As many of us are working through our New Year's resolutions, it is important to find inspiration where ever you can. Today, my husband and I have been tackling some light organization around the house. Things like cleaning out the fridge and cupboards. The kids have been sorting through their toys and getting rid of old markers. As I took a break to listen to the rain outside, I decided to open up this month's issue of Sunset Magazine. In it there is a fascinating article about a family in Mill Valley, California who are virtually garbage free. I am mystified by their simplified lifestyle. After the holidays, the amount of "stuff" in our home is at an embarrassing all time high. I simply cannot imagine living so minimally, but I respect the notion, on the highest of levels. It truly is something to aspire to. If we could all just reduce our waste, even a little, the world would be a much better place. The article is really worth checking out if you are interested...
The Zero Waste Home and here is the blog of the woman who is featured in the article...
http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/ Really thought provoking stuff.
My daughter's Hopscotch Magazine also had a piece this month called, "Waste Not, Want Not" that has been sticking with me. It is by Vijaya Bodach who reflects on her childhood growing up in India. They created very little garbage and reused everything. They lived a simple life composting what they could and appreciating what little they had. It is an interesting tale of different cultures. The author says, "Looking back, I realize that we were poor, But it didn't matter. We were happy." As a parent of a child who has been given so much in her life, without knowing what it is to suffer, I found this story endearing. Beyond just the fact that they lived simply and produced little waste.
As Americans, we truly do produce a lot of garbage. The average person in the USA tosses out about 1,130 pounds of waste each year. (According to Sunset magazine, not sure what portion of that is recyclable waste.) Other sources put that number a bit higher, but on average, most of us recycle about 40% of our garbage sum. That's somewhat encouraging! "What's Up with Trash" is a source for easy to comprehend statistics about how much waste those of us in the USA produce. (YIKES!) Worth checking out if you are interested.
Don't get me wrong, I am as guilty as anyone. I shop for a living. And many of the things I purchase (sometimes by the car load or truck load full) are breakable and require a lot of wrapping. I do own about 30 reusable shopping bags and refuse plastic whenever I can. But that doesn't mean that I cannot try to do better.
None of this really has much to do with food allergies, at least on the surface. But I do think our overuse of plastics and chemicals are related in some way. I just offer up this post as a way to get people thinking about the impact that each of us has on the world. We are all connected, after all.
Best of luck with your resolutions in this new year. Lord knows I need help with mine... to eat less sugar. Usually, I try to avoid making such New Year's declarations. But when the pants get a little tight around the waist, some changes have to be made!