Worried About the Planet

I’m worried about the planet.

This is not new.

I was worried in grade school when I held my breath as school buses dropped us off and pulled away, when I stepped back from idling cars.

Mom said not to worry about the fumes and to set the table. Dad launched into a lecture about dispersion and concentration. But Dad didn’t talk about multiples or limits.

People talk about the awfulness of the Covid pandemic. It has been awful for humans, but not for the rest of the planet. When the whole world was locked down, we saw blue skies over Beijing and Los Angeles, clearer water in the canals of Venice. Hawks flew over Columbia Parkway in Cincinnati.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not wishing for a die-off of humans. All I’m saying is that we humans have flexed our muscles for a long time and the planet is flexing back.

Also, I don’t know what to wear.

Now that I know about microplastics, and how they get into the water every time we wash clothes with plastic in them (aka polyester, nylon, acrylic, fleece,* etc.), and the fish drink and eat the plastic, and we eat the fish.

We have plasticized life, and now life is plasticizing us.

It’s overwhelming thinking about these things, what we have done to the planet and what it will take to save it. To prevent overwhelm, I am going small, doing little things.

I buy bath soap in a bar, not a plastic bottle. The soap is made locally, in Kentucky. The last time I bought laundry soap, it was in a cardboard carton.

Next time it might be a cardboard box of soapy papers.

When I buy new clothes, I will buy from a B Corp (e.g., Athleta) or a manufacturer committed to zero waste (e.g., Girlfriend Collective), or a company with an honest commitment to the planet (e.g., Patagonia).

When I wash my clothes, I use cooler water, for the decreased energy usage, and the decreased wear on fabric that creates microplastics. Anything I wash in cold water I hang dry. Writing this, I’ve learned about the Guppyfriend washing bag. I’m going to check that out.

I’ve written the Landscape Committee of my condo building asking if we can replace some of the grass in the dog park with plants that will help manage the rainwater and might even benefit butterflies.

These are small things.

But small things are better than no things at all.


For more information, see The Carbon Almanac, or to break it down into manageable bits, sign up for their daily email, The Daily Difference.

*Even though some fleece is made from recycled plastic, all polyester-based fleece sheds microplastics. Save fleece for things you don’t wash frequently, such as jackets, rather than things you do, such as pajamas.

Chewing the Cud of Good

Intricately painted ceiling of the Belvedere condo building in Cincinnati
Thankful for an extended family that has adopted this soloist for holidays, and for beautiful old Cincinnati buildings that have ceilings like this.



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