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My pledge … want to join me?

A year ago, I saw Jane Goodall speak at the Town Hall Series. Since that lecture, delivered in a no-nonsense manner, woke me up, I’ve managed to stick with a few changes inspired by Goodall. For example, it’s been months and months since I used a plastic bag at any grocery store or market (read my column about being the “right kind” of bag lady) In fact, I eschew them — plastic bags — in general no matter where I am — bookstores, Macy’s, the drugstore. I’m proud of the change, but know I can do more.

Since Obama’s inauguration yesterday, I’ve been thinking what more can I do for my country right now? There are all sorts of things I’d LIKE to do — mentor a child, help illiterate folks learn to read and write, help former prison inmates assimilate back into society, maybe help build a home for someone. Right now, though, I can’t see how I can squeeze one more thing into my way-too-busy days. I’m not sure if that’s just an excuse or not and I’m striving for more balance so that I can get back to my days of more active volunteerism, but in the meantime, I’ve decided on one pledge that I can make right now. One CHANGE I can make that will make a difference if just one person does it, but could make a HUGE difference if a lot of people would join with me.

I’ve decided to STOP accepting take-out/take-away meals that come in heavy packaging — especially those styrofoam packages. So, for example, last week I went to The Granary and bought a spanikopita (hope I spelled that correctly). The woman was just about to put the little pastry into a big plastic container and I stopped her — I mean, I was planning to eat it within minutes … surely it would be okay wrapped in just a napkin? She wasn’t too happy about my request and had some trouble affixing a metered price tag, but she did it and the guy at the register looked at it oddly and handled it carefully and rang it up and I paid and ate it — without using a plastic container for that five minute journey from behind the counter to my tummy.

Sometimes I stop at Morton’s and make a salad from the salad bar. And in the past I’ve used the styrofoam cartons they provide. NO MORE!! I’m going to start carrying my own packaging (reusable Tupperware or some kind of equivalent) and asking — in fact, demanding — that they let me use my own packaging. I believe there will be some resistance some places, but I’m going to do it and stick with it and I believe it will help in the long run.

This CHANGE will require a bit more planning on my part. More discipline. And perhaps fewer meals picked up on the go and more prepared at home. But I’m committed. I couldn’t find a definitive source that I felt comfortable quoting, but from the looks of what I read, it takes about FIVE HUNDRED YEARS for a styrofoam/equivalent food package to break down. Worse, such packaging is petroleum based and also gives off carcinogens as it breaks down!!

Jiminy Cricket.

If I’m well-off enough and self-indulgent enough to give myself the luxury of occasionally buying my food ready-to-go/ready-to-eat, surely I can be responsible enough to do so without causing harm to my world, my planet, and all its inhabitants.

Want to join me? Take the pledge here by posting your comment!

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Posted on January 21st, 2009Comments RSS Feed
One Response to My pledge … want to join me?
  1. Mary, I’m right with ya.
    I used to take plastic ware to work for my breakfast and lunch. After reading so many suggestions from others, I bring my own silverware. Mary, when I used to work on St. Armand’s Circle on weekends, I used to go to the coffee shops and it really irked me to see them place a sliver of desert in a non-bio-degradable container large enough to contain an entire day’s supply of food for a third world country. Also Mary, insted of going to the local shops for coffee that don’t use paper, but rather styrophone, I’ll take my own travel mug for the fill-up. So yes Mary, there are so many way’s to really cut down waste and help save the earth from lookinglike it has a bad case of acne from space due to all the landfills. So yes Mary, you can for sure to count me in! Remember as we have a new begining with President Obama, we can take charge of the earths demise. John F. Kennedy once said: “Ask not what the Country can do for you, but what you can do for your Country”. While this may be just a “drop in the bucket”, it’s a step in the right direction.

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