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

October 18, 2019

Early birds may awaken feeling strangely unrested. The Gemini Moon is at odds with Neptune. A dream may linger, unresolved. Use your imagination to revisit the dreamscape and conjure up a happier, more satisfying ending. The day swings into high gear by…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

October 2019

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Free Evidence-Based Holistic Health Education Program at Wilbraham Senior Center The H.E.A.R.T. Program® (Health Empowerment and Real Transformation), created and instructed by Michelle...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Grades 5-8 Instructor: Kari Pike Wednesdays, 10/16–11/20, 4pm-5pm (6 sessions) Do you ever feel overwhelmed before a test, or when you are working on a difficult homework...

Cost: $125

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


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

More information

Join us at our free boot camp specifically for post-divorce issues! Make new connections while learning essential strategies for building your post-divorce life with confidence and peace of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Skylark Law & Mediation, PC
9 Main Street
Southborough, MA  01772
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated ways to heal the body and improve your health. Getting 8 hours of sleep, more or less, is not enough if it is not good quality sleep. This class will...

Cost: $20

Where:
Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
411 West Main Street, Suite 2R (rear of building)
Northborough, MA  01532
View map »


Sponsor: Open Circle Acupuncture & Healing
Telephone: 508-393-1212
Contact Name: Kim Flaherty
Website »

More information

Are you separated, divorced, considering divorce, or in the process of divorce? Vesta welcomes you to another of our Divorce Resource Nights! These free events are educational, social and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Leading Edge Real Estate
2 Mount Vernon Street
Winchester, MA  01890
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Integrate the pelvic floor into your classes with confidence with Cristin Zaimes. Pelvic floor dysfunction is incredibly common, but not very well understood. People often feel embarrassed or...

Cost: $45

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-867-3969
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Come and see what this is all about! You will be glad you did. Free to see the demo! Registration required, call 207-221-2363. Here is a podcast for you! What is KCR?...

Cost: Free

Where:
Leapin' Lizards
449 Forest Ave
Portland, ME  04101
View map »


Telephone: 207-221-2363
Website »

More information

The modern science of epigenetics is providing evidence that the patterns of self-sabotage, isolation, chronic illness, depression, addiction, challenges in relationship or an inability to prosper...

Cost: $27

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


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

More information

Facilitator: Peyton Pugmire Fridays, 9/20, 10/18, 11/15, 12/20, 9:30am–10:30am Everyone leaves with a powerful message to inspire their weekend!  Join Peyton Pugmire,...

Cost: Pay What You Wish

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


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

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In just one day you will come away with valuable knowledge about the issues associated with separation and divorce, increasingly aware of your next steps in the process, bolstered by the new...

Where:
Burns & Levinson
1 Citizens Plaza
Suite 1100
Providence, RI  02903
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: (508) 333-3191
Website »

More information

Explore your psychic awareness in this fun and informative workshop Designed specifically for people who are awakening to their own psychic senses, this class will provide you with personalized,...

Cost: $125

Where:
The Mills at Salmon Falls
3 Front Street
Lower Mill
Rollinsford, NH  03869
View map »


Sponsor: Raylene Sousa Medium LLC
Telephone: 207-956-0220
Contact Name: Raylene Sousa
Website »

More information

Join us at Vesta’s One-Day Divorce Retreat in Providence, RI! In just one day you will come away with valuable knowledge about the issues associated with separation and divorce,...

Cost: $149

Where:
Burns & Levinson
1 Citizens Plaza
Suite 1100
Providence, RI  02903
View map »


Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
Website »

More information

Facilitator: Jamie Berg Adult Level Do you have too much stuff? Would you like to manage all of your stuff with ease? In this workshop you will learn how to KonMari and you will...

Cost: $50

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


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

More information

Every time we see a giggling baby or an innocent child full of laughter, we're reminded that we are all born with this natural and innate sense of happiness, that it is actually our birthright....

Cost: $108 early-bird price ($120 after October 12)

Where:
Unity Farm Sanctuary
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough shopping center
Sherborn, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

Led by Chuck Raffoni ( E-RYT200) named a “person making postiive change in the world for the LGBTQ Community” by Pride Connections and featured on NBC's TODAY SHOW for teaching...

Cost: $50

Where:
KJ Fitness
Tewksbury , MA


Sponsor: YogaWithChuck.Com
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

More information

Steven Farmer, PhD Here’s a great opportunity to not only clear out the psychic debris that has attached to your soul body as you journeyed through life but also retrieve and reintegrate...

Cost: $77

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


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

More information

October 19–25 Join Seth Monk and Candita Carracci Mamet for a week of yoga, meditation, personal growth and relaxation.

Where:
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Center
Paradise Island, Bahamas, MA


Website »

More information

Reiki Master Teacher Libby Barnett, M.S.W., integrates her healing skills with past experience as a medical social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital. 38 years experience. Reiki...

Where:
Concord, MA


Telephone: 603-654-2787
Website »

More information

Here’s a great opportunity to not only clear out the psychic debris that has attached to your soul body as you journeyed through life but also retrieve and reintegrate those soul fragments...

Where:
Methuen, MA


Telephone: (978) 474-8010
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

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