My parents composted and recycled, used fluorescent lights and turned out the lights when they weren’t in use. They used space heaters instead of the heating unit for the house. I didn’t see them as granola heads, tree huggers or environmentalists. They certainly weren’t hippies, liberals, radicals or vegetarians. I just thought they were cheap.

My parents’ actions have influenced my own life.

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I’ve planted trees, shortened my shower time and made recycling an absolute in our home. I don’t think, however, I truly grasped how my actions and my family’s actions were affecting the world around us, until I watched a documentary called An Inconvenient Truth.
AlGore’s book and documentary blasted the public, and fighting global warming — fighting for the environment — became, well . . . sexy.

Suddenly, the things in our lives that we took for granted, we now scrutinized. There were so many things we could do to save trees, save animals, save our selves. Cognizant of my family’s carbon footprint, I ensure that locally grown fruits and vegetables grace our refrigerator.

Paper products not made from virgin wood pulp clutter our kitchen and bathroom closets. Instead of throwing clothes, shoes and other accessories into the garbage, we sorted and donated them. Batteries, old cell phones and computers were sent to the appropriate recycling organizations.

When the bagger at the grocery store put our food and sundries into plastic bags, I went home happily with no concerns. Then I ran into Whole Foods one day and literally backed into a rack of reusable shopping bags.”Have these always been here?” I asked the girl behind the counter. She shot daggers into me with her eyes, “Of course,” she replied with attitude. Talk about being blind to my surroundings.

According to Whole Foods Market, it takes about 430,000 gallons of oil to make 100 million plastic bags. One disposable plastic bag takes more than 1000 years to decompose in a landfill. Americans use over 100 billion plastic bags a year.

Whole Foods Market stopped offering plastic bags at all their stores by Earth Day this year. They also give 5 cents for every bag you bring. Customers also can choose to have their groceries bagged in 100% recycled paper bags.

Ikea charges customers 5 cents every time they use a plastic bag when they check-out at their stores. Instead, the famed Scandinavian furniture and housewares store sells the Big Blue Bag for 59 cents.

The city of San Francisco will ban disposable plastic bags
in supermarkets and large chain drug stores. They are requiring these stores to offer compostable, recyclable paper or reusable bags instead.

The Los Angeles City Council voted in July to ban plastic bags from grocery stores by 2010, but only if California does not impose a 25-cent charge on any consumer that wants the controversial bags.

According to CNN, China uses a whopping 3 billion plastic bags a day. The Chinese government has banned plastic bags in all stores nationwide. Production of these bags are also banned and consumers are charged for any plastic bags they use.

An article published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer stated that Bangladesh, Rwanda, Taiwan, Mumbai, and New Delhi have all banned plastic bags.

That day at Whole Foods two years ago, I ended up buying ten bags at $2.99 (maybe they were even cheaper). Now we have about 35 reusable bags that we use for groceries, shopping and other miscellaneous errands.

Paper vs. plastic? Just end the controversy and reuse instead.

Pic of the Day: Happy Easter from my fat son and my old dog

Happy Easter from my fat son and my old dog