Another year is behind us and as we look forward to 2012, we're contemplating all the opportunities of what this new year holds. We've asked some of our favorite bloggers, green-minded business owners, and a few of our own Inhabitots editors and writers to share their predictions for the year ahead. What will change in green design this year? How will the world move forward to provide a better environment for healthy families? Read on to see what Giggle's CEO Ali Wing, Groovy Green Livin's Lori Popkewitz Alper, Small for Bigs' Mari Richards and more predict for 2012.
Green Parenting Predictions 2012
Beth Shea (Founder of Petite Planet and Senior Editor of Inhabitots)
Ali Wing (CEO of Giggle)
Micaela Preston (Founder of Mindful Momma, author of Practically Green: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Decision Making)
Mari Richards (Founder of Small for Big)
Lori Popkewitz Alper (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Groovy Green Livin’)
Beth Shea – Petite Planet and Inhabitots
I predict that more and more families are going to switch to vegetarian and vegan diets, and that meat consumption in the U.S. will continue to decline. I also think there will be more stringent regulations of foods claiming to be organic and “natural,” and that regulations will be set regarding genetically modified foods so people can get a clearer picture of what they are eating via a straightforward label, as well as how exactly it was derived and where it was sourced. I think parents will start to realize that if they have to do so much research about the inherent toxicities/ethical atrocities that possibly affect the meat, poultry and fish, they choose to consume, they will turn to a plant based diet to help preserve the health of their children and the integrity of the planet and all of its creatures. As much as this is my prediction, this is my hope. The above photo is of me and my kids and my niece and nephew, and we’re all vegetarians! On a separate note, I also predict/hope that the AAP will reconsider the current immunization schedule and issue a revised schedule that doesn’t bombard our children’s bodies at their fragile, vulnerable start in life. Perhaps we can follow Japan’s lead. Food for thought:“American infants and children are recommended to receive 14 different vaccines, administered in a whopping 49 doses, all before age six. Forty-nine! Compare this to Japan, where children receive just six vaccines in 12 doses by age five. Or to the US just a generation ago—today’s kids get four times more vaccines than those born in the 1970s.” (Source)
Ali Wing – CEO of Giggle
There’ll be even more of a shift to more eco-friendly, end-use-recyclable materials. Examples include all-parts recyclable gear (the 4Moms Origami Stroller); polycarbonate to polypropylene bottles (ThinkBaby, BornFree, Medela, Yoomi); and plastics (the Baby Bjorn High Chair).
We’ll think more and more about what we eat — and what we clean with. The focus on nontoxic AND biodegradable (plant-based) ingredients will only get bigger (e.g., giggle Better Basics Cleaning products). Consumers know they can now demand safe, healthy and environmentally-friendly cleaning products that are also effective.
Micaela Preston – Mindful Momma
Concern about the safety of the food we eat and the products we buy will prompt a consumer revolution in 2012. Expect to see both corporations and individuals taking a stand for stronger regulations governing consumer products. Meanwhile, the local and handmade movements will continue to expand as people grow wary of purchasing products with questionable ingredients. On the radar this year: GMOs, the Safe Chemicals Act, GoodGuide, corporate responsibility, community gardens and healthy vending machines.
Jennifer Chait – Inhabitots & Growing a Green Family
2012 is going to have to be a year when families start moving in healthier direction. We’re good at discussing green issues that affect our families, but some pressing issues remain seriously taboo. For example, over the last 30 years, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the U.S. 12.5 million adolescents are obese (not including overweight children). 90% of overweight children have at least one of a half-dozen avoidable risk factors for heart disease. In spite of these figures, most people seem really freaked out about discussing childhood weight and health issues, but these are not issues to ignore. Especially when research says that this is literally the first generation of kids who are probably going to have a shorter life-span than their parents due to complications stemming from excess weight.
Increasing screen time for kids, coupled with parents who are too scared to let their kids play outside is creating a nation of unhealthy children. Few kids today know anything about climbing trees, hiking or just running around outside having fun, and it’s not all about health either. Research shows that nature experiences grow kids who care about the environment. We have to buck up as parents and start limiting tech and screen time and start encouraging outside play and activity. We have to advocate for healthier school lunches. Most importantly, we have to talk about nutrition, calories and exercise with our kids – they can handle it. We’re right on the brink of becoming a nation where a full half of our kids are overweight and unhealthy. I’m guessing one of two things will happen in 2012. We’ll either commit to creating change that will guide our families in a healthier direction, or we’ll do nothing and wait for the situation to get 100% out of control. Personally, I’m really hoping that this will be the year we terminate childhoods spent on the couch and make healthy childhoods a major priority.
Mari Richards – Small for Big
The green parenting trend isn’t about the Uber Green Parent (you know, the compost-making recycling, upcycling, solar-panel-owning shining example that we all wish we could be!). Instead, we’re all trying to improve our lives for our kids and ourselves. It’s about how to improve our lives in greener ways.
So what are parents focusing on? I’m noticing tons of active conversations in social media and mainstream media about greener food choices. Whether it’s about organic foods, supporting local food sources (farmers markets, local restaurants, co-ops, etc.), eating allergy-free or actually adjusting one’s lifestyle to less red meat, no meat, or vegan, people are much more aware of the foods they eat and where that food is coming from.
Running hand in hand with a focus on local food sources is a spotlight on local businesses. Not only local businesses, but small businesses in general. Beyond that amazing resource known as Etsy.com, the sustained and growing interest in supporting small businesses is a heartening way to start 2012 – let’s keep it growing! It’s definitely on my list of goals for this coming year.
Lori Popkewitz Alper – Groovy Green Livin
2012 is going to be the year of the green consumer. Due to consumer demand, we will see an increase in the number of green and eco-friendly products available to consumers at a wide array of retailers.
2012 will be the year for big changes in the antiquated laws concerning toxic chemicals. Current policies have failed to restrict common chemicals linked to diseases such as cancer, learning disabilities, infertility, and more. Thanks to the Safe Chemicals Act that will change. Companies will be required to show that chemicals are safe BEFORE their products are placed on the shelves in our stores.
We have been demanding loud and clear that positive change must take place that protects our children and families from harmful, toxic chemicals. Our collective voices have been and will continue to be heard in 2012.