Most people in the West have risen above survival mode and have joined a consumer driven society. We have so much now that we no longer hold the respect and regard for things- not like when they were scarce. I love old homes and always find that the closets are very small with barely enough space for a third of my clothes and jackets. Only 70 years ago people only had one or two jackets. I just counted and I have 8 jackets. I also have 9 pairs of shoes and probably that many pairs of jeans.
My local grocery store now charges for plastic bags. I am a confirmed ecologist but it felt like an inconvenience to me. I now bring my cloth bags to market. It was a wake-up call to me, even if I was irritated and didn’t want to pay the 5 cents for the plastic.
Does my plastic bag make a difference? It does if you believe we conduct wars over oil and hundreds of thousands of people die. It does if you believe those bags pollute the oceans and fill up landfills with plastic that takes forever to bio-degrade.
The U.S. uses 12 million barrels of oil per year to make those plastic bags. And I use each plastic bag once and throw it away. Over 80% of our consumer goods are designed to be used once and discarded- planned obsolescence. That is an economic mindset consciously designed by corporations for profit. Good for profit, not so good for the planet.
So how do I come to resolution? I am in the process of working on my mindfulness. Do I need a 9th jacket and should I send 2 or 3 of them to the homeless shelter? Can I watch my conditioning to feel the inconvenience and feel perturbed when I have to bring my cloth bag into the market? Can I live more consciously?
How do I waste things? Am I mindful of my actions? Do I turn the water off when brushing my teeth? Do I turn the lights off when I leave the room and did I change out the bulbs to energy efficient ones? Do I use a plastic cup or a glass which I can re-use a thousand times? There is an endless list but for me it comes down to my training in mindfulness.
I love paper towels. I am a bit of a germ-a-phobe and I don’t like sponges, especially when they look dirty and smell, so I use lots of paper towels. I will figure out a way to cut back or stop using them now. Haven’t gotten there yet, but I am aware now. I see the waste, the effects and the inter-dependence. That’s a first big step. More to come. Yea!
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