How to change your toothbrush and leave no trace

Toothbrushes should be changed to keep our mouths healthy, we’re told.  Tossing plastic into landfills should be avoided, we’re told.  Good dental hygiene can prevent more serious health problems like heart disease, we’re told.

We’re told a lot about toothbrushes, their value, and their impacts.  It’s tough to recycle them, and you can almost forget about composting them, so if you remember to replace yours there might be some enviro-guilt.  (Check out the picture of a toothbrush that was eaten and puked up by an albatross if you don’t have any enviro-guilt.)  If you forget, you’ll probably get dental guilt.

I looked briefly into the history of toothbrushes and was reminded of the chewing sticks that you can still pick up at Pennsic War (or in my case, at my local open source tech cafe).  There’s a commercial version called the Natural Toothbrush that seems to, erm, have a handle on this problem, as demonstrated in their how-to video:

It’s a great idea, but if the demo is accurate you can only brush the fronts of your teeth, so I don’t think it’s all that helpful unless you’re Robin Hood.  However, bamboo seems a much better option for creating a compostable toothbrush – and at a fair price, as well.

If composting is not an option but you’re still bothered by the waste, I think the Preserve’s toothbrushes are the bomb.  They are made of number 5 plastic (best known for yogurt cups), which is usually too much of a pain to recycle, but they created their own recycling program to ease that pain.  The brushes come with a mail-back pouch if you order them online (and as a promotion they’re even paying the postage), and they accept number 5 plastics at Whole Foods so they can make more.  Shoppers can only drop yogurt cups and Preserve toothbrushes in the bins, because most brushes are made of unknown materials in China, which is apparently the toothbrush capital of the world.  Preserve makes all its products in the United States, which has the added bonus (for me) of reducing the energy impacts of shipping them.

What makes me love Preserve even more is the toothbrush subscription program that I’ve signed up for.  I’m a good enough Pagan to note the passing of the seasons, and I use solstices and equinoxes as a time to christen a new toothbrush.  However, I procrastinated at Yule until well after the summer solstice, so obviously I need a little more help.  Thirteen bucks gets me four of them, shipped every three months, with mailers to return them for recycling.

I have to admit I’m intrigued by that bamboo toothbrush, but the fact that I have to contact them special for a shipping quote makes Preserve a better option for me at the moment.  I will evaluate again in a year and see which choice appears to leave no trace.  In the meantime, though, I have found a list of uses for old toothbrushes which will come in handy, even if none of the options are “bury it in wax.”

Summer growth and change

The summer heat always makes things change, whether they thrive and grow or simply wither on the vine. This holds true for blogs as well as living things.  There are some exciting changes afoot for this blog:

  • There’s a new name – True Pagan Warrior.  It reflects, among other things, a desire to name everything I touch to correspond with my own initials.
  • The new name comes complete with a new URL – http://www.truepaganwarrior.com.
  • To the right you’ll now see a chance to like the TPW page on Facebook.  (The page itself will eventually have content which isn’t on the blog, so don’t be shy with the liking.)
  • The new templates available from Blogger stink, so that didn’t change.
Hopefully all of this new stuff will lead to, well, inspiration to post regularly.  If nothing else, posts shall be made at least as quickly as the Earth’s crust moves.  This will never be the Wild Hunt or anything of that sort, but hopefully it will be a voice that enriches the chorus.

How I became a Geocon (or: True Tales of a Pagan Republican)

I’ve had a tough time deciding how seriously I should take my political party registration, and by extension which party to belong to.  I wasn’t registered to any party at first (they called it “independent” in those days, but the advent of the Independence Party of  America saw that changed to “unaffiliated” so inattentive voters wouldn’t register with that party by mistake.  I’m thinking of forming an Unaffiliated Party, but I digress.), but I eventually joined the Green Party because of its unambiguous environmental agenda.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

Yes, the Green Party cares about the environment, but it spends a tremendous amount of energy on social justice issues, which I believe is an entirely separate agenda.  I agree with the environmental agenda, but I’m a social conservative with libertarian streaks; when it comes to people I believe in individual freedom, which is in conflict with a lot of social-justice work.  I remain convinced that the Green Party would be more effective if it focused on the beastly things we do to the planet and let another group focus on the beastly things we do to each other.

So that’s when I became a Republican.

It started out as a joke (like these things often do), but I came to realize some things about party politics.

  • A hyper-focused agenda doesn’t get a party any traction.
  • A political party’s views is a representation of its members, not the other way around.
  • Having more than one choice on Election Day is supposed to be the point.
In my home state, smaller parties fight for members by running major-party candidates on their lines.  It’s the only way the system will let them play, and they’re stupid enough to think it benefits them.  In my town, this means three or four lines for Town Supervisor, but only one name.  It’s a Democratic town, and the Republicans have left the field.
My understanding of Republicans is informed by my late father (who wanted to legalize marijuana and kick George W Bush out of the party) and Teddy Roosevelt (who welcomed immigrants as long as they embraced America over their own culture, and started the National Park System).  I’ve come to realize that “conservative” and “conservation” come from the same word, and that wanting to save the Earth isn’t actually a very liberal idea at all.
I like the idea of spending money to protect those without a voice, such as forests, deer, and children.  I believe that money on programs for humans is a red herring, because I’d rather that money be in my own pocket so I can decide how to spend it, thanks.  Put the blank check I’m willing to write for education into something useful like teaching kids how to value the congealed energy that is money, and trust us to make our own decisions.
I believe in a transparent, simplified tax system that makes it very clear how much we’re spending to fund our government.  Don’t hide it behind thousands of little taxes and fees, and don’t tax businesses.  Business is just going to pass the cost on to me as a price increase; I would rather it all be wrapped up in one big tax bill so I can see what’s going to Uncle Sam and what’s not.  Systems like the value added tax hide the true cost of government.
I call myself a Geocon because I’m a conservative Pagan Republican.  Conservation of our natural and human resources (kids) will protect our future, preserve our economy, and keep the United States a strong and relevant nation.  There are plenty of Pagan Democrats, but Pagan Republicans should not be restricted to people who “cling to their guns and their religion.”