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Monday, August 2, 2010

No more war!

A driver who stands for peace
© L Kathryn Grace
I can't take it anymore. Back in April, I began waging a war on garbage in our household. That moniker has bothered me from the get-go. I stand for peace. How in heaven's name are we going to build an Ordinary world if we keep using the language of violence? So no more war! From today forward, like the Greens, we are working toward becoming a zero waste household.

Right now, it's a daunting task. No garbage whatsoever? I'm reminded that back in 1991, when I first read Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet, I realized we would not win the climate change race, or eliminate poverty from the earth unless we Americans, individuals all, changed our ways. That meant me. I set two seemingly impossible goals for myself:
  • Give up my car
  • Give up meat
Twelve years later, still inching toward a more sustainable lifestyle, we sold my car--our only car by that time--and we have not owned a car since. Yes, we occasionally rent a City CarShare vehicle, and yes, I accept rides with others or take a taxi two or three times a month. So does my sweetie. We have not completely eliminated the need for fossil-fueled vehicles from our lives.

More, nineteen years later, we still eat meat, not as often as back then, when we might indulge our carnivore taste buds two meals every day. On average we eat meat about twice a week now, and usually more as a condiment than a main dish. Local cage-free chicken bits, for example, come on the pollo verde pizza I nosh with unabashed relish two or three times a month. On the other hand, we use so little meat that the pound of grass-fed ground beef sitting in our freezer is in danger of freezer burn. I can't remember the last time we had bacon in the house--our favorite and most difficult-to-give-up meat.

It is possible that I will never give up eating flesh (yuk!) entirely, but I care for it less and less. In fact, neither of us wants to handle raw meat any longer, so when we are standing at the butcher counter, deciding what to buy, we almost always walk away.

If it took me twelve years to give up my car, and after nineteen years I'm still working on meat, it may take ten or twenty years to reduce to a zero waste household. I hope not. I'll be in my eighties by then. I'll continue working on it, one item at a time, but with peace in my heart, not war.

This week, I'm almost out of toothpaste. My zero waste objective the next few days is to come up with a homemade toothpaste because I'm determined not to buy another plastic tube if I can help it.

Got any good toothpaste recipes?
We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.


mrs green @ myzerowaste said...

Not sure about 'good' toothpaste recipes LOL! But try experimenting with salt, bicarb and peppermint oil. The other thing SOME people use is pure soap - ewwww

now this will probably have you and your delightful readers running for the hills, but I'm actually wondering why we need toothpaste at all - is it just something we've grown accustomed to I wonder?

Would a swish with the toothbrush and our natural saliva followed by a tea tree rinse to kill bacteria suffice?

Sometimes we need to question our habits and think about why we do them. Maybe it's due to society, advertising, peer pressure or 'just because everyone else does it.'

I did this a few years back with my cleanse, tone, moisturise routine and my shampoo followed by conditioner routine. I figured I was using such harsh products that I had to put back in the moisture I'd just stripped out!! Now I sidestep the middle man by using gentler products such as clay or all natural products ...

Kathryn Grace said...

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response, Mrs. Green. I'm definitely hoping for a bicarb soda mixture, and I think you make a good point about our belief that we need to use anything at all. Is our need for toothpaste grounded in dental health or mere habit and taste preference?

I actually have brushed without toothpaste in the past, and I found I prefer something that gives my mouth that sparkling clean feeling, so I'm not ready to return to plain water just yet. But your idea of rinsing with tea tree oil is intriguing and might solve that issue for me.

One of my readers mentioned a while back, in a comment on this post that tea tree oil has been implicated in hormonal issues in boys. That's still on my list of things to research, as I use it every day for one thing and another.

Now I'm off to your web site to see if I can find the moisturizer and toner methods you mentioned. Did you post about them? You are welcome to include links to your posts when commenting here. I know they'll be on topic and useful to my readers.

Wanda said...

My grandfather used to brush his teeth with salt. I have done that a time or two. When I have used tea tree in my mouth for any consistent length of time, it makes my teeth very sensitive. That could just be me, but I won't be using tea tree in my toothpaste or my mouth wash for that reason. And, before using baking soda, I would do a bit of research on the abrasiveness. I don't know if I am remembering correctly, but it seems that a dentist told me that it is important to be careful with soda because it can cause excessive gum line wear. (Oh, to have a memory for the details like I used to.)

Regarding meat...I hear you. I know that we can all eat less of it and that will help the planet. However, as someone who has worked with people at the level of individual health and mental health, I have not yet had a vegan/vegetarian client who was not depressed. Then, when they started using more animal products and some meat or fish daily, their mental health improved. So...I have concerns when people tell me that they are eliminating meat from their diets.

Less is good, yes. None? I am not sure it is good for most people based on my experience.

Pam said...

Good on you Kathryn for your stand! I gave up toothpaste a while ago and use Bi-Carb Soda (100% Australian owned because that's a big concern to me, to buy national and local products.) I'm more than happy with the results and then also use more Bi-Carb to clean the sink!I also don't eat a lot of meat, occasional light meats like miced beef or chicken. Husband on the other hand is a big meat eater. I can't handle big pieces of raw juicy meat, so he cooks and cleans up when he has an animal flesh-fest, which is a bit too often for my liking, but each to his own.

mrs green @ myzerowaste said...

Hi Kathryn, I haven't posted about cleansing on my site. but one thing to look out for is clay - I use that on my skin and hair and it's wonderful. Then just, quite literally, a drop or two of jojoba oil on my face from time to time. I think my skin gets a bit dryer at certain times in my cycle.

I'm fascinated by Wanda's comment on meat and depression. I've been veggie for 20 years (also suffered depression for about 15 of them) and started craving salmon about 6 months ago. I gave into that craving and have been really enjoying the taste of it. Not sure I've noticed a lot of difference in the depression thing, but I'll certainly welcome some changes :)

Kathryn Grace said...

Pam, do use the bicarb soda like my grandmother used to, straight from the box on the toothbrush? My daughter mentioned the other day that her dentist cautioned against straight baking soda as it takes the enamel off the teeth too quickly--something we can't get back. It's on my research list to learn more. What has your experience been?

mrs green, are you using kaolin? That's another item on my research list. It's what they use to make glossy paper so slick, among other things, and I understand it is in some cosmetics as well. I'm a bit allergic to the scent of jojoba oil, but it's been a number of years. Perhaps I should give it another try. Re meat and depression, I think I saw some rather extensive information on the Weston A. Price Foundation web site. It's easy to find through Google.

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