Posted by: edsohn | April 9, 2008

Endangered Species

A day in the life of a fumbling newb of an environmentalist.

I just watched “An Inconvenient Truth” over the last few days, sort of my bedtime watching material (too many words at work, causing me to take a break from leisure reading). Wow. I’ve been blown away. Has anyone else seen it?

While at Wal-Mart yesterday, I saw some earth day t-shirts for sale. Wal-Mart has some notoriety when it comes to their textiles, and I usually try to avoid anything that is a Wal-Mart brand (but I don’t feel guilty for buying a 5-pack of hanes undershirts that you could buy anywhere). So when I saw that the Wal-Mart brand, “Faded Glory”, were selling earth day t-shirts for cheap, I sort of snorted aloud. How ironic, that shirts promoting the environment were made with the hands of sweatshop labor.

But I looked at the tag, and to my surprise, the t-shirts were made with “transitional cotton”. Click it and find out a little more; I was impressed, and while I still am unsure of the labor practices employed to generate the product, I bought a t-shirt in good faith. I can’t find an image of it on the web, but it’s a blue shirt that says “Endangered Species” and has a human silhouette below it.

In related news, during this trip to Walmart, I have tried some of these home remedies that were listed in the jadanzzy’s post of his gf’s pure, practical, prudent ways to make a difference. One I’m going to try is air-drying my clothes, although I don’t have access to any outdoor air ventilation and my place tends to smell pretty musty and moldy already. I was also looking for vinegar to add to my laundry, because I hear it absorbs all the detergent in the spin cycle and helps remove odors that sometimes linger on stuff like towels, etc.

But the one I was trying was to use a reusable shopping bag. I bought a fancy one a few weeks back and have been wanting to use it. It’s a fairly large stitched canvas bag with collapsible wheels, probably about 26 inches tall, and I didn’t consider that it wouldn’t be sufficient to hold all of my groceries. I was caught completely off-guard when the bag’s wheels broke under the weight of the contents (granted, I did buy some fairly heavy products, like laundry detergent). I also looked completely stupid trying to stuff groceries that were obviously too numerous into one upright bag in the self-checkout aisle. I have definitely not figured this out yet.

Nevertheless, walking back to my car, lugging this strange about-to-be-broken contraption, along with a few plastic bags I inevitably had to use anyway, I felt like the consciousness of my actions was a good step.

Please do watch “An Inconvenient Truth”. I have a serious, new-found respect for Al Gore, and the urgency of the global crisis has really reached a new level of awareness for me. A lot of the counterarguments and skeptical rationales that I’d heard were addressed in it, and the conclusions were astonishing. I was deeply impressed by Gore’s ability to implore rhetoric that made him such a successful politician in advocating the cause of humanity’s deteriorating ability to live on this planet.

In preparation for Earth Day, just two weeks away, what are YOU doing to make a difference?



  1. LOL. the publix baggers are too fast for me. by the time i finished putting my last item on the belt, the bagger is already done. sigh. next time i’ll just use self-checkout.

  2. First, I’d like to hear you snort aloud.

    Second, I’m leaving my car behind and opting for public transpo when I move to the city.

    Third, I’m a committed thrift store shopper. Today’s purse, a lovely brown quilted leather doctor bag, $7! Tomorrow’s dress, a weird, red white and blue striped frock, $5! Yesterday’s shoes, blue leather sandals, $3!

    ok. tmi, I know, I know.

    I applaud your efforts Anakai. Don’t give up on that bag … perhaps can be fixed with a needle and thread?

  3. We’ve found that several smaller trips to the grocery store help lighten the load and make the reusable bag easier to manage. (Except, of course, for the times I decide to go without the reusable bag and just use the plastic ones. Hmm.)

    The hardest thing about using a reusable bag, in my opinion, is keeping pride in check while resisting the urge to look disdainfully at all the plastic-users. Why does environmentalism breed so much self-righteousness, so easily?

  4. despite the trouble of it all, i am glad that you have decided to use reusable bags!

    maybe instead of just one big one – buy many small ones (similar to how it would have been done when you used plastic bags)? i don’t tend to buy a lot at the grocery store, but i’ve got 4 small ones.

    i’m trying to figure out what i should do with the plastic produce bags… i still use them.

  5. see now i was always taught just to throw your produce in your cart without getting a bag, unless it was something really troublesome. that wasn’t for the environment; it was pure laziness. =) i also think it’s an asian mom thing.

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