Sunday, July 23, 2006

Well, just when I thought I had finally arrived in an air-conditioning free zone, after a week of non-stop A/C, it turns out that my mom has now installed an A/C unit in the main room downstairs. The fact that this bothers me just goes to show how I am set in my ways. I have noticed a lot of other people are set in their ways, too, and this often means keeping the air temperature really, really cold! I have always hated air conditioning, except in cases of extreme heat, even before I knew about the environmental impact of it. It makes me sneeze -- and I love fresh air and natural breezes!! Luckily, my mom feels pretty much the same way. She says she only put the A/C unit there because it was really hot a couple of days ago. I guess this is a good segue to my list, as suggested by Susan (

Ten Things I Hate:

1. Air conditioning (most of the time - see above)
2. Disposable products - There are SO many of them now!! Paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic silverware, razors, small yogurt containers, other small packages of food, cameras, cleaning cloths, "to go" coffee cups and other packaging, plastic and paper bags, etc. etc. A person who uses disposable products every day can generate a heap of waste that is TOTALLY avoidable. We've become so dependent on convenience that just about everything seems difficult and inconvenient now. Where does all this garbage go that we're creating? What would happen if we all made a concerted effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle??
3. Air fresheners - sprays, plug-ins, candles, etc. - with the exception of the natural ones made from orange peel or other citrus fruit (this goes back to my preference for natural smells -- fresh air being #1)
4. Household products that are highly toxic, but look pretty and are advertised to look safe and appealing (especially those that don't list ingredients).
5. Television commercials
6. Rat poison and other methods of killing animals slowly and painfully
7. Strip malls/commercial development - too much pavement, not enough green space
8. Housing developments - everything looks too perfect -- there's not enough character/individuality
9. Parking lots -- let's turn more of them into gardens
10. Lawn mowers; lawn products. I recently read that America spends more money on lawn than on ANY other crop. Why?? I'm an advocate of using "freedom lawn" everywhere!! (See *Suburban Safari* by Hannah Holmes)

This list probably makes me sound super judgemental and opinionated. Yeah. That's me. My problem is not really with the people who use these things, but with the culture that has created them without a thought to their impact. And now it's up to individuals (and corporations) to take on personal responsibility for creating less waste, creating less CO2 emissions, increasing green space, etc. Who else is going to do it? The question is, why would people want to make their lives LESS convenient? Why would companies want to spend time and energy to change ways of doing things that they think work just fine? They don't! The only way people will change what they're doing is if they can see that it will make their lives better -- and corporations won't change unless they see that the change will be profitable. This is an area that needs creative minds and ideas for problem solving. The first thing that needs to change is the definition of profit -- from one that is purely based on dollars to one that is based on the health and well-being of everyone and everything living on the planet.

I'd like to suggest that the next list be 10 things I love. I'll have to start thinking about that one. To start off, here are some squirrels (and squirrel-related things) from Paw Paw: (Notice the black squirrel with the black and orange striped tail)


Suze said...

oh, i so agree with you on every single point you made! disposable stuff drives me nuts, especially diapers. i know it's a little more work to wash your own, but it's better than putting all that poo in your trash can (not to mention filling up landfills). unfortunately, you're right that until it's economically rewarding for companies to be environmentally friendly, they won't do it. i've been thinking about doing a post about environmental stewardship....

and i think we should do posts about what we love, just to balance things out!

pamigelsrud said...

I have been brewing a lot of ideas over the last week since the conference in Detroit ended. I would LOVE to talk to you about them sometime. I have some ideas about bringing "organizing" conversations into neighborhood bars and also about recruiting peace "stewards" to hold block parties in the sort of way the TAA is working on organizing by geography. I'd also like to find ways to unify the peace movement's goals to include fighting all injustice to animals, people, and the environment. Right now we're all split up into little sects that don't work together terribly well. I'd like to find a way to unify our talking points and work together. In my mind, it's all related. I'm curious to know what you mean by environmental stewardship... I love the idea!