Author Archive

08/05/2012

Across Canada Plastic Free?

On Friday my fella and I are embarking on a five week long adventure across Canada!

Here’s our approximate route from Victoria to P.E.I. and back.

We’re going to be travelling in this Van

Cornelius. Our little elephant van

With this dog

Loup is a wonderful driver

We’ll also be carrying lots of mason jars and a blender.

Some plastic things that I already have that will be coming with us are: Our backpacks, tent, hammock, some utensils that we’ve had since our epic adventure to Haida Gwaii last year, and our cooler.

I would love some tips from the community on the best ways to travel plastic free! Or better yet, if you see your town on our route, drop me a line and you can show us your favourite spots!

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07/20/2012

Guest Blog Post: “Ben Schiendelman: Bagless in Seattle”*

Ben is quick on the draw. I (Celine) wrote about meeting him and his subsequent plastic challenge conversion about week ago. We met during my last trip to Portland. The gin was his fault. Here is his first guest blog about how one goes disposable free in the Emerald City.

He doesn’t mention it in his post but Ben is working on launching seattlesubway.org (just sign up for the updates for now… expect awesomness later). He also has his own super rad blog here.

*my title, not his. haha

Hi everyone!

As you read in Celine’s post, trying to avoid plastic isn’t new to me – but it’s not something I’ve focused on in recent years. I live in Seattle, where like BC, we have mostly hydro power, and we also have a large central city with a strong downtown that’s ripe for transit investment. Our largest consumption of fossil fuels is in the ridiculous amount of driving people do in our city – so my advocacy here has been in pushing for fast, reliable, electric mass transit to give people a better way to get around.

But as you all know, that’s only part of the equation! We do a lot on the legislative level – this month, our city banned plastic grocery bags (mostly), and we’re working on passing the same law for the entire state. But in order to pass legislation like this, we need to show people first that there are better solutions. That’s why I’m so excited about Passing Up Plastic – it makes people consider the alternatives they have already and become open to making these changes permanently.

I’m actually doing something a little different than Celine and Carol-Lynne. I’m trying to eliminate my use of any disposable goods, if I can, not just plastic. My employer’s cafeteria provides disposable plastic cutlery – ‘compostable’ to make you feel better – and paper plates and bowls. After getting back from Portland, one of the first things I did was bring a pair of chopsticks, a spoon and a bowl to work, to not only eliminate the cutlery, but also the trash! Producing a paper plate takes as much fossil fuel to create and ship as any plastic wrapper. Of course, so does a ceramic bowl and a pair of wooden chopsticks – but only once, rather than adding more fossil fuel every use!

I’ll write more soon about the mistakes I’ve already made, and what I’ve done about them.

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07/15/2012

Travel Log: Portland

I love this city as fiercely as I’m learning to hate plastic straws! I refuse to admit that my sin bin is filled with straws because I simply drink too much gin and get so caught up in the bliss that I forget about everything else. By everything I really mean everything.. like the planet. My love affair is so deep that when I do health cleanses I somehow justify drinking gin throughout… it’s clean! There’s no sugar! It’s just juniper berries! Are you with me?!

My favourite Gin in the entire world. Distilled by Victoria’s very own NDP MLA, Lana Popham. More proof that Gin = progressive values?

 

As an aside, did you know that there’s a notable correlation between drinking gin and having a left of centre political leaning? *This study was done in the U.S. so the data may not be equivalent in Canada*

Back to Portland, I went out to distilleries, brew pubs and other Portlandian watering holes. One night in particularly I was treated to a plethora of tasty gin mojitos. They arrived double strawed. Imagine my distress! Until I tasted it and promptly zoomed into gin-town reverie!

The silver lining here was that I spent the weekend getting to know a compelling human named Ben Schiendelman from Seattle. Upon returning home to Seattle this status popped up on his facebook feed:

“In the wake of Camp Wellstone, I find myself energized by all the awesome people fighting for issues I care about across a dozen categories. One thing in particular sticks out, because it’s something I’ve been ignoring lately: disposables and plastic crap. I try to buy only durable, reusable goods made of wood, metal, and glass, and these make up most of my possessions, but I’ll stop for tea or coffee nearly every day in a disposable paper cup with a plastic lid. So, first, that stops – there is no reason to create demand for oil any more than I have to. Second, if I do use plastic, I’m keeping it (for a year?), so it’s a pain in the ass and it reminds me. Third, when I fuck up, or when I see something for which there is or could be a better solution, you all get to hear about it. I put way too much effort into big environmental causes to ignore poor day to day choices, and we have better, more sustainable solutions for nearly everything in our day to day lives. Now that you’ve read this – who will join me in trying to eliminate plastic and disposable crap from our lives?”

A convert! Perhaps in the long run these six straws are a sacrifice to the gods of plastic free. Maybe we’ll hear from Ben in the future to see how his experiment is going across the pond in Seatown.

07/10/2012

Meat packaged tattoos and other encounters with needles

For those of you who’ve never seen me naked, I’m a heavily tattooed lady. I got some work done several weeks ago and was packed in meat packing when it was over. I hadn’t ever considered the whole thing before and now feel a bit strange about the connotation there. Fresh meat indeed.

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(Tada!)

It made me think about other situations where I don’t have control over what materials are put on my body or used for my health. Like the dentist. Haven’t been to the dentist yet this plastic free year but I bet it’s not a pretty picture in the plastic department. Have any of you been to the dentist recently or is anyone going who can keep their eyes on their dentists clinics use of plastic? Last time I thought about that was back in ’07 when I was dating mine… MEYOW!

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(Photo Credit: Wondering Fair)