My inspiration for this post is originating from the frustration and sadness I feel from how COVID-19 has affected our carbon footprint, as if it wasn't already a problem.
I have spent a lot of time and effort over the past 10 years reducing my carbon footprint and changing behaviors to support this. Here are some of the things I was successfully able to change without a lot of effort (not a complete list):
I buy no beverages in bottles. Even if offered to me, I refuse. Likewise I stopped buying all plastic bags especially ziplock-type bags and I ask cashiers to avoid giving me plastic bags of any sort. I reuse any that I have.
I pay attention to the packaging of products I want to purchase such as food, makeup, drug items, etc. So much of the packaging is superflous.
I buy local whenever I can. I always use the farmers markets for my produce and I buy very little produce from other countries. For example, I can get peaches from Florida and Georgia (also strawberries) now but I will wait until they are available at the Farmers Market. I freeze a lot of produce in the summer and eat it all winter.
I reuse whenever I can and recycle all paper, cans, and allowable plastics. I compost produce scraps.
I don't eat meat. I will eat chicken but only if it is free range and organic. Otherwise, it's vegan meals for me.
I buy fuel efficient cars.
I have been buying more used items and trying to stay away from leather products.
One of my biggest concerns is plastics. It is in everything. You can live without using any but it is very difficult. How many products do you see in glass? It's heavier and more expensive than plastic. I recycle or reuse all of my plastic bags, try to buy cotton-based products and just be conscious of the buy-buy-buy mentality that many of us don't even think about. Do I really need this and if so, how do I source it most responsibly? Usually, we don't think about the impact to our environment.
Before COVID, I was working diligently to reduce my plastic consumption. Micro-plastics are especially toxic as they are hard to recover and easy for wildlife to eat. They can be colorful and attractive. Autopsies of fish and ocean mammals have revealed that they are often filled with these micro-plastics. They are in our bodies as well.
I reuse or recycle all plastic bags. I am using a green energy supplier because oil is used to make most plastics among other things. I avoid using single-use plastics such as straws and cutlery. I take my own reusable bags to shop. Using paper has its dangers as well because loggers cut down very large old trees for furniture and paper goods. It takes many many many years, especially for hardwoods, to regrow large enough to use.
Along comes COVID and many of my efforts are being thwarted. Many stores won't permit bringing in your own bags. Think about how many gloves, masks, and gowns are being discarded daily. Everything hospitals use comes wrapped in multi-layers of plastic and the device or tool being used is most likely plastic. I can't use my personal thermos at Starbucks. I have to use their cups. The list goes on and on. It is true that we are driving less and buying less while stores are closed and that helps to offset the plastic use.
I am very concerned about the impact all of this is having on the oceans, the weather, wildlife and our water supply to mention a few. This is impacting every living organism who calls our planet home.
In a subsequent blog I will discuss the positive things we can do to help as well as organizations and books that are involved in cleaning up our planet.
Can you guess what is in the picture below ( unfortunately in a plastic bag!)
Thanks for 'listening' to my rant!