Skip to comments.Diaperless Babies Seen As Earth-Friendly Solution
Posted on 04/22/2004 2:57:07 AM PDT by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - As environmentalists celebrate the 34th annual Earth Day, some in the green movement are now advocating "diaper-free" babies to help save the planet.
Citing concerns about plastic disposable diapers clogging landfills and the amount of washing and detergents that cloth diapers require, many environmentalists are taking a page from tribal cultures and seeking to eliminate the use of the baby diapers altogether.
The green movement is now promoting diaperless babies as a "retro, cutting-edge, environmentally friendly scheme" to mothers throughout the industrialized world.
The green movement already has declared war on the modern flush toilet, declaring it an "environmental disaster," and has instead pushed waterless "dry" toilets as an earth-friendly solution.
Former Vice President Al Gore joined the board of a waterless urinal company late last year to further the dry toilet cause and to help avert what many environmentalists believe is a looming international water crisis.
"There is a way to have a baby and NOT use diapers," says one website advocating diaperless babies. Parents are urged to get in tune with their infant's body signals and hold babies over toilets, buckets and shrubbery or any other convenient receptacle when nature calls.
One advocate suggests bringing a "tight-lidded bucket" along to serve as a waste receptacle when mothers take their babies out in public.
But Robert Bidinotto, publisher of ecoNOT.com and a critic of environmentalists, dismisses such notions as "primitive-worship."
"Incredibly, some environmentalists actually prefer that the foul messes we normally capture in diapers and landfills, spill instead onto our linoleum, carpets, and even our children," Bidinotto told CNSNews.com.
Noting many greens' opposition to flush toilets and now baby diapers, Bidinotto said environmentalists' have a "strange affinity for bodily wastes," and he believes they have become "obsessed with toilet issues."
'Be the first in your neighborhood'
Umbra Fisk, advice columnist for Grist Magazine , a major environmental e-publication, has joined the diaperless baby effort.
Responding to a reader's question in the Feb. 12 issue of Grist Magazine about how to handle baby waste in an Earth-friendly manner, Fisk fully endorses the diaper-free movement as a "retro cutting-edge environmentally friendly scheme." Fisk urges parents to "be the first in your neighborhood" to go diaper free.
"People around the world who have no access to diapers manage to raise children, and a small group of parents in diaper-rich countries have decided to follow their lead. Around here, it's called 'elimination communication' or 'diaper-free,'" Fisk wrote.
Fisk argues that changing times mean parents no longer have to change diapers.
"The concept is logical and simple: Infants give recognizable signs of imminent peeing and pooping; it's possible to learn your infant's signs; infant pee isn't frightening; and if you train your kid to ignore their outputs, you'll just have to go back and retrain them when traditional potty-training time arrives," Fisk explained.
Another diaperless baby advocate, who identifies herself as Natec, wrote a how-to manual for prospective mothers of diaperless babies titled, "Elimination Timing: The Solution to the Dirty Diapers War." The manual, which used fictionalized names and characters, describes Natec's motivation to go diaper-free after the birth of her son.
"When David was born, I started to think about the kind of world I was making for him to grow up in. The thought of garbage spewing and sprawling landfills filled me with horror. And right along with this horror were those little mother's helpers, disposable diapers...rotting, but never really going away in all their plastic glory," Natec wrote.
Natec maintains that plastic diapers "can take 500 years to decompose." Natec is not impressed with so-called "biodegradable" diapers, because they "may contain more plastic to compensate for the weakness of their materials."
Although green advocates estimate that diapers account for only between 0.5 to 1.8 percent of landfill space, they nevertheless consider that troubling.
"One percent of billions of tons is worth worrying about. If we don't think about how to address that one percent, which one percent will we address?" asked Richard Dennison, a senior scientist with the Environmental Defense group, as quoted in Natec's how-to manual.
'Evil empire of Western parenting'
Concerns about landfills are not the only reason some parents are going diaperless.
Scott Noelle, editor of the Continuum Concept website and a father, explained why he eventually stopped using diapers on his infant daughter Olivia, in a web essay titled "Going Diaperless."
"In my mind, diapers became the symbol of the Evil Empire of Western Parenting in which babies must suffer to accommodate the needs of their parents' broken-continuum culture: a controlled, sterile, odorless, wall-to-wall carpeted fortress in which to live with the illusion of dominion over nature," wrote Noelle, on the website livingharmony.com.
Despite his concerns, Noelle continued to use diapers on his daughter, despite the fact that he "felt like a monster and a fraud."
Noelle finally chose to go diaperless and looked to traditional cultures for inspiration. "How I longed for a simple, dirt-floored, baby-friendly hut like that of a Yequana family," he wrote.
Natec agrees with Noelle that modern society has a lot to learn from the traditional ways of life.
\ldblquote...[M]any of us have not, until recent years, given credit to the mothering skills of more Earth-centered, i.e. 'primitive" cultures,' she wrote in her how-to manual.
"When you think about it, there have been millions of years of human beings and only a few thousand years with any references to diapers," she added.
But Bidinotto of ecoNOT.com bristles at what he considers the glorification of a "primitive" way of life by diaperless baby advocates.
"These people have no idea what primitive life is really like. Their preferred alternative to today's 'controlled, sterile, odorless' environment is a world of filth and disease, where countless millions died in plagues and epidemics," Bidinotto explained.
Shopping with a diaperless baby
Ingrid Bauer, author of the book "Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene," writes on her website natural-wisdom.com that the key for parents interested in going au natural is parent-infant communication.
"Observation and close bonding interaction help the parent to understand the baby's signals, body language and timing rhythms," Bauer writes in the frequently asked questions section of her website
"Some common signals that indicate a need to pee in a young infant are: squirming, "fussing," tensing the face, frowning or having a look of "inner concentration," she wrote.
"When the baby has to go, the parent holds him or her in a comfortable position over an appropriate toilet place and makes a cueing sound (perhaps a gentle "sss")."
What's the parent of a diaperless baby to do when out shopping? Bauer offers this solution.
"These parents may rely on using public bathrooms, or bring along a container such as a tight -lidded bucket," Bauer wrote.
Bauer calls freedom from diapers "responsive infant-care."
"This gentle and ancient practice is the most common way of caring for a baby's hygiene needs in the non-Western world," she writes.
Bidinotto rejects any notion that industrialized nations should mimic the traditional cultures.
"The only thing that we moderns have to learn from primitive cultures is what they themselves learned. They learned that life is much better with modern conveniences, such as diapers. And in fact, most primitive peoples can't wait to get and use such conveniences," Bidinotto explained.
"But now environmentalists want to sentence millions to the filth and drudgery that our ancestors were so eager to escape," he added.
See Related Articles:
Flush Toilets Called 'Environmental Disaster'
Introduction of the Flush Toilet Deplored at Earth Summit
E-mail a news tip to Marc Morano.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.
Trust me; this will NEVER catch on.
And I'm sure they're floors are loaded with brown spots.
If you want on the list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...
> Free-range babies?
Yes, definitely gives new meeaning to the green movement.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.