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Beth, thank you. This is one of your very best posts. I was also moved by Alison Vogel's wise words. So often as environmentalists, I think we come upon the fed-up feeling of "Does it even really matter if I do this one little thing when the problems are so huge?" You and Alison have answered that question with a resounding YES, it does matter--every single step forward matters. I'm bookmarking this post for the next time I need reminding. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
1 year, 4 months ago on The Beauty of Picking up Plastic
@Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator @Joyfully Green Thanks very much for the suggestions, Ericka! I always love a good book about garbage! (lol) Thanks also for the blog compliments.
1 year, 5 months ago on Meet Ericka, My New Intern!
LiveFyre is being wonky and deleting my posts--I've had to rewrite it a few times--sorry, Ericka for any double posts!
I wish I could take a course in the geography of garbage (as I'm a bit
obsessed with the garbage problem--I wrote a blog post called "The Myth of
Throwing Things Away" and extensively reviewed Beth's book as well as
Elizabeth Royte's Garbage Land). Can you list any books you've read for the
course that you'd recommend? (BTW, here's the link to the post mentioned, in case you care to take a look: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2013/01/the-myth-of-throwing-things-away.html)
If I find myself with too many of one item, I take Ed Begley Jr.'s advice by putting them out on the curb with a "FREE!" sign. They're usually gone by the end of the day. I'd definitely suggest that idea for the reusable bag monster--people like a good tote bag and the lure of "FREE!" is very strong indeed!
1 year, 7 months ago on Beware the Reusable Bag Monster
Well, I'm glad I read through the whole article because from the title, it seemed like the idea was to give up plastic just for Lent, and then go back to the wanton craziness of purchasing and over-consuming plastic-packaged items as soon as it was over. Good to know that Gaby's Lenten practice led him to a more mindful lifestyle--and inspiring good citizenship within his community.
1 year, 7 months ago on Giving Up Plastic for Lent
@BethTerry Congratulations, Beth! Once again, you've proved that positive change is possible. Very inspiring indeed!
1 year, 7 months ago on Dear Virgin America, I Love You, But Not Your Plastic Bottles
I love Virgin Atlantic, even though I've only flown them one time--to England, long ago. I still remember it as one of my best flights. I've just never been going anywhere where they are going. Having said that, I love what the company represents. I follow Richard Branson on LinkedIn and he seems to be intelligent and in touch with his customers and their values--which is so refreshing, especially when you consider somebody like the CEO of Whole Foods (who recently called Obama's healthcare program "fascism" and said that global warming "might not be such a bad thing"...?!).
I look forward to reading the company's response to you, Beth.
@Postmodern Rachel That's a beautiful quote--thanks for including it here.
1 year, 9 months ago on The End of the World is Coming and I'm Still not Buying New Plastic
Well, first of all, thank you, Beth, for continuing to do what you do, because it IS important, even when the daily grind is grinding you down to a stump, or horrible news like the tragedy in CT can make you feel like curling up in the fetal position and just giving up. As you know well enough, blogging isn't like writing a book where you have a finished product and then you can rest a bit before the next project--somehow, you have to keep churning out the work. I found it really hard to want to write anything (or do anything, or eat anything...), let alone stick to the topic of my blog (environmentalism), so finally, I just gave in and wrote about the pain of it all and my efforts to work through it. It was cathartic.
But I wouldn't say I'm entirely past it...nor do I think I want to be. I don't want to get complacent and forget about how mad and sad I am about the situation in our country--I want it to fuel me for positive change.
This is a long way of saying that I could fully relate to your post--the Facebook stuff, the doing something positive stuff...the whole shebang.
In case you're interested, the link is below to my post about working through the sadness, and finding solace here and there:
Hi Beth! That is an adorable gift set--if I hadn't already bought the book, I'd be all over it!
Wanted to also let you know that I just included a link to your book and this blog in a year-end wrap post--here it is: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2012/12/10-green-gifts-that-wont-cost-you-a-dime.html
Thanks for continuing to inspire, and to fight the good fight!
1 year, 9 months ago on Plastic-Free Holiday Gift Packs Have Arrived!
@EcoCatLady @urbanwoodswalker @Joyfully Green @bloodsdesire I just read about that in Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte--is that where you read it? The book is fascinating but of course depressing.
1 year, 9 months ago on Are Plastic Ziploc Bags Suddenly Green or Greenwashed?
@urbanwoodswalker Thanks. I also left you a long reply at my blog--not sure if you get notified by Typepad when there's a response for you (I guess I should look into installing the livefyre system!), but I wanted to let you know that I really appreciated your thoughtful response.
@urbanwoodswalker Yes, we have that county-wide library system as well, and I do the same thing with ordering books to put on hold and picking them up. I meant that our whole county system doesn't have the book in its database yet (at any of the libraries). I guess it is very new? But that is a good suggestion about having the librarian order the book for their shelves--thanks!
@urbanwoodswalker @turningclockbac I am not surprised at all about how many "think greenies are 'wack jobs'." I can remember just three or four years ago, being the only one in the supermarket who used her own bags and I did feel a bit freakish with the looks I was getting. Now, there are more shoppers than not who are carrying their own bags, and of course, the store sells the reusable bags, too, and gives you a bit of credit, so almost everybody has jumped on the bandwagon at this same supermarket. It gives me a kernel of hope that even the ideas which non-greenies think are outlandish right now (e.g., composting is still not at all prevalent where I am) will become more mainstream. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.
@urbanwoodswalker Thanks for letting us know about this book. It does sound like a must-read for environmentalists. Unfortunately, our library system doesn't have it yet and I do like to test-drive the books before I buy them (I have to really love a book to buy it now--one of my new steps to curb the acquisitions in our house...we are all bookworms!), so I will scout around a bit.
@urbanwoodswalker @bloodsdesire @EcoCatLady Really excellent points here, urbanwoodswalker. I see the same thing as you do when I walk the dog on trash day--in well-to-do neighborhoods, the garbage cans are filled with things that could and should be recycled--plastic water & soda bottles, glass wine bottles, large cardboard boxes from deliveries, etc. This drives me nuts. I've even gone as far as dropping the dog off at home, driving back to pick up a giant plastic toy kitchen, and dropping it off at the town recycling center (which just this year started accepting oversized plastic items like these). So if we use the argument that lower income people can't afford to be green and also aren't educated about it, what would be the excuses for the higher income people?
@bloodsdesire @EcoCatLady NutItOut, I have been discussing this same idea with my husband lately--is the green movement socioeconomically divided, so that the poor aren't green simply because they can't afford it or are not educated about it? I don't think it's solely about education, although of course that plays a big part. Organic fruits, vegetables and milk cost more. Green cleaners often cost more than bleach or other water-contaminating cleaners. It costs less to produce cheap plastic junk in China than to manufacture higher-quality, more environmentally responsible goods elsewhere. And then there are the corporations which tie into the PACs, complicating the issue further, and politicizing it. This is a giant snowball of a discussion--one thing keeps leading to another (which I find positive and interesting), but I guess the main point is that it is financially hard to be 100% green--for people as well as corporations.
@urbanwoodswalker I agree with you that this discussion is fascinating, which probably explains why I just wrote a longer-than-usual post about it. Thank you again urbanwoodswalker, and Beth Terry for launching the topic, and everybody else who is taking part in this dialogue. It keeps giving me brand-new ideas! If we can take these discussions and put them to good use beyond this forum, then that is truly an amazing result. As you requested, urbanwoodswalker, here is the link to my post: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2012/12/the-many-shades-of-green.html
Of course, I welcome ongoing discussion there as well!
I agree with you that we should use these types of situations as a springboard for discussion, and have a civil dialogue with companies such as Ziploc. They may be green-washing, or they may be realizing that sooner or later, change has to occur at the corporate level. We'll never know until we start the conversation.
@urbanwoodswalker I love this concept of many "shades of green." I think that one of the biggest obstacles for the environmental movement today is the resistance and hostility from those who aren't green (yet?) being "told" what to do and how to live--a sort of moral superiority in "I'm greener than you are!" You're right that there are indeed many shades of green, and even if I think of myself as "deeply green" (forest green?), I still have room for improvement. You just gave me a great idea to explore for a post, so thank you!
I can't tolerate plastic bags, just as I can't tolerate juice boxes or anything else that is classified as disposable but never really goes away. I am somebody who is terrible at math (just ask my poor husband!), but even I can figure out that we have only so much space on the planet, and if we continue to fill it up with non-biodegradable junk, sooner or later, the junk will win--rather like the scenario in "Wall-E."
My hatred of juice boxes led me to the creation of a green team at my children's school, and our first objective was asking parents to switch from juice boxes to thermoses for their children's lunches. Our objective this school year was to ask parents to switch from plastic bags to reusable snack and sandwich bags (as you note, it's not good to just wash the plastic and re-use it due to health reasons), and we had our most successful fundraiser ever (see article here: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2012/10/for-this-new-jersey-mom-one-playdate-blossomed-into-a-green-business.html.) Not every parent will get on board with these requests, but I would have considered it a success if just ONE parent had stopped buying plastic bags--even if the plastic bag companies consider themselves "green," which seems oxymoronic to me! To be fair, though, I will begrudgingly give credit to companies who are doing something rather than nothing. Still, Ziploc at a green fair? Just no.
P.S. Beth, your book is an inspiration and I'm currently reviewing it. Got the last copy at B&N!