Saturday, September 29, 2007

California Baggin'

I was kind of expecting someone to look at me and say: "You mus' be frum Cal-if-ornia or somethin'."

It was the debut of our new cloth shopping bags from reusablebags.com at the grocery, and I-- though often a head-butter of convention--felt a little self conscious. It's one of those contradictions they tell you to look for in creating multi-dimensional fictional characters.

With Flowers In My Hair
I certainly would have been more in place in say San Francisco where they've criminalize plastic bags, I believe.

In Ireland you fork over 22 cents per plastic bag. OK, not cents, but it costs you some coins with harps on them, so I wouldn't have been out of place there either.

Christine--complete with a Life is Good T-shirt--and I were the only ones at the local store doing a green thing, though. They sell their own branded bags, but I don't see them in wide use, and Christine even bought drawstring produce bags.

I kind of worried about those since you can't see through them. I feared the produce manager's henchmen might come out and shake us down as suspects in a plot to mix in pricey New Zealand apples with the Jonagold's from Washington state.

I got in trouble for buying from New Zeleand a few weeks back. I was in trouble with Christine not the produce manager. They were A.) pricey as I mentioned and B.) Shipped a long way, which is bad in green terms. Believe me, I know what it's like Living with Ed.

The need
Despite my reticence on the initial excursion, I see the need for reusable bags, and you can too in the work of photographic artist Chris Jordan whose works in his "Intolerable Beauty" collection provide a visual understanding of how much we use every day in this country.

It's not on his website, but you can see his rendering of the number of plastic bags used by Americans in just fives seconds in his recent Bill Moyers Journal appearance. That's where I discovered him.

Even if you buy into the conservative notion that it's really impossible to hurt the planet--I'm acknowledging not agreeing with that idea--there still seems to be a high degree of waste. Certainly it's energy that could be channeled in better ways.

Yeah, it was a little embarrassing at first but by the time we were bagging things in the checkout line, I was glad we weren't choosing paper or plastic.

Further reading
Citizen Times: Breaking the plastic bag habit

6 comments:

Sphinx Ink said...

Kudos to you and Christine for going green. It's more trouble, and most of us are too lazy/selfish/ignorant to do it. We've all been poisoning our world for so long we can't bestir ourselves to stop. I grieve for the earth, yet I admit I don't try hard enough to live a green lifestile.

Kate S said...

Funny, Sid. Does Christine know you called her Ed? :)

Hey, you'd fit right in where I live and it's not even California. :) We have "reusable baggers" all over here.

Of course, those aren't quite as much fun for the cats - they don't make as much noise. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I wish the not so Jolly "Green" giant would come and stomp on some the idiots around where I live who throw out trash in plastic bags "into" the woods. People can be so foul.

Sidney said...

Christine and I could do much better than we do--I rack up way too many coffee stirring straws at the office plus 20 U-Boat models will eventually have to go somewhere, but we're trying.

I should shop in your grocer for sure, Kate, though I'll grow more comfortable I'm sure over time.

Did you see the bag in a tree on the Reusable Bags site, Charles? Looks like what you're describing. There are a few in the woods behind my house, I think, tossed from cars on a nearby roadway and carried by the wind I suspect.

Clifford said...

Hey, we San Franciscans haven't outlawed them...yet. But paper bags and reusable bags are definitely less of an embarassment. Seriously, there are way too many plastic bag in this city sstill. I blame it on the cats. They make awesome waste disposal bags for their poops. I've resorted to buying lunch bags for my daily digs.

Our local Air America affiliate recently changed its name to "Green 99" and added eco programs and a vegan program to its roster. Yeah, the city is good that way, but part of it is just plain trendiness. Better than a pair of designer jeans, yes, but trends seem to change quickly. Let's hope this one sticks around.

Sidney said...

Cliff, I think cats bear watching on a couple of fronts. I'm not entirely sure my indoor/outdoor cat doesn't go to some kind of secret rendezvous with co-conspirators in the middle of the night. :-)

I was joking about "criminalizing" but I knew your city was making some strides forward on the bag front.

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