The simple life
I was reminded this weekend to appreciate the simple things in my life. My wife and I made a short weekend trip to Colorado to help my folks for a few days. Since we would be closer to a larger city than we usually are, we took the opportunity to go to some stores that we don’t have here in western Nebraska. While I am thankful there are big places that allow for one stop shopping, I am even more thankful for my little town and the slower pace of life. The big city and some recent legislation in my former state got me to thinking about a few things, and where we are as a society these days.
All the buzz about Colorado right now is about how stores are forced to charge for plastic bags, and apparently eggs taste different from chickens who live a certain lifestyle. I couldn’t help but snicker a little at the logic behind all of this. Bring your own bags to the store or be charged a dime to buy a plastic one. This little charge is going to save the planet! Sure it is, because in the produce department they provide plastic bags for your produce. The loaves of bread come in a plastic bag, and you can buy plastic bags by the box to sack up your garbage and throw it in the landfill. I’m sure glad they did away with the scary paper bags that doubled as a trash sack, book covers for school books, and a multitude of other things.
The whole experience was enough to make a person’s blood pressure sky rocket! People packed elbow to elbow lining the isles looking for their grocery list, cars honking, hand gestures flying, and not any manners to be seen. Whatever happened to being courteous, waiting your turn and living within our means? We have become a very needy, and greedy society. We think that legislation is key to saving our planet for future generations, when in fact simple common sense will go so much farther. Don’t believe me? Lets take a little trip back in time. Milk, pop, and almost every other consumable liquid was packaged in glass bottles. You could return those bottles for a deposit, and they would be cleaned and refilled to be used again! Meats and sausages were wrapped in butcher paper to keep them fresh. Groceries were sacked in paper bags or cardboard boxes to be carried home. We have opted for plastic to be the go-to for wrapping and packaging. Cheap, easy and disposable. Use things once then let them live forever in a landfill.
At the risk of stepping on someone’s toes, I simply ask people to think about things. When we quit living in a disposable world and remember that with a little maintenance and effort things can be reused, we can make a better world for ourselves and future generations. Put this into a ranching scenario. Good tight barbed wire fences will stand for decades with proper care and maintaining, but if neglected, they deteriorate at a fast rate. You don’t wear clothes one time and then throw them away, so why would you expect everything around you to be one time use?
I am not saying that I agree with a tax on grocery sacks, to be honest I think it is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of. Bring back paper bags, provide incentives to recycle and reuse certain things, and for goodness sakes have some manners and courtesy when out in public. That’s all for this time, resist the urge to take a hot shot with you into the grocery store and keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire. God Bless!
Meinzer is a fourth-generation rancher raised on the southeastern plains of Colorado. He and his family live and ranch in Oshkosh, Neb.