Earth Day: Better Late Than Never!

So, truth be told, I'm not really an environmentalist. I think the Earth has gone through all kinds of wacky cycles in its lifetime, most of which we humans had nothing at all to do with. I pay attention to stories on global warming and the diminishing ozone layer, but chances are a giant meteor could slam into our pretty little planet and send us the way of the dinosaurs before any of us can do anything about it anyway.

What I am is someone who, in spite of being born in the late 70's and growing up in the 80's when disposable just became more and more chic, finds the amount of waste in our world ridiculous. Even appliances are made to last for a short time and then be tossed, replaced by newer, fancier models. It is truly obnoxious how much crap we all get rid of each year. Crap that just goes in a giant pile somewhere, and that will sit there for eternity.

I don't claim not to be guilty of contributing, but a few years ago I decided that perhaps it was time for me to be less wasteful. And so a couple Earth Days ago, I took it upon myself to call Chesterfield County's waste management folks and get a recycling bin, and each Earth Day since I've made one small "green" change.

This year, I decided that it's time to jump on the reusable shopping bag bandwagon, so I bought two canvas bags that I'll keep in my car. I have been requesting paper at the grocery store for ages now (they make great receptacles for my overflow recycling!), but a lot of places don't have the paper option. And plastic bags? Well, how many of THOSE suckers do you think are piling up around the world? National Geographic did an article about their impact if you're interested, and several places around the United States have moved to ban them from their stores totally.

Don't get me wrong, if I see you with a plastic bag, I'm not going to chastise you or throw paint on you or anything. I get that they're convenient, and a lot of people use them for many different things. But they don't break down, they don't recycle easily, and someone's going to have to figure out what to do with gazillions of tons of them when my grandkids grow up.

So, if you're like me and think we humans are just plain wasteful, think about making a small change. My first step away from the plastic bag was to tell the bagger not to put my gallon of milk in one. Milk's easier to carry by the handle, anyway. Consider skipping just that one bag next time you're at the grocery store. We gotta start somewhere!

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