… you become a cloth diaper activist in your maternity leave.

This fall, on september 5th to be exact, I stopped going to work every day and started to nurse and breast feed a tiny human being instead. Being Norwegian I get the opportunity to do this for approximately 7-9 months, without worrying about income.

It’s weird having your life change like that in just one day. Going from an active on-the-top-of-things person to being a food tray and sleeping station, stucked on the couch. And just to withdraw myself even a bit further away from society, I moved into the forrest, to a little village, 50km from the urban city life. I now had little else to do than look at my, of course, incredible cute baby, and try to control frustrating thoughts about everything I wanted to do, but can’t. I’ve had so many ideas for films, knitting projects, impact work, sewing projects, volunteer work, embroideries (I really don’t know how to embroider), reorganising Indie Film, saving the world – that I can’t count them any more. I never got the time to see any of them through, and they disappeared while I babbled with and sang for my baby.

And change diapers. And here starts my blog story; who knew diapers would end up solving all my leave problems! Through a mum colleague, I got introduced to the world of cloth diapers. There’s many environmental reasons to use reusable diapers, specially if you by them used. For once, one baby produce about one tonn of diaper waste through his or hers career as a diaper user. That’s pretty much. Reusable diapers save the planet for all that waste. But cloth diapers can seem complicated in the beginning. Do you’re baby prefer bambus, hemp, cotton or microfibre to absorb his or hers pee? Or perhaps an intricate combination? Is your baby a big peer or an explosive peer? Mostly night or all day long peer? Slowly, you start to pick up on it, though. And the more you learn, the more you get hooked. Soon you’re Facebook feed is 80% posts from the cloth diaper groups you follow. Every night you spend an hour checking in on the cloth diaper snapchat to peek into other cloth diaper baby’s stash. One day you have to go to the step to unfollow cloth diapers, so to try to stop thinking about them 24/7. And who knew, Donald Trump are about to become president in the United States…

Anyway, this is approximately what happened to me. But I didn’t stop thinking about them, despite the presidential shock. OK, the planet will be relieved of my tonn of diaper waste. But others should also get the opportunity to save the planet, if they’d like. One of the things that hold people back is that cloth diapers are expensive. Norway actually have very cheap one-time-use diapers, so reusable diapers seem like a big investment. Therefore 25% of all communes in Norway offer financial support to make it easier to try them. The small commune I recently moved to however, does not offer this. And 25%, come on, that’s really to few.

So I started my own little political campaign. Sending e-mails to local political parties I thought would support cloth diaper subsidies. Engaging my commune council and my sanitation company. I got interviewed by the local press showing off my diapers (I’m know recognised at the local grocery store as the one with the fancy diapers).

And wohoo, it worked! Cloth diapers got on the agenda. Strategising. How to keep the topic on the agenda? And why stop at my commune. The four other communes with the same sanitation company should also give subsidies. More research. More e-mails. And more success! Rumour now has it that all five communes will give about 100Euros in subsidies to babies using cloth diapers.

What a rush! I love democracy! How great to be able to have impact and influence on the society. That my voice and opinions actually matters. And that the people elected by the people to control our societies, actually take my suggestions seriously. Even though it’s quite the small accomplishment, and I haven’t really saved the world of plastic waste, I feel incredibly good. My campaign might not be qualify me for any Impact Award, but hey, what a nice practice for future impact films and campaigns. Now looking forward to the paternity leave, when I get to do some other work during the day, while the dad does the baby work at home.

– Karianne

Sarah Winge-Sørensen