The environmentalist movement, which was begun with the best of intentions by sane and sober people has become one the funniest side shows on the American scene. When I say the word environmentalist I am not talking about the nice lady from the nature center who taught your Brownie troop about butterflies. I'm not talking about the park rangers who risk their lives every day trying to protect animals and oblivious tourists from each other. I'm talking about the person who has crossed the line from caring about nature and animals to becoming, well ... nuts.
Nuts was the first thing that came to my mind when I read about the "diaperless" baby trend. That's right there actually is a group of people pushing the idea that it's better for the earth if you let your baby go without cloth or disposable diapers. Since babies, like all living creatures produce waste how do the diaperless folks suggest a good-hearted, earth-loving parent handle the inevitable sanitation problem?
They think that you should get into the habit of holding your baby over a toilet or bucket. In public the diaperless brigade suggest that you carry a tightly sealed bag to collect waste, just like you do for your dog. If no public toilet is available there is always the old drunkard's solution -- head for the bushes.
Most of the gardeners I know get very upset when they catch a dog or cat in their yards. I can't imagine what their reactions would be to finding a neighbor encouraging a reluctant toddler to find relief among the hedgerows.
In an incredibly funny article written earlier this year by Marc Marano, a staff writer for the Cybercast News Service a father is quoted as saying that he longs for a "baby friendly dirt floored hut" in which to raise his infant.
I had to stop and read that twice.
This man reminded me of Marie Antoinette playing at being a shepherdess. The last queen of France had a romanticized view of peasant life that led in part to her death beneath the guillotine's blade.
The diaperless warriors however, can afford to afford to indulge in fantasies. Living their safe and comfortable lives in the US (Poverty stricken people don't have time to come up with stuff like this.) the diaperless movement folks are free to pretend the people in Third World countries live in some sort of pre-industrial Eden. In reality, along with that cozy dirt floor Third World infants face horrors like cholera, dysentery, malaria, gastrointestinal worms, and diarrhea. It's easy to romanticize tribal cultures when you know that your own baby will never have to drink the same parasite infested water that the neighbors have been using as a latrine and will never play in rivers of raw sewage oozing past the dear old family hut.
I was so intrigued by Marc Marano's article that I searched the Web looking for sites about the diaperless movement. They all seemed to lack a couple of important details. None talked about how you go about facing friends and relatives who will not appreciate having to clean their floors and upholstery after you and the baby visit and none of the sites talked about the mess of having to thoroughly wash your baby's crib and linen every morning.
Silly child care fads come and mercifully go but this one really stinks.