This week's topic comes from a particularly interesting tangent that my brain went on after doing something that I normally do almost every single day of my life. It's almost strange I've never touched on this subject before. This is one reason why I like to do each writing post in the style of beginning with something very common in everyday life and dissecting beyond the metaphysical. Basically, thinking of something in a different and/or new way in order to better understand its connections to the world around us. In saying all of that, yesterday, I woke up hungrier than a hippo, yet broker than the Back to the Future clock tower, so I decided to get some dollar empanadas from the corner Spanish restaurant near Ashleigh's house. I ordered two empanadas, and if you know anything about empanadas, they are very small. When the guy handed me my order, it came in a huge plastic bag, which had a smaller paper bag, which had the empanadas wrapped in aluminum foil, a handful of napkins, and TWO plastic utensil sets. Now, I've never really been one to be super into conservation, but all of the packaging I got for literally 3 bites seemed pretty darn excessive this time in particular for some reason. It sort of struck a chord. Why are we so wasteful in this world? Is it really necessary to have so much more than we actually need while others barely have enough? Is it simply in our DNA to be wasteful?
So this weekend, I was hanging out with Ashleigh at the Meadows music festival in Queens. It was super fun! I think I love music festivals now (they're just expensive as heck). Anywho, one thing about the festival I noticed, was the large amount of food that was being wasted. All of the vendors had everything pre-made for the most part. Towards the end of the night, being the budget-friendly girl that I am, tried to linger around to see if anybody was gonna start giving something away. Nope! Insanely enough, people would rather throw away literal TONS of food under the guise of "legal reasons", than give it away. It's a bunch of b.s. if you ask me. The bad thing about it is it happens way more often than we could ever imagine. That's why the places who DO actually donate their unused food make such a big deal about telling everyone that they do...because it's alarmingly rare! I honestly just don't get it at all. If someone wants to help explain it to me in a comment, please feel free!
Every once in a while, I do notice a trend of semi-concern for the planet and being wasteful. There was a point in my lifetime where everybody started to recycle and separate their trash into categories (I don't really remember people doing that when I was younger). I also remember something about a carbon footprint calculator being sorta popular for a short period of time. Whatever happened to that? Did people forget? It's basically just showing how we generally live lavishly at the expense of depleting the worlds natural resources... and who do you know that wants to live LESS lavishly? Not many I'm sure. Reducing all of our waste is a good idea in theory, but it comes at the expense of something we probably aren't yet willing to give up. Each day I see advertisements for more and more products, materials, food, services, etc. And don't get me started on the new iPhones they make every 2 seconds, leaving the previous model rendered almost useless. We are a generation of over-consumption, and businesses are well aware of that, exploiting us every chance they get.
After thousands of years of living in a society like this, it seems like an uphill battle to even think about trying to make a change. I wonder what life will be like years from now. Will there even be anything left in the world for us all to fight over? On a psychological level, it seems as though people get very anxious about not having enough so they strive to have more than enough. Nobody wants to run out of anything so we take and use way more than we alone need. Personally, I've always liked the "need a penny, take a penny, have a penny, leave a penny" mantra. I do believe it all begins with changing the way we think. Changing the past is impossible, but changing the future is inevitable. We can try to implement better habits to the kids in our neighborhoods and families. The school year just started back up, so it's the perfect time to help create better habits for their moldable brains to stick to later on in life.
As I said earlier in this post, I've never really been one for super conservation myself, as it is extremely hard in this day and age. We all want nice things and to experience awesome experiences. I am an imperfect person who's just trying to realize my imperfection and adjust myself accordingly, ya know? Baby steps! But even baby steps can get us further than where we've been. There are plenty of little, semi unintrusive things we can change in our everyday lives to help cut back a little bit on the wasteful epidemic we are experiencing as a human race. For instance, when you do order food from the little Spanish restaurant on the corner, perhaps you can tell them you don't need a bag, or utensils, or a billion napkins. Perhaps just one or two napkins. I even started trying to make most of the stuff I need these days as far as clothing and other creative repurposed items. I'm sure if we all really put our minds to it, we could think of some ways to cut back on certain things in order to give everyone a chance at having something nice. I know that running out of resources on earth doesn't seem like the most immediate problem when there are so many other crazy things going on, but it's definitely something to keep in mind. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and help make this world a better place!
P.s. I really am terrible at recycling though. I usually just throw everything into one trash bag. Not sure why, but for some reason, I feel like they have people at the trash place who separate it there...also, in New York specifically, I know for a fact that a lot of people go through trash to get bottles to turn them in for money. I know this one lady who does it in Soho, and she's paying her RENT like that! Like, NEW YORK CITY rent...
P.p.s. Seriously though, why don't all restaurants and food places just stay open for one extra hour to have a huge giveaway of all unsold products? It seems like it would be so easy to do.
P.p.p.s. On an unrelated, yet related note, if anyone IS upgrading their iPhone and needs a place to donate your old one, email me! Mine has been on it's last leg for years...