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The Number One Way to Protect Your Baby

The Number One Way to Protect Your Baby

 

By Gernot Wagner, Moms Clean Air Force Guest Blogger

My wife and I have no car, no TV, and a no-screens policy around our 8-month-old. We carry him around in an organic cotton wrap. His favorite toys are wood, his baby soap is plant-based, his only pacifier is his left thumb. He has yet to taste baby formula, food from a jar, or anything heated in a microwave. His bottles are†BPA-free, and any plastic or chemical around him is also sold in Europe with its much stricter†toxics policy. In short, we do everything in our power to keep our firstborn happy and healthy.

Yet none of that matters once we open our doors or windows and let in deceptively clean-looking but polluted air.

We can attempt to build a protective cocoon around our child and do so with fervor, but†national policyóor the lack thereofónixes all attempts to making a difference as parents. As soon as we breathe, or drink water, or do most anything else for that matter, we are connected to the planet and everyone else around us.

Itís one thing to put your child in the safest possible car seat. Itís quite another to learn that†infant mortality goes up near highways. Cities streets arenít much better, with all the†idling cars. The gunk and soot from tailpipes and smokestacks alike cause allergies,†asthma, hypertension, and all sorts of other ills.

It even starts before birth. Call me a crazed environmentalist, but I draw a line when it comes to pollutants in my kidís amniotic fluid. I donít like my son to be born†pre-polluted. Yet there is little I can do individually, as long as†coal plants are spewing†mercury into the air.

That goes for local air and water pollution as much as for an even bigger problem with potentially much more severe consequences for any of our children. A ton of carbon dioxide pollution emitted today causes at least $20 worth of damage in our lifetime. The average American emits 20 of these tons a year. Thatís quite a debt burden we are leaving our children. Sadly, much of it is virtually irreversible. We can bail out banks and entire countries. Bailing out the planet is a much scarier proposition.

The only way to tackle almost any kind of pollution is to become an†engaged citizen and demand that polluters pay for the damage they cause.

Itís policy, not individual action, that makes all the difference here. Buy organic, buy local, do all the right things. But the best way to protect your child is first and foremost to VOTE.

PLEASE JOIN MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE

Gernot Wagner†is an economist at the†Environmental Defense Fund and author of†But Will the Planet Notice? How Smart Economics Can Save the World (Hill & Wang/Farrar Strauss & Giroux 2011).†He teaches at Columbia, graduated from both Harvard and Stanford, and blogs at†maketheplanetnotice.com. His wife is an obstetrician, which made the birth of his son in March 2011 a rather intimate affair.

Read more: Babies, Caregiving, Children, Family, Health, , ,

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Moms Clean Air Force

Moms Clean Air Forceis a community of moms, dads and others fighting for clean air and the health of future generations. Follow them on Twitter @ MomsCAF.

26 comments

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9:40PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

"the best way to protect your child is first and foremost to VOTE"

And the difference that will make is.....????

All politicians are the same self-interested, business-bribed b******s as before. Even if there is the odd one or two who aren't, then it's unfortunately not enough to make a difference in Government.

Besides, politicians are little more than PR/spokespeople. There are higher 'powers' than those swines you vote for every years. They are the ones who lay down the laws and are (mis)guiding the world down the toilet. They make the 'rules' before politicians even know about it. Lobbyists are their henchmen.

I wish it weren't that way. I worry so much about my kids' futures and their health, but it seems that money not only talks, it also rules. We have to face it, Government cares more about money and economics than it does about its citizens. The only thing we can actually do is gather together and work with each other to improve our lives, communities, schools, local environment, food sources, etc. For ourselves, by ourselves!

9:35PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

"the best way to protect your child is first and foremost to VOTE"

And the difference that will make is.....????

All politicians are the same self-interested, business-bribed b******s as before. Even if there is the odd one or two who aren't, then it's unfortunately not enough to make a difference in Government.

Besides, politicians are little more than PR/spokespeople. There are higher 'powers' than those swines you vote for every years. They are the ones who lay down the laws and are (mis)guiding the world down the toilet. They make the 'rules' before politicians even know about it. Lobbyists are their henchmen.

I wish it weren't that way. I worry so much about my kids' futures and their health, but it seems that money not only talks, it also rules. We have to face it, Government cares more about money and economics than it does about its citizens. The only thing we can actually do is gather together and work with each other to improve our lives, communities, schools, local environment, food sources, etc. For ourselves, by ourselves!

9:34AM PST on Nov 28, 2011

thanks, will do

9:03AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Sounds good, except for the no-screens policy. While worrying about pollution, don't forget the traditional killers, all the insect-borne diseases that are moving farther north every year, thanks to global warming.

Is it wrong of me to wish that some of our congressmen would have a bout of malaria or dengue fever, so they can review their position on the reality of climate change?

7:54AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

I agree.

11:58PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

It is good that the Wagners are so protective toward the baby. I wish more people would quit buying shitty toxic plastic toys that bore the kid after five minutes and end up in landfill. I am curious to know how they have handled vaccines, as they are very conscientious about environmental toxins. Still, all the things that are mentioned are likely just the tip of the iceberg as far as toxins and pollutants that are not disclosed. That people even want to bring children into this mess is a curiosity to me. When I was in high school, we learned about a river catching fire and other serious environmental issues. That was in the 70s and strongly influenced my decision to not have children. Even then, I knew we were in deep shit. And the autism rates continue to explode.........

11:52PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

I am very happy to have moved to a town where the schools buses run on clean fuel. The san diego zoo needs to do the same, they are very bad air polluters with their tour buses!

11:46PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

this system was created to start a revolution, the industrial revolution or vica versa.
The generation of druggies puts a major gap in the youths ability to protect our habitat and health. It is like a snow ball rolling down a hill. Thus the "natural" sub-group of tree worshiping garlic eaters have their gears running on bikes and imaginary train that run on magnets.

11:16PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

Bravo! Excellent article.

9:46PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

Good intentions but untenable in the long term...

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thanks for the tips.

Thanks for sharing.

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