What did I do for Earth Day? I breastfed my child!

April 23rd, 2009 by Diane Sam

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that make all the difference. I think we'll start to see improvements in our environment when the average person starts to wake up and realize that the day to day decisions about how we feed ourselves and our children and what we consume on a regular basis needs to fundamentally change. And frankly, it starts at the breast.

Breastmilk is simply the most eco-friendly nourishment you're ever going to get. So, what did I do for Earth Day? I breastfed.

Think about all the consumption of natural resources, landfill space, etc.. that goes into the production, packaging and delivery of formula, a completely derived and unnatural product that, with adequate support and education, should be very rarely required. Consider this quote:

  "If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce 550 million cans for one year's worth of formula. If every mother in the Great Britain breastfed, 3000 tons of paper (used for formula labels) would be saved in a year. But the formula is not the only problem. Bottles and nipples require plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are not-recyclable. All these products use natural resources, cause pollution in their manufacture and distribution, and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal. "
-From Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk", by Dia Michels

Plastic bottles and nipples are rarely recycled, take over 200 years to break down, fill up landfills and when burned, release toxic pollutants into our air. That we breathe. That our babies breathe.

Then, let's talk about the dairy industry. Most breastmilk substitutes are made from cows milk. The biological equivalent of walking up to a cow in a field and sucking on her tit. The mass factories that produce this milk contribute to a polluted environment in a myriad of ways.Here's a few:

  • Cows excretion and flatulance produce 100 million tons of methane every year, which equals 20% of the earths total emissions. (Methane is the second most problematic gaseous contribution to the greenhouse effect and global warming.)
  • The fertilizers used to grow feed for dairy cows pollute rivers and groundwater.
  • The ammonia from cow pastures and slurry tanks cause acid rain.
  • The clearing of land for pasture means deforestation, an increase in greenhouse gases, the destruction of animal and plant species and erosion of the soil. For example, each kilogram of baby milk produced in Mexico "costs" 12.5 square meters of rainforest.

Think Soy is better? Even the production of soy based formulas are detrimental to the environment:

  • Soy formulas require just as much natural resources and energy to produce and package.
  • In Brazil, forests are cleared and burned to create soy plantations. The soya beans are then used to feed cattle and as the base for soy based formulas.
  • The growing of soy beans requires a high input of fertilizers and irrigation.

Source: Breastmilk: A World Resource

If you really want to save the earth, start thinking differently.  Consume what you consume with knowledge. Know where you food comes from. Challenge what you think you know.

I've uploaded a picture of my beautiful breastfed toddler.  Maybe we can raise a new generation that knows what caring for the earth is all about.


So, what do you think? What's it going to take to change the world? I'd love to hear your comments!

P.S. If you want to keep up with a breastfeeding mom who's trying to start a "mom-olution", you can: Join our Mailing List, Become a Facebook Fan, or Follow us on Twitter!


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