Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jane and Cheryl’s Fabulous Garbage Challenge!!

The American economy is in a tailspin due to the credit crisis. Americans have bought houses and all the stuff to go in them (not to mention boats, trips, bling, shoes, Botox, etc.) on borrowed money without the capacity to pay for them – within their lifetimes.

But payback time has arrived and it’s driving the economy over a cliff.

We’re headed towards another harrowing credit crisis. We are consuming resources faster than can be replenished. As a result, we are borrowing from our children’s future with no way to pay it back. Another cliff awaits if we don’t act now.

The way we deal with money and our resources is completely unsustainable. It’s a one way ticket to chaos. Enough. I don’t mean to be a party-pooper but we’ve got to stop trashing the house!

Speaking of trash….

Jane and Cheryl’s Fabulous Garbage Challenge!!

It’s October first. First day of our three month journey into a moratorium on land-fill destined garbage. Except for one modest bag. Please join us. You don’t have to commit to three months. Try one month and see how you do.

As you recall, Jane and I have pledged to eschew any products that come with packages that cannot be recycled, except for one bag to accommodate the plastic lining of our cats’ food. There are a few things we need to add, including the plastic lining in Jane’s Fair Trade and organic coffee and the small tabs from the Almond Milk that we love so much.

Here’s the rule. This garbage challenge cannot be a thorn in our side. It must not deprive us of what we love to eat or do. If anything, it should serve to enhance our lives. We just have to find alternatives to what we like. Rather than buy organic cheese wrapped in plastic from the grocery store, I now pick up beautiful ripe unpasteurized organic cheddar, wrapped in paper, from an expert at a local cheese shop. I also buy items such as granola and pasta in bulk, and note a reduction in our grocery bill.

We just have to be more mindful. And acting more mindful is not bad at all.

Most of us pay little mind to garbage. Why should we. It’s garbage! The lowest of the low. But what if we could follow where our garbage travels? How does it impact people and other species? I think we’d be rather horrified by what we encountered.

This past weekend, Jane and I visited our local garbage depot to drop off refuse and recycling collected from our basement. For our landfill-bound garbage we were directed to a large indoor facility with hills of trash managed by large tractors. Jane ranted as we drove out of there in our rental – “If people only could see this!” Not to mention smell it. It certainly served as one more visual to inspire us to stop contributing to an unsustainable practice.

That plastic bag that you toss – envision it ending up in the stomach of a turtle. Imagine kneeling beside this creature on a beach as it’s slowly and painfully dies. Would you vow to never throw out plastic again? Every year, tens of thousands of water creatures die in this manner due to the garbage - ninety percent of which is plastic - that ends up in our oceans and water ways.

Imagine meeting the folks who live in the town that receives your garbage. They look you in the eye and tell you that since their local dump site has received your trash they’re getting sick, they can’t deal with the smell and their property values have plummeted. How do you respond?

It is this personal. Out of site out of mind? I say let’s broaden our minds and reach out to where our garbage is going. With the average American (and by extension, Canadian) producing 1,130 pounds every year (times 331 million Americans and Canadians), we can’t afford not to.

Next week I will regale you with annoying non-recyclable plastic things that find their way into some products and alternatives.

Don’t forget to tune into the Election Debate on Thursday, October 2nd at 9pm.

In the News

Scientists say carbon dioxide emissions up 3%
This needs to change, fast.

Brazil's loss of Amazon rain forest escalating
As does this.

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