Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Our way of life is killing the planet

I rarely use the blog to rant - it is my job to give you ideas about how to spend consciously, but I had a crude awakening over the weekend that I wanted to share as I think it applies to some of our planetary pitfalls and if we don't become more aware of the connection of our lifestyle and the impacts of it on the planet, we will hose ourselves.

Okay, here I go....

I travel a lot for work and as a conscious spender, I work to offest my impact with things like Terrapass to offest my carbon emissions for driving, to stop junk mail, I use eco-friendly cleaning products and I support conscious businesses....BUT...I was strapped for cash last weekend and selected a more budget hotel (vs. a sustainable hotel) this weekend (I was teaching in the Bay area) and because I had time alone to think and observe, I really got a nasty taste of our time-crunched culture and how our way of life may be a direct link to the negative dent on the planet....

Let me explain....

I stopped to get gas as I drove up the coast and the places I stopped at for gas only sell junk...plastic water bottle everything, packaged foods, ick. I watched as my fellow travelers purchased dozens of plastic bottled goods and body-toxifying items (that really aren't food when you think about it) All the junk being sold at "convenience stores" have packaging that can end up in landfills OR hopefully some plastic will get recycled, but it's really disturbing when you look hard at it...

I will not name the hotel I stayed it, but I can tell you that I am NEVER staying there again! I got up for my continental breakfast and I was abhorred by:
1. All the crap that was out for breakfast
2. That ALL the serving utensils were plastic or foam!
3. All the trashable crap that was in my room from coffee making items, toiletries and more.

To help diminish my eco-impact at breakfast, I went up to my room and got my personal cup for coffee but I was really freaking out as I watched my fellow travelers eat fast, eat stupid and worst of all - waste, waste, waste.

Shame on the hotel for not being mindful of the products they put out, but

SHAME ON US for our time-crunched culture where we all move so fast and multi task and eat on the run so we make so much waste. I really believe that our culture is the culprit and until we change our lifestyles, we cannot make the best choices for our planet and future generations.

It's hard being a single girl on a's not always easy to support eco-friendly hotels when you have bills to pay, but frankly, I'd rather be poor in paradise then go cheap and stay somewhere like I did last weekend.

We CAN make a difference if we care and are aware. I want everyone to think about ways they can ease the time crunch so you have time to fill your own reusable cups before you hit the road, actually eat while sitting down so your body gets the nourishment it needs and you can take a moment to breathe and remember to recycle, make conscious choices and give a damn...

I welcome all opinions - I need ideas, thoughts, challenging opinions!


Anonymous said...

I read all you article on wastefull logding and packaging.
First thing I did when I moved to Oregon was find the nearest recycle center. I plotted it on my
a mental map so I could go by there on my way to pick up the mail. In a typical week I make one football size amount of plastic wrappers mostly. Everything else is co-mingled and taken to waste management facility for recycling
I wash out the gass vessels take paper labels off tin can and smash
if I can and the plastic food containers also get washed and
I found I'm not making that much
waste. I need to take more plastic baggs back to the store for recycling and look more closely at packaging. One thing I notice is ink on the labeling I'm not sure if it's vegatable based inks or chemical based inks be nice if they had to say what ingredients are on the package like they made them disclose whats in the food.
Bottled water jugs can be a problem in my moms home state of Wyoming they don't recycle plastic at the landfill and there are few plastic recycling centers bottled
water jugs end up in landfill.
With bottled water a new hazard has come to light it's pharms in the drinking water supply I read today that pharm drugs some 230 types are not removed by water
treatmewnt plants and while the levels are parts per million or parts per billion in trace pharm drugs tranquilizers,steroids,painkillers
anti-depressants and the whole suit of drugs you hear about in advertizing and consiously say to you self I'd never take those if they cause that kind of side effect.
Now can you imagine your horro to find out you have had no choice
if you buy drinking water and alot of us do. The requirments are that it meet drinking water standards. guess the bottled water manufactures alot of them are just botteling tap water. The reverse osmosis process does remove pharm toxins. Seems when people ingest pharms whatever kind not all that gets adsorbed and they can detect the stuff in water but alot of cities are not even checking for pharms in water supply. scary to think also about the nitrates we use for fertilizer and hormones we give cattle to fatten them up that goes through the cows and I imagine every drug we inject into any animal who pisses this has the potential to creap into our drinking water because chlorine does not neutralize it but may react with it in some cases.
I also read something about food being wrapped in plastic having an adsorption of petro chems into food
I know zapping plastic wrapped food is not a good idea but it happens everyday. Not to mention the way high frutos cornsyrup and
bio engineered corn products are making up so much of out diet. Awareness is what you are about and I praise you for your lifestyle
babe. I've been promoting alternative energy in specfic under the hood hydrogen technology using existing technology and infrastructure to increase all cars miliage just dubble and reduce pollution 90% cost less then two hundred and should be required on all ne cars and make incentives to retro-fit older cars. On alt energy I'm for someone like Google spending a
Billion or what ever it takes to reduce the price of solar panels so that solar costs the same as coal that way we can all turn to the sun. We need to have that gas meanwhile but by the time we go to get a new vehicle there ought to be a choice to get one that doesn't pollute at all and only
hydrogen and electric from hydrogen can fit that bill.
I think housing is in a sad state we have too big of houses and they are built with bad materials. Wafer
board whitch offgasses flormaldahide and entrains mold sporse ready to hatch soon as this stuff gets soaking wet once. I belive we need energy effecient housing made from benign materials
like concrete,styrofoam and tile
plaster interiors and hydronic heating with ground source heating.
solar electric with sun tracking features and reduce,reuse and recycle producds manufactured
and consumed and recycled in an enviromentally freindly way. We need more faster social networking sites that refine condense and rehash news from the people and then spinn the ideas shuffel and rethink the topics research,redefine and re-examine the concepts ideas and insights into an everlasting database of consious ideas an ideal of how to get it right the first time around.
We like all other societies before us can embark on our attempt to
choose a language to incapsule our magna carta of ideals into everything we know on you flash drive for future generations to
unveil. Language not withstanding
a unmistakable lesson book of what to do from the get go. I'm sure of one thing though they will grow their food and raise animals and crops,irrigat with water and fertilize with manure they won't be disease free or live without the common cold or have any less pain then we do but maybe they will breath fresher air and drink the pure water of unpolluted creeks,streams,rivers and lakes
I enjoyed your writting hope I encouraged you to say more you stirred me on to my rant love you for that keep putting stuff up we are listening. J2008

Anonymous said...

What can we do to save our planet? we can start by taking a few moments to inventory our stuff. We have all this stuff and it took energy to produce it it takes money to store it we have to have more and spend more to keep it all but do we really need it? Mostly no
thats why people can recover for losing all their stuff and actually end up being better people. It's the initial shock of losing all you have worked for that gets to you mentally. Because you figure your going to have to work so long just to get back to where you where right. Then you start to realize you didn't need some of that stuff and you soon forget some of it somehow you try to replace we have to replace some things. Oh any you moiss some of your nice stuff this new stuff just isn't as good and that can be true. Let's look at what makes some things better then others.
If you hurting for money if the price is affordable that can be a nice thing. Say for instance a DVD
player when there two hundred bucks we might have to save up but when there $19.95 for a DVD player
everyone can have one even the kids. But you knew they were going to inprove them adventually and start charging $200 each again Blue ray Hi-Def with dual surround sound. That like quadrophonic 8 track and then came dolby cassette
deck with auto reverse. You older people know what i'm saying pong
Atari,nintendo,game cube,playstation,Wii and so on.
Technology in all it's forms.
telephones rotory dial,tuchtone
speed dial,caller ID then Mobile
phone packs,cell phones and celluar
and voip or skype,text messaging
camera phones,video and now internet. But wait have we got back to the price we are paying or I sould say the price we thought we were paying for all our stuff.
We can look around we can dream and sometimes when we get we decide we really don't need that
cost that burden that hassel. And they make it too easy they make it cheap and they tell lies and deceive you fool you into beliving robb you blind and when you pay because you should have know a calling plan assumes there is a plan and restraint. Have you seen the picture of mountains of discarded cell phones,computers,tires and plastic wrapper that our society discards each day. we are terrible because those piles are the ones that made it to recycling. We are good and getting better I presume at making things to be disassembled,recycled
we are turning what was our waste into a resource as we should it took resouces to fabricate and maybe we should have things where when it's stripped down there goes the features just not the functionailty so a new case new battery and new display and it's ready to be sold again. MP3 phone
computer with your memory card it's instantly usable and cost penny to operate oh but they won't have pennies anymore so just charge it and worry about what it costs later. We need cloths and we need to look good well just admite it some of us just want to look good in the cloths that we can afford. I liked my shirts where the coller was wide something about putting my head through a tight hole didn't feel right. Then I had a wasing machine once cost fifty bucks was one of those apartment size units it stretched my cloths. took my socks and stretched them out to knee socks
I just cut off the tops and they made comfortable socks not cutting of the blood to my fat ankels. I guess my shirts got loose necks from drying on the hanger seems I didn't have a dryer but just hung them up to dry. I figured I saved hundreds of dollars and loads of time not waiting for a dryer. I could buy new pants for what it costs to get then dry a few dozen times. Well when you have too many it's best to try them all on and sort out the ones that fit those others need a new home. They say 90% of the stuff in your closet you never wear. I think we keep it there so we never have to feel like we don't have something to wear. Women you know who you are looking in a closet you can conclude I just don't have anything to wear even when looking at a full closet. To add to that when you dress nice you sure do look good and it shows too. I could add I used to dress up to go to town myself At home I wore my loose neck shirt the cut off socks and confortable loose fotting cloths in summer as few as possible and in winter extra thick
so as i don't get chilled. You know what I'm saying we all have different expectations of what is frugal. Some have twenty pair of shoes to choose from and some just one pair and some look rediculas in that blouse but don't worry if it goes over like that it's relagated to the back of the closet
it's the one that goes in moma cats box when she is readdy to have her next litter. Ever wonder where we get our ideas of what is waste. I remember the day when things were made of brass and walnut. Msaybe grandpa had that thing since 1940 and he kept it all those years it never went out of fasion because things were so hard to come by in those days.
I still like that in the movies
metal bed fram,quilt on the bed
wood floors,claw feet bathtub
simple surroundings plain old fashion meat and potatoes food
work and struggle hard days work and good nights sleep. Things seem more rewarding when they were less often bigger reward. Once a year I guess and thos are half our trouble we can't seem to part till it's too late then it's all gotta go. It's sad too we could of been more generous with our stuff given it to someone who really could of used it. Or we could of just not spent that money on someone who allready had more then enough of everything and surely too many of a good thing is rotten. Ever buy too many fruit just to have it rott
maybe not lose a thing to waste but have someone steal all you nice stuff. Worlds full of can
I have I need ab
and just this once
oh oplease please
please. It feels good to get your kinds what they need. We just can't leave it up to them to decide what it is they really need.
I'f they just needed you to acknowledge there existience
without being prompted the how are things going really might work. except when they look at you weird and say whats up what are you doing
you never come check on me. tey might insist you knock or call first. We consume the planetay resources as we see fit it is not going to work to guilt us into doing with less we have to come to that ourselves. Once we do however we can all realize we don't need chemical cleaners,except for three kinds dishsoap DAWN shampoo SUAVE
and two cleaners SOFTSCRUB and laundry soap. We should buy good products in these four areas good being without harsh dyes so we don't pollute the water with dyes
studies show shampoo is all about the same so get the kind that you loike just realize some cost ten times more than others for same ingredients. I think alot of Dawn
dishwashing liquid because it cuts the grease and I don't mind the fragrence. Some soaps just seems like you have to rinse too long just to get the soap off. Softscrub
well enamel tubs need cleaned and softscrub has something gritty in it that scrubs surfaces clean without taking the skin off your hands. I belive their are enviromentally sound products that work vinager,baking soda and clorox
disinfectant can do most things
orange clean can do it and smell good while getting out the stains ect. I really like orange clean products. Doing without seems to be a good way to save the planet
just don't buy as much stuff,don't let stuff go to waste and take the stuff you not using and give it to someone who can use it. Prefeerably someone who was needing one of what you where waning to donate. Do this over time
get a box put it by the door put a few items from you closet in there
and encourage everyone who see you box of stuff to see if they can't use something in there or maybe know someone who could use the stuff. I think every town should have a web page. TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT this way stuff is kept out of the landfill and good stuff gets recycled sometimes more than once.

Sue said...

I think a lot of this (as has already been discussed) has to do with planning and flexibility. Moving from Oregon, I was excited to find my small community working VERY hard to reduce and recycle. As aresult, I have very little accumulated trash every week. I buy bulk, reuse my grocery store bags, and don't putmy veggies in separate plastic bags at the grocery store. Another easy example are coffee cups. IT is SO easy to bring your own "to go" cup to work, or even to a coffee shop. Many offer a few cents off if you don't use their paper products. (Can you imagine the landfill reductions without all of the paper cups and sleeves whichare consumed on a daily basis!?!) Plan in advance by leaving a cup in the car or in your bag for the unplanned afternoon java. Also, recycle the grounds by putting them in the garden compost and, of course, only buy fair trade coffee.
PLAN, and COMMIT to reducing, reusing and recycling. THINK before you buy and get back to the BASICS.