Do you ever feel guilty buying certain things at the store? There are three things that really get me:
1. Out-of-season foods.
It’s hard to eat healthy and local at the same time without boring your tastebuds to death. I just spent the last 5 weeks in Africa where I witnessed this isn’t a problem: people have the freshest, sweetest fruits I’ve ever tasted growing at their fingertips year round. In Cleveland, however, healthy and local aren’t commonplace during the long winter months. Unless you want to eat cabbage and broccoli all winter, you can plan on buying imported fruits. I first came to this realization when one day I thought, I don’t eat enough fruit; I should buy some apples. But apples don’t naturally grow here in the winter. Was eating an apple really worth supporting the industry of shipping exotic foods from afar all year round just to satisfy my palate? No. How could I get around this? Better planning. Next year, I should take advantage of abundant apples and other fruits growing locally and then learn to can them with spices! Mmmmm. Or even make pies and freeze them. Too bad others don’t feel this way. We only encourage such out-of-season deliveries by buying and creating a demand for more.
After several classes about environmentalism and policies, Silent Spring attaches itself to every thought I have of store-bought chemicals. Although I personally refuse to buy and use chemical herbicides, insecticides, and most household cleaning products, I am aware that I still buy and use things that are not very environmentally-friendly. For example, my drains got extremely clogged last year and my mom bought me a bottle of Drain-O which I reluctantly applied. Or how about something as simple as acetone to take off nail polish? Or even nail polish itself? Air fresheners in aeresol cans? Even buying plastic zip-lock bags falls into this category for me – an evil necessity that, quite frankly, isn’t necessary at all but we convince ourselves that it is.
3. Plastic amenities.
My chemical fears continue in this category. I don’t just mean plastic bags, but plastic utensils and kitchen items. I buy glass mason jars and use them for everything as much as I can. My friends make fun of me for traveling with mason jars instead of snack bags, but I feel like a much better person for using them. But where plastic really irks me is in the kitchen itself. I love to cook, and the thought of flipping on an oven instead of lighting a fireplace bothers me enough already. I do everything within my power to avoid plastic spatulas, plastic cups, plastic bowls, plastic anything! This theme continues into my housework where I strive to buy metal brooms instead of plastic sweepers. I work overtime to avoid electricity use. I even do a lot of my laundry by hand in my bath water after I’ve taken a bath. My friends think this is crazy, but I argue it’s much simpler than going to the Laundromat. And I dread the day that I have my own house and contemplate my need for washing units of my own. What wastes! But when it comes to appliances, I always put in the extra money for that metal toaster or metal blender with the hopes that it will last longer, will degrade better, and was better for the environment to be produced. Besides, metal appliances are so much classier!
Maybe it’s just me – and maybe it shouldn’t be just me – but buying certain things in the store send me reeling on a guilt trip. Are there any things in particular that bother you? I mean, most of us break down and buy a car at some point, which is bad enough, but what about the little nagging things? Like imported goods and plastic, plastic, plastic?
Maybe, one day, we won’t have to make environmentally-conscience decisions every time we shop. Maybe they’ll be the only option!