We are a generation of parents who know too much about the world. Finally, here is a calm and rational guide to navigating the many environmental dangers that surround us and our precious little ones.
It’s hard being a parent these days. We are bombarded with fear-inducing facts about the countless things that can hurt our children – new clothing laced with toxic chemicals, off-gassing mattresses, pesticide-covered foods, lead-painted toys, bottles leaching BPA, and processed foods, to name a few. One may even say we’re a generation of overly informed parents, so saturated with information that it’s difficult to make even the simplest decisions.
A new book hopes to make a parent’s job easier. Spit That Out: The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in the Age of Environmental Guilt (New Society Publishers, 2016) is written by Paige Wolf, a mother of two from Philadelphia. Wolf is a green living expert, blogger, and environmental activist who became alarmed by the amount of conflicting information faced by parents these days.
“We are the Internet generation, and saying ‘what we don’t know won’t hurt us’ is no longer an option when the answers are at our fingertips,” she writes.
Her response is this book – a clear and comprehensive guide to navigating debates, understanding risks, and making informed decisions. The chapters cover topics from shopping for clothes, choosing cloth or disposable diapers, and establishing a healthy family diet, to purchasing toys, cleaning one’s house, and addressing pollution in schools. While you may already be familiar with many of these topics, Spit That Out! includes many excerpts from interviews with other parents, whose experiences and stories were something to which I, as a reader and parent, was able to relate.
The latter chapters in the book are particularly interesting, as they delve into topics not discussed often enough, such as how to share one’s (new, green) family values with extended family members and friends, how to cope with environmental guilt, how to recognize greenwashing, and how green living can be affordable.
Wolf’s writing is candid and humorous, and she fills the chapters with practical tips, recommendations, and links to further resources in every area of discussion. She does a good job at reassuring overwrought parents that their worries aren’t misplaced, but rather prudent and important; and that, with carefully placed influence, individuals do have the power to make change happen.