My Green Resolution: Ashley English of Small Measure

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Name: Ashley English
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My Green Resolution: Going into 2011, I have one profound thing resting front and center in my mind—my newborn son Huxley. Becoming a parent has changed my life inexplicably. Not only do I now factor care for another individual into every plan and decision I make, I've become acutely aware of just all that is involved in being human in the twenty-first century. By that I mean all of the items, products, and assorted and sundry activities & goods (both essential and otherwise) that are regularly utilized in day-to-day living by industrialized nations…

In so doing, I gained a heightened awareness of the potential waste that just one person can incur. And so, my green resolution, in relation to my son's care and well-being, is to minimize that waste, to be both his and the planet's steward. During the next year, and well beyond it, I hope to make the wisest, kindest, gentlest choices possible, for his life and for all the lives he shares the air, oceans, forests and soil with.

Huxley doesn't care if I use cloth diapers. He's indifferent about where his clothing is made and what fibers are used in its construction. He's unaware of what BPA is and he's definitely never heard of genetically modified organisms. His needs are much more primal and basic than that-to eat, sleep, be cleaned up after, and be held. As his guardian, it's my responsibility to ensure that his diet, his sleep set-up, his clothing, his toys, and all the rest of his needs are beneficial to himself as well as to others.

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I resolve, then, in 2011 to make every effort possible to allow Huxley's life to enhance the lives of his fellow inhabitants here on Earth. Although it will continue to evolve as he grows, that resolution includes (to the best of my abilities) the use of: cloth diapering; reusable wipes; breast-feeding; organic, local, and, whenever possible, homegrown foods; natural clothing fibers; natural materials in toys; non-toxic body care materials; and gently used baby items (including furniture, carriers, clothing, toys, and cloth diapers).

My green resolution ultimately is to be the most mindful parent I can be. Instead of acting the role of "eco zealot" with Huxley, I aim to instead teach him by example. I hope that my actions will silently influence, inspire, and shape him into being an environmental steward someday himself. I'll consider my work as his parent to have been well done if he sees both the forest and the trees as he ages, where his entire perspective is guided by a foundation of conscientious living. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." I plan to be the person my son, and his planet, can rest assured has their best interests in mind.

(Images: Lynne Harty)

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Ashley English has earned degrees in both holistic nutrition and sociology. Life has provided her with numerous career paths, including working as a medical assistant and nutritional consultant, manager of a bed and breakfast, wine and beer sales rep, and baker and caterer. Additionally, she has worked over the years with a number of non-profit organizations committed to social and agricultural issues and she is currently a member of Slow Food USA. Ashley, her husband and their young son, along with a menagerie of chickens, dogs, cats, and bees live in Candler, NC, where they are converting their land into a thriving homestead. You can find her detailing those adventures in homesteading on her blog, small measure. She also writes a weekly column "Small Measures with Ashley" on the popular design blog, Design*Sponge.