26 Jul 2015

Can I ever feel as good as I did in the 1970s when I made my mom get rid of all the aerosol cans in the house? Can I ever be naive and hopeful and optimistic again? Is there a perfect yarn that is earth friendly, beautiful, and fun to knit with? Can I find my 13-year old idealistic self inside of 53-year old cynical me?

I suck at recycling. I am not going to lie. I throw away plastic soda and water bottles. I don’t separate my trash. I send paper to the landfill. I am not very good at being a twenty-first century environmentally-friendly human. What happened to the girl who made her mother get rid of aerosol cans after learning about their harm to the ozone layer in 9th grade earth science class?

In my life I have largely failed at something I care about: being kind to our planet.

Why have I been such a failure? If I say I care yet I don’t act like I care, am I full of shit? Am I fooling anyone besides myself?

How can choosing earth-friendly yarn and using recycled materials help? Does it make one iota of difference? I don’t know but I want to feel a shimmer of the hope I felt in earth science class.

I want the idealism of my youth.

I want the optimism of my youth.

I want the hope of my youth.

I miss the 1970s.

I miss believing that America is a free country.

I miss believing prejudice was fading into the past.

I miss believing that most people would care enough about the environment to protect it.

I miss believing egalitarianism was admired by the masses.

I miss the days when people believed that might doesn’t make right, that the end doesn’t justify the means, that the world doesn’t revolve around me, that the future can be better than the past.

I miss waiting for my flying car.

I miss believing in the American Dream and the beauty of democracy.

I miss my naive and hopeful 13-year old self.

She wasn’t happier than I am now, but she was much more optimistic.

I can never be that girl again. I have lived too long. I have read and learned too much. I have seen the future and there are no flying cars. I still don’t use aerosol sprays. I don’t recycle either. But I’m trying to make better choices when I buy yarn.

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3 Responses to Recycling My Idealism
  1. I’m not really sure how to say this without sounding all preachy, but– recycling is so easy. To investigate and purchase eco-friendly yarn is a lot more work and expense than to recycle. I do both– buying the eco-friendly yarn just involves some research and decision-making (organic but not local? Or would locally-raised but not certified organic be better?), and at the end of the process you have some more beautiful yarn to enjoy. Recycling lacks the fun of buying green, but it makes a big difference. There is no consumerist shopping thrill with recycling the way there is with buying yarn– but recycling is so simple that I can’t imagine not doing it. And I have a job, a husband, and four kids, so it’s not like I have a lot of time on my hands. Even our two-year-old knows which can is which. So, there’s some encouragement for you. 🙂

  2. And what happens to your separated trash? I have just one bin for trash pick up.

    Love the questions you are asking about buying yarn. My biggest issue is with superwash right now. I don’t know if the process is at all sustainable or earth-friendly and yet many of the indie dyers I want to support use it for their base.

  3. Hello again– Our current municipality offers separate cans for recycling and green waste, so we pay for those, but our previous one didn’t. We’d just save up the recycling bags until it hit a critical mass and would go to the recycling center. Even now, we have a separate can for drink cans and bottles for fundraising for our kids’ school, and a compost bin for fruit/veggie scraps.

    As for environmentally friendly yarn– I try to find ones that are either local or organic or fair-trade. It’s hard to find all three in one yarn– but the options in all three of those categories are definitely improving. 🙂 Anyway, good luck with the recycling!

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