Little Miss Eco-freak

What I miss from my old xanga account is the ability to insert into the post what I was reading/watching /listening to. It really told the story of my college studies, better than my scattered thoughts ever did.

So in honor of that old habit of mine: I’m currently reading WASTE by Tristram Stuart.   Click on the link if you have even the tiniest inkling of guilt when you throw out food. Cause you should, you really should. Our excess is that bad. BTW all the statistics I’m about to list in this post, can be found, with sources, in this book.

Here are some changes I’ve made in my life in my 3 years of living in Germany:

  • No bagging fruits/veg in plastic at supermarkets.
  • Buying things with less packaging when possibly.
  • Buying organic meat 70% of the time. (Here it’s not about price, it’s more about finding substitutes for the things I’m used to buying)
  • Eating less meat, 1-2x a week.
  • Eating only river fish/fish from sustainable organic fisheries (which is too expensive, so once a year. But gosh darnit, for every fish you eat, another one has been tossed back dead into the ocean. Never mind, the dolphins, sharks and sea turtles)
  • Reusing dried bread. (the bf always wants to know why everything I bake in the oven has dried bits of bread on it, but it gets eaten.)
  • Buying only darker breads: rye/whole grains etc. (I get enough white sugar from the pastries I eat.)
  • Separating all my trash. Including as much compost as I can manage. (Did you know food in garbage dumps is a source of carbon dioxide and contributes to global warming?)
  • Buying organic milk, yogurt, and free range eggs. This here is about taste, and I’ve also got no problem helping small farms stay alive, since milk and eggs are notoriously not something farmers make a profit on.
  • Like it or not: fair trade coffee. There’s no reason families should live in poverty just because I want 2 cups a day. (What’s this about coffee ceasing to exist?)
  • Organic make-up. Who wants cancer from their mascara? And sulfate-free shampoo.
  • Being impossible to feed when I go home to America because of this, oh and this:

There’s more I’d like to do. Wooden toothbrushes are next. I thought that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was full if trash but it’s actually little bits of plastics that can’t be filtered out, no reason for my plastic toothbrushes to kill fish!

Probably will eat a lot more potatoes with peels. Will look for some farmer’s markets where I can cultivate a relationship as the girl that wants to save the ugly bruised fruit from the bin. I’ll probably bring as much cotton bags as I can, so that I don’t get plastic bags everywhere I go. This family is my hero btw.

I tried the whole not washing your hair thing, the verdict’s still out. Also I don’t like drinking out of bottles without knowing if they release hormone like chemicals. See here. But at least they are re-usable and I figure the damage is already done at this point. And hey it’d be cool to get in touch with the German group that scavenges from supermarkets or the group that eschews money and trades instead.

I’m so embarrassing, I get it. The bf calls me his little eco-freak. Hah.

I realized though a little while back, a couple things. First: I don’t have much of a political voice, neither as an American expat, nor as a foreigner living in Germany. And that doesn’t bother me so much, because I don’t think the average citizen can really do much to change things drastically in either system. (Cynic til I die!)

The second thing I realized was: the thing that every single person in the world it seems, wants from me, from the US Student loan agencies to the German gov’t, from travel agencies to the waitress at my favorite pub, is my money. So I figure it’s the only way I have to express my opinion and thus I’ll use every single chance I can to vote with my money.

Maybe someday I can figure a way to do more, and despite the list I just presented, I don’t really think I do too much to inconvenience myself. I’m pretty much the same over-consumer I’ve always been. Goodness knows in the long run, my small decisions will have no impact, (except on my bf’s sanity perhaps..) Half of the species in the ocean might go extinct in 50 years. The rainforest might turn into a desert. And even if none of that happens and we find renewable energy sources eventually our sun will burn out and whatever life that’s on the planet will die. Ha.

Where ever you look there’s a negative side. Sometimes I wonder if life is just a never ending decision between the lesser of two evils.

Anyway now that I’ve depressed myself a bit, on a happier note, I’ve had a lovely 2 weeks relaxing at home and reading and knitting like crazy. Met some of the bf’s close friends yesterday and while they were catching up and being Greek and cool and bored, I whipped out my knitting and this time they were wondering if this grandma was good enough for their pal.

I’ve got work on Monday and I am absolutely dreading it, but I’ve got two things to keep my spirits up: Easter Break is the beginning of April and I’m absolutely travelling one way or another. The second is I’ve done more research on the Master’s program and now I’m even more interested in it. Also after I contacted the university about requirements, the very helpful woman told me I didn’t have to take an extra German test! I’m so relieved cause I just don’t have time for that.

So on that note, I’m out.