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A letter for the Kitten

Today, the Kitten watched War On Waste, episode 2 for the second time and requested that I contact the Government and ask them to Ban the bag in Australia. So, I did…

***wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au

Mark McGowan, Western Australia Premier

Dear Mark

My six year old daughter, The Kitten, has requested that I write to the Government. She’s not happy. She has some issues with plastic bags and rubbish. The Kitten has seen how easy it is for a family to reduce all single use plastic just by being mindful and prepared before shopping. She’s expressed her need that I contact you “the government” to let you know she wants you to ban plastic bags (all thickness) within Western Australia. Actually she said Australia but I know that we’re only able to send this in at a local level.
Please help to #BanTheBag in Western Australia. 

During the April school holidays she spent an hour working away on the carport whiteboard. I expected to see some pictures, but was floored when I read what she’d written. I had to get her to translate some of the words for me since she’s only 6 and her spelling isn’t the best. There is a photo attached of what she wrote.
Translation here:
I am six and I did this myself
Mum is working when she buys food, she takes fabric bags to help the environment. Kitten’s.
Bins are for different rubbish, one is recycle and the other is landfill and compost.
If you are looking after the environment you are doing the right thing and that is good. 
Recycle – Metal glass paper plastic
Do not kill animals
Plastic ends up in the ocean, bird and turtles and lots of animals eat rubbish that is in the ocean. 
Landfill, plastic stays the same forever. Birds fly in landfill and they eat rubbish.
Plastic Bags, Plastic bags look like jellyfish to turtles they eat the plastic bags, they die. Don’t leave your rubbish at the beach or lots of animals eat plastic bags. Bit of plastic is left in the ocean. 
Landfill plastic shoes and clothes.
Version 2
 

Since The Kitten has shown such a keen interest we took her to the Regional Resource Recovery Centre for a tour on Saturday 6 May. And to our delight War on Waste has been made and is now airing in Australia, it’s now her new favourite TV show. She’s watched the first two episodes multiple times already. Remember she’s six, when I was six we watched Loony Tunes.

When we go out and play at parks, she instigates a plastic pickup collection. After she’d had lunch on 22 April, she collected 3 chocolate bar wrappers, a broken plastic fork and a used bandaid wrapped them in her lunch wrap (reusable) and took them home to recycle and bin.

While The Kitten is too young to vote or make a difference on a grand scale, she has certainly opened my eyes up to the world of plastic and litter in our state. And increasingly the issues in our oceans with plastic bags. For my daughter The Kitten and her younger brother I’m adding my voice to theirs, please, Ban the Bag in Western Australia!

Kind regards
The Kittens Mum
***more…

From the beginning the changes I’ve made have been because the Kitten has led me down this path of care for the environment, health and wellbeing. It’s a small thing to do to write this letter for her. I want her to always know I will support her changes and they will become my changes too.

The Kittens Mum

*if it’s in bold I’ve changed it from her name to nickname.

Plastic Fish Indeed

In the last five months I have been lucky enough to visit Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters in NSW, Perth ZooThe Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) and Busselton Jetty. Each of these places lets us get close to animals, marine life and nature which we’d otherwise not see.

Here’s the thing, they all have something heartbreakingly similar in common. The plastic-fantastic gift shop. A little take home, some small memento of your amazing experience. A little gift for your child to remember your special day together. What they sell is all the same! [The zoo does have some more specialised items].

All the stuffed fluffy toys are made from plastic materials – now correct me if I’m wrong but that is end of life plastic, they can’t be recycled again (if they ever were from recycled plastic to begin with). That means they have only one place left to go… Landfill. It’s not just the stuffed toys, it’s all the plastic toys.

After seeing a plastic bag floating in a tank at Irukandji – which, to the average person and turtle – looks like a jelly-fish, I was hoping to see something more unique and in keeping with the experience. This was before I started my plastic-awareness journey. I just didn’t want to buy another stupid stuffed toy, or crappy plastic toy.

Visiting the Zoo, Busselton Jetty and AQWA I realised they have THE EXACT SAME TOYS and this means it is NOT SPECIAL. Further it’s not educating anyone on a better way forward, to protect the animals, reef or sharks & rays that we’ve just seen. It’s just more plastic that will become micro-plastic and end up killing what we’ve seen and destroying their habitats.

Even the tote bags, were a plastic based fabric I noted in AQWA (possibly elsewhere, I admit I didn’t check each location). I understand that these aren’t all conservation locations, that to me, is not an excuse. Why wouldn’t you take the chance to further educate people in what they can do differently swap a plastic bag for a jute tote. Or stop using this laundry detergent because it’s toxic to marine life. Stop using that huge list of products, because it’s not great for the Orangutang population and habitat, and sell the items that are environmentally conscious, friendly and sustainable.

Perhaps a corner available to books like Plastic Ahoy, and, All the way to the ocean. Plastic Free by Beth Terry. Have some information on 5 Gyres and A Plastic Ocean-DVD, plus a section with other environmental DVDs, there are quite a few. Have some zero waster items that are stainless steel.

Sell a host of cheaper items too, like Bamboo toothbrushes with a small sign letting people know they are compostable, as plastic brushes are landfill (unless recycled with TerraCycle). Items that often end up in the bellies of sea creatures, birds, fish, turtles and the rest.

What about 4MyEarth products along side glass and stainless steel straws? I’ve now seen the YouTube clip of a Turtle having a straw pulled from it’s nose, letting people know there are other options to the plastic straws and keeping them out of your cafés is a good start too.

There could be information on Take 3 for the Sea. Native bee homes for sale and local soaps made palm oil free, wooden watches, sunglasses and phone covers (iBark), perhaps recycled stationery that has less of an impact on the environment. There could be some cleaning products that are ‘safe for our sea’ that don’t contain toxic chemicals and are low in plastic packaging.

There could be reusable bags of all types, tote (jute/cotton) bags, or produce bags. Paper pot makers and bamboo hair brushes, wooden toys and games, seeded-paper cards or paper, solar chargeable lights and solar charging points. A selection of plastic-free shampoo, conditioner and body care products – they do exist, and most are free from nasties. A display explaining Plastic Free July!

There really are so many other options other then the plastic-fabric toys and cheap hard plastic toys that break in the car on the way home. I really hate this little orange clown fish (from China) that is at every tourist point in Australia, my daughter insisted on it before I started saying no to plastic, it’s from Irukandji, she now knows it’s not going to be a special reminder of the encounter with Sharks, since it’s at the Jetty and AQWA too – she’s only six.

I will be sending this via Facebook to the places mentioned, if you know of a tourist location that could promote care for what you view via it’s gift shop – please contact them too and ask for change.

I love all of these tourist places mentioned, I really, really do. I’ve had amazing experiences in each – and I recommend visiting each… I just wish those experiences extended into the gift shop. Please change.

The Kittens Mum

IMG_0588
If AQWA wasn’t on these sharks – I wouldn’t know which shop I was in! All the same.

Please note, not all of these places have a café and the zoo has different items because it’s not all marine life.

Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters
Perth Zoo
AQWA
Busselton Jetty

A Few Tips I’ve Learned for City of Melville Recycling!!

I went along to a free tour to The Regional Resource Recovery Facility (RRRC) on Saturday and I’d like to pass on a few small tips.

City of Melville use RRRC (RecycleRight http://recycleright.wa.gov.au), collect our Organic Waste (green lid) and Recycling (yellow lid).

RRRC does take plastic bags for recycling (Coles, Woolworths type). Place them in your recycle bin and please tie them in a knot – make sure they are EMPTY. We do this with all bags and packets of any size.

Remove the lids from all your recycling jars, plastic bottles, containers. Safety for the people on the recycling floor and also they have to be shorted separately if they have lids on.

If you line your indoor garbage bins with liners, when putting them into your collection bins, spit the bags with scissors and leave the bag untied. Or preferably don’t use bags at all. Yes this can make your collection bins more smelly then they already are, you can always wash out with a hose or arrange for someone to professionally clean them (if it really bothers you.)

No plastic bags should be used as liners for the collection bins.

Biodegradable plastic just means they will become micro-plastic at some point in time, the plastic won’t just vanish. If you’re buying bags in the supermarket they might be able to be recycled (maybe) but they can’t become compost, unless they are the ones at Woolworths (Multix Compostable Bags).

RRRC recommend Compostable Bin Liners if you’re using ANY bags to line your bins. These can be used in home compost bins too. If it doesn’t say compostable, it’s not. All the rubbish in your green top bin goes into some serious pipes, turned and churned out as soil (WOW). What isn’t organic or compostable gets separated out and sent to landfill.

Contact lenses. I’m a contact lens wearer and I will always be. So I asked about the packaging recycling. Obviously the box goes into Recycling but the contact lens itself is landfill (sniff sniff). The plastic base can go into recycling but may end up in landfill and the seal should be balled up (ball between the size of golf ball – tennis ball) and recycled. I use my glasses for years without changing the frames but when I do I donate them via my optometrist.

IMG_0703.JPGAluminium foil should be balled up into a golf ball – tennis ball size for recycling (as long as it’s pretty clean). You probably saw this message at easter time with all the egg foil balls. It works for foil all year ’round.

I strongly urge all residence of City of Melville to go and see the Recycle Right waste processing facility. It’s pretty impressive. And download their free App or look at ‘your a-z of recycling’ on their web page.

I’m very much looking forward to the three bin system coming into our area. I hope that it’s very soon.

And as always I’m looking for more ways to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle what I have.

The Kittens Mum

Toothpaste, Toothoil and Toothpowder

After the ‘Parenting Moment’ [see former blog post] I found the taste of regular toothpaste rather repulsive. I decided to start experimenting with other options.

First I tried MoodDust Charcoal powder. I don’t mind this product but it’s not my favourite and it’s messy. I also found that I felt I needed to brush my teeth more often in the day (I do drink latte and eat a silly amount of onions so perhaps that has something to do with it). Additionally, I would have slightly black eye-sleep and when I blew my nose it would be a black, like I’d spend a day riding the Tube in London. Somehow, applying only to my teeth, I post-nasal snorted this up through my sinuses. Charming. Also it was a little too abrasive for me.

I then tried Well-Scent’s JUST FOR GRINS, I do like this product but feel it really needs mixing with Bicarb Soda (Baking Soda) to get a bit of grit to it. I also tried their WATCH YOUR MOUTH, which blew away my taste buds with one drop. I’d happily use these products all the time (mixed with Bicarb Soda), except for the fact they are pricy and have to ship all the way from the US. Which removes them as a viable option.

So I move on.

Next I try the Rogue Gingers recipe for home made toothpowder. I LOVE THIS THE BEST. With out a doubt this is the winner for me.

Clove, Cinnamon, Sweet Orange Plastic Free Toothpowder

Ingredients

5 tablespoons bicarb soda
10 drops clove oil
10 drops sweet orange oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Method

Add the bicarb into a jar. Add the clove oil. Put the lid onto the jar and shake vigorously. Open the jar and add the orange oil. Close and shake again. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and give a final shake.

If you want to make it a paste melt down 2-4 tablespoons of coconut oil and add to the mixture.

http://www.therogueginger.com/2014/09/plasticfree-tooth-powder.html

This is insanely easy to make and leaves my mouth feeling clean and fresh in a non-minty way. I really love it.

My kids don’t, so for my Kitten I’ve mixed up Trash is for Tossers: Zero Waste Toothpaste

Zero Waste Toothpaste Recipe:

3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
25-30 drops Organic food grade peppermint essential oil (I did 1/2 Orange oil and 1/2 peppermint as my kids find peppermint too spicy)

Mix all three ingredients in a jar

To use, scoop out a little bit with a spoon and put it onto your toothbrush. Add more or less peppermint or coconut oil depending on your textural preference.

http://www.trashisfortossers.com/2013/10/zero-waste-toothpaste.html

My son hates this too. For him I’m trying the following

Chocolate Toothpaste for a fussy 4 year old:

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 tablespoon cacao nibs blitzed to a powder
Few drops clove, orange and peppermint

Mix in a jar and use a small amount via spoon onto toothbrush.

My plan is to increase the baking soda and decrease the cacao powder and increase his taste tolerance to the clove. His objection to the zero waste toothpaste above is salt & peppermint based.

I’ve heard of people using Bentonite Clay but I don’t own any and haven’t purchased any. I won’t use Xylitol, it’s sugar.

What I still have to do!

I need to discuss these changes with my dentist. My son is almost impossible to get to brush with standard store purchased toothpaste, he hates them. So he doesn’t brush his teeth enough, to me, getting him to brush with the Chocolate toothpaste twice daily will be better then not brushing at all.

Also we are a low sugar family. We use Rice Malt Syrup in place of all fructose sugars and we don’t eat commercial breakfast cereals. We drink water not juice or soft drinks (sodas/cool drinks depending on where you’re from). This all has a big impact on dental health. The first time I took my kids to the dentist for a check up, she commented on being able to tell that we were low sugar. This is one of the biggest factors in keeping teeth nice, in my opinion.

I will update this post on seeing my dentist.

The Kittens Mum

Reference: I use Australian tablespoon measure at 20ml and teaspoon of 5ml

We got one!!

This morning I was making a coffee and feeling very sleepy, I flicked through some emails and came across one from the Sustainability Team at Oberthur Primary School (within the City of Melville area, Perth, Western Australia). I became super excited, started dancing and the “We got one!” call out from Ghostbusters (1984) rang through my kitchen. Clearly the kids thought I’d gone insane.

Oberthur Primary School has signed up to TerraCycle Australia for the Oral Care program. So now toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss containers and packaging can all be collected in a box at Oberthur and sent off to TerraCycle to be recycled into something new, rather then going into Landfill! I’m so happy and so excited!

Since discovering this year that all 457 plastic brushes my family has used to date have ended up in landfill, I’ve wanted to do something that will stop them ending up there. I have changed the kids and myself to Bamboo brushes but I still felt awful about the 457 others. They will outlast me, my children, their children and many more generations to come. Then there are the empty paste tubes and floss packets – the horror!

If all our local schools become drop off points for TerraCycle, imagine how many toothbrushes (& oral products) will become something better then waste. TerraCycle do more then just Oral products, check out their website Aust: www.terracycle.com.au or USA: www.terracycle.com could your business, place of work, school or sports club become a collection point for any of their waste streams?

TerraCycle USA can also recycle swimming goggles, ski goggles and baby car seats because companies have sponsored this direct with TerraCycle. See the USA TerraCycle page for things Australian people are currently still popping into Landfill. Australian companies need to start sponsoring TerraCycle for their own products to be recycled through TerraCycle. Stop filling our Earth with used and broken plastic.

A goggles brand in Australia and New Zealand is Zoggs (I’m sure there are more). Perhaps if you started asking them to support TerraCycle we could recycle these super common products too. sales@zoggs.com.au / salesnz@zoggs.co.nz  Think of all the goggles used at home and public swimming pools, on ski slopes, at Surf Clubs, at the beach. Send them a message on Facebook, or direct! Ask the questions – the more people that ask, the more the companies producing un-recyclable (by shire/council recycle programs) landfill products will realise they have a responsibility to take action and lead by example. It doesn’t stop there, TerraCycle USA have so many waste streams that it’s jaw dropping. Would be amazing if business groups here got on board with TerraCycle Australia.

All plastic ever made, is still plastic. It doesn’t break down, it breaks apart – into tiny micro plastic, but still plastic.

Today though, I’m super happy! Can’t wait till Oberthur get their box up and running! I’ll be straight over there dropping off our old used, washed and dried oral care products – keeping them out of the land!

The Kittens Mum

I am not affiliated with TerraCycle or any other companies or schools mentioned in this post.  

School drop offs and real life with kids

My Knight
My Knight

Any parent will be able to relate to a crazy household in the mornings. Before school preparation is no different in our house. It’s mostly me asking nicely for the kids to do something, get dressed, eat, hair etc but eventually is me yelling and running around like a mad woman attempting to dress kids – fully able to do it themselves – while they cry about not being able to eat breakfast without their shoes being on (since when?!?!?!). I’m known around the primary school as the mum whose Boy never wears shoes, but since today, he needs them on to eat breakfast. Hu?

Last year, first day of term 4 my man received a text from me with a request for boarding school. He replied with ‘Both were bad?‘ , my reply …

Kitten was up late and sookie and nervous of school and being bullied and her uniform only feels good with a long sleeve under it and her mossie bite needs cream and she only wants her hair like this or that… finally 8am I get downstaris and Boy isn’t dressed (I had his clothes but spent time sorting out the princess) and then I start saying “of course he’s not dressed I just was up with you for the last 30 mins!” so I go for a shower and he trashes his room, hurts his foot – no I can’t come out of the shower and kiss your booboo and huggies, no crying and big a tanty doesn’t make me want to come for cuddles… but he does dress himself in completely different clothes (but a kindy shirt), track pants, no undies and a set of knee pads, because that’s how the hulk rolls and I pack their bags and suncream up Kitten. Boy doesn’t like the toothpaste but yes you can show me how your knee pads make you slide across the bathroom tiles with a run up from the main bedroom – 4 times, yes, okay, so now we can brush teeth – great. Go to do Boys suncream have to chase him around by the time we’re finished he’s in a major tanty and I have to force him into the car. Get to school, late. Drop Kitten off, she notes that I’ve given her the Boys drink bottle, oops I don’t know where her blue one is, no Boy you can’t have it. He begins scratching and hitting me and yelling in the class room. No Kitten I didn’t pack you a gourmet salad lunch I have done vegemite and cheese and a pear and some crackers because everything else got eaten, no I probably wont make a special salad tomorrow either. He’s still hitting me. I insist that Kitten use boys red drink bottle as he has one in his bag and I’m not going back to the car since it’s parked half the school away. He is still angry, she cuddles me 80 times before I leave – it’s like I’m moving overseas and will never see her again. Boy is still pissed at me but insists I carry on him (not on my back) he snuggles in (as if he hasn’t behaved like a brat) and asked that we can bikeride to Kitten’s school for drop offs. This is a lovely idea that can’t happen on any day we’ve got commitments (oh that’s every day). Then I have to force him into his seat because he doesn’t like kindy any more and doesn’t want to go. Then the entire way he’s screaming at me because he wants to say something and I won’t “LOOK AT HIM”. I can’t look Boy, I’m driving the car! Get him there and he won’t detach. I try to leave four times and he’s like an octopus! Then finally Kathy [the teachers aid] comes and asks if he’ll help her with a job (he loves helping but … mummy is there still…) I detach and he starts a full scale scream and I bust out and run to the car. Lock myself in and think… Boarding School. No, it’s not that they are bad, they just are like little leaches and can’t seem to remove them at drop off times. Coffee stop for sanity. Home, great Mac (very old dog) has found the pizza box, its everywhere. Only thing messier are kids toys, and perhaps the kitchen. Cat litter stinks, cleaned it out twice yesterday. will have to pop into city farmers today and see if I can get a higher side smaller tray that we don’t have to cut because that dome can be handy – once Mac has departed. Okay going to go clean up now before Electrician gets here and thinks we’re trash horders and crazy cat people and reports us to the health department or child welfare or something….

He replied with ‘Tough morning. So I won’t cut the dome thing?’

Today was better then that day, but really most days are the same. This morning was what I consider a miracle morning, Boy gets up at about 5:30 every morning, today he slept till 7am. OMG. The Kitten came in at 6:40 and we had a lovely cuddle and chat.

Then we got up. School morning so no TV, no iPads – just get dressed and get out. Kitten was pretty good, got herself sorted with very little encouragement but needed lots of praise for each step. The Boy did dress himself after doing a nuddy run around the house chasing his sister while pretending to cut her with his hands that were knives (like the car chase scene from Terminator 2 – which he hasn’t seen!!) I’m not sure what she was screamed most about, him being naked or his pretend knives.

I'm jut happy when the kids wears pants
Underwear and Pants are a win! Pick. My. Battles.

Then, he wouldn’t eat till he had his shoes on. He’s never worn shoes. A win in our house is pants. Or underwear and pants. Shoes, well that is just crazy talk. But today, he needed shoes to eat his breakfast. OMG, shoes on. He eats, it’s all good.

I go for a quick shower once they are ready and I go to dress. I made a mistake, I didn’t put my clothes away once I’d washed them. My bad. I wash my stuff about every two weeks, everyone else has stuff washed daily. My pile of clothes was quite big. As I pick up my clean shirt, I notice it’s damp… I smell – cat wiz. The cat or cats, have pissed on my CLEAN CLOTHES. I dump everything down the shoot and pull out clothes from my dirty hamper. Nothing makes you feel fresh in the morning like wearing what your wore the day before.

Finally get the kids in the car and the Boy decides that I need to drop him to school after Kitten. This is crazy given that if I drop her first, I have to get him in and out of the car and that in itself is a mission. I’m already a bit late, I veto him and take him first. Mistake!

He shoves his head up my t-shirt and stays there for the next 20 minutes. His teachers are trying to coax him out and he’s just so mad at me that he’s in there for the long haul.  Finally I manage to cut the cord and the Kitten and I make our dash. Once we’re safely past the child gate, I tell her there’s no point running she’s already really late for school. I get her to school, get the late note of shame and drop her off. I can tell she’s not happy with only two hugs before the teacher rounded her up like an expert.

Finally I’m out of there. I need a coffee… I’ve left my mug at home. WHY? So home and back out, get my coffee mug. They laugh at me in the cafe, this makes me feel better. It’s always funny when people laugh at you. But while I was there I was having a chat on the phone to the vet. My old dog, Mac, had a severe diarrhetic episode on Monday – on the carpet, and ONLY the carpet. Upstairs, downstairs about fourteen deposits in all – it was truly a sight (and smell) to behold.

Thankfully my Husband got home first that day and he got the joyous job of cleaning it up. *fist-pump* He is now fully on board with my year long push to have our carpets (17 years old) ripped up and replaced with nothing, polished concrete – that’s it. Frankly it was worth the poo. BUT, now I have to collect faecal sample from my dog to see if she’s got something going on. Clearly this is a fun job and the baristas overhear and think I’m a vet nurse. Nope this is just my life.

So now I’m collecting poo, rewashing cat wee off my no longer clean clothes and trying to figure out what healthy meal I can put together for my family tonight.

I hope this has made you laugh, smile and appreciate the fine moments: like for me when my Boy comes in at 6am dressed as a knight, complete with sword and shield and wakes me with a kiss (yep that cute) and says “Princess, come to my castle now, on my horse, quickly!!” then he lets me sit on the couch while I’m drinking a coffee and he goes fights dragons then comes back to tell me about it, and makes sure I’m comfy and brings me a blanket or cushion to be even more comfy.

My kids do make me laugh, a lot. I’m already laughing at the craziness of today, life would be dull without them.

The Kittens Mum

School Holidays … The World is Changed

The world is changed. 
I feel it in the water.
I feel it in the earth. 
I smell it in the air. 
Much that once was, is lost: for none now live who remember it. 
The race of men, who above all else, desire Power.
They were all of them, deceived. 
One by one the Forests of the Earth were felled and the ice grew thin.
But there were some who resisted.
The last alliance of men and environmentalists marched against the doom and fought for the freedom of Earth.
Victory was near, but the power of the Change could not be undone.
It was in this moment when all hope had faded, the children took up their parents battle! 
The enemy of the Earth, was defeated! 

Okay so it’s a blatant rip-off from Lord of the Rings…

We spent a week in Busselton, Western Australia these holidays. Around the famous Busselton Jetty I noticed #take3forthesea posters around on bins, public recycle bins (wow) and free water refill stations (we have water refill stations around the Swan river but they are big and do charge as small fee).

Although gift stores located at Busselton Jetty were sadly lacking anything worth buying (as in reusable items or plastic free – like what you’d buy at Biome), this bugged me like it did at Perth Zoo (Instagram post with Tiger, Elephant and Croc pic) and even Irukanji. In fact, they had the same big eyed, plastic fabric toys at each location, to me – this doesn’t make them special or unique and why would you want them?! I purchased nothing. My Husband was somewhat softer on the kids.

You’ve just been out to see some amazing nature or some incredible animals you’d not see every day. You’re all about the world in those moments and you’re also generally happy and you want to take home an item to remember this moment… Wouldn’t something that is sustainable or plastic free or reusable be so much more wonderful to buy? Something that doesn’t damage the animals you’ve seen, that doesn’t damage the Ocean & Earth we need? Something that will teach and remind you to look after what you’ve just enjoyed?! Something that you’ll use and reuse over and over?

I watched Before the Flood too. On the same day I watched An Inconvenient Truth – 11 years later then I’d intended. (I was busy falling in love the year an inconvenient truth came out and when you’re newly in love, the world is an amazing place.) 11 years on our daughter has brought me focus on some important issues and so I revisit this documentary.

Watching these two documentaries on the same day is very interesting and it really makes me want to ‘step up’ on what I’m doing personally. I’ve proposed to my hubby that I get a DutchBike and ride the kids to their schools, this helps both environment (with one less car on the road) and my fitness level. He’s vetoed me, because he’s worried for the safety of his entire family in one bike. Boo. I will keep working on this one.

I’ve upped my plastic free and I’m looking at what else I can do. Because I do feel a tremendous need to DO something. I can’t just sit back an watch. I can’t let our children see us not actively trying to make a difference NOW. We are their example. I expect to see so many more animals become extinct in my lifetime, I know that this is the fault of Humans. And so many of the ones endangered are my absolute favourites (not that it should matter).

Watching the Great Barrier Reef die away is … there are no words. Arctic ice isn’t what it should be. Every time a shark is killed I wonder if people know the effect that is having? If you are near Nelsons Bay in NSW, Australia get along to Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters and learn something in person. Stop killing sharks!*

I’m not perfect. I’ll do things wrong. I will still have plastic in our home for years to come. Limiting the plastic coming into our home is wonderful, it’s a huge step for me and shopping in a bulk store is so much nicer then shopping in a Supermarket. Being mindful is bringing me back into the moment. But there are more things that can be done, and should be.

Before the Flood is worth watching in conjunction with An Inconvenient Truth. 11 years between the documentaries. 11 years and already change. A double feature in schools, a triple feature – add in A Plastic Ocean to the list. Fundraisers perhaps…

Last term I started contacting schools and dentists in the Melville shire area to be part of the TerraCycle program to collect toothbrushes and other oral hygiene ‘landfill’. I will increase my effort on this. I’ve personally signed up for a SmartLivng course in my area and I’ll be attending our local recycle centre to see how it’s done. And taking a long a bag of items I’m not sure on, yep I’ll be that annoying person asking questions. I must learn more to improve my own attempts at being better. 

#BanTheBag is gathering momentum. People are noticing. We are waking up from our consumption slumber.

There are signs everywhere that people are beginning to be the change that they want to see!! All is not lost. Lots of work to do.

The Kittens Mum

*I know this is controversial at the present time given a young woman has lost her life in a shark encounter in Esperance, WA. Her family and friends will be in deep pain. I’m sorry if my comments reach them and causes any further pain. I am a mother, my heart broke for her family when I read the news.

My view on sharks is that we need them. They are one with the sea and we must stop destroying their habitat, we must stop killing them for flake and fins and fear. More humans die from horse related incidents a year then from sharks, yet sharks are feared so killed.

On the right path

I’m rambling. I’m disillusioned by humanity and I am refocused to do better. Trying to clear out my thoughts so I can make a plan of attack for the future…

On Saturday night I had time to sit down and watch a movie. I decided on A Plastic Ocean, since it was on my movies to watch list, it was Earth Hour and I was feeling all green.

A plastic ocean

Watching this movie, alone, in the dark, was a mistake. It was traumatising to say the least. I knew we had a plastic problem, I’ve spent time on Instagram and WordPress talking about it. I just didn’t really put the entire issue into world wide perspective. Not a mistake I’ll make again.

After watching the documentary, I cried. We purchase products based on no animal testing. We ensure that “no animals were harmed during the making of this film”. We try and prevent animal poaching. Try and stop obvious animal cruelty. But we use plastic for everything! We’re hypocrites. We’ve polluted the entire ocean and one out of every four animals in the ocean it has plastic in their stomach (can that even be right?!?!?!) There are two bits of micro plastic to every bit of plankton. We’re killing baby birds because we want things to be easy, disposable. But because they aren’t injected with a needle or smeared with a product in a laboratory,  we have not noticed. How may of these animals have died because of me? Of my love of a takeaway coffee. My poor choices. My luxuries. My consumerism. My first world lifestyle. Privilege.

Still: A Plastic Ocean
**STILL: A PLASTIC OCEAN** Birds belly full of plastic. A cigarette lighter. A Toothbrush. Cause of death, starvation. Or, would it really be … Humans?

And the people. The families, children. Living, playing in landfill. Isolated islands turned into dumps because plastic goes in, but never leaves. All I could do was cry.

My heart was beating too fast and I felt like I had to do something to fix the problem, something more then my tiny lifestyle changes, but what? I felt useless because of how much damage has already been done. It took ages before I was able to calm myself down to sleep, and of course, my dreams were troubled.

Sunday morning my bright stars woke me up with all the joy that kids have when they open their eyes to a new day. But I was all wound up like a coil. I snapped at them all morning – for being kids. They didn’t do anything wrong. The problem was very much with me and my turmoil and helplessness.  By early afternoon I was still a mess. I had to attempt to calm myself, I tried to switch the brain off and snuck off for a deep, hot bath. With way too many drops of lavender.

This was a good move. The kids did find me (within five minutes of my vanishing) and the ‘relaxing’ bath became very squishy, water sloshing and laughing wet mess. That is the great things about kids. They are insane and take you along for a ride, even if you don’t want to go.

So once out, with my happier frame of mind, we headed off to the shops and got our ingredients for dinner. I managed all waste free (yay), until I got to the butches. I handed him my lunch box (which he normally Tares) but this time he used a bag and then emptied that bag into my lunchbox. It was almost enough to put me off buying meat forever. My happy place once again gone. I was so disappointed. Once he’d used that bag, that was it. It was another single use plastic. What ever happened to butches just using their hands and butchers paper?

My husband is currently away, once he’s back I intend to sit down and watch A Plastic Ocean with him. Although this movie is a PG rating, I’m of two minds about showing my children, Sir Knight (4.5) and Kitten (6.5). I want them to see it, I want them to know. But I don’t want them thinking the world is too horrible to grow up in. I don’t want them to be as upset as I was. My Sir Knight will be too young, but my Kitten, she’s so clever, she’ll get it. It will upset her. I want to protect her, but that won’t help her. Our family (except for Sir Knight) are booked on a tour to see our local recycling centre. I believe seeing A Plastic Ocean would be worth while to the Kitten before we go. Best wait for her daddy to be home too, his calming nature will be a comfort to her… and me.

My family have been taking my changes in their stride, even though don’t really understand the reasons why I’m changing my habits. This morning the Kitten was asking why I want the schools to collect toothbrushes. And if you need to wear masks to see landfill.

On Sunday we watched Toy Story together and the prospector, ‘Stinky Pete’ commented to Woody “You’ll all be ruined! …. tortured by children, abandoned, and end up spending eternity rotting in a landfill” she looked at me then, landfill. That word again! Since I’ve stopped referring to rubbish as rubbish and started calling it landfill. It has made some impact.

My disappointment with the butchers and watching A Plastic Ocean has really cemented  that this change is the right path. It’s against what everyone else is doing, so it’s hard. But it is the right thing to do. The path would feel very lonely without social media, I’d feel on my own without it. Thank you to everyone who gives me a like, it gives me courage to make my next call to a school to see if they are at all invested in keeping plastics out of landfill by being a community collection point.

As a community our greatest power for change is to spread awareness and to use or consumeristic natures responsibly – look for plastic free alternatives. Seek out extra recycle methods when our local systems don’t have the facilities to take it all. And to think… what have I used recently that will be in landfill? ... Goggles!! *google that…* they have TerraCycle boxes for them in the US but not Australia. Why not? Can’t we get them? We have such a huge swimming culture, surely this is something every community swimming pool should have… Ask TerraCycle Australia for this option, push your local pools to put something in place. Ask your local school why they aren’t involved with being collection points for recycling. They are a community hub. So are sporting clubs! …

Every time I use something now I think about it. I look up my RecycleRight app and if the answer isn’t there I put it in a bag to ask when I’m at the recycle centre tour. ‘Ah whatever’ isn’t good enough anymore. I don’t just want to do & be better, I have to. What would happen if we all just stopped… if we all said no to plastic…

Rambling. Disillusioned. Refocused.

The Kittens Mum

A Plastic Ocean please watch this movie, get a group together. A fundraising night.
RecycleRight City of Melville recycle service in Perth, Western Australia
TerraCycle USA take hard to recycle products and recycle them
TerraCycleANZ Australia & New Zealand branches of TerraCycle

Please note: I am not affiliated with any companies mentioned. They are for reference should people be interested in starting up collection points and trying to make a difference.

 

 

The Gift of Experiences

Many parents struggle with our children’s overwhelming number of toys. As a child my sister and I had very few toys, treasured them dearly and asked for little. We played outside, shared everything and remember birthdays and Christmas’ for the day with family and friends – not, which toys we got.

My children have generous grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. As a result we are gifted generously for the children. It is overwhelming. For the kids and for us. The last few birthdays, the kids have been gifted ‘group’ gifts from their friends and experience gifts from us (parents and extended family.) fullsizeoutput_5b42

Experience gifts are a wonderful way to share special family time and make precious memories.

A few suggested experience gifts for you and your young (& old) children

So many choices! Great ways to avoid that plastic and the messy bedrooms!!

For our Kittens 6th birthday we (and her grandparents, aunt, uncle & cousins), put our funds together to get her a swim with the dolphins. The Kittens birthday is in September. This week (six months later) she had the chance to redeem her voucher.

Kitten loved the experience and I believe it’s one that she’ll want to have again. She had a wonderful bonding time with her father (who got a swim with the dolphins for Fathers Day.) Our little man also expressed his desire to swim with the dolphins too, he has to wait a couple of years though, until he’s old enough.

Rockingham Wild Encounters
Rockingham Wild Encounters www.rockinghamwildencounters.com.au swim with wild dolphins, penguin & seal island cruises

These photographs are from Rockingham Wild Encounters 

I have used photos from Rockingham Wild Encounters, these photos include my familiy members and the dolpins that they saw on the day. Unfortunaltey when I used the layout app their watermark has been cut off, this is not intentional. 

Memories are magic!

The Kittens Mum