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Friday, December 30, 2011

Being Gifted with Plastic

The holidays are drawing to a much new plastic did you take in this week?  How much went out?  Are you somebody who thinks about these things?  In my little corner of the world, I sometimes feel like an alien.  I worry about plastic.  I think about it a lot.  I try not to bring it into my life.  But then there are the times when I receive a gift.  What if that gift is plastic?  What is the common courtesy around such things?

Here's an example:  Our elementary school decided to sell Smencils.  They are pencils that fruit or gum or whatever else.  I had a little talk with my sons and we all decided we didn't need smelly pencils, especially since we had enough pencils and the Smencils each come in a plastic tube to keep the smell intact.  The tube claims that it is biodegradeable (I am currently testing this out to see how long that actually takes and whether it works at all).  The Smencils come to the school in #3 (PVC) plastic tubs.  (Yeah, that's PVC, the 'poison plastic' - doesn't recycle many places and is toxic from start to finish.  The tubs are now sitting in my garage because our PTO pres. gave them to me to use in the classrooms as Terracycle collection tubs - but I don't want any more PVC in our school, so I am determined to find a place that will recycle them.  This is stressful to me, though, as I really wish we did not buy pencils packaged in plastic inside of plastic!)  So, back to my story....I tell the PTO pres. that it really is OK that my kids do not get Smencils...since our school has a policy that everyone gets a Smencil, even if they can't afford to order one for themselves.  But people are allowed to buy Smencils for other people, so that's exactly how we ended up with a Smencil.  My next-door neighbor bought a Smencil for my son.  A nice gesture.  He accepted the Smencil happily with a 'Thank you' and brought it home from school.  Did I tell the PTO about the issues I had with Smencils before they started selling them? - yes.  Smencils are marketed as eco-friendly, so when I told them, they had the same reaction they have to most of my anti-plastic statements....not again!  Why do I think about these things?  Don't I know how cool Smencils are?  They are made of recycled newspapers.  Do I want to deny our kids the joy of experiencing them?

I went to the mother/son dance last year with my then-1st-grader.  They had a dance contest and he won a prize.  The DJ handed him something and he came over to show me what it was:  a set of plastic teeth with a battery inside.  When you bite the plastic, it lights up inside your mouth.  Packaged in plastic.  Great!  Just what we needed!  My son knew that this was not a good gift, but what could we do with this item now?  We could give it away and it would still end up dying in a landfill or the ocean or elsewhere, stuff leaking out of the battery, if it didn't already leak into some poor child's mouth!

Every class party, my kids bring home treat bags.  I usually cringe before opening them, because I know what they are full of:  plastic dollar store trinkets and candy, all wrapped in plastic.  Full of good intentions, but nothing that we needed or wanted.

So what do you do with gifts like these?  I think the only thing you can really do is educate ahead of time and hope that people will listen to your requests.  When they don't, I'm not sure there is much you can do unless you want to alienate these people from your life.  People have told me I should just give the things away to 'those who don't have toys and who would appreciate them'.  It's not that I don't appreciate the thought, it is that I don't appreciate the harm that comes from these things.  And I don't really want to pass that along to another person.  It's the same way I feel about donations to the food bank:  If it's not something I would want to eat, why would I want to give it to another person?

So to anyone reading this who is thinking about giving me a gift, please hear me when I say:  Your smile, your presence, the delightful sound of your laughter, the funny stories you tell, your delicious homemade cookies, the way you put up with me and still stick around...all of these are my most treasured possessions, the things that I want from you.  If it is plastic, please do not buy it for me or my family.  And if you invite me for dinner on plastic plates, please do not be offended if I take them home to reuse and if the next time I eat at your house I bring my own plates.  Thank you very much!!!

p.s. - Thank you, Mom, for hearing me about the plastic!  It is a shame that those earwarmers had to come packaged in a hard plastic case, but other than that, you did not add to my plastic tally this Christmas - yeah!!!  We didn't buy much for Christmas this year.  It really warmed my heart when my middle son told me that his favorite gift was a book of bedtime stories since he would get a chance to read them to us every night.

Have a peaceful, less-plastic-filled New Year!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

End of the Year Thoughts

Hello, Dear Friends!  It has been much too long - my apologies for being out of touch!!

What have I been doing?  Clearing out.  After almost 6 years in our new house and having 3 sons, we accumulated a lot of stuff.  When I look around, I wonder how it is possible that we have so much stuff, most of which we don't need and the things that bother me the most are the things that I'm sure nobody needs:  useless plastic.  Toys that were given out at class parties that broke within days and now sit in a box, waiting for a creative reuse opportunity.  The only problem is that the box is now overflowing and nobody seems overly eager to make a plastic creation that will ultimately end up in the landfill or one of our oceans.

Straws and plastic lids....when I finally came to my senses and decided to stop doing fast food, we had a few slips along the way.  But I couldn't bare to throw the straws and lids away, so they also went in a box.  The straws make great construction toys and we've made lots of straw buildings and more, but now what?

I always had a hard time throwing things away, but now I really struggle because I know where it will go.  There is no away.  So I am taking my time.  Clearing out.  Clearing my mind.  Being very careful about what I bring in, because it will eventually have to go out again.

The other day, a friend called me to ask if I knew where we could recycle DVD players.  Yep, I do.  I said I'd take it since I have been given others and I will be making a trip there soon.  She said her daughters were getting a new one for Christmas.  I looked at the personal DVD player staring at me in perfect condition.  For the heck of it, I plugged it in.  It is in perfect working condition!  It will now be a Christmas present for my sons.  This friend is one of my biggest Terracyclers and I'm so thrilled that she wanted to recycle the DVD player, but I'm sad that she didn't think of giving it a new life first.  I know we live in a 'throw-away' society, but we need to turn this around!

Yesterday, I celebrated my grandfather's 95th birthday with him.  He is the kind of guy who will tape his glass frames until they can't be taped anymore.  His trash can is a milk carton that he keeps near his sink.  It rarely gets full in a week.  When things break, he fixes them.  If he doesn't need it, he doesn't buy it.

Which brings us to the topic of 'need'.  This week, I saw a picture that summed up some things that I've been thinking about a lot this season:
(I found this online from Pastor Kevin Stowe, but am not sure of the original creator).

My husband was telling me we don't have anything exciting to put under the tree this year for our sons.  To me, that IS exciting, because what we have to give them is exactly what they need:  our time, our care, our love, our example.

Why have we become a society of people who 'need' so much?

When we think about what we truly need, we often find that we can have it in abundance if we just care enough to see it.

I think it's safe to say that almost all of us could give up some physical gift this holiday season.  We could give up the money spent on gas, tolls, time spent in line, impatience and rudeness toward others from overcrowding at stores, etc.  Instead, we could join together in love and peace and help heal the world.  I guess to a lot of people, that sounds like a fantasy.  We are the creators of our reality.  Together we can make a difference. 

I wish you peace, love and joy this holiday season and into the new year!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sweet Tea Recipe

One of the simple pleasures I remember from my childhood is iced tea.  My mom would make sun tea on our back patio and it was such a delight!  I can remember watching it brew and then the delicious taste that I equated with goodness coming straight from the sun! 

I feel like this is something I need to bring back into my life since we have so many commercial iced teas around now.  Last summer, when McDonald's was advertising $1 Mickey D's Sweet Tea, my kids fell in love with it.  With it's styrofoam cup, I was not loving it.  I thought about all of the bottles, mostly plastic now, that are being thrown away with each sip of store-bought bottled tea and how much could be saved, financially and environmentally, by making our own.

Here's a link I found to a sweet tea recipe that is close to McDonald's, if that's what you like:

The recipe I use is so simple, but it makes me happy every time I make it:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Add 2 family-size tea bags or 5-6 regular tea bags.  Turn off heat and set timer for 3 minutes.  Add 2 more cups of water and squeeze (& compost) tea bags.  Add 1 TB local honey, 1 squeeze fresh lemon, 1/2 c. sugar (more or less to taste).  Stir.  Add 2 more cups of water & stir.  Makes 2 quarts. 

Sometimes we don't use honey, add oranges and lemons instead of sweeteners, add fresh mint, etc.  I taught my 2 oldest sons how to make this and they love to experiment and vary the recipe.

Next summer I will try to make sun tea again.  But for now, we have our sweet tea with no styrofoam or plastic waste - hooray!  Do you have a favorite drink recipe to share that eliminates plastic packaging?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No Impact Transportation Day and Other Random Thoughts

Today (officially yesterday now) was Transportation Day for Yes! Magazine's No Impact Week and I knew this would be my toughest day before the rain even began to fall.  The thought of getting my 4 year old to our preschool (at our district elementary school) without a car is extremely daunting to me and brings to mind images of near-death situations.  I really wish it were not the case, but I don't even feel safe riding my bike or walking alone on most of the streets that I travel, let alone doing it with a child.  Just yesterday I watched in horror as a couple walking their dog was almost mowed down by a speeding car turning a windy corner - good thing for fast reflexes and good brakes!  And then there are my Terracycle would I get all of those boxes to school without my car?  And get home and back to the PTO meeting and do everything else that needed to be done in between on time?

Needless to say, I failed miserably at not using my car today.  I did think about carpooling to the PTO meeting and called 2 friends to see if they'd like to join me, but got no takers.  Something to work on, though, as there are many opportunities to carpool that I don't often take advantage of.  One of the main reasons:  time, or perceived lack thereof.  So what is more important to me?  That's really at the heart of why I'm writing this blog.  What matters?  What is worth giving my time to?  What is worth thinking about and considering?  Sitting behind a truck giving off terrible emissions on my way home from the PTO meeting struck me tonight in a way that it never has before.  Every day, I am part of the problem.  I drive.  I try to drive responsibly, but what does that really mean?  I follow the speed limit.  On a recent trip to visit my brother on the PA turnpike, I drove the speed limit the entire trip and only passed 1 car - this is amazing to me, considering the volume of cars on that road.  The one white-haired gentleman that I passed was driving about 30 mph.  Everyone else seemed to be going at least 70 mph or more.  We are a nation in high gear.  Where are we all racing to?  What are we hoping to gain by rushing through our lives?  So many times if we would allow ourselves to slow down, we would have time to think about the consequences of our actions and that would be a really good thing!

So here's to bike lanes and walking lanes and trails that make it safe for us all to share the road!  And to taking the time to build them, explore them and use them.  Here's to slowing down to consider those around us who are sharing the path on this journey we call life.  We all want clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, don't we?  The things we value are not so different when we take the time to think about it.  So let's think and let's act.  Differently....together....better.

Monday, September 19, 2011

No Impact Week With YES! Magazine: September 2011

This week I'm taking part in YES! Magazine's 'No Impact Week'.  There's still time to join!:

Yesterday, we focused on consumption.  The topic of consumption has been on my mind for a while now, so it wasn't the hardest of the challenges for me.  My kids brought home a 'Back 2 School Smencil Gram' flyer, though, so it presented the opportunity to have a little talk.  Did we need any more pencils?  The answer was an easy, 'No!', as we save pencils from year to year and have more than enough to last us for a few more years without buying a new one!  Would they be upset if all of their friends got a Smencil Gram and they didn't?  I didn't get an immediate 'No!' to this question and I could see the wheels spinning.  I asked them if there was something we could do together as a family to show our love for each other instead of sending out the Smencil Grams.  Bingo!  'Can we play Candyland together, Mom?'  An extra family game night sounds like a great idea to me! 

(For those of you who don't know what a Smencil is, it is a pencil made of recycled newspaper which has a scent - there are lots of scents and according to their website, they are "the same as those used to make soaps and candles, which are safe for reasonable personal use as tested by the manufacturers."  They also state that "by using corn-based biodegradable plastic tubes, even Smencil and Smen packaging is environmentally friendly."  While that sounds good, I'm not sure the plastic tubes can biodegrade in the landfill, where I'm sure most of them end up.  If you need to buy a pencil, it seems to me it would be more eco-friendly if it weren't in any type of packaging at all.  I can be a real killjoy, can't I? ;) ).

Today's topic is Trash.  One of the recommendations for today is something that I thought I had done, but their suggestion is much more complete:
Put together a no-trash travel kit for the week with a reusable drinking receptacle for hot and cold liquids, a handkerchief/old t-shirt, Tupperware®, utensils, and reusable produce bags.

So I am adding a few things to my take-along kit!  One thing I noticed that I accumulate a lot of is tissues.  I do buy recycled tissues, but with 3 little boys (one who currently has a cold!), the tissues add up!  The old t-shirt suggestion for handkerchiefs is a good one for me!  I'm going to try to cut some up later today - will try to post some pictures.

Now that's what I call FUN!  Do you have a no-trash travel kit?  How have you used it?  Will you add to it this week?

Want to join me in the fun of the No Impact Week?  I'd love to hear your experiences!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

For Our World - Reflections of a Peacemaker and The Circle of Life

I know I've commented many times before on the way things come around full circle - the 'circle of life' - and how everything is connected.  Please bear with me as I do this again!  I was recently reminded of a young man who was "a poet, a peacemaker and a philosopher who played", Mattie Stepanek.  He was a true saint.  If you don't know about him, you can learn more at .  On 9/11/01, he wrote the poem, "For Our World".  It speaks many innocent truths about how peace can be achieved.  I believe it connects so strongly to how we can attain sustainability.  We need to just do do our very best.  I'm slowly decluttering my house and my life.  I see all of the 'things' that have come into my life over the past 39 years.  How did they get here?  For most things, I can't even answer that question.  They got here somehow in the unconscious.  From this day forward, though, I am going to be conscious...of everything that comes into my life.  There are so many things that come into our lives each day.  We can just let them pass by and not reflect on their meaning, or we can choose to be conscious and make sure that what is coming into our lives reflects the values that we hold dear to our hearts.  For us...and For our world....


We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment…
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment…
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment…
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice…
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment…
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.
Mattie J.T. Stepanek ©
September 11, 2001

Hope Through Heartsongs
Hyperion, 2002
Just Peace: A Message of Hope
Andrews McMeel, 2006

Monday, May 16, 2011

Making a Commitment to Make Things Better...One Step at a Time

Change is never easy.  Sometimes we don't change because we don't think there's a reason to change.  Or we don't know there's a reason to change.

And sometimes we do know...but it's easier not to change.  Or so we think.

A lot of things in our society are 'convenient'.  I run a Terracycle program at our Elementary School.  Terracycle has had a brigade called the 'Home Storage' brigade for a while now.  It is sponsored by Ziploc, who recently decided to end their sponsorship.  So the brigade is going away...slowly, a few schools at a time, in the reverse order of when you signed up.  Since we were one of the first to sign up, we were one of the first to go.  Not having this brigade around is upsetting a lot of people.  REALLY upsetting people.  Enough that they are willing to write letters to Glad and Hefty and ask them to take on sponsorship of the brigade.

So this has me thinking and wondering.  Are Ziploc bags really that much more 'convenient' than anything else?  When I started becoming aware of how much plastic our family disposed of, I made a commitment to stop buying ziploc-type bags.  When the last one came out of the box, that was it.  I bought 2 sandwich containers for my sons to take to school and we saved some empty butter containers to use as snack containers.  We've lived Ziploc-free for over a year now and it doesn't feel any less 'convenient' to me.  If I were going to do it over again today, knowing what I know now, I would probably buy stainless-steel sandwich containers instead of the plastic ones I bought back then, but when I see all of the Ziploc bags being thrown away every day at school, it makes me glad that I took that one small step.

And now this act by Ziploc gives me another chance to spread the word.  You can survive without your Ziploc bags.  Some people tell me they still wash and reuse their Ziploc bags and I think that's great, but I still ask them when that last bag comes out of the box to consider a better alternative.  In turn, they tell me that I shouldn't buy butter in plastic containers and indeed, they are right!  So we encourage each other and help each other along the way.

I also think that if you are passionate enough to write letters to companies asking them to sponsor your desire to keep using and discarding (and then Terracycling) your plastic bags, you should be passionate enough to ask them to think of better alternatives, too.  I grew up as a fast-food kid and have a guilty-pleasure of taking my sons to Chick-Fil-A on occasion (please don't shoot me for this!), but every time I go there, the styrofoam cups drive me insane!  So I write to them.  I've probably written 20 letters so far, but the response I always get is that they feel that styrofoam is 'overall' the best environmental choice they could make.  I disagree, so I no longer buy drinks if I take my boys there.  And I find that we go there less and less often now.  For a while, I would buy the drinks, feel so guilty, and save the rinsed out cups.  My mom would take them and use them as packaging when she shipped things for her small business.  Somehow this allowed me to feel less guilty.  But the last time I handed her a stack of cups, I knew the insanity had to stop!  Like a smoker who knows it's their last puff, I quit, cold-turkey!  I made a commitment and declared it out loud to my family:  "We will no longer buy drinks in styrofoam cups!"  It is our latest commitment and for 2 months now, it has stuck.  It makes me proud when my sons say, "We don't like styrofoam because it never goes away.  And animals eat it and get sick.  And some die."  They get it.  They made the commitment with me.

We're not perfect.  We go to Rita's water ice for a treat. comes in disposable paper cups.  No, it's not the healthiest treat in the world.  But every time we go (which is not very often because it is an expensive treat for a family of 5!) now, we take our own spoons.  And we are not shy about it.  People see our spoons and say, 'What a great idea!  That's something I can do.'  And that's the whole point.

The other day someone wrote on my Facebook wall that she was happy to report that her son no longer uses straws because he was inspired by the story I told him about Milo.  (  And he is passing the word on to others!

Do something good.  Make a commitment.  Inspire others.

We're not perfect, but together, we'll get there.  One commitment at a time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Random Environmental Thoughts of the latest buzzwords.  I just got back from the 'Tri-County Sustainable Communities Forum' that was hosted by Sustainable Cherry Hill and Sustainable Jersey.  I had to push myself outside of my comfort zone on several levels to attend this event:  First, I had to drive on some really big highways (Ok, I'll admit, anything more than 3 lanes in each direction gets my heart beating a little faster - and these were 4 lanes!  With 'roundabouts'!  And I'm more of a backroads kinda' gal, but I did it!!  One hurdle down!).  Then I had to walk into a huge room full of people who I did not know and mingle.  Talk.  Meet people.  OK, this wasn't as hard as I thought thanks to the many kind and accepting people that the event drew.  So I came away with a few more friends who are walking the walk with me, adding up our footsteps to make a bigger impression in the world.  I reached out.  It wasn't easy, but I did it......and it wasn't as hard as I thought - I actually enjoyed it!  One of my favorite things about sustainability is community - we're all in this together.

Which led me here and then I caught up with one of my favorite blogs, from another fellow friend who is walking the walk and talking the talk, and I'm so honored to read that he includes me among his inspiration - Thanks, Dave!!!:

 And it truly brings me full-circle, because I see that these connections are part of the bigger picture.  It reminds me of the Cheers song:  "Sometimes you wanna' go...where everybody knows your name.  And they're always glad you came."  That's how I feel among all of you and that's how I know that I'm in the right place, doing the right thing.

Because I'm not always among friends.  This week, I went to a screening of a documentary entitled 'Crude' at our local library.  It tells the story of the indigenous people of Ecuador's battle against Texaco/Chevron for environmental and health devastation that has taken place in Ecuador.  It was eye-opening for me since I didn't know much about that struggle, but it was a familiar struggle that I've seen in several documentaries that I've watched recently.  David vs. Goliath in the war on the environment.  So at the end of the movie, I grab a chocolate chip cookie and turn around with a man, much taller than myself, standing less than 6 inches in front of my face.  He proceeds to tell me how much I scare him.  Me and all of the environmentalists like me.  (I know some of you have never seen me, but at 5'4" and with the voice of a 1st grader, I'm hardly a threat!).  This man was about 20 years older than me and was singing the praises of drilling in Marcellus Shale (a local fracking site) and telling me that reusable bags spread e-coli.  I opened my mouth to speak, but he immediately filled the air with more reasons why environmentalists are 'dangerous'.  The library received angry e-mails saying that they had a 'pro-green conspiracy' for even showing the film.  "What exactly is a 'pro-green conspiracy' anyway?", I wanted to ask.  "You non-environmentalists scare me!" I wanted to say....but never got the chance.  There would have been an opportunity for real discussion here if the man stuck around to hear what I had to say.  But I guess I was too scary, so he told his side and left.

Leaving.....why do we leave?  Why do we turn a blind eye?  Thankfully, I have met many, many people who do not want to turn away.  They want to know more.  They want to find out what they can do.  They come to me, because I know some things and they want me to know everything.  Sadly, I don't.  I started a Terracycle program at our school.  It's doing very well.  People want to Terracycle everything.  I asked for e-waste and put out a detailed letter stating that we could only take cell phones, mp3 players, cameras and laptops.  The first day, I got a Cuisinart coffee bean grinder.....that still works!  It's been very interesting collecting trash for Terracycle.  People trust me.  They trust that I will do the right thing with their discarded items.  They know that even if it can't be Terracycled or recycled, I will try to find a responsible thing to do with it.  Sometimes I can, as is the case with the coffee bean grinder, and sometimes I can't, as is the case with MOST plastic items that people give me with the hope that I can make it disappear.  How I wish I could wave that magic wand, click my heels and make it all go away.  How my husband wishes this, too (so he could get all of these hopeful items out of our garage)!  I can't.  But I think we ALL can...working together, piece by piece, until we are truly living in a society that is sustainable.  The path isn't always easy (and many times it feels like 'the long and winding road').  It usually isn't a profitable path.  I know many, like myself, who volunteer a lot of time to this cause, never seeking compensation.

To all of these friends, I offer one of my favorite poems of all time, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost:

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.        20

Monday, January 31, 2011

I Do Not Heart Monsanto or Corporate Greed!

Almost 2 hours of my day today was spent watching 'The World According to Monsanto' -
and feeling pretty sick about it.  I try to be a positive person, but it's hard to watch the stuff that's going on in India and Mexico and now right here in the good 'ole US of A and not feel really angry about corporate greed and the impact it has on all of us, but especially the poor of the world.  Some of the damage I contribute to as a US citizen really hurts my heart.  So now I have to decide what to do with this information.  Where do we go from here?  If you just sit back and look at these big picture stories, like the polar bear mom whose baby died because she had to swim so far looking for ice and just couldn't make it any longer; all the plastic particles that are now everywhere in every part of everything we do, eat, breathe, etc.;  and now Roundup Ready alfalfa takes over the all feels a little overwhelming, doesn't it?  I think my conclusion today is that it is overwhelming.  These are times that I just have to turn to my faith to carry me through.  There are no easy answers.  The best I can do is my personal best, one step at a time, day by day, spreading (non-GM) seeds and hoping they take root and grow, learning from others and trying to find the love in this world.  That's the optimist in me.  Here comes the pessimist....
This video was an eye-opener for me because I realized how many things I am just naive about and don't even begin to know about.  There are lots of Americans just like me.  We live in a little bubble not even realizing all of the things that are going on around us until they hit us right in the nose.  That's the life I wish we could all have, though....the simple life.  When did everything get so complicated?  It wasn't good enough to drink the milk of a cow, we had to inject her with all kinds of hormones until she got mastitis and then administer antibiotics to heal the mastitis, so now we have pus, antibiotics and igF1 (a hormone, I think?) in our milk....and the best part is that if we didn't purposely try to find out about it, we might never have even known!?!  And that milk is probably not killing us, but think about it and think about all of the bad things that it IS doing.  Is it worth it?  The milk is just one tiny example, a drop in the bucket.  I think about my grandparents and how hard they worked to put food on the table and how they grew gardens to nourish their families.  Is there anybody in the world that dreams of feeding their kids pus?  antibiotics?  hormones?  toxins?  I have to say that I'm really disappointed in our government for constantly giving in to corporate greed and putting profits ahead of people.  When will we learn?  Why does it seem like the simplest things are often the hardest to understand?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Plastic-Free Life's Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge

Happy New Year!!!

I've been saving my plastic trash for a while now, but never really tallying it up or documenting it, so in an attempt to make myself analyze it a little more this year, I'm going to take Beth Terry's (My Plastic-Free Life) challenge.  If you want to join me, the link is here:

Let me know if you're taking the challenge and what impact it makes on your life.

For some reason, my calling in life revolves around trash!  It's been a focal point in my life for a long time and I'm finally coming back around to it.  I used to save candy wrappers in my bedroom as a child because I thought they were too pretty to be thrown away.  I saved a lot of things like that, always wondering why we used things one time and then 'got rid' of them....where did they all end up?  So here I am in my 30's (almost 40's!) and thinking about trash consumes a lot of the time I spend on this earth.  When I found out how much food is thrown away each year in the U.S., it really astounded me, so I started to take a look at our food waste and what we could do about it.  We started composting and I can happily say we've cut our food waste down to almost nothing.  I just ordered some worms to try vermicomposting, so I'll do a whole entry on composting one of these days.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that thinking about (and actually analyzing) what we're doing is usually a good way to make a change (or decide that you like the way everything is going and stay the same).  Yes, life is short and it does take time to do things like this, but I think the time spent is worth it if it produces helpful results.  So, who's with me? :)