Since I started writing down some of the thoughts that preoccupy me I’ve become more conscious of my actions. The other day I found myself diving into the kitchen garbage container and re-sorting the contents! It’s a weird thing to admit to but these days shame is not nearly as motivating as maintaining a less polluted, greener planet.
I believe I am influenced by hearing one passionate teenager’s appeal to all earthlings to pay attention to the consequences of our actions. Greta Thunberg’s suggestions make sense to me. I may not be able to follow her example in every way but small commitments can make a difference.
I want to jump on Greta’s band wagon but I find it challenging. I like to think that I Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The truth is that I only do what’s convenient. I try not to buy things on impulse – things that I don’t need or that are similar to what I already have. However, I still find a good bargain irresistible.
I try not to be bothered if the material elements in my life don’t meet fashionable standards. I convince myself that I’m succeeding to some extent but if I’m completely honest, I have a long way to go. I still care too much about being well put together and will acquire a new scarf because none of the dozens in my closet are exactly the right shade of green. I will make a purely frippery purchase just because it will make the dinner table look good and add to the ambience of the evening. Also, I must admit, often my purchases aren’t environmentally friendly. That’s pitiful considering my desire to make conscious ‘green’ choices. And that leads to the other troublesome topic of all the unnecessary packaging that accompanies my purchases. Packaging that will take an unimaginable number of years to biodegrade.
Right now, I’m simply focusing on the small, immediate ways to consider reducing, reusing, recycling. I haven’t touched on the big things like travel and elaborate entertainments, or things that make a huge impact on conservation of water and energy, or things that destroy plants and animals. None of these notions is new. I’ve been aware of all this for years but it’s taken young Greta’s brave action to make me pay attention. I hope my tiny steps will make a difference.
I plan to make a deliberate effort to: – reduce my acquisitions, – to reuse and re-purpose all that I have already acquired, – to carefully sort and recycle all that I must discard.
Initially I thought I would reach out to Grandmas and Grandpas to make some lifestyle changes but why not include Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren? Every one of us fits into one of the “Grand” categories. Every one of us can make a difference. Every one of us should make a commitment. Every little step counts.
Hoping every human can commit to embracing a Grand-and-Green lifestyle – one wee step at a time,
10 thoughts on “5. Reasoning – Grand and Green”
I have been segregating plastic waste for many years now. When I first started I couldn’t believe how much plastic just our home was generating. So I try to limit the amount of plastic that I bring home. But it’s difficult. In spite of my efforts we still accumulate so much. Every two weeks an NGO here in pune collects this waste and sends it to a factory where they convert it into poly fuel and also use it in the construction of roads. Quite amazing!
Recently the govt of Maharashtra has passed a no plastic law. If you’re caught with a plastic bag you are fined. Hopefully they will be able to implement this and keep the pressure on citizens to be more mindful.
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This is a remarkable commitment, Zia.
You, along with the NGO in Pune and the Govt. of Maharashtra, are setting exactly the kind of example all of us need. You’ve proved that diminishing waste and/or recycling it can be done in all our homes. One of the most encouraging outcomes of your actions is that your initiative will most likely become second nature to your children and to all in your household. The Govt. of Maharashtra is to be commended for taking such a strong step to prevent excessive use of plastic. Thank you for sharing this valuable and practical step towards going green.
Good to read your musings Venetia. This topic is one that is close to my daughters heart and the cause for many barbs. As she says in her own words: ” while I am worrying about the fate of humanity and our inextricable reliance on private companies, my family sit in their plastic fortress becoming part of the problem.”
Her constant reminders have caused me to be more conscious about the waste we create.
Your daughter’s comment is so appropriate in today’s world. It’s a struggle for me to live up to my own expectations even though I truly want to make a difference. We have hope thanks to young people like her who don’t give up.
Thanks for sharing your deepest thoughts with us. It is not surprising that many of of us will or have gone through many of the same thought processes and reflections. We think about our lives and what they mean and will mean to those surviving us (our legacy), especially when facing life changing events such as retirement.
Moving to a new home is also a time for reflection on how we can downsize “all the stuff” we have accumulated.
It’s a great time to look for ways to re-start our interests and activities going forward. It’s good to think about ourselves for the next phase, to enjoy our freedom to choose to do what we want for a change.
Our young folks in our lives, grandchildren, can be a great inspiration for us. Now we can draw energy from them.
And what we do in the rest of our lives is actually an investment in their future.
We applaud your initiative to downsize, to look for ways to recycle, reduce and reuse what we have. The kids need us to do that, for their sakes.
We wish you a speedy recovery and good health and limitless happiness in your retirement days.
Thanks for the thoughtful words and for sharing.
Lots of love and hugs,
Val and Wayne (our new handle is “VW” like our car!!) XOXOX
Dear VW, Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and for your thoughtful comments. I too want to leave this world in good shape for all who inherit whatever we leave behind. It’s scary to think that we could leave a disastrous mess if we don’t pay attention now.
I tend to be an optimist so I believe that with all our good energy and awareness we can create a ripple effect that will make a difference.
Love this! Sadly, I have been doing some research and I did not realize just how little of the material that is separated for “recycling” ever actually gets recycled. In the US, much of this material was being shipped to China but now China is putting the brakes on that. Much of it is simply dumped in the landfill because nobody is willing to pay the premium cost for recycling. Seems like the key is to embrace what you have mentioned and simply use less. Something as simple as buying a glass water bottle and refilling can save so much waste. We have been using reusable water bottles, reusable shopping bags, compostable k-cups (yeah, i know….we should be brewing a pot of coffee…and not using k-cups at all), etc. We have a ways to go. Wish I had a green thumb so we could grow our own produce!
Thanks so much for sharing the reality of what is happening in so many places where we think we are “recycling”. Unfortunately, we do hear that it is expensive to convert discarded material into something viable and we end up, inadvertently, contributing to toxic landfill.
Your suggestion that we don’t create the waste in the first place is the simplest and most sensible action. We may not instantly become a zero waste society but every little step will take us in the right direction.
I got a first-hand lesson in what goes on behind the scenes when I thought I was being responsible by bringing my own mug to the coffee shop. I thought I was saving throwaway coffee cups from being added to the garbage. Sadly, I recently found out that behind the counter, out of sight, they make the coffee in a disposable cup and then pour it into my mug!!!
We’ll keep trying to find solutions. Awareness will make it happen.
PS I have no doubt you will have the best produce in your garden with your three special advisors on the job.
Great one! This is something that has been on my mind more than ever lately.
This is a podcast with the climate columnist and deputy editor for the New Yorker. Blows my mind:
(You can download the audio only on the bottom right of the video by clicking on the downward pointing arrow)
Wow! Thanks for the suggestion. We definitely don’t want to make this an uninhabitable planet and it’s remarkable how easily we can do so.