Ecoholic by Adria Vasil - Excerpt
When you're addicted to the planet

by Adria Vasil



They’re everywhere. Lurking on every doorknob and lingering on every sponge. No, not germs—antibacterial products, silly. After news programs started scaring us with footage of microscopic particles hovering in our midst, we freaked out. No one could look at a damp dishcloth the same way again. Pretty much every company in North America took notice and started adding antibacterial ingredients (mostly triclosan) to anything and everything. Now commercials instruct you to spray the air around your children’s toys with antibacterial mists, and every hand, dish and floor soap kills 99.99% of anything that comes in its path. But is this really a good idea?

By now you may have heard about how antibacterial mania is lowering our defences against germs. But there’s also accumulating evidence that our obsession with these ingredients could breed drug-resistant bug strains. Research out of Tufts University found that E. coli that survived being treated with triclosan became resistant to 7 of 12 antibiotics. Great, like we need more super-germs in our lives.

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Buy, buy, buy—it’s all we do. In fact, some of us rank shopping as their favourite pastime. And who am I to judge? I have a closet full of clothes and drawers full of necklaces and bangles that I’d no doubt want firefighters to save if flames ever licked my apartment. The point is, we all spend money on way too much stuff, even if you think you’re a miser conservationist. And while we tend to focus on how a product will meet our needs (as in, “I need a bigger TV”; “I need a new cellphone”; “I need a teak coffee table”), we’ve got to own up to the fact that these purchases are fuelling chemical pollution, habitat destruction and landfill clogging. Why not use our consumer power for good? We can lend our dollars to products made with ethical policies and ecologically sound materials and yank money away from companies that are unresponsive to earthly considerations (Ethical Consumer in the U.K. has a long boycott list: Lest we forget, money talks. And boy, do corporations speak its language.



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