Wednesday, February 6, 2008

cosmetics and environmental concerns

My friend Erin wrote today that she had been avoiding talking about going green "to avoid coming off as all braggy-braggy in a self-righteous, crunchy hippy-chick sort of way." I absolutely loved her post. Not because it was talking about eco-friendly changes you can make in your life (which I do like) but because it was real. By going back to school for Environmental Studies, it's no surprise that I became surrounded by eco-minded folk. Eco-minded folk that I love, mind you. But sometimes I think we're a little unrealistic about our expectations of the world. What is going to keep this planet habitable for us humans isn't going to be some flashy, complex, technological fix, it's going to be finding small ways to fit sustainable living into everyone's lifestyle. It's going to be narrowing the spectrum of green-mindedness - "granola" is at one end and at the other is an insincere, corporate marketing ploy. There's so much room in the middle! At least that's my opinion. I'm so glad that Erin wrote her post!

And, in honor of her post, I'm shifting from gardening and cooking to talk about something kind of environmental - in a pretty silly sort of way. While I was chatting with the ladies, I mentioned that I was SO excited about this lip gloss I ordered online. Yes, the girl who worked as a fire fighter and regularly went days without showering (sometime weeks), wears cosmetics. The girl who once made a living teaching kayaking, guiding rafts, and leading backpacking trips likes cosmetics. The girl who insisted her new boss let her take three weeks to raft the Grand Canyon this spring checks the mailbox every day looking for cosmetics.

Well, I'm not going to embarrass myself further by mentioning the brand of this ridiculous tube of lip gloss, but I will say that it came up in conversation because I felt guilty for not checking to see how the product rated in toxicity. There is a wonderful organization in Missoula called Women's Voices for the Earth (or WVE, everybody says "weave"). I, myself, have often thought they were a bit "braggy-braggy in a self-righteous, crunchy hippy-chick sort of way," but they are doing some pretty cool things for the environment with a focus on how the environment specifically impacts women's lives. One of their big things is the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

I haven't followed the campaign very closely - or really at all, but I did hear about a specific website through them. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety database has all kinds of information on a wide range of products. I think it's important that organizations that run campaigns to change consumer behavior reward corporations that comply with campaign requests. Like.... a shampoo company doesn't want to change it's ingredients, but a campaign creates enough political capital to make the company change. That company should be rewarded - whether they change, kickin' and screamin,' or whether they volunteer to. Bottom line: they changed. We need more companies to change. All of this is to illustrate that I don't know how often the database is updated - if anyone else knows, please please comment and fill us all in.

Anyway, the database is there, and I hope you guys find it interesting. My lip gloss rated at 6. I could probably do better, but I like what I've ordered. And, sometimes I feel the need to break out of my "crunchy" shell - cause you just can't take yourself too seriously...

1 comment:

Heather said...

I loved Erin's post as well. Your blog has inspired me to expand my little garden more this year :-)