Goin’ Green… with Offspring!
The Earth Conscious Creators
Dressed in a sapphire blue dress and her dark hair bobbed by her chin, Christina Regante plays on the natural bamboo floors of her mid-town home with her 15-month old son, Reed.
Forget the Pine-Sol to make her son’s indoor playground sanitary. This progenitor and CEO of Eco•Nomic Solutions makes her own household cleaners.
“I use the natural products. I think that’s what right. Once I was pregnant I started doing the research and started becoming very, very green. As a pregnant mother and a nursing mom, I began to realize everything that’s in my body is ultimately going into this little guy,” she says unable to mask her concern for Reed’s discomfort. He’s cutting four molars.
She steam cleans the floors, windows, bathroom, cabinets and appliances; or, she uses vinegar and baking soda. “My next adventure is learning to make my own laundry detergent,” Christina laughs.
Nina Basham, the owner of Footprints Consignment Shop on Stock Island and mother to 4-year-old Zoe started out pedaling an entire line of Earth-friendly cleaning products called “Ecos.”
“Mothers panic when they first use them. There’s no foam and they’re soy-based, made with natural ingredients and come in recycled bottles.”
This mother’s concept morphed into a recyclable children’s clothing and gear store when she saw how quickly Zoe zipped into new sizes. The aisles are lined with reusable baby carriages, strollers, high chairs, cribs, clothes, shoes and toys. A GLEE (Green Living and Energy Education) certificate marks this mom’s contribution minimizing her and her child’s impact on the world.
Wearing her baby down on Truman Avenue is Kelly Lever. She practices what’s called, “attachment parenting.” Nyah, 10-months old, is kangarooed in a pouch around her front.
“I don’t frown upon daycare, but to be able to be with your child during their young stages, I think, is important. As a mom it enables me to recognize their personalities.”
The pouch has freed up her hands so she can form clay pieces with four-year old Sage in the family’s Honest Works Pottery art studio. The family moved to the Southernmost City from the Glass City and Kelly has found engaging in “natural parenting” easier on this end of the nation.
“In Toledo, it was hard to find. Sage barely has any toys. He wants to be outside all of the time, and we have wonderful parks,” she adds as she adjusts her “pouch” and remarks, “He weighs more than a bag of clay already!”
Christina calls Kelly her “support system.”
“Thank heavens I know her because being a green mom can be a lonely road.”
The toys their children do possess are wooden classics made without toxic paint or glue. Their clothes are made with organic cotton, reused and recycled once they outgrow them.
Opening Pandora’s Diaper Box
Christina has gone cloth when it comes to covering up that bottom!
“This choice is the best thing for him and the environment because we’re not throwing out diapers everyday,” she says with conviction.
Lever passed on the Pampers, too! She says when they lived up North, the practice was practically unheard of. Here, tuned in moms are more aware of where the disposable wearables wind up. Potty training, too, has it’s own art form as complex as some of the clay pieces Kelly forms with her hands on her wheel.
”It’s called elimination communication, which is becoming aware of your kid’s body. The mom recognizing their child’s signals they need to use the bathroom,” she paints a picture.
Food doesn’t necessarily come from a store or a package is a principle Lever tries to instill.
“I show them food is grown in nature, and we’ll pick bananas off the tree in the backyard to make a smoothie,” she shares.[pullquote]“He is more advanced. He’s calm. He’s a pleasant, good baby. Some of that has to do with his personality, but I also think it has to do with not being inundated with a lot of synthetic chemicals.” ~ Christina Regante, green mom and CEO Eco•Nomic Solutions[/pullquote]
They eat fresh veggies from Annie’s Buying Club. Regante, a vegetarian who was raised on a farm in Texas with her own pet pig, also makes her own food at home with organically grown vegetables. From the research she’s gathered, she believes the preservatives packaged to attract the interest of influential youngsters are part of a broader problem. She prefers mashing up her own organic baby food.
“A lot of people die from cancer and in my 20s, I began to question what in our lives is causing this,” she said. “We eat vegetables and grains. Jedde, my husband, loves to fish, so I’ll occasionally eat fish when he catches it. Honestly, this may sound a little harsh, we have to take responsibility for our actions and responsibility as mothers raising our children. We can’t feed them whatever they want. We can’t let them do whatever they want. There have to be boundaries. You have to read labels and pay attention.It’s not healthy for them or respectful for them to feed them junk food and let them sit on the couch all day. Look at the obesity rates right now. For the first time, diabetes is happening to young children. That was unheard of 10 years ago. We have to take responsibility as mothers.”
T.R.A.S.H.E.D. in the Keys
“We’re tired of picking up Styrofoam in the ocean,” confirms the concerned Basham. Inside Footprints, she sells Eco-products made with corn and sugarcane recyclable plastics. Outside, on the ocean, Nina believes we should all take responsibility to have environmental discipline. T.R.A.S.H.E.D. in the Keys is a grassroots effort to clean-up shorelines, inlets and harbors to preserve the Keys for the Zoe, Sage, Nyah and Reed’s kids.
Nina stresses to her daughter, “She knows about recycling. We’ve brought her on clean-ups, and I’ve found as a mother, she is getting older with the awareness.” All are child-rearing, earth-friendly actions aimed at preserving the world.