Land Wilson (children’s environmental book author and product-take-back activist) just sent me a poster:
IT’S PRETTY AMAZING THAT
our society has reached a point
where the effort necessary to
extract oil from the ground
SHIP IT TO A REFINERY
TURN IT INTO PLASIC,
SHAPE IT APPROPRIATELY,
TRUCK IT TO A STORE,
BUY IT, AND BRING IT HOME
is considered to be less effort than what it takes
to just wash the spoon when you’re done with it.
What if we actually took care of things, instead of throwing them away? Thich Nhat Hanh gives us an idea. In The Miracle of Mindfulness, he says: “I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath” (1976, p. 61). What is the benefit of such an approach? “Mindfulness is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves,” Hanh says, “the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness” (p. 14). Is it possible that the litter and waste we see all dispersed around us are simply outward expressions of the inward dispersal that afflicts so many of us in an over-busy, over-hurried, over-crowded world?
Of course, we must remember that some effort went into the making of the stainless steel spoon, and that washing it requires water and energy, too. Has anyone tried to prepare an LCA (life-cycle analysis) on these two divergent paths of material use? It’s hard to imagine that throwing things away can be more resourceful than re-using. That, however, is the argument now being promoted by “Bag the Ban” when it comes to grocery bags!
Perhaps you have some thoughts on this group’s contention that reusable bags cost more energy and use more resources than throw-away plastics! If so, please write me: email@example.com.
Meanwhile, I’m using my reusable bag, my reusable spoon . . . my reusable everything.