I get asked this questions all the time: Have you always been this passionate about the environment? I most definitely have not always been like this. It has been a process; an evolution over the years. Read part one of my story here, and part three here.
I got pregnant in January 2010 (that's me at 28 weeks in July '10) and you can only imagine how much more environmentally responsible and healthy I became. We changed our eating habits; we educated ourselves on our everyday products and began our composting journey.
I was not only nourishing myself, but a tiny little baby inside me. I cut out all “fake” sugars like aspartame. I continued to solely eat organic/local/sustainable meats and poultry.
It only came naturally with time to reduce my dairy consumption while outside of the home. I did this for two reasons: in the U.S, there is no ban on the rBGH (rBST) hormone used to increase milk production; and eating beef or drinking milk from a factory farmed cow really is not all that different in my opinion. They still receive the same poor living conditions and treatment.
I intensified my investigation on where our meat and foods came from. I read labels to a greater extent and began to eliminate processed foods from my diet. I spent time researching farms to find sustainable/local ones.
I began to ask questions about our food, something I never really did before. I asked farmers what kind of fertilizers they used and how they raised their animals; if pesticides or any kind of chemicals were used on their produce; I got more involved; I got to know the farmers and began to build great relationships with them. If I didn't like an answer, I was not shy to refuse to purchase that product, though it took me awhile to get over my shyness.
Now that I was consuming more fruits and vegetables, I felt guilty every time I threw an apple core in the garbage. For at least a year, I was trying to convince J.P it was a good idea to compost with worms. I finally won him over. After a few months, I killed all the worms due to the Kansas summer heat. If you compost, you know that it can become an addiction. After their timely death, I just couldn't go back to throwing everything in the trash. I found a company that gladly took our food scraps and that is how I became a composting junky.
The fun truly began when I started looking into purchasing baby stuff. Who would have thought there were so many choices? I wanted to have the smallest impact on the environment as possible. I began googling different products and quickly realized that things are not quite created equally.
The further I dug, the more I found how toxic the cotton industry is. I realized that baby clothing and products are covered in flame retardants, formaldehyde, pesticides from growing the cotton, and all sorts of nasty chemicals that are not only unhealthy for a tiny baby, but also for the environment. I was over whelmed to say the least; I took a deep breath and educated myself.
I finally decided to go the organic/environmentally friendly route for our soon to be daughter. It was going to be more expensive, but instead of having 10 pairs of pants, she really only needed a few. I decided to use hemp/organic cotton cloth diapers; I made our own wipe solution and used hemp cloths. Even though it took more time and work, I felt this was what was best for us and our daughter.
After focusing on what was used in baby products, I began to wonder what could be lurking in my personal care products. Why are these potentially harmful chemicals even allowed, if they are known to be dangerous?
In retrospect, I am glad I looked into it, but at the time I wished I hadn’t. Everything I was using contained some chemical known to cause cancer. I ditched the chemically laced products and bought organic/eco-friendly alternatives and I even began to make some myself.
This is only the beginning of my journey to a safer and healthy living environment.
What have you done to step up your greenness?