Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Things He Carried

The heaviest burdens are carried in the heart.

For much too long I carried around quiet (but heavy) shame in my heart at my participation in our throw-it-away culture. Particularly galling to me was attending dinners benefitting "green" and "environmental" causes. Guess what? Around here, green dinners are too often served on throw-away or "recyclable" paper plates and plastic knives, forks, and spoons. The amount of waste is staggering, even among the "conscious" community.

My personal hypocrisy burdened me.

Throw it away?

"On our small and precious green planet, there is no away to which things may be thrown, Dan." Oh, that inner voice! So damn grammatical. I can't not listen to it; it won't go away. Oh yeah. There is no away. Finally, I couldn't stand it any more. I took action.

See the bag I carry?

Inside there is a stainless steel bottle.
No more plastic "use'em once" water bottles for me. Oh no.

Open the hidden inner pouch...

And VoilĂ ! A plate and bandanna.
My daughter illustrated the plate when she was in kindergarten.

And a Swiss Army knife, in case there's a bottle of wine involved.
What's rolled in the bandanna?

You knew. A bamboo knife, fork, and spoon and a nice set of walnut chopsticks.

And just in case, an all-purpose bamboo spork.

My bag's heavier; my heart is lighter.


steven said...

dan, i love this. brilliant. simple. i have no idea where to find the wooden utensils but that's what this macbook's good for. digging up things like that. thanks for this. steven

Small Footprints said...

Oh brilliant! I love this idea! One of my followers makes "totes" for cutlery and even glass straws (so she never has to use the plastic variety). Here's her blog: If I remember correctly, she once talked about where to get bamboo cutlery and glass straws.

Thanks for sharing this!

Small Footprints

Sarah Lulu said...

Dan I love it ...

My three children also made those plates in kindergarten and I still have them too!

Delwyn said...

Hi Dan

yes we had a series of those plates too... a great idea.

I am always a little surprised when people smugly whip out their green shopping bags at the supermarket. I know they think they are helping but the bags are made in China and the pollution from Chinese factories is staggering...It drifts down over Hong Kong sometimes completely enshrouding it...
I read the green bags cause more damage than the plastic to the environment. I hope that is not true...

Happy days

Margie said...

Hi Dan
I don't know how I came across your blog but I am so glad I did as I so enjoy it!
I did some reading through your previous posts...again, enjoyed each one!

This post is great!
My hubby just headed out for a bike ride & he took a refillable bottle for his water.
Does that all the time now, and I'm very glad about that!

Now, I have to search in my basement to look for the plates my children made while in kindergarden.

Have a great day!


Dan Gurney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret Pangert said...

Dan, you set a good example! I like the reusable water bottle--I feel guilty every time I throw out a plastic bottle. Plus we have a well so I wouldn't even have to drink the questionable water. What strikes me as odd is our ancestors routinely did what you're doing. How did we lose these precepts?

Dan Gurney said...

Steven you can get them online here:

Look in kitchen utensils.

This is the online store associated with the retail (bricks and mortar) store where I got them.

Dan Gurney said...

Margaret, I don't know exactly how we lost our way so thoroughly, but I think it had to do with the postwar effort to keep industry humming. In the 30s people bought things that would last a lifetime, or tried to. By the late fifties, we came to believe that we needed the latest and greatest and were willing to throw stuff away.