The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

October 27, 2008

Grateful for plastic pollution?

With Thanksgiving approaching, I’ve been asked to write about the three green things I’m the most grateful for. Which raises the question:  What’s green?

For example, is it greener to bottle wine in glass or plastic? Most Fake Plastic Fish readers would say glass. But there are plenty of other well-meaning folks who claim plastic is the greener option because of its light weight.

We might not all agree on what products or procedures are the greenest. And some things that we once thought were green (Nalgene bottles for example) turn out not to be after further research. But what green folks have in common, I believe, is the desire to create a world in which life can continue to thrive indefinitely. Life itself is what makes people take up the “green” cause and label themselves and their products and practices “green.” So, with that in mind, these are the “green” things I am most grateful for:

1) This moment, which finds me sitting at a plastic computer, typing this post on a plastic keyboard, listening to a plastic radio and the squeak of Michael’s chair next to me. Nothing exists outside of this moment. Nothing. It’s all we have and all we ever will have. It’s the greenest thing there is.

2) The breath going in and out of my lungs in this moment and connecting me with all other breathing things in this world. Everything, in fact, that has ever breathed. What an amazing ocean of air we live in, mostly without thinking about it, like fish oblivious to the water in which they swim. In and out. In and out. Even while we sleep. We might disagree on the best ways to keep the air breathable, but the fact is that we all have to breath it.

3) All the trillions (quadrillions? more?) of life forms sharing this amazing, insane world: the people who use plastic; the birds and fish and sea turtles who eat plastic; the lives that are saved by plastic devices and the lives that are harmed by plastic poisons; the people I meet each day who are trying to do their bit, step by step, to protect the planet, and the people in my life who tell me they don’t care; and the organisms that will eventually evolve to thrive on plastic. I’m grateful for this crazy stew of life and pollution that I am privileged to be part of. What a time to be alive, working for a cause while recognizing that we could be wrong.

This past Sunday, my Green Sangha chapter discussed our 4th Principle:

Questioning Ourselves

We constantly live with the questions of what is authentic, loving, and appropriate action. We’re willing to not know and be open to other points of view. We know we could be wrong.

I am truly grateful to be a part of such a nourishing community of activists who support one another while leaving ourselves open to the possibility of change, not only in the world outside but inside ourselves as well. Realizing there is no inner or outer fundamentally.

And I’m also grateful to be a part of the community of bloggers and blog-readers, people from all over the world whom I never would have met before the Internet made such communication possible.

Thank you all for the work you’re doing.

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Gray Matters
15 years ago

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. You always have the ability to help me realize that the changes I’m making are important and there is always more I can do.

Green & Clean Mom
15 years ago

We forget our breath connects us to everything and good point on the plastic or glass for shipping.

15 years ago


You are awesome!

Thank you for this wonderful (and many other) wonderful posts. I read it in a moment of absolute snittiness, and it calmed me.
I actually meant to write last week in response to your call for bloggers but lost track of time, mostly due to rampant toddler activities (my son). I am interested in posting more plastic-free posts to my blog; however, to date, it is a blog of many hybridities.

Over the past year, I have been working to reduce the use of plastic in our household, and am working to eradicate it entirely from our lives. This has taken many forms, including refusing plastic grocery bags, spreading the word about bottled water and only using a refillable stainless steel container, shopping at farmer’s markets for most of our needs, donating various items instead of throwing them away, reusing and recycling pretty much everything, and (eventually) switching all of our plastic kitchenware to glass.

I applaud your efforts and find encouragement in your posts and energies!

Your neighbor in Piedmont,


Fresh and Feisty
15 years ago

Great post Beth. I too thought of you today…in the bathroom. Really! I was at a conference at a local motel and they actually had individually wrapped toilet paper rolls. But get this, they weren’t Kirkland brand with paper, but rather Moon something, wrapped in PLASTIC. Unbelievable! I tried to find them online but haven’t yet. I’m going to keep looking and possibly even send a note to the motel.

15 years ago

I agree with your comment about appreciating those that have taken up the green cause or any cause for that matter that benefits the world. For all of you who are guardians of the earth, thank you.

Mother Earth
15 years ago

In a mindful meditation poem it said how breath begins the moment you were concieved, and how postively automatic it is…it never ever stops. I love how breath and focusing in on it can be a chance to pause, revel and also have us be grateful. Goodness — we are alive! What I appreciate most about you is the focus you have brought to a singular and very important topic, and the example you provide. Rock on!

Mintage Home
15 years ago

You are now that little voice I hear now and again, reminding me to do the right thing. I look at everything differently now that I know the truth.

15 years ago

“We constantly live with the questions of what is authentic, loving, and appropriate action. We’re willing to not know and be open to other points of view. We know we could be wrong.”

That couldn’t have been more timely for me to read. I sat down at my desk and began reading this post, but was interrupted by the sounds of my boss and a coworker chatting and laughing about Obama. I can’t quite explain their attitudes – ones of “I’m right and how could everyone else in the world be so stupid?”

All I could think was how, yes, I support my candidate (or my beliefs or my ideas) but I can certainly be open to others’ as well. Why (and how?) do people think that they have the one and only true/right/real answer?

Then I read the quote above and thought “exactly”. Sigh.

15 years ago

Point 3 – all the other life forms.

Most remarkable is that every life form comes from the same source – plant or animal we all share DNA and are branches from the same trunk. Richard Dawkins book The Ancestors Tale tells that story well. Whenever I am feeling cocky, I recall that the tree next to me, the grass, the ant, the flower are all my relatives.

A key to our future is to realize this and stop pretending we are uniquely separate from all other life, entitled to do as we wish with the planet and unaffected by the results of what we do. Who “deserves” to rule the planet? If we weren’t here, it would be another species that would be making the bid to do so. We have to appreciate our position and preserve/protect because THAT is what are big brains enable us to understand above all others.

So far we’ve used our position to lord it over everything else, even creating a Lord to tell us that’s ok.

When I recently got the “flu”, I reminded myself that the “bug” I was carrying was simply doing to me what we as a species do to everything else – propagate and take the territory.

We aren’t guilty any more than life itself is guilty of trying its best to expand everywhere it can. That’s how we got here. Alfalfa and sea squirts do the same, if unknowingly, it’s the nature of life that we share right along with the DNA.

But we can understand the whole picture and still behave as if we didn’t! That is our incredible contradiction – we are loaded with intelligence and the accompanying capacity to truly set ourselves free of the automatic drive of life to take over but we act as if we had no more awareness than lichen spreading on a rock.

Mindful Momma
15 years ago

You’re right this is a ‘crazy stew of life’ and we’re lucky to be living it!

15 years ago

Thanks for the reminder that we’re all connected and that each effort is valuable. Your kindness and patience with less-valiant efforts than yours is so encouraging for me, and much appreciated.

Diane MacEachern
15 years ago

Thanks for a reminder about the value of living in the moment!

15 years ago

Dear Beth,

I am grateful for you! You are such an awesomely beautiful Human Being. Your words are a part of my life every day. In case I forget, your blog lets me know that it is worth it to care, and to care for.

Love & RRRevolution, Tracey