Friday, October 28, 2016

getting radical

When I was discussing Plastic Free July with a f/Friend who was also doing the challenge this year she said how when she couldn't avoid non-recyclable plastic for some reason she was aiming to write to the company in question and ask them to do something about it.

It says a lot about who we both are as a person that her first reaction was to engage in direct dialogue and try to bring about change, where as I've been boycotting Nestlé for over 30 years and have never told them, and they probably didn't notice any resulting dip in sales either. However I have told a lot of other people about what I'm doing over the years, and I know some others have followed suit as a result. I also hadn't contacted any companies about their plastic use until recently.

Inspired (and a little shamed) by Jane's example I contacted a toilet paper company who used to sell their products wrapped in paper, but now use plastic. Their response by email was they had to stop using paper for hygiene reasons (?????) but the weblink they gave instead makes more sense. However although compostable it is still plastic and perpetuates the need for oil extraction. I was well impressed with Sally's solution to avoiding plastic wrapped loo roll by using a box of tissues, presumably one without the annoying plastic film insert where you pull the tissues out from, when doing a sponsored month without plastic in aid of Ocean Cleanup with her friend Sarah.

Having got that emailed response made me feel a bit braver, and I've just posted back to the University of Auckland the plastic wrapper from around their alumni magazine with a request to go on their email circulation list instead, and a suggestion that they come up with an alternative wrapper, especially as the insert with the magazine was imploring us to change the world for all our futures! They were after scholarship funding rather than suggestions that they divest from fossil fuels and avoid plastic, but never mind! I don't expect a reply however.

Working my way through the Radical Spirituality course has made me think about the whole simple living and the 'Wear it as long as thou canst' advice and whether I'd got again to the point where I needed to have a rethink about challenging myself to go a step further in this direction. As my income has increased a little over the last year I've been able to buy more bulk bin items at the healthfood shop rather than wholesalers which has meant being able to use my cloth bags rather than bring home yet more large snaplock bags, but as with boycotting Nestlé it probably doesn't change much (if anything) in the greater scheme of things unless I speak up more about what I'm doing and why.

Anyway, I recently got an email from a researcher at Massey University who I've met a couple of times before (a former research assistant of hers is a f/Friend of mine - you've got to love the small world of Quakerdom!), and Corrina is wanting to do some more interviews up here about the way people live out their environmental awareness and I'm on her list! Having seen the sheet of questions she'll be asking it feels a bit daunting, but I've got until early January to have my head around my answers, so you may find a few blog posts popping up along the way as I get to grips with them...


MaryFisherrow said...

Congratulations on taking another small step: that's all any of us can do really...good luck with working out what other tiny steps you can make: I can't begin to think how I might manage to avoid plastic film-even The Friend comes in plastic these days.... maybe the time has come to move to electronic copy for that....??

Anna Dunford said...

The Friend comes in plastic??? Please tell me it is the compostable sort...

I get our Aotearoa New Zealand Friends Newsletter (5 times a year) in hard copy rather than by email as I struggle to read things like that online, and if I want to look something up or re-read something I'd rather flick through the pages to find it. Mind you as I'm currently on the editorial team I read the whole lot through umpteen times on-screen before it gets printed I often don't even open it these days unless I need to go back to something! I'd much rather have something I can pick up and with a cuppa when having a break from the computer, which sadly means I seldom get around to reading Sesame even though I still get it.... but by email!