Chewing toothpaste

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Hanging laundry Photo by Sally Yamasaki

By Sally Yamasaki

I’m not a climate scientist. I am just a Lake Forest Park community member who sees our skies filled with smoke, our glaciers melting, and our storms becoming more abundant and fierce, all while the climate clock in NY gives our Earth a seven year deadline for us to meet. 

It felt overwhelming; however, I had to do something. That led me to do what I could control in my life. 

I started out hanging up my clothes outside to dry. Then, I started thinking about reducing plastic by washing out and reusing my plastic bags, which then led to trying to decide if I should use bamboo toilet paper or recycled toilet paper finding one is softer than the other, figuring out which LED light bulb to try, and most recently, trying the new chewable toothpaste tablets. 

All of these little things I was doing, made me wonder at night while in bed, if it was at all making a difference.
However, a curious thing began to happen.
As those little manageable steps began to feel normal, I began to look a little further ahead in my daily steps and began to find hope.
I found that people like me were meeting in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, Kirkland, Woodinville and other places all around to learn and take steps collectively. They called themselves People for Climate Action (PCA).
I also found that the City of Shoreline offered a free seven-week climate change education series and learned in their first Climate 101 class just how small and thus vulnerable our atmosphere is.
The speaker, Renee Akino Ostrem, asked, “If you took your car and pointed it up, going 60 miles an hour, how long would it take you to reach the end of our atmosphere?” I have to admit, I was shocked that the extent of our atmosphere, the area that holds our oxygen to breathe, would only be the distance of about an hour drive away—a much shorter distance than a drive to Bellingham!

I am slowly beginning to participate in some of these groups and as I do, I am finding that my actions can be more than just a mere hope and in fact, that although we are in a crisis, if we work together we are not powerless in this global threat.


Unknown October 3, 2020 at 8:55 PM  

Great..I am forwarding to my son and daughter in law..thankfully they are way ahead of us oldsters..we all need to learn for the next generations

Seattle SID October 4, 2020 at 12:01 PM  

Excellent post!

I have washed and reused plastic bags for years! We are not alone!!! In winter, I dry clothes in the basement (hooks on the beams of wood above my head).
Thank you for the link to other like-minded climate action peeps!

Anonymous,  October 5, 2020 at 9:27 AM  

So she consumed a finite and precious natural commodity (clean water) to clean her plastic bags? That seems to be in direct conflict with her position. Her LED light bulb take vast quantities of minerals, chemicals, metals and energy just to create and ship from China. Her chewable toothpaste also consumes valuable resources (water, energy) to produce and ship to her.

a friend of Chubby's October 14, 2020 at 12:43 PM  

Water is very precious. In Lake Forest Park, what's more we still are able to get water from deep wells and springs with no needed chemicals to make it potable. - Natural water. The Lake Forest Park Water District has a citizen's committee of people who help to educate and protect the precious resource. It would be great if you wanted to join them. On another note, I wash my bags outside and water the plants at the same time. Thank you for your concern.

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