When it comes to environmental issues, I 'get it'. I really do. I've read so much about the subject and thought about it so much also. Two of the books which really helped me on my way to 'getting it' were 'Toxic Childhood' by Sue Palmer and 'No Impact Man' by Colin Beavan. These books, as well as my favourite magazine, 'The Green Parent', cemented for me a growing belief in the importance of living a toxin-free and environmentally sound life. I'm sure like many people this belief really started to emerge in me when I had my first child. I only wanted her to eat the best kind of food, to not be ingesting through her skin the petrochemicals found in certain branded baby products and to provide for her as toxin-free an environment as possible as well as taking care of her future inheritance of the earth.
However, I would say that this consciousness of green issues goes through periods of differing shades of green. To be honest, I went through a period for about two years where I was a darker shade of green. We only ate organic (as much as I could afford, I never did buy organic chicken). I walked everywhere or cycled. My girls only used toxin and paraben-free toiletries. I bought organic cotton clothes, bio-degradable nappies and wooden toys. These days I am a lighter shade of green and I'm not sure why.
I still have my 'green beliefs' but I feel I need to remind myself of what is really important to me. When I stop to think about it a green lifestyle is important to me, it is the 'truth' of which I need to remind myself. For me there's just no debate, living as natural a life as possible doing as little damage to our home planet as possible is just the right thing to do for our family. Also, modelling for my children how we should be treating the earth is far more powerful than me preaching to them. How do I remind myself of this everyday? When I'm torn between buying the cheap children's PJs from the local supermarket or the more expensive organic ones? When I'm wondering whether to buy the more expensive organic minced meat for our lasagne or the cheaper mince at half the price? The truth is you really have to pay a little extra sometimes to live a green lifestyle and sometimes I'm more prepared to do that than others.
I know that one answer is to do less of everything. To buy less stuff in the first place so that you can afford to buy the green and organic stuff when you really need it. To drive less and only make really essential car journeys. To stay at home more, enjoying our home and garden instead of going for expensive days out and using the car. I know all of this to be true deep inside, some days I will be lighter shades of green than others, but I'm trying and I have to forgive myself for that. Small baby steps usually help with such large issues as this. For this week then? I'm going to try one less car journey, I'm going back to organic vegetables and I'm also going back to the paraben-free shampoo I used to buy. Small things I know, but they feel right to me and will help me get back to my darker shade of green where I truly want to be.