Since being thrown into the roll of responsible adult and contributing member of society I have also found myself in a new and fascinating marketing demographic. That of the yuppie mommy set. A quick look at the vast amounts of money that we’ve spent in the past year and what we've spent it on pretty much confirms that I am eating it up just as eagerly as the next yoga pant wearing new mom out there.
The secret to driving me and every other new mother mad with desire for the latest diaper, toy, or onsie? Make it sound ‘super’ adorable. If of coarse you mean ‘super’ as in super hero save the planet and all life as we know it super. Throw words like 'natural' 'organic' 'eco friendly' at us and you can pretty much guarantee that at least 90% of us are not only going to pick your product over a similar product right beside it, but be willing to pay extra for it too.
You can charge upwards of thirty dollars per cloth poop catcher so long as it's certified organic bamboo (because bamboo is the new hemp).
How about 40 dollars for that eco friendly t shirt with a cute 'save the planet' bumper sticker across the front to let everyone know how responsible a public citizen your baby is for the two weeks it will fit him?
And of coarse 100 dollars is no cost at all for the baby food kit that will help you make all natural baby food for the health of your little one and the environment.
It all sounds really obviously stupid when I put it like that. But I really do eat it up.
Guilt is probably the most likely reason why I am so suddenly seduced by such an obvious ploy. Residual guilt over bringing yet another carbon eating person into this train wreck is really at the heart of it. Not only is this little person probably making the problem worse. But I also know that the most devastating effects of today’s environmental doochery will be felt by him and his children more so than me.
So maybe buying these products makes me feel like I am doing something. Maybe what they're really selling me is a lifestyle in which I feel in control and empowered. A lifestyle in which I am providing the brightest future for my child.
Well let me tell you, if the me from a year ago could see this. She would slap me upside the head.
Today I find myself sitting in my son's room surrounded by expensive organic toys folding his expensive environmentally friendly clothes wondering when I forgot my old mantra.
Consumerism cannot fix what consumerism broke.
I'll have to do More than try to buy my way out of this if I want that feeling of control and empowerment to be meaningful and lasting.
Of coarse making socially and environmentally conscious decisions as a consumer is important. But it's time for myself, and I am sure many others to get real about which decisions are actually effective.
Buying as much locally grown food as possible. Effective.
Buying super deluxe pocket snappy organic cotton diapers where a simple 3 dollar prefold will due. Not effective.
Making local all natural baby food with the food processor I already have. Effective.
Buying bamboo cotton clothes when the drawers are already bursting with hand-me-downs. Not effective.
But most importantly. I think it's imperative that we pair these responsible consumer choices with hard action. I want my son to grow up with the knowledge that although personal changes towards a More socially and environmentally responsible lifestyle are important. He also has the power to effect change in many other ways
Here’s where I go for ideas and information on environmental issues. Getting myself excited is the first step in raising my son to be excited and passionate about the health of our planet.
Green Nexxus - Is an online community for sharing tips, thoughts, and information on anything green focusing on the real impact of little changes.
Contact your government - An online listing of Canadian government contact information, so that you know where to send letters urging our government to make bigger changes, and to take environmental issues seriously.
David Suzuki Foundation - No eco link list would be complete without him, because he knows what he's talking about. A great site for information on both small actions, and the bigger issues as well.
Roots and Shoots - A campaign championed by Jane Goodall to encourage young people to think critically and find solutions to problems effecting animals and humans alike.