Happy Earth Day 2009!
In recent years, we have been rethinking how to be good stewards of the planet God has given us to enjoy and care for. We have been making progress in spreading the word to to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Our planet’s resources are finite, and we need to respect and care for the living and non-living. What we do will effect others both now and in the future. Everything is inter-related and connected.
One such movement that’s been spreading the word is Mottainai, an organization started by Wangari Maathai, winner the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work in Africa and founder of The Green Belt Movement.
Many of us now carry our own bags, or reuse plastic bags, or reuse paper shopping bags when we go shopping. It’s wonderful how far we’ve come, but the old plastic bags and the paper bags will eventually need to go into some landfill that will take many years to decompose. Think about the chemicals that will leach into our water and soil. Think about all the trees that were cut down to make the paper bags!
During this Earth Day, I took a workshop with the Japan America Society of Pennsylvania to learn how to use a furoshiki.
A furoshiki is a square piece of clothe that the Japanese have traditionally used to wrap and carry things. The Chinese, Koreans, and Turks have also used such a cloth to wrap and carry things. Each culture has its own version and related customs.
The Japanese use of the furoshiki dates back to the mid-Edo Period (1603-1868). Bathers used it to carry their clothing to the public baths. It was eventually used by merchants to carry goods. In the 1970’s, it use was abandoned for the plastic bag. Today, there is a resurgence in its use as a special wrapping for gifts, to carry items in place of plastic and paper bags, and as a fashion item. It is convenient. When you’re not using it, you just fold it up and put it in your pocket or purse. It is also versatile. It can become a handbag, a shopping bag, and a wrapping for gifts.
And is good for our planet!
Let’s get some cloth, 75 cm. square is a good size or 105 cm. for a larger bag. Express yourself with the pattern and kind of cloth that appeals to you.
Join me in practicing folding and tying! Let’s start wrapping!!
Next time the cashier asks you, Paper or plastic?
Say, furoshiki !
Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom