The year is now 2019, and it's been 5 years of Lenten Plastics--even if this is the first you've heard of it. Behold, my first post on the matter, unearthed from the ancient vaults of the inter-webs:
"Star date: March 4th, 2014.
The day before Lent.
These are the voyages of Marie Mo. Her continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life, and new theologies. To boldly go where no one has gone before.
Ok, I'm more of a geek. I'm a wife, mother, pastor, sci-fi fan, and occasional political activist.
This year my family and I had a really fascinating idea for a Lenten practice. We thought that we would try to go completely without plastics for Lent. None. We wouldn't use a speck of it.
It took only one trip to the grocery store to see the impossibility of this plan. For starters, how do I buy milk? That milk in cardboard is nasty, yo. Just saying. But if it was just milk, I'd suck it up--it wasn't. The problem with plastics is that it covers EVERYTHING, from cheese to cereal to potatoes! I still wanted to explore my relationship to plastics, but it couldn't be via abstinence, not true abstinence. Oh, to be sure, I can buy the ranch dressing in the glass bottle (for $2 more), but not every product has such diversity in packaging. See: cheese.
Rather, I realized what my REAL practice would need to be: to explore our relationship to plastics.
Going to that store, I realized how much whole food was stored in plastic bags. How even boxes had plastic bags inside them--and more troubling, these are not recyclable plastics.
Recyclable plastics, at least where I live, include #1-7 including lids, tubs and caps, as well as rigid plastics like laundry baskets, plastic tubs and potted plants. This does not include the little bits of plastic I see so often: straw covers, those plastic windows on pasta boxes, the bags of frozen vegetables.
Recently I'd heard about something called the "Green Curtain" falling in China ((note from the present: look into this again!)), who had once been the greatest importer of world plastics but is no longer accepting plastics. Well, is no longer accepting OUR plastics, for you see, I think we've been exporting most of our plastics. According to a report I'd heard (on NPR, yes), America was making money by exporting our plastics to China; China though had stopped accepting imported plastics for recycling. In the interim time, America had no infrastructure to deal with actual plastic recycling; we'd always sold it off. So what is happening to my 'recyclable plastics' now?
The real question though is this: is it true? It's one thing to say "I heard on NPR..." and quite another to actually KNOW something. Time to do my own research.
What IS the relationship of me to plastics, and plastics to the larger world?
As a Christian, what does it mean that these materials are not always safe, and that they cannot always be reclaimed or recycled? How are these materials going to affect the world I am leaving to my children?" -- Marie, 2014.
To bring us up to the present: things have evolved over time, and I'm a sucker for my friend Cat and her good ideas (college was a LOT of fun), and now this website is an effort to answer our own questions, continue to raise our own awareness, and to possibly educate others. So I welcome thoughts, comments, additional posts, guest blogs--reach out. We're new to this, so we might be slow, but we're good hearted. If you'd like to receive a text from me--personally!--please leave your cell number and contact info in our chat box (we won't sell it. It's far more likely we'll lose it). We'll be posting links and information throughout Lent as well--this might be a time to let go and fast from plastic, but it is definitely a time to take on the practice of learning and prayer. Please don't think I hate plastics, in the medical field alone they've done more lifesaving than just about anything. But I think the pendulum has swung too far. It's time to rethink our relationship. And, of course, what this means to Creation Care, our role as stewards of the planet, and our responsibility as humans, consumers, scientists, believers, and people. I'm going to try , once again, to fast from plastics for Lent. Just yesterday we bought the honey and flour to try baking our own bread (pray for us). Join us in these 40 days, to let go all our ways.