Eco-Mama?

I feel like I’m fighting a loosing battle. Running a busy family and trying to live in an environmentally responsible manner should not be a struggle yet, all to often, I feel like I have to choose one over the other.
The economy is slow (read: freelance business is slow) so I’m pinching pennies, but the eggs on sale at nearly half price at Shoppers Drug Mart come in a Styrofoam container. I finally convince my husband to stop using harmful chemicals to clean out the compost bin, and now I learn the biodegradable liners I had to agree to as a compromise can cause more harm than good. I buy a front loading, eco-star washing machine only to learn that it is the reason my cloth diapers are wearing out so quickly. Some days it feels like I just can’t win.
I try to do my part for the environment. I use only reusable materials for leftovers, lunches and snacks, I use cloth diapers as much as possible, I buy only environmentally responsible cleaning supplies (baking soda and vinegar do most of the work), I make purchasing choice partly based on how much packaging a product has, I’m even beginning to use only organic and natural shampoos, soaps, creams and cosmetics.
I am proud of the fact that we produce a small amount of garbage every two weeks. I just wish it were a little easier and that it were a little cheaper. Why is it that the little containers of yogurt are cheaper than the big ones? Why does buying locally and sustainably produced meat have to cost so much more? (I know the answer to that one but I don’t have to like it) Why does everything have to have three layers of packaging? Why does the word organic seem to excuse jacking up the price as much as 50%.
I try hard to teach my children how to live an environmentally responsible life – it just seems this Western consumer culture is out to sabotage those lessons every time. On a brighter note, at least one local business promoting responsible living and sustainable parenting is finding some success. Nurtured Products for Parenting, an online cloth diaper company based in Dartmouth (www.nurtured.ca), is opening it’s first retail location today. Customer demand has meant the business has grown out of the owner’s home and, as a cloth diaper and mompreneur advocate, I couldn’t be more thrilled. If you’re in Halifax check the new store out at 2591 Robie Street.
Lets hope it means more of us will have a little success trying to balance family life and the environment.

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