Monday, May 21, 2007

Recycled Plastic Bags

According to statistics at Reusable Bags.Com:

Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.

Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.

As part of Clean Up Australia Day, in one day nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.

Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.

According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78° North [latitude] to Falklands 51° South [latitude].

Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.

What a wonderful way to put our crochet skills to work for the earth by crocheting all the plastic grocery bags into a tote bag for, well, groceries etc.

San Francisco is the first city to ban the use of plastic grocery bags and this kind of crafting will definitely help out. I think I will buy a bag or two from Craftykathi and take them to our local Farmer's Market, so I can stuff the produce in there, without having to bag them in plastic.

The bag is easy to clean and will last for many years. Of course, it will save landfill and maybe ocean-floor or beach space because the plastic bags will not float around as trash.

The other bag I found interesting was the Eco-Organic bag for $6.95.

While we're in the subject of recycled bags, I found a couple more interesting one. There's Ecoist--they make the most colorful bags out of candy wrappers.

A Philippine women's coop makes totes from discarded Doy/Juice packs. And many more reusable bag ideas at

Oh, and if you want to crochet your own grocery tote bag out of yarn to rid yourself of the plastic grocery bags, there's a pattern that looks simple at Crochet Me that you would like to try.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Amma--the embrace of a mother

In Malayalam, Amma's native language, the name Amma means "mother" -- an apt name for the woman revered as a holy being.

I came across the Nightline coverage of Amma--dubbed the "Miracle Hug Lady," or the "Hugging Saint."

In the south of India lives a woman who has dedicated her life to helping others. Amma began her hugging sessions in India. Today, she travels the world to spread her message of peace, coming to the United States twice a year. ABC News met her at her bucolic ranch in Northern California.

Born as Sudhamani in 1953 in the Souithern part of India, she spent the years of her childhood and teens immersed in intense spiritual practices in order to present a living example for the world. Even as a small child, she could often be found absorbed in deep meditation, totally oblivious of her surroundings. By the age of 5, she had already begun composing devotional songs laden with deep mystical insight. By age 7, she started doing small charity works.

Amma says her true mission is to care for the poor around the world. Her followers say her charitable organization has helped millions of people, primarily in her home country of India. Her group has also committed $23 million for victims of the 2004 South Asian tsunami. She raises money selling books, tapes, and even her personal effects. Supporters say her charity rakes in $5 million a year in the United States alone.

Still her simple message is to love and serve one another, and most of her time is still spent hugging those in need. she offers a few seconds of unconditional love, of no judgement, of comfort--in a loving embrace--most of the people break down and cry.

Hug your children, ask them how they are. Giggle with them at bedtime and ask them silly questions. Caress their hair when they are talking, stroke their backs, stroke their cheeks when they are asking you a question. It is sad that people don't feel loved and that they lack hugging. A hug is free and it is easy to give.

Hug a friend, your spouse, your parents, grandparents--hold it a bit longer and tighter than usual. don't ask for anything in return.

Let's try to give hugs freely so enough can go around the world. Help make the world a more loving place so people won't have to line up many hours for a hug and break down and cry when they get it.

Happy Mother's Day!