Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In Between Days

I am too much of a capitalist and/or princess to call myself a true environmentalist. I love shoes, I shop quite a lot and I wear perfume and make up. BUT I will say this: Where I can, I do my part. I always make an effort to get friends to drive together when we go somewhere. I recycle. I use a fair amount of organic, eco-friendly household cleaning products like Organic Worx and body products like The Victorian Garden and Green Light. I buy second hand where I can [well, vintage clothing]. I don't eat meat. The list does go on, but that is not the point of this post.
Today I went to Woolworths. I love Woolworths. What am I saying? EVERYONE loves Woolworths- their food, their homeware, their clothes, accessories and shoes. Every now and then I have a bit of a rant at their lack of vegetarian meal options, but other than that I love Woolworths. #inLizeland, my life would be sponsored by them. That is also not the point of this post.
Today I was there to buy towels for my guest bathroom towels and place mats. This whole grown-up living thing is grand, and I plan to equip myself so as to be a believable adult. Standing in the queue I am reminded of the many great projects Woolworths has put in place- organic, sustainable and environmentally friendly catch my eye in the descriptions of these projects, and I smile.
At the counter, I am asked if I would like a bag. Now, I believe everyone should carry one of those reusable shopping bags with them [or in their car] at all times. It is such a simple thing to do, and if everyone did it it would make a big difference. I have one such a bag. It is purple, made from recycled stuff and it is purple. It also folds into a teeny tiny bag, making it convenient to carry around in my over-crowded handbag.
Very small
Now so big, can barely fit self and bag into screen!
Big enough to fit fair amount of self IN bag. [Would not, however, recommend this as one may likely a) suffocate and die or b) be mistaken for new purple Ku Klux Klan and be killed.]
But realistically, I do not expect people to carry more than one of these with them. I don't. So, upon being asked whether I would like a bag, I say that I do have one. I add, however, that there is a possibility that everything will not fit into bag in which case I would like [well, need] an extra bag. The woman at the teller seems to miss this part and I see the other woman picking up a place mat and sending it in the direction of a plastic Woolworths bag. I stop her and explain again why I do not [potentially] want a bag. She looks exasperated at having just unfolded this plastic bag, rolls her eyes and says 'It's a free bag! Why don't you just take it?'
I will not go into detail of my speech that ensued. It is simply too lengthy. In short, I explained [very politely] to her that it was not about whether the bag was free or not. It was not about feeling cheated for having to pay 20-odd cents for a plastic packet. My concern lies with the environment, and I am taking the teeny steps I can take in order to live as greenly as I can.
It is a sad truth that our generation is sitting with repercussions that are products mainly of our forefathers'. And while we may not be able to fix whatever terrible outcome will come of it all, we can each do our bit, which is why people with a state of mind like this woman, people who really don't care and people who think we cannot make a difference and therefore do not even try, sadden me. It all begins with a state of mind.
PS. My little bag is from Bunchy Bags, but I would recommend the Woolworths reusable shopping bags, especially the 'Green Fish' one. The Mermaid bought me one recently and it is colourful and bright, plus it is a reminder of how one can do one's part for the environment by only eating 'green' fish.

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