I hope to raise Henry with a healthy, educated view of stuff. It’s tricky. My own relationship with stuff is conflicted. I like to hold onto things that trigger memories, but I also don’t want anything new.The Story of Stuff films and book have really influenced the way I live my life.
When you start to think about the resources spent on every single thing that passes through your hands, and especially when you’re like me and wouldn’t use any non-renewable resources at all in your ideal world, it can be really overwhelming. I actually think that if we all thought rationally about it and made choices based on our beliefs rather than convenience, most of us wouldn’t be living the way we do. But we have to get along in society the way it currently is, and so we take baby steps to be greener and less wasteful. I’m trying, anyway.
I was cleaning out my studio at the Shirt Factory and got together a big garbage bag full of things that I couldn’t reuse, give away, recycle or compost. I sat there looking at it and it made me really sad. Cory takes the garbage out at home so my hauling a full garbage bag to the dumpster was kind of a rare thing. I felt like I may as well keep the bag there at the studio, because in my head I visualize bringing it outside to the dumpster basically the equivalent of dumping it all over Bambi and Thumper out in the woods. That bag of trash isn’t going to break down any time soon. Just because I don’t have to look at it doesn’t mean it isn’t sitting around somewhere. Because of me and the choices I made. I hate to think about it.
I’m inspired by the zero waste lifestyle, and while I’m not there yet, I aspire to it. This family in particular, and this video, just awe me. I love the idea of nothing in the trash can; of dry goods in jars. I used to daydream about opening a store where you could bring all your own containers in and fill them up with anything from orange juice to shampoo. Some shops are like that — the Glens Falls Food Co-Op, Pure ‘N Simple, and this shop on the main drag in Poultney, Vt. that opened up.
It’s tricky, though. Most of our garbage is food packaging. I’m a picky eater, we are vegetarians, short on spare time and not very clever in the kitchen. I try to buy things that don’t come in packages, but in a lot of cases it’s just unavoidable.
That’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. Stuff. And how to be responsible for less garbage. I’m open to suggestions. I think I just need to keep being conscious about what I buy, and to do better at cooking things from scratch and shopping in places where I can buy in bulk and bring my own containers. It’s a step, anyway.