Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Family: Baby Bloom; Go Green Withy Our Childe and Help Save the World

This is an article written by Lisa Salmon in the Liverpool based Daily Post, dated October 13, 2007 which I would like to share with you.


EVERY parent wants the best for their baby. But in these days of global warming and predicted environmental doom, they should also want what's best for the planet. That's the view of eco-friendly businesswoman Jill Barker, who's written a book, Green Baby, to guide new parents through today's environmental minefield.

Barker, who runs the Baby Green chain of natural baby products shops, acknowledges new parents may feel they have enough on their hands just coping with their newborn, without addressing environmental issues too.

But she stresses: "Being a new parent, you can feel overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility.

The prospect of tripling your waste output is enough to make you put your hands over your ears and pretend it's not happening. "Well, it's a lot easier than you might think."

One of the most obvious green issues for new parents is, of course, the disposable or washable nappies decision. Barker points out disposable nappies account for half a family's weekly rubbish - half a tonne a year.

And apart from nappies filling up landfill sites, and possibly taking up to 500 years to degrade, they take a huge amount of resources to make - it takes four-and-a-half trees to get the wood pulp in nappies used by just one baby.

"Parents who aren't sure about using washable nappies should initially just try using one of them, and work out how much they're not throwing away," says Barker.

"People are surprised at how easy it is - you do the washing anyway, so adding nappies to the load isn't such a big deal.

"We're told we just don't have the time - but our parents managed without disposable nappies, and most of them didn't have washing machines and the other gadgets that we have to help us today."

Another issue that the book tackles is baby's nursery, and how to make it non-toxic. This includes using paint or stucco free from volatile organic compounds (VOC), a wooden floor made with wood from a sustainable forest, and an unlacquered cot made with similar wood, without formaldehyde in the glue. Barker also recommends using curtains made of natural fabrics, and blinds which aren't vinyl, as they may contain PVC.

She stresses that the more natural the environment, the healthier baby will be, and adds: "The nursery is where spend most of their lives, and making it better for the environment is better for the baby too."

There's also advice on which ingredients to avoid in products such as baby shampoos and bubble baths, what foods to feed babies, and even green childcare principles such as checking that nurseries use organic food and green cleaning products.

Barker advises using clothes friends' children have finished with, and only buying things for baby you really need, rather than what manufacturers say you need.

She adds: "This is the planet that we're leaving for our children, and they're going to be the ones who have to clean it up.

"You can't be selfish any more when you have children, and while some people might think that the little bit they do to be green isn't important, they need to realise that every little bit makes a difference."

Child's play... bringing your baby up in an eco-friendly way is a lot easier than you think, says author Jill Barker


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