Monday, March 23, 2009

Where in the World is Terra? -- Traveling for her book, Travelogue 3

I wanted to mention a few more things about my Miami trip last week. Joe Carter, one of the anchor's on "Today in South Florida," says he and his girlfriend are die-hard recyclers. I say die-hard because they don't have a recycling bin at their apartment complex, so they have to save all of it at home, package it up, and drive it to a recycling bin. Talk about dedication!

That makes me wonder how many more apartment complexes or condo communities don't have a recycling bin on the property for their residents. I'm counting my blessings that I live in such a progressive city. The only thing lacking in where I live is curbside compost pickup, though in some communities in San Francisco they have that as the way of the future. However, even if there was curbside compost pickup, I'd still do my backyard composting because it saves my municipality money, probably would save me on pickup charges, and I get to use the completed compost to enrich my landscape and fruit tree -- yes, I have just one fruit tree right now. I want to redo my backyard landscape and either add another citrus tree or have a very small garden -- we bought this home in late 2008, so it will be an ongoing project.

One thing that really was alarming in the Miami airport was this trend of wrapping luggage in plastic. In several airports on my book tour I've seen luggage in the baggage areas wrapped in yards of plastic and thought maybe the luggage had broke and so that was the way people's bags were being held together. But no! This is something people opt into as a security and damage-prevention measure and pay for it. The plastic is heavy duty (most likely PVC plastic) and shrink wrapped onto the luggage in many layers using a machine that winds the plastic around the luggage for about $6.00.

We don't need to use anymore plastic, especially the disposable kind while traveling which is probably rarely recycled. Ugh! If someone wants to protect their belongings, then spend the same amount of money on an FAA lock that lasts flight after flight. Or if you're just concerned about the suitcase opening up, then spend $10.00 for a reusable "belt" that wraps around your suitcase and also makes the luggage easier for you to identify. I suppose if you're traveling to a country which is known for stealing out of people's luggage, then perhaps you have no other way to protect your belongings. But, the majority of the time, we are not in that situation.

I flew back into Phoenix for the weekend because my sister was having her second reception from her wedding the week prior. Since I flew in from the East, the flight path runs along the Salt River (Rio Salado). The Salt River has undergone a revitalization, of sorts, over the years -- allowing for marshes where birds and other animals can come and get water, rest, and breed.
In my book, The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home, I talk about how we need to revitalize, restore, and rebuild natural places in and around our urban areas -- especially for the birds. Every year, a consortium of wildlife and bird watch organizations put out a State of the Birds report. The 2009 report outlines the "troubling declines of bird populations during the past 40 years—a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems."

One of my cousins at the wedding reception was gungho about my book and was eager to tell me that she has been sewing up cloth napkins for her family to use. You go green girl!

Next stop ... Hartford.

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