If You’re Not Okay With It, Don’t Be Okay With It

DSCN9302.JPGI have recently been reading a great deal of articles I come across online that state some of the disturbing facts around plastic.  By the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  A sperm whale recently died on a beach with 13 pounds of plastic in his stomach, including 115 plastic cups, 20 plastic bags and a pair of flip flops.  We cannot recycle our way out of our trash problem.

Reading these things bothers me.  It makes me leave my computer and go find someone else to notify.  Someone else to join me in my outrage and fear.  But then I go to the grocery store and stuff my broccoli heads into thin plastic produce bags.  And bring my own canvas totes, but when they are poorly bagged or I buy too much stuff to fit in them, I say, “It’s ok to bag them in plastic.”

Well, what?!  Who am I to feel so badly about the garbage turmoil affecting our planet, but then to go through my daily life as if I am the exception.  My plastic bags won’t end up in the ocean – I live in Colorado after all, right?  I throw my grocery-related garbage into my plastic garbage sacks at home and then I put them into our garbage collection bin, put it down on the road Monday night, and Tuesday morning it’s gone.  And then…and then…well, and then I don’t have to look at it anymore.

Something changed inside of me with the coming of this new year.  I don’t want to be part of the problem anymore.  I will be part of it, as long as I continue to function as a modern consumer, but I want to make myself uncomfortable with it.  So on my recent trip for groceries, I paid attention: how much am I buying – do I need more canvas totes?  What vegetables do I put in produce bags?  Can I sew up some little cotton bags to hold my broccoli and cilantro?  What about laundry detergent?  (I stood there in that aisle for a long time in dilemma).  Can I make this stuff at home?  From ingredients that don’t come in plastic bottles?  And if they do, can I at least recycle that type of plastic?  I made an effort to become aware.

So now I am starting to make more of an effort.  To at least try.  I am remembering to bring my own thermos when I want to get a coffee at a shop, or else I don’t get the coffee.  I am trying really hard to stop all plastic bags from coming into my home.  I am becoming conscious about what foods come in plastic, and can I make them myself, or live without them?  Using a bar soap instead of liquid, making my own skin care products and keeping them in glass, re-usable containers.

I think that if there is something in life that you are not okay with, the key is to develop awareness and to stop being okay with it.  Whether is relates to the way you are eating, the thoughts you allow your mind to entertain, or the issues in our world, change cannot happen until we decide to stop buying into the acceptable, comfortable lie.

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