually ask my friends who don’t have children who they are voting for, think about how much I like them and/or agree with their values, then choose to either vote for the same person or the other candidate. Smart, eh?

But really, the mothers of this country are large in number, large in personal interests that policy affects every day, and large in voice (at least at the playground). But where is our collective voice- the one that can make changes that affect our lives and, possibly more importantly, our children’s lives? There are some great blogs out there with important information, but even if I have time to read them, they only excite me, then I’m left wondering what (and how?!) to do next. There are also some go-getters who are trying to rally our troops, and I have signed up, read a few e-mails, gotten excited about helping with a campaign, and then been 100% usurped by the other powers that be. I actually made it one time to the phone to call my senator about an issue that really mattered at the moment (please don’t ask me to remember what it is now.) By the time I got someone on the line- someone from my SENATOR’S office, Boo had landed on his head and was screaming into my shoulder. “Um, yes, hello. Um… (shit!) I would like to let the Senator to know, um, that I don’t support, um– Sunshine, get OFF the table!,” I try, try, try to communicate, “Sorry, I’ll have to call back.” Sweet success.

So I am wondering how anyone else does it? Is it just about making priorities and carving out time (???) to do something to help, whether it is making an (articulate) phone call to the senator’s office, writing a letter to a POW, or volunteering at an orphanage? My yoga teacher has told me several times that I need to just wake up an hour before my children so that I have time to have a daily practice. Excuse me? I feel just fine saying there’s no way I’m waking up at 5:00 AM for yoga- I need more sleep, not more yoga. But it starts making me feel selfish when I use the same excuse for doing something about SOMETHING.

Please, tell me, do you have a voice, and if so, where and how?

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