Monday, May 6, 2013

Take a Stand, Part Two

Last week I wrote about the Safe Chemicals Act and a simple way for us all to take a stand for a healthier world.  This week I have another effort to report. A coalition of groups is calling on major retailers to phase out use of more than 100 problematic chemicals, and they could use our help.

The effort is known as the Mind the Store campaign. In a USA Today articlean individual associated with the group Safer Chemicals: Healthy Families explains that since the federal government isn’t minding the store, the retailers need to act independently. He praises former, positive actions, but notes that the efforts have been inadequate because of the sheer magnitude of the chemical problem.

The Safer Chemicals: Healthy Families website explains that the coalition working on the effort joined forces because of a shared  frustration with the government's failure to protect its citizens from the dangers of toxic chemicals. The site further notes that "most importantly we came together with a shared moral urgency to reduce the suffering caused by chronic diseases like cancer, disabilities and autism that are linked to chemical exposure. It is that moral urgency that drove the campaign's steering committee to launch Mind the Store."

Recently, I heard a speaker on a Christian radio program state that he didn't believe a certain environmental issue was a Christian or moral issue at all. I was frankly stunned by that statement. The environment, including the environment inside our homes and churches, directly affects the health of human beings, who are the crown of God's creation. If our lack of concern for the air we share (as well as for land, water, and food.) hurts ourselves and others, how can that not be considered a moral issue? I strongly believe that Christians should not only be part of efforts to make the world a healthier place, but should lead the charge.

To learn more about the effort to influence retailers and the chemicals being targeted, visit the Mind the Store website. The site provides an easy way to join the cause and send a letter in support of the initiative. The issue matters, and when we make our voices heard, that can matter, too.


DebraSY said...

Well, it looks like you've given us a homework assignment. When I'm through with finals, I'll give this my serious attention. Thanks.

Martha McLaughlin said...

As I commented to someone last week, the chemical problem can seem so overwhelming that I find it very helpful emotionally to have something concrete I can do that might help. There's strength in numbers and it feels good to join forces with other people who care about the issue. There are certainly things we can all do individually, but it's nice to work together, too.

DebraSY said...

I just went to the site and sent off my email to the top ten manufacturers. I don't know if it helped, but I deleted the campaign's form letter (which I assume they have received from the campaign headquarters and others) and wrote my own experiences and thoughts. In addition to putting pressure on suppliers, I requested that they mark their store brands prominently "fragrance free" so we don't accidentally buy a product we don't like or cannot use.

Martha McLaughlin said...

Great idea, Debra. I wrote my own letter, too, but I didn't think to mention store brands. I wish I had.