I am proud to admit that I am one of those crunchy, granola, green, nature-loving treehuggers.
Although I am lucky enough to live in an area where the green lifestyle is not only accepted but is bordering on the norm, feedback to my natural preferences has not always been positive. In fact, certain members of my family regularly tease me (often not in a loving way) for wanting to eat organic foods or avoid plastic water bottles. And many other people I have encountered don’t understand the whole idea of being green.
Several years ago when I began learning about what organic and natural really mean, I tried sharing that with my friends and family. Organic was actually a scary word to some of them because they didn’t understand what it was. Some thought that organic foods were actually genetically modified in some way. Others believed that special treatments were being used on the foods and that these treatments would eventually be found to be dangerous to our health.
More commonly they assumed eating organic means being a vegetarian. One person stated to me, “I can’t go organic. I don’t like tofu.” One family member worried about my health while I was pregnant because she assumed that eating organic foods meant I was missing out on essential vitamins.
The biggest issue that I faced in my journey to go green was a political one. Most people automatically equate being green with being a liberal. My husband comes from a very conservative family. When they heard that I was shopping for organic cotton sheets, I was pigeonholed as a liberal, and the political battles began. I try to take the approach of avoiding political discussions with family. However, simply by virtue of wanting to be toxin-free, I was initiating a debate about liberalism versus conservatism.
Not everything we eat is organic. But I try to avoid things like soda, fast food and candy from China. My son loves vegetables. He begs for blueberries and doesn’t even know what soda tastes like. While I feel like I am being a good mother, some family members have criticized me for not letting a kid be a kid. I was told by one person that I was starving my son because I wouldn’t let him have french fries and that toddlers should have rolls on their bodies.
Another assumption some people have made is that being green means I am a snob. I received comments like, “I hope what I cooked is good enough for you” or “It’s not all-natural so you can return it if you want.” I have never been the type of person to complain about a gift or to criticize a home-cooked meal. But some people assume I am judging them because they don’t follow my lifestyle. While I would love it if everyone would take steps to protect the environment, I completely understand if they don’t.
Being green is not dangerous to your health. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to be green. You definitely don’t have to be a Democrat. And most of us don’t judge others for not being green too.
Being green is about choosing a healthy, natural way of living. It’s about avoiding toxic chemicals in the form of pesticides, hormones, additives and synthetic materials. It’s about supporting local farms and businesses; and it’s about protecting the earth and the air we breathe and the water we drink.
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