Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Greetings from Earth

Yes, my feet are back on the ground for a while.

You know you travel too much when two people start phone conversations with "So where are you today?" in the same day! Pretty funny.

I am settled in after another jaunt away, and I am spinning, spinning spinning. And as I spin, I ponder. I ponder a great many things, most of which are imponderable at the best of times, but there you have it. And, at times, I feel the urge to share my Deep Thoughts with the world.

First off--to the anonymous yarn bomber who struck recently in Dr. Wilbur McIntyre Park in Old Strathcona in Edmonton:

Thank You! You made my Saturday last week!

Now that that is out of my system, on to the pondering. Today is Earth Day. I am not exactly the granola-munching, Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging type, but I happen to like the rock that I am floating through space on. But I am frequently surprised by how often my fellow hairless primates take that rock for granted, so it's nice to have one day a year where the media takes a minute or two to remind us where we live.

So, with this in mind as I spin flax and contemplate the slow, steady accumulation of singles on my bobbin, I am struck again by our disposable culture. By the waste we create and the mess we are making of our Planet Earth.

It is spring in Fort McMurray, which is not a pretty thing. The grass is brown, the trees are bare, the boulevards are ankle-deep in the gravel and sand that was spread on snowy streets, and there is garbage everywhere! There's not much we can do about the grass and trees--they will turn green in their own time. The municipality is out clearing up the gravel and sand, which is much needed during our long, cold, and often icy, winters. But all that crap--plastic grocery bags, Timmy's cups, sales flyers, torn up term papers, fast food wrappers galore--that has accumulated where the snowbanks have melted does not have to be there.

To begin with, there are more than adequate garbage disposal receptacles all over our fair city. But for some reason, many people can't be bothered to walk two meters to put their waste into them. Now I have to look at their mess when I walk my dog down the local trails. Lovely.

Secondly, why don't we just cut down on our waste to begin with. We have a relatively good recycling program up here. Take the 15 minutes and sort your cardboard, paper, cans and glass, then drop them off. Seriously, 15 minutes a week.

I use reusable shopping bags--my favorite one is from Egli's Sheep Farm and has a picture of a sheep on the side and the caption "Re-ewesable shopping bag." I also carry my own re-usable coffee cup (which was referred to as "a classic" by the barista yesterday!), so I'm not tossing paper cups into the garbage every time I need a caffeine fix.

These are little things--and only part of my personal campaign to reduce my carbon footprint--but they tell us every little bit helps. Sure, landfills are an eyesore, but putting your garbage into an organized area where it is compacted and plowed into the ground to decompose is a lot more desirable than leaving it to blow around my neighborhood parks. Remembering to grab your shopping bag before you leave the house is a PITA, but it's better than having a hundred of those crummy little plastic bags shoved under your kitchen sink. Or blowing around my neighborhood parks.

And, speaking of carbon footprints, and spinning, let us not forget our good friends, natural fibres. Wool, linen, hemp, silk, llama, alpaca, even the dreaded cotton with all of its pesticides and herbicides, are still better for our planet than polycarbon synthetics. I've never seen a flock of Acrylics that were as charming as Marg's Shetlands.

So, as I continue to spin and ponder life on Earth, I would suggest to you that if you do not wish to observe Earth Day by hugging a tree, you could go out and yarn bomb a tree. Or, you could hug the local spinner, knitter, weaver, or shepherd who is working to keep natural fibres on our backs and hold the Polyesters at bay.

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