Organic Spa Blog

Why Go Green?

At a SpaBuzz event in Manhattan, I began my talk with kudos to New York City, my hometown, and one of the greenest cities on earth. Surprised? Think about it: New Yorkers don’t own cars. We take public transportation. We live in tiny apartments that use very little energy. We are famous for our water, which we drink  from the tap.

Sure, we can’t compete with our friends in Boulder, who officially banned plastic bags or Austin, the city that pioneered the nation’s first green building program. Or San Francisco, which became the first American city to require all homes and businesses to use recycling and composting collection programs. But still. New Yorkers are very aware, living in a city with so many people, of how important it is to protect the environment we all share.

I’ve been thinking about those connections, and how words like “integrative” and “holistic” are red-hot right now. When you get down to what they really mean, here it is: Connecting the Dots. It is important to think about the big picture and make an effort to understand the impact our lifestyle choices make, not only on our bodies, but on our planet. Everything goes somewhere, and our individual choices impact our oceans, our atmosphere, other people and, ultimately, ourselves.

I asked myself three questions:

  1. 1. When I use my cleanser at night, or wash the bathroom sink with my household cleaning products, what is that washing down the drain? When it absorbs into our rivers, soil, lakes, how does it impact my health and the health of the environment?

  3. When I apply moisturizer, what am I putting on my skin? We know that our products absorb into our skin. That’s been a selling point for the beauty industry for years. If the molecule is small enough, what goes on your body goes in your body. And, unlike the food you eat, which is filtered by the liver, products that absorb through the skin go directly into the bloodstream where they circulate throughout the body.

  5. When I throw away plastic bags, where is “away”? There is a trash vortex bigger than the state of Texas in the Pacific Ocean, and one in the Atlantic, too, where those plastic bags swirl, choking birds and turtles.

Going green can seem overwhelming. But there is a lot that each of us can do. Take shorter showers. Drink water from the tap. Buy organic and local when you can. Recycle. Walk or bike when you can. Turn down the heat. Read the ingredients label on your personal-care products and avoid synthetic fragrances and preservatives like parabens–among the top 10 leading irritants in cosmetic products, according to the North American Dermatitis Society. Avoid artificial colors–FD&C or D&C colors–which our own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists as human respiratory toxins.

We all need to start thinking about what we can do, and what steps we can take–however small–to connect the dots. It’s good for your health and the health of the environment.

The real question is: why wouldn’t we?

*This article was written for Sibu Beauty’s sustainability e-book that you can download for free or view the flash version below!

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