Why We Don’t Care about the Environment

“No, I don’t even recycle,” said Hannah (Lena Dunham) in an episode of Girls.

I’m with Hannah! Well, I do recycle, if somewhat irritably, but it’s mainly a sop for conscience. The manufacturers are the real polluters, and I think we all understand that. It takes 500 years for plastic bags and plastic bottles to decompose at landfills.  You might as well throw out plutonium.

But haven’t I already recycled a zillion newspapers and magazines to save the world? Where on earth does it go? (It used to go to China.)  Is it turned into  composition books with coarse paper, or off-brand abrasive Kleenex?  Not much of a save.

Much of the recycled garbage we trustingly sort and put in green bins is exported by recycling companies to Asia.   China used to take the majority of the most disgusting stuff, but decided last year it didn’t want to be “the world’s garbage dump” and banned many toxic plastics and paper.  Waste managers all over the world were stumped as to where to send it. This affected the U.S., the UK, Europe, and Australia. A lot of recyclables ended up in landfills in 2018.

I know being grumpy about recycling makes me sound like a freak, but I really am an environmentalist.  I have never driven a car, live in an urban neighborhood where it is unnecessary to do so, walk, bicycle, and take the bus, and am aware that denying the impact of fossil fuels killed the planet. If you’re still driving a truck or an SUV, you might want to rethink that. I understand it’s not too late to reverse climate change.

It is tough to shrink the carbon footprint. We ALL pollute. I’ve made a choice to do my best but do not deny myself  creature comforts.  I use Kleenex, paper towels, paper plates, buy food grown by agribusinesses (I can’t afford organic), buy takeout food in plastic packages, occasionally forget to bring my cloth bags, and turn up the thermostat  during the day. We’re not given incentives to shop long hours for the greenest products, which are sometimes the most expensive.  Everybody acknowledges the impact of global warming, but the government needs to act.


Copy that.

Recycling seems a bit like a school project, doesn’t it?  The government needs to ban  lethal plastics at the very least.

Another day spent saving Planet Earth!   I wish.

What Would You Rather Be Reading?

Which book would you rather be reading? Do you tend towards a specific genre on a wintry day?  Do you need epic, rock, history, a classic, or a cozy mystery with recipes?

Tune in next week when I consider the pros and cons of

AN EPIC NOVEL:   The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
A SCIENCE FICTION ROCK NOVELLA: Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You by Scotto Moore
AMERICAN HISTORY: Heartland: An American History by Kristin L. Hoganson
VIRAGO CLASSIC:  The Lost Traveller by Antonia White
A COZY MYSTERY WITH RECIPES: Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke


The Joy of Clutter: Sometimes It’s Cozy

Housework is the stuff of celebrity news.  That’s how desperate we are for distraction in 2019.   Marie Kondo, the much vaunted star of the Netlfix  series  Tidying up with Marie Kondo, has been profiled  ad nauseam in The New York Times, The Guardian, and on trashy  Entertainment Tonight.  She  is more famous than Kim Zolciak Biermann of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, whom I couldn’t pick out of a lineup, or Matt Paxton of Hoarders, the founder of Clutter Cleaners, whom I also couldn’t pick out of a lineup.

We are messy and unglamorous, and we love to see other people’s messy houses. (Okay, I know The Real Housewives isn’t about that.)  Kondo fixes the cleaning problems gently with decluttering advice.  She encourages them to throw out or recycle  items that don’t “spark joy,” which I translate as stuff you haven’t looked at or used in years. I recently threw out an ancient box of Thank You cards (who’m I gonna thank?),  a plaque that says”No outfit is complete without cat hair,” a Size 8 (dream on!) Eddie Bauer quilted pseudo-bowling jacket from the ’90s, and what might have been a potato masher.

Cleaning up can help, but it can also hinder.  Dare I admit this?  I find clutter comforting sometimes.  When I’m ill, it’s actually cozy. Though I could do without the used Kleenex shredded by cats,  the coffee table is piled with a cup of tea and reading material for all moods:  The New York Review of Books, several catalogues, a copy of Middlemarch, Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar, Georgette Heyer’s  Venetia, and Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon (wow, is this overrated, or do I just have a cold?).  And I’ve got the remote and some DVDs: I might at any minute decide to watch Bunheads or Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Now if only the cats would tidy up for me…