Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

(I started this entry yesterday and I'm just now finishing it...)

Geez it's been a long time since my last blog entry. I have been around the world and back again...
well not really, but that's what it's felt like. It's spring time in Chicago - officially! Well, there is a slight chance of snow for next week... but we'll ignore that for now. There are daffodils and hyacinth EVERYWHERE on campus. The forsythia bushes are becoming electric with bright yellow petals. Short leafy reddish limbs of peony plants are pushing their way up up up out of the earth. And life is beautiful.

Walking through the Warren park you will see literally hundreds of people engaging in many outdoor activities. Last night I saw about fifteen soccer games taking place, children swinging on the swingsets, people walking their dogs, couples lounging in the grass next to their parked bicycles, and vendors advertising ice cream with ringing bells.

This weather makes me want to eat, drink, and enjoy life. Steve prepared this cornish game hen for us a couple of evenings ago. (The quiche was my contribution... I know.. it doesn't go with the hen, but I was trying to use up some vegetables from the fridge.) The hen has a plum glaze that was so yummy and is sprinkled with pecans.

Last week I rode my bike to work for the first time this year. And with it being Earth Day and all, I had to ride again today. I'm also wearing my organic cotton tee shirt and drinking water out of a recycled spaghetti sauce jar that I keep at work.

I like celebrating Earth Day, but the problem is trying to make all of these small good deeds into habits that one will retain year round. The spaghetti sauce jar is partially due to the whole drinking-out-of-plastic-bottle scare. I would like to buy a lot of the organic products, and the products from companies that do not test on animals, but a lot of these things are priced way over my budget. I recently purchased JASON shampoo and conditioner and then felt slightly guilty about using Oil of Olay body wash..... but I have to remind myself that doing a little something is better than doing nothing at all. I heard that Avon does not test on animals, either, but for some reason I find that surprising. Or take my shower curtain, for instance. I had wanted the organic hemp shower curtain but had to go with organic cotton instead, because it was much more reasonably priced. Oh well.

I'm going to try to bike a lot more this year, too. Maybe I should learn more about bikes and bike maintenance. I do know how to keep the proper tire pressure, but beyond that I'm lost.

I'm also trying not to use plastic bags, either... as most people probably are. I saw the most beautiful magnolia tree in someone's yard yesterday, with a plastic shopping bag hanging off of one of the top branches. So disgusting. There are TONS and TONS of garbage on my street. It really blows my mind that people can't use a freaking trash can or a dumpster! What the hell! As far as the bags go, I've collected a few canvas bags but I can't seem to remember to take them to the store with me.

Also, I DO use some of those bags for kitty poop. But we have never even come close to running out of them. What would I use as an alternative if the supply of shopping bags under the kitchen sink actually did get used up? I could buy flushable litter. Never used it before. And the litter boxes are not close to the bathroom in my apt.

The final characteristic rendering me environmentally challenged is that I do not recycle. Shame shame shame shame on me! I'm admitting it! I try to re-use as many containers as possible but there is so much that ends up in the garbage can. I grew up recycling practically everything. And then I moved to Chicago where it seems so difficult to manage recyclables. There is no deposit for beer cans or bottle so practically no one recycles them. There is NO WHERE in my apartment to sort or store these types of things and it seems that recycling centers are few and far between. And the whole "blue bag" plan??? Forget it!!! I don't think it works.... maybe it does, but everyone I've spoken with about it is skeptical.

So maybe Earth Day isn't a 24 hour period once a year where you attempt to do good things for our planet, but instead, a day to set goals for the year ahead of things you will do to be more green - sort of like new year's resolutions for the Earth. This year I'm going to try to make recycling work for me. I can and I will.

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