Thursday, April 15, 2010

View from My Window

by Emilie Oyen

When you live in New York City, and you have two little children and a working husband, and there is no maid nor nanny but just you to wash and clean and wipe and soak and nurture and discard and scrape and return and store and recycle and bottle and burn and bemoan... well, there is a lot of thinking time, and often thoughts drift to terror and fear of the end of nature.

For example, I have been told that food discarded into the trash and sent to a landfill does not necessarily decompose. And I am aware that a massive, two-Texases-sized sludge-y plastic-y landfill exists out in the Pacific Ocean. These two facts haunt me as I clean up after dinner. On certain days, I feel that massive, Texas-sized landfill growing on my mind. Is it because---as the consumer and cleaner for one small family domain---I am aware of our significant consumer role that contributes to this destruction? Is it because, as a mother, I worry for the earth's health beyond my own lifetime? Who knows, but carrying this burden of guilt and fear---combined with my limited actions to address it (farmer's market, reusable grocery bags, recycling)---I've come to regard myself as a "Paralyzed Environmentalist." Full of concern: too scared to do much about it. I suspect there is an entire breed of us.

Alas, one day while I circled my apartment muttering to

myself about bananas that have the audacity to come wrapped in plastic, my brother arrived, smuggling a Bokashi kitchen composter into the pristine environs of Upper East Side. They let you in with that? I asked. He smiled, I leapt! Easy, simple, earthy, and even sort of fun. It takes up a tiny corner in my tiny kitchen, and earns the space it keeps. It lightens our trash; it lightens my burden. I have already become friends with a community gardener who did a backflip when I asked if she would take anaerobic dirt, and who awaits my first delivery. And honestly, carrying out the simple process of mixing food scraps with Bokashi and mushing it into the compost makes me feel connected to the earth----at least in my thoughts.---which is, hopefully, a first step out of paralysis.

(Above photo, member of the future generation; simple indoor compost; brother's beer bottles.)

No comments: