Why Don’t they?

By Georgie Bright Kunkel

Complainers are always asking, “Why don’t they?” and end with whatever they would like someone else to accomplish. We are so used to expecting the corporation or the government or some institution to do things for us that we forget that we as citizens can make things happen by being pro-active. I know we feel very helpless sometimes. We are aware that we have lost a lot of power. Individual citizens used to live in rural areas, growing all their own food. Then it was the weather or the rich supplier or banker that stood in the way of getting our own needs met. We did not rely on corporate marketing to entice us to buy and buy and buy, charging it all on our credit cards.

Global warming was never a hot issue. And if the recent campaign is any barometer of what people worry about we still aren’t concerned about it. We once worried about the dwindling trees on our planet which were in earlier times thought to be a never ending resource. Today few people want to admit that there is global warming. Cataclysmic occurrences that should only happen once in a century are happening with more frequency, however. Scientists already know that the oceans are warming causing changes in our climate. So until even more disasters occur and with more frequency, global warming will be ignored. In the meantime, citizens will donate to disaster relief without believing that our human interference on this planet had anything to do with such a disaster. At the rate we are using natural gas and oil reserves and precious metals we may run out in less than a hundred years. Are we planning for the time when what we depend upon will be depleted? I can visualize a future when we will have to mine the dumps around the world to reclaim the raw materials that have been thrown away.

Just the other day I bought a can of whipped cream which lasted through about eight or ten dessert toppings after which the can was disposed of. I wondered how long we can live with everything coming in plastic and aluminum and cardboard which must be recycled or dumped. Seattle has done its share in recycling but the waste of materials in marketing each product is costing the consumer a good deal.

My mother carried a container to the store and dipped pickles, peanut butter and such from a barrel. We canned our own jam and vegetables and saved the jars to use again and again. We bought cloth to make our own clothes. We created our own party favors and invitations. I admire people in the city who manage urban gardens so they can eat vegetables close to home instead of paying for trucking it all from hundreds of miles away. You have already read what I wrote about my niece and her husband who are truckers. One time they loaded up their truck with toilet tissue and drove it to New York where they emptied it out and loaded it up with another brand of toilet tissue to bring back to the Seattle area. My niece jokingly said, “Pity that people can’t wipe with tissue produced closer to home.”

Maybe someday I will even find a use for the umpteen computer cords that I can’t bear to throw away. Until I do find a use, I will remember what is most important in my life—my human connection with family and friends. And I won’t ask, “Why don’t they?”

I will do my one person thing to make needed change happen.

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at gnkunkel@comcast.net or 206-935-8663.

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