As I carefully removed my produce from their individual plastic bags and placed them in the trash the other day, I started to ponder the journey of those little bags.
Where did they come from? How were they produced? Where are they going?
Since I was a child, the words throw away were tossed around like a toy. Throwing something away was light—it had no consequence. The garbage can was like a magical portal where everything disappeared so it was no longer a problem.
Now, more than ever in my adult life, I find it increasingly important to consider my actions and the impact they have on the world in which I live and love.
And so it got me thinking, where exactly is away? This mythical far-off place where our misfit unwanted trash goes to rest and then eventually disappears?
This verbiage allows us to live in a fantasy world where we don’t need to be accountable for the waste we create. Away allows for a comfortable distance, and eventually a forgetting of our negligence toward minimizing waste and using our resources with awareness.
What if instead, we said, “Sending this to a giant trash heap that is acres and acres wide that destroys eco-systems and poisons the air we breathe?” When we give way to a phrase like throw away, we allow ourselves to completely disconnect from any and all notions of where that waste is actually going, and how it will impact the environment once it leaves our hands.
If we want to live in a reality that we can affect positively, we need to start living (and speaking) in the truth. The truth is that there is no such place as away.
Away is a toxic and negligent world-view. Away is polluting our pristine oceans—away is ruining precious eco-systems.
Away is poisoning the very air we breathe—away is corrupting our soil.
It’s time to start taking responsibility for the waste we create and how it is affecting our world. It can be as simple and enjoyable as ditching the packaging, composting, shopping at farmers markets. It’s time that we get creative, reuse anything and everything, and most importantly, be accountable.
Let’s wake up to this beautiful world we live in and start loving it, too.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Melissa Horton/ Editor: Travis May
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons