Sunday, September 7, 2008


As you may have gleaned form the odd assortment of trash & recycling from this weekend, my wife and I took the girls camping.  This is a twice yearly event for us with a large group of really cool, slightly eclectic, and ever growing set of folks who have been kind enough to include us in there bi-yearly outings.

I really love camping for a lot of reasons.  There's the smell of course, campfires, the fresh air coming off the ocean, and the general two day funk that one gets from kicking up dust clouds all day every time you take a step.  There's the wildlife - our friend Bob caught a frog, a coyote pup serenaded us for a few good hours last night, and my youngest caught a stink bug and proceeded to show it to EVERYONE who would look.  The camaraderie is of course great as everyone sort of shares what they have and then, after the kids settle down, the adults all gather around the campfire to sing songs that really are as bad as they seem, but now, 20 years after they were hits, they seem much better (the beer helps a little too - Macarthur Park as a squeezebox/guitar arrangement anyone?).  And of course, there's getting to sleep in the tent with Biscuit which brings me full circle back to the smell, but I'll leave that one alone for now.

This trip however, I discovered something entirely new and altogether amazing, at least for me.  I hadn't seen a number of these folks for a year since the last trip was when i was home with my Dad's accident, so of course, the subject of 365 came up.  As i explained what i was doing over and over (i don't mean that to sound tedious as I actually enjoy explaining it to see peoples reactions and thoughts) I was struck by an interesting and altogether enlightening concept.

Here we were north of Malibu camping and we were packing up to leave.  Now i've always been taught that as a good steward of a campsite, you need to leave it in the state you found it, pack out what you pack in, and generally be responsible for all of your waste stream and impact on the site so as to leave no imprint.  And it suddenly occurred to me that this in essence is a microcosm of sustainability, or at least one facet of it.  Here were all these various and sundry people - government employees, stay at home moms, visual effects artists, kids, rock climbers, actors, photographers, filmakers, opera singers, stage combat veterans, and even a trash hoarder and his awesome dog, and they were all, in this little microcosmic setting, abiding by the rules that we should all be doing with our entire lives.  They were packing out what they packed in, to a point anyway.  How cool would it be if this was how we all lived our lives on a grand scale.  It's really William McDonoughs Cradle to Cradle in a nutshell - you show up on this planet with nothing, use what you need while you are here, but use it in a way that it leaves no negative imprint when you are gone, leave nothing behind. A bit stark I'll grant you, but interesting nonetheless.

I honestly don't really know where this goes from there, and wish that it had left me with some big "aha, I get it moment".  Perhaps some of the folks who were camping will add something i may have missed.  Nonetheless, it was fascinating to think that there are areas of our lives where the rules do apply as they should.  Perhaps we just need to look at them a little farther and take them into our daily routines.

Food for thought...



No comments: