I am discovering that living "green" requires a total makeover of your initial instincts. Right now I am reading Easy Green Living by Renee Loux but I don't quite agree with the title. It is not easy! When "green" first became the new hot word of the decade, I was very skeptical and thought it was apt to say living "green" was mainly for those crazy environmentalists and companies wanting to make more money in a new way (which I still believe is true in some cases). As I have been researching, I have decided that I agree that there is an urgent need for our society to live more naturally but my motives are completely different. As environmentalists are living a more natural life in the name of Mother Earth, I am striving to live a more natural life because I believe that is what God would have us do. As I have stated before, I believe God created the earth in a beautiful way in which we are able to live without polluting our homes, bodies, and environment with a slew of chemical formulations. There are amazing discoveries and advances that are pure genius and are perfectly safe but there are many advances in our every-day products that are not safe for us or for the environment. We should care about this because it is God's earth and it is our duty to take care of it. Yes, we live in a sinful world but that does not give us an excuse to knowingly live in a way that destroys God's creation. With that said, here is the latest issue that is causing a serious renovation in my home life.
During and after World War II, the desire to find replacements for every-day products suddenly became essential in keeping the economy afloat. During the war, people were struggling to keep up with the dire times therefore they began turning to new ways to make old products. People and companies were running out of natural resources due to lack of workers and money. After the war, when money was more abundant, people began thinking that "getting it now" was a sign of prosperity and economic boom. According to Wikipedia, "at the end of the war, the United States produced roughly half of the world's industrial output". Due to the sudden increase in the production of goods, chemists and companies were searching for ways to create products that didn't take much time to cultivate and mass produce. Petroleum was one of the answers because of its "high energy density, easy transportability, and relative abundance" and it basically was just plain cheap. It started showing up in everything from laundry detergent to pharmaceuticals thereby replacing the use of the earth's natural resources like vinegar, baking soda, and the like. Companies began putting petroleum in products to give instant power and thus taking away the need to scrub, brush, and use a little elbow grease. People were suddenly able to squirt a little of this and a little of that, wipe it off, and voila! You have a sparkling clean house (with quite a strong "clean" smell).
So, why is petroleum in our every-day-products such a bad thing? Well, just visit the Attorney General's website and read the potential hazardous effects of petroleum exposure (http://www.oag.state.ny.us/bureaus/environmental/oilspill/health.html). Another government website states, "There are reported cases of lipoid pneumonia and deaths from aspiration of lubricants, including baby oil, a spray lubricant, chain saw oil, and trumpet valve oil". (http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr97/frpetdis.html) Breathing in petroleum vapors can cause damage to your nervous system and getting petroleum on your skin can cause irritations and can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Repeated exposure or exposure in vast quantities may cause certain types of cancer. Other problems include reproductive and developmental toxicity/miscarriage, asthma, decreased progesterone production, damage to the immune system, and other health troubles. Children are even more at risk to develop problems than adults and even breathing in small amounts of petroleum can cause health problems. You may think that perhaps a little exposure to petroleum won't adversely affect you, but look at all of the products it is used in: motor oil, mineral oil, baby oil, furniture polish, degreasers, lighter fluid, spot removers, disinfectants, plastics, mattresses, paint, paraffin oil/wax, most mascaras (which are labeled with a highly moderate hazard), liquid foundations, body lotions/moisturizers, lipstick/lipgloss/chapstick, shoe care products, Vaseline, shampoos, conditioners, aerosols, and synthetic fragrances (traces of which have been found in breast milk, blood, and human fat; http://www.ecogreenbeauty.com/?tag=petroleum-based-cosmetic-products). Wow! I'm sure I didn't list everything and that list is a little overwhelming. I would say that is a fair amount of exposure to petroleum!
Websites to visit:
and check out Easy Green Living by Renee Loux. It has lots of wonderful recipes and resources for "green" beginners!