Monday, December 29, 2008

Having Faith

This is another of my all-time favorites. I think this is a must-read for absolutely everyone who cares at all about our world and its future, and also for those who don't! I reviewed it last year, so please go read that for my complete explanation and opinion.

Meanwhile, here are some of my favorite passages. Perhaps they can show you how beautiful the writing is, how it captures some of the most special and sacred moments of pregnancy and parenthood, and how well the author touches on the interconnectedness of everything, and how we can't escape from our pollution, how instead we have to stop and solve it.

Page 66: "Before it is drinking water, amniotic fluid is the creeks and rivers that fill reservoirs. It is the underground water that fills wells. And before it is creeks and rivers and groundwater, amniotic fluid is rain. When I hold in my hands a tube of my own amniotic fluid, I am holding a tube full of raindrops. Amniotic fluid is also the juice of oranges that I had for breakfast, and the milk that I poured over my cereal, and the honey I stirred into my tea. It is inside the green cells of spinach leaves and the damp flesh of apples. It is the yolk of an egg. When I look at amniotic fluid, I am looking at rain falling on orange groves. I am looking at melon fields, potatoes in wet earth, frost on pasture grasses. The blood of cows and chickens is in this tube. Whatever is inside hummingbird eggs is also inside my womb. Whatever is in the world's water is here in my hands."

Page 128: "Obviously, a public health policy that asks expectant mothers to give up certain foods while allowing industries to continue contaminating them is absurd."

Page 130: "If our daughter asks, 'What's a trout stream?' what will I say? Will I explain that freshwater trout are now among the most contaminated fish in America, far too poisonous for her to eat? Will I tell her that our government is willing to warn her against eating trout but reluctant to stop the trout from being poisoned in the first place?"

Page 266: "But then, everything that toddlers do seems alarming and grotesque to first-time parents of infants. Compared to one's own sweet babe, who coos and waves her hands so delicately in the air, toddlers are a tribe of dangerous giants. As though your child would never ever become one of them. The feelings that the parents of toddlers have for tiny babies aren't exactly reciprocal--although I confess feeling vague pity for the proud parents of one newborn in the pediatrician's office recently. She just looked so puny and uninteresting."

Page 274: "I also believe these kinds of risk/benefit analyses are an unhelpful approach to the problem of chemical contaminants in breast milk. They offer no solutions. The usual recommendation that follows from them--'Just keep nursing because the benefits outweigh the risks'--means that we nursing mothers should take no action until our milk becomes so contaminated as to pose as many risks as formula. In other words, until breast milk, like formula, kills 4,000 U.S. infants a year. (This figure is the experts' best estimate of the annual number of infant deaths--from infectious diseases and other causes--attributable to lack of breastfeeding.) Risk/benefit analyses imply that as long as one danger (breastfeeding) is less than another (failure to breastfeed), we should accept the lesser danger--even though it still necessitates endangering our children. The narrow duality of the equatio leaves no room for the proposition that feeding our infants industrial poisons is unacceptable. Period."

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