Sunday, October 2, 2011

New perspectives: Speak up!

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Some days I have the motivation to run a marathon (figuratively speaking), write tons of posts and talk to enough people to keep the idea going and have them inspire me in return. But since we're all human, that feeling can't always last forever without any interruptions. There are days that get you a little down and feel a little blue about the current state of things. Of course, this is a reality we deal with every day and it's ok to feel like that, so long as you don't let that feeling distract you for too long.

I'll give you an example. A few weeks ago, I ordered some stainless steel straws from My mom and dad brought them over from Canada because I saw them 2 weeks ago and I was really excited to receive my order of straws (along with some really great non-plastic food storage containers) as well as see my parents! I'm not proud to say, my straws are still packaged and sitting on my table...(I'll go unwrap them now!)

A little bit of packaging waste, but in my opinion, worth it to save all those future straws.

I eyed the box yesterday before going out to dinner but for some reason, I didn't take it with me. Once at the restaurant, I realized that I wanted a drink and I knew it would come with a straw. So instead of resisting the urge to get the Mango Lassi (it's an indian yoghurt drink I love), I asked for it without a straw. Of course, as I expected, it came with a straw anyway. I was quite annoyed and disappointed but not just at the restaurant, but at myself too. Why didn't I bring my own straw with me to put on the table and say "Hey look, I don't need a straw!" But that'll be for next time... next time I won't feel defeated and I'll work out what and how to say it, so that my requests are proparly attended too.

And if everyone were to make these comments, especially in restaurants, grocery stores, cafes, business websites, meet-and-greets, etc. we would all be working together in changing people's perceptions of reducing waste and improving sustainable practices. So my challenge to you is: Speak up!

When a store doesn't sell a product you want without plastic, tell them.
When a restaurant insists on serving you something in a plastic cup or with disposable utensils, point this out. If they refuse to accomodate you, take your business elsewhere. We've all been taught that "The customer is always right" so why not use it to our advantage? Realize that there are many people out there who are concerned about these things and businesses don't want to lose customers so the least we can do is let them know what we don't agree with and if so, why we are taking our business elsewhere.

The more people there are speaking up, the more manageable the situation is. Or at least, that's one of the many ideas that helps get me out of that blue mood and into something a bit more flattering.


  1. Da Irina,

    Ai dreptate, trebuie sa spui. La fel cum trebuie recunoscut ca numai daca spun suficient de multi oameni acelasi lucru se poate schimba ceva. Si daca se ajunge la o voce colectiva e un lucru mare. Altfel, de unul singur sansele de a schimba ceva in comportamentul considerat normal sunt mici sau inexistente. De unul singur nu ai decat solutia sa mergi in locurile in care nu se serveste in recipiente de plastic sau in care, atunci cand spui in mod special ceva iti e ascultata vocea. Dar nu e usor. Succes. C.Laptoiu

  2. E adevarat, si poate putin cu putin, pot spune mai multi ce vor, cu speranta ca impreuna vom schimba ceva.
    Nu putem castiga pe toate fronturile, dar macar sa putem spune ca am incercat ;)

  3. Irina, You are so right. You would also be surprised at how few voices need to speak up to be heard. That is why there are things in laws and society where people say, "now how did that happen". It was actually the voices of the few. It doesn't take many times before something sticks with someone as being important. Let's say a restaurant has approximately 100 visitors a day and most come and go quietly without complaints or suggestions, but then they hear from 3-5 customers a day that they want a particular change. Even though it is only a small percentage of people who come there the owner of the store will begin to see the importance of this change and will most likely act in order to please his/her customers.
    It is equally important to express to companies and government officials what you like about what they are doing so it is not changed by the few :-)

  4. Great comment Donna! You're an inspiration :D