Monday, April 23, 2018

Shopping Bag

Yesterday, a local grocery chain was giving away a free reusable (made from recycled materials) environmentally friendly grocery bag with a purchase. I needed salt. So for .49 cents, I got a free bag. Usually, the large shopping bag costs $1.50. It was lovely and vibrant and so colorful! I liked it a lot. It was a limited time promotional item with limited stock on hand.

But as I was standing in line, I was shocked to hear the people in front of me wondering out loud, "Why are they giving away free bags today?"

A few guessed that maybe it was some sort of promotion or the store had too much stock they were getting rid of. I had to speak up: "Today is Earth Day. It's the store's way of reminding us to reduce, reuse, and recycle."

That got a few nods and I could see the light bulb go off in several people's heads. But a few still looked blanked, and that really surprised me! Are they really that ignorant of the significance of this day?

So I explained, "April 22 is designated Earth Day. It is a day dedicated to remind us of the importance of Earth, and we need to keep it clean, safe, and protected. Because it's the only home we have, the only planet we live on. If we ruin it, we ruin ourselves and destroy the only place our children can live."

And that finally got the rest of them to understand what the significance of the day was. At the very least, I hope they walk away thinking about how they affect our world, and how the world affects us.

We only have one planet we can live on. Earth is our home. And Earth is a beautiful, unique, and amazing world.


Let's do a better job of taking care of it. Because the truth is, life will go on, with or without humans. Just as other life forms have come and gone and were wiped out by changes in the environment. Let us stop polluting and ravaging the planet. Because honestly, we only poison and kill ourselves everytime we create hazardous wastes and pollute our world.

Life will go on. But humanity has no guarantee of survival and can only live on this one planet. Ruin it and we destroy ourselves.

Earth is our home. Let's keep it clean and make it a healthy, nurturing, and diverse place to live. Our Earth is a gorgeous and wondrous world.

You know what else is beautiful and precious? My free shopping bag. Its splendid artwork reminded me of Marc Chagall's whimsy and vibrancy, and it calls to mind Georges Seurat's charm and exquisite, alluring perspective.

Marc Chagall, Carmen (1967)

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884)

Today, we bid farewell to one of our coworkers transferring to another branch. He got a well deserved promotion. I made a pound cake and blueberry cupcakes to celebrate his time with us and congratulate him on his move. Those were all eaten up within fifteen minutes by coworkers.

I also got him some candy and made 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies (his fave) as a parting gift, along with a toy solar powered windmill, a reminder of how he enjoys vacationing in The Netherlands. I had put them in a gift bag.

I like him. He is a very valuable, productive contributor on team projects, and I wholeheartedly recommended (and encouraged) him to take the opportunity when it opened. He was always cordial, professional, and we had fun in and out of the office with him. He is a good friend, a rare kind, as I keep my work and personal lives separate. I was happy for him to make the move up (and out of the state) to bigger and better things. The new location was in his home state, so he'd be closer to his family, too.

This weekend, our friends and I plan to help him pack all his stuff in a container that will be transported to his new location. Then we're going to party with him. He has three weeks off before reporting to his new job. Next weekend is the big luau send off party we've planned for him. As today was his last official day at the office with us, my dept and I had a big Thank you, Congratulations, and Best Wishes party at work for him. He will be missed.

But before I handed over his gift, I heard him say wistfully how they ran out of the promotional Earth Day bags while he was standing in line at the grocery store. He really liked the new design and colors and amazing artwork. But the store was out of stock of the limited promotional item. And he would be gone by the time the store gets in new stock.

So I went to my car, took my brand new fantastic reusable shopping bag, and swapped it with the gift bag I had gotten to hold his gifts. He loved the candy and the cookies. The windmill made us all laugh. But he was really taken aback that he had gotten the shopping bag he wanted. And seeing him smile and happy made me feel good.

If you ever get the opportunity to make someone you care about happy, then do it. And if it helps spread the message and do a little bit to keep the Earth clean and protected, then go for it. Make every day count. Make the world a better place. Small acts matter, because they have a big impact.