Sunday, January 10, 2010

OT - Waste not, want less...

How big is our carbon footprint?

Ever since the global warming monster came out of the closet and started breathing heavy on ice caps and polar bears, I’ve looked around in amazement at what a big impact we have on our little patch of the environment.

Whether or not you believe that the ice caps are melting, polar bears are headed for serious makeovers and penguin dads are going to be a little warmer during their “hold jr. on your toes” part of parenting, it’s really scary to realize just how much trash comes in a modern childhood.

First of all there’s the whole toy thing. Just buying a toy means committing to disposing of three times the toy’s weight in wrapping. I presume these 40 different zip ties and half dozen layers of plastic are designed to thwart theft.

I hope they are using these techniques on important things at the Pentagon, because trust me, no one would be able to sneak out those top secret plans if they had them wrapped up like Barbie’s doggie grooming shop.

In fact at home we have a toolbox designated for unwrapping newly bought toys which contains pliers, a flat head screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, scissors and two knives – serrated and smooth. Pretty soon we’ll be adding a flamethrower.

And don’t even get me started on the toys themselves - which have a useful life of about an hour.

The other area where we are having a severe environmental impact is in schoolwork. I swear I never did this much work when I was at school. Was there a paste shortage when I was growing up? Was paper really expensive? Were teachers focused on doing everything on blackboards? Whatever the reason we never brought home this much schoolwork.

Then there’s the permission slips. I get several permission slips per child every week. When I was a kid I think I brought home one a year. Like seat belts, permission slips were only used for big trips – like across international waters.

I’d like to think we could reduce our carbon footprint. We’ve changed light bulbs, reduced our use of juice boxes, and tried to be less wasteful in general. We’ve tried to recycle and have created many interesting sculptures out of discarded plastic toys and bottles. But we’ve got a long way to go.

In the meantime, I’m hoping for a paste shortage.


Life at Star's Rest said... made me laugh out loud at 6:45 in the morning and only half way through my first cup of coffee. Quite an achievement! Thanks so much - Carmon

Susan said...

You're preaching to the choir on that one. I actually decide not to buy certain things because of all the packaging I'd be throwing away.

Horse Riding Equipment said...

Best wishes for 2010 ! for all horse lovers !

Fragrant Liar said...

I thought that having grandkids, I'd get away from the torture of opening and assembling child's toys. Not so, as Nana is the go-to person for wrenching that doll or that truck out of its people-resistant packaging. WTH are those packaging people thinking?

P.S. Working on that chapter. :-)

Leah Fry said...

It's not just kids' toys either. Bought a camera, cell phone, or other electronic gadget lately? It really does take tools just to open the package.

Re homework: makes you wonder what they do all day.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I agree with you completely. I've had to unpackage some of this stuff and it's the pits. As for the homework, I don't think they should have so much, they never get to play and just be kids after school. A little is okay but what these kids come home with is absurd. It does make you wonder what they do all day in school.

By the way polar bears are one of my favorite animals other than horses and elephants. It's so disturbing what's happening to them because of the melting globe.

Michelle said...

Loved this! I got a good giggle out of it - you can add DVDs and CDs to your list of nearly impossible to open new purchases. Of course I guess those are on their way out anyway. I don't see Barbie's dog grooming shop disappearing anytime soon!