The Winds of Change

I feel most of the time like writing this blog is shouting into the void…not really sure if there is anybody at the other end reading this stuff, but it makes me feel better, so I keep doing it. That being said, to the other end of the void, an apology is in order. As it turns out, grad school is a fickle and demanding mistress who isn’t great at pre-planning. So, despite all of your best laid plans to have a blog post a week, grad school is the kind of woman who springs a massive project on you last minute and all of your carefully organized house of cards for the week completely collapses under her whims.

Today, though, I feel inspired, because I just received a tiny piece of mail (that I immediately recycled) that I felt very hopeful about. It’s little moments like these that keep me plodding onwards, and keep me resisting trash in my life and a push towards recycling and change.

It said: “Seattle is changing its policies on January 1st!!” And I thought negative bad thoughts, because I was sure it was going to be a move in the opposite direction, towards greater waste…(stay tuned for the Great Keurig Disaster of 2014. )

Instead, read on, merry environmentalists!

“…Starting January 1st, food waste will NO LONGER BE ALLOWED in the garbage!”

I allowed myself a moment of mental question marks here (????), because Seattle has an easy-peasy and VERY robust city composting program, so why would you be putting food waste in your teeny-tiny garbage bin anyway??

OH, RIGHT. People who haven’t been doing it.

Read on.

“Fines will be levied for those properties who are putting too much food waste in their garbage bins. Come by South Center to claim your FREE compost container!”

And then I did a happy dance. Not about the fines part, because lord knows, people in this world struggle hard enough without additional financial pitfalls, but more so, because people sometimes require a little negative reinforcement to jumpstart a commitment to the environment (like financial rewards for buying a more expensive hybrid vehicle and none for buying an SUV), and this might just provide that.

ADDITIONALLY, this is yet another in a small tide of cities taking steps forward into environmentalism.

Seattle: city compost, robust recycling programs, three bins in virtually every room, a solid waste coordinator for the University of Washington…the list goes on.

San Francisco: bans the SALE of plastic water bottles in the city (probably the most major environmental news this year), bans plastic bags in grocery stores…you can read about the plastic water bottles here.

Los Angeles: despite the riots that ensued when this legislation was *sprung* upon the city (NB: sarcasm is hard to convey in a blog post, but I assure you, there was plenty of warning for this legislation in the form of giant billboards that said: “BEGINNING JANUARY 1ST BRING YOUR OWN BAGS TO THE GROCERY STORE!”), ban on plastic bags in grocery stores within city limits.

And other cities are following.

It’s a small step, just like this is a small post, but its SOMETHING. And for that, I’m grateful…and it spurs me forward! I admit to a little bit of a lapse on waste-free year during grad school. Some things have been difficult to maintain when you’re struggling just to find the time to eat dinner, but things like this remind me of why I fight, and so I say…fight on, friends.

♦ and as always, stay cool.

AND stay tuned for the Great Keurig Disaster of 2014!

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