Since I know a lot of people who are or wish to get into crafting, I figured I’d pass along Lupa’s handy guide to shipping green. I don’t think most of the people who read this blog will need to know everything here, but you never know.
I admit, I don’t plan out my shopping list for Whole Paycheque, nor do I let the presence or absence of a “Go Green!” logo dictate what I buy — in fact, I’m convinced the overwhelming majority of it all is a scam of some variety, and looking at the differences in price alone between Regular Bag o’ Beans and Organic Veganic Bag o’ Beans, I think there’s more money in this latest incarnation of the “Go Green!” fad than a lot of the people buying it all are willing to admit.
Still, there’s a point where I just think it makes a lot more sense to do little things that will reduce the carbon footprint — just little, miniscule lifestyle changes that will make a big impact on the planet, over the long run. So, here’s my advice to urban polytheists who may not have considered them in the pressures from the greater pagan & polytheist co0mmunities to “go green”:
*cook from scratch, whenever possible. If you need some tips or advice, watch some episodes of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. I love his show for a lot of reasons (primarily the concept of “Julia Child meets Bill Nye the Science Guy”), and one of them is that most of the foods he cooks on the show are familiar, “classic” Western/North Amerikan foods made from scratch. He explains just how cheap and easy it is — most things take no more than 45minutes — and he makes it clear when pre-prepared ingredients (like canned tomato sauce, for example) are just fine. His episode on canning and preserving is a must-watch. The gratan on his Potatoes episode can be easily prepared in front of the television. He also stresses exactly what tools and appliances you will need for a task, which ones have superfluous (and pretty much useless) features, and how nearly everything in your kitchen should be a multi-tasker, except the fire extinguisher — this saves money, storage space in your kitchen, and saves space in landfills, should something ever break or break down beyond repair.
I really don’t want to guilt-trip people who don’t regularly have the time, but if you find cooking from a recipe enjoyable, it’s totally worth setting aside an hour on your days off to cook a meal from scratch. You’ll be avoiding all the excess packaging from convenience foods, and it’ll probably taste better, too.
*especially if you have a “container garden” (indoors or out), try composting. I’ve recently seen small “composting containers” at Target, designed to go under the sink, but I just use an old bucket that cat litter came in.
*repair things before buying new. Sometimes, it’s just far more cost-effective to get a new thing, I admit, but clothes can be mended, even attractively so, a plate can (usually) be pieced back together with non-toxic glue, and your computer probably isn’t “broken” but full of spyware and minor vira that you can get rid of (and prevent) with proper software (that doesn’t even have to cost you a penny — I recommend Avast). If you build your own computer (and no, I don’t mean by selecting options from the Dell or Gateway website), you can replace each individual component as it needs it — but if you buy something off the shelf or one of those all-in-one-piece jobs from Apple that looks pretty, you’ll probably have to sink another couple thou into a whole new machine, even though it’s just the DVD-RW drive that’s broken. I’m also really tired of seeing people who replace things that are still in perfect working order. I’ve taken to darning socks and patching my jeans in front of the television over the last few months — yes, eventually, something is going to be beyond repair, but I figure that a card of darning needles and a spool 300yds of thick cotton thread cost $5, two of which will last you a lifetime, and a pair of socks can be mended with maybe a yard. A new six-pack of crew socks costs $7 — and if you go through socks like I do, you’d be replacing that once or twice a year; I don’t know about you, but that’s $14 a year I’d rather use on other things.
A lot of this just seems pretty no-brainer to me, cos I grew up with it, but it honestly surprises me how much people admit to me that it never crosses their minds to do simple things like repair those Fair Trade Organic Cotton socks instead of replace them — probably because they grew up in a nuclear family culture where everything is replaceable, and a “lifestyle” can be easily purchased for $19.95.
While I get that some people honestly don’t have time, I also get that others are simply using “I don’t have the time” as shorthand for “I’m going to watch telly for six hours straight and not do anything else, cos I really can’t be arsed to!” I get that some people are disabled, I get that some people need an hour or so to just unwind and not do anything else — but I also get that some people are just lazy and think buying things can make them a better person without doing anything else.