Photo courtesy of geos.ed.ac.uk.

As I was trying to drift off to sleep tonight, a bleak scenario played itself out behind my eyes, and it all started with a plastic bag.  One of the two plastic grocery bags I have gathered since I got to Korea.  Normally I use the rollable/reusable Envirosax bag that I bought in Germany and have always carried in my purse since then, but for some reason (probably a momentary laziness on my part) two plastic grocery bags have followed me home anyway.  Tonight I thought hard about how I can best responsibly deal with those bags, since I have not seen a way to recycle them here.  Shall I pack them and bring them home with me?  Re-use them to pass groceries on to my successor?  Hm…  And then came the scenario:

My two plastic bags get thrown away, and add to the choking overhwelm at the local dump.  The dump emits toxic fumes of decay and rot, which contribute to the greenhouse gasses already turning the planet upside down – or have you not noticed the rapidly increasing insanity happening in the world weather report?  The poles continue to heat up, and the equator turns icy.  Glaciers form across deserts.  Throngs of humans are forced from their comfortable homes into the nomadic survival game.  But borne of the “displacing foods of modern commerce” like white flour and sugar, hydrogenated oils and imitation foods, their bodies are not equipped to handle the harsh lifestyle as were their ancient ancestors.  Now the fourth generation of humans eating these displacing foods, fertility declines sharply and those who are alive are unable to live the robust life their bodies were designed to live.  Civilization goes the way of the Dodo bird, and the Earth, being endlessly resourceful, slowly transmutes the toxins and styrofoam and over tens of thousands of years, maybe by the end of the next ice age, renews itself once again.

WOW.  Aren’t you glad you’re not in my head at 10pm some nights?

I don’t mean to be all doomsday, and I don’t mean to make light of my scenario either.  Like it or not, these are the things I think about more and more when I make choices about whether to take the plastic bag, or the paper coffee cup, or the continental breakfast single-serve oatmeal.  Or when I buy another plastic bottle of store-bought dish soap, or use another roll of paper towels or toss out another 40 dryer sheets.  Or eat another bag of M&M’s or toss the carrot tops in the trash instead of the compost heap.  These seemingly small choices add up, and I am too wide awake at this moment to pretend that my little old life doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.  All of our lives, and all of our choices, matter.

This month’s theme, Clean & Simple, was born from my growing passion for getting off the disposable bandwagon.  It may seem like a frivolous, fun, crafty thing to make your own cleaning supplies – and it is.  It is also a conscious, intentional choice that we can make every day to lessen our burden on our dear Mother.  We can delight in these choices, make them creative and fulfilling.  Nifty!  And responsible.  To me, this is no small step in my purpose of crafting a meaningful life.

So if this manifesto of mine resonates with you, take one small step today.  Read through my previous Clean & Simple posts, or strike out on your own into the wide world of the Google search to find something that you can find joy and purpose in doing for yourself, your family, your home, your planet.  Get inspired. Share this post with three people who you think would also resonate – or if you’re brave, with three people who would be challenged by these ideas.  Then come back here and talk about it, please.  Participate!

Gratefully in it with you,

Maggie

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