9 Less-Waste Goals for 2019

9 Less-Waste Goals for 2019

“Waste” is an anomaly. There is no away in creation; humans are the only species to think up such a thing.

Going zero-waste is an overarching direction in the Coyle-Carr household. We have been working toward sending less to the landfill and decreasing our need for recycling for several years, learning all sorts of creative skills, tips, and crafts along the way.

But as I explored in a recent post, a life that makes “zero” waste in the society in which I live is impossible, which can be disappointing and discouraging if individualistic perfection is what we are after. In the journey toward ecological well-being I have found that perfection is not helpful. Further, it ain’t even the goal.

I want to make less waste and more life!

The goal is to love. And love is the long labor of a lifetime.

Here are some specific ways I hope to press on in love this year.

"Zero" Waste?

"Zero" Waste?

I am shifting away from using the phrase “zero-waste” exclusively because the more I venture toward a holistically integrated life of love the more I realize how “zero” waste is impossible.

Zero-Waste as a movement is a powerful instrument of good. The movement invites and challenges folks to reconsider mainline consumerism as the only way of living. Specifically, Zero-Wasters want to empower folks to put down the fiscally cheap, but environmentally costly plastic and invest in the well-being of the whole earth community. Instead of only Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, we want to live into the truth as nature tells it: there is no away.

Creation in its natural state does not make waste—every single molecule of matter is, rather, transformed from one useful state to the next in order create and sustain more diverse and varied forms of life.

Poop, for instance, is not a toxic problem in nature. Instead it is a biofuel and a fertilizer. Notice the language there—what first-world people have been conditioned to consider the epitome of “waste,” nature sees and names Nourishment and Fertility.

How We'll Christmas the 12 Days Through

How We'll Christmas the 12 Days Through

I woke up this morning in a bit of a funk. I felt aimless and overwhelmed at the same time. It’s still Christmas, but the “big stuff” is over.

Our big Carolina Christmas tour de family wrapped up on Christmas Eve, our church sang Joy to the World to the top of its lungs to welcome the holiday that night, and then we got to host the Carr Family Christmas for the very first time in our home on Christmas Day.

All the shopping, wrapping, prepping, and planning is done.

And yet Christmas is here. Christmas is still here, and as I type there are 10 more days of it stretching out in front of me.

How do we celebrate and revel in this holy hootenanny of a festival when the world’s moved on? I believe there is more to Christmas than opening presents and feeling nostalgic, but how do I live that out?

Well, I’ve been thinking and here’s where I’m at.

Mighty Stirring: Not the Salvation We Choose

Mighty Stirring: Not the Salvation We Choose

Stir Up Sunday should be featured on an episode of The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass (please tell me you’ve seen these; Aaron and I are obsessed).

On the last Sunday of the church year traditional liturgy rises in a cognate with Psalm 80:2: “Excita, quæsumus, Domine…,” “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord…” While hailing the divine, this liturgical invocation has also summoned many a British homemaker, cook, and baker to stir up their Christmas pudding so that it has time to mature before the big day.

I find the tradition charming and have embraced the fun injunction this Advent season through Sunday bakeathons.

But that phrase, excita , has stuck with me. Three out of the four Advent Sundays also begin with excita, calling congregations deep into the active wait for Christ.

When the invitation is made to God, however, as it is in today’s psalm, the question haunts me. What does it mean to say, “Stir up thy might, O God”?

What does God’s might look like? What am I really asking?

Why I Shave Ritually, Not Religiously

Why I Shave Ritually, Not Religiously

A year ago this week I shaved my legs for the first time in two years.

"’Bout time you shaved them hairy legs, ain't it?"

We were in a Chikfila parking lot, my dad and I. I remember.

He held some sway, for I started shaving that weekend.

I had been wanting to shave my legs. The older girls at church did it, so the idea held a special glow. There are few coming of age markers for girls and I craved one, needing something to announce my place on the cusp of young womanhood.

My mom had held me off a while. Perhaps she wanted to preserve my childhood. Perhaps she wanted a watershed experience for me, too, and maybe did not know how to give it. Perhaps it is difficult to watch your daughter grow up.

Regardless, at his words I got what I wanted. But it was not special. I remember feeling that I had been shunted to the bathtub to do the deed, isolated there with the shaving cream and the blue Venus razor.

I knew even then that I had gotten what I wanted at the cost of something dear.

The awareness still raises the fuzz on the back of my arms. The first rule of patriarchy is this: You can have what you want on our terms.

This time the cost was body-confidence. Evidently there was something wrong with my legs without shaving. Something was wrong with me. My body was wrong.

This is the way of patriarchy. Get what you want, but only if you feel bad about it. Sure, have it, it croons, because otherwise you are deficient and gross.