If you have not already heard about Colin Beavan’s blog and lifestyle dubbed “No Impact Man” then I strongly suggest you check it out. He and his wife and young child are living a life that has as close to zero impact on the planet as possible. It’s pretty fascinating stuff. I imagine all of us have considered walking instead of driving, or using cloth grocery bags instead of plastic or paper, but how many of us have taken it to the next level? Not many.
There was a great documentary about the Beavans on PBS a few months ago and I really enjoyed watching it. I was amazed at how many people actually got mad at them and pointed what seemed like hatred in their direction. Why? Because they are living a life with no impact (or really close) on our planet? It’s weird how the human mind can find a way to get angry when someone else does something that in truth has no direct bearing on them personally. I mean, when a guy decides to use cloth instead of toilet paper, does that affect any of us in a way that we need to get mad at him? I don’t think so. Any way, I think his story is fascinating and I hope you’ll check him out and find inspiration to green up even a little more from where you are today.
Last month I challenged myself as a result of watching the documentary. Nothing huge, just something I can actually do. If I find myself at the grocery store without my reusable bags and I can’t carry out the goods without the use of a bag, I will buy a new reusable bag and skip the paper or plastic. Then, when I’m next at the store with my new bag and my old bags, I will donate my new bag to someone who is about to use paper for their purchase. I hope it will inspire others to stop using thrown away bags. I’ve already had to buy and donate two bags, so either my level of inspiration will stay the same or get higher, or my memory will improve and I’ll start bringing my bags EVERY time I go shopping!
Here’s another thing I am planning to bring to my local grocery stores. Charge for every bag that a customer uses. I was just in Ontario, Canada and while there I noticed that people at the supermarket were charged $.05 for every paper or plastic bag they used. I like that. Here in my part of Oregon, you can save $.05 when you use your own bag. The problem is that people in this country seem to respond better when they are charged for it. I believe that if people knew they were going to be charged $1.00 for the 20 bags they use on a large shop, they might actually start buying the reusable bags and start saving that dollar. After all, if they clip coupons, they understand what it means to save, a little at a time.