Here is a story that evolved into this blog.
In England, everyone is obsessed with living organic. It’s cheap and it’s everywhere. As a green Canadian, I am not immune, either: we eat organic, sleep organic, drink organic, and grow our little organic baby. My little organic garden is thriving, with all the bells and whistles: organic compost, organic chicken poop, organic twine, and organic seeds. The grass in our garden is healthy green, well-watered but not exactly how you’d imagine a classic Brit lawn. It cannot possibly be manicured, with all the swings, slides, sand box, rockers, balls, tennis rackets and others toys scattered around. Basically, our garden works as an outdoor nursery.
My neighbor has an emerald green lawn. Her lawn is the greenest in our neighborhood. It’s so lush, I think little tribes of mice build their small civilizations somewhere deep in the grass, completely unnoticed.
What’s her secret? As it appeared, a lawn feed made by our local home ware store. Without much surprise, I learned that this “lawn feed” is nothing but a potent blend of herbicides and pesticides. Clever marketers now sell toxic and carcinogenic pesticides masked as lawn feed. How else can they make profit, considering that England is rapidly converting its farms for organic produce and plans to ban pesticides completely?
So what’s in that magical “lawn feed”? 2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid, a powerful, selective, widely-used phenoxy herbicide that is toxic to the fetuses abd mutagenic to bone marrow and ovarian cells. There’s also Mecoprop-P which significantly increases the risk of the cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to Canadian scientists.
When I suggested to my neighbor that we’d go and buy a large pack of organic lawn feed to share (so she could save money, if that’s the issue), she refused. “Maybe in your country they put poisons in lawn feeds,” she said reproachfully, “In my country we’ll never put poison in lawn feed. They know that children will be crawling on that lawn.”
What could I say? A quick call to environmental services bureau proved that I am indeed helpless. This is her lawn, and she’s free to do whatever she wants. At least in my country, which is Canada, people put huge signs warning that the lawn was treated with pesticides, so please keep babies and pets away.
My daughter stays off the garden now. In the middle of a summer. We have cherries ripening – and she is still not allowed in there. Instead if inhaling our neighbor’s pesticides, we walk twenty minutes to the community park which is blissfully pesticide-free. How idiotic is that?
I had an easy pregnancy, and thanks to relentless educating of new moms, most of us knew that we must not use nail polishes and avoid coloring our hair, drink artificially flavored colas and eat undercooked meat. But when it was time to leave the hospital, I panicked. I realized that I must take my little pink gem out there, in a crazy world where drinking water is contaminated with pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides creep into every leaf of salad and every cherry, household chemicals, personal care products, and even clothes emit chemical cocktails that have never been fully assessed for safety.
But no need to panic! It’s quite possible to toxin-proof your little bundle of joy. All it takes is a green shift in our daily habits. By simply altering our consumer preferences, voting with our dollar for green and pure groceries and clothes, and adopting a set of green lifestyle principles, we can greatly diminish and even reverse the damage done to our bodies by exposure to toxins. Today we have great many easy ways to decrease the toxic overload that jeopardizes the health of our babies, not to mention our own.
So here I am, an angry green mother Julie Gabriel, a dedicated green advocate, journalist, author, holistic nutritionist and a new mom of a “certified organic toddler.” I know every obstacle on the way of becoming a green parent. I tested and tried every solution offered in my upcoming book, and I am doing my best to educate other moms through my blog.
I have been writing extensively about beauty and lifestyle for the last fifteen years, for such lovely publications as Harper’s Bazaar and Atmospheres, among many others. As a holistic nutritionist, I believe that our environment and diet have a tremendous impact on our health and wellbeing, and I am committed to promoting green, healthy lifestyle. I am a real pest. I managed to convert my stubborn neighbor to organic compost. This wasn’t easy, but it’s quite doable. It’s smelly, but we can tolerate it. If I could do it, so can you.
Oh, and the last little thing. To help new moms care for their babies without toxic ingredients, I have launched my own organic baby-and-mom skincare line, Petite Marie Organics, that will be available in the US and Canada in January 2009. Check out the website (www.petitemarieorganics.com, coming live in July 2008) and let me know if you’d like to sample a product or two.
My mission is simple: I want to save the world. One baby at a time. So join me.