Find joy wherever the wind blows


Two Care2 stories hit close to home this week. The first was a report that drinking water with levels of arsenic considered accpetable by EPA might cause prenatal growth and development problems and reduce the nutrient availability of breastmilk. Having worked on the campaign to get the arsenic limit lowered to its current level while ... [Read more]


For this month's Green Moms Carnival, "Resolutions to Fight Climate Change" hosted by, I'm getting personal, really personal. 

But let's start with the big picture:

  • E-Magazine reports that, in 1998, 6.5 billion tampons were thrown in the garbage or flushed into our already overburdened sewer systems and 13 billion disposable menstrual pads were thrown away. 
  • The Center for Marine Conservation reported that more than 170,000 plastic tampon applicators polluting our oceans were collected during beach cleanups in 1998 and 1999. 
  • Most disposable menstrual products are virgin paper products and deforestation in the tropics accounts for nearly 20 percent of human-generated, climate-changing carbon emissions.

Add the global warming and trash concerns to worries about dioxin, a cancer-causing bi-product of bleaching paper and cotton, and many women are choosing reusable menstrual cups instead of disposable tampons (brands and resources outlined below the jump).

While feminine hygiene products may not be the biggest environmental threat or the most effective way to personally address global climate change, if you've already tackled things like your home energy efficiency, shifted to renewable energy, and reduced the carbon footprint of your personal transportation, then you might shift your attention to some of the other ways you can make a difference. Shifting away from disposable feminine hygiene products is an easy lifestyle change to that still makes a difference.

Feminine Care Products Are A Big Industry
We've all seen the ridiculous commercials of women wearing clingy white outfits and dancing on the beach because of the freedom delivered by whatever disposable product they've chosen. In fact, several brands of hygiene product go right to the root word for freedom in naming their products: Libra and Libresse are brands of tampons.

There's money in menstrual products, a lot of it. One market analysis predicts that the industry will gross $14.5 billion dollars a year by 2015. (That's a lot of freedom!) But that same analysis warns that "Reduced acceptance of throwaway convenience and increased emphasis on resource optimization, environmental benefits . . ." are among the challenges facing the industry.

Among the other challenges for the industry, an aging market share as baby boomer no longer need them. Kotex, a brand I definitely grew up thinking was for old people, is trying to capture the teens and tween audience by mocking the marketing  previously used by Kotex and other brands.

Their "Get Real" campaign offers tampons and pads in bright colors and encourages girls to "take a stand against bland" by ordering custom designs on their pads. No, seriously.

Are Reusable Menstrual Products Going Too Far?

The decision between cloth and disposable diapers, something a baby will wear for about 3 years, gets a lot of press and is an expected eco-decision facing a new parent. Yet the decision between reusable and disposable menstrual products, something a woman will use nearly three months a year for most of their lives, is not even one many women consciously made.

I'm not really that nostalgic for the technology of my grandmother's era, it wasn't that long ago that reusable products were the norm. Today though, shifting from disposable tampons and maxis to a menstrual cup or reusable pads requires you to reject the notion that manufacturers are trying to sell you that your entire life can be neat, tidy, convenient, and, if you want, sweet smelling.

But if you're found this Green Moms Carnival blog because you are a mom, you've already been disabused of that notion and know that life is messy. By the time you've lived through the exploding diapers phase of infancy and survived potty training and the recurring stomach viruses of the preschool years, your entire perception of what's messy and gross may have shifted.

The poem below was emailed to me this week.  If you are a parent who's read the "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" book series by Laura Numeroff, this may strike a cord. If You Give A Mom A Muffin  by Beth Brubaker If you give a mom a muffin, She’ll want a cup ... [Read more]

Originally published on Care2. Were you one of the millions of Americans to get an upgrade to one of your electronic devices this holiday season? You know you are not alone, of course. According to the Electronics Take Back Coalition, consumers in the United States will replace approximately 400 million consumer gadgets this year. Tiny ... [Read more]

Found myself writing about chemicals out of place. Recently on Care2: Recent reports reveal that hydraulic fracturing, a form of natural gas drilling that involves injecting toxin-laden water deep underground, may have been responsible for earthquakes in England and Oklahoma and the Environmental Protection agency announced that it will investigate the drilling method’s impact on ... [Read more]

News outlets are calling the 143-pound blue catfish hooked by sport fishermen in Virginia a monster of our own making. The fish caught by Richard Nicholas “Nick” Anderson and his father and brother in John H. Kerr Reservoir, known locally as Buggs Island Lake, broke the state record just set in March by a 109 ... [Read more]

Don't Make Connections Between Extreme Weather Events (VIDEO) . . . because that might might lead you to conclude that global warming is already happening, warns Bill McKibben in a Washington Post oped. In the wake of the devastating tornado's in Joplin, MO, and a record year for tornados, floods, and wildfires worldwide, author and ... [Read more]

Started a new conversation over at Care2 this week. Check it out. Valuing Green in Greenbacks: Should We Put a Price on Services Rendered by Nature? "According to the United Nations Environment Programme report "Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature," failing to value the Earth's natural services, such as bees pollinating the world's food supply or ... [Read more]

More the 5000 bloggers are writing about water today for Blog Action Day.   Why? Because unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80 percent of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. A colleague recently pointed me to this stunning graphic about how war over water could ... [Read more]


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