Living within our environmental means – we can’t charge our children’s future on our Visa cards

Iceberg and oceanI read Thomas Friedman’s opinion article in the New York Times concerning his visit to Greenland’s majestic Kangia Glacier with Greenland’s Minister of the Environment Kim Kielsen.  He talks about the impacts in Greenland as a result of global warming and the new climate speak in Greenland.   But what struck me were two of his comments.  The first?  “Our kids are going to be so angry with us one day,” he writes.  And the second?  “We’ve charged their future on our Visa cards.”

I don’t know if he meant it, but the comment about charging our children’s future on our Visa card struck me because of the link between plastics and global warming.  Petroleum is used to make most plastics. 

Our disposable lifestyle is possible because of plastic, and results in a huge consumption of natural resources.  And we don’t even seem to think about it.  I’m the first to admit it – it is easier to buy already cleaned, trimmed fruit in single serving containers then doing the work myself for my children’s lunches.  Especially since they now have organic fruit available in the single serving packages designed for lunches.  And, hey, being the mom of 2 I’m always looking for the easy way.  But the easy way involves plastic packaging, which I’m trying to avoid, and wastes resources.  I don’t know the figures on those food packaging containers, but I do know that Americans throw away 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags every year – which is the equivalent of amost 430 million gallons of oil every year.   

And paper bags have problems too.

But, anyway, back to his comment, it really struck me.  I don’t want my children to grow up to pay my environmental debt.  Just like I don’t want to leave them to deal with financial debt.  I struggle to live within my means financially.  But I also need to struggle to live within my environmental means too.  To be honest, I really want to pass a legacy on to them.  A financial legacy, but also an environmental legacy.  I want my son to be able to see the Kangia Glacier in all of its glory, and my daughter to be able to dog sled in winter to the Disko Island. 

So, I’ll skip the debate on plastic v. paper, and just use reusable bags for my shopping.  And I’ll learn how to properly trim a pineapple.

So what are some of my favorite bags?  There are tons of options.  You should check out ecobags.  But I really like Flip & Tumble because they are so convenient. 

And, while we are on the subject of climate change, read my 10 simple steps to fight climate change.


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