Saturday, December 08, 2007

The GHG Spot

The GHG Spot, a blog sponsored by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, chronicles the struggles of a family trying to make a difference by reducing Green House Gas emissions. Maybe they can inspire me. What bugs me most is the amount of garbage our household creates. When I was living on the farm (1951 - 1962), we didn't use a land fill at all. Organic household waste was fed to animals or composted. Jars, sugarbags and such were re-used. Unwanted clothing was re-modelled or given away. Hand-knitted sweaters were unravelled and re-knitted. Burnables went into the stove and helped cook food or warm up the house. The only thing we threw out were tin cans. We didn't use a lot of tinned food because my mother did prodigious amounts of home canning. The tins were washed, flattened, and kept for a bi-annual trip to a quarry on our own land. Even though my father had been throwing cans in there for decades, there was still plenty of room.

We were poor, but I didn't notice. Almost everybody I knew lived much the same way. People worked hard, helped each other out, and had low-tech fun when there was time for it. Those who dealt unfairly with others were considered losers. It wasn't paradise by any means, but I felt important because I was helping with the essential work of producing food for outselves and others. I never asked myself Why am I alive? I knew that I was needed.

Somewhere along the line, self-indulgence and personal fulfilment became synonymous in our society. That attitude is going to kill us.

When I hear that Sweden is going fully compostable/reusable/recyclable, I am envious. I know that it can be done. But we have to change the way we do things. We have to consider the welfare of the whole global community instead of our own momentary comfort and convenience.

I don't know what to do about it. Or maybe I do, but I am afraid to get started. Change begins in little ways, one choice at a time.

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