I didn’t realize that I had taken clean, fresh air and blue skies for granted until this week. Wildfires are raging all over the west coast, so badly that I can’t even go outside for my morning walk with my almost 1-year old. That was my favorite way to start my day. I’d pop in a podcast, go walk for 30 minutes to an hour and get some alone/mom + baby time. But now, it’s inside time, all the time. And this isn’t going to get better until we get better about climate change.
Of course, there were always wildfires. But the conditions that made these ones rage so wildly, for so long, can easily be attributed to climate change.
We don’t have leadership in this country (at all) that believes in climate change and is willing to do anything to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis we’re currently in. What’s worse, this NPR article came out late last week that reports a coordinated effort by oil and gas industries to encourage recycling all the while knowing that it wasn't going to happen.
These industries knew that if they got consumers to recycle, they wouldn’t be worried (protesting, emailing, voting, etc.) about climate change. And it worked. It’s so easy to think you’re doing your part when you wash out your mayo or cream cheese container and put it in recycling, or stop using plastic straws, or bring your own bags to the store. With plastic straws and bags, you are doing something, but in regards to recycling--that’s apparently never really been a thing. According to the article, "less than 10 percent of plastic has ever been recycled."
That is really upsetting. Since I started living in Portland, and now working with a sustainability-focused PR firm, I've started doing little things to reduce single-use plastic, though I have been drinking more water bottles since staying in WA (nasty tap water!), but now I know I need to get more serious. We are in a climate emergency and while I alone can’t fix it, I can do my part. Here are three things I’m going to focus on and try to improve on. I welcome any further suggestions and encouragement!
What are you doing?
Here's what I'm thinking:
1. VOTE for people who give a shit (or at least pretend to) about climate change. The fact that we are debating whether it's real or not is idiotic. It's real. We need policies that will hold manufacturers responsible for the waste they create, funding for those who are creating new compostable/circular products. Also, holding elected officials accountable--email/call your representatives, encourage policies that focus on mitigating the climate disaster, and vote for people who give a shit.
Oh - for prez, this of course means Biden. He’s not my first choice (AT ALL), but he’s better than the alternative and tends to listen to experts, which is the bare minimum.
2. Reduce my single-use plastic use. Obviously this issue isn't on any one person, but reducing demand can help. I'll be starting with cleaning supplies--buying fewer products in general, fewer products that are made with single-use plastic. Currently, I'm using Blueland products. The containers are silicone, not glass, but they're pretty effective! Also, laundry detergent sheets from Tru Earth are great and take up basically no space.
3. Stop buying so much stuff that will end up in a landfill eventually. I'm really guilty of indulging in fast fashion and cheap decor purchases that I end up throwing away pretty quickly. I think this is going to be the hardest thing for me. Cheap decor and clothes are so addictive! I do love a good thrift though, I'll probably start there.
I'll post an update in about a month. I'm hoping this goes pretty well!