Although we may not agree about whether or not things are happening, I think we can all agree: - if the climate were  changing, it would be...


Although we may not agree about whether or not things are happening, I think we can all agree:
- if the climate were changing, it would be really bad
- if we were using, ingesting and accumulating toxic chemicals, it would be really bad
- if we were harming our health and our planet, it would be really bad

Ultimately, I think I'd rather not take that risk. The more I educate myself, the more I begin to understand how my choices impact the world around me. I've already made the choice to be vegan, for reasons very well explained in Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals:
I will only consume animal products
when more suffering is caused by abstaining than
the animal suffers from providing.

For example, I wear wool socks. I cannot think of a situation more rife with suffering that factory farmed chickens. However, I believe that frostbitten toes would cause me more suffering than removing wool from sheep, not to mention the environmental consequences of using synthetic alternatives—which also cause suffering.

Which brings me to my next concern: chemicals. There are plenty of great chemicals—table salt is a chemical, as are baking soda and vinegar. But there are also plenty of harmful chemicals, like chlorine and BPA. For most of my life, I have trusted that the government regulations were doing the research and making the right choices for my health.

It's becoming clear that's not the case. The responsibility is on the consumer.

Think about that: when you go buy toilet bowl cleaner—do you know what all of the chemicals in it do? Since a lot of cleaning products don't even list the chemicals in them, I find that highly unlikely. But, ultimately, you are responsible for ensuring that the cleaning, painting and beauty products you use are safe. Nobody is watching your back (or your lungs, or your skin, or your blood).

I don't know if the phthalates in laundry soap cause cancer, but if they did, it would be really bad. I don't know if the plastic beads in that pomegranate scented body wash make it to the ocean and enter the food chain via fish, but if they did, it would be really bad. 
What I do know is that castille soap doesn't destroy our oceans or our health. What I do know is that baking soda and vinegar make great household cleaners, and I don't have to worry about them making it into my food supply—they're already there.

My generation, for all the shit we get from mainstream media, has been given a huge burden.

Responsible products cost more money in stores. 

In the store, a factory farmed egg costs about 10 cents. Some of that goes to chicken care, some to workers and corporations. But you know where it doesn't go? To fixing waterway pollution, or disease research to combat antibiotic resistance. Previous generations have pushed those costs to us.

Now, we must pay not only for our own responsible products, but for the lack of responsibility of previous generations. That is a huge commitment, both in time and money. And being willing to make that commitment take understanding, education, compassion and a willingness to change.

I am certainly not the first person to make that commitment, as anybody who has walked into a Whole Foods can tell you. In fact, most of my life, I've mocked the people who paid twice as much for brown toilet paper as I paid for white. But, to borrow a quote from Foer,
"Ultimately, the controversy around PETA [or any environmentalist] may have less to do with the organization than with those of us who stand in judgement of it—that is, with the unpleasant realization that 'those PETA people' have stood up for the values that we have been too cowardly or forgetful to defend ourselves." 

You may also like


  1. I really enjoy your blog, but I think it's irresponsible to post "Although we may not agree about whether or not things are happening." First of all "things???" Really?? Everyone with any kind of rational thinking and interest in the world accepts the scientific proof of global warming.

  2. Hi Bella. Thanks for the note. I actually have family members who are skeptical of global warming, and that comment was mostly directed at them: a reminder that it doesn't matter whether they agree with the scientific literature as this is a case of better safe than sorry. How lucky you are that you don't know anybody who thinks irrationally; it seems I come from a less open-minded clan.


Powered by Blogger.