Plastic bags and other garbage…

Cows in the side yard as we drove down the driveway to the main road.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
“Some Irish surnames begin with “O.” This translates to “grandson of” in Gaelic.”

This morning, we knew we had to drive the long distance to Clifden to shop for groceries. Usually a 45-minute drive, Tom can easily make it in 35 minutes on the narrow winding roads.  

He’s become quite adept at shifting the manual transmission with his left hand and driving on the opposite side of the road from which he was familiar in the US for most of his life. When he intends to use the turn signal, he hits the wipers.  (This is opposite from the US in most cases). Each time he’s done this, we laugh out loud.

Cattle are so busy grazing. They hesitate to look up a photo op.

I wasn’t feeling up to going out. It was drizzling. The skies were grey and, ominous-looking clouds hovered over the sea. Somehow I mustered up the energy, bathed and dressed for the occasion. By 9:38, we were on the road.

Shopping in Clifden is an experience in itself. The streets are busy with shoppers with many cars searching for suitable parking spots. The grocery store, the ever-popular worldwide, SuperValu has an accessible underground parking ramp.  

A Connemara Pony in the pasture down the road.

As is often the case, Tom dropped me off at the ground-level entrance to the big market. Although Clifden is a very tiny town with a population under 1600, farmers and country residents come from all over to shop at the well-stocked store.  

Unlike in some other parts of the world, the grocery stores sell wine, beer, and spirits, and thus, there are few actual liquor stores, although they exist in the larger cities.

Since we arrived almost two months ago, this brown colt seems to be growing up quickly.

Before heading to SuperValu, we stopped to check out the specials at the Aldi supermarket at the edge of town. I’d first visited an Aldi in the US, finding prices good but with many fewer options from which to choose than the many popular grocery stores in Minnesota. We found the same scenario to be the case here in Ireland.

We made a few purchases on competitively priced items, mainly vegetables, and meats and were on our way. We still use our insulated bags when we shop, including the yellow Costco bag we’d purchased in Maui in 2014. It’s held up well along with a few others that have traveled with us all these years.

Recently, we read the following from this site: “Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags in 2002. China, Israel, South Africa, the Netherlands, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritania, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Albania, and Georgia have since implemented similar bans.  New Zealand is the latest country to ban toxic bags.  

At low tide, many inner waterways appear boggy and muddy.

When we’ve seen plastic waste in the oceans (and on land) as we’ve traveled the world, we wonder why it took so long for countries to begin looking at this serious issue. Surely, many of us have watched heartbreaking videos of wildlife encased in fishing lines and various plastic refuse, struggling to survive. 

As nature lovers, this is particularly disturbing for us. Although our contributions are tiny compared to the big picture, we’ve been traveling for 348 weeks, shopping at least once per week but often twice to pick up extra items in between.  

We would have used 15 plastic bags per week, including all shopping trips. We would have used 5220 bags. With over 7 billion people on earth, if only 2 billion shopped and used 15 loads a week during this same period, 10,440,000,000,000 (yep, that’s over 10 trillion) bags would have been used. It’s no wonder the earth is choking from plastic.

This morning’s view across the bay to the Twelve Bens mountains.

Thus, we’ve carried our several reusable and mainly washable bags with us for all these years. As they’ve worn out, we purchased more, preferably cloth, recyclable bags. 

We’re not heroes for doing this. It’s merely a sense of responsibility most of us possess. For us, it’s similar to not throwing trash out the windows of our cars, and yet, people still do this today.

Ah, I could get on my soapbox on this topic and others. But, our intent here is not to preach, not to shame but merely share the nuances of our everyday lives, some of which may include our sense of responsibility.

Be well. Be happy.
                                           Photo from one year ago today, July 5, 2018:
At a 4th of July party at Kathy and Don’s third-floor veranda overlooking the Crocodile River. For more photos, please click here.