Making Fun Out of the Ugly
When you hear how unhealthy, unsafe, and ungreen you are, it scares the crap right out of you. Which makes you shut down, hear nothing, and do nothing about it. We are terribly good at avoiding the ugly.
Playing games helps. It paves the way for less tension. Which is why every table at the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Conference got a chance to play at something silly before hearing about our cancer-causing choices.
Ugh. Here comes the ugly part.
Somehow, it wasn’t hard at all. After listening to Kristi Marsh, author of Little Changes, tell us her story, she had us all stand. We got to play another game. Our only rule: be honest.
We’d just learned that at the age of thirty-six, with three young children, she fought aggressive breast cancer. She wanted to protect her littles ones from ever having to experience this horror.
We all want the same thing for our own bodies and loved ones. So we stood and played.
How Green Are You?
With every question she asked, we would either remain standing if our answer was yes, or sit down if we answered no. The first question was “Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home?”
Talk about easy, right? On question number three – three! – I had to sit down, because I don’t have a carbon monoxide detector installed in my house. A woman at our table sat down because she didn’t have three or more houseplants.
The final women who remained standing purchase only bleach-free, recycled toilet paper. Wow. Some of us have leagues to go before we are at that point.
But it didn’t matter. Kristi didn’t push our buttons to make us feel guilty, helpless, or scared. Smiling, she told us, “You have the right to know what’s happening to your food and what’s in your personal care products.”
With full-on optimism, she encouraged us to become advocates for our own beautiful bodies. No change is too small.
Hell-Bent on Making Little Changes
I went home and told my husband we need a carbon monoxide detector. Now. Recognizing a reasonable request when he hears one, not to mention a woman hell-bent on change, he went right out and got one. While he was at it, he discovered all our fire alarms are outdated. We are now fully armed with fire safety.
Taking one small step toward being green, safe, and healthy led to another. This is how you begin.
After the game, Kristi focused on two topics of concern, toxins in our personal care products and GMOs. Time for the ugly. But we were ready. We knew we could hear anything and it wasn’t going to kill us.
Creepy Toxic Cosmetics
There’s a lot to learn about the cosmetic industry and its regulations. Turns out, they are operating under laws that date back to 1938. The result is products filled with endocrine disruptors, pesticides, neurotoxins, and carcinogens.
It gives me the heebie-jeebies to write that.
For information on safe personal care products, check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Kristi recommends both on her website Choosing Wiser.
What Is a GMO? And Will It Bite?
Next up, the mysterious GMOs. No one knows how this experimentation on our food source will affect our health. GMOs are the result of laboratory processes that insert genes from one species into another to obtain a desired trait, such as pesticide resistance or faster growth. Just Label It reports that 90% of Americans support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food.
The top five GMO food culprits are corn, soy, sugar derived from beets, canola oil (also called rapeseed oil), and cottonseed oil. Yes, that means high fructose corn syrup. As for sugar, look for “cane sugar,” which comes from sugar cane and is not GMO-modified.
Kristi said that anything marked “USDA organic” or with the non-GMO verified seal is cleared to be safe from GMOs. You can download the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to carry in your purse for easy reference.
Anybody else thinking what I’m thinking? Time for some little changes in the grocery cart?
Because many of us are uninformed about just what GMOs are, she gives us Eight Ways to Jumpstart Your GMO Learning Curve, exactly the kick in the pants we need to start learning.
Hey, no one said this was going to be a barrel of laughs. You don’t, however, have to be a frightened out of your skinny jeans. It’s simply your right to know as a caring, concerned human being how to be green, safe, and healthy.
Share this with others and let them know that they have the right too.