Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who needs a house out in Hackensack?

Is that all you get for your money?

Thank you, Billy Joel. You've been in constant play in my car for over a month now. The words leading up to that: "Mama Leone left a note on the door, it said Sonny, move out to the country. Working too hard can give you a heart attack..." A house in the country? Is that all you get for your money? "If that's movin' up then I'm movin' out." Yeah, this gets me thinking. Moving up? What IS moving up? For what are we striving? What's the fight, here? The struggle? What is the goal?

This is something with which we all wrestle, of course. I've been thinking about it more because my husband and I are planning our Great Escape. We are done with the city, we are done with Los Angeles, and we are heading back to a simpler, quieter life. So, I've been wondering if I have failed at the "Goals", if I am turning tail and fleeing back to my hometown, if I am not a "success". So now, we must define these terms. What IS success? Chasing money so we can buy things? Or is it a nice, comfortable house with a garden outside, and time to enjoy it? Bigger house, more expensive car, more stuff??? Is that what I am supposed to want?

It's not. I WANT to dig in the Earth in the summer, I WANT to can and jar my own stuff and live where there is less traffic and especially less noise. And most of all, less people. Many less people. I'm sure it won't be perfect, and it won't be easy, but it'll be quieter. Because I just don't get it. Is it me? What do we want out of life? What IS progress? More debt, more storage more crap? Maybe I'm getting old-fashioned in my middle age, but I don't see the point to that. Wasn't technology supposed to give us the time and ease to improve OURSELVES? I don't see that happening. We're not getting smarter, that's for sure. We are not being better stewards of the planet, that's for DAMNED sure. We're working harder, that's for sure. But I don't know why. Can someone answer that? I want time to read, to write, to get dirt under my fingernails. Do you think we can turn this all around, or are we all just going to keep on the path of destroying this place we live in/on?

Yeah, I'm dropping out. And I consider THAT to be progress. I want to be in a community where I am adding something positive. I don't want to be just another rat on the wheel. I want to enjoy the simple pleasures again. My grandparents worked hard, sure they did. But they had a nice house and good values. Can we get back to that? I'm sure going to try.

What say YOU? Does this make sense at all? What do you see as progress?

My brain is in a twist these days. Love to hear what you think...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Envirosax - Some Good Words for a Change!

Let me begin by saying no, they are not paying me or bribing me. I love my Envirosax bag all on my own.

What do I love the most? (How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! LOL) Is it that it rolls up so small (They say on their site, the size of a piece of sushi!) that I can carry THREE of them in my admittedly huge purse and still have room for everything else, so that I am never without a reusable bag? Is it that it is SO strong that I have to make sure it's not too heavy for me when I pack it full of stuff? Is it that the handles are big enough to sling over my shoulder? Is it the flourish with which I unsnap and unroll it, with the beautiful colors causing people to notice, so I can look at them with a "Yeah I bring my own bags, you should too" look? Is it the admiration of the cashiers, who almost always comment on it?

I think it's the flourish. That's the part I love the most.

Envirosax (http://www.envirosax.com/faq) is a strong, sturdy, pretty bag that is HUGE but folds up SO nice and small. It's waterproof. It's made out of polyester.

Wait, what??? Yeah I know. Polyester bad. Why am I carrying this bag, then? Because I know it is going to last for YEARS. Literally, years. That's a lot of plastic bags I won't be using. It's a much more sustainable thing. And the company itself is a very environmental gig. They have other products that aren't made of polyester, and that's a good thing too. But I'm OK with my bag. It's very durable. It's easy to hand-wash it and it dries quickly. It is a move in the right direction, as they say in the FAQ's. I agree. The material is good for the bright designs and colors that make them attractive to people, so maybe they WILL use them more. The inks and dyes are eco-friendly. And if your bag has gotten past its prime, you can send it back to them and they will recycle it.

So, yeah, it's made from polyester. And I will continue to use it. And I will gift them to people. This is one of those times when convenience isn't an evil word. It is VERY convenient to toss this bag in my purse, in your backpack, your messenger bag, laptop bag, etc... it is easy to roll up, people notice and and maybe think about getting one too. I totally love the look people get on their face when such a small little thing becomes this huge bag that holds everything. I love that my husband is OK with carrying it because it isn't too girly. And I love that this company is trying to do things right.

Holidays are coming. This is a Good Green Gift alert. The company started in Australia and yes the bags are made in China... PLEASE go to their FAQ page to find out how those are good things. The link is above. Not everything made in China is completely evil, either. Expand your knowledge. It is your best arrow in your quiver.

And start your holiday shopping at Envirosax. Sure, I'm a big fan of the bags, but they have other cool stuff to check out as well. If enough of us use things like this, then we are teaching by example. When we whip out these bright bags, people will be curious and maybe even ask. If we gift them to people, they will use them instead of plastic throw-aways. (Well, we hope.)

These guys and this company and this product CAN help. So, yeah, I have some good things to say for a change. Nothing but good. And my Yuletide gifts? Guess!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why Bother?

My early-20's stepdaughter had moved in with us. She knows how greenly we try to live, but it seemed like she didn't quite know why. I feel like there is this whole age group who is just completely oblivious to certain perils in the world. I could be wrong, but it seems that 18 to about early 30-year-old's by and large do not feel the same sense of alarm, don't see the effects, don't care to do anything. Naturally, this is a generalization, but I'm just going by my experience.

Actual boxes o' stuff from the bathroom.
See, the stepdaughter moved back out but left a lot of her stuff here for awhile... I packed up her bathroom (well, because I want us to be able to use it again!), and I am alarmed. This is all from one person. It's more than my husband and I have combined. Way more. If this is all the plastic she has here in our place, how about where she is now? Does she have doubles of all this stuff? She must. All these containers, all these chemicals... it's everything I rail against on a daily basis, and here she brought it right in! And left it behind! Am I pointless? Am I useless? It kind of boggles my mind. This is the age of people who should be most concerned, because it's their children who will have a real problem, even more so that the rest of us. The young children are getting a good education about all this in elementary school. But did we miss a group? I stayed in someone's home a few months ago during a visit. The amount of STUFF in plastic containers was truly horrifying. I feel like I am in a vacuum, or I am just spoiled to hang around and talk to people who ARE aware, and that the reality is what is pictured here.  Or is it just that I have seen a few bad examples?

Is there a point to all I say and write? Is it going to help? Is anyone hearing us? Are ENOUGH people hearing us? Are we past the point of no return, is it just simply too late? Are the marketing companies and corporations winning?

I have the news on now and I see that people are nowhere near stopping the use of plastic bags. It's all over the news to cut back, and yet, nothing happens to get people to stop. I talk to people every day who have never heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. What does it take? WHAT??

Just gotta keep going, one person at a time, if necessary. Well, at least I didn't introduce an additional person into the world to have to suffer through it. As for the stepdaughter... well, I can hope a little bit spilled over.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Good Witch Gone Bad

It's so hard being surrounded by Green people. You'll undoubtedly find people greener than yourself. This is good, of course. No one is perfect. I'll be the first to admit I have a long way to go. But wow, did I get taken to task for my little shameful habit...


I know, I know!!!! It's so bad! The wrapping, the plastic, the packaging, the plastic, the fact that it never will really go away, the plastic. But it's so small! But it's so bad!!! What's a green witch to do??


Should I chew peppermint leaves instead? Mints? Drops?

Have you ever heard of tetracycline stains on teeth? A certain age range of you out there will know what I am talking about. I had them. I obsessed over and hated my teeth for decades. I was finally able to fix them at great expense (it's considered cosmetic so no insurance would help.) ALL of my teeth are coated, topped, capped, crowned or veneered in porcelain. I love them. I smile big for camera. The downside of a lot of dental work is that no matter how much I brush or use some kind of mouthwash (I do not use mouthwash anymore; chemicals and/or plastic bottles) or use my Water Pik (MIRACLE machine), I frequently have a super-nasty taste in my mouth. Baking soda and water works nicely but it's not something I carry in my purse. Mints, I am tempted to chew them and that is bad for my dental work and besides it takes of lot of them to conquer what one piece of gum does. Sprays? Drops? Nah. I just don't know anything that helps like poppin' a piece of gum.

So, back to the place where I got chastised. I was going to be speaking on stage, so I needed to rid myself of my gum. It was one of those events where they put out bins for everything, and you disposed of whatever accordingly. Facing all these bins, I realized my little gum could only go in the one marked "Landfill". It was a sinking feeling. Someone standing nearby definitely felt it necessary to make sure I felt the proper amount of shame for my little piece of gum. (I'll not criticize them for the supposed "Compostable" bin where people were putting plates that had CHEESE on them that is probably not great in there... but that's deflecting. I digress.)

I try to buy gum that comes in the least amount of packaging and plastic. I split sticks in half so it lasts twice as long. I do what I can. But I have not been able to give up the gum. I don't chew it obnoxiously, I don't crack it, I don't pop it, I just let it make my mouth taste better and my breath not offend.

I swear I'll try something else that would be more eco-friendly. I just haven't fully investigated it. So, in the meantime...


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Like I said...

"New studies reveal that levels of BPA are massively higher in humans than previously assumed, causing major concern for what has been downplayed by the packaging industry as a false alarm."

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033821_BPA_chemicals.html#ixzz1aKe6rl9k

The article points to canned goods as well... which, I guess, when we were little, cans were not lined with BPA. I don't know. Maybe. We didn't really have a lot of canned goods that I recall. Some. Not a ton. Of course we never ate that canned spaghetti and ravioli crap. We MADE food. But I know. It's so convenient. And we're SO busy.

Why should we be concerned? "BPA, or Bisphenol-A, leaches into food from plastic packaging and from the linings of canned foods, causing cancerous tumors and developmental disorders, including learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and deformations of sexual organs, especially in newborns." Um, sound like it could be a valid point, and what IS happening?

If you can't do away with it altogether, just cut back. And keep cutting back. There's no need. Soda is not anything you need every day. It's bad for you. They sell it in glass; insist on glass. We can make these companies stop using plastic. Demand it. The government will have to step in again to protect us from ourselves when it should not have to. 

I honestly don't know what it is going to take to get people to cut back on plastic. We know it's bad for us, we know it's bad for the planet, and yet we just keep at it blithely, without thought. We have to turn this around. We are the  only ones who can do it. I get sick of sounding like a broken record (wow, there's a phrase that will not be understood in the near future!), but the message is just not sinking in. At all. 

What can we do? I enjoy the comfort of my groups of green people who know this stuff, but it's far from the vast majority. What do we do? And why have kids if we aren't going to protect them from this kind of stuff? Having kids makes us too busy to care about their health and future? Is it just me that thinks that is crazy-backwards?


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Less Plastic is Not Better Plastic

"But it's BPA-free!"

"But it uses LESS plastic than the other bottles!"

It's still plastic, people. I could stop there, but you know me, I must continue.

Plastic is plastic. It's not going away. Even though there is less of it, it's still IT. It's still gonna float around in the ocean. It still sits in the landfills. It still breaks and then becomes useless 'cuz ya can't fix plastic and you still gotta throw it away. How about NO plastic? Can we try that for at least a little bit? Maybe just in spurts at first? Maybe?

It can be done. Sure it's not as cheap or convenient, but what is at stake here? I am quite sure I don't have a normal household. I've been to other homes and - maybe I'm overly sensitive to this kind of thing, but - I am ALARMED at the number of plastic bottles of CRAP found there! DO we even think about it?? Or do we just go about our days with nary a thought?

What can we do? What do we say? Living by example clearly doesn't work well. Do we say something? Do we point it out? Do we just continue to write and hope some of it bleeds through?

I was given a bottle of "special" water. I was in a situation to be polite, and the water was very good, and the bottle was BPA-free and made largely from RPET (recycled plastic)... but it's still a plastic bottle and it still isn't going anywhere. Just stop the madness. We need to cut way back and just get it over with. I've said it before, I'll say it again, the only way to get rid of the 5 Gyres is to stop adding to them. People are taking stuff from the Gyres and making other stuff from it, and that is a good thing, but on our end, can't we just... stop?

Stop. And now I will.