Finding an environment for grace

Seeing cases of bottled water in grocery carts brings out the judgmental and bossy me that I wish to replace it with a more gracious me.
Maybe those bottles are going to a place where obtaining drinking water is a challenge. Unfortunately they are likely going into a fridge within reach of a tap. My internal water boils at the thought. I contemplate becoming a radical environmentalist, posting signs on shelves of bottled water that proclaim the evils of one-use plastic and the simple solution that pours from our faucets.
As someone who spends a couple of hours a week lining up at grocery store checkouts, I have plenty of opportunities to observe shoppers and shopping habits. While I’ve come to terms with the unhealthy food choices I observe, I marvel that so many “forget” their reusable bags. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, other than maybe being more gracious, but why not resolve to come up with a way to remember that groceries need to be bagged or in my case, binned. I love my plastic grocery bins. They are strong, easy to wash, convenient to fill and available for purchase at grocery stores. Mine have lasted for years.
It was writer Sandi Schwartz’s feature on eco-anxiety in the Junior section this month that pushed me up on my environmental soapbox. According to her article, eco-anxiety has become the latest mental health issue. It’s true that we should be worried about the state of the planet. We should be concerned about how we’re going to ease our current trajectory.
What power do we have to fight the Global Warming foe? Rather than feeling helpless and unable to contribute to a solution we can make changes that matter, even if it looks like many of those around us aren’t getting it. As Schwartz’s article suggests, we can support organizations that work to benefit the environment. Consider making a donation in lieu of gifts. Spend time in nature to nurture an appreciation for the natural world and improve mental health.
Avoid single use plastic and buy less stuff. Each of us contributes 80 pounds of clothing to landfills annually. Slow down your consumption of fast fashion, those inexpensive items worn once or twice before getting pitched. Be aware that returned online clothing purchases are routinely trashed. Know that not everything needs to be battery-powered, from toothbrushes to toys.
Be mindful of what’s dumped down the drain. Clean with vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. Be anti “anti-bacterial” soap, use a refillable coffee cup and reduce waste in other ways. Check out the book “The Plastic Problem” reviewed in On the Bookshelf this month for more insight. And forgive me for my bossy nature, grace may come in 2020.