Ecological Footprint from a Wheelchair

Who we are has nothing to do with our mode of transportation (wheelchair, Volkswagen or Rolls Royce), designer clothes, profession, or annual income; but everything to do with our passion and positive contribution to the world.

One of my passions is nature and our earth’s preservation. They not only allow me the rapture of their beauty, but life-sustaining food and oxygen. Directly and indirectly, their quality is up to us.

As for my ecological footprint, I’m considered fanatical by some. Before I was sixteen, I remember turning the water off while brushing my teeth and washing my face or hands. It seemed such an unconscionable waste. Even now I wash both in cold water, and when waiting for the water to warm up for hand-washing dishes, I collect the cold in a watering container to bathe my flowers in-between showers. FYI: Rolling from a wheelchair requires no more from nature than walking. It’s not our physical capabilities or disabilities that determineapathy–lack of consciousness and appreciation–for life sustaining earth that . Are you?

I use only natural cleaning products and no chemicals on my yard or gardens. I have w-a-y too much wildlife to risk their health, although I do have pest control spray around my windows and doors every other month. Occasionally even then, during extended rainy seasons, industrious ants find their way inside.

My cat litter, WBCL (World’s Best Cat Litter), is recyclable, made from corn. What gets scooped, I scatter in my wood as fertilizer. The trees clap their branches and whisper their thanks.

Another reason trees thank me: I don’t buy paper towels, paper napkins, or paper products. I recycle paper bags as gift wrapping, as I do other’s gift wrappings to me. Although I use a set of washable, environmentally friendly bags for grocery shopping, when I run low on my large paper bags to contain my recyclable “mixed papers”, I request paper bags at my grocer.

I do not use plastic baggies, plastic utensils or plastic containers. I DO break a lot of my glass containers, but they’re recyclable!

Concerning carbon dioxide emissions, I plan errands around my (or my helper’s) location in town. Whatever I need (or think I need) from across town takes second fiddle—it waits. Fortunately, I live in a small town where everything lies in close proximity.

Within two-and-a-half miles of my home are my bank, dentist, doctor, gas station (Shell’s American gas, not exported; although gas mileage isn’t an issue. My office is only nineteen push wheels from my kitchen.), grocery, hospital, farmer’s market (locally grown), favorite fast food, favorite restaurant, and health food store (all three organic), office supply store where I purchase recycled paper and recycle it, recycling drop-off, and veterinarian. The cherry on top is: my hair stylist is within shouting distance—directly across the street!

As for methane, I own no cattle or swamps.

As for chlorofluorocarbons, out of necessity I do use one aerosol for the occasional lube job—to keep my wheelchair from locking up.

Yes, you could say that I live in a bubble. But, it allows me to breathe deeply, and guilt-free.

FYI: Rolling through life from a wheelchair requires no more from nature than walking. It’s not our physical capabilities or disabilities that determine the size of our “footprint.” It’s a mental disability of apathy (or honest ignorance): lack of consciousness and appreciation for our life-sustaining earth and her homies. Please educate yourself.

As Oprah quotes Maya Angelo, “When you know better, you do better.”

Might you consider changing one of your indulgencies, for the world’s sake?


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