What the next generation will look like without the Mr. McGuires
As a Communications major, I had the good fortune to study many culturally iconic films and one of my all-time favorites was The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman. This amazing movie has one of the most quoted lines of all time. The main character Benjamin is listening to the advice of an older gentleman at a party.
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Plastics! While I adore that movie, I now look at the implications of my favorite line with a new lens. Back then the world was geared to move from sustainable living to a throwaway culture. I grew up in that space. My mom used bleach and ammonia on the linoleum floors and my aunties shellacked their bouffant with clouds of aerosol hairspray. They hosted thrilling (wink-wink) Tupperware parties and warmed our leftovers in plastic wrap.
Many people back then didn’t think much about living sustainably or how these new conveniences would impact future generations. It was a different time for my parents as dishwashers, microwaves and disposable diapers changed the landscape of housework and child-rearing affording them more free time. I’m sure my parents were grateful for the new conveniences so I can’t blame them and honestly, it’s not something I gave thought to until I had my daughter in 1989.
When I was pregnant, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on regarding raising a healthy child. By the time she arrived, I knew that I had to figure out a way to live healthily and sustainably. So, armed with my la leche league friends and a subscription to Mother Jones I set out to make a better life for my kids.
I quickly became known to my redneck family as “the hippie” which was hilarious to me at the time and I proudly accepted the moniker. We sorted our garbage for recycling and pureed our own organic baby food. I even tried cloth diapers but full disclosure after getting soaked on an airplane I did go back to disposables part of the time. The point is that it’s not about being perfect it’s about doing as much as you can to live sustainably. By the time my son was born my home was entirely different than the environment, I grew up in. There was a warmth and glow that just can’t be found in plastics.
The more I replaced petroleum-based products with things like repurposed wood or sustainable bamboo the more our living space became a peaceful haven from our helter-skelter life. I also found that the simplicity of living sustainably lent itself to creativity and mindful purpose. It all begins with one step in the right direction and that one action will lead to another. Before you know it your quality of life will be improved in ways you never imagined. So, while the future may have once been plastics, I’m excited to see that companies like WooBamboo are helping to create a greener and more sustainable future for the next generation.