After 1,500 miles of biking across the Baja peninsula, swimming in the Pacific Ocean and sea of Cortez, listening to humpback whales signing underwater and countless other amazing experiences I am back in New Mexico playing in the dirt and tending to plants on the farm. It was a bit of a shock diving back into real life but it does feel good to get my hands back in the ground. The sense of freedom while on a bike tour is second to none for me, the simplicity of life while living on my bike is incredible.
Jumping straight back into the fast pace of life on the farm was a bit overwhelming and stressful for me, very different from the freedom of exploring by bicycle. I have also been dealing with some bouts of sadness about the state of our world and the millions of animals suffering everyday, enslaved in a broken food system that is destroying the earth and the life that it sustains. I do know that if there is hope it must come in the form of personal change.
A big issue we came face to face with during his ride was our “throw away” culture and the effects plastic packaging and trash can have on our environment. Burning trash is the preferred method of “dealing” with garbage in Baja, which made spotting towns easy ( just follow the smell of burning plastic), but obviously not the most environmentally friendly. Here in the states we just sweep our dirty secret under the rug by creating landfills which is hidden but still not the best solution. Carrie and I choose to put our trash into bottles to build with, (check out our page on Ecobricks if you haven’t yet). This seems better than the above options but is still a reminder for me of how far I still have to go in terms of packaging I buy and need to deal with.
Last month we tried to cut back on packaging and keep track of all our trash. We were both able to fit all our trash into one “Eco brick” and this is what went inside; 94 produce stickers, vegan cheese wrapper, tofu wrapper, plastic Windows from envelopes, piece of stocking for grease and particle filter,rubber piece from water filter, plastic wrap on cap of olive oil, Aditya cheese package, 3 energy bar wrappers, tea bag wrapper from a visiting friend, 1 chip bag, styrofoam seal from lid of mustard. While biking in Baja we filled 5 Eco bricks but it wasn’t practical for us to Eco brick every piece of trash because of the sheer amount of packaged foods we needed to buy. It was interesting to ride our bikes through a burning dump while carrying our trash with us the entire ride, but it does feel good that it will eventually be used to build something rather than ending up in a landfill or poisoning the air with smoke.
I’m sure you all have seen the effects of packaging and trash all over, it seems there are no area on Earth untouched from the waste we create. If you have any creative ideas about dealing with waste or on how to create less let me know in the comments.