You are the Lucky One

The other day my 8 year old son comes back from soccer, all covered in sweat, and asks me, « mom do you know why it’s getting hotter and hotter outside? »
I look at him and say, « because it’s the start of summer? »
He shakes his head and goes on to say « No mom, it’s called climate change. And it’s just going to get hotter and hotter as I get older ». He looks at me with a worried look and points out…
« Mom, you are the lucky one ».
The lucky one. He is speaking to me. Yes me, my generation and every generation before me. We are the lucky ones. It has never been put so straightforward and it really hits hard when it’s coming from your 8 year old son. He then goes on to say, « since you didn’t do anything, I’m the one that is going to have to do something. Mom, what is it that I have to do? »
Yes, I recycle, but I also worked 15+ years in product development creating beauty products packaged in the same plastics that are now polluting our waterways.
How do I answer his question?
I first have to acknowledge that I am part of the problem. I am the the lucky one. I got to do a job I loved, but that same job created so much waste. I can try and defend myself by saying I was one of the first to put into practice more environmentally-friendly measures during the development process:
  • Eliminating double-walled jars that were intentionally used to increase the products presence on shelf.
  • Ensuring the cardboard box was the same size of the bottle inside the pack. Yes, boxes used to be larger than what was inside the pack to increase visibility on shelf. That way you think you are getting more for your money.
  • Using certified cardboard to create boxes that are recyclable. There are different types of cardboard.
  • Stopped using plastics that were zero percent recyclable, but great for storing harsh chemicals found in hair dyes. Yes there are also different types of plastic.
  • Started using up to 95% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, which is now thankfully becoming a norm, but can still be hard to use because of color standards and price.
  • Developing one of the first lines of sulfate, silicone and paraben free haircare products, helping to eliminate petroleum-based ingredients in formulas.
  • Using more sustainably sourced natural raw materials.
Small changes in the development of a product lifecycle that overtime can have a positive impact on the planet, but it’s definitely not enough.
So when my son asks what does he need to do to stop climate change, I can’t just sit and say recycle. Yes, that does make a difference, but even I don’t know how to educate him on the greater things that will make an impact. I can only educate him on the things I know we can do around the house or around us, which I realized is quite limited to recycling, turning off the lights, turning off the water when brushing your teeth, and a few other things.
What I really need to do is figure out how to answer his question so we can make as many changes as we can to make a difference today so he can grow up and make an even bigger impact tomorrow. So, this is my mission…looking at ways to make the world a better place. Where do I start? With what I know and what I have seen. So these are my tips on ways to make change. Please feel free to reach out if you have the slightest answer to my questions. I could use all the help that I can get. 
- Jenny, founder of (SLO)w Beauty Lab