As a result of the recent emphasis on well-being and environment, the Lohas model (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) has begun to be used as a measuring stick for the perfect positive lifestyle. Incidences such as mad-cow disease from beef imports, the melamine sickness and so on are reminders that environmental problems are problems of survival rather than problems of value. Even so, it is still not easy to change one’s lifestyle, rather than just recognizing the importance of the environment. It takes courage to readily make life choices which are inconvenient and difficult. It is also not easy to be a green papa. There are some life choices which inevitably entail inconvenience and difficulty. But we can always do more. The most important concern is how we cover the distance between home and work. Some methods of transport may not be acceptable if it takes about 3 hours to go to and from work and home, even if a person has a lot of will power. Soceity must consider how to reduce rush hour traffic so that being a green papa doesn’t seem like becoming a superman! How can a person be a green papa? Here are some suggestions.
From pregnancy to birth: You must start preparation to be green papa from the moment that you think about having a child. One of my friends who had been suffering from Atopy changed his habits. He quit drinking, smoking, instant food and so on. Even if you can’t do as much as my friend, it is important to care about food as a family. I recommend the couple go together to their medical examinations for about 10 months from the moment that the pregnancy is confirmed until the birth.
And first of all, the couple should take birth education together. Only with determination can someone be a true give birth. When the time to give birth comes, they must select the place to give birth. These days, the importance of breast-feeding is widely-known and hospitals encourage this. It is important to choose a hospital which is fully equipped for breast-feeding. And what’s more, it is better that the place where the baby is born has a cozy atmosphere. I and my wife decided on “Yeolringajok” -meaning “open family” - maternity hospital in Bucheon.
Choosing diapers: Deciding whether you will use disposable diapers or cloth diapers is very important. You should use cloth ones if you are a true green papa. What difficulty is hidden here? Choosing cloth diapers means at least you invest 1 hour in washing diapers for half a year: that is completely the father's share. The cloth diaper must be non-fluorescent and must be washed by hand for the first wash, and must sometimes be boiled with the other laundry using eco-friendly laundry soap. If you put on a wool- cover, you can use cloth diaper at night.
The volume of a disposable diaper depends on size, but it may be 4 centimeters in thickness, 5 centimeters in width, and 8 centimeters in length. Each day, supposing that you use about 10 per day, your diaper trash will reach 12meters in height every month. To reduce this trash, and keep your child's skin soft and sensitive, invest 1 hour in washing diapers. Caring for the environment with your child is the first step to being a green papa.
Bath Time: It is not easy to wash a newborn baby. Even being careful when hugging your baby is not as difficult as bathing. I have a memory of the difficulty of washing my baby even after I learned how to wash from an old lady in the maternity hospital. After 10 months passed, it was not so difficult. Various bathtubs for children have come out in the city, but I brought a big stainless steel washbasin from my parents’ house. The washbasin that my mother used to make kim-chi during the winter was very useful for washing my child. It takes about 30 minutes from putting the water in the bathtub to dressing the child after washing. If Mom communicates through breastfeeding, then how about papa communicating through a bath?
To play: It’s easy to see that children aren’t very interested in toys from the city. The child just throws up its hands. The fact that you can make a child laugh using just a handkerchief makes us realize that it is more important for parents to play with their child than to buy a toy. Nowadays, I play by throwing my body onto a blanket with my child before sleep. Then, we sleep well because our bodies are tired. Isn’t a real green papa one who plays with his child about 1 hour 30 minutes per day?
It is not easy to be a green papa. You can not become one if you do not take the time even if your will is strong. Fortunately we live 10 minutes distance from our workplace. I ask myself on Monday when I have slept at my parents house on the weekend ‘if I lived in a place far from my work, could I be an eco papa as I am now?’ Perhaps it might be difficult to have things the way they are now even if tried. I am still not sure exactly what a green papa is; the list above is only a small part of the eco papa model. Every papa should engrave on their heart the happiness of their wife and child so that the father does his best to be a green papa all his life.
translated by Cho Jihyun, Simons chole Jane
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