Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waiting for fashion to destroy the world

In 1989, leg warmers, stone washed jeans, and parachute pants ruled the runway. But perhaps nothing defines the decade better than big hair. And how did we get our hair so big? Come on ladies - do it with me - flip your head upside down and blow dry our hair while spraying it with aerosol hairspray (Rave was my preference). Tease it sky high. Once more with the spray. Perfection.

Big hair 80's model on white background, 1986Image by | El Caganer via Flickr

At 13, I was not an environmentalist. I cared about more important things like Kirk Cameron and Bon Jovi. Unfortunately, they weren't included in the curriculum at East Junior High. Instead my seventh grade honors biology teacher introduced me to two words that would change my life, and fashion sense, forever - ozone layer.

More specifically, he implied that my hairspray, my aerosol hairspray, could be depleting what seemed to my 13 year old brain to be a pretty necessary part of our little planet.


Middle school was not kind to me. Those years were filled with braces, over-sized glasses, and a few extra "baby weight" pounds still hanging on a decade after I had shed the last inkling of babyhood. Not being athletically inclined, honors classes and band filled my days, which, as you can imagine, made me quite a catch with the middle school boy.

Big hair was kind of all I had.

Except a conscience.

And so it began. After a week of researching chloroflurocarbons (the chemical in aerosol cans that damages the ozone), my Rave went in the trash and my big hair went flat. Several months later I went on to win in the local and state science fair with a project that showed the negative effects of CFC's on kalanchoe plants.

Looking back it may seem that my sacrifice was small compared to what others have given for the cause, and I agree. I didn't leave my family to study climate change in Antarctica or become a vegan to protest animal cruelty. But for a 13 year old girl with rockin' bangs, my sacrifice made me more aware of how one little change can impact the place I call home.

Have you ever taken a small step toward improving the environment? This is the place for you to be proud. Face it, we aren't going to Africa or giving up bacon (can I get an Amen?), but maybe we can turn off the light in the closet in the morning.

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