The other thing that we should be asking ourselves, as people who are easily outraged by deforestation/extinction/the virtual enslavement of developing nations/the oppression of the poor in our own country:
How am I complicit in that?
Because we are.
It isn’t a big thing. There are big questions, of course, and small ones. But mostly, this one:
Why do we (I) often let ourselves (myself) live so far from our own values?
I know a family who considers themselves to be devout Christians. Church three times a week, homeschooling, all that. And the Dad drives a Mercedes Benz sports car. I want to jump up and down and scream–what do they even preach in your church?
But I don’t, because I do the same things. I justify my consumer excesses because, compared to a lot of women, they aren’t that bad. I haven’t bought a pair of shoes in a year. I never eat fast food. I rarely buy chocolate. I still buy, buy, buy, though, even while my ideologies lean toward the minimalist and the environmentally-conscious.
I’m not good at separating need from want about the small things. Do I need the fancy beeswax-infused alternative-plastic-wrap I ordered last week? How about the fourth kind of sunscreen I’ve tried this year? Stress-relieving bubble bath? A new blouse, because they were on sale and my nice clothes are getting old? That bottle of perfume that I’ve been eyeing for the last six months? A new tube of lipstick, in this season’s color? The stuff I threw in with my hair product, to justify the price of shipping?
I think I need a new question for shopping. Need/want obviously doesn’t work well for me–I’m an over thinker; I can talk myself in and out of anything. How about Is this the way I want to live?
Today I took off an acre of recycling. Okay, maybe not quite that much.
We don’t have curbside, and the city closed the U-Sort recycling drop. Now you have to go during business hours or on Saturday to the (admittedly, very nice) city-run facility. We procrastinate about this until we literally have no where else to stick the junk mail.
Fortuitously, I remembered that my last trip was March 8, right before we went on vacation. Today is the 23rd of April, which makes it a few days over six weeks since we went.
At the very nice city-run facility, they expect you to presort everything. To make this easier, I get some of our groceries in paper bags. It’s not perfect, but we just do not have room to store six different kinds of recycling bins.
Today’s paper bag tally, for six weeks:
1–with just a small layer of clear glass. We keep and reuse a lot of our glass jars.
1–completely full of colored glass
3–filled with plastic, none of which was crushed, including several gallon and half-gallon milk containers. (Milk in glass does not exist here.)
1–halfway filled with aluminum cans
1–less than half filled with bimetal cans
There was also a lot of paper/cardboard, but because it was multiple partial bags I didn’t count it. Maybe five bags of broken-down boxes, magazines (most of which have not been renewed for this year), and junk mail.
It’s obviously the three filled with plastic that I’m the most interested in reducing before I go to the recycling facility again.
I’ll let you know how it goes.