Saturday, June 12, 2010

Doing Something About the BP Oil Crisis

(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


Rebecca said...

If you eat meat, buy locally raised, grass fed. No corn=no oil. This is definitely a more expensive option so use meat as flavoring instead of the center of things.

Julian said...

how about praying for all the employees that work there, including my husband, father of 6. Thankyou.

You Can Call Me Jane said...

I absolutely love that hymn. Thank you (and I mean it) for getting it playing in my head.

Emily on the Southern Prairie said...

Thanks for the shout-out! Great suggestions here. I hope plastic bags eventually are banned or cost 5 cents a piece or whatever it is they do in Europe ... that would get everyone to carry cloth!

Melissa said...

Thanks for this inspiring list, Margo! I've so enjoyed a browse through your blog this morning. Blessings to you and yours!