Other (not always) wordless friends:
Forget the anger. It buys nothing worth having.
No stamping of feet, no pointing of fingers… no giving the anger-mongers more fuel.
The bottom of the barrel isn’t always the worst thing… it’s often a necessary place to be so that we wake up, say enough, and begin to create the change we want to see. To be that proverbial change we want to see.
So despite the forever angry-ness of some… and maybe because of the barrel’s bottom in our faces… let’s move forward rather than be discouraged… and let’s do it with the simplicity of kindness as our guide and our goal.
That’s all, just kindness. Pockets of kindness in the giant madness.
If only so we can breathe.
What can it hurt?
It’s a start.
Spread the word.
Other (not always) wordless friends:
Milly Zantow falls into the category of People You’ve Never Heard of Who Have Changed the World. In this case, the world of recycling. Because Milly Zantow is the person who created a tiny thing called the global recycling standard for plastic, more commonly known as the-numbers-inside-those-little-triangles-on-your-water-bottles-and-stuff.
It’s what made plastic recycling possible.
But it’s the HOW this all came about that’s jaw dropping. What Milly Did (a childrens’ book for all ages, including adults in my opinion) by Elise Moser, is an extraordinary story about a woman who, at age sixty or so, decides to do something about the growing problem of plastic in landfills.
Enter Milly, an ordinary woman, raised on a farm, who has no experience in anything even remotely related to anything to do with recycling but who just really believes that something can be done.
So she says pfffft to the naysayers and starts reading about plastic; she studies it, takes courses, learns everything she can then cashes in her life insurance policy, buys a gigantic grinding machine and opens a company called E-Z Recycling where she and a few others do much of the grunt work by hand, seven days a week.
Moser captures Milly’s spirit as a woman who is in no way ego driven. Nor is becoming rich her motivation; she simply wants to make sense of trash and to that end she does whatever she can to help people recycle, including establishing programs in nearby towns.
Eventually her vision catches on. Various community groups form, tipping fees for landfill sites are established and in 1988 her system for grading plastic is adopted by the Society of Plastics Industry, which means a standardized recycling practice across North America.
The story, of course, isn’t quite that simple. There are many hurdles along the way, people who laugh, who say that what she’s proposing is impossible, and then there are the times themselves, the 1970’s and early 80’s, which aren’t overly receptive, or even friendly, to the idea of recycling. Moser has done an excellent job of telling Milly’s story against this back drop of time and place.
A clever addition to the story are sidebars throughout the book, telling about bridges and boats made of plastic bottles, stats on current plastic usage and where it all goes, yo-yo trivia!, the ABCs of modern recycling, innovations in biodegradable plastic… all bite-sized, very readable for any age, and all to the accompaniment of sweet b&w illustrations by Scott Ritchie.
That this is such an unknown story is mind-boggling. I’m grateful to Elise Moser for telling it. It needs to be shared. I hope the book will find its ways to schools and to homes, not only as an eye-opener to an important piece of history, but to open at least two kinds of conversation… One, about the problem of a planet full of garbage and, two, the power we have as individuals to make the world better.
Finally, what maybe I love most about this story is what Milly didn’t do… she didn’t complain, blame, whinge or whine or suggest that this problem to solve was someone else’s job…
Or that the difficulties she faced were someone else’s fault.
She just got on with it.
The world could use more Milly.
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you
Don’t fret if you don’t see honey bees in your yard.
According to this piece by Eric Atkins, there are dozens of other kinds.
General rule of thumb appears to be this: don’t over-rake, over-prune or anally tidy every last bit of the outdoors.
If you must be anal, you can always go inside and clean your house.
As for those honeybees…seems we ought not to become amateur bee keepers as we risk doing more harm than good in spreading disease and parasites.
In other words: leave beekeeping to the pros.
And create friendly environments instead for all those OTHER bees, i.e. leafcutters, bumblebees, sweaters and miners.
Bonus: because the natural world is naturally diverse, to allow a bit of the ‘natural’ will result in fewer bad bug infestations.
—when buying plants and seeds, check with the grower or nursery about use of neonicotinoids. More and more growers are choosing not to use them, but only because more and more people are asking questions and raising a fuss.
Walking in the woods isn’t quite the same as it was last week.
It’s hard to tromp about today and only marvel at the beauty and stillness and fresh earthy smells.
The early flowers and birdsong. Tra la, tra la.
I heard a story on the radio this morning about a woman from Fort McMurray who lost her wedding dress in the fire.
I thought how trite. A dress? Why is this a story?
I made my breakfast as I listened. Eggs, toast, tea.
The woman explained how friends had posted about the dress and people from all across the country offered her a replacement. How she chose one from Toronto, where she’s getting married tomorrow on the island.
There was nothing trite about her tone. She was a woman who’d left her home at a moment’s notice with cats and dog and rabbit and who somehow made her way to Toronto where she was now on the radio, stunned at the turn of events.
And all she wants is what anyone would want… for things to be normal.
And that, I thought, is where the dress comes in.
Because our normals may be different things and we may not immediately recognize each other’s version, but I suspect the dress is hers and how brilliant that, in the face of everything else that is such madness, she’ll be able to get married in something that makes her feel that maybe not all is lost.
Even though she said she could just as easily wear a tee shirt and jeans.
And so my walking is different these days because of how I’m thinking about those forests over there and these here, the same, yet not, and I’m thinking about nature, generally, how we’re nothing against it, and the nature of people too, the kindness of strangers and the need for anchors in our lives and how they’re so often what we least expect or even imagine.
And I’m thinking about the woman and the thousands like her…
…here, and there. So many ‘theres’.
Happy wedding on Toronto’s Centre Island, stranger from Fort McMurray…
We’ll be raising a glass to you.
Donations made through the Red Cross are being matched dollar for dollar by the Federal Gov’t.