I’m not the type of mom who usually votes (intentionally) with my dollar. I tend to purchase products for my family based on value, taste, preference, and frugality. Only in rare instances do I feel self-important enough to boycott a product.
That said, a lot of the most common and conventional products in my consumption-driven life are starting to get on my nerves. For example, the tried and true kid favorite pictured here.
Really? We can breathe a sigh of relief now that Cheerios are presumably GMO free. I won’t get into the details of GM technology, but IMO if someone doesn’t comprehend at least the basics of transcription, translation, and protein synthesis and function, s/he doesn’t have sufficient understanding to justify an inherently anti-GM stance. (Anti-Monsanto is one thing, anti-GM is another.)
Enough rambling. The point I’m trying to make is that the Appeal to Nature mentality is saturating product marketing to a level unseen in decades. Don’t let the “All-Natural Wool!!” be pulled over your eyes so easily.
For instance, I’ve been buying these unscented baby wipes since my oldest was born. Only recently has the package been emblazoned with “Made with Botanic™ Fibers.” Botanic Fibers are a proprietary, biodegradable, sustainable wood fiber. I’m all for biodegradable and sustainable. On the other hand, I’m totally horrified by the innocent masses slowly being conditioned to believe that natural is better.
This is a slow, circular, and vicious cycle. It begins with marketers selling products with logos and slogans essentially saying, “buy me, I’m all-natural, so I must be good for you and your delicate family!” At the same time, an unsuspecting young woman is inundated with her friend gushing about her favorite natural remedy, and letting her slather on her newest Burt’s Bees hand cream.
Slowly but surely, she is convinced that natural is better. The greenwashing doesn’t end there. She doesn’t want an epidural in childbirth because it might lead to the dreaded Cascade of Interventions monster. She wants to keep her children and community healthy, but gods forbid she vaccinate them. After all, so-called “natural immunity” has got to be better than injecting scary chemicals into those pure little bodies. She wants to stay at her promising job, but puts her career trajectory on hold to avoid formula at all costs and breastfeed (I’m guilty of this. See how pervasive the thinking is?)
Not only does the mentality affect the average suburban mom. The greater good suffers when test fields of potentially world-changing golden rice are vandalized before even entering the testing phase. The greater good suffers when herd immunity is broken by the anti-vaccine movement. The greater good suffers when beneficial medications for mental health are stigmatized.
Personally, I’ve had enough. I can’t blame corporations for minding their bottom line. But let’s think before we jump to conclusions about nature. Nature will bite you in the ass without blinking twice. Let’s not be held to an arbitrary standard of doing more with less. Let’s release the dread of judgement from peers. Let’s understand the wisdom in trusting experts who devote decades and collective centuries of education and systematic exploration to learning about a field of science. Let’s not succumb to illusions of grandeur that tens of hours of googling constitute “research” and “education.”
I, for one, am thankful for modern medicine and technology. I love my favorite all-natural pure Icelandic wool sweater, but I keep that thing far away from my eyes.