The Daily Unknown from a Blip

I for one (and I know that I am not alone), am flabbergasted, terrified and heartbroken that our current government is electing to scrap, among other things, regulations that protect our air and water as we speak. It’s the not the first, nor will it be the last time that corporate greed will turn a blind eye to the basic needs and rights of every human being. But today feels especially disheartening.

What am I going to do about it? I’m not sure, I’m just a blip on the radar. But I do see the impact that speaking out, marching peacefully, writing our statesmen, and petitions can have on change, and the palpable unity that it can create between us. I also have experienced that educating oneself and in turn sharing with our friends what we eat, what we put on our skin, and what kind of clothes we wear, is something this little ‘blip’ can do something about. One life moment at a time.

My mother managed a health food store when I was younger. Back in the ‘80s, bringing my bagged lunch to school filled with wheat bread sandwiches, natural peanut butter, protein bars and apple juice, was just not the “coolest”combo to bring to the table. Even when it arrived in a Bionic Woman lunchbox. Nothing changed.  I wanted Wonder Bread and Ring Dings like my classmates.

No such luck. And not so many takers for a lunch trade. Now, many years later, I love the stuff. I’m all about veggie burgers, wheat vs white bread, brown rice, organic GMO free foods, local, farm to table and the like. I am happy to see it has finally become more than just a trend in restaurants and farmers markets.

Later, as I watched my mother battle breast cancer three times over a span of 27 years, I started to research what I could. I remember crying to her that I had read that underwire bras caused breast cancer. She, in her firm yet sweet German way, responded that I was to “live my life”, and find a balance between those things I should give up, and those things that I should  continue to enjoy. Fair enough. Red Wine is not coming off the list. What I do believe is that the less we can challenge our body with inflammation battles, and fortify it with strength against plastics, parabans,  the chemicals that are in our food, air, water..and….. wait for… the better chance we give our bodies the tools to fight what comes its way.

Paraban was one of my first forays into making better choices in the products I purchased. Paraban is a preservative in many cosmetics and toiletries. Apparently it can have an effect on breast cancer tumors. Whether it is true or not, why should I wait or wonder? It is very easy to find products without it these days. In addition, the organic food movement has finally extended beyond Whole Foods to other supermarkets chains. Recycled toilet paper, non toxic detergents, biodegradable doggie bags and organic foods are part of the “why nots” to me. Additionally, in purchasing organic, local, ethically made and sustainable products when possible, we are supporting the movement towards those items being commonplace one day. It is my hope.

Beyond me, and on a much larger scale, there is to keep in mind those who created what we wear, what it did to the environment to make them, and what chemicals garments often contain. It is said that the garment industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. And in many countries, they are made under the harshest of working conditions.

No one has illustrated it better then Andrew Morgen did in “The True Cost.” Please watch this documentary. It is alarming, eye opening and beautifully done.

I truly had no idea how much injustice there is in the garment industry. We’ve become so accustomed to having what we want, when we want it, at a great price..why not buy that 20 dollar sweater? I’m not telling you not to, as Mom says, everything in moderation. But  maybe we shouldn’t buy 5 sweaters, or a new one each week?

Perhaps like me,  you feel like there is nothing you can do to really affect change. But making choices in your daily life to choose locally and ethically made garments, like those made by Groceries, Maiyet, Stella McCartney and a host of others, is one way. Wearing what you have more than a few times or even years (Livia Firth is an amazing inspiration in that arena.) is another way.  Would I like to stop the rivers of China filling with clothing dye? Would it be amazing to save the poor low wage workers who make our clothes  under harrowing work conditions? I truly would. I haven’t figured out how yet. But it all begins with a dialogue, some education….and a little paraban free foundation.

I know I am a Blip that can make a difference, and so can you.