I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
– Edward Everett Hale
Has anyone heard the term Craftivism before? I admit that I didn’t even know it was a thing before I started the pussyhat project. It’s a term coined by Betsy Greer (craftivism.com) and it is just what I was looking for when I was left wondering what to do after the Women’s March.
I have been crafting for a long time (I grew up in the dark ages when kids didn’t have their own tablets) but I am so very new to activism. Truthfully, it was when Trump was announced president of the USA that I felt a shock so powerful it left me in disbelief. My bubble was burst and the fear was numbing. I felt defenseless and imagined threats all around me and my loved ones. Once I came to my senses, I looked for what else I could do with my crafting abilities and Google led me to the Craftivist Collective.
The Craftivist Collective is a wonderful organization in the U.K. led by Sarah Corbett. She puts together different projects that uses craft as a form of gentle protest. Her current project is The School of Gentle Protest which is partnered with 1215 Today. I have registered (it’s free so join in at any time) and am doing the best I can with the curriculum. The crafting is the easy part, it’s the gentle protest part that has me struggling.
We are talking about Inner Activism in this week’s lesson and it’s hard to face the truth:
- I am overweight and eat more than I should.
- I watch TV, play a game on my phone and check FB on my tablet all at the same time.
- I say “Oh, I can get that cheaper online” a lot.
- I clean using products with powerful chemicals and disposable wipes/towels/sponges.
I am a wasteful consumer that takes things for granted, but that’s just the tip of my “first world problems” iceberg. This is where I am part of the problem, identifying them was part of the homework. The other part is figuring out where how to be part of the solution.
- Over eating has become more obvious since spending the last few months here in Italy. For starters every Italian home I have been in has a refrigerator that is 1/3 of the size of those in the USA. The food here also has less preservatives, so doesn’t last as long (i.e. Cheese). Once my husband and I realized this, there was no point in shopping for groceries like they do in the States “it’s on sale now and I can cook it over the weekend”. We have to adapt to the Italian way and only buy what we need when we need it and eat it fresh. There is no need to have a fridge that is constantly so full you forget what’s shoved all the way in the back. Keeping this mindset will be the real challenge when we go back to the US.
- This one is a pretty easy fix, just shut down 1, 2, or all 3 gadgets to save some electricity.
- Buying online will be hard to adapt, everyone has a budget and staying within it isn’t easy. Since finding the Craftivist Collective, I’ve been searching for ecofashion that I like. But the plus size style of green fashion is either pin-up replicas or loose linen bohemian, neither really speak to me. I’m also thinking of giving up the major craft stores where I buy some of my fabrics, thread, coloring books, and miscellaneous other hobby supplies. But one of the things I do is accept hand me downs (my son’s wardrobe is mostly from his cousin) and shop at consignment stores/ flea markets/ yard sales, etc. I have done this mostly because of cost, not as a reason to reduce clothes going to landfills. I’ll have to change my way of thinking about fast fashion and really respect the craftsmanship that goes into a well made product.
- I’m on Pinterest a LOT, but there is only so much that baking soda and vinegar can clean. Some jobs require bleach. I’ll have to do some research on the brands of soaps and detergents we use in order to be more informed. I’ve been considering switching to cloth towels and napkins, but that would mean doing more laundry – does it balance out? I don’t know, will have to get better informed on this subject.
These are some examples of how to help save the environment by reducing waste. In the resistance against Trump these small efforts will be of help to the National Parks Services and the Environmental Protection Agency. I’m still working on what to do in the social issues that are under attack. As an immigrant, a person of color, a woman, a mother, and an ally to different communities there is just so much to do for so many causes. Being this overwhelmed can be just as numbing as the the fear that I first felt back in November, but I’ll get past it and persist.