A friendly little Easter egg hunt seems innocent enough. There’s nothing criminal about allowing the kiddies to hunt down a wide assortment of specially decorated and strategically hidden hard-boiled chicken eggs (or in recent years, chocolate or trinket-filled plastic eggs) – hey, it’s all in the name of tradition and fun! Unless the rules have changed lately, no bunnies and/or other diminutive critters are ever harmed in the making of the White House’s annual festive springtime event, plus the whole practice harkens back to a sweeter, simple time, so all should be right with the world, right? Um…not so fast. We live in a complicated world which forces us to contemplate the social and environmental impact of our formerly good natured pursuits. To be truly dialed into the eco-scene as it applies to a good old fashioned Easter egg hunt, there are some basic considerations to bear in mind:
1. Is it actually wise to use chicken’s eggs at all? You don’t want to run the risk of fueling the factory farming industry and yet it can sometimes be challenging to find egg brands that guarantee that their birds enjoy a totally free range existence along with a 100% vegetarian diet. Once you’ve located the most ethically produced eggs you can get your hot little hands on, you have to be prepared to pay the price (which can admittedly be a little rough on the budget during these recessionary times).
2. Are foil-wrapped chocolate eggs any better? The tasty little gems still have their baggage if they’re produced from cacao that has been sourced from conventional rather than sustainably-managed plantations using child labor. Fair trade versions are the far better way to go, but what about all that foil that adds up over time but is rarely ever recycled? Can you get your kiddies to add all their colorful little wadded up metallic balls to a miniature collection carton, and more importantly, do you even have the patience to stick with it?
3. Plastic eggs = major ecosystem troublemaker. They used to seem like such a clever, versatile and durable option that could be easily reused over and over again, but now you’re running the risk of being branded as a thoughtless eco-heathen by willingly adding more plastic to an already overstuffed consumerist cycle. With all of the talk of BPA leaching into our foods, you have to wonder if it’s even safe to stuff the Technicolor-tinted orbs with anything that will end up being consumed (even if it IS sealed in a wrapper)?!
When you’re setting an example for the country and the world (as is the case with the White House), these are the types of issues that must be mulled over quite carefully. As such, they are unveiling a brand-spanking-new collection of Forest Stewardship Council-certified carved wood eggs that are painted in bold vegetable oil-based purple, pink, yellow and green, and even the exterior clear coat is water-based. Additionally, the souvenir-worthy eggs – which are emblazoned with the individual stamps of President Obama and his first lady – will be wrapped inside minimal yet fully recyclable packaging that echoes the eggs’ veggie/water based tints and will be certified to contain wood fibers from forests that are not threatened. While the lottery to attend the April 5th event is already closed, if you’re a collector, you might want to purchase an egg online via the National Park Foundation for $7.50 each or $26.50 for a boxed set of the four different colors. (No one said that eco-friendly was actually cheap…)
Via the Sun-Times