Green, eco-conscious expos and conferences seem to be popping up everywhere in recent months. Many of these events feature innovative, interesting products and services with an eye toward sustainability and conservation. Green proponents tout "completing the cycle", encouraging us not only to reuse and recycle but to purchase recycled and reclaimed products. Yet somehow in this greening process there is a gaping disconnect between what is green and its relationship to health and wellness.
At a recent green event on the east coast, we discovered that the only food offerings for vendors and attendees were pre-packaged snack food, pizza, ice cream, and candy. A national doughnut chain sold their products including doughnuts spelling out "G-O G-R-E-E-N", complete with fluorescent green icing. Seriously. A vendor across from us marketed their organic food home delivery company and yet the two company founders were clearly obese. Smokers stood outside during the show while others wandered through with cans of soda in hand.
People simply are not getting it. Yes, it is wonderful to bring your own bags to the supermarket and reduce the amount of plastic in landfills, but if you're stocking your reusable bags with processed, artificial foods not only are you NOT living sustainably (consider for a moment the amount of energy and resources that go into the packaging of processed foods alone), but you are missing half the cycle. Healing the planet is also about healing ourselves. We don't buy organic because it's trendy or just because it's "green", but because it is healthier for us and for the planet while also supporting a community of farmers who treat the earth with respect. We need to avoid toxins in our environment and on our foodstuffs, as well as in our bodies, to build a sustainable future.
It's about developing a holistic consciousness. Knowing that even the simplest choices matter - for our health, our family's health, and for the health of the planet. Green doesn't always mean healthy. A green building isn't truly going to support sustainability or health if you then fill it with furniture off gassing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or electronic devices emitting high levels of radiation or EMFs. By the same token, stocking your pantry with "natural" and "organic" products wrapped in plastics or disposable packing fails to recognize how environmental waste and pollution undermines human health.
As Holistic Moms, we do "get it". We are not perfect. Our journey to living more healthfully and sustainably may be a long one. But we are on the path and understand the connection. As parents we have to get it for the sake of our children and their future. We need to put the healthy back into green!