A little something for the planetJuly 3, 2008 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Change the World, charity knitting, country living, family, free knitting patterns, gifts, knitting, love | 61 Comments
Tags: environment, inspiration, knitting, Life, thoughts
I am so fortunate, and feel so deeply grateful, to live on this beautiful little piece of Earth known as a “farm”. Also, to live in an area where we are surrounded by water, lush wooded areas, banks of rivers overflowing with trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, and filled with swimming glistening fish.
Recently I was thinking about Planet Earth, and thinking of the personification of the planet … Mother Earth. I am a guest on a lovely blue planet named Earth. Earth provides every charm, vista, element, creature, mineral, food, etc. I could possibly ever have a need for … and she does it for billions and billions of people. Day in, day out, year after year.
She circles old Sol at just the right distance and speed to make life here possible … and life in this universe, as it turns out, is not necessarily easy to come by. Certainly the living conditions on dear blue Earth are exceptional. If we were to compare the phenomenally hospitable nature of Earth’s atmosphere and resources to that of say, oh I don’t know Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter–just a small handful of some of her closest neighbors–it would be like comparing the facilities and amenities of the finest five-star hotel ever conceived to, perhaps a suffocating fire pit squashed down by a couple of tons of cement.
Then I look at the guests of Mother Earth … particularly mankind. Sadly, we do leave an awful lot to be desired if you think of us as guests on this very hospitable planet. I am aghast when I review with any amount of sincerity my own wastefulness, and I tend to try not to be wasteful. But, you know how it gets sometimes. Life is frantic, busy, pressing and you slip up here and there, toss things in the garbage that you should have taken a bit of a look at to see whether or not there is a recycle symbol on it — as one example of poor planetary manners.
What if you witnessed a visitor at your mother or grandmother’s place wastefully throwing bits and pieces of things your mother had made (valuable things that could be reused) in a seemingly neat little pile in one corner. And the longer they stayed, the larger the pile grew until it began to intrude into say, your mother’s water supply. Wouldn’t it seem incredibly rude, wouldn’t you hate to see someone you loved, the beautiful home and resources she tended so carefully, treated with such disrespect and disregard.
With all of this weighing on my mind, I thought about Mother Earth and knew that I could be a better guest, a more responsible visitor in a number of ways. One thought occurred to me in particular: I could knit myself a cotton grocery bag. That one reuseable cotton grocery bag would replace one wasteful plastic grocery bag many, many, many times over. With my one bag, I could make one little difference.
As I worked on my one bag, I started thinking about the possibility of creating a charity knitting project to benefit dear, sweet Mother Earth. A small gesture to be sure, but one that could add up if a good number of fellow knitters also made at least one bag to use for grocery shopping.
Consider the math:
1. We all go shopping for groceries, most of us at least once a week.
2. If I, as one knitter, make myself one knitted cotton grocery bag I could use that one bag to replace one plastic bag provided by the grocery store each week — at a minimum.
3. If I did that once a week for one year, I would not consume 52 plastic bags in that year — minimum.
4. If I continue using that one bag for let’s say five years (I think it could last that long), that one knitted bag would replace a minimum of 260 plastic bags in five years.
5. If I were to get 10 other knitters to do the same thing, we would between us replace and therefore not consume 2,600 plastic bags in five years. All with just one bag a piece.
6. If I were to get 100 other knitters to do it, that would be 26,000 over a five year period – just with one bag a piece.
7. Wow, if somehow this idea would get out to 1000 knitters and they all made just one bag and used it once a week instead of a plastic bag that would be 260,000 bags over a period of five years.
That’s if all any of us did was knit one bag (1Bag) each and use it once a week for five years.
There are way more knitters in the world than 1,000 … on Ravelry alone there are close to 150,000 registered users at the time of this writing.
Can you imagine if each and every Ravelry registered user knit or crocheted one grocery bag and used it once a week for five years to replace one plastic bag each week … that would be 39 million plastic bags not needed, not used, not thrown out. And that is if all we did was knit one cotton grocery bag each and use it once weekly for five of the years of our lives.
I realize it is unrealistic to think that every single Ravelry member would make one bag, but still — it is fun to think of the possibilities.
And no matter how many or how few people I can inspire to do this thing with me, I know that on my own I can make a difference with just 1Bag.
There are quite a few patterns out there for hand knit and crocheted cotton “market” bags. The idea of a cotton knitted shopping bag is not anything unique I have come up with.
I just want to promote the idea that we could, as knitters, give a gift to Mother Earth to whom we owe quite a debt of gratitude for the many abundances she offers which make it possible for us to knit at all.
I have created my own basic pattern, which you are free to use. I am calling my design “1Bag”, appropriately enough. I am also naming it 1Bag, because it is one basic pattern designed specifically to be versatile so that people can modify it to make it as beautiful or complicated or simple or homely as they each may choose. You can follow my pattern just as it is, or if you want to be more creative and/or adventurous follow the structure of my bag but come up with your own stitch pattern variations to make it your own.
(Learn more about the basic construction of the 1Bag hand knit grocery bag by click on the 1Bag tab at the top of the page.)
I designed the 1Bag to replicate the size and construction of a standard plastic grocery bag because I want it to be a symbol of what it is replacing. I planned it to be easy and quick to make, featuring a basic construction that is easily adapted to a variety of pattern stitches.
My 1Bag pattern is free, but you could use any market bag pattern and still participate in the 1Bag “charity” project.
As a part of this, I keep a running tab of how many people have made a 1Bag (or other grocery bag). I can post the updated numbers weekly so people know how many bags are being replaced (potentially). To do this, I have set up a Mother Earth Guest Book. If you knit a market/grocery bag as a part of this effort — for yourself or someone else to use — go to this link and sign the Mother Earth Guestbook.
It could be fun, and we could make a difference … one bag at a time.
Are you in?