Do you ever have a day when it is so hard to get out of bed? Last night I set my agenda for Green Talk. But my world took a step backwards last night. I heard terrible news. A young man that I knew died of a rare form of stomach cancer. He was only 20. He attended nursery school with my son.
But I shook my head again and said under my breath, “why isn’t the toxic chemical discussion just as important as climate change?” Shouldn’t those two conversations be talked about simultaneously in the board room, at conferences, and in the press?
But for some reason his death really hit home.
Our kids played together.
It was just too painful to get out of bed today.
Safe Chemicals Act
Over the years, I have been fighting for safe chemicals and very much an advocate of the Safe Chemicals Act. I am thankful for EWG, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Moms Clean Air Force and Women’s Voices for the Earth who are daily advocating to keep us safe. (As well as the countless not for profits that I didn’t name.)
There are 2 Undeniable Camps
But truth be told there are two different camps in the “green” sphere: energy efficiency (climate change) and toxic chemicals (health.) When I built my eco-friendly house in the early 2000, it was so evident when I insisted on building an energy efficient and non-toxic house. Everyone got energy efficiency but few understood the toxicity of building products.
Those two worlds don’t speak to each other.
Honestly, ask yourself. When you read about big business you hear they reduce their water usage by “x” amount, or reduced their energy usage by “x” amount. We even hear stories about how they changed their packaging to corn based packaging rather than use plastic. (Don’t get me started about that subject.)
I can’t even count the number of business conferences I attended where all they talk all about is climate change. Rightful so. Climate change is very important.
But you never hear ”great job. But while you are at it, what is your plan to remove certain chemicals in your products?” Not too often.
Understand, I don’t want to diminish the environmental work they are doing, but as a sustainability consultant, I know that most of those improvements affect their bottom line for the better. Companies wouldn’t make changes that don’t make economic sense.
Nothing Changes Without a Public Outcry
But do you ever hear stories about the big beauty product companies that have decrease their use of toxic chemicals? Or the cleaning product giant removing toxic chemicals from their household products? Or that giants like Coke changed their ingredients? Or big box stores refuse to carry BPA products?
Oh and have you had a chance to read their stellar sustainability plans?
And yet, many of the key sustainability players funded the opposition to Proposition 37 requiring disclosure of GMO ingredients in food.
Sadly, it takes a public outcry to change product formulations. For example, recently P&G agreed to reformulate its Tide Free and Clear to remove 1,4 dioxane from the product or Pepisco’s agreement to remove a flame retardant from Gatorade. Sadly, that same flame retardant will remain in Mountain Dew products.
The reality is toxic chemicals have a footprint too on both humans and animals. Studies have shown that certain pesticide are causing bees to die. No bees. No food.
Chronic illness is on the rise due to toxic chemicals: cancer, asthma, fertility issues, and the list goes on and on.
High Time to Demand the Dialog
Isn’t time to open the dialog about saving both the planet and humans? It belongs in the same conversation.
I for one have my feet planted in both camps. How about you?
Join the Conversation:
- Do you think the conversation needs to be more inclusive about Climate Change and chemicals.
- What do you think needs to change for this two worlds to co-exist?
Photo by Kevin Krejci
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