Friday, October 12, 2007

The pledge and a bag

I'm so pleased that Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize today. So maybe it's a good day to do a little "green" business.

My sister just returned from traveling in London and Paris, and she reports that the Europeans are so much more focused on actions they can take to save the planet. There is not a single plastic bag in either city. If you go shopping for anything, you better bring your own bags, or you'll have to buy a reusable bag from the store to carry your things home. Cath Kidston charges a couple of pounds for hers - a reusable fabric carryall bag that can be used over and over, being economical, readily available, and with her name splashed all over it, good advertising too. Pretty smart.

The hotels no longer do little, tiny, travel-sized lotions and shampoos. Each bathroom has one large pump bottle of the item attached to the wall, which gets refilled regularly (so no pilfering stuff from the carts in the halls). In the drugstores here, the mounds of trial-sized and travel-sized bottles have proliferated exponentially. With the airline regulations for liquids, we've decided to go gangbusters on making more little plastic thingies to use up, toss, and buy more of. And it's still so hard to find good quality re-fillable travel bottles to take your own stuff in. What gives?

I just ordered the grooviest new tote bag ever, it's the Ad Bag on They are made from recycled advertising banners that were used on the sides of buildings, so they are water and weather-proof, super durable and colorful. Recycled seat belt strap handles go over the shoulder and feature a rubber grip made from recycled bike inner tubes that make it more comfy to carry. It's machine washable too, and they say it lasts a lifetime. Can't wait until it arrives to see what my own one-of-a-kind design looks like!

In honor of Al Gore today, I headed over to the Alliance for Climate Protection website, which is where he's donating all his proceeds, to take the pledge. Number 1 of the 7 point pledge is this: To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth. Can we do it?

And I'm thinking again about packaging. In the blitz of trying to create cute and appealing stuff for holiday shopping, I don't think I was ever really thinking about how ecologically smart any of it was. So I'm going to re-think it today, and decide what I can do. Must. think. reusable. We are so not programmed that way, and we need to be. I was tinkering with cello sacks for some sets, but maybe just a little ribbon will do instead. So simple, really.