November 4, 2009

The Gateway to Green and a Love Letter to My Firstborn

in Little Baby Green

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Welcome to the first post of Little Baby Green, by guest blogger Deborah Guyer Greene, where Deborah will share her stories, expertise, and tips about green family living.

As a co-owner of an environmental design center, I always get a kick when the door opens and an expecting couple walks in.  Typically the woman is 5-8 months pregnant and the man is somewhat doe-eyed, nodding as she insists everything must be green, eco-friendly, and non-toxic.  This, of course is a stereotype.   But, as with most stereotypes, there is some small truth and I have genuine empathy for both parties as they struggle to nest. and nest with the most natural materials possible.  “Green” can be infuriatingly confusing.  As parents, of course, we want the best and the safest products for our kids.  As consumers we are inundated with next best “x”, the promise of a better “y” and now, the most fuel efficient, non-toxic, no visible footprint, regenerative and environmentally sustainable “z”.

Having a baby, in many cases, is the gateway to green.

We also want the best for our planet but it is the coming birth of child that springs many consumers into action.  Then, it’s the “where to begin” dilemma and soon we are overloaded with information, partial truths, and downright wives tales about going green. It’s a joy to watch a couple as they realize they can create a green nursery, one that is stylish and safe, and yes, one that is affordable to any budget.

Once they see how easy it is to be green, they can then open up and start investigating their own lives and living quarters.  I believe, this is just one of the ways children teach.  By caring for a child, we learn to care for ourselves as well.  WE want to be better, so we can make our children better.

I always wanted to name my firstborn Riley.  Well, Riley came into my life 13 years ago.  He was a beautiful, soulful Ridgeback/Great Dane mix and he was my firstborn baby boy.  The interesting thing about raising a dog is you are not teaching them to be independent someday.  They will always remain in the place of looking to you, taking your lead.  But the truth is, he led as well.

When he was eleven he was diagnosed with bone cancer.  I don’t mean to date myself, but in my recollection when I was a kid, dogs died of old age or getting hit by a car… not cancer.  Riley was amazing.  I decided against chemo but I did remove his front leg and treated him with herbal and eastern remedies.  Perhaps I’ve been out here in California for too long but I tell you what… what was a prognosis of 3-6 months turned into an inspiring year and a half.  For the next year, we spent mornings running on the beach, Riley galloping on his three legs.  Eventually, we would spend our mornings just sitting and watching the ocean. He taught me to practice peace.

In the end I let him go on that same beach and learned about grace.  Dogs like Riley are our gift and our warning.  If this wasn’t such a private and fast acting disease, we would be looking at an amazing number of tripods tromping along our streets.  We can look at our environments and make change.  We can protect those dear to us and make our lives better as well.little_baby_green_logo

Little Baby Green is not just a blog about building a better nursery.  It is an investigation into how to bring sustainability to all aspects of our lives – from compostable cups to unmanageable schedules, from picking non-toxic carpet to vaccinations, from choices on children bearing to child rearing.  How do we live truly sustainable lives – heart, body, mind and soul, and give that gift to our children.  We will bring you information from the experts and find the simplest way to convey the facts and get you to the best resources.

Next year I will be joining your ranks as I try for my first baby.  I’m sure I will alternate between the demanding nester and the doe-eyed conspirator!

Looking forward…

~Deborah Greene

Deborah Guyer Greene is the founder of epOxyGreen, a Los Angeles-based design center offering sustainable building and design products for residential and commercial projects.  Her goal is to bring art, social awareness, and commerce together to create what she calls conscious commerce.

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