I am amazing at saving planet Earth!!! I have not used a straw in years. I have no use for them. In fact, I did not even notice their decline in production over the past few years. I am a true environmentalist. Would the real Mother Nature please stand up?
Right? Not even close. Am I really doing my part for the environment if I have actually made no change to my own practice? I never used straws, so it is very easy for me to dismiss their use, and shame others for having them as part of their life. After all, it is just a straw.
Then, the realization came. My mother used straws. Plastic ones at that! Let me explain. My mother, who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and died at the age of 43, used straws often during her life. When her health and weight would decline and her ability to drink from a glass became a very difficult task, she would use a straw for fluid intake. I mostly remember these environmental hazards sticking out of a can of Boost or Ensure, which she would frequently drink for caloric intake. The straw became a medical device for her. Despite her frequent use of straws, the impact my mother had on the environment was far less than most people. Her MS prevented her from driving a vehicle or really travelling in general. Her MS prevented her from buying excess amounts of clothing because the energy required in the simple task of shopping was too much. She did not frequent restaurants, spend nights in luxurious hotels or consume alcohol. She was an environmentalist before it was trendy and when it was considered just living.
So, what is your straw? Do you use a drive through when you are really busy to grab coffee and idle your vehicle in the process? Do you drink coffee in general, which creates a lot of waste not to mention the amount of deforestation. Do you use disposable menstruation products, or flush tampons into our waterways? Do you travel for leisure to explore foreign beautiful landscapes, only to leave a trail of jet fuel in the dust? Do you wear denim or even participate in any of the large companies that belong to the disposable clothing industry? Do you order items online? Do you wear/use beauty products? Own multiple pairs of different kinds of shoes? Upgrade your cell phone yearly? This list being my list of things I have been guilty of and unfortunately, it goes on.
The best way to impact the environment on a personal basis, and truly make changes is to self-reflect. Do not look to your neighbour, but look at yourself. It will require change on your part in order to have a true impact on the environment. It is very easy to tell your neighbour not to cut down part of a beautiful forest, but when he is using that land to feed his family, it becomes a very different motivation. Meanwhile, your groceries are being delivered to your local grocery store from all over North America. Things are very easy to dismiss when you have to make no change to your current practice, when it does not impact your personal income or have any impact on your family. The biggest impact on the environment is you, you as an individual. The change may hurt, but you will adjust. You will find new and better ways to achieve and meet your needs. Judge less. Others will follow in their own time and in their own way.
The photo I have taken is from my new beautiful home in one of the most beautiful areas of Quebec. Chicoutimi. Oh how easy you are to love. You are stunning.
Without a trace.