EcoBirth-Women for Earth and Birth

Uniting the earth and birth movements for the well-being of our world

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The EPA has made it clear that current regulations don’t give them the tools to protect Americans from serious health problems

This is the foundational message that we should all understand, from Safer Chemicals/Healthy Families http://www.saferchemicals.org/.

I just sent this to Congress, we must be active and informed!

The EPA has made it clear that current regulations don’t give them the tools to protect Americans from the serious health problems associated with toxic chemicals, and the Obama Administration has asked Congress to enact swift reform. The Administration’s stance reflects the concerns of millions of Americans like me, who are finding it hard to limit my family’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Please support legislation that will soon be introduced to reform and modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Give the EPA the tools they need to put common sense limits on toxic chemicals in every day products.

Serious reform is long overdue. Toxic chemicals have already caused long-term harm to our nation’s health. The chemicals found in every day products have been linked to escalating public health problems like obesity, dramatic increases in chronic diseases like cancer, and unprecedented changes to our fertility.

Chemical-related health trends are making a serious impact on our economy, too. Peer reviewed studies show that reforming the nation’s chemical laws will result in annual savings of $5 billion in health care costs. These savings would come from a decline in chronic diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and learning disabilities.

Additionally, many of our most significant trading partners are implementing stronger chemicals protection policies than we have in the U.S., putting our economy at a competitive disadvantage in a global marketplace that is rapidly gaining awareness of the problems associated with runaway toxic chemicals.

TSCA is now 33 years old and has never been modernized. Outdated technologies and unsafe chemicals have created costs too great to bear to sustain our quality of life, with broad implications for our health care system and our economy.

There are 82,000 chemicals available for use in the U.S. yet only about 200 chemicals have been assessed for safety. Only 5 chemicals have been restricted based on health and safety concerns.

The time has come to give the federal government enough authority to require that chemicals be tested for safety before they are put into the products we use every day.

As your constituent, I urge you to support legislation that will:

1. Take immediate action to stop the use of the most dangerous toxic chemicals;

2. Give the EPA the power to assess the safety of all chemicals so that the health of all people and the environment, especially the most vulnerable subpopulations, including children, workers, and pregnant women will be protected;

3. Improve the right to know about toxic chemicals by allowing the public, workers, and the marketplace to have full access to information about the health hazards from chemicals and the way in which government safety decisions are made.

Legislation to modernize and update TSCA will be introduced soon. I urge you to support this effort to lead us into a new era of safer chemicals and healthy families.

Thank you for your leadership.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The very subtle design of a human being

It seems that the very subtle design of a human being in a mother's womb can be altered unnaturally and inadvertantly by the mother's body. The first environment of a child is its mother's body. But that mother's body can contain harmful substances that may have permanent affects on the child, and even on that child's child- another generation. Does the mother knowingly allow these affects on her body? Or does the adulteration of her environment inadvertantly cause those harmful affects? If we have lead in our homes and mercury in our foods, that we are ignorant of, how do we prevent our bodies from contaminating our babies? If our Mother Earth Home is being abused and poisoned, then so are we and all other living beings. This is unjust. How do we make the right choices when we are not free to choose clean air, water, food? This is unjust and our children are living the affects.

During our own birth experience and our children's birth experiences, are there actions that affect us and our children long-term?
Below is a workshop in which Penny Simkin will address this provocative question at the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services Conference, in February,2010.

• Session Title: Eco-Friendly Birth: Troubling Downstream Effects of Common OB Practices & How to Reduce Them
• Session Description: Drawing from the language and methods of ecology, Penny will explore the effects of today’s birth practices on the baby’s first habitat – the uterus – and his or her next habitat – the mother’s body and breasts. Looking downstream from birth, Penny hopes to focus our attention on the recent findings of long-term implications of such common practices as induction of labor, epidural analgesia, immediate separation of mother from baby, and lack of breastfeeding. How resilient do mothers and babies have to be to withstand the disturbances to their habitat?

EcoBirth, as a philosphy, knows that women can personally affect the quality of the human species by enabling their bodies to be safe and clean first environments for their babies and by bringing their child into the world within a loving experience.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My final words on Making Healthy Babies, Raising Healthy Children: Living well in a toxic world

7 months of work by our 4 organizers, brought to fruition a day that was profound, provocative, riveting, exhilarating and empowering.This is what I planned to say at the end of the day, but I think I spoke from my heart with the same message but different words!

I heard Joan Chittester, a Benedictine nun, speak about 4 years ago, saying that our generation is done, we have created the world as it is and we do not even know the answers to the problems that we have created. Those answers will come from the next generation, who are our inheritors. And our job is to solely nurture and protect that next generation, so they have the capability to develop the answers to what we are leaving them.I thought that it was enough to be a good woman and raise good children and for the last 30 years, I was oblivious to what was happening to our Mother Earth and to us and our fellow beings. I am a 6th generation Californian, my great great grandfather gave Spanish names to many of these local towns; my great grandfather was the first native born Doctor in California and my grandfather was Chief of Staff of the hospital I was born in -St Mary’s in San Francisco; my mother, sister and I went to college here in Berkeley, we know our heritage here in this place, and so many family stories, which includes the killing of Native Americans, gain and loss of land and money, intense striving for material and social success in a raw land, and a privileged life in the world’s most beautiful city.But I want my legacy to be a caring and loving world for my children and grandchildren. This is why EcoBirth’s philosophy is so important to me- it represents a holistic view of all the systems that are immutable in our lives- the Mother Earth who feeds us, the mother who births us and the present generation who inherits our culture, land and woundedness. Deep Womb Ecology, as Diana calls it-the mother’s womb is the babies first environment. They are all interdependent and interconnected and show the care or lack of care with which we live our lives. How we birth our children is an indicator of how we treat our Mother Earth and our own daughters. I want my daughter and daughter in law to be intuitive, strong life-givers, of happy, intelligent, independent, healthy children. I owe them and all our young, to take the responsibility for what I have allowed to happen to their world and to work to heal it as much as possible before I hand it over to them.Thank you so much for participating in our dreams and our hopes today, we were just 4 mothers who wanted a better world, we collaborated over the last 7 months with consensus and respect and tenderness for each other. We are so glad that our dream was realized today and that you were a part of it. All our goodwill goes to you and to our beloved world.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Program of Making Healthy Babies, Raising Healthy Children: Living well in a toxic world

Living Well in a Toxic World

Where: UC Berkeley Art Museum Theater, 2625 Durant Ave. Berkeley, California
When: Saturday, November 21, 2009, from 9 am to 4 pm

The 2009 CIA World Factbook ranks the USA 45th among nations for infant mortality— the worst among all industrialized countries. The autism rate in our country is now 1 in 100.

How we can understand and take appropriate steps to ensure healthy mothers,
births and children? Take a unique look at the entire system that affects
our future generations- a mother’s current environment,
the birth environment and your child’s toxic world.

This symposium brings together scientists, doctors, researchers and professionals for a compelling conversation about environmental influences around birth and childhood. Featuring plenary speakers, panels, audience questions, and film clips.

Revolutionary new software will also be introduced that will help parents assess the risks our children may encounter from the environment before birth, at birth and during childhood. Our three part program will make clearer to attendees what they should know about environmental health, their world, and how it affects them and their children.

Session One: Preparing for Childbirth

Sharyle Patton, Director, Commonweal Health and Environment Program, presents several new biomonitoring studies documenting the ubiquity and complexity of chemical and environmental exposures that people experience every day, and how those exposures could influence pregnancy and the health of our children. Exciting new software will be introduced which gives parents-to-be the opportunity to evaluate environmental exposures, and the effect they may have, so lifestyle changes can be made to ensure healthier outcomes for families and children. This session concludes with an expert panel including Ms. Patton; Dr. Joanne Perron OB/GYN who will correlate the environmental science with her own personal experience; and Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant, who will describe the best diet for pre-pregnant women

Session Two: The Birth Experience

Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, medical anthropologist and author of eight books including Birth as an American Rite of Passage, presents a brief history of birth in the USA. This presentation will focus on women’s ideas and cultural values about childbirth. The session concludes with a panel consisting of Dr. Davis-Floyd; Elizabeth Davis, a Certified Professional Midwife, who will touch on an integrated view of birth; and pediatrician Dr. Marshall Klaus and his wife, Phyllis Klaus C.S.W., M.F.C.C., who discuss the care and support a woman needs during birth. A new film by Diana Paul of Sage Femme will introduce this session.

Session Three: Healthy Childhood

Dr. Andy Wakefield, academic gastroenterologist and Director of Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, presents new information and good news about the treatment and prevention of autism (now affecting 1 in 100 children). A ChARMtracker demo will be featured introducing this web-based treatment tracking software for autism. The session will conclude with a panel consisting of Dr. Wakefield; Pramila Srinivasan (ChARM founder); Kenneth Bock (an integrative family practitioner whose practice is a beta site for the ChARM Physician product); and a returning Julie Matthews, nutrition consultant for children with autism. Clips from Elizabeth Horn’s film "Finding the Words" will open this session.

Audience questions and answers will be taken at the end of each session.

Master of Ceremonies

Carolyn Raffensperger, M.A, J.D. is the Executive Director of the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN). In 1982 she left a career as an archaeologist to work for the Sierra Club, where she addressed an array of environmental issues, including forest management, river protection, pesticide pollutants, and disposal of radioactive waste. She began working for SEHN in 1994. As an environmental lawyer, she specializes in fundamental changes in law and policy necessary for the protection and restoration of public health and the environment. Carolyn is coeditor of Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle (Island Press, 1999), the most comprehensive exploration of the history, theory, and implementation of the precautionary principle. She coined the term "ecological medicine" to encompass the broad notions that health and healing are entwined with the natural world. She wrote a bimonthly column for the Environmental Law Institute's journal Environmental Forum from 1999 until 2008.

Sponsors: Sage Femme, Ryder Foundation, Midwifery Today, Autism Recovery Consortium


9 a.m. Registration

9:30 a.m. Welcome — Host Carolyn Raffensperger, Executive Director, Science and Environmental Health Network

9:45 a.m. Session One: Preparing for Childbirth
Sharyle Patton, Director, Commonweal Health and Environment Program, discusses the effects of the environment inside and outside a woman’s body.

10:15 a.m. Panel and Q & A
Sharyle Patton, Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and Joanne Perron, MD, FACOG, RYT, examine the route to a healthy pregnancy.

10:45 Break
11:05 Short Film: “Besos” by Diana Paul
11:20 Session Two: The Birth Experience
Robbie Davis-Floyd, Ph.D, medical anthropologist, presents a brief history of birth in the USA, focused on how to have a “healthy” birth and baby.

11:50 a.m. Panel and Q & A
Robbie Davis-Floyd, Marshall Klaus, M.D. and Phyllis Klaus, L.C.S.W, M.F.T.
and Elizabeth Davis, Certified Professional Midwife, discuss the birth experience.

12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:45 p.m. Short Film: “Finding the Words” by Elizabeth Horn
2:00 p.m. Session Three: Healthy Childhood
Dr. Andy Wakefield, academic gastroenterologist and Executive Director of Thoughtful House Center for Children in Austin, Texas, presents new information about the treatment and prevention of autism (now affecting 1 in 100 children).

2:30 p.m. Dr. Kenneth Bock and Pramila Srinivasan, Ph.D, will present a demo of ChARMtracker, a new ground-breaking web-based treatment tracking software for autism.

2:50 p.m. Panel and Q & A
Andy Wakefield, Kenneth Bock, Pramila Srinivasan and Julie Matthews talk about the latest developments in autism research and treatment.

3:45 p.m. Concluding Remarks by Carolyn Raffensperger

4:00 p.m. The sessions close

Molly Arthur's Maternal Lines digital story from molly arthur on Vimeo.

We women can face the pain and grief we have for our suffering Mother Earth and reclaim our story of creation and redemption with the power and beauty intimately held in our body’s cells from our maternal lines since the beginning of the cosmos. Our existential and communal grief heals within the loving gathering of our feminine compassion, connecting us to the truth and strength of our Mother Earth and all our kin. We start with Molly’s Personal Environmental Story-to explore the birth stories and places and times of ourselves, our mothers and grandmothers.Using the stories of our own maternal lines, with sharing, active listening and intention, we call on our ancestors, our inner wisdom and the shared circle to witness our story with compassion. Using ritual, song, movement, and sharing of our truths, in community and powerful circle as well as spending time on the land - we can acknowledge the oppression in our lives, feeling it in our bodies, grieving it, transforming it and ourselves in a safe, loving space. Our healing path connects our sacred lineage from the womb of our Mother Earth to integrate our inner and outer lives and discover our place in the connected caring cosmos. We are a part of a continuum of sacredness, lifeforce, divine energy including our Ancestors back to the stuff of the stars. We can reclaim our cells, our lineage and our legacy to the future generations. Like in birth labor, we must yield to our bodies innate knowing, to progress, to open, to birth our love. With our active surrender to fierce compassion we can restore our connection to the natural world and our own inner wisdom. We can drop our obsessive addictions to control and return to our healing, caring, befriending tendencies- innate for us nurturers. And then we can repair, regenerate, and renew our culture for tenderness and kindness, naturally embodied by us. We will be able to guard and protect ours and all descendents - becoming their Beloved Ancestors- by asking - What is possible now to transform our world for Future Generations?

Molly Arthur of EcoBirth- My Personal Environmental Story November 2012 from molly arthur on Vimeo.

Why EcoBirth’s My Personal Environmental Story
EcoBirth’s My Personal Environmental Story will help women tell their life story by considering the two primary environments- place and birth- for themselves, their mothers and their maternal grandmothers. Through this process each participant will come to realize the hazards in their environmental genealogy and realize the healing in telling their own story. And they will be empowered to affect the changes that are necessary for our Mother Earth and our children and grandchildren to thrive.
Imagine looking back to your grandmother's and mother's birth time to figure out what environmental influences you might have inherited? And have passed onto your children and grandchildren? Would you wonder what was in the air, water and food in their lives- and look twice at what diseases, birth defects, addictions there are in your family?