If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Toilet Paper Cubes

We returned from the grocery store the other day and the last thing I pulled from the trunk was a huge cube of twenty-four rolls of recycled toilet paper. My first thought as I looked at all those rolls was, "What would No Impact Man" do? But then my next thought was "Oh my, this whole thing is wrapped in a whole bunch of plastic. What would Fake Plastic Fish think?"

In 2004, for some odd reason, I began to realize I was completely dependent on a system of grids for my life. Electricity, water, cable, telephone, Internet.... But then I started thinking about how I use all these things and wondered what impact it had on the planet. I had never really thought about it too much before. I just bought things, used them, then threw them away. Once I did, it was someone else's problem, my problem was solved and I didn't even have to think about it anymore.

I started reading about living greener and I began to realize that, out of respect for the backwoods, I had always used the "Least Footprint" method when I backpacked. Meaning that after I left camp there would be no trace I had even been there. Why, I thought, shouldn't I try to live Least Footprint all the time, not just when I am out backpacking? So, on September 29,2004 I registered the domain name "Least Footprint". It was a small start and I pretty much continued living the the same way and just recycled a little more. To be honest, my original intent was to start an online store filled with technological super cool "green" gadgets and gizmos which I would then ship around the world on diesel belching trucks and high flying jets so others could save electricity and take dribbly showers. Buying local and less was not in my vocabulary yet.

The "Least Footprint" thoughts stayed with me though, but it wasn't until I heard about "No Impact Man" and started following his blog I really got serious. On April 10, 2007 I stood at the podium and disclaimed to the world, "Hi my name is Scott and I am a resource pig" as I started this blog. Every day since I have followed No Impact man on his journey,wondered how he got by without toilet paper, and even threw a few comments his way from time to time. I've let my own blog meander wherever it went...sometimes good, sometimes boring, perhaps sometimes even off subject but I have no real project like No Impact Man or Fake Plastic Fish to report on so I just write what I think or what disturbs me that day. There is a little behind the scenes self flogging that happens too that you can only read by looking between the lines.

Reading other blogs and writing this one keeps me thinking about this stuff on a continuous basis and I've changed a lot of the ways I do things, or at least feel guilty when I don't think. I've discovered a few things about living "Least Footprint" though.

  1. 1. It is not easy in the real world we've created.
  2. 2. Not buying plastic is next to impossible.
  3. 3. Being green takes time. I don't always have time.
  4. 4. Being green is more expensive. Why is that?
  5. 5. It is tough not to drive in a suburban world.
  6. 6. Garbage is literally everywhere and as a people we should all be ashamed. Recycling, buying bulk and using less is not that hard. It just requires change.
  7. 7. As a planet, we are in serious trouble and we must all accept responsibility for that trouble or write an apology in our wills to all of our heirs who follow in our huge footsteps.

So, No Impact Man finished his one year deal successfully and it's all over but the book. I realize now I never formally congratulated or thanked him for what he did so, Colin, great job. You truly made a huge impact on many people. Waiting for your book.

And last, but not least, Fake Plastic Fish has been awarded the prestigious honor of being a "Blog of Note". You'll find her on the list not far above "Food Mayhem" and if you don't follow her project yet, check it out. She is the wiz when it comes to fighting the evil plastic menace and even though she is just one small voice in a sea swirling with plastic she is making quite a splash. So anyway, congratulations Beth, you have a great blog, a worthwhile project you attack with passion and it is certainly worth the honor you received. Now I have a bunch of TP to unwrap.

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