Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taking a stand

Taking a stand has never been easy for me. I admit it. I am wishy washy by nature. One of my Mother's nicknames for me is even "the peace maker." Not always the case, mind you. More logically I'd call it the case of the proverbial fence sitter. I believe that's why I ended up becoming a newspaper journalist (that and being paid to write). I could stay neutral (like Switzerland) and watch all the fireworks explode around me. And then I got to write a great, juicy story about it.

But the last few months it seems that world and local issues are starting to irk me. Like an itchy, awful rash that won't go away. A rash of issues I would've written stories about if I were still in a newsroom.

My heart is aching as workers are dead and 42,000 gallons of oil are leaking daily from an oil rig that caught fire and sank off the coast of Louisiana. It is the state where my beloved child was born and still holds a sacred space in my heart. And the thought that coastlines and waterways from LA to FLA and beyond will be affected by irreparable damage just pours salt into the wound.

And then there are the recent rumblings and rantings I've endured of those preaching the gospel of hate - toward soldiers, gays and anyone else who's not of 'right' mind. It's all like a freight train running wild through my head. Where do I place my allegiance? Where will I draw the line?

All I know is I need to make a difference. That's what I have been truly missing. I was under the illusion for 15 years that I was making a difference just by being a watch dog for the media. Maybe all it was was a farce, a smoke screen of caring. Or, maybe it was part of my path that has led me to this moment. A moment when I know it's time to draw a line in the sand and take a stand.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Duped again by the evil Plastic Bag

Ye old Plastic Bag will be the death of me. To put it bluntly he is my nemesis. So much so that my life has become a showdown of sorts - me against the dreaded Bag made of ingredients that can't be broken down, not for a hundred years or so.

Yes, he is strong. He even took me hostage for a while (that mean old bag of wind that he can be), cajoling and making me think he would create an easier and more productive life for myself. He's a liar, though, that piece of cheap plastic, and I am trying to free myself yet again.

He has been everywhere in my life for as long as I can remember, taking different forms - sandwich bag, storage bag, garbage bag, grocery bag and even the dreaded poopy bag. He's a wily devil, that Plastic Bag. And sometimes, when I least expect it, he pops up no matter how hard I try to stay far away from his evil ways.

The latest breach has to do with my pet waste bags. I've been using the same ones for about 18 months now. So proud was I that I'd found a "biodegradable" poopy bag. I took my dog for a walk knowing deep in my heart that I was helping Mother Earth because the picture on the front of my baggy container said so! Ah, but as I said before, the Plastic Bag will say things that are not true, just to get you into his grips.

Last week I realized he had pinned me again. I went to purchase my special bags at my special store and guess what? The wording on my box of wonderful poopy bags changed. Where it once said '100 percent biodegradable' now said '100 percent easy to open.' My response, "What the BLEEP does that mean?!"

I abandoned the package on the shelf and rushed home to begin my research (something I should've done 18 months ago), but as I said, Plastic Bag can be a lying sack of, well, some sort of polyethylene.

There was nothing I found online to say why the wording on the poopy bags had changed or how, but I did realize that unless there's a BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute, from the U.S. Composting Council) certification on the box, it's not what you think it is. Great, just like years ago when I was buying something that said 'Organic' and it wasn't actually certified. Now I was getting mad. I'd been duped again by the mean old Bag.

So, once and for all I am taking him down. The ONLY poopy bags I am going to use are those I found made from starch, a corn starch. They're called Bio Bags and actually have a compostable sticker on them. Even has a 10 second plastic bag lesson on the back - a lesson I should've learned a long time ago, but let Plastic Bag fool me instead.

I use cloth bags for shopping, bio bags for poopy and am researching realistic alternative garbage bags. It's not easy, but I figure Plastic Bag will be lurking around every corner trying to lure me back to his way of thinking. No way. Not ever again.

Now, about those plastic storage containers....