How to choose the best toxin-free cosmetics

Posted on March 31st, 2015

I’ve done several toxin-free cosmetics lists over the years, each with several updates…resulting in a bit of a jumble. So I’ve pulled them apart and rejigged them all with updated information. I think you’ll find it helpful when navigating the natural cosmetics market.

Picture 5

Image via Pinterest

And before I go on… I really want to emphasise that making the switch to safer and cleaner shouldn’t be about buying more stuff. It’s about making a slow, gradual, informed switch as your current products run out.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people about how you and I can best act on the very real fears we have that our foundations and hair dyes and deodorants are not good for us.

There are four things we feel we can all do:

1. Learn a little more

Follow the debate and support groups that are agitating for the government to police these chemicals better. The Environmental Working Group’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics should be followed. In Australia, sign up with National Toxics Network.

2. Use less stuff

Reduce the chemical load where you can. It takes some getting used to – wearing less makeup and less products – but it’s doable.

3. Read the labels and avoid these ingredients:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This is a really good starting point. Anything with SLS… high-tail from it - it’s a common Read more

Is Sarah Wilson anti-vaccination?

Posted on March 26th, 2015

The short answer is NO. So is the longer one.

Consider this An Open Letter to Journalists Who Find Themselves A Little Confused. I’ll do this little “cheat sheet” in bullets because, frankly, I don’t have the patience for pleasantries. And I figure I need to get to the point clearly. It seems many journalists are very confused.

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Photograph by Sheena Jibson

1. I have never said I’m anti-vaccination. Dozens of journalists have claimed that I am, regurgitating each others’ incorrect stories. None have bothered to contact me for comment. Or bothered to Google the topic. If they did, they’d find this.

2. I am pro-vaccination. And have written as such.

3. This is something journalists need to know:

When journalists claim I’m anti-vax they are “creating” a poster girl for the movement.

This is incredibly irresponsible and gives power to the very movement they’re railing against.

4. I have had enough of being put up as that poster girl and will be taking action to have stories corrected when it does happen. I have requested the Herald Sun pull down their latest effort by Susie O’Brien (who also, curiously, refers to “raw milk-drinking vegans”). For instance.

5. Context is king. References to me voicing the anti-vax argument were made in the context of having being asked on Sunrise back in early 2013 to explain the reasons that parents from a wealthy suburb in Sydney were giving for not vaccinating their children. I explained what their reasoning was, drawing on the news link in question, as well as Read more

Solastalgia, a new type of unease

Posted on March 25th, 2015

My interest in words that sum up melancholia or human yearning (in a way that standard English just can’t) continues. A Twitter friend (Dr Daz) sent me this read about “solastalgia”, a word invented by (retired) Murdoch University professor of sustainability and environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht.

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At home outdoors

Solastalgia describes “the homesickness you have when you are still at home”.

By the late 1990s open-cut coal mining had drastically changed the landscape of the Upper Hunter region of NSW – for the worse. As a result, the people of the region were suffering from a form of chronic distress that saw their previously positive sense of place (“topophilia”) and love of their home and landscape, turn bad. Albrecht realised that there was no concept in the English language that adequately described this distressed state. And so he invented the term to describe the existential melancholia experienced with the negative transformation (desolation) of a loved home environment.

But it soon took off around the world as A Word that summed up succinctly A Thing we’re collectively feeling about the planet. That is, bad stuff is happening and we feel ill-at-ease about it.

Says Albrecht:

“One of the reasons for international interest in the concept of solastalgia is that we are in the middle of a pandemic of earth-related distress that will only get worse. Everything that was once familiar and trusted in our environment will be Read more