Image via WikipediaSince last Wednesday, I have avoided paper towels almost 100%. I did so because of Reduce Footprint's Change the World Wednesday for last week:
This week, for the entire week, refuse to use paper towels. Yep, 7 days ... no paper towels.
I was in, so starting Wednesday I became very cognizant of paper towels and avoided them at all costs. I was home sick Wednesday and most of Thursday, so I always had a dish cloth/hand towel close at hand to use in place of the paper towels.
On Friday, though, I had to remember not to pull a paper towel from the dispenser in the restroom. I had forgotten to bring a cloth napkin to use, so I had to dry my hands on my sweatshirt.
I had a rehearsal for drama after school on Friday and my team was working outside, under some trees by the lunch tables. One of the biggest fears people have in common at my school is the fear of being pooped on by those ridiculous sea gulls (hello, we do not live near a beach where are you coming from?) that flock in to eat all the trash left over by careless students. After lunch, people duck and cover and steer clear of the open quad for fear that they will be targeted and forced to endure the torment and embarrassment that comes with getting bird poop on your head. Fortunately, in my three years and one month of high school, I have never once been targeted (oh, I've been pooped on in other places, just not at school where the embarrassment is far harder to endure). But on Friday, I was unfortunately a little too close to some pavement that had been chosen as a designated landing zone. Some bird up in the sky pooped and the poop bounced upon contact with the cement, flying over and landing on my unfortunately-sandaled shoe. I rushed to the bathroom (as any normal person who's just been attacked would do) and pulled a paper towel right out of that dispenser. I wet it, soaped it up and scrubbed my poor bare foot and sandal strap. Then I realized what I'd done--but there was no way to avoid it, aside from be disgusting and let it sit there until I got home. Strike one.
Then over the weekend at one point, I mindlessly grabbed a paper towel after washing my hands. Strike two.
Monday, Tuesday and today I brought a cloth napkin in my lunch, so when I washed my hands I only needed to reach inside my lunch bag and pull it out. I felt a little conspicuous pulling out an orange and brown cloth napkin to dry my hands--teenagers can be viciously critical and I'm sure those who saw me wondered what was wrong with me. But I used it and completely avoided those pesky paper towels that have somehow hijacked our minds and made it very difficult to remember not to use them. Once or twice I didn't have my lunch bag with me and had to wipe my wet hands on my shorts or t-shirt.
But I've realized that it is not impossible to go without paper towels. Of course, there are those occasions when necessity makes it far more feasible to use them, but I've decided that I'm going to take this challenge beyond its one week goal and integrate it into my life. Perhaps I'll be more outgoing about it and be proud of my cloth napkins. Maybe it will make people think twice about those paper towels. I'm really glad I attempted this challenge and I'm sure glad I didn't get three strikes!
Two nights ago while watching the season premiere of House, I saw a commercial that made me seething mad. I wish I had taken better note of which car company it was, but perhaps one of you readers will know so I can write them a letter.
The commercial begins with a man on a bike, obviously commuting to or from work, in the rain. He's struggling and looks miserable and they've made him out to be a dork. Then, they show a man on a segway trying to get through a crowded sidewalk, showing the difficulties of alternative transportation. A narrator begins speaking, saying how people are trying to contribute, but that it is much too difficult to ride your bike or choose a segway to conserve energy. Instead, the narrator implies, you should buy our hybrid/electric/whatchamacallit type of car to really make an impact, the cool way.
If they were really a company that cared about the environment (which few car companies could ever really make me believe because they're fundamentally based on people driving and using up some sort of energy source), they would embrace every aspect of trying to make a difference and then include themselves in that group, rather than make fun of or point out the difficulties of BETTER ways to save resources. Biking is always going to be better than driving because it takes way less maintenance, resources or energy to make and work. Don't make fun of those who are making a difference--you just isolated a huge group of people who may have been possible consumers for you. Anyone who rides their bike to work is going to be offended or put off--aren't those the people you want buying your "green" car? People who care about the environment? I wish I knew what car company it was so I could say, "way to go, 'car company'! You're pretty bad at marketing to the right audience."
I hope I'm not the only person who noticed this. Please tell me other people have their consumer radars on and spotted this poor marketing. I know many of you who care about the planet don't watch television, so of course you wouldn't have seen it (I'm getting there...it's just that NCIS is much too good of a show to give up!), but for those of you who do, please keep your eyes open for this commercial and let me know what you think (and who it is).
Have a good rest of your week everyone!
Thanks for reading,
The struggle to save the global environment is in one way much more difficult than the struggle to vanquish Hitler, for this time the war is with ourselves. We are the enemy, just as we have only ourselves as allies.