Here’s a fresh look at our use of resources, using mustard packets as an example…
When someone picks up too many mustard packets to go with their sandwich, they are causing a whole chain of excess waste:
- It takes labor, fuel, fertilizer, water and wear on farm equipment to grow mustard plants.
- Labor costs, fuel, wear on trucks and roads, wear on trains and tracks, or wear on planes and airports all go into transporting the ingredients for mustard from their sources to the factory.
- There are labor costs, factory space, machines, electricity, water, plastic and much more that go into producing mustard packets.
- Labor costs, fuel and wear on trucks and roads all go into transporting mustard packets from the factory to the distributing warehouse.
- Labor costs, fuel and wear on trucks and roads all go into transporting mustard packets from the distributing warehouse to the restaurant.
- Fuel and wear on vehicles and roads go into transporting mustard packets from the restaurant to your home or office.
You are right in thinking that all of this has to happen whether someone uses one mustard packet or four. But if everyone grabbed just one mustard packet instead of four — or one paper towel instead of four — the whole system would slow down and there would be fewer trucks on the road, less pollution and so on.
Join me in pausing to think about ways we can use just what we need.
Not everyone knows that I run a toothpaste museum. If you go to Google and type in: “toothpaste museum”, you will see my site as the top result.
One of my sisters and I started exchanging toothpastes many years ago. (Since Amy lives in Belgium, she has access to vast swaths of toothpastes that are unknown on these shores.)
And it went from there.
Friends have brought me toothpastes from all over the world.
So you’ll have to check it out here.
p.s. The Museum “lives” at my office. I feature a new toothpaste every month. If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by.
Today’s world seems to be marked by deeper and wider rifts than ever. In my short lifetime, it’s worse than I have ever seen it.
As a kid, I remember the Vietnamese and Russians being our mortal enemies. They were a world apart from my suburban existence, so I never thought that much about them.
Nowadays, Republicans are mortal enemies of Democrats — and vice-versa. European nationalists are sometimes not on speaking terms with their Muslim neighbors.
What can be done about this?
An even better question is, what can I do about it?
Here are a few ideas to help build bridges and not fences. (And please feel free to voice your own ideas in the comments section.)
- Think of someone that you see each week who you’d not normally talk with. Strike up a conversation by asking a simple question. “What has been the best part of your day so far?”
- There’s a person who you see every week who believes differently than you do about something that’s important to both of you. In a very nice way, ask them, “What influenced your decision to think that way?”
- You see that person who makes your blood boil again. (Let’s call them, “Adolph.”) Think of something about Adolph that is amazingly good. If you can’t do that, talk with someone you respect who knows Adolph well. Ask that respected friend to share one awesome thing about Adolph. Then think about that thing the next time you see Adolph. Go so far as to say, “Adolph, I heard from [respected friend] about your ability to [do something amazing]. Tell me more about that!”
- Think about that thing someone does that drives you crazy. Think about why they do that. Their reason might make total sense.
- Think about what you do that might drive others crazy. Stop doing it.
You’ve been there…
…the Italian-American restaurant with fountains, fake distressed stucco on the walls and ceramic tile roof portions inside.
It’s an imitation, just like Las Vegas imitates reality with their New York and Egyptian themed hotels.
It’s not a bad thing to bring those places to people who may never get to visit the real thing.
But let’s be genuine.
My office building has been undergoing a renovation, mostly because flood damage meant they had to replace the carpets and baseboards anyway.
During the few days between when the old carpet was ripped up and the new carpet was laid, the bare floor was exposed. Then I saw a beautiful patchy, distressed, stucco-like pattern.
Why not leave it that way and skip the carpet?