eco friendly period products
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The Convergence of Environmentalism and Empowerment

Madelaine switched to an eco-friendly lifestyle eight years ago when she first moved to B.C. In her book, All You Need is Less, she shares tips on how to adapt an eco-friendly lifestyle that’s also inexpensive and fun.
Written by Madeleine Somerville

In this article /

    My interest in living environmentally-friendly was piqued eight years ago, when frustration over high-priced “green” goods had me seeing red. I found it endlessly infuriating that anything Eco-friendly always seemed to require lots of money when you bought a “natural” product, tons of spare time if you chose to whip up a homemade version – or in the case of recipes involving a laundry list of obscure ingredients, both.

    This passion for an Eco-friendly life that was as simple as it was green, propelled me to write a book called All You Need Is Less. In it, I detail dozens of ways to reduce your environmental impact by gradually making easy, inexpensive, and fun changes to your daily life. I found taking control of the products and ingredients entering my home incredibly empowering, and so it was natural for me to talk about the DivaCup in my book.

    The DivaCup blends two of my greatest passions, female empowerment and environmentalism. It may seem strange to imbue a simple menstrual cup with this attribute, but we in North America live in the heart of a culture that often exploits our femininity for profit while simultaneously trying to make us feel ashamed of the very things that make us female. By these arcane rules breasts are okay if they are overflowing out of a padded demi-cup ten feet tall on a billboard, not so much if they are peeking out over the fuzzy head of a nursing infant.

    And of course, this attitude extends to our periods.

    Is there anything more reviled and feared than a woman’s period? As a teen girl it is the ultimate embarrassment. Each month, the potential for menstrual blood staining clothing – or products falling out of a purse or backpack – is literally a nightmare scenario. Half of our population gets a periods every single month yet we all walk around pretending that it isn’t happening, because we’ve been taught to feel ashamed of a completely natural process.

    In some cultures menstruation is seen as a powerful, cleansing act, a mark of the divine feminine, a time for rest and rejuvenation and remembering our female roots. In ours, however, we hide it, deny it, and lie about it. An entire industry is built around maintaining its secrecy. Pads and tampons are made to be thrown out, built to be discreet, and designed to hide our periods with crinkle-free wrappers, artificial scents and shiny plastic applicators. Entire advertising campaigns are conducted using a mysterious blue liquid because no one wants to think about periods even when they are selling products to deal with our periods!

    This shame has real-world implications that go beyond the impact of this shame on young women. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste from tampons and sanitary napkins end up in landfills every year, and if it weren’t so sad, it would strike me as ironic that such an innately natural process has such a devastating effect on the natural world.

    I think as girls and women become more empowered, they become less inclined to buy into myths about the female body being dirty, embarrassing, or unacceptable in its natural state. Once this happens, one doesn’t need super thin panty liners or cleverly disguised tampon cases. Once we are able to accept the period as natural, we are more likely to search out a natural way to manage it.

    Enter the DivaCup!

    The DivaCup allows us to accept, acknowledge and take control of our bodies,  while also significantly reducing waste. Informing and empowering women while preventing hundreds of thousands of pads and tampons from being thrown out – What’s not to love?

    Introducing the DivaCup into your life, is just one way you can go green. Learn more helpful tips by picking up a copy of All You Need Is Less.

    Madeleine Somerville

    About the contributor

    Madeleine Somerville adores writing in all its incarnations. She became an unrepentant, tree-hugging hippie after moving to British Columbia eight years ago and she’s never looked back. This is her first book.