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Ashland Green Scene: Doing everything possible to save the planet

Whatever you believe to be true about climate change — or whether you even believe there is climate change — there is a fundamental underlying truth that I believe everyone on this planet can agree on. We all need air, food and water to survive. And if there is even the slightest chance that we are endangering the Earth we live on and rely upon for our very lives and survival as a species, would it not be utter suicide to not implement solutions that help the planet? To that end, I would like to focus on what people are doing in this community to be better stewards of our shared home environment (the Earth). But before I focus on what other people and businesses are doing, I would like to introduce myself and what I am doing to be a better planetary steward.

I am a relatively new transplant to Ashland, having only arrived here in August of last year. I do not own a car and never have. I walk everywhere I can, and if I cannot walk, then I take the bus or catch a ride with someone who is going where I need to go. I am a vegetarian and have been for over five years, so with the elimination of meat and meat by-products from my diet, I am assisting to reduce the amount of forested land being cleared for animal agriculture. I never leave home without a reusable bag (or two), a reusable coffee cup, a metal straw and compostable utensils. I buy as many naturally derived and chemically free products as I can for both personal and household use. I buy 95% of everything I own used, including clothes and household items. When I no longer use or want an item, I always give it away to someone who can use it. I avoid throwing things away as a last resort. I am now composting all of my kitchen scraps.

However, there are things I would love to do better.

I don’t care for preparing and cooking meals, so I buy a lot of prepackaged food items like salad mixes and already-cut vegetables and fruit, hummus, dips, and other items that invariably all come packaged in some form of plastic. I have contacted the grocery store where I do the majority of my shopping about their use of plastic packaging, but so far I have gotten no response. Almost all of the personal and household products I buy also come in some form of plastic, no matter how natural or environmentally friendly it is. I would love to be zero waste, but I don’t know how I can, as virtually every product lining the shelves seems to be encased in some form of plastic. I am in no way trying to excuse myself, but I will not berate myself or others with some kind of eco-guilt either, as I do believe we are all doing the best we can with the resources and information that we have available to us.

There are so many environmental challenges facing us at present, but I know there are so many great solutions already being implemented and so many creative and dedicated individuals, businesses, and communities striving to be more green, that we can do right by ourselves and the planet and reverse any damage we have done.

Zero waste concept