Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Day, your Catalyst for Change

As Earth Day 2012 approaches, many things get us thinking about the future, and how our actions today impact it. One of the strongest triggers is having children – we think not only of our own future, but of theirs. This is a natural reason to worry about the impact we have on the ecosystem and whether they’ll be able to enjoy the health and natural world we are so blessed with today.
But it’s also a great catalyst to make important changes or resolutions, to reduce our impact and our worries. While expecting our first child, we grew concerned about the harms that chemicals in household products might do to unborn or growing babies. So we cleared out all our store-bought chemical cleansers and started making our own with home-made recipes. We found what we put together from basic grocery-store ingredients worked just as well as the chemical cocktails we’d previously used, so we never went back. If you want to make the same switch, you can find handy recipes at, in the Eco-Library under “Save Money Being Green (Non-Toxic Cleansers)”. Nowadays you can also purchase many pre-mixed natural toxin-free cleaning products.
Another source of waste and pollution is disposable diapers. For our children, we joined a diaper-recycling service that collected soiled diapers, recycled the plastic and composted the rest. However, that service has since gone out of business. But if you’re concerned about the waste and pollution of disposable diapers, there is another solution: cloth diapering. It’s changed completely since we were kids –modern products work just as well and conveniently as disposables, and even save you money.
Last year I wrote about an amazing event for which I served as witness, setting an official Guinness Book world record for the most babies changed in cloth diapers at one time. Barrie’s contingent of 30 babies (and parents) were one of over two hundred locations, over two dozen in Canada, which made the Great Cloth Diaper Change a success. With the record of over 5,000 fresh baby bums confirmed and documented, we’re trying to beat it with even more for this year’s Earth Day. So if you have a baby using cloth diapers or are willing to give it a try, please take part in the event this Saturday, April 21st at Holly United Church, 211 Marsellus Dr. You can sign up online at or show up by 11 am to register in person for the official change at noon.
Even if you’re not changing a baby, drop by the event to learn about a number of local and sustainable infant-focused businesses and products, such as Barrie’s own Glow Bug Cloth Diapers and Down to Earth Baby Gear.

Published in my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner.

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of the Ontario School of Economic Science and Earthsharing Canada.

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