I’m back! Thank you for your patience. This morning I was reading through many of the comments here, and a comment by Charlene got me thinking. She wrote “I try to rack my memory banks to remember how we lived before plastic and change my ways.” And that got me thinking: how far have we each come in one year? Five years? Ten?
Where Was I One Year Ago?
We have a record of that with this blog, which I started almost exactly a year ago. So I won’t go into that…
Where Was I Five Years Ago?
Wow. I was living in LA, working in the film industry and going to school. I was eating Subway sandwiches and take-out pasta on a regular basis, as fuel for my late-night film editing sessions. I was using mostly “green” products, because that’s something I’d been working on for a while. I was using an awful lot of water on long showers, I was not very aware of my electric use – some of my bulbs were CFLs, but not all of them, and I believe I even left my computer running on a regular basis (!). I drove to work every day. I was aware of the problems of climate change, but I didn’t think about it often. It worried me, but it seemed like a distant idea.
I hadn’t heard of a CSA, nor shopped at a farmer’s market. I hadn’t started cooking at home much, nor making homemade cleaning solutions. I had a few herb pots and lots of indoor plants, but otherwise hadn’t grown a food garden since I was a kid. I hadn’t taken the bus in 6 years (since moving to Los Angeles). Eating and living locally were not things I thought about at all.
Pretty incredible, isn’t it?
Where Was I Ten Years Ago?
Now it gets interesting. I was still in Los Angeles. I was working as an Art Director on film and television projects. My job was to create sets out of nothing. Every day I created new sets that I filled with stuff that I (and my team) found by driving around the city, renting from different rental houses, but largely BUYING NEW THINGS. From big pieces of furniture, down to the paper and pencils on each desk of an office set. My job was to design spaces, build them quickly (often from the ground up, without any “green” materials), fill them with disposable things, and tear them all down. Sure, we kept several of the items to use again (which I kept in a large storage locker), but for the most part, we threw stuff away or gave it away. And I mean STUFF.
I put thousands of miles on my car each month. I managed a whole Art Department crew of people who did the same. I took cheap, plentiful gas for granted. My goal was to create projects that made the world a better place, but I wasn’t there yet. I was still learning, and hoping.
I recycled at home, as I have since I learned about recycling (about 25 years ago). But the amount of thrown away stuff at work each day filled dumpsters, as is the culture of the film and television industry.
I ate out for lunch every day, and often for dinner, too. Lunches were often fast food, eaten in the car on the run. (My car was a pigsty!)
I still used fairly natural cleaning products, but mostly because my skin is very sensitive to most cleansers. I certainly cared about the environment, but didn’t think about it very often.
No garden, virtually no local or seasonal food (unless it was by accident or because it was tastier), no walking or busing, no conscientious water and utility use… my lifestyle was virtually unrecognizable from the way it is today.
I have come a long way. A very long way. How about you?