Posts Tagged ‘Editorial

A gear blog with eco-sensibilities is something of a paradox.

After all, in the (few remaining) greenest parts of our Earth, the only baby gear you’ll see is a simple piece of cloth tied into a sling.  And this to raise children with legitimate life skills like hunting and building and cooking from scratch.  If the point is to raise a family who stands a chance post-Armageddon, perhaps the rest of us are barking up the wrong tree (before cutting it down)…?

Okay, we’ve said all that mainly to be provocative.  But today really isn’t the day to push product at GaGaGear, so we’ll push some ideas instead.

1.  Living with “less” really is most environmentally effective when it means “less stuff.”  Always choose quality over quantity when it comes to baby gear.  You’ll be surprised at how much you don’t need (*cough* wipes warmer), and the best gear often does more with less.

2.  Items of higher quality at purchase time (cleaned, and maintained throughout their use) will fetch the most at resale.  By springing for that $400 BOB stroller, and keeping it spiffy, you’re starting a cycle of reuse in your own family and with others that is both eco- and community-friendly.  That $20 umbrella stroller – destined for the landfill.

3.  The good thing about plastic is it’s easy to keep in good condition (breakage aside).  Before opening your wallet for all new wooden toys or “green” toys made from recycled plastic, open your mind to resale!  Yard sales, Craigslist, Ebay, and your local resale shops are excellent places to pick up the usual suspects in very good condition – activity tables, exersaucers, tea sets, learning toys…even potties, diaper pails, high chairs and booster seats.  Buy them, use them, clean them up, and take them back for store credit.

4.  Do maintain a degree of vigilance around material provenance and surface chemistry, especially for toys, clothes, and bedsheets.  This requires understanding the issues, reading labels carefully, and familiarizing yourself with caution cues (we’ll cover this in more depth for an upcoming post).  We believe children have a right to chew safely on all their toys, play and sleep in clothing free of pesticides and flame retardant.

5.  Radical homemaking doesn’t have to be so…radical.  Simply befriending and agreeing to swap/share with a few other families can significantly ease the modern family’s baby gear burden.  Start the hand-me-down habit early, and it’s liable to stick.  Buy around a common interest – active families can successfully share items used less frequently like trampolines, family-sized tents, hiking backpacks or bike carriers (unless needed for a commute).  Rental can also be an option – check with local stores or place an inquiry on Craigslist or a community bulletin board.

You’ll notice none of these ideas require deprivation or major sacrifice – just mindful consumption.  Earth Day reminds us that we live in an ecosystem in which “things” are continually created, destroyed, and renewed.  Our job as 21st century parents is to source products in a way that sustains a healthy life cycle, for our families, for our communities, and for our environment.

Eco Baby Gear Portland Oregon

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In news of local interest to my Portland readers, eco-minded families have yet another great place to shop in the stretch of SE Division between 20th Avenue and 39th – ahem – César Chavez Way.

Eco Baby Gear has moved 20 blocks closer to the Willamette, joining Bar Avignon, Twill, and Sushi Mazi in the rehabbed retail space at SE 21st and Division.

The new space is just a couple doors down from New Seasons Market and this momma’s favorite: Zenana Spa and Wellness Center, it’s a great location on a major bus line, bordering well-heeled and family-oriented Ladd’s Addition and funkier Clinton neighborhood.  The Division Vision project is busily beautifying this stretch of inner SE, which is still relatively affordable for owners and renters alike.

Truth be told, there was already a great eco baby gear shop in the area: Mother Nature’s at 26th and Clinton.  Mother Nature’s (across from Piccolina Resale, a great stop for eco-as-reuse shoppers) has a similar product set, if more limited in scope, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Chan-Pie-Gnon at Eco Baby Gear

Available at Chan-Pie-Gnon

At the moment, Eco Baby Gear is doing a lot of things right – perhaps most importantly, maintaining a well-stocked online store and boasting the top Google result for “Eco Baby Gear.”

If I could wish for one thing in this burgeoning cluster of eco-shops on/near SE Division, it’s a more expansive vision.  Babies are a lovely target for green living, but they grow up quickly.  What about the rest of the family?  We, too, want to grow up BPA-free…

Today is World Cancer Day.  This is a topic near to my heart.  A year ago, my mother checked in to the hospital due to difficulty breathing, which she had been living with for weeks thinking it was some kind of a cold.  After draining 2.5 liters of fluid from in and around her lungs, doctors reported that she’d almost died of a pulmonary embolism, caused by something yet more sinister – late-stage ovarian cancer.

Needless to say, this was an earth-shattering blow.  Like many women in their sixties, my mother had been experiencing increasing back pain, bloating, constipation, unusual fatigue…the kinds of things ALL women experience at one time or another, usually due to menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, or the like.  Six months earlier, she was given a vague diagnosis of IBS with a recommendation to consider getting imaging done to be sure it wasn’t anything else.  Anything else.  Someone said it – it was out there – but it didn’t really register, and the doctor didn’t insist.  So life went on, and it wasn’t until my mother’s lingering cold-like symptoms became a concern that she consulted again with her primary care physician, and was swiftly hospitalized, saving her life.

It’s been a difficult year.  Chemotherapy and major surgery, followed by more chemotherapy, a break, and chemo once again.  During this time, the one bright moment was the birth of our son, the second grandchild, and it’s been through the kids that we’ve been able to find our smiles and gather positive energy for battling this devastating disease.  The prognosis remains grim, but I am continually inspired by my mother’s physical and spiritual strength, and am committed to raising awareness for ovarian cancer – “the silent killer.”

So this Valentine’s Day, I urge you all to consider Health as a a gift – to yourselves, your families, and friends.  Take significant time this month to review your family medical history.  Share health-related stories with your children and those close to you.  Assess your habits – good, and bad.  Quit smoking!  Schedule your annual exam.  Many modern diseases are highly treatable with the help of prevention and early detection.

Excellent basic information on ovarian cancer and other gynecologic cancers can be found online but should not substitute for a conversation with a specialist.  Women approaching menopause should be particularly alert to the symptoms, and discuss individual risk, since these cancers are in a category being scrutinized for genetic links.  Conflicting information abounds regarding possible connections between hormone replacement therapy and gynecologic cancers.  While evidence is still somewhat inconclusive, it’s an important question to raise with your doctor, especially if alternative therapies can be substituted with similar results.

Links for Ovarian Cancer info online:

–  Ovarian Cancer Research Fund

–  Ovarian Cancer Overview from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas

–  Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

And some great grassroots support resources that could use cross-links or donations:

–  Blog for a Cure

–  Mothers With Cancer

Again, a disclaimer: Mama Gaga is not a doctor!  Please consult appropriate specialists as you take charge of your health.

  • JHeff: I have read a good number of comments about most users of the boba not really ever using the foot rests. Looking at the videos I've seen, the back on
  • Mama GaGa: Oh, boo! Thanks for the manufacturing update - I will make note in the post. Cheers - MG
  • Cathy: I know this is a couple years old but I ran across this post and was so excited when you said the Boba was made in America - a big selling point for m

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