As we usher in a new decade, we have asked eight of our favorite green blogging experts to share their predictions regarding what they think is in store for 2010 in the realm of eco-parenting. The ecofabulous Zem Joaquin thinks embracing frugality will become decidedly chic, Cool Moms Kristen Chase & Liz Gumbinner think conspicuous consumption is becoming increasingly passé, Ecorazzi’s Michael D’Estries hopes Congress stands up for healthy food lunches, Jennifer Taggart, The Smart Mama anticipates the banishment of greenwashing and Micaela Preston, Mindful Momma believes 2010 will welcome a new wave of DIY’ers. The future is looking bright… and green.
KRISTEN CHASE & LIZ GUMBINNER – COOL MOM PICKS
As we usher in the new decade, conspicuous consumerism will remain decidedly uncool. Even as the economy gets better (a hopeful prediction!), parents will continue being more mindful of their spending, without compromising their standards. Quality over quantity. One handmade wooden teether instead of 6 made of plastic.
We’d bet that more sites like Swap Mamas and Belly and Babe will spring up, making barter and consignment shopping appealing to even higher end consumers. There will also be a boon of donations to charities like Baby Buggy and Room to Grow, as parents are comfortable leaving fewer items on the curb on trash pickup day.
We also think that this is the year that parents really start taking to the locavore movement in greater numbers, looking for fresh, locally grown produce in season and planning menus around the calendar. In other words, we can all wait until July for blueberry pie.
MICHAEL D’ESTRIES – ECORAZZI
I expect to see more toys made from recycled materials (plastic bottles, tin, wood, etc.) and more natural, sustainable paints and woods. This is also the year I hope that all companies making plastic baby products cease using BPA in their creation. I would also expect a continued shift in baby food makers increasing the organic, natural ingredients of their products and decreasing chemicals and preservatives. Finally, I hope that Congress works to pass the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act with stronger support for healthy school lunches that incorporate more local resources and increased vegetables and fruit.
ZEM JOAQUIN – ECOFABULOUS
2010 will be a very exciting year for ecofabulous and Inhabitots parents alike. As a board member of Healthy Child Healthy World, I’ve learned that BPA is just scratching the surface of the plastic endocrine disruption issue, and as the plastic gyres continue to increase in size, parents will look for more sustainable solutions. Luckily, there is an entire sector ready to address these problems. Groups like the Eco Toy Alliance have organized to educate consumers about the bounty of excellent environmentally sound products on the market. You will see more recycled plastic playthings that are just plain fun. Green Toys and Sprig are two of the companies to watch. I’m thankful since my children have often asked why their friends all get cool toys and they only get rubber wood excuses for toys.
Look for high efficacy organic baby and kid food to go mainstream. One recent example is Plum Organics now being available at Toys r Us and Babies r Us. Because of scares like melamine in baby formula and candies, parents want to know where food comes from and what is in it. There will be a resurgence of simplicity. Less is more (less ingredients that is!).
Buying used is finally gaining widespread acceptance thanks to eco-approval and a strained economy. People are buying pre-owned clothing and toys on eBay not just because it is cheaper, but because it is greener. “Used” is losing its stigma and being recognized as smart. You’ll see an increase in clothing swaps too.
Local won’t just be limited to food. Just like we’ve seen a boom in farmer’s markets, you’ll see more marketing focused on local production and distribution. Parents will buy more products from local resources like resale stores, swap meets, Kajiji, Craig’s List and eBay (using their zip code search). At the same time, you will see companies that manufacture in the US… even in your own town. The popularity of American Apparel proves that consumers are inclined to buy US made, but I think it will go beyond that. Cottage industry is back in a big way. Baby soaps made in Cape Cod, kid clothes from San Francisco and endless items from LA are just the beginning.
If we all resolved to be conscious of all of our 2010 purchases, we’d see a significant positive shift!
HEATHER HAWKINS – CO-FOUNDER, ENVIROMOM
More and more parents are becoming aware of the dysfunctional food production system in the US and the negative health impacts of processed foods. We think the movement by families to eat whole foods and grow their own backyard gardens will ramp up in 2010 — particularly since more schools are starting organic gardens and incorporating those messages into the curriculum! Kids need to know what real food looks like, where it comes from (soil!) and develop a respect (and taste!) for the cultivation of healthy, nourishing foods.
MICAELA PRESTON – MINDFUL MOMMA
In 2010 I predict a renewed interest in all things homemade and handcrafted. Tired of worrying about whether or not there is BPA in baby food jars, parents will be more likely to make their own baby food. Concerned about lead and other nasty chemicals in children’s toys, parents will look for quality, handmade versions. Wanting to go green without spending too much green, parents will learn to make-it-green instead. Be on the lookout for innovative, new websites and small businesses that cater to the handmade market and the DIY crowd.
BETH SHEA – PETITE PLANET AND INHABITOTS
In 2010, green parents will become more mindful of the amount of damaging media influences and social messages that infiltrate their childrens’ existence, adversely effecting their development. As technology continues to advance, parents will begin to ‘unplug’ their children, returning them to a state of innocent youthfulness that has sadly become elusive amongst the next generation.
Having been let down by deceptive corporations and lax laws which have jeopardized the safety of their children, parents will demand to know the exact specifications of their purchases, from baby bottles and baby food to toys and cribs. I am hopeful that as enough parents continue to insist on the availability of eco-friendly, non-toxic toys, then the supply of responsibly crafted toys and baby wares will increase and become affordable options across the board for all families.
JENNIFER TAGGART – THE SMART MAMA
In 2010, I think that consumers will demand more specificity and transparency when it comes to “green” claims. Consumers are sick of greenwashing — and if they are going to invest in a product because it is green, then they want value. So, in 2010, if a company makes any claim that a product is green, sustainable, non-toxic, natural or any similar claim, then the company will have to explain how and to what extent. And companies won’t be able to get away with being green in only one aspect. For example, recycled content packaging won’t be enough to claim a product is green if the ingredients are petro based.
TIFFANY WASHKO – NATURE MOMS
I predict that in 2010 a new wave of parents who are concerned about hyper parenting and the addicting nature of the digital age will begin to identify with the goals of green parents. They will join the movement to bring our kids closer to nature and unplug them from modern culture and in doing so will begin to see that these very basic aspects of a child’s life… outside play and a connection with the environment and community, are vital to healthy development and must be protected. I also predict that 2010 will see many new innovative products designed to appeal to parents concerned about chemicals and hormone disruptors leaching from the toys and feeding products their children use in the home.
SOMMER POQUETTE – GREEN & CLEAN MOM
For 2010 I am predicting that mothers and fathers will be recognized for raising their voices and having concerns about the toxic chemicals in our food, on our kids toys, clothing, car seats and personal care products — we’re making waves now, but I predict we’ll have a tsunami with the result being toxic chemical reform! Hopefully this isn’t just wishful thinking either!
Waste-free lunches will be common place in schools, community gardens will sprout in every community where schools can eat fresher, locally grown food and participate in the process. I predict that more schools will get on board with green cleaning and Integrated Pest Management will be a word that when abbreviated won’t have to be explained.