There is so much plastic in our oceans our sea life is dying. Not just dying, but being tortured in the process. At least that's what the "news" reports.
The idea of this hurts my heart on many levels. The idea the news is not journalistic news and that our mindless actions hurt innocent creatures. How do we make sense of this nonsensical world?
I recycle my plastic bags, drove my last car for 13 years being the second person to own it. I don’t buy process and packaged food (as much as possible), so we have little trash each week. I cook from raw materials at home and don’t support restaurants, (I know, blasphemy in our fast-food culture). I don’t believe that I need to have that new thing every day. I want to believe because I don’t buy water in plastic bottles that I’m not contributing to the catastrophe of our wildlife. It is not true, but I want to believe I am a terrible consumer. I want to believe I'm doing all I can for this planet. This is also not true.
I live on this plant and I create trash. It's a by-product of my life. I eat less than I did 5 years ago and therefore create less waste. I wear my clothes until they are thread-bear and recycle them. I drive as little as possible and I use palm oil. If you think you don't use palm oil look at the ingredients on that bag of chips, cookies or any other commercially processed food. It probably has palm oil in it. Geez, this topic is complex.
I am a walking contradiction.
There are many companies that do NOTHING but what they are mandated by law. I see the law as the lowest common denominator of accountability. Most of us would never think of taking something that wasn’t ours, breaking into a home or worse. These laws are basic ideas. We would never consider these choices an option. The law is for everyone. Honorable and dishonorable. The question I ask myself is, “how can I be exceptional?”
Lately I have read a few things about soap making that bothering me. Glitter.
Yup, there is much talk about banning Mylar glitter. Because it can get to the water sources. So can a plastic bag. We haven't banned plastic bags. We haven't banned plastic wrapping on food. Did you know paint on a car is made with glitter? We haven't banned cars. Oh, but electric, no fossil fueled cars were created 20 years ago or more. Not only that, but some fossil fuel free cars cannot be registered because they cannot pass emissions. Why? Because they don't have emissions. It's laughable if it weren't so stupid.
But let's discuss banning glitter.
Our desire for convenience overwhelmingly over rides our desire to be honorable. Every single time.
Being a conscientious human takes effort. So many cannot even be bothered to cook for themselves, let alone create that food. How do I know this? Fast food restaurants exist... In abundance.
I don’t have the answer. I don't have one answer let alone all of them.
The older I get, the fewer answers I have. So many things are mucked up. People with extreme wealth, while others struggle for clean water. Do you ever wonder at those who have stupid wealth and why they cannot fix things? Moreover, I wonder that they don't even try. It's not their fault, after all. And still...
I've had money before. Lots of it, and I tried to make a difference with others. I donated to the Humane Society every year. Then I figured out, when things went tits-up at their shelter they claimed "parvo" and put the entire shelter down. But this was a no-kill shelter. What's the deal?
I dug deeper, adopted puppies from them, trained those dogs, brought them up and re-homed them. I adopted puppies that were deemed healthy only to find out they were so terribly sick, and after costly vet bills, discovered many of those same litters died. You know what the Humane Society told me? We can exchange the puppy for you. And what will you do with my puppy? Oh.
I didn't take money for placing these puppies in healthy homes either. Not to claim I'm a good person, but to prove a point - that donation of time, money and effort didn't have to have a monetary exchange. A gift is a gift.
Oh, I did background checks, called their vets, called every single reference before I placed one single dog. I told many that the dog was not suited for them. So much harder face to face.
I thought I was changing things. Certainly I was changing things for the dog in question, but the problem of disposable dogs was still the issue and, I wasn't making a dent in that problem.
There is an idea that all things should be equal. They aren’t, not with humans and not in nature. There is an idea that we are all capable of everything. It’s not true. I’m clearly not capable of being a brain surgeon.
I know this doesn’t sort it all out and might even muddy the waters…
We can move toward bio-degradable glitter before legislation does. This is the direction I’m moving with my soap art. Because I have begun to lose interest in glitter, I have focused on micas. Painting with micas, dusting with micas and coloring soap with mica. Curious how one door can shut and something else will appear.
My good friend, someone who has been with me for so many years I’ve lost count, presented a philosophical idea to me – do what makes your life bearable. We’re all trying to survive. This statement is true for every living creature.
My friend drinks whisky, on occasion. She is fully aware of what alcohol can do to the body taken in large doses. Managed pleasure. I, also, drink a beer or red wine. I don’t do this every day, but on occasion I allow myself a treat. A glass of alcohol with a friend can bring a sparkle to conversation. A version of glitter.
Glitter is a treat. If our waterways were perfect, not one plastic bag was floating around, unrestrained would glitter on our soap be an issue? Is it the type of glitter? If we come up with a better glitter, can we still have this pleasure?
Are we going to remove all forms of pleasure from our world? How about we remove fast foods? How about we remove all plastic from our world?
How do we balance this idea, some things (by-products from art/industry/existence) are hazardous to us and our environments. We must be specific in our care for ourselves and our planet - weigh the results of our efforts and strive to do better in every area. Maybe we need to go back to basics? Raise, grow and make our own food? Would that fix things?
What one thing would you be willing to give up to make the planet a better place?
As I continue to alter my life for earth's preservation corporations continue to pollute our world. How do I battle the tide of unconscious and even malicious actions? Will it help if I stop buying tuna? Will it help if I wash out that can before I recycle? Will anyone of my actions truly help to repair this planet? Or is this planet going to give us a shake one day, fling us to the nether regions and start over?
I am suggesting considered and conscious thought about our actions, the results of those actions on ourselves, our immediate environments and life as a whole. Taking such full responsibility, nothing is shrugged off. I’m unclear of the impact of glitter on our world and creatures. I’m unclear if it is repairable. I do know glitter delights me. I would happily trade all my plastic bags for the ability to use bio-degradable glitter. I also know the idea of a tortured creature is not worth any pleasure I might derive from glitter.
When I bring so much thought to my world and see a narcissistic, selfish person (if they are a person) leave their fast-food garbage next to their car, when they are perfectly capable of walking that garbage to the near by trash, I am at a full stop loss.
How much glitter can be made from one styrofoam egg carton? Is the real issue about glitter, that we cannot recycle it; that our sea life chooses glitter and plastic over food? Or that glitter contaminates our food sources? How about the fact that we are over-fishing our seas? Where to begin to unravel this mess?
Let's not mention Fukushima because that, on balance, tips the glitter scales.
I know glitter isn’t made from styrofoam, but let’s ask about the lesser of two evils, not throw the baby out with the bath water. In my heart of hearts, I see glitter going the way of mercury or better yet, being banned. Why? It's an easy bill to pass for some politician.
Let's not even bring up Monsanto or unnecessary fluoride in water or sugar in foods... Yeah, I should stop here. It's all a mess.
The ancient Egyptians believed after death they stood in front of Thoth, the god of Wisdom. He then weighed that person's heart against that of a peacock feather. I have no idea if I have a light heart, but I can tell you mine would tip in one direction. I strive to do things to lighten my heart. This has no effect on the seas, but if I think for others, offer products that lighten the heart, I might - just might - lessen my innate burden to this earth and Thoth might let me pass.
I truly appreciated reading your article. I am 74 years old I lost my mom when I was 9 and was raised by my grandmother who lived through the depression she wasted nothing no matter how small it was it was tied with a piece of twine or a rubber band and wax paper or parchment. The refrigerator would look empty by today’s standards but she would make the most fabulous meals common worn sheets became pillowcases, old curtains became my Halloween costumes, brown paper bags became beautiful wrapping paper, I grew up that way and tried to maintain her standards I’m the mother of six children and 14 grandchildren now and when possible I have tried to show them that same respect for people, food, other people, and anything else that I could possibly have an impact on. I grew up with milk and soda coming in bottles which were returned to the store for deposit not thrown in the trash. I try to do my small part whenever possible. I hear myself speak my grandmother’s words frequently what has the world come to, everything is disposable including humans anymore and it breaks my heart and I worry everyday of what kind of world my grandchildren are going to live in. I took up soap making just about a year ago when my eyes would no longer allow me to do fine stitching to make quilts and I am so at peace when I do it. In my Endeavor I already use a lot of mica’s for painting and have managed to purchase bio Glitters that are available. I just believe that any small thing that we do can happen impact as a whole. In my search to make soap I came across your site and I am so amazed and enthralled by your work I so wish we lived close together even at my age I would love to learn from you. I purchased several of your soap doughs recently but find myself a little intimidated by it yet. Your soaps are works of art, but I’m going to challenge myself this week keeping in mind Perfection doesn’t come overnight and see what I can create. I hope to buy one of your books in the near future to learn more detail and so much more. I would love to live close to you and enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea and have an amazing conversation and perhaps learn even a small bit of your creativity with soap dough. Thank you for your articles and your soap dough best wishes Mary
Well said!! There are numerous documentaries on our oceans, sea life, people with cancer (we used to rarely hear of someone having cancer) showing the impact of our past and present choices, ike you mentioned plastic bags, overfishing, and Fukushima, that people just close their eyes and hearts to. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! OUR CHILDREN ARE LEFT TO DEAL WITH OUR CHOICES!! They and future generations will have to figure out how to clean up our messes, or turn a blind eye to them, and pass this on to our grandchildren and their children. SO SAD!!!!
I’m proud of ya. Wish I lived near you so I could be your apprentice!!!!!!! Hugz, Tree