A day of my own

So how was your World Environment Day? I walked around my neighbourhood and was pleasantly surprised to find very little litter to pick up, and all of that was in the overgrown grass verges along the fields. In all, I found about a dozen pieces of paper and plastic, and picked up all but one and put them in the bin. The one I didn’t pick up was a plastic bag with dog poop in it. Ew. I’m disturbed by the fact that I even got close enough to realise that. Some people are really gross, and I love living in a tidy place, but I’m not going to go that far.

World Environment Day certificate of appreciation.

It was an absolute stunner of a day, and I got a bunch of things off my to-do list done. It was Saturday night, but I wanted more than anything to curl up in bed with a good book, so I did just that (with Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island). Unfortunately there was a loud party nearby playing the same Spanish pop song over and over, so I had to close my windows, which made the night slightly less pleasant, but never mind.

This morning I woke early with a desire to do something so I went for a run despite the brewing thunderstorm. “What?” You ask. That’s right, I went for a run. Okay, it was a jog (I don’t run unless I’m playing sports, chasing a bus or being chased). It was actually quite disappointing. I didn’t get to the point where my lungs were heaving, gasping for breath, or my legs like jelly to the point where I was sure I couldn’t go on. I just didn’t feel like pushing myself, and I wasn’t enjoying it, so I just stopped. I was sweaty and out of breath, but didn’t feel like I’d achieved anything – which surely is the point of going for a run? Anyway, I was down by the river anyway so I bought some fruit and vegetables (which I packed in pre-used plastic bags from home – score 1 to me, despite the odd looks I got).

I was home by 9.30 and was shocked at how much of the day was left. I barely knew what to do with myself. The course had been taking up literally all of my time bar when I slept, so this was somewhat of a novelty. So I cooked a nice lunch and a nice dinner (I will NEVER get sick of home-made pizza). The cooking thing got me to thinking about all the plastic I use in my everyday life, and I’ve realised this Month Without Plastic is going to be harder than I thought. And I already thought it was going to be impossible!

But nothing is impossible. For me anyway (modest, I know).

I’ve decided to make a list of things I eat and/or buy regularly than come in plastic.

  • milk
  • yoghurt
  • bread
  • meat
  • rice
  • pasta
  • cereal (the box is cardboard but inside there’s a plastic bag)
  • nearly all non-alcoholic drinks
  • ice cream (remind me again how I put on so much weight? – No, I will never give up ice cream)
  • and non-food items like toothpaste, tooth brushes, medication, pens…

Holy crap! EVERYTHING is plastic… and plastic is made from oil… and oil is one of the biggest causes of not only environmental destruction, but also hatred, fear and mistrust between humans. It’s so much a part of our lives, but does it need to be?

Life as we know it – the good parts and the bad parts (and let’s face it, most of it is good parts, right?) – would be impossible without plastic. But we clearly need to reduce our use of it. And that can’t be that hard, can it?

So here’s a list of ways I can think of – just off the top of my head – to get around the plastic thing.

  • milk: glass bottles or cardboard tetrapacks
  • bread: from bakeries in paper or re-usable bags
  • meat: from butcheries wrapped in paper and re-used plastic bags (the point of month without plastic is to not buy any new plastic)
  • grains from bulk bins in re-usable bags or re-used plastic
  • fruit and veges don’t need wrapping – you should be washing them before preparing anyway – and you can always use your own bags
  • water is free from the tap (although I’ve heard tap water is a no-go in London, where I’m moving to – is that myth or fact?)
  • making your own foods

Some other potential problems I can think of are the fact that I’ll be settling in somewhere new – which usually requires the purchase of many things, many of which are usually plastic. One in particular I can think of is storage containers for food and suchlike. Even the glass ones tend to have plastic components in order to be airtight. Oh dear, what am I getting myself into?

Okay, it seems I’m incapable of short posts, so I’m going to leave this here.

Oh, I finally (only 6 months late) put up photos from my first few weeks in Vietnam on facebook!


Categories: Books, Saving the World, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “A day of my own

  1. It’s obviously a good thing that you’re trying, and I commend you. Unfortunately, as soon as you strip off one layer of ruining the environment another one pops its head up to greet you like the ugly troll it is.

    “cardboard tetrapacks” – See the Madagascar episode of Last Chance to See for some interesting facts on “recycled paper”

    ◦meat: This one’s a biggy. I suggest watching “food Incorporated” – Very interesting/scary stuff.
    Speaking of which, I became a vegetarian in March. So far, so good.

    “although I’ve heard tap water is a no-go in London, where I’m moving to – is that myth or fact?”
    – Myth. The water is fine. There used to be a problem with the water because it’s from the (gross) thames. But the treatment of the water takes out anything that can harm you. It may not be the nicest water, but then again, neither was Dunedin (Grade E anybody?)

    When are you going to London? Are you coming up for the festival?

    • Thanks for that, Andrew 🙂

      I know what you mean about trying to solve one problem and finding another.

      Once I get to London I’m going to order “Last Chance to See: from Amazon. I read the Douglas Adams book a while ago and I’ve seen the Kakapo episode of the new documentary, but not the rest.

      I’d vaguely heard of Food Inc. before, but haven’t seen it. Will look that one up, too.

      I drank the tap water in Dunedin my whole life (did you know it’s better now? Sukhi fixed it when she was mayor), and also the tap water in Thailand when I was travelling there. I always like Dunedin water better than Chch water, so I think I’ll manage with London water.

      I arrive in London on the 22nd of June. I’d love to come up for the festival, but settling into my job will be my main priority. I’ll definitely try to make it work, though!

      • Do you have somewhere to stay in London?
        I’m coming down there for a night at the beginning of July before I travel over to America.

        I have Last Chance to See on DVD already. It’s such a wonderful show.

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