Welcome from Amy D. Unsworth

Language, Literature, Learning & Life.

Earth Day and Effort

Like many people, I'm tired of plastic bags that fly into the tree tops, clutter the streams, and pollute the ocean. It's the everyday things that add up over time. A plastic bag to carry home the gallon of milk, the carrots, the apples. A plastic bag to carry home the book from the bookstore. To carry home the pair of socks, the bottle of wine, these all add up to an enormous amount of waste. It just takes a little more effort, to find alternatives. I've been using the "store" bags for awhile (but they can't be washed), the bulky canvas bag (take up a lot of room when not in use), but recently I found these bags at a small shop in Leavenworth. It rolls up into a little pouch that is easy to carry around with me, it's comfortable to carry over the shoulder even when it's full. All in all, a great little bag to prevent more plastic bag spawn in the world. You can have one too: EnVbags. They come in different colors if truffle isn't your flavor.

Sure, it takes a bit of effort to buy and plan to have your bags with you when you shop. But do you know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where plastic is taking over the ocean, swirling together in a vast mire of tangles? The Smithsonian magazine awhile back had a photograph of a sea bird's dissected body that was stuffed with plastic that it had mistook for sea life. The bird had starved to death because the digestive track was blocked with our wastefulness, because we use up and throw away and don't look back. If you don't want to buy a bag, specially, then reuse the next bag that you're handed. Every time we reuse one bag, we reduce the demand for them. Think of it this way:

  1. It's easy to say "no thank you" to a bag at the counter. In the long run, it's good for the stores too to not have to pay as much for your shopping bag. Even if it's a fraction of a cent, they'll keep more profit on the sale, which should make stores happy too.
  2. Even if you return your bags to a recycle center, every extra use of a bag saves energy on the cost of transporting the recycled material and saves the environmental impact of the re-creation of a new bag.
  3. If you know you're going to the store, grab the bags. No room in the house? That's great. Store the bags in the trunk of your car. Then even if you're just dropping in for an after work snack, you still have a bag at hand.
  4. The more people who make an effort, the more people will make an effort. The normal thing should be for us to provide our own, reusable, cartons and boxes for our purchases.
  5. Why not try? So we can't all be perfect, we might sometimes still end up at the end of the day with an extra plastic bag, but if everyone tries, it will start to add up. One step at a time.

There are many poets who write about the environment. Try this essay from Gary Snyder or read some of his poems. I hope that we have a reason to write nature poetry for generations to come. Hopefully the image of the plastic bag in the treetop will be an image of our lifetime alone.


Dick said...

I'm a bag neurotic. The back of the car is full of 'bags-for-life' - the heavy-duty reusable ones - and they go round and round. What I'm not clear on is why in the UK paper is not an option for supermarket baggery. No one's been able to explain this to me so far.

mlle said...

what a pretty bag--the pattern is inspiring enough to make me want to use it all the time!

Glenn Ingersoll said...

My mother was pretty obsessive about this. What's made me more regular about taking my own bag to the store is the piling up of the old ones. I can't just throw 'em out.