What Is the Matter with Us? Lead and Other Toxins into the Mouths of Babes
Posted Nov 18 2009 10:05pm
Over the weekend, someone sent my husband a link to a video called “The Girl Who Silenced the World” from 1992 where a 12 year old girl named Severn Suzuki addresses the UN’s Earth Summit Meeting in Rio de Janeiro. Severn essentially gives the panel and every living adult a well-articulated lashing for leaving the planet in this state for her generation to contend with. Had the Internet been in full force then, this video would have flown around like wildfire. I’d like to help spread it around now. Everyone on this planet should watch it-it is more relevant now than ever.
Later that day, after watching the video, I heard about two more toy recalls, added to the hundreds already recalled this year, due to toxic levels of lead and other toxins in them. I then looked through The Daily Green’s full catalog of recalled toys, kids’ jewelery, shoes, etc. That evening, I started reading Daniel Goleman’s Ecological Intelligence where I was reminded of the hidden price tag of our consumerism. This all culminated in a scream at the top of my lungs, badly startling my husband and toddler (and possibly teaching her her first 4-letter word), “WHAT THE F— IS WRONG WITH US!!!???, getting teary as I thought about what Severn said to the U.N, ashamed that we have made so little progress, if any, since 1992.
As Goleman puts it, “We go through our daily life awash in a sea of things we buy, use, and throw away, waste, or save. Each of those things has its own history and its own future, back stories, and endings largely hidden from our eyes, a web of impacts left along the way from the initial extraction or concoction of its ingredients, during its manufacture and transport, through the subtle consequences of its use in our homes and workplaces, to the way we dispose of it. And yet these unseen impacts of all that stuff may be their most important aspect.”
Goleman reminds us…If you must consume, consume with your grandchildren’s grandchildren in mind. Overtime, I hope that we can change the nature of consumerism, fashion, and trends to lessen our need buy, buy, buy. In the meantime, there are an increasing number of resources out there to at least help us make wiser choices-here are a few of them:
I recommend checking all skin care products in the Skin Deep Database, an amazing resource that rates products by their toxicity level and provides information on the harm specific ingredients can do.
Green Your is a search-based tool to help you green almost anything in your life.
The following retailers offer numerous products that meet a set of environmental and social criteria:
eBay’s World of Good: eBay’s World of Good started by featuring arts and crafts from artisans around the world. Now they have added planet friendly products to the World of Good mix. All “Planet Friendly” products are certified planet friendly by trusted third parties through World of Good’s “Trustology” network. And, just buying pre-owned goods on eBay can cut a great deal of carbon and resource use.
Amazon Green: Amazon launched Green last year and, in typical Amazon style, makes finding and buying (fairly) green quick and easy.
FAO Schwarz recently launched it’s Planet Friendly toy label which means organic/sustainable raw materials, natural/non-toxic paints and dyes, and low or no chemical processing. And, check out the fantastic green toys from Green Toys, Plan Toys, and Haba.
Our Green House is one of my longtime favorites. It’s a small store in Connecticut that seems to have everything an eco mom would want under one roof. Great online service too. There are a number of small, independent, green-oriented stores popping up all over the country–try to find one in your home town.
Green By Design is a new site doing a great job at identifying and qualifying its recommended (and all green) products.
I hope that, within Severn’s and my daughter’s lifetime, we will make significant progress toward producing and consuming truly sustainable products. If we don’t, shame on us.