Happy Hoppin’ New Year!
After our rockin’ kitty New Year’s Eve party last night (only kitty-lovers allowed), one of us (me) slept until 1:15pm this afternoon, then somehow managed to crawl out of bed and put together a pretty awesome pot of Hoppin’ John, the traditional New Year’s Day dish of black-eyed peas and rice. Except, not having a hamhock lying around anywhere, I used this recipe from The Vegan Chef: http://www.veganchef.com/hoppin.htm. So I guess this is a good start to our mostly vegetarian new year.
I think 2007 was probably one of the most eventful years of my life. I began it by running my first marathon on my birthday, January 7, and ended it by adding two new fantastic beings to our household. Along the way, I did some more running, had a hysterectomy, got enlightened about plastic, started this blog, made trips to learn all about where our recycling goes, and joined a wonderful environmental group, Green Sangha.
We can’t predict what each year holds in store, but we can create some intentions (as opposed to resolutions) to help guide us in the direction we think we want to go. So with that, here are a few of my intentions/goals for this year.
- Get more sleep. Okay, this one goes on the list every year, but it never seems to happen. I stay up very late blogging and Internet surfing most nights. So when you think about it, sleep is very good for the environment. When you’re asleep, you’re not running a computer, or TV, or using lights. You’re probably under covers with the heat down lower than when you’re awake. You’re probably not up eating food that you don’t need to be eating and drinking wine that you don’t need to be drinking, another way of cutting consumption, as I’ll mention again in the next intention. Sleep is just an all-around groovy thing to do. I wish my subconscious would believe that!
- Eat and drink less. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I do eat food, mostly plant-based. Dark chocolate and red wine are awesome plant-based foods, right? It’s the “too much” part that gets me. So I’ve joined Crunchy Chicken’s Project Nowaste (No Overeating While Attempting to Save The Environment) and am hoping that looking at the way I eat as it affects the planet will help me to cut down on food as I’ve cut down on plastic.
- Get back into running. In the beginning of last year, I attempted to join the United States Running Streak Association’s group of people who have run at least 1 mile every day for a year. I forgot when I signed up that I’d be having surgery later in the year and unable to complete the streak. And after the surgery, I just didn’t have the motivation to start again. So, once I finish with this post, I’m going to go out and do my first mile since I stopped running in September. Running’s good for the environment, too. Eco-running (picking up plastic as I run) but also the fact that it requires nothing but a pair of shoes and some lungs and legs. No electricity necessary.
- Get a bicycle and learn to ride and maintain it. Bikes scare me. I don’t know why. Michael has 5 of them. He’s also had a few accidents. But really, with a sturdy bike, I wouldn’t have to wait for the bus or reserve a Zip Car to run errands across town. So I plan to look for a good, used bike and then take the bike maintenance classes offered by Missing Link so that I’ll actually feel confident about riding it.
- Move my money into socially and ecologically responsible investment funds. I realized that while I’m being really careful these days where I spend my money, I’d forgotten about where the little extra gets invested. So a few weeks ago, I made an appointment with Ian at The Social Equity Group in Berkeley and as soon as I have time to fill out the paperwork, I’ll be that much closer to helping create a sustainable world.
- Get more involved in Green Sangha’s Rethinking Plastics campaign. This Thursday night is a strategy session for the new year. I’m looking forward to doing more work with this group to make changes locally (encouraging grocery stores to phase out plastic bags, educating the public about plastics, etc.)
- Make more field trips to learn about plastic and waste first-hand. Next week, I have plans to visit a landfill and a commercial compost operation, and I’ll be reporting back what I learn. I don’t know where else my studies of plastic will take me this year. Wouldn’t it be great to see the inside of a plastic factory? Or a factory that makes plastic toys? I have no idea how to get into a place like that, but then, when I started this project, I had no idea how to get into a recycling center either.
- Write an article about plastic for print. My friend, Mea, keeps telling me I should write a book. I’m not ready to think that big. But it would be a good challenge for me to write an article for a magazine. I’d like to try it. The blog is great, but it only reaches people who read blogs. All the people I see carrying their plastic shopping bags are probably not environmental blog readers, but they might read a local paper or magazine. Any suggestions for publications I should approach?
- Find new blog software and organize Fake Plastic Fish in a way that’s easier to navigate. I’ve sent out the request before. If anyone can help me figure out the best blog software to use and how to set it up, I’d be forever grateful and possibly willing to pay.
- Meet a few more Fake Plastic Fish readers and bloggers in person. I’ve met a few of you. I’d love to meet more. Let me know if you plan to come out to the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ll buy you a coffee (or tea) in a reusable cup!
So here’s me this afternoon with a pile of cats, getting a head start on Intention #1. And now it’s time to get out and do Intention #3. See you tomorrow.
I really enjoy your blog. I am starting a new phase in my life and cant wait to make changes to my life style. I know this is a after the fact, but call me type A, I had to start reading from the beginning!
An idea for redesigning and supporting Fake Plastic Fish:
Check out the latest redesign of the dooce.com blog here:
Read how she and her husband did it, and what they used to do it, here:
Before this current system, they used Movable Type, which may be something to look into.
I enjoy your blog! Hope this helps.
if you are looking for someone to help you with your blog you might be interested in OMSH. Her website is http://www.ohmystinkinheck.com/
She’s done a great job with the websites I’ve seen. I haven’t used her services but I read her blog.
Bandaids – I like the fabric strips that you cut into the width you desire. Less packaging involved, and maybe not so much plastic?
Oh, btw, your kitties are very cute!
Walking is another good activity which is ecofriendly and isn’t so hard on the body. Especially those of us who had recently had health problems. Bikes are fun, but I do not like the sore butt thing.
I am a kayaker so give me long kayak trip and I am happy as a clam. Yes, kayaks are huge pieces of plastic, mine is 53 pounds of plastic to be exact. However, I will likely never buy another one, as I am sublimely happy with mine and it will never wear out. It is a sit on top so my Bull Terrier can go with me, and I can pack a nice lunch or stow camping gear. Last year my 12 year old son and I took a 50+ mile, 4 day trip on the Erie Canal, it was fanstastic. You can get used kayaks all over, since they are so indestructable.
Hi, Annmarie. I tried to find answers to some of your questions.
This Wikipedia article says that some masking tape is made from paper and some is made from polyester. Hmmm…
It also seems that butter wrappers could be coated with either wax or plastic.
I did write a post about other hidden plastics that you might be interested in:
And as far as Bandaids go, we haven’t crossed that bridge yet because we already have so many!
Looks like a fantastic set of goals for the new year. I like the idea of eco-running. Especially since I’m a horrible runner: might give me some occassional breaks to grab garbage if I do it in really trashed areas. :)
Happy New Year to you! You are an inspiration!
I found your blog while taking a break from my blog and it has completely inspired me. I already started phasing out plastics in my home and I am trying not to buy any new plastic. I had no clue that my overflowing recycle bins were probably ending up in the ocean… here I was so smug when I saw others with very little recycling when I had *so* much!! Thank you for your wonderful blog!
I wonder if there are any running shoes that don’t use a ton of plastic. I guess the uppers could be canvas and leather (poor animals!) and the soles real rubber (though hasn’t the planting of rubber trees been pretty bad for rainforests over the years? Look, there goes another rubber tree plant!) How would they make the cushioning? Or you could run barefoot, like the Ethiopians….
By the way, there are all sorts of “cargo bikes” designed for carrying a lot of stuff. Some of the best come from the Netherlands. There are also trailers, tricyles, all sorts of interesting vehicles. But not so sleek. But you can carry the cats on them!
Got a question for you: Doe butter wrappers contain plastic or are they just waxed paper? (And I guess the wax might be plastic-based these days.) I was throwing out wrappers after making cookies this weekend and wondered. Got me wondering if there are other hidden things of plastic we just don’t think about. What’s the oddest thing you’ve realized contained/used plastic?
Okay, more than one question, because I have another one–does masking tape use plastic?
Oh, how about one more? What do you do about bandaids? Or have you been lucky this year? (I don’t usually use that many, but just did recently. They are Bain-Aid brand, bought on sale mostly, and years ago. I think we might almost be out so if there’s an alternative?)
so sad about not making it to play with the kittehs.
and your resolutions are awesome. lets make a playdate soon.
I just wanted to let you know, Beth, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. The same goes for you, anytime you want to come to Oregon just let me know!
I just discovered your blog and am really excited to read about what you are doing. I’m in Culver City, CA and I spend a lot of time fretting about the recycling bin, and what can and cannot be put into it. I also pick up trash in my neighborhood on a weekly basis. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts. Good luck with the running endeavor!
Great blog! Best of luck with your intentions in 2008! I’ll stay tuned for more.
Bikes are great! I’ve got six of them.