Last year a member of my local Zero Waste group on Facebook asked if she should do bulk bin shopping in the context of living 20 miles away from the nearest store to offer it. Commentators on the post agreed that it probably was not a good idea. The additional miles driven would likely have a larger carbon footprint than the amount of plastic saved.
I wondered if there is a way to express miles driven as a quantity of single-use plastic. Here is my best ballpark estimate:
1 mile driven = 5.3 standard size plastic water bottles
‘Tis the season to remember that most of the world is not Zero/Low Wasters. ‘Tis the season to remember that most of the world does not watch their plastic consumption. We are in the midst of the Christmas season that starts sometime before Halloween, and ends sometime after New Years Day.
There are magical local groups on Facebook where you give and receive gifts from your neighbors. There is absolutely no selling or money changing hands. It’s a hyper-local gift economy, and it’s helping to divert waste from landfills and promote re-use.
“Let them eat cake” is the most entitled line ever spoken in human history. Jean Jacque Rousseau wrote this line in his autobiography, stating an out-of-touch princess said this during a famine. He was actually referring to a Spanish Princess, but the angry French peasants in the late 18th century decided it was their Queen Marie Antoinette who said this. The reason that the french public so easily believed anything negative about Marie Antoinette was because they were growing tired of her and King Louis XVI’s lavish spending. The problem was greater than just the monarchy. All of the French aristocrats paid no taxes, yet had immense power and wealth, while the poor continued to get poorer. This lead to the French Revolution, which at its core is a story of the poor trying to equalize power. It was a failure in some ways, as it eventually replaced the monarchy with another authoritarian ruler, Napoleon. Still, the French Revolution stirred up ideas and showed that the people will try to fight back if the rich continue to act too entitled.
March For Our Lives, the protest for common sense gun control, took place 5 weeks after the mass shooting that happened in Parkland, Florida, was one of the largest protests in American History, turning out 1.2 million people in 880 different cities across the United States. People were incensed, moved, and demanded change. I see this same anger as, yet again, we have two mass shootings back-to-back, in Dayton and El Paso. It seems like mass shootings have become a bi-monthly event in the United States.
Those of us of a certain age remember this catchphrase from the late 90s and early aughts. It was from a popular infomercial for a home rotisserie machine which let you slow roast just about anything you could stuff in it. You could just “Set it and forget it!” until your slab of meat was cooked through hours later.