I was not always “green,” in the modern sense of the word. In fact, I might say that I was green in another sense, as in naïve, gullible, or as I prefer—innocent.
About 20 years ago, I began to take notice of life outside my bubble. I discovered co-ops and organic foods. Earth Day had jumped back into my life with much more relevance, especially as climate change was getting more attention. By 2005, information online made the world smaller and more accessible. I took an interest in products and lifestyles that would benefit the environment. I wondered why no local store carried the cool stuff I was seeing online. And so, a “green” newcomer to the world of business, in 2007 I opened a green products store on Main Street in my small downtown.
I wanted Bona Fide Green Goods to be true to its name—no BS, no “greenwashing”, featuring products that the customers knew had been vetted and were safe. My learning curve was steep and exciting, as I delved into environmental impacts, ingredients lists, and what became an in-depth knowledge about the toxins present in our daily lives.
Over and over dialogues with customers began with…”What do you mean?” As in, “What do you mean shampoos on the drugstore shelf have ingredients associated with cancer?” “What do you mean that plastic leaches chemicals that disrupt my hormone systems?” “What do you mean that the flame retardants in my mattress, the stain repellents on my furniture, and the fragrances in my cleaning products, can be toxic? What happened to consumer protection?”
While I didn’t take time to address the reasons toxic products are allowed to be sold on store shelves, I was able to offer some good news: that by making smart, informed purchasing decisions, consumers can greatly decrease their daily toxic load. It’s not hard! There are many fantastic product choices on the market that we can use free of concern.
In the Anticancer Lifestyle Program’s Environment module, I guide you in some basic ways to make safer choices. I know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by this topic, so I make every effort to keep things simple and make your goals achievable. Weeding out toxins from daily life is a process—we advise pulling one weed at a time. You will feel empowered by the information you learn in the module, and both you and the environment will be a lot healthier for your efforts.