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Is Depression the Last Stigma?

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Many years ago I read William Styron’s “Darkness Visible,” a brilliant and courageous book about Styron’s lifelong struggle with depression. I highly recommend this short but wonderful story. My mother, brother and I all have dealt with the intensely debilitating effects of depression.

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If You Have Your Nails Done Read This!

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While I never have, I know many who make it a weekly ritual to visit a nail salon to get painted.

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The Culture of Cancer

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Author: the Inkslinger

Last night the CBS Evening News ran a piece on Kris Carr, director of the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer and author of an accompanying book on cancer tips. Kris was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer and since then has been defying the odds by not only surviving but flourishing. Hers is a genuine profile in true courage, and she’s a real inspiration on every level.

But I couldn’t help thinking that CBS missed the real story here, which is why is it that we now have what amounts to a cancer culture? Even forgetting for a moment the weird commercials for chemotherapy relief drugs on network TV or the whole oncology industry itself, we’re awash in survivors’ stories, how-to-beat-it books, motivational cancer speakers, and more. We’ve accepted freaky cancer rates and increasing incidences of once rare forms as normal and spun the whole idea off as a new market in which cancer is just business as usual.

The real question is: What’s causing all this cancer? Why have we come to have a cancer culture in the first place? What is it that's making so many of us so sick? Why has cancer touched so many lives that it’s able to spawn its own industry and a constant flood of news stories, it’s own markets and its own communities? When are journalists going to start asking about the cause instead of simply interviewing the tragic results?

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Yesterday’s News

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Author: the Inkslinger

And now as public service of the Inspired Protagonist, we bring you yesterday’s news today. Because, well… I’m so completely behind the curve that from where I sit the curve appears on the very distant horizon only as the faintest suggestion of something not flat. And really, from here, even that could be an atmospheric trick. The reason for my lateness, as everyone who knows me knows, is a recent relocation to a new abode that has reduced my home office to rubble and triggered a week’s worth of connectivity problems that have left me wandering alone in the terrifying e-darkness. Still, better late than never with these tidbits I’ve been meaning to share…

US News and World Report had a good article earlier this month about avoiding bisphenol-A, the toxin currently number one with a bullet at the top of the toxicological charts. Good advice about keeping this bad boy out of your bloodstream.

A new study says that emerging “carbon markets” are unwittingly encouraging the clearcutting of virgin forests, an act which would release one official massive ton ‘o carbon into our beleagured atmosphere. Oops. Maybe we better rethink this one. (I still don’t get the whole let’s-trade-carbon-pollution credits thing. How about we just all agree not to make anymore rather than just treat what is a rather pressing situation like it was a couple of packs of baseball cards in a schoolyard?)

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Rules to Design By: Green Chemistry Principles

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Author: the Inkslinger

While researching an article on Green Chemistry for the upcoming Non-Toxic Times (which, keep your fingers crossed, will come out next week), I stumbled across an entry on the same subject in the ever amazing Wikipedia that contained something I didn’t know existed: a set of principles to guide chemists in greening their labs and the things those labs create.

Principles, of course, are always a good thing because they set certain benchmarks and establish concrete guidelines for whatever it is we’re trying to do. Whenever a decision comes up as we proceed, we can compare all our possible choices to the principles at hand. When we do, we often find that there’s no decision to be made at all. The principles make it for us. They may even suggest that we drop the current operation entirely and try something else.

In the case of green chemistry, the 12 principles were created to steer chemists away from toxic substances and processes, and encourage healthier alternatives. I can’t for a moment pretend to know what some of these are about. (“Stoichiometric reagents, for example, is a pretty scary term. I think I had a beaker or two of that at a really ugly frat party once…), but than again why should I? They’re not for me. They’re for the people who are actually out there mixing up the molecules. The people who need to stop messing with nature and start working with it instead. They’re only for you and I in the sense that as they ripple through the chemical community, they’ll eventually trickle down to us in the form of safer, healthier, non-toxic alternatives to today’s hazardous products and processes. You’ll never use them yourself, but you will someday end up using the stuff they lead to, and we’ll all be a lot healthier for it.

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Things Worth Knowing

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Author: the Inkslinger

They say we live in the age of information. Wireless internet, satellite TV, digital radio, ThisTube, ThatTube, a zillion channels and everything’s on. Information is everywhere. People traffic in it. Profit from it. Spread it. Share it. Find it. Know it. We cram our tired heads with trivia and ephemera and worse, but to what end?

Because the fact is, information is only as useful as the things we can do with it. If we can’t do anything personally constructive or publicly useful with a specific piece of information, that’s the tip-off that we should ignore it and move on. There’s nothing to see here.

Slap that kind of filter over your private inputs and watch the static and the noise drop like a stone. Listen to how quiet it gets. See how very little useful necessary vital information there actually is swirling around out there in the i-storm we call the modern world. 99.99% of it just goes poof. Still, there is always information we can use in some way. There are always some things worth knowing. Here’s a few that are…

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This Week Around the Blogosphere

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Author: Kendra Sibilia

Here I am again with more comments on what people are enjoying or learning while using Seventh Generation products.

On the Ecotality blog, Steve Caratzas writes an article titled, “When You Gotta Go, Go Green.” He describes his admiration for Seventh Generation and appreciates the efforts and knowledge expressed by Seventh Generation. It is great to hear that someone is using the information on the website to educate people on how to make their homes clean for themselves and the environment.

On another blog, Three Million Moments, there is a post titled “A Green Home is a Good Home.” The author explains how her and her husband decided to “really” clean their bathroom. They decided to use the last of the “happy bubble scrub” even though it is hazardous. The smell of the remembered freshly clean bathroom as a child was anticipated. To their surprise, the couple felt guilty for using this product and had to air out the house before they felt it was safe for the family to breathe inside again. It is nice to hear that the consumer will return to equally effective natural cleaning product brands like Seventh Generation. Welcome back!

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Around the Blogosphere...

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Author: Kendra Sibilia

While looking at other bloggers who use our product, encourage others to live non-toxic lives, and generally promote everything we work for here at Seventh Generation, I became inspired. Reading about others’ passions and missions to save the Earth is incredibly rewarding. On the blog Something Good, O My Goodness writes about the irony of having to hide away the toxic cleaning products you spray all over your home. She rarely has children at her home, however when the occasion does occur, she realized safety is an important issue. She advises placing the toxins out of reach of children and away from food, but especially using non-toxic products to begin with.

Another blog that caught my eye was The Good Human. David from California writes about the bizarre advertisements promoting pouring bleach where children play, eat and pee. David notes that bleach is an extremely toxic chemical with harsh side affects if contact is made. Again, solutions are proposed and replacing this harsh chemical with safe products that cause no side effects is feasible. It is truly exciting to read in their own words how people are enjoying the positive results of using Seventh Generation.

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Mainstream Media Catches On To Cleaner Issues

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The wave of change continues to accelerate. For almost 20 years stories about whether or not household cleaning products are safe appeared only in relatively obscure environmental magazines if at all! At last these challenges are being raised in the mainstream media, specifically, in this case, in a big article in today's New York Times.

That’s cause for celebration. We’ve come a long way, but in many respects we have also only just begun. Household cleaning products are still exempt from having to disclose their ingredients (which of course Seventh Generation does), independent third party safety testing or government supervision of warning labels. There's more work to do! But it starts with getting the word out, which, given the New York Times' large national circulation, this coverage of the issue does on a promising scale.

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Precaution is Not Toxic

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Author: the Inkslinger

Chrystie in our marketing department just forwarded an interesting article from the January 22nd issue of New York Magazine entitled Indulge Your Paranoia in which writer Susan Burton discusses her parental struggle to banish toxins from her Brooklyn family’s life. Coming from someone without a background in this stuff, it’s an enlightening take on the subject not so much for the information it provides but for what it tells us about what’s going on in other people’s minds as they think on the issue of playing chemical roulette in daily life.

Her main point is that in today’s chemically intensive world it’s hard to keep track of all the potential toxins around us and even harder to take preventative action on on each and every one. That’s pretty true. But I don’t agree with the throw-up-your-hands-and-surrender attitude that seems to creep in at the edges of the piece. And there are several places in the article where Burton lets myth and misinformation stand.

Bisphenol-A, for example, may not yet have been studied by the National Institutes of Health, but the jury is hardly out. In fact, the vast preponderance of the evidence that exists very strongly suggests that it mimics estrogen to dangerous effect in the body, and the case against it is “still being argued” mostly only by industry spokespeople. Elsewhere she comments on a mother’s worries about a (most likely totally safe) recycled fleece blanket even as she blithely watches her own child dubiously jamming (very probably toxic) “low-VOC” carpet samples into her mouth.

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