(thanks to Emily at Little House on the Southern Prairie for the post that inspired this one; mind you, she cusses a bit)
I am depressed about the BP oil spewing into the Gulf and spreading everywhere. I've stopped following the news because it's so devastating to me. I won't go on: you know what I'm talking about.
I am in some measure culpable for this disaster. I buy and use plastic. I burn gas in my car going mindlessly and endlessly everywhere. I turn up the heat, fly on planes, buy products and produce shipped on trucks that use diesel.
But this post is not to paralyze you with guilt and hopelessness: it is to take some power into our hands. We can stop doing those things that demand oil. I believe firmly that little things matter, they add up. I'll list the things I do below and please, add your ideas and methods in the comments. Also, bear in mind as you read my list that I've been doing some of these things for a while and others only for weeks. . .and sometimes I don't do any of these things because I'm lazy or tired or grouchy. But let's focus on the positive!
Ways I try to avoid plastic/oil:
1. I try not to buy plastic containers - I use refrigerator dishes or canning jars in the kitchen, and baskets or metal buckets elsewhere (toys, crafts, etc.)
2. I usually wash and reuse plastic bags when I can't avoid them. My sis even got me this handy bag dryer, but I used to drape them over my cooking utensils next to the stove. I try to avoid plastic wrap.
3. I buy milk in reusable glass jugs and I'm sure it tastes better too. Our eggs come in reused cartons, which I return to the farmer's market or to friends with chickens.
4. I shun the plastic bags at the farmer's market when I can, instead putting the produce in my own old bags at home or into glass jars (thanks to my friend Rebecca for inspiring this). I buy bulk grains and flours in paper when I can, which freezes just fine as it is - no loss of flavor or freshness.
5. We use cloth hankies, cloth napkins, rags (not paper towels), cloth diapers, cloth wipes. To my embarrassment, I still do use rubber pants for Ben; since he's started potty training, I'm not sure it's worth switching to wool soakers.
6. I recycle what I can, even the stuff that doesn't get picked up curbside (paper, cardboard, household hazardous waste, styrofoam, metal).
7. I rarely accept a plastic bag from a store: I carry my own cloth bag or I just carry the item to the car trunk or chuck it in the stroller bin.
8. We use a reel mower for our small back yard.
Making this list and anticipating your additional ideas in the comments has been such a hopeful thing for me! I don't feel so helpless or puny.
I couldn't figure out a photo to treat your eyes, but here is a verse from a lovely song in my church hymnal, Sing the Story . . . (written music and the other two verses here)
Nothing is lost to the heart of God,
nothing is lost for ever;
God's heart is love, and that love will remain,
holding the world for ever.
No impulse of love, no office of care,
no moment of life in its fulness;
no beginning too late, no ending too soon,
but is gathered and known in God's goodness.
Music and lyrics by Colin Gibson, copyright 1994