I’m Not the Eco Police

mommy greenest eco police policewoman angie dickinson photoEver since I started writing as Mommy Greenest, I’ve noticed people avoiding me. Not my close friends, obviously. But the casual friendships—those afternoon coffee invitations that turn into weekend playdates with wine? I’m getting less and less of them.

I’ve heard, “Oh, don’t let Rachel see that,” as a plastic water bottle is shoved into a purse, and “She had fries—don’t kill me!” as my daughter is returned home from a playdate.

They think I’m the eco police. [Read more…]

Meet The Big List of Things That Suck

book coverFrom a very young age, I talked the green talk. I grew up going to pow-wows and taking cross-country trips to the Badlands—my father was a professor at UCLA whose specialty is Native American literature. My nickname in college was, embarrassingly, Flower. But like many, my eco-focus stopped at water conservation and recycling. I bought conventional cleaning products because that’s what my family had always used—even though I saw the “natural” cleaners on the same shelf, I wrote their claims off as marketing rather than turning over the bottles and comparing ingredients.

I didn’t really make the connection between the environmental impact of how I lived until 2006, when I met Christopher Gavigan at Healthy Child, Healthy World (he went on to found The Honest Company with Jessica Alba). I was nine months pregnant with my third child, and we met to talk about my helping with publicity and marketing efforts for the organization once the baby was born.

Women are responsible for 85% of the buying decisions in a household. What we spend our money on matters.

We sat in Christopher’s no-VOC painted office filled with oxygen-emitting plants and as he explained his mission I basically had a panic attack. Then I went home and got rid of my toxic chemical cleaning products. But there was a missing link in our conversation: Basically the problem was that Christopher isn’t a girl. He didn’t wonder about the health implications of hair dye and nail polish; he didn’t covet the latest It Bag.

So I started doing my own research. And I quickly realized how much of an impact what I bought for myself and my family could have on the environment—and the marketplace. Women are responsible for 85% of the buying decisions in a household. What we spend our money on matters.

As I learned more, I started applying this knowledge to my life. I wrote about eco-beauty for women’s magazines—and found it increasingly more difficult to write about conventional alternatives. I was asked to create a marketing campaign for a major denim label—and turned it down when I learned that takes an astounding one-third of a pound of toxic fertilizer to make one cotton t-shirt (keep that visual in mind the next time you go shopping).

How could I promote this stuff, with what I knew? That’s when I started The Big List of Things That Suck.

[Read more…]