Posts Tagged ‘environment’

choosing battles

Anytime Dumpsters © Jim Korpi

“Sorry, it’s company policy,” the woman behind the counter recites as she pours a coffee into a styrofoam cup after I plead with her to fill the one I’ve brought. An argument ensues as I explain the savings her company would have on their bottom line if everyone brought their own cup. “Sorry, it’s company policy,” she rewinds and plays back to me. “Do you know where this cup goes next?” I question her. “In the trash,” she proudly answers. Exactly.
My watch broke and I sent it to three different places including the manufacturer. It came back in the mail with an “Unable to be fixed sticker” on its glass face. A new one of “equal value” accompanied it.
There is a tidal force behind the way our society functions that is impossible to swim against. Idealism acquiesces into “choosing battles.” How can one choose to accept something while knowing it to be wrong?

Yesterday’s News

Proud Owners © Jim Korpi

Somewhere close a newspaper lines the plastic bottom of a birdcage. The droppings of a tropical songbird cover yesterday’s news: a pelican draped in oil below the headline “Size of Spill in Gulf of Mexico Larger Than Thought.”
Somewhere else a woman nears a gas station and vocalizes her personal boycott of the BP on her right, instead she pulls left into Exxon and fills her car with conviction.

Storing Stuff

It seems completely natural to squirrel away some extra food in the freezer. It seems rational to have a few extra bandages in the medicine cabinet in case a finger is mistaken for a carrot during food preparation. What about the rest of the stuff filling my house? What about the shelves of books I’m planning to read? What about the two extra bikes on the side of the house? What about the specialty pans I never cook with? How did this stuff accumulate? Who was the sneaky bastard who convinced me a bread machine was a good idea?
All these things sit in space I pay a monthly fee for them to occupy. I’m paying to store stuff others could be using. The more I store, the less that is available for others and the more that has to be produced. I’m the ideal consumer. I’m the irrational excuse for an ever-expanding economy.
The storage industry in United States is at 20 billion dollars and “1.875 billion square feet of personal storage.” That means Americans pay more to store the material goods they don’t use every year than most small country’s GDP.
This is eating away at my sanity, so I’ve decided to do something. My goal is simple. I must rid myself of one object a day. A container sits by the door. I drop one unused item in it per day. Once the container is filled it goes to the local thrift store. I’ve made two trips.
Have you heard of the 100 thing challenge?
How about the Story of Stuff?