Growing Up Green

growingupgreen.jpgToday, Jen reports on a recent eye opening green event in Boston:

"I recently had the pleasure of attending a vegan luncheon and book signing at the Four Seasons's Aujourdui in honor of Deirdre Imus's new book, Growing Up Green. Over a spectacular meal prepared by executive chef Brooke Vosika, Imus spoke passionately about environmental toxins and their effect on our children's health. I must confess that both the food and Imus's message surprised me. The vegan food was surprisingly elegant and Imus's message was surprisingly scary. Although in retrospect, given our host chef and the state of our environment, I should not have been so surprised.

After educating the audience on the bleak national statistics regarding several childhood illnesses and what she thinks may be contributing to their rise, Imus concluded her remarks by quoting her favorite African proverb. 'If you think you're too small to have an impact,' the proverb goes, 'try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.' While I understand that this proverb is supposed to make me feel empowered, the night after hearing Imus speak I felt like my bedroom was swarming with mosquitoes and I was without a fly swatter. Paint fumes! The lingering chemical scent emanating from my rug! The frozen pizza I ate for dinner! The flame retardant in my mattress! The toxins were buzzing everywhere.

And then I woke up. In the rare time of calm that is otherwise known as my daughter's morning nap, I began to look through Imus's book. Arranged chronologically from pre-conception through adolescence, Imus's book alerts parents (and parents-to-be) about environmental dangers and specific ways to minimize their impact. She provides personal anecdotes from her own experience as a mother, cites leading medical experts, and devotes a chapter to the concept of 'green pediatrics.' At the back of her book is a helpful list of resources as well as a summary of relevant legislation and medical studies.

Imus acknowledges that the subject of environmental toxins can be overwhelming, not to mention scary. She recommends starting with one positive change, such as making sure your child's toys are PVC free or buying his or her favorite fruit from an organic supplier. When you're ready to go further, Imus's book is an excellent resource that, like her favorite African proverb, seeks to empower parents."

Editor's Note: Many thanks to the Four Seasons for generously providing Boston Mamas with a complimentary entry to this event.