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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

4 of 6 - EcoSex @ U Conn - Weiss's EcoSex - Student Responses: Rhiann's Take

Dear Earthlings:

The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process.  It's a great experience.  We are reading amazing books.  Thinking out of the box and across disciplines.  Students are sending their responses in, with discussion questions.  In class, we connect the dots: a holograph of what we've read together, the "required readings."  Multiple perspectives and good synergy.  Here, we offer a glimpse.  Stefanie Iris Weiss's EcoSex: Go Green Between the Sheets, was one of two introductory books.  We got five responses: from John, Alex, Adam, Rhiann, Alissa, and Michael.  

Here's Rhiann's take:

Response to Stefanie Iris Weiss's EcoSex: Go Green Between the Sheets

The first topic I felt compelled to respond to is personal care products. I was shocked to learn about greenwashing, the false advertising surrounding “green” products in America. The book states that any product with an “infinitesimal” amount of natural ingredients is able to market themselves as natural or organic despite the rest of it’s ingredients. Thus, tricking consumers into buying said product. As I read on, I learned that in Europe there are laws against this phenomenon. Products are required to be at least 70% composed of organic and natural substances in order to be marketed in such a way.  This truly confused me and brought me to my first question. Why does Europe have these standards that we in America have no regards for? From the rest of the information in the section, it seems as if Europe is more conscious and proactive in it’s efforts for a green movement. As a matter of fact, Europe makes it look so easy to pass these laws that benefit their citizens. So why is it so challenging for us to do the same? Even if America started with banning false advertising, we would be on our way to saving the environment.
Along with this topic I was also moved to respond to the list of fifteen toxic ingredients to avoid in personal care. As I read the list, I attempted to visualize the products I use on a daily basis. More often than not, I repeatedly came up with examples that fit into the list somewhere. I continued to ponder if I could give up the products in my head especially having gained the new knowledge that they are indeed toxic to me. At first, I could not imagine giving anything up. Fortunately the book illustrated recipes and other products to try. The authors did not make me feel guilty for wanting to look and feel sexy. I appreciated that message more than I can communicate. However, as I went through the list I saw many brands that I had never heard of. This made me wonder, how expensive are these products and how accessible are they to me? I was really intrigued by the coconut oil suggestion. I continued to look up the website that was provided and found out that the product was about 40 dollars! I’m sure if I broke it down into uses and amounts it would be less expensive. However, this just kept me wondering... why is it so expensive to go green? I am gaining the consciousness but still lacking the funds. Overall, I chose to base my response on beauty and cosmetics because I am as much dependent on them as I am passionate about them.

Rhiann Peterson
Published with permission

WGSS 3998 - Ecosexuality and the Ecology of Love
Prof. Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio
U Conn, Storrs, Spring 2013

Dear Earthlings:
Let "nature" be your teacher in the arts of love.  Education is the heart of democracy, education to love.  Come back for more wonders: Students Responses to appear every Tuesday.  Book Reports to be scheduled soon.  Check out our summer offerings:  Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21.  Registration here! 

Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia, Eros, and many other books about love
Professor of Humanities
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
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