When I was growing up, I had a weekly chore to take our household trash out to the curb. All of the trash had been packed into a dark green Hefty garbage bag. There were normally two to three bags per week and they fit into a couple of large reusable trash barrels, also made of plastic. This was the norm for our family, our neighborhood, our town and suburban America. I took this practice into my adult life, as I forged a family and also had a home with a curb and trash barrels.
With the flurry and energy it took to stay employed and have a family and time to spend with them, I found myself ignoring the knowledge of where the trash was going. Many of us are in this boat and what we didn’t know was that our boat would be floating in a plastic ocean, sooner than later.
Nearly five decades later, I found my way to an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean and met someone who had been enlightened early in her life, through her own insight or by being around her grandparents who lived and worked before the plastic revolution. They had other ways to deal with their refuse and it was more natural and did not harm the environment. This is a photo of her, sporting an outfit made of plastic, a portable carport tent actually, that the sun tried its best to break down. You can see more of Stephanie and her art here Messenger of Peace and visit her work at joydreaming.com.
The event was called the Art of Trash where our trash was turned into something reusable. A young girl fell in love with the dress, perhaps becoming aware of the importance of recycling at an early age. Stephanie gifted her with the dress. I look forward to how she will change the world as she grows up and into it too.
I learned from Stephanie and now today, my weekly trash (actually two weeks of trash) fits into a single brown paper shopping bag with ample room to even fold over the top and secure the bag for disposal. I suppose I could just burn the contents, but there are some things that would appear to be to toxic, so the partially filled paper bag gets disposed of into a landfill on the island, coincidentally just where that rainbow is coming from.
As we all may know, there is a global problem with plastics now. The once harmonious spent carbon from plants, that seeped into the earth and was converted to petroleum is now coming back up and being converted into plastic that will not breakdown anytime soon. The following video is very informative on this subject as are pretty much any links you could find when searching for “plastic pollution” on the Internet.
So this year, well actually toward the end of this year, I decided I had enough of the plastics and did not want to be a source for this problematic plastic proliferation situation. Quite a large number of syllables in that last sentence which reminds me how widespread this global problem is.
I decided to try my best to not buy anything that harbored single use plastics. This is a no brainer if you grow your own food and just pick the oranges from a tree, instead of buying orange juice in a plastic container, but this takes time.
You must grow the tree, harvest the fruit, squeeze the juice into a glass and then compost the remains. Just the time alone is a deterrent for one having to get to a job thirty minutes from home. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare the orange juice and about five minutes to dispose of the peels, not to mention washing the juice squeezer and glass used to consume it. In my haste to get to a job, I have bought that plastic bottle of orange juice, only to find that the container is a single use #1 plastic, that is also toxic to my body.
This is very discouraging …
However, I do plan to continue my quest to not use single use plastics. If I can prevent myself from contributing to the plastic ocean, perhaps others can too. If we stop the flow of plastics into society, we may find a way to return to nature, and enjoy the fifteen minutes it takes to process that delicious sunlight, so faithfully produced by the orange trees.
Coincidentally, orange juice is my favorite drink, I like to think of it as pure sunlight, with its ability to provide my carbon based life form with energy to make a difference where I can.
This is photo of my little orange tree. It is actually not mine, but I take care of it, trim it and provide it with a ground cover that gives it nitrogen. It has been very good to me. Oh and I forgot to mention, I also need to climb a ladder to pick my juice and stay away from the Zebra Dove living in it.
The ground around the tree is covered with Peanut Grass which I use instead of fertilizers that come in, you guessed it, plastic bags.
Photo Credit for the seahorse from this CBS News story.