If you’re anything like me, your list of “must read” books is longer than your list of “recently read” books! Prior to interviewing Diane MacEachern, author of the new eco-handbook Big Green Purse, I admitted that I might not make it through the entire book prior to speaking with her.
As the author confessed to OrganicMania, “None of us have any time! It’s hard to concentrate and read. The book is intentionally designed so that if don’t need to read the whole book, you can just check out the sections of interest to you.”
Imagine my surprise when a week or so later I had read a great deal of the book, which aims to inspire women to use their collective purchasing power to “create a cleaner, greener world.” Easy-to-read, informative, I could go on and on…but check out this review from EnviroMom.
Following is Part I of OrganicMania’s interview with Diane MacEachern. Check here for Part II.
OrganicMania: Some pundits dismiss women’s interest in the environment as just a passing fad. You’ve been writing about the environment for nearly 30 years now, so you’ve seen interest come and go. Do you think this latest upsurge in interest is a reflective of a real change in people’s priorities, or just the latest cool trend?
Diane MacEachern: I’m very optimistic. We suddenly realize how serious these environmental problems are. I don’t think this is just a trend because we are becoming so educated about the relationship between the environment and human health. It’s not just buying cool organic tee shirts, but it’s women recognizing that they need to buy products without phthalates so that my unborn baby has a healthy life and deodorant without parabens so I don’t get breast cancer. And this only will get stronger as more and more research goes down this path.
Another big issue is air pollution. Women suffer more heart attacks than men because our blood vessels are smaller. We’re more severely impacted by poor air quality. Our children are also suffering from more cases of asthmas because of environmental issues. The only way that will change is to protect the environment, or else we’ll have more heart attacks, more asthma, and more health consequences to every environmental problem that we’re looking at.
OrganicMania: There’s also a perception that this rising green consciousness is a very upper-middle-class phenomenon. There was a lot of sniping about that in the blog chatter about The New York Times article on Eco-moms. I was pleased to see your book included money saving tips, making it seem very accessible, like it was written for Everywoman. Do you see women from all walks of life embracing the green movement? Do you think this is a real shift that will embrace all women?
Diane MacEachern: I’ve been to a lot of bookstores for book readings, and my observation is that there are definitely people there who are interested in this topic who come from all economic levels. There are a lot of upper middle class women who will ask indignantly, “Isn’t this just for wealthy women?” I have two responses to that.
Everybody can do something. You can turn off your lights. Everybody can afford 99 cents for a reusable shopping bag. Anyone can shop at thrift stores. It’s fabulous. We need to dismiss this notion that eco-consciousness is only for wealthy people. Environmental degradation doesn’t affect only wealthy people.
But those who are wealthy do have a responsibility to be to be leaders and early adopters to protect the environment. They can ultimately help to drive down price if they buy these green products until supply and demand really kicks in, and prices decrease. I remember when I bought my first compact fluorescent bulb. It was $25. Today you can buy them for $1.99. I’m proud to be an early adopter, a woman who uses money to make a difference. That’s a really important part of the book.
OrganicMania: Big Green Purse talks quite a bit about the connection between phthalates and early onset puberty, but you don’t write about a possible connection between early onset puberty and hormones in milk. Many people use that possible link as a reason for buying organic milk. Do you disbelieve that?
Diane MacEachern: I didn’t have time to do all the research into the consequences of hormones and milk. I’m going to put that information on the Big Green Purse website, along with information about hormones in meat. The website will constantly refresh the book.
Go here to read Part II of this interview.
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