Millions of children are packing up their notebooks and chrome books into backpacks and heading back to school. Teachers too. In my house the morning alarm is back on and travel mugs are in use. Accountability has returned. Perhaps just in time as summer always brings out my every delicious lazy quality. Maybe for your school age children too? Those of us in the building face deadlines and due dates, eligibility requirements and tardy consequences. After two years of COVID interruptions, these restrictions will feel like a straight jacket for some, but for others there will finally be a comfort in having structure back in place. The pendulum is swinging back, at least in our school district, with many reporting issues, of course the humorous irony is how accountability feels like a rarity in many of the political figures central to our lives right now. Wouldn’t you agree?
Week after week I have posted about yet another swim. I know. And I’m so sorry. It’s just like this crazy fixation for me. Actually it’s not that, swimming is my lifeline, a means to finding a way through when there doesn’t seem to be another way. In summer all possible watering holes are endless possibilities for joy. I seek out mountain streams that burst over waterfalls, misty lakes where loons call back and forth to each other, the big beachy Pacific or the stoney Atlantic and the occasional outdoor pool to dive in and float under the heavens. But you all know that. It is the same story every August. Me writing about going as far as a dare and then going a bit further.
The reality is I am a playful swimmer, I mean sure come November I’ll be in the indoor pool doing the back and forth lap thing, but even then I find myself breaking up the routine by watching the light skip across the surface. All summer long I just play in the water. While on a ferry recently we saw a school of dolphins playing in the wake, jumping high up over the waves and diving back under, all in unison, right as the sun sank into the horizon turning the sky lilac and tangerine. My buddies for sure. How lucky that we still have miles of water just for our pleasure?
Water rules me, and even though I reside in a land-locked state, there are rivers at every turn, as well as quiet paths to stroll along side. On days when a swim isn’t possible, hearing water run shallow over rock while shimmering in the late afternoon sunshine can elevate my mood pretty gosh darn well. I am so grateful for this magnificent world. For all this clean air and water.
This just might be the time when we all do whatever it is we can to keep it as pristine as we can. That will take a few adjustments for most people on our planet. The United States may not be the #1 country responsible for creating the Earth’s destructive and devastating pollution (China wins that award), however, we are #2. Imagine that? For a country that prides itself on grass-root, small-town, community-caring, we certainly are making a catastrophic mess of this one planet we need to keep inhabiting. Can we each make a change? Depending on our current lifestyles, perhaps a few small steps might be possible for all of us?
Going zero waste is a great step towards combating climate change. Practicing the 5 R’s of zero waste can help.
You’ve probably heard of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. But there are two more that are equally important.
Lets break it down:
- Refuse – Avoid single use plastics and paper products by saying no thank you, opting for reusables.
- Reduce – Downsize what you purchase, opting to be more mindful of what you really need.
- Reuse – Always find a way to keep an item out of the landfill by keeping it in great condition, repairing or upcycling it when it breaks.
- Rot – Set up a compost system for your food scraps, or find a food scrap drop off center (like a farmers market, or community garden) near your house.
- Recycle – Properly recycle any plastic, paper, glass or metal that comes into your life you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse by researching your state’s recycling laws.
If you ask me, all this glorious swimming and strolling under a big blue sky is worth our efforts.
Hopefully, everyone is reducing, reusing, and recycling. I’m on board, but not just with my cardboard. I’m all about keeping my clothing, season after season, opting not to buy into each new trend that surfaces. When I look back through my photo stream, I’ve noticed I’m often wearing the same dress, from Venice, Italy, to Venice, California, for over a decade. So I ask you, why hop on the shopping train, why not instead, keep your garments wearing longer? This year, as floral once again flooded the racks, I included an old floral favorite, worn first on a Kentucky waterfront a decade ago, then on a spring night two years ago, and resurfaced this year during my trip to France. Packable, light, and totally worth rewearing. Before you purchase a new wardrobe this Fall, consider how you might reduce your footprint, by reusing, at the very least, much of what you already own, or shopping at vintage or recycle shops. Let’s think through this global issue of waste.