Britainâ€™s latest parenting guru is science writer and mother-of-two Zion Lights with her Ultimate Guide to Green Parenting. This enters a world that has often been seen as hippy or for the too-posh-for-Pampers set (or a combination of both). But thatâ€™s unfair. Itâ€™s 25 years since Juliet Solomon codified earth mother and father techniques in Green Parenting, and the big aim remains bringing up children with small ecological footprints.
This is a tough ask. In industrialised economies, one child will be responsible, over their lifetime, for consumption and pollution equating to that of 30 to 50 children in the developing world.
Much of green parenting is nappy-centric. Some 2.7kg of raw materials are used in a full-time set of reusable nappies as opposed to 120kg if a child is in disposables. Each day 8m disposables are, um, disposed of, in the UK. New parents should put Real Nappy Week in their diary (itâ€™s held in April â€“ go to goreal.org.uk).
But there is much more. A green parentâ€™s home will feature some products, like the wooden Tripp Trapp (stokke.com), that grows with your child from highchair to a normal seat. And underneath the organic cotton sleepsuits (littlegreenradicals.co.uk) and quest for phthalate-free dummies is a common-sense desire to minimise childrenâ€™s exposure to toxins and pollutants, which can only be good.
And the one part of the organic food movement which has truly reached the mainstream is baby food. Last year $400m was spent on organic infant food, and sales are still going up.
And as for Zion Lights? She is an eco pragmatist, happily heavy on evidence. She has no truck with hippy myths â€“ she does believe you should vaccinate your child.
Well dressed: transparent menswear
Fair fashion can be unfair. With the focus on womenswear the â€œbrothersâ€ are left out. With Brothers We Stand (BWS), Jonathan Mitchell brings us ethical menswear connected by the belief: â€œFast fashion is rubbish.â€ BWS is a pickâ€™nâ€™mix of UK-made fashion: say Â£40 sweatshirts made in Haggerston, east London, and international labels like Monkee Genes sewn in a Bangladeshi factory that bring new standards to the readymade garment industry. In sustainable style you need a good eye for a supply chain. Each piece on BWS features a footprint tab. The Idioma Musa x Paradisiaca Organic T-shirt might be from a wind-powered factory in Tamil Nadu, but what about the cotton pickers? Their working conditions are not yet independently certified, so BWS says that. Greenwash is not their style â€“ transparency is.
The big picture: rubbish in Beirut
Since the 1982 war with Israel, when the remains of destroyed buildings were piled into makeshift city dumps, Beirutâ€™s giant landfills have been close to overwhelmed. When the largest closed in July, the government had no plan. So now rubbish spews into Beirutâ€™s centre, prompting huge protests under the â€œYou Stinkâ€ banner. People want an end to their rubbish government and more government of the rubbish.
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