Carbon Environmental Boutique is a retail store located in the historic heart of downtown Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Carbon’s mission is threefold – to showcase and support environmental manufacture, to encourage and fortify ethical business practices and to advocate and promote non-toxic living.
Allison MacLean is the owner of the store. Like most parents, Allison and and her husband wanted to make healthier choices for themselves and their two small children. Questions about food safety eventually led to questions into the myriads of other items that surrounded them within their own household. Is that rubber duck my child is chewing on safe? Are anti-bacterial agents healthy? Exactly what is Teflon? How is our home’s indoor air quality?
Their research had startling results. The couple discovered that pollution was not an exterior planetary issue. It was not something happening on a distant field or in a remote body of water. Pollution was present within their own home, within their own lungs and measurably present in their bloodstreams and those of their children.
Life, as they knew it, needed to be rethought.
Uplifted by new awareness, they began the process towards healthier, mindful living. Each new item that came into their home was asked some simple questions. Questions like: What ingredients are in this lotion, this paint, this mattress? Does this product benefit me and others, or harm me and others? These simple questions became the platform for Carbon Environmental Boutique’s product screening process.
Of key note was the interconnectedness of the issue – in removing pollution from their home by purchasing only chemically benign products, pollution is ultimately removed from the planet. They became “inside out environmentalists” a term Allison coined to describe how, by focusing on what was inside them (their bodies’ internal environments) they effected change on what was outside of them (the environment of the planet). By not buying conventional products with toxic ingredients, the demand for these toxic products is lessened. Ultimately fewer harmful products are produced. This benefits the end user of the product, but also benefits the workers at the factory where the product was made and the factory’s surrounding earth, air and water. By weighing small, everyday choices, the couple felt empowered to help others to do the same, and an environmental boutique was born.
Allison was happy to realize that they were joining a pre-existing community. A community of parents, people and companies who are all, everyday, making choices towards a better life on planet Earth.
That is what the name Carbon is all about. Carbon – the one element on the periodic table that connects all organic life. It is the element that shows community between all living things. Whether human, or bird, or fish, or tree – we are all Carbon-based.