What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Friday: Green living.

31 March 2017

#AtoZChallenge Starts Tomorrow!

I had some things in mind for my final flurry of pre-A-to-Z-Challenge posts, but as anyone can plainly see they didn't happen. So I'll save them for May, and in the meantime, the A to Z Challenge begins tomorrow. I'll be sharing people, places, and things from my new city, Cincinnati.

In the meantime, since this is still green Friday, I'll share a bit of a challenge that some of you may have in common with me. I've noticed, since moving to Cincinnati, that my lifestyle is much less planet-friendly than it used to be--it's harder to recycle or compost here, the transit system is unreliable enough that I end up carsharing more often than I'd like (which is a sign of my privilege, by the way--plenty of folks don't have that option and are stuck waiting for a slow bus), and the local Kroger is, shall we say, much less committed to low-packaging options than my beloved Austin HEB is.

Really, Kroger? Really?? That's not what those are for.
All that to say, personal responsibility is all well and good, but it doesn't do a darned thing in the face of poorly designed systems. Okay, obviously that's not true, but that's what it feels like and that's why people get discouraged. (And not just about this, by the way.) When it's hard to recycle, people don't recycle. When everything at the supermarket comes triple-wrapped in plastic, that's what people will buy. When the bike racks at the Kroger are always blocked with carts (by store personnel, not by customers!), then it's less attractive as a biking destination. When transit only runs once an hour on the day most folks want to go to Walmart, then they'll start to feel like every driver in the family needs his or her own car just for the basics of life--a drain on family finances and a contributer to congestion. I'm aggressively into reducing my footprint on the earth, and I have trouble doing it when local officials don't support it. How much harder is it for someone who will only be earth-friendly when it's convenient?

It's good to remember that the Keep America Beautiful anti-litter campaign was started by companies that aren't exactly known for their commitment to reducing waste--what they did instead was shift the perception of responsibility to citizens and away from themselves. So, that being the case, it's up to us to put the pressure back on them to reduce their own waste and demonstrate their commitment to a clean earth, not by sponsoring PSAs but by doing it themselves. Want more recycling in your community? Your city council needs to hear from you. Want better transit options? Ditto, plus your local transit authority likely has publicly available emails for its board members and company executives. Tired of Kroger blocking up the bike racks with non-bike things? I already made the call (and the bike racks were cart-free yesterday; we'll see how long it lasts).

Let's show them we're taking our personal responsibility seriously--personal responsibility to hold them accountable.

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