This is Victoria Day weekend in Canada -- a three day holiday -- and today is the official start of summer here in Vancouver. Kitsilano Pool opens, it's the first day of camping and boating season, and everyone here in Kitsilano pulls their Birkenstocks out of mothballs. In order to actually be a resident of Kitsilano, it's de rigueur to own a pair of Birkenstocks. In fact, they don't let you let you live here if you don't own a pair. And yes, I have a pair of Birkenstocks.
I remember just a few years ago getting sunburnt to a crisp every Victoria Day weekend. When I was growing up on Vancouver Island, (and no, it was not that long ago -- the dinosaurs had long since perished) we had already been swimming outdoors for several weeks before the arrival of Victoria Day weekend. I would rush home from school, jump into my bathing suit, and go swimming with my friends in the swimming hole at Kitsuksis Creek. The banks of the river were lined with blue shale, and we would slide down the shale into the water. The water had warmed up enough by that point that none of us suffered from hypothermia. In just a few short years, the climate has changed significantly enough that folks can't do that anymore. It's c-o-l-d.
Sometimes I wonder what we can do to change the damage that has been done. How can we fix the problem? We have become accustomed to so many things in the past couple of decades -- every family has two cars, mostly out of necessity. Everything we use is wrapped, packaged and sold in plastic. Everything is made with plastic. We use plastic every day, without even thinking about it. It's rare to see natural products anymore because plastic is durable. I was sitting in a food court yesterday, looking around, and I saw that everything was made of plastic -- the tables and chairs, drink containers, knives, forks and spoons, the signage, trays, garbage cans, (even most of the food *heh*) -- plastic everywhere.
Does anyone remember Dustin Hoffman (Ben) in "The Graduate"? He is at a cocktail party, and a businessman by the name of Mr. McGuire takes Ben aside...
“I just want to say one word to you ... just one word." says Mr. McGuire
"Are you listening?"--Mr.McGuire
"Yes, sir. I am."--Ben
I am going to try to get back to using natural products as much as possible -- wood, paper (trees are a renewable resource and paper is recyclable), cotton, wool, silk. Thank goodness I am allergic to polyester clothing (polyethylene terephthalate), but I did not realize until just recently that most polyesters are not biodegradable. Perhaps the genie is already out of the bottle, but I certainly hope not.