I live with a chronic pain condition, spinal damage, an auto-immune system problem and some brain damage. And I recycle. Yes, I do.
I know some of you can’t. Or can’t do it easily.
I can, but only with help. Several years ago one of my PCAs called me the “Recycling Queen.” I am often able to physically remove the labeling off bottles. I can usually wash cans and bottles, and open the door below my sink, and throw the cans or bottles into the bag for recycling. My PCAs take those bags outside to the recycling bins, when they take out the garbage. Without PCAs, I could not do this.
I love the earth. I love hearing birds sing. I love looking at the new leaves coming out on the trees after winter’s ending. I love even watching the snow fall or hearing the wind blow, even when sometimes it keeps me stuck indoors. Nature inspires me to live, to feel wonder about life. Watching butterflies soar on the air currents reminds me that I have a body, and that it, too, is a joy, no matter how I am feeling one day to the next.
We are part of nature—all us human beings—whether disabled or not. And the birds or butterflies out there who sometimes get their wings bitten, and still keep fluttering in the breeze, or singing their songs don’t judge us for what we can’t quite do, either, as humans. We are all good, and we all matter.
Which is why I encourage you, in whatever way you can, to consider yourselves part of a movement that is trying to save the environment. To keep the air and water clean. To eat healthy food, which we REALLY need with our more vulnerable bodies.
Let me tell you something else about how I love nature. I watch those beautiful birds and butterflies with their wonderful antics do their thing out the window, when I can’t get out. It gives me hope. And I create art about them.
Butterflies and bees bring us food and flowers. Without their existence, to pollinate plants, we don’t have as much food or all those wonderful flowers to smell.
I like trees. Not only are they beautiful, and smell good like pine or spruce trees. Their leaves make beautiful sounds in the wind. We need the oxygen they make to breathe. We need to reduce our use of paper or we’ll lose the trees.
Disabilities and the environment are very much related. Not only for the beauty of nature but for our well-being. Transportation is such an important issue for us,as is heat in the winter, and having electricity for light. So having more options for energy, natural gas and electric, and gasoline for cars, matters a whole lot to us. Knowing what is going on with these issues is very important to our well-being.
We can do things like use compact florescent bulbs (CFLs they cost more initially, but save money in the long run), to save energy. I spent a year changing out my regular bulbs for CFLs. Now my electricity bill is cheaper!
We also need to recognize that we, as disabled people, have acquired very unique skills which other people can learn from. How to use less, rather than more.
Understanding that there is no such thing as a throw-away: whether human beings or those bottles and cans. We all matter. We are all significant.
So do your part if you can, and along with disability issues, pay attention to what all those legislative and political people are doing out there with our environment. OUR environment. Which is about our healthy living in the world.