"Green Living" Workshop in Partnership with Lawrence CommunityWorks

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of conducting the first part of a two-session workshop on "Living Green" with members of one of Lawrence CommunityWork's IDA groups. Members of the group had expressed an interest in learning about ways they might make more environmentally-beneficial decisions in their everyday lives, so Lawrence CommunityWorks approached GWL about pairing up. As community education is part of what we strive to do here at Groundwork Lawrence, we jumped at the chance!

During this first session, members of the group learned about the potentially-hazardous chemicals found in commerical cleaners, personal care products, and cosmetics, the effects of these chemicals on human health as well as the environment, and what they can do to protect themselves from these chemicals while campaigning for more ecologically-sustainable products. Research shows that many chemicals commonly contained in commerical cleaning products, personal care products, and cosmetics care known carcinogens and neurotoxins which may be linked to conditions such as cancer, asthma, and reproductive and developmental issues. As manufacturers are currently not mandated to list ingredients in these products, it can be difficult to know what you are dealing with!

We disussed as a group some ideas to protect ourselves from these potentially-dangerous chemicals and came up with the following ideas:
1. Make your own cleaning products and personal care products from everyday, natural ingredients!
2. Buy products from manufacturers that disclose the ingredients in their products and who are making an effort to create environmentally-safe and sustainable products.
3. Never mix products; some combinations can be very toxic and potentially fatal!

We finished up our time by making our own all-purpose cleaner and grapefruit sugar scrub. In addition to being free of any potentially-harmful chemicals, these products we created were far less expensive than their commerical counterparts! If you are interested in learning more about these topics, there is a good deal of information and research available online. Three websites we recommend are:

www.womenandenvironment.org

www.safecosmetics.org

www.turi.org