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Green Consumers Series: We Are the Ones in Charge

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By Chris Kane

 

 

Everyone needs a little inspiration right now. I got mine today when I listened to Alexandra Zissu, author of The Conscious Kitchen and one of the most passionate people I’ve heard in a very long time about what we put in our bodies. Alexandra was a guest on the Global Green Consumers series, sponsored by the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce.

I have said for years that for the most part, people have no idea what you’re putting into their bodies. For some reason, we trust corporations to do the right thing and make sure our foods are safe. Well, we are wrong— we are dead wrong, in fact. Except for the products from a handful of companies, our foods are filled with chemicals.  Now, in the defense the majority of companies, all these chemicals are within the accepted levels (seriously???), as determined by our government leaders.  It would be interesting to see what these levels will look like with a new head of the EPA, wouldn’t it?

However, I do think times are starting to change.  When I first started talking about the harmful toxins and chemicals in our food, I was considered crazy— remember “Crazy Aunt Chris”?  Now, I find that there are a few more crazies out there that understand exactly what I’m talking about.  There aren’t as many as I might like, but certainly more than there were a few years ago.

Whether you grow your own food or shop organic, or even read labels, you’re on the right track.  As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.   Becoming plastic-free is another huge improvement.  That movement is picking up speed and has almost, but not quite, reached the mainstream.

This is where the whole issue of taking responsibility for ourselves comes in as conscious consumers. If you’re sitting there, waiting for someone (read: “the government”) to ban plastics, whether you want them banned completely, or just banned from products that go into or onto your body, you’ll be sitting there a very long time.

If you’re such a person, I suggest that you take just a minute and make a list of all the reasons why you can’t take responsibility for yourself.  I suspect that the list is rather short.  I complete this exercise every time I fight for something and blame the issue on someone else, only to realize that I can take action myself right away to make a difference. Now, I’m not saying that buying ketchup in a glass bottle instead of a plastic one will change the world, but by purchasing that ketchup in a glass, you’re avoiding a lot of additional chemicals that you’re putting into your body.

This is all really scary stuff.  If we continue to allow ourselves to be poisoned, who knows what the future will hold.  Although there’s probably no scientific evidence to prove my theory, I have believed for a long time that the early onset of puberty for both girls and boys is related to the hormone disrupters in all the foods that we eat.   Articles from the Scientific American and Huffington Post, named “Rises in Early Puberty May Have Environmental Roots” and “Girls’ Early Puberty – What Causes It And How to Avoid” respectively, link this issue to the environmental toxins that we breathe in day after day.  When Alexandra was asked what prompted her to start on her incredible journey, she replied that it was by becoming pregnant with her first child. For the well-being of our children, I worry about the future.

So, to the individuals out there, I challenge you to start reading your labels, start avoiding plastics, buy local and organic products. To the corporations, I challenge you to start listening to what your customers have to say and to think about what you want for your family when you make decisions that affect millions of people.

 

Chris Kane is a trained Climate Reality Leader and Citizens Climate Lobby Leader, providing presentations around Brevard County, Florida.  She is a graduate of the Sustainable Floridians course and is also a trained Family Herbalist.  Additionally, she commits her time to Recycle Brevard, a non-profit devoted to recycling, educating and inspiring our next generation to contributing to building a more sustainable community. 

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