I didn’t know Lonesome George. In fact, until I read of his passing, I hadn’t even heard of Lonesome George, but somehow it still made me a bit sad. It wasn’t that he didn’t live a full life, he was over 100 years old after all, and I don’t think he lived a hard life, his home was an island paradise after all…it’s just that he was the last of his kind. Literally. You see, Lonesome George was the last of the Pinta Island tortoises who called the Galapagos Islands home. That’s it. No more. Extinct.

Now species go extinct all the time…take the un-jaded Toronto Maple Leaf fan for example…haven’t seen on of those in years (side note to NHL – don’t…just don’t)…but more and more it seems like us people, with our opposable thumbs and adaptable brains are playing a larger role in extinctions.

It’s (hopefully) not that people are going out and extincting other species, it’s just that we use a lot of stuff, often without really thinking about where that stuff’s come from, or where it goes when we’re done with it…and making and disposing of stuff uses up things on our planet that are good for us and other species (clean air, water, food and space for clean air, water and food) and adds things to our planet that are not good for us and other species (pollution, parking lots and NHL contract negotiations) in amounts that our planet sometimes has a hard time recovering from. Now don’t get me wrong…I don’t have anything against stuff per se, stuff is good…we need stuff, it’s just that the wasting of stuff has me a bit concerned.

It didn’t help that the day after learning about Lonesome George I read an article on how people in Britain throw out $142 million (million) worth of clothing each year after only having worn it once. Granted, I’ll never be accused of being an Energy & Environment fashionista, and I’ve heard rumours that fashion changes with the seasons, but $142 million in single use clothing…that’s a lot of wasted stuff.

Are the Brits more fashionable than others? Does wearing something once mean keeping on the same pair of knickers for six months until they’re worn out? Was Lonesome George overcome by an avalanche of single use clothing? Somehow, I think not but, in my never ending quest to frame things environmental in medical speak, $142 million of once used garbage clothes is a symptom. A symptom of what? I’ll leave that for you to decide (cop-out, I know), but instead I’ll give you…

Take Five Symptom Relievers and Call Me In The Morning

  1. Learn about stuff – conveniently in awesome “Story of Stuff” movie form at www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff/.
  2. Learn about changing our attitudes on stuff – conveniently in awesome “Story of Change” movie form at www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-change/.
  3. Change – start small…bring a coffee cup, print less, join UHN’s Green Team, go for a walk instead of watching the Leafs.
  4. Wear your clothes more than once.
  5. Change – dream big.

Stuffily yours,