Like most moms in this day and age, I belong to a local parenting message
board. I had some misgivings before I got involved, as I am not much of a
joiner, truth be told. I never, for example, belonged to a sorority or anything
along those lines in college. But when my daughter started showing signs of
really wanting to hang with people her own age at around 8 months, I did it for
her. Factor it in along with the other surprises of motherhood; Im really glad
I joined. Reading the daily posts is like my own version of parenting reality
television, and my daughter and I have made some good friends, too.
Ive also found it to be a very interesting barometer of just how green the average parent is. Since I got on the message board over a year and a half ago, organic parenting issues have been slowly but steadily popping up. At first, a green topic would come up every few months a query about water testing here, about safer paints for nurseries there. Then it sped up did anyone know anything about organic crib mattresses? What else could breastmilk be stored in besides plastic bags? Obviously the lead paint in toy scares and BPA in baby bottles media blitz helped propel environmental health issues into most parents minds, whether they self identify as green or not. And Ive seen on the board that these two things (lead and hormone disrupters), while nothing new, are new to these families and have really opened up their minds. Parents who formerly dismissed the idea of organic parenting are now emailing me on and off the board, coming up to me in the playground and at playgroups, asking all manner of really good, thoughtful questions. When I realized I was spending an hour or more a day responding to my neighbors questions, I knew it was time to offer to host a local eco night.
I do these sometimes with Deirdre fairly often. A group will come and ask me or us to talk about the top ten things pregnant moms or families can do to green their surroundings. But I havent done one for a group of people I know. So this will be a unique experience for me, one Im really looking forward to. And it will have a New York focus, as were all New Yorkers also something I havent yet done. Im modifying my top ten list (ok Im now at eleven) to make it city and even neighborhood-centric. The owner of a local kids hair cutting store/boutique called Doodle Doos (she just so happens to be my across the hall neighbor) has agreed to let us use her space after hours. Shortly after I posted the eco night offer, over 50 people signed up!
I prefer to talk to no more than 15 people at a time because everyone has so many questions and I like to be able to at least try to answer all of them. So Im now doing three eco nights, all with local parents, some of them the mothers of my daughters friends. The first one will be this week. Depending on how it goes, I may open this up to the public and offer eco nights once a month to anyone who wants to come. Ive been thinking about this a lot lately. The Internet is wonderful and enables me to interact with parents far and wide, but Im really excited for the opportunity to talk with people in person about their concerns. Im hoping to be asked questions that will challenge me and force me to do more research. And to motivate people to go greener.
Heres what Ill be touching on (in no order, though I do tend to begin with cleaning products as switching over is such a quick and easy way to drastically reduce indoor air pollution):
Its hard to cram all of this and more plus a serious Q&A session into 90 minutes, but Im going to do my best. I keep thinking of more I want to say. Like right now, I just thought of my #12: take off your shoes before entering the house or just leave them in the entryway. This is huge in New York, where our streets are filled with some serious grime you dont want on the rug your baby crawls on. Oh and #13: no more dry cleaning! Ok, time to start editing down my talk. I dont want anyone to leave eco night feeling overwhelmed. The point is to empower.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.