3rd Annual Earth Day Special (2013)

In previous years, I’ve put together Green-ish Lists. Laboriously hand-crafted. By my own fair hand. Researched and all and all.

But here’s a thing. Or a couple of things, really.

THING #1

Such lists might entice or incite someone, somewhere people to buy stuff. Amongst that stuff there might be stuff they don’t need. And stuff of which they already have a version or equivalent, albeit maybe less green or green-ish.

So this year, in a break with tradition, there will be no list.

THING #2

Earth Day should be every day damn it!

And part of normal everyday life for everybody!!!

I mean, this tosh about making a big ritual/~ised/~istic deal of planting one single tree in some random and probably irrelevant place? Fuck’s sake, if you’re that keen on planting trees, get thee to the Amazon and start beating up the bulldozers. Pillocks.

THING #3

OK, there might be a list, at some point in the future. But there’s a sound practical reason for no list: cruelty-free-ness is up in the air.

Following the cosmetic-testing ban in the EU, it will be some time before every single product on the shelf and in warehouses is new cruelty-free stock. And even longer before we start seeing which companies put their money where their mouth is, on research & development. I.e., if you’ll allow me to belabour a grammatical point, I’m waiting to see a “cosmetic testing ban” become a “cosmetic-testing ban.”

For testing to be seriously well-funded non-animal alternative testing, of a sort that becomes not only acceptable worldwide (inc. places like the USA and its bizarre antiquated insistence on animal testing)—rather than freakish and marginal—but normal and standard.

Add to that the whole “who’s doing what in China” complications.

So: no list. Well, no list of “good” and “bad” companies. Just a rough list of Points To Ponder.

THE 2013 ALTERNATIVE GREEN LIST

  1. Green List 2013: use what you have, make it last, buy less, use less.
  2. Buy to replace. Not to cave in to a new craving. Think before buying. You are, after all, supposed to be a sentient intelligent rational being.
  3. Think: NEED not WANT. And consider the contrary: the mortifying embarrassment of being, yes you personally, the incarnation of “geez, first-world problems or what.” Here is an example of “first-world problem” syndrome, from MakeupAlley’s Green Board. Yes, that’s right: the board “for posting about green products and eco-friendly living.” Ye gods and tiny fishes… Jesus wept… etc.:
    first-world problem
  4. Think: fortitude, perseverance, love for others, charity. Buy less. Save money. Give it to those who need it more: your elderly or poorer family and friends. Less fortunate people locally. Others worldwide. Major international aid organizations (be they for humans, animals, plants, planet, water, air, or all of the aforementioned).
  5. Live more carefully and attentively: with more thought, consideration, contemplation of consequences.
    OK, please don’t go off and go nutty. These things can all go too far.
  6. Save energy and primary resources:
    —turn lights off and turn power off at the wall when not using or recharging devices;
    —turn the water off in the kitchen and bathroom when you’re not using it but running it down the drain;
    —use stuff up.
  7. Make changes in everyday consumption:
    —when replacing electronics, go for energy-saving ones;
    —when buying new disposable goods (ex. cosmetics), think about their planetary impact. From cradle to grave. Looking at packaging and —ingredient-sourcing is always a good first step;
    —don’t buy newspapers when you can get the same paper online;
    —use reusable cloths instead of cotton-wool pads, paper towels, paper tissues/Kleenez;
    —stop driving: walk, bike, public transport (and carbon-offset etc. for longer-distance trips), and ride-share / car-share when you must use a car;
    —and reduce consumption generally: not just energy, water, fuel; but also food and, well, basically everything.
  8. Reuse, recycle, repurpose, reFASHION, reVAMP:
    —recycle and compost;
    —throw away less food (recycle leftovers when you can, in new dishes ex. bakes);
    —reuse / repurpose old stuff, including old clothes: fix things when you can, pay an expert craftsman to do so when you can’t;
    —sell, swap, or give away old stuff you no longer need / want / like / use;
    —keep old crap around for craft projetcs with any visiting younger persons (especially those who complain “but mommy, why don’t your friends have any toys?”). And cheap-to-free: no $$$ day-trips. Better and better, you’re doing the poor parents a good turn, saving them money and blame/infantile harrassment and emotional blackmail;
    —and indeed keep old crap around for yourself, for playing with on a rainy day: it’s often been said that adult humans don’t play enough and should play more. Good for the mind: whether that’s to fend off ageing and maintain productivity, or to be a creative futurist imagineering type working for Google and suchlike, or points between. Playing is fun. It makes life more enjoyable. All good things.
  9. If you absolutely must buy something—buying to replace, I presume…—then:
    here are the old Earth Day Green-ish Lists and associated posts;
    —and another one on reducing consumption;
    —and one on my own purchasing critera and its continuation of sorts in raisons d’être: purpose.
  10. If you find yourself thinking too hard about your next lipstick, or guilt-tripping about your previous or current one: then you’re thinking too hard full stop/period. See 2 and 3 above re. being an intelligent human being + first-world problems. Thinking is all very good, but one can over-think things. Think balance, measure, good judgement, perspective, wisdom.
    —Also, worries about over-thinking probably means that it’s time for a break. Time for a nice cup of (sustainably-grown organic fair-trade fair-labour) tea and a sit down;
    —and some chocolate.
  11. Enjoy life (see 8 above), especially those parts that are free, don’t hurt anyone/anything, and involve interaction with nature.

So.

No Green-ish List this year.

Go take a hike.

Or rather: off you go, as the Vancouver Sun reliably informs us the Japanese call it, shinrin-yoku: “forest-bathing.” That is, 森林浴. English version of the Wikipedia article here.

earth day cupcakes, featuring mud and worm

Do not attempt to take a hike without first preparing an appropriate snack for the end of your trip.
Back in my homelands, we have this tradition of walking/hiking to and from pubs. Whole vacations in many beauteous parts of the British Isles / western Atlantic archipelago can be built along trails that go from one pub-node to another. Or, pubs that connect one path to another. All a matter of perspective, and amounts to the same jolly map-network of pubs and countryside, in symbiotic harmony.
Image from “Three Square Chef: A Balanced Approach to Food & Life,” 2009-04; links to original post

3 comments

  1. kristen

    Now there is something i never equated with being green – a pub crawl! Thinking back now, my friends and i spent many a summer holiday in Aberystwyth and Neighbouring Borth, we did many a coastal pub walk and got to see much of nature we may not have normally seen, like pods of dolphins, nesting sea birds and that nudist beach…no wait that last bit i dont think i want to remember 😀

    • gingerama

      🙂
      happy you approve, and that it brought back fond memories: pubs, pub-crawls, and the pub/hiking virtuous cycle–some of the things I miss the most about that part of the world. I think it’s an important part of culture, identity, and philosophy of life: how to survive mist, damp, and rain.

      Wonder if that’s how pubs were invented: and it *had* to be a network (not just one First Pub), dotting the countryside, physically holding together a people-and-place (a.k.a. in modern terms “nation”): building that identity, maintaining it, and being it. It is they that tie people to land. Sometimes quite firmly, in the extension of the pub-to-pub network that is ditches and gutters that cradle those who’ve over-indulged, for a quick rest and commune with Mother Nature on their way home.

      Ach, it’s always so hard to explain “pub” to foreigners. Without waxing philosophical and getting all maudlin and sounding like I’ve just been out having a few jars byself. But you know what I mean about pubs and how important they are… others out there: they’re watering-holes, desert oases, and the rhizomes of an ecosystem.

      • kristen

        Indeed, Britain and pubs are connected and the demise of the pub is the demise of part of the British culture.
        Where i live we have a well maintained and loved village with many shops and dotted in between are many old and established pubs. Ive not set foot in one though as they are very much for the ‘regulars’ and i often feel like i walked into ‘The Slaughtered Lamb’ (werewolf in London). But they are part of the village community and would feel odd without them. Of course one of them has turned into a ‘gastro pub’ with overpriced fancy food. If that’s what it takes to survive then good for them.
        I’m more a cafe culture type person myself, which my village also has many lovely places to sit, eat or just hold a drink in hand and watch the world go by.
        But on many occasions when coming home from one event or another i’d rather stop in a country pub for food and a rest than some service station or chain restaurant as each pub reflects it’s local surroundings, landscapes and culture.

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