Aug 122011

Natasha Hanckel-Spice, Ray Moynihan and Jane Hanckel at eco parenting book launch

The weather was warm and sunny on Saturday August 6th for the launch of the first two books in the eco parenting series at the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Derek Spice the co-founder of Inspir=Ed and the Spirit of Childhood Foundation  gave a short introduction to the launch.

Delta Kay, an Arakwal spokesperson and one of the Aboriginal custodians of Byron Bay provided a welcome to country.

Delta Kay at the launch of the eco parenting book series

Delta is also an early childhood support worker.  Delta and I have worked together running the Inspir=Ed early childhood programs using the eco parenting principles at the Bunjum Aboriginal Cooperative in Ballina.  Delta spoke movingly about how the programs have helped parents gain new and valuable parenting skills and knowledge to support healthy outcomes for their children.

After the welcome to country MC Natasha Hanckel-Spice introduced Ray Moynihan who officially launched the books.

Ray is an inspiring award-winning journalist, author, documentary-maker, academic researcher and a journalist with Byron Bay’s local independent paper The Echo as well as a writer for the British Medical Journal, Radio New Zealand and other media around Australia.

Ray Moynihan launching the eco parenting series

Ray’s 2005 book Selling Sickness’has been translated into over a dozen languages. In late 2010 he released his fourth book, ‘Sex, Lies & Pharmaceuticals’ which further explores the very close links between pharmaceutical companies and some of the recent medical ‘breakthroughs’ that have been made.  Ray related how witnessing the diagnosis and prescibing of a child with borderline ADHD was one of the turning points in his career leading to his important work investigating the link between doctors and the pharmaceutical companies.

Next to join the conversation was Jo Immig.  Jo is an ecologist, freelance writer and researcher. She is also the Coordinator and spokesperson for the National Toxics Network in Australia, a community group fighting for pollution reduction and raising awareness about environmental health.

Jo Immig talks about children and the environment

Jo has authored three books including ‘Toxic Playgrounds’.   She has recently been campaigning for authorities to recognise the connection between the spraying of macadamia farms in the Lismore area with the rise in a birth defect among babies born in the Northern Rivers.  Jo provided extremely valuable input in the final stages of the ‘growing greener children’ book through her extensive experience in researching the links between the toxins in the environment and human health.

The panel discussion included how plastics have become so prevalent in childhood and the links to hormonal disruption, ADHD and other illnesses.  It was the opportunity to quote from the chapter on environmental triggers.  “American writer Norman Mailer called plastic ‘the excrement of the oil’. He warned about the cost of reliance on this cheap, ubiquitous material and the deadening of our senses. ‘Mailer also saw a link between violence and plastic. He argued that extreme actions were part of a search to discover the senses.’”

There were many questions from the audience which included a suggestion for one of the next books in the series – how to raise healthy young teengage girls in the midst of much peer and media pressure to use potentially toxic personal care products.