An old and dear friend posted a picture of McDonald's Shamrock Shakes on my Facebook wall and said they remind her of me. It's true....the "old" me was a Shamrock Shake fan. Before I became a mom, when I was a working woman, every year at Shamrock Shake time, I would organize and outing to McDonald's so we could hang out and ingest the minty green concoction with delight. I haven't been able to bring myself to buy one for a few years, since I've been realizing the environmental impacts that my lifestyle is having. As my mom says, "When you know better, you do better."
A lot of people in my life think I'm an extremist. It's extreme to a lot of people to never drink a Shamrock Shake again just because you believe it's bad for the planet. It's just one Shamrock Shake, after all.
A wonderful blogger, Ryan Elizabeth Cope, just wrote a post about an article that upset many of us 'extremists' dealing with this very thought. You can check it out here: http://sevenintheocean.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/straws-suck-no-really-they-do/
It's just one Shamrock Shake, right? I'm extreme because I won't let myself have one. It's extreme to refuse a straw. It's extreme to have to bring your own bag...or water bottle...or utensils.
Well, to me, it's extreme to put 3 items in a plastic bag that will be used once and tossed. It's extreme to defend the right to consume single-use plastic every day when there are animals being killed and oceans and beaches being polluted at rates that are unfathomable. It's extreme to not think about what impact our actions are making on the world around us, to live an unconscious life. When you know better, you do better.
One of my sons came crying to me this week telling me that he was sensitive and that meant he had to run away when a friend of his said something that hurt his feelings because he felt like he was going to cry. And he is sensitive and this really upsets him. I told him that I think I know the person who passed on this sensitivity very well and I have it on good authority that sensitive people are some of the very best people on this planet because they feel things so deeply that they can often discover things that other people do not notice and make other people aware of them before they cause more harm.
Chris Jordan is a sensitive soul. His artwork captures breathtaking scenes of beauty, agony, anguish, despair, hope. His work for his documentary, Midway, is what first made me realize the horror of the plastic that I was tossing on a daily basis and start to change my actions. I am so grateful to him, among many others, for his inspiration and courage in following his heart and his convictions and giving that gift to the world.
Another such inspiration is Goffinet McLaren, author of Sullie Saves the Seas, a beautiful book for young people about plastic pollution, who I had the extreme honor to meet on Facebook!. I highly recommend this book to everyone who has a young person in their life and even those who don't - I loved reading it as an adult! If you want to try to win a copy of the book, Beth Terry is giving one away here: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2012/02/sullie-saves-the-seas-a-story-for-children-and-adults/
There is always fear around extremes. We worry that our freedom will be taken away. What will life be like without a Shamrock Shake? I understand the fear, but we need to push past it to make new discoveries that lead to a better life. I'm testing out some homemade shamrock shake recipes that come without the plastic cup, plastic dome lid and plastic straw.
I think we need to live a life that is in line with what we believe and who were truly are inside. When we see the pictures of birds on Midway dying with bellies full of plastic and make the connection with what we are throwing away on a daily basis, we need to have a response. Maybe an extreme response. When we know better, we do better.