by Jamie Kern, ASID,ARIDO
Having recently moved to Canada for a couple of years, I’m slowly buying into the tree hugger mindset and learning that it doesn’t have to be painful or staggeringly unattractive. The first time we went to the drugstore, I bought a bottle of baby powder, a tube of toothpaste, some Halls cough drops, Ibuprofen and some deodorant. We paid for our purchases and stood there looking at our junk scattered on the countertop. The girl finally asks us if we want a bag and I responded in my most patronizing voice possible that, “Of course I wanted a bag!” Did she expect me to juggle toothpaste and deodorant all the way home? She clicks her cash register a few times and responds, “That will be 5 cents.” I nearly threw the nickel at her but I got my bag and headed home bitching all the way.
Well, that was Day 1 and since then we learned that in Canada, the law says that, if you insist on using plastic bags that will either outlive our planet or bankrupt several world economies to recycle, you’ll pay for them. It discourages wasteful use of plastic bags and encourages people to arm themselves with eco friendly shopping bags wherever they go.
We quickly fell in love with this practice. In Atlanta, we have a 2-story terrace-style home. that just means that both levels are above ground with the main living spaces on the second floor. It’s beautiful curb appeal but you can’t get the groceries into the kitchen without climbing the grand sweeping staircase to the front door. Do you know how annoying that is when Kroger sends you home with 30 plastic bags, many of which are already splitting, and quite a few have only one item like a tub of sour cream?!?! Ric and I have been moaning and groaning about it for years. This bringing your own bag thing has been a Godsend! I can take 4 bags to the grocery and pack them full. I can then put them all on my shoulders and make one trip to the kitchen. And did I mention that I walk 5 blocks to and from the grocery?!?!? I can get an entire case of wine in one bag! No more throwing my back out trying to get a box of wine bottles out of the trunk of the car! We have vowed to never fall victim to Kroger or Publix and their plastic bag anarchy again. When we return to the states permanently it will be with our eco-friendly reusable shopping bags in tow.
That whole shopping bag thing made me realize that the United States could make a hugely positive impact on our environment if we just took that one simple step. Canada is a nation of 33,000,000 people, all of which have given up plastic grocery bags. Imagine how much more we Americans, a nation of 300,000,000, could accomplish!
Now, please don’t confuse me with The No-Impact Man. I am NOT giving up electricity, laundry detergent or earrings. But these days I am a tad more interested in introducing some products into my life that are functional, kind, and still wickedly stylish.
My favorite new find is from John Fleuvog
(see boots upper right corner). He has designed a line of shoes and boots that are Vegan. No kidding. They are completely free of any animal products and are as fabulous as they are kind. Fluevog doesn’t do anything cheap so expect to pay $250-$475 for boots and shoes. But for your money you’ll get the best quality in footwear that will last a lifetime and turn some heads along the way.
Then there are the fabulous wood sunglasses by www.iwoodecodesign.com.
These are a little pricey for someone who buys her $8.99 sunglasses at a truckstop, about $370 per pair, but they are an amazing fashion statement if you’re looking for a splurge.
Not everything manufactured to be thoughtful of our environment is outrageously expensive. This outfit from Hemp and Company
can be purchased for around $200 and that includes the stripey socks.
And look at these adorable garden markers made with old silver spoons. These are from a company called The Steel Fork
and you’ll have so much fun browsing their collection of home furnishings and accessories, jewelry and food. How about this green John Deere tractor hood side table for a conversation piece? What a great fit for a rustic cabin!
I’m still pretty fresh on the tree hugging scene but I’m finding that people can be so creative and that’s
what intrigues me most. I plan on continuing my exploration and
taking baby steps as I move forward.
Follow me at Pinterest www.pinterest.com/jamiek/
and you can see all of the great tree huggin finds as well as fabulous furniture, lighting, accessories and fashion! You have to apply for an invitation to join Pinterest, but if you’ll send me your email address, I’ll be happy to send you a durect invitation!