Updated: Sep 6, 2020
Are you kidding me! Every store is out of SpaghettiOs and Kraft Mac and Cheese! How will we survive? Does anyone know how to cook? Now may be a good time to learn.
We have witnessed the panic and irrational behavior marked by the great toilet paper shortage. We have all watched or read about the protests and witnessed the endless political bickering and name calling. And, we’ve heard all the arguments for opening businesses and the what, when, where and how of face masks.
Thankfully, we can all turn to the millions of Covid-19 experts on Facebook to get answers. Unfortunately, half of them will be incorrect because they represent a different political party. Seriously though, I’m going to share with you the 5 things you need to know to come out of this pandemic on the green side.
No. 1 - Put your dirty gloves and face masks in a trashcan
It was his third reminder to me, and this time Moose was right on time. I grabbed his harness and collar from the hook next to all the other dog paraphernalia, shoved some poop bags (up-cycled bread bags or whatever) in my pocket and off we went.
The front door to our home is about 50’ from a sidewalk that runs north and south. As we headed out, a breeze caught the screen door and I barely managed to keep it from slamming shut. Our prevailing onshore winds in the evening blow mostly to the north and east, so it’s not uncommon to see leaves and the occasional piece of litter coming from the south. This time the litter blew across the yard and nearly into Moose’s always curious maw? Just then I realized I had been presented with a dilemma; should I pick up this piece of unwanted debris, as I would normally, or play it safe and not risk contact with any contagions it may harbor? I recall thinking, “I hope this thing is unused”, as I bent over to pick up the wandering article. Another face mask!
No. 2 – Recycle all cardboard & paper
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging all Americans to recycle materials from their households and properly dispose of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recycling is not just good for the planet, by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and saving energy, it also supports American manufacturing.
“Right now, there is a critical need for raw materials in the manufacturing supply chain, especially paper and cardboard,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Business closures and limited operations means less recycled material for American manufactures, and we all must do our part to recycle more and recycle right to fill this immediate need.”
Recycled materials are used to make new products as well as the boxes that these and other essential supplies are shipped in for the everyday needs of hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, and American homes. Currently, businesses that normally recycle large amounts of paper and cardboard are not able to do that due to the impacts from the coronavirus health crisis. Because of this, household recycling is more essential than ever.
Americans all over the country are staying home, getting more deliveries in cardboard boxes, eating at home, and generating more material than normal, much of which can be recycled.
No. 3 - Buy hand sanitizer & disinfectants in bulk, recycle what you can
Since I am not a germophobe and my health is good, I have a hard time thinking about or routinely using hand sanitizer. It may also have something to do with my admiration for Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. As an outdoor enthusiast and gardener, I’m no stranger to filthy hands.
Years ago I read an Yvon Chouinard interview in Outside magazine where Yvon was quoted, “You know, I absolutely forbade my children from washing their hands before they ate. Weakens their immune system. You have to learn how to handle germs. I drink from every stream I fish for the same reason.”
Do not be alarmed, I use plenty of it these days, but all that alcohol really dries out my hands. For anyone with dry, calloused hands like me, you know what I’m talking about.
Fortunately, I found an alternative. The virus can be stopped mechanically by using a non-toxic and natural solution with nano-particles, which destabilizes coronavirus. I can buy it in bulk to refill my travel size containers while saving money and reducing my plastic waste, plus keep my hands clean and pain free from alcohol burn.
No. 4 - Don't waste food
The New York Times recently reported, “The world has never faced a hunger emergency like this, experts say. It could double the number of people facing acute hunger to 265 million by the end of this year.”
It is not only important to prevent food waste during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic. In 2015 alone, American wasted 37.6 million tons of food.
When it comes to food security, certain groups are more at risk than others. At most risk are those that are already struggling with hunger, health, and poverty. In addition, many other households are vulnerable to the impact of a severe pandemic because of the way it may affect economic and social systems. Any household that has not taken necessary actions to prepare for a severe pandemic will face greater difficulties in coping with the impacts of spreading disease.
No. 5 – Be kind to people and wildlife
Admittedly, this list could be much longer than 5 ways, but that could make this one seem less important. Being kind doesn’t have to cost anything. You never know how a simple smile, kind word, gesture or action can positively impact a stranger or loved one.
I recently responded to a post in one of my Facebook groups. It was from a young lady who had just separated from her partner. Her birthday was a few days away and she would be spending it in quarantine with just her pup. She was just asking if anyone would be willing to do a drive-by, maybe honk and shout a birthday greeting to her.
As I approached her home, following a small group of honking cars, there she was in the yard with her pup by her side. Her hands covered her face as she balled. I could feel a lump in my throat as she began wiping tears with the palms of her hands. As I rolled closer a smile emerged on her tear-soaked face. She waved as I shouted happy birthday and wiped my own tears.
Being kind to Mother Nature’s critters can be just as satisfying and now is a terrific time to be reminded. While we hunkered down there have been fewer planes in the skies, cars on the roads and ships crossing the seas. This has given wildlife an opportunity to venture back to places they once called home. Much of it is remarkable as conveyed by the wildlife photos on social media, where mountain lions, bears, coyotes and even marine mammals like dolphins and whales are venturing back to places that they once inhabited.
If you’re lucky enough to see wildlife in places that seem unusual give them space and understand that they will likely have a more difficult time venturing back to where they had come from. The vacant streets and highways they crossed while venturing into the cities won’t be so easy to navigate on their return. Some will need to be relocated, because a safe return would be impossible.
The 5 Ways
1. Place your dirty masks and gloves in a trashcan. How hard is that? No, they are not recyclable. If you don’t put them in the trash people like me will start posting photos of birds being strangled by masks and sea lions with rubber gloves spilling out of their bloated bodies.
2. Recycle all that cardboard and paper from your Amazon and other shipments. The EPA recently reported, “Right now, there is a critical need for raw materials in the manufacturing supply chain. Learn how to recycle.
3. Buy hand sanitizer in bulk and refill your personal size containers. If they are recyclable, then recycle them. Let’s not add to our already monumental plastic pollution problem around the globe.
4. Do not waste food. Learn how here.
5. Be kind to people and wildlife. Don't hoard the staples, share, volunteer, don't waste food, listen, learn, be responsible