Re-brush your teeth
I haven't seen or read No Impact Man
, mainly because I was swayed by Eiizabeth Kolbert's stringent critique
of it and other "eco-stunts" in the New Yorker
. Kolbert's observation that being environmentally conscious today seems just another facet of our narcissistic, commercially driven age rather than being about the massive systemic changes and reorientation of public policy that must occur hit home. Given the country's inability even to deal with meaningful health-care legislation, I can only share her gloom about the future.
So, you're kind of stuck with trying to do what you can—whether a book or film deal awaits you or not. Anyway, that's how I consoled myself this weekend as I found myself carting detritus of various sorts all over New York City. I took a defunct computer and other ewaste in a cab to Tekserve on 23rd Street where the Lower East Side Ecology Center
was collecting it to be recycled—thankfully in the U.S. and not overseas. I then hopped on the subway and dropped off some plastic recyclables at Whole Foods, where a marvelous organization called Gimme 5
will take your old hummus containers and (soy) yogurt pots and turn them into bowls and recyclable toothbrushes. I carried a whole bag of packing peanuts collected over the course of a few weeks to my local UPS store, where they reuse them, and also returned some cardboard frame protectors to the local art store so they can reuse them on the next bunch of frames they make.
I then ordered another composter (that makes four) for all the food waste that I'm generating that can be recycled using my trusty earth worms, bacteria, and the black soldier fly larvae
, who, like the Seventh Cavalry, arrived late this summer, but are now ensconced in my bins and eating my garbage. I also took several broken umbrellas to the very cool store 3rLiving
, where a company turns them into earrings
and other things. Given that it was Labor Day last Monday, I had an extra amount of paper-, bottle-, and cardboard-recycling to put out tonight for the City to pick up.
It's all in the great scheme of things of almost no consequence, and absent systemic change, it will have absolutely no impact—much like "No Impact Man." However, even though I spent perhaps four hours this weekend carrying bags here and there, it wouldn't have felt right to simply throw it all away.