In spite of all the materials written on the dangers of artificial chemicals and toxins we use every day, there are still a lot who do not take the warnings seriously. And unfortunately there are those who do not have access to such materials so they remain ignorant about the health and environment problems due to toxins in the air, soil and water.
March being women’s month followed by Earth month in April, I would like to honor women who contribute to the health of Mother Earth through their initiatives. Women who did not just complain or take things sitting down but creatively found ways to address these problems. They give us hope and inspiration that it can be done. They have proven that doing something big and important has nothing to do with gender.
Without any bias I would like to think that aside from what had been researched and written why Earth is alluded to a woman, it may be because her perspective is wide enough to think of everything that is needed. Based on my experience, the best managers I have encountered are women who have taken care of a home consciously whether as a parent, sibling, daughter, caregiver or househelp. They are more “wholistic” in their approach in dealing with the work force and people. They know what to do even during a trying moment and they know where to source what are needed.
Mother Earth provides everything we need for all levels of our being. Physically, from food to our basic needs including medicines-all can be found in raw materials nature offers. On the Soul level, communing and working with nature provides fulfillment, joy, peace, unconditional love (ask anyone who has a pet or garden), and therapy. Spiritually, the only proof that there is a Divine Creator or Almighty (whatever name you give) is the whole of creation. That is why we hear a lot of people saying that being with nature is like being in the Presence of the Divine. Therefore, it is very important how and why we use what Nature gifts us with.
Some of the few women who have taken the alternative path of social entrepreneurship using ecologically friendly ingredients and materials here in the Philippines are: Anna Meloto-Wilk with sibling Camille Meloto of Human Nature. They promote personal care products whose beneficiaries are the Gawad Kalinga communities; Kristina “Krie” Reyes-Lopez, founder of Messy Bessy Cleaners, is known for organic household cleaning products; Violaine Magsaysay together with husband, Joel Magsaysay, of Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm; for biodynamic flowers that are safe to smell and for the edible ones to eat, Paula Zayco-Aberasturi of Flower Depot; and, a family of cooks who use natural ingredients in the food they personally prepare and serve, Tita M. Soliongco together with daughter Camille and son Kiko of The Vegetarian Kitchen. There are other unrecognized women in different places in the country who are into small-scale, home-based business like the makers of some local delicacies who still use natural ingredients. Unfortunately, they are getting fewer due to the introduction of artificial ingredients.
Worldwide, there are a lot of projects started by women and for the empowerment of women. Some that I have come across are Francine Chambers, President and Co-Founder of a company that designs a reusable menstrual cap called The DivaCup. Jill Taft is a mother who created the Logic Product Group that focuses on natural products that are safe for all members of the family like the anti-lice, anti-licks products, natural fertilizers and garden and pet care and home products. The Leaky Collection was founded by Kathy and her husband Philip and their mission is to help the Maasai women of Kenya. It is a livelihood project of bead making made from grass. And like our local counterparts, there are grandmothers, mothers, daughters and nuns in small villages or communities who are creating ripples all over the globe.
Praise to the women who found ways to make life manageable using natural, ecologically safe and healthy products yet help rehabilitate our Earth, our only home. And noteworthy are their efforts to give importance in the preparation of the products and the advocacy behind their initiative.
Annabellie V. Gruenberg is an Integrative Psychologist, advocate of Holistic Initiatives, educator, trained in Waldorf School Administrator and Community Development, student of arts and culture and a mother.