Our Throw-Away Society

We are at a crossroads not just for the health of our planet, but also for the health of our society.


Published:

© MajorMalfunction via Flickr

Mainstream western culture is addicted to the convenience of plastic, to single-use items, cheap electronics of limited lifespan, and excessive packaging that assures us of safety and cleanliness. In the face of horrific images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and mutilated wildlife, we are starting to wake-up to the necessity of curbing our addiction to these conveniences. This will require not just active engagement and action by government and industry, but a fundamental paradigm shift by every individual. For some of us, we will think back and remember how we used to do things before the ubiquitous presence of plastic, but many of us are young enough that we can’t visualize our lives without plastic encasing everything.

If you are over 50, you likely remember the Prell shampoo commercial where a bottle of Prell was dropped from an unseen height and as we watched it approach the floor, we braced for the inevitable shattering of glass. Then… it bounced! This was the first shampoo to be marketed in a plastic bottle rather than a glass one. Glass!? Yes, glass. Milk was delivered in glass bottles, soda dispensed in glass or cans, hand lotion and other cosmetics in glass jars and bottles. I remember talking to my daughter-in-law about shampoo, and she asked how we managed glass bottles in the shower. We placed them outside the shower, stuck our heads out and applied the shampoo, so that we didn’t drop the bottle in the tub. If you did drop the bottle on the floor, well, you finished in the shower and then cleaned it up. Glass made us care-full, while plastic has made us care-less.

Those of us over 50 remember other things like snacks, candy and ice cream treats packaged in paper, school lunches wrapped in waxed paper, convenience meals in aluminum trays and covers. We remember when apples did not come in factory molded trays, when restaurant leftovers were placed in paper boxes in a ‘doggie bag.’ We remember buying items at the hardware store by scooping them out of bins into paper bags, instead of sliding prepackaged plastic boxes hanging from pegs.  We also remember being able to ask clerks not just where something was located, but about which product was best for our project. We learned to make and repair things, and in general, had fewer things, especially those requiring electricity.

We also remember the lies our government has told us, sometimes multiple times. Ever heard of ‘trickle-down economics?’ We have. It’s the idea that if you cut taxes on business, business will naturally channel that cash into hiring more people and/or lowering prices, sharing the prosperity with everyone. It’s a nice idea, except that there is nothing to require them to do so. It didn’t work in our youth, and it won’t work in yours.

Our society wants everything new and shiny, the old and used up discarded and out of sight, things done for us, not by us, by machine, and by computer. We isolate ourselves by our insatiable appetite for computer-based activities. This reality brings me to another aspect of our throw-away society – throwing away the wisdom and experience of elders.

Do you know how to sew on a button, hem jeans, iron a shirt, cook a meal from scratch, make simple repairs around the house? Kicking it up a notch, do you know how to knit, work with wood or metal, preserve food from a garden, use a slide rule? Chances are that those around you over 50 do, and that many of them would be delighted to teach you. In turn, they may welcome assistance with smartphones and social media, helping them communicate more readily and regularly with you.

We are at a crossroads not just for the health of our planet, but also for the health of our society. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes over and over because we do not value the experience, knowledge and wisdom of those older than us.

If you are young and cannot visualize life without plastic bags, boxes and utensils, ask an elder to talk about their youth and what they did. If you want to learn to do something practical, ask an elder. If you want perspective on world events, ask an elder.

Elders, do not allow yourselves to be invisible. If you have specialized or ‘old-fashioned’ skills to share, seek opportunities to pass them on with joy. Even if you do not have a special skill to share, by your very seniority, you have stories and experience to share.  Assert yourselves with pride.

Together, we can teach with joy, learn with enthusiasm and effect change with our shared knowledge of the past and the present.

Eileen McCabe is a progressive activist and an advocate for Planned Parenthood.

This article was republished from Common Dreams.

See also:
Tips To Prevent Recycling The Wrong Items
16 Ways To Lead A Zero Waste Life

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

January 19, 2019

There’s no place as comfortable as home when the Moon visits Cancer. Settle into household chores and duties. If you venture out, familiar places have the strongest appeal. Nostalgic memories may occur throughout the day. Things get active and…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2019

Learn Reiki to awaken your healing hands to care for yourself, your loved ones and pets. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher) This one-day class covers the basic...

Cost: $150

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

This class meets 4 times: January 13th, February 24th, March 24th, April 7th The Eclectic Institute of Aromatherapy and Herbal Studies offers a comprehensive hands-on training in the art and...

Cost: $625 plus a material fee of $50

Where:
Misty Meadows Herbst Center
183 Wednesday Hill Rd
Lee, NH  03861
View map »


Sponsor: Misty Meadow Herbal Center
Telephone: 603-659-7211
Contact Name: Wendy Snow Fogg
Website »

More information

With Amy Bernier In this empowering workshop we will explore the innate intelligence of our gut, “the second brain”. We will use yoga postures and breath work to refine our digestive...

Cost: $40

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 East. Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

Instructor:  Peyton Pugmire Adult level Come together in a warm and uplifting space to get creative, connect, and breathe! At each meeting, we will have fun making a meaningful craft...

Cost: $45

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Peyton Pugmire
Website »

More information

One of the most mysterious and magickal of the archangels, Uriel, has a variety of different and conflicting roles in angelic lore. In The Book of Enoch he is one of humanity’s advocates...

Cost: $45

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

World famous seminars (www.understandingofmusic.com) turns beginners into musicians, revitalizes and inspires even pro musicians.

Where:
Boston, MA


Telephone: (781) 599-1476
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

With Sherri Snyder-Roche. This yoga workshop will explore self-compassion, self-love and pushing through discomfort to help your recovery process. Recovery from divorce, eating disorders,...

Cost: $95 for 6 weeks or $17 drop in

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 E. Hartford Avenue, Unit A
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Holistic Problem-Solving with Dr. HermanSJr. Tired of missing opportunities that could further your life, your education, even your work? Tired of missing threats that continue to hold back your...

Cost: $100

Where:
Caffe Nero
368 Congress Street
Boston, MA  02210
View map »


Telephone: 321.30.PSYCH(7792)
Contact Name: Soni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Deepen Your Practice DYP-30 Hour Yoga Alliance Course January–May 2019 5 Saturdays, 10am–4pm 1/19, 2/2, 3/30, 4/27, 5/18 Looking to deepen your practice but a 200 Hour training...

Cost: $599

Where:
KJ Fitness
Tewksbury, MA


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge With Chuck
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

More information

January 19–20 With Patty Collinsworth Weekend class hours: Saturday, 10–5pm and Sunday, 10–5pm Learn how to open the Akashic Records for yourself and others in this...

Cost: $170

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

The Eclectic Institute of Aromatherapy and Herbal Studies offers a comprehensive hands-on training in the art and science of Aromatherapy. This course covers the...

Cost: $550

Where:
The Soul Purpose
1225 Gar Highway
Swansea, MA  02777
View map »


Sponsor: The Soul Purpose
Telephone: 774-264-1329
Contact Name: Jessica Kozak
Website »

More information

Join nationally known psychic medium/spiritual counselor, Diana Harris, for a mediumship gallery. Diana is a bridge – a conduit between heaven and Earth. Ms. Harris will answer your questions...

Cost: $70

Where:
private office
North Andover, MA  01845


Sponsor: Diana Harris
Telephone: 978-973-6637
Contact Name: Diana Harris
Website »

More information

Holistic Problem-Solving with Dr. HermanSJr. Tired of missing opportunities that could further your life, your education, even your work? Tired of missing threats that continue to hold back your...

Cost: $100

Where:
Caffe Nero
368 Congress Street
Boston, MA  02210
View map »


Telephone: 321.30.PSYCH(7792)
Contact Name: Soni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags