Some days I’m more easy-going than others. I realize we all have different priorities, which is good. Diversity adds color to the palette. I also realize we are all busy. But if we are lucky, we do more than just put out fires. Instead of always reacting, we are proactive. I try my best not to judge, but some days, actually most days, it seems our environmental life-line would naturally be somewhere in the top five.
Grocery stores are a struggle for me. For starters, I usually see litter in the parking lot. Once inside, likely now with soiled hands, I see expensive colorful products displayed on the end-caps, poised for impulsive shoppers. I see produce and meat products packaged in Styrofoam along with huge displays of Styrofoam products – every size and use imaginable; and single-use disposable water bottles prominently displayed throughout the store. Then I’m surrounded by all the unhealthy, highly processed foods that claim to be “Natural” simply because this misleading term increases sales. The FDA has no rules for “Natural” labeling.
Then there is the daunting check-out lane. As I’m waiting, my eyes gravitate to carts filled with over-packaged single-serve products, Styrofoam products, bottled water, chemical “cleaning” supplies, and unhealthy processed food. Then the cashier bags and double bags purchases into maybe 20 plastic bags! Seriously, does a package of toilet paper need to be bagged? Shaken, I clutch my cloth grocery bags.
Finally I’m out of the store and driving back home. I see a guy flick out his cigarette butt, or perhaps fast food packaging. I’ve promised my friends I will no longer stalk and follow these folks home, so I just honk.
Once home, I grab my mail. I sort through all the junk mail, catalogues and newspaper inserts – Seriously, is there no end to the assault on our trees to produce millions of ads we don’t want or read? As I settle in and read the news, with more frequency I read about another environmental assault such as a chemical or oil spill threatening our waterways, soils and atmosphere. Although, I am grateful for the coverage, since most infractions never make it to news print.
Sigh. Once when perseverating to a sage friend, she advised me – “You need to spend half your time helping the environment and half your time enjoying it”. Think I’ll take a hike.