How did you become #Green?

by Amanda Hearn · 4 comments

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Organic & Natural Mattresses

I have to admit that being eco-friendly was not always a part of my life.  Honestly, growing up, I thought that crushing cans, boxes and bottles before throwing them in the trash, was somehow doing my part to “save space”.  I shudder at the thought now, but that’s how I was brought up.  My mom still does it, despite my constant nagging to get her to recycle. (hint, hint Mom… PS I love you! Check out retro me—>  That’s for you too Mom)

I read recently on a profile that “Being green doesn’t come naturally to me or most people. It’s more of an awareness and a conscientious effort.”  That sounds about right.  I think for most people in our day and age, life is all about ease and convenience.  Recycling and scouring ingredient lists for hours a week really don’t sound like they lend themselves to ease or convenience.  Except that they do… which is where my story begins.  In my years of connecting with individuals on the same path, I’ve found that many stories begin this way.  Perhaps yours does to.

I was a parent.  I had a sweet baby boy and while I didn’t fully know what chemicals were in things, I knew – first thing – that the scents in things weren’t good.  It was instinctual.  I went out and bought free & clear everything.  Sadly, that was about as far as my new parent knowledge took me.  I didn’t know more and at the time I had nothing nagging me to look for more.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’m pregnant with our first daughter.  I’m preparing as I did the first time.  Excitedly buying gear and random junk that I’d never use, when a friend tells me that her mom shared with her an article.  This article would change my course forever.  The article was the highly publicized findings that the beloved Johnson & Johnson baby washes were full of chemicals that were toxic for baby.  Toxic?!!!  What?!  No….  How can they do this?!  Why aren’t they simply taking these ingredients out?!!!

Then my outrage set it in.  This is what hospitals hand out!  They are pushed upon us to use the moment that our sweet babies enter this world.  WTF!  I can recall someone saying, in response to the smell of Baby Magic, that “This is how baby’s are suppose to smell.”  Let’s let that sink in for a moment…

Baby’s are suppose to smell like artificial fragrances and be creamy, slippery and buttery?  When our son was born and I vividly recall brushing my cheek with his and thinking that he had the most soft skin that I had ever felt.  I smelled him and he was like heaven.  He was perfect…  So naturally I now think that these Baby Magic folks are just completely nuts and I am angry that hospitals still continue to give out these products.  I have heard of the rare, “progressive” hospital that offers safe products from companeis like Earth Mama Angel Baby.  Why isn’t that the norm?  Why aren’t hospitals standing up to phthalate and paraben riddled washes and lotions?

So, once I discovered what was in baby products, my heart pretty much sank.  If baby products weren’t safe, what was?  I began to read and discover that there are toxic chemicals in pretty much every product I had used for my whole life.  I began to make DIY cleaners and buy safe products and foods.  I chose to use cloth diapers and began recycling and composting.  I learn more every day and I am thankful that because of my conscious choices I am not only making my life better, but I’m making in impact on our Earth, which helps everyone.

Quickly, on convenience and I’ll let you go 🙂  I mentioned in the second paragraph that “Recycling and scouring ingredient lists for hours a week really don’t sound like they lend themselves to ease or convenience.  Except that they do…”  Well here is the ‘they do’ part: These changes, as you know, lead to quality of life and healthier living.  I’ve heard this philosophy said in several ways, but basically it’s that you can pay more now by making healthy choices, or you can pay later with medical expenses.  I know which one I choose, and the one that I wish to instill in my children.  I grew up using toxic products, most of us did.  We have the power to change that, from the start, with our children.

Thank you so much for joining me today.  I have enjoyed sharing my story with you.  I would LOVE to hear yours.  If you are a blogger, please post how you became green and link up!  If you are a reader, please share your story in the comments.

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Amanda Hearn

Amanda Hearn

Founder of The Eco-Friendly Family, design geek, serial tanktopist, content creator, mother, coffee addict, & lover of fun. I am also a partner at Green Child Magazine & Put A Cup In It!
Amanda Hearn

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Violetpoof October 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm

My younger sister's baby had an allergic reaction to the soap they use to wash the newborns at the hospital. It made her skin turn red and irritated. When I went to the hospital for my tour of the birthing center I mentioned this to the nurse and asked if I could bring my own organic cleanser or request just water to be used on my Bean when he arrives. She told me that they have to use their own 'kit' for liability reasons and that is was Johnson and Johnson's products they use. She pretty much blew me and my concerns off. I'll have to force the issue being that choosing another facility is not an option for me.

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Gretchen@HealthfulMama October 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Becoming green started a bit with meeting my husband, an avid hiker. Then came the book Food and Healing which literally changed my life. I stopped thinking about having THINGS in my life and started thinking about how those THINGS got there and what effect they carried with them.

Once your eyes are opened a bit, it's hard to ignore the glare of atrocities happening in our world.

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Jen October 22, 2011 at 3:35 am

Here is what I wrote on this subject last year.

http://jenandjoeygogreen.blogspot.com/2010/04/me-environmentalist.html

There are so many reasons but this is what I think started it all for me.

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humbleadoration October 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Being green for me started with being broke. I started buying whole foods because it was the most affordable option and just happened to be much healthier and have less packaging and chemicals. Every green decision I've made since has been based on finances first, but it always lines up with what's most sustainable and healthy. My husband has been a huge support (and initiator) because he abhors both throwing things in the trash and buying "junk." To him, everything other than food and clothing is junk. 🙂

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