Ok so the title is a bit misleading on two fronts...
I picked up all that over the course of two walks I went on with the child seeking some outside time for myself and the dog as well. I would also like to emphasize that I didn’t even go out of my way to pick all that up, it was either on the sidewalk or right next to it as I walked.
I tell you this so I can make a confession I don’t normally pick up trash and recycling I find on my walks.
I know shocking right….
How can someone who built and writes on a website called the Green Living Library not make it a habit of picking up loose trash wherever they see it? Since I am being entirely honest, there are two reasons why this is not a habit for me.
Legal vs Moral
From a legal perspective, unless that trash ends up in the immediate vicinity of my house it’s not my problem. It has to be on my property before I legally have to give a crap about it. This seems to be true of most cities, if it’s not in the street it’s the problem of the property owner. So while I am not legally obligated to pick up trash from the sidewalk in front of other people’s homes I am starting to come around to the fact that maybe I am morally obligated to pick it up. I share that sidewalk, that street, the neighborhood, even the whole town with other people and it seems to me that I have a responsibility towards that community to help take care of the environment it exists in.
Public Responsibility vs Private Responsibility
The question I am beginning to wrestle with more and more as I grow older is where does public responsibility end and where does private responsibility end? At what point is it my problem and what point it is the public’s problem? Up until recently for the most part I considered everything that was past my property line and didn’t affect my life as not my problem.
Now on the face of it, things like I have listed above, are someone else’s problem. But if everyone takes the it’s someone else’s problem approach to life then a lot of things that need doing don’t get done. I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer to my question about where public and private responsibility end is that,
They don’t end…. they are one and the same.
There is no private responsibility or public responsibility you don’t get to pick and choose where you are responsible for something and where you are not. If you are a living breathing person then like the rest of us are responsible for every second of your life and every action taken or not taken during that life.
So yes maybe someone else is why there is a broken beer bottle on the sidewalk going to a school but if you walk by it without cleaning it up then you are just as responsible for that beer bottle.
I know it kinda sucks right…..
If you look at the world through the framework of universal responsibility where if you have the power to make it better then you are responsible for making it better then suddenly you have a lot more problems.
But that’s ok because along with those problems you also get the power to solve them. Now, this doesn’t mean I expect you to run out and solve world hunger and fight crime, some things are better left to those better suited to solve them. But the next time you see some trash that needs picking up or an elderly neighbors sidewalk that needs shoveling maybe you make that problem yours and in a small way make the world a better place.
Whether we want to admit it or not we are all responsible in some small way for how the world is now and that means we are also responsible for how the world will look in the future. I hope for the sake of my child that by the time they are my age they are living in a much cleaner, greener, sustainable world that they won’t fear bringing a kid into like I do.
I don’t know what the future holds but I know that one thing I can do is teach my kid to pick up garbage, recycle whatever they can, and live the cleanest, greenest, and most sustainable life that they can.
A Brief History
The Mason jar the humble container used for canning and preserving food is capable of being used for so much more than just canning. They were created by a fellow named John Landis Mason back in the 1858 and were among the first types of jars used to preserve food. There were earlier examples of canning food in jars to preserve it but with the advent of the screw on ring and lid really caused the practice to take off.
If you are anything like me you get quite a bit of paper delivered to you through the mail. All that junk mail, magazine subscriptions and useless ads for things you should never by. If you are lucky you would be able to recycle all that paper so it can be turned into something else down the line. However you may live in an area that doesn’t do paper recycling so that really leaves you with the option of throwing it in the trash. But if you are actually reading this article on this website then you are probably like me and you hate throwing things away that could have other potential uses. One of the best uses I have found for that waste paper is turning it into long lasting fire starters. Now I am sure you already know that paper burns really easily but it also burns really quick which can sometimes hinder how well it performs as a fire starter. Keeping lose paper around can also take up a lot of space that could be better used for other things. So any easy way to get around these dual problems is to turn all that extra waste paper in paper mache fire starters. This is really easy to do but it does take some time and just a few things to make the process easier.
Every year about this time it after the harvest is done and all the various garden tools like sprinklers, hoses and cultivators have been put away there is one last thing to do. Soil believe it or not is a living thing just like us and like us it needs time to take a break and rest from all the heavy work it has been doing for you all summer. All the delicious food you have eaten from the garden come at price to the soil in tern if fertility, tilth and overall health.
So if you want to continue to have good harvests you should take a few key steps that will greatly improve your gardens health every year and theoretically should completely remove the need for artificial fertilizers and wee controls.
Completely remove any weedy things that may yet be lingering in your garden and either compost them or leave them where you pull them.
Mulch the whole garden area in leaves, straw, pine needles whatever you can get your hands on for free or cheap.
The mulch is by far the most important thing you can have in your garden over winter as it provides a food source for all the microorganisms that live in your soil. These organisms use the material you put there as food and then of course what goes in must comes out as beautiful nutrients and lets face it lots of "poop"
This is my garden after I spent a few hours moving leaves that my trees have dropped onto my lawn into the garden.
Once you have all the leave in your garden and you have the soil and all the surrounding areas covered up you are good to go for the winter. Now just sit back relax and dream about you want to grow next summer.
If you are like me at all you are very frugal, some might say cheap and you are always looking for ways to make or turn something else into something that you need. One of the areas I am always trying to pinch the pennies is my garden. It’s very easier to go all out and buy all the best amendments and gizmos and gadgets to make gardening easier but that can blow a budget very quickly.
So here's the deal, plastic despite the many wonderful things we can do with it, is something that we need to change if we are to be able to develop a green sustainable society. Most if not all the plastics you use in your daily life are a fossil fuel derived plastics that are incapable of being recycled in the same way that metal, glass and other common materials can be.
Plastic on the other hand is a bit trickier when it comes to recycling. Plastic in the strictest sense cannot be recycled likes metal and glass and is instead put in a process called downcycling. Downcycling is a lot like recycling in that it breaks down and reuses a product but it differs in that there is a marked reduction in quality of the material recycled. For example a plastic water bottle is typically made from virgin plastic and carries a recycling label of 1. When that bottle is recycled the quality of the plastic is reduced and it bumps down in how and what it can be used for. Eventually the plastic is reused so many times that it becomes unusable and must be disposed of.
The hole in the bottom of the sock tells a person many things. The first of which is the obvious one that you need a new pair of socks. But it also says you and that sock have traveled many miles together and have done many things that you couldn’t have done without that sock. That sock cushioned your heel and protected your ankles from the rough embrace of those new hiking boots you bought. So after traveling so many miles together and now full of holes what can this humble sock do for you now. Most people take this sock and simply discard it in favor of one not so full of holes. I think that is a waste of a wonderful piece of fabric that has lots of life left in it when you look at it in a whole new light.
To that end I am going to tell you about a few different ways you can put a old worn out sock to use around the house.
I am just going to come right out and say it I really like plastic shopping bags but not for their intended purpose. I like them because I will admit they can very useful items to have around the house for a variety of reasons. In the spirit of trying to live a greener life I do my best to phase out the use of plastic bags in all their forms but I will be honest enough to admit I don’t always succeed. For me most of the time I simply forget to grab my reusable cloth bags and as much as it annoys me I will take the plastic bags.
So like most people I end up with a big bundle of plastic bags usually underneath my kitchen sink that I have to do something with. I won’t just throw them away because that conflicts with my Reduce, Reuse, Recycle lifestyle so something must be done with them. Overtime I have found a few useful ways in reusing plastics bags in a way that allows multiple uses and sometimes long lifespans.
The first couple I am going to touch on are very obvious but I feel like they need mentioning anyways since people insist on buying custom made single use alternatives when a free plastic bag will work just as well.
Have you ever had trouble starting seeds in the spring or fall or maybe in the middle of winter if your crazy like me. Well I know I have and I have been searching for a long time for effective seed starting methods that don't involve purchasing something custom made for the job. Items like the Jiffy Greenhouse or the Hydrofarm Germination Station are wonderful tools but they don't provide the versatility I like.
Hello my name is Josh Larson and I am the creator of the Green Living Library. Here on the blog you will find updates to content found in the Green Living Library as well as stories from those living the sustainable life already.