S U S T A I N A B L Y

"I know my greatest impact is still ahead" ~ Kristi Marsh

Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and ask brief answers in return. I met today’s guest when I attended her session at a green expo years ago, and she's come into my view often enough that I knew we should talk, so here we are. She’s an author, an advocate for personal eco-consciousness and action, and recognized speaker. Remember, “10 Words” is an ethic, not a limit, so to those of you at home, please, no counting. If you think it’s so easy, let’s see you do it, especially on the fly.

[This is an edited version of this interview, conducted on video March 10.]

Kristi Marsh, speaker, author and household ecoconsciousness advocateName Kristi Marsh
Born when, where  Portland, Oregon, in 1970. Soon after, I moved to California, where I was raised in Sacramento. Spent some time back up in the state of Washington, and then I've spent the last 20 years here south of Boston.
Family circumstance  "I am raising a family. From 2 to midnight, I’m a stay-at-home mom, raising three teenagers. My husband is in retail."
Occupation  "I’m an educator of mainstream women who are curious and want to learn more about this whole movement about how the products we bring into our homes can have an impact on our health."
What did you want to be when you grew up?  "A Rockette. That didn’t work out. An animal trainer at an amusement park. That didn’t work out. By the time I was a teen, I realized I had a connection toward training. In college I studied human resources, and went into the world of retail as a trainer at Target and a beauty-industry store in malls. That’s where I found this connection to be working with women and bringing them along in a process.
An early influence outside your immediate family  The outdoors. From camping, to being raised as a preteen having a horse as my sense of independence."
A hero today, also outside your immediate family  "I spent most of my life knowing the name Rachel Carson, but it wasn’t until my late 30s that I learned more about who Rachel Carson was, as an author, as a scientist, as an advocate for women. I read ‘Silent Spring' and I know that it is an impactful book on my generation, but being raised in my generation, I had no idea what it was about. Once I read it and learned more about Rachel Carson’s legacy, i think it influences me greatly. I have deep admiration and respect for the change she created, not only in the 1960s, but the ripples it created throughout the 1970s."
What’s your book called, and how can people get it?  “'Little Changes, Tales of a Reluctant Home Ecomomics Pioneer.' It is a paperback on any normal online paperback site. It’s also an e-book. And it can also be purchased directly through choosewiser.com."


"I want to be part of curing heart disease" ~ Brian Campkin

Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and ask brief answers in return. Today’s guest has is not easily classified: He’s an author, a professional speaker focused on wellness, and an official spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, all while he keeps his day job working for Canada’s largest telecom.


On childhood obesity, acting and not acting are both choices

In two prior posts, I’ve agreed with influential blogger Morgan Downey that the proposal in Puerto Rico to fine the parents of obese children is a bad idea, and that the food environment has a great deal to do with the globesity crisis.

But I balked at the implication that parents don’t have primary responsibility for obese children. I wouldn’t have said so before 5 or 10 years ago — because I didn’t get it — but now it’s clear: incorporating fitness and nutrition into children’s worldview is a basic ingredient of child protection.

If fines aren’t the right tack, though, what can be done collectively? I usually fail, but I’ll try to be brief. Clearly, the basic choices are to act or not to act.


Parents must protect against the food environment

In a recent post, I reacted to writer Morgan Downey’s mockery of a ham-handed suggestion in Puerto Rico to fine parents whose children are obese.  I think the suggestion is not helpful, but I objected to Downey’s giving not even a nod to the fact that parents do have a huge role in how kids learn to eat.

Downey focused his prescription on the food environment, and though we agree on its potency, I would put the onus on parents here, too, in part because in this world, a crucial role for parents is to educate their kids about media excesses — which is to say, “media.”


Fines for child obesity are a bad idea, but...

"Puerto Rico doesn’t have the answer" is the headline of Morgan Downey’s recent post about an island proposal to fine parents whose children are obese. Worst idea ever, he says.

Right up front: I don’t want to fine parents of obese kids either. Bad idea, in every way. But the post has enough meat to chew on that it’s worth checking in anyway. Here’s Downey’s comment upon disclosing the idea:

"Oh, that will help! 'Parents: Starve your children and you save a few bucks!' Wow, what a deal! That will overcome the cries of hungry children.”

I’ll dispense with the dumb crap before getting to the worthwhile issue: Starvation? Cries of hungry children? Is there no middle ground between starvation and obesity? One doesn’t starve children into good health, any more than one does to overfeed, or poorly feed, or exercise no control over food choices.


What's a penalty, and what's an incentive?

A vital issue brought up by the Affordable Care Act is whether employers can penalize employees who decline to take part in wellness offerings. Some consider it a civil rights issue if companies penalize employees who won’t act that way their employer wants them to.

I see that some could see it as an issue, but I hesitate to agree.


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