Consumption and Conservation

Chris’ mom and step-dad have Netflix via their Wii and we’ve been watching a few movies from that lately. My brother also only has Netflix for his tv now, something Chris and I will probably be doing when we settle down again. We never paid for cable other than the very basic stations in conjunction with our internet. However, I enjoy watching movies and there are some tv shows on cable stations I enjoy so it will be nice to have Netflix in this aspect.

We’ve been watching a few documentaries, two of which were AT related, Southbounders, though more docu-movie since it has actors, and the Nat Geo Wildspaces AT documentary. One night we were flipping for something to watch and I spotted Tapped. I remembered reading something about it from Kal’s blog awhile back and thought it’d be good to watch.

A lot of it I already knew of (the floating trash piles in the Pacific), and some I didn’t. It brought to mind some of the signs we saw on the Florida Trail around U.S. 98 and J.R’s Aucilla Store. There were signs protesting Nestle Water coming in to haul off water from the springs and rivers in the area. I didn’t think much of it at first other than thinking they were going to build some bottling plant and how ugly that would be in the area.

The point is, if you look on a lot of bottled water it is just regular old tap water. Nothing special. Even if you buy something like Fiji water, why on Earth do you need it? Why can’t the folks of Fiji keep their own water? Most of the time when I buy bottled water it is because I am at a convenience store and need something to drink and I don’t want a soda. I should have a reusable bottle on me at all times, but of course I forget a lot. At my previous job, the one before the AT, I got pretty good at keeping a coffee mug and water bottle on hand in an effort to not use plastic or Styrofoam and throw it out.

One morning I was poking around different blogs and found something else relevant, a TED talk regarding water rights and what they’ve done to streams out west. Western water rights are much different than eastern water rights and some of that is explained in the talk here. But, the Tapped video also discussed some of the eastern water rights issues particularly in Maine and some of the rules surrounding it. It’s very, very interesting and disturbing.

Some of my blog digging turned into reading about plastic and how to reduce your consumption of it. I found a great Plastic Free Guide by a woman who is trying to go plastic free or use previously used plastic such as cat crates and the like. She also linked to some other interesting bottled water issues. And then I was kinda grossed out by the plastic in gum thing. I knew that gum had a lot of petroleum based products in it, but some of the plastics used…ick.

I found the plastic free woman via a post on plastic in the garden and thought of all the plastic pots I’ve picked up over the years only to have the sides crack on me. While we did use a lot of plastic containers in our container garden in Florida we had switched over to using a lot of clay pots for their ability to be used longer and their aesthetically pleasing abilities.

Then there is another thing I just read, something I am contemplating but will have to read more on before I got into this, but Nuthatch had posted something about how to go without shampoo. I was thinking of how oily and nasty my hair gets after two weeks of hiking and thought this might not be worth it. But, perhaps I’ll give it a try sometime.

Now on the other end of all this is the consumption and such. As it is spring a lot of the magazines are talking about spring cleaning but an Oprah magazine article touched on the other items that cling to us, the ones with all the memories. I’m a big sucker for keeping things because of some memory attached to it. Chris will roll his eyes because he will agree to this about me. I am slowly helping my mom get rid of things like this, items she’s not used, things she bought or received and kept for such and such memory. I know that when I get our stuff out of storage I’ll be going through it again even though I’d done it before we moved. Keeping newspapers, tidbits of stuff I wanted to scrapbook (no happening), books, scrapbook supplies, knick-knacks. You name it, a lot of it has a memory attached to it. Or not even a memory, just that it was given to me by someone who is close to me. Some of it I will keep and use in another way, items from my childhood will be used in a kids room, that kind of thing.

Another thing I noticed while hiking was how much junk people collected in their yards. This is definitely a country thing since a lot of city regulations prevent this in suburbs, but the hoarder’s show focuses on indoor people, but dang, they need to talk to the people who collect junk outside, too. Have you seen American Pickers ? We watched as the hosts picked through a man’s yard in Ohio, I think, and they wanted to get a few things but he would always find a reason to keep it, such as it was his kids and they might want it. I am willing to bet those kids will never do anything with rusted out junk. So. much. stuff!!!

I guess one of the best things about backpacking and living in a different location from night to night is that you learn to use what you have an know you don’t need more. Sure, things wear out and you replace those items, but you only need one spork, one bowl, maybe two pairs of underwear, a couple of socks. I’m constantly telling myself I don’t need more clothes when I go out browsing because I really don’t. I have a closet full of items and that isn’t even all of it!

So, I’m not sure where I ended up with on this little rant other than I am trying to be more conscious of things I buy, what their impact is on the environment and whether or not I really need something.

One Comment

  • Patrice

    Good rant! We all need to be more conscious … it’s sad!

    How was the sobo doc? I think I mentioned that we saw it on ebay for cheap, but it ended up going for $18! Not sure if that’s worth it. The ATC has it for $21 … maybe we’ll see it at REI on sale …

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