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plastic bag

I was standing at the very end of a very long line at the grocery store on a busy weekend morning with a cart absolutely full of necessary items.   I try to get all the winter staples taken care of on the October run, so that I will be fully prepared for the holidays and company.   I had bulk ordered several items, and also needed to be in the store when I could get help carrying these things to the car.  I work carefully to combine trips so that I only need to use the car no more than once a week for my errands.  Other than that we bike or walk to take care of the little daily things.  We chose to live in town to be able to do this and only NEED one car.   We have worked hard as a family to walk the green.

As I stood in line, I decided to look and see how many other people now bring their own carry bags to the grocery.    I counted 44 people with carts in the main checkout lines.    3 of us had brought a hefty supply of bags and 9 had brought a single bag.   I could not see the person, who was being checked out at either end of the row, but I did note the mound of plastic bags in their carts as they proceeded out the door.   It was a very busy morning.    Only 2 people were using the self serve checkout line and 4 at the express check out and none of them had their own bags.

The checker had to be reminded to give me 5 cents for each of my bags used.   They nearly always forget. I have been bringing my bags to the store for over 30 years; I never forget.

Do you walk the green and bring your own bags and take them into the store and not leave them in the car?

Do you walk the green and combine errands so that you do not have to keep running out and using the car numerous times a week on the little things?

Over a million plastic bags are leaving stores in the USA every single hour of the day.   Where do they end up?  – Most in the landfills and oceans; not even recycled.

Do you keep the water running while you brush your teeth?  Do you take showers longer than 3 minutes?  Is your shampoo and soap full of environmentally toxic ingredients?  Do you crank up the heat because you are cold or do you pull on a sweater and layer?

Do you walk the green or are you the exception?  Do you feel entitled?

I wanted to share this little story I heard this week, it revealed clearly the crisis in our thinking:

A supposedly green architect is building a smaller house in town to change his commute and live more consciously, especially with the kids gone.   He put Brazilian granite countertops, which were shipped to India to be polished and then shipped here to his house, because his wife liked them.  Not only is this not a local purchase or product, they spent enough money that they could have had solar panels and reduced the impact of their house by giving back to the community and cutting carbon.   They felt entitled to getting this luxury item.  It is the current bling and they are being good consumers, they will be paying for this for years.  They modeled this behavior for their children, who also feel entitled to be the exception.

Yes there are indeed products that one cannot get locally and are not made locally and I do not know if they even investigated them, but we have been, and wow are many of them ahead of their time and making green industry and manufacturing happening right here and now.

Walking the green involves looking ahead, seeking and studying all the possibilities.

Walking the green involves every single moment of the day – not just when one feels like it or remembers.  It is because we have enough respect for the environment around us to pay attention and honor the next generations.   Walking the green is not about letting others be responsible, it is about being awake and taking action.

Do you walk the Green?

Related Reading:
A Local Eye to the Future and all that Wrapping Paper
Celebrating the Farm
Design with Life in Mind

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Thu, November 3 2011 » Inspiration

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