Saturday, November 26, 2005

Principles of Green Parenting – Complementarity

Amartya Sen, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics, wrote in his book Development as Freedom about how capabilities often reinforce each other. When he uses the word capabilities, he’s talking about what a person can be or do, like have bodily health, earn a decent income, and be able to participate effectively in politics. Sen gives a number of excellent examples of capabilities complementing each other. For example, if a person has a decent income, she will be better able to make healthy choices and buy medicines. If a person has bodily health, she will better able to earn a decent income.

I’m trying to think about Green Parenting in terms of complementarity too. Green Parenting, for MaGreen and I, has been and will be the intersection of several efforts: detoxifying our home; creating a family life that is environmentally friendly; working towards gender equity through pregnancy, birth, and childcare; making socially responsible choices as consumers; and living playfully and joyfully. An example of complementarity in Green Parenting would be that cooking fresh organic food cuts toxic pesticides out of our diets; helps the environment; improves working conditions for farm workers; and tastes good. If we have a healthy, well-adjusted daughter, there's a whole host of other capabilities that will be enhanced for her, MaGreen, and me.

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