Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, don’t Rely on recycling and don’t despair

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

I didn’t sleep last night. I kept smelling rank garbage. I would get up walk around check my cats’ litter boxes, nothing. I would lay back down and there it was again. Eventually I burned some incense, but the pungent smoke didn’t allay my fears. I felt like garbage was creeping in on me.

Two things happened yesterday that contributed to my restlessness: First, I saw Captain Marvel a movie about a powerful superhero flying through space like a vengeful angel who, wreathed in explosions of rainbow light, defeated dark ships bent on destroying earth. Second, I read this article from the Atlantic about how many US cities are dumping plastics and paper in landfills because they cannot afford to recycle them. An empowering fantastic escape coupled with a cold and frightening dose of reality.

Discouraging is not the word for what I feel this morning. A cold fear that what I do does not matter, that we, humanity, are too late to fix what we have done. How many species will go extinct because they consume our trash? How many children will be ill from BPA, phthalates and other plastic by-products? What I’m feeling today is shame and despair.

I have to remind myself to breathe. I have to dig deep for my will to fight. There is a moment in the Marvel movie when our heroine is made to feel helpless. She fails again and again, but each time she stands back up. She will not stay down and that determination, not fantastic powers, is how she wins. The world may be a sinful greedy place, but I refuse to stay down. I refuse to give up, even if I fail. I will change my tactics, but I will keep trying. I don’t need energy to shoot from my hands to save the world. I just need to not give up, and in doing so I will save my own soul.

I won’t lie, the task ahead of us is hard and uncomfortable. I’m not perfect as I plan on telling you in another blog post, but I refuse to let despair stop me. Thank you for reading this. As a reward, here is my favorite quote:

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”  ― George Eliot, Middlemarch

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