The Adventures of Green Girl

Deodorant. Shampoo. Conditioner. Hair spray. Makeup. Moisturizer. Perfume. Shaving cream. All staples in the average adolescent girl’s life.

Fitting into this category, of course, I have become well acquainted with each and every one of these products. Unlike your average teenage girl, however, I have not spent my afternoons at the mall spraying myself with tester perfumes and surveying the hair care aisle for the magical shampoo that can turn my straight lifeless hair into a thick, lush ‘do.

No, throughout high school I was never able to indulge in such an afternoon. You see, I grew up in a chemical-free zone; my mother, Care2′s executive editor Annie B. Bond, is chemically sensitive and a world expert on green living.

If I walked into the house after being in the presence of someone wearing strong perfume, I immediately had to change my clothes and throw the old ones outside to air off. I shopped at the health food store; all of my body care products were fragrance free, chemical free, and made from purely natural ingredients.

Sounds not so fun, right? But “normal” products simply could not be in the house, or they would make my mom sick. As I got older, I began to understand more about this way of life, realizing that perhaps it was not a curse but rather a blessing. However, I was (and still am) a normal teenager. I would live for vacations with friends when I could use Herbal Essences shampoo for a week and wear deodorant that was not purchased at Mother Earth. It’s not that I resented having to live without these things, but more so that I felt almost out of place among my friends, who relied so intrinsically upon commercial products.

Now, 19 and a freshman in college, I’m on my own. No more natural shampoo! Finally, the chance to live that commercially influenced life that I have so envied.

Ironically, I’ve found that I simply can’t do it, not when I know what I do about its dangers. My friends, new and old, don’t understand why I would choose to continue using natural products. They look at green living and see tree-huggers, eccentric people who live in the woods and don’t shower, crazy activists, fortunetellers—they see the stereotype.

How am I supposed to take that? I shower. I don’t tell your fortune. I don’t wear hemp. If you didn’t know me very well, you wouldn’t have any idea that I use green products. I’m not here to be an activist. I’m here to show that the natural lifestyle does not mean you have to fit its stereotype.

That’s why my friends don’t understand my choices, I think: because I am not the stereotype. The more I let them see that, the more they understand. Green living simply means letting go of commercial products and instead choosing ones that will not give you cancer or disrupt your endocrine system.

If you don’t smoke because you don’t want the diseases that go along with it, take a minute and decide if you want to keep using shampoo that can give you cancer anyway.

Green is not something to fear; it’s simply self-respect. So don’t shy away because you fear the unknown; respect your future, respect your life. It’s time to defy the stereotype.

Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.

The Adventures of Green Girl

Splat! Green Girl whacks air fresheners

Green Girl zaps flying fridges

Green Girl’s secret power? Tea

Green Girl: Neti pot conquers congestion

Green Girl waxes the tea kettle electric

Green Girl Quashes Laptop Radiation

Green Girl Creams Facial Cleansers

Green Girl Looks Behind The Masc(ara)

Green Girl Fights Food Coloring

Green Girl Turns Her Nose to Perfume

Green Girl Pans Plastic water Bottles

The Adventures of Green Girl home page.

By Lily Berthold-Bond


Natasha Salgado
Past Member 5 years ago

Very coool,thanks.

Cindy C.
Cindy C.8 years ago

Hi Lily,
As the mother of 2 chemically sensitive kids, I do understand! We have also chosen the green life for health issues. Thanks for a great blog. My grad student daughter just sent it to me. You both have such common attitudes! It made her feel not so isolated!

Alicia Nuszloch
Alicia N8 years ago

Way to go Lily, you are you and happy the way that you continued living. Congrats girl !!!!!

Jane L8 years ago


Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W8 years ago


Sofia B.
Sofia B8 years ago

Keep fighting stereotypes! They make this world all too black and white when it should be in colour.

Thanks for good posts that makes us think about our own choices.

Susanne Dawn P.

You are blessed being the child of Annie Bond. I am inspired by her every article.

Susanne Dawn P.

You are blessed being the child of Annie Bond. I am inspired by her every article.

Susanne Dawn P.

You are blessed being the child of Annie Bond. I am inspired by her every article.

Inigo M.
Abby M8 years ago

The part about the stereotypes really hit home for me. I'm a vegetarian (hopefully soon vegan), and when I told my friends, one of them actually said "But.... you're athletic?" It made me laugh (or at least it does now). I hate the stereotypes.
Nancy Inkol- I am a "young person", but as I cannot buy for myself yet, and my mother is somewhat cheap and somewhat ignorant, I still use the bad products. And then most people just get so used to the products, they do become lazy, and guess what? We buy them when we grow up. You can't blame it all on my generation.