Wristbands and ribbons and poppies, denied (Day 260)…

November 15, 2007


Controversial: That’s what this post will be, I’m sure of it. However, at this point in the game, I’m not sure I care anymore. For one, if people get offended, that’s OK by me — everyone’s entitled to his or her beliefs — and for two, because I’m shamelessly desperate for green ideas these days.

So here’s the deal: I’ve never been one to bother wearing pink ribbons, yellow Livestrong wristbands or even poppies on Remembrance Day, and for today’s change I’m simply swearing off all of them for good. Now wait just a sec — this isn’t to say I don’t support meaningful causes; I’ve done my share of walks, runs and bike rides for charity, I donate regularly to organizations like the WWF and Kiva and I made sure to pause and reflect for a few moments at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month.

It just means that I don’t really get the whole marketing scheme of these campaigns. Yes, wearing ribbons, bracelets and poppies raises awareness. But think of all the pins and silk and dyes that have to be manufactured for all those ribbons, the silicone or rubber for all the wristbands, the plastic and felt required for all the poppies — it’s just a bit much, really.

Far better, I think, to actually do some hands-on work for an organization, or donate money without gloating about it, or simply do your best to tell everyone you know how important a certain issue is. I’m all for as much dialogue and media coverage as possible, but unless we’re all reusing our ribbons/wristbands/poppies every single year, I feel like the waste counteracts too much of the well-meaning — not to mention we’ve now gone beyond cancer, AIDS and so on, and are doling out wristbands to just about everyone, including people who don’t like to complain.

Image courtesy of this website

Finally! (Day 238)…

October 24, 2007

Diva Cups

Of all the suggestions people have offered me throughout this challenge, there’s been one that has continued to come up over and over again. It has nothing to do with recycling, or tote bags, or going vegetarian. It’s the Diva Cup. Seriously, at least 50 women have written in recommending this alternative menstrual device (or The Keeper, which is rubber instead of silicone), and since the very first day I’ve been waiting to try it; the problem was, I’d gone off the pill and that time of the month was gradually turning into that time of the century — my progesterone had gone into hibernation, my ovaries had gone on strike, and my little cup was left sitting under the bathroom sink gathering dust.

But finally — FINALLY — the time came, and I was able to test it out. Unfortunately, things started progressing in the middle of the night without any warning cramps, so the whole … um … insertion process was accomplished in a hurried, somnambulant daze. When I woke up the next morning, there was a slight complication (OK boys, really, feel free to stop reading now): The cup got stuck.

Reading through Crunchy’s blog posts on this topic, I’d noticed that she and a few other women felt they needed to trim the little stem, but in my case I would’ve been more than happy to have had a longer one, or at least something that was easier to grab onto. Either way, I remained calm and went over to the troubleshooting page at Diva Cup headquarters, where they explained precisely what to do in this situation. I followed the instructions, and presto, problem solved.

This is definitely something I’m going to continue using. Not only is it easier to manage, far more comfortable and less expensive, but it also reduces all the waste that comes with using disposable feminine hygiene products. As the manufacturers of the Diva Cup point out, over 7 billion tampons and 13 billion sanitary pads, plus all the associated packaging, ends up in landfills and sewage systems every year in the U.S. alone. Sick! Who wants to be part of that statistic?

Not me, and I hope not any of my fellow green chicks.

So here’s the fun part! I’ll be interviewing the mother-daughter duo behind the Diva Cup — Francine and Carinne Chambers, from Kitchener, Ontario — and posting it on Green as a Thistle either this week or next. Feel free to submit any questions you have for them below; whoever has the most original question wins a free Diva Cup!