As she sat around a picnic table with a handful of female friends one day a few years ago, Kimberly Danek Pinkson watched how one woman’s brief mention of switching from conventional light bulbs to more energy-efficient ones led to an animated discussion about the small things everyone can do to be more eco-friendly. It was like a light bulb — an eco-friendly one — turned on in her head. And so in 2006 the EcoMom Alliance was born, a nod to the fact that women do most of the household purchasing.
What started as a mash-up of Tupperware-like parties, shared tips not unlike those from Heloise — just greener — and grass-roots activism has gone one step further; Pinkson recently joined with SproutBaby.com founder Jody Sherman to form EcoMom, an online retailer that hopes to nourish “Generation Organic from the highchair to the lunchbox.”
Pinkson, 40, lives with her 8-year-old son Corbin in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.
You’ve said that once you became a mom, you knew you had to do everything you could to make your son’s life “as healthy and wonderful as possible.” What does parenthood have to do with being an eco-focused person?
A key role and responsibility of parents is to protect and take care of our children, and therefore looking at the environment in which they are growing up. This means the environment, of course, which is our home, our neighborhood and community, plus looking out into the more global environment as well. When you look into being "eco" and "green" and what we call "healthy," we often separate the environment from what we consider healthy, yet they’re so intrinsically connected; at least that’s what we hope to inspire in people.
Why EcoMom and not EcoParent? Don’t dads care about the environment, too?
Absolutely and we’re certainly not exclusionary of fathers. We love them and have the utmost respect and appreciation for them. We wouldn’t be EcoMoms without EcoDads! But I felt that I could only speak from my experience as a mother. Moms connect to each other on a level that we don’t with our husbands, fathers, or partners all the time. There’s a biological connection that we share. It is valuable to come together as moms in the things we’re good at; we can use that in so many ways to have a positive effect.