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The Wheaton Eco Scale

 
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kyle saunders wrote:this infographic is especially inspiring! i mean i feel like a real ecoguy most of the time but it is humbling to remember that i fit somewhere between 2-4. i'm not even halfway to where i'd like to be! it's kinda nice to know the road is much much longer, as the road up to this point has been really an amazing ride.

i think i actually went down a point this year, as we lost all our seedlings to chance and i abandoned the garden for a season. it's amazing to know how much i relied on that garden. (not just for food, i am so out of shape this year!)

but a simple request from this olaf ! that level 10 graphic, can you make that separate from the rest of the image, and without the info? i would love this graphic on a tshirt/poster, just sepp holzer in front of his downhill paradise sitting on a hoooogel. the whole infographic is awesome on the computer, but for my own personal motivation i just need to remember to let sepp guide it. annd i just noticed the lemon tree. so nice

cool. thanks for starting my monday with some inspirations!




Hey Kyle !

Sorry for some reason I missed your request, but that can certainly be arranged... will let you know when i got it sorted  
 
Olof Jönnerstig
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Here you go, a 100% organic ethical T-shirt with Sepp Holzer level 10 !










 
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Where to get the t-shirt?  Actually, you could get a tote bag as well. . .

https://theecoquestshio.teemill.co.uk/category/permaculture-heroes-583/

(I don't know what shipping costs, I just wanted to make it easy for people to check out the merch.)
 
Olof Jönnerstig
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Julia Winter wrote:Where to get the t-shirt?  Actually, you could get a tote bag as well. . .

https://theecoquestshio.teemill.co.uk/category/permaculture-heroes-583/

(I don't know what shipping costs, I just wanted to make it easy for people to check out the merch.)



thanks
 
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I added some image fragments so it is easier to tinker with .... the giant image seems to cause problems for some.

















 
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Would LED be a good alternative to fluorescent bulbs for the people at level 3 ?
 
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Devaka Cooray wrote:Would LED be a good alternative to fluorescent bulbs for the people at level 3 ?



LED lights are something I can't talk my husband out of.  It is not a battle worth fighting.  I do still have a bin in the basement of incandescent bulbs just in case he changes his mind.  

I Like the idea of the Wheaton scale but I am wondering how many of us fall in multiple levels? I an solidly in level 2, 3, 4 and 5 since I have taken a PDC.  My husband and I are slowly moving toward higher levels but it will be years before I meet all the requirements for level 3.  

My question to the people who are living at a level 3 or higher how long has it take you to get to the level you are at?  What are the things that are keeping you in a lower level?  

 
pollinator
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I won't be able to move past level 4 because I won't ever take a PDC or teach.  
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I won't be able to move past level 4 because I won't ever take a PDC or teach.  



You participate here and to me, your contributions are great!  I think taking the time to share your experiences and help others on a forum like this bump you up a level.  At least that's my interpretation of how the scale works.

But alas, me too.  I'll never be able to afford a PDC so I'm also stuck at level 4.
 
paul wheaton
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Devaka,

Because you have soooooo many apples, I took the time to answer your question in a new thread about LED lights.
 
paul wheaton
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Tyler and R,

Taking a PDC and teaching a PDC are examples of behavior.  Not a strict rule.

Look at sepp:  he never took a PDC or taught a PDC.


 
paul wheaton
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today I was searching for some residual income stream stuff and came across a huge thread talking about the wheaton eco scale.  In that thread, they talked about their previous threads of discussion about the wheaton eco scale.  

In the threads, they seem to refer to "a wheaton scale" - which I think they mean is a general framework of "take out all the eco stuff and stick in other stuff".  The stuff that you keep is the population numbers (reverse logarithmic) starting with 6 billion at level zero and one person at level ten.  Plus, you keep the observations.  In the case of the ERE site, they make an ERE "wheaton scale".  

I am glad to see my name used to reference this.  Very flattering.  


So here is a fairly recent discussion where they are pressing ERE values into the scale:

http://forum.earlyretirementextreme.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8103


here is a similar discussion from three years ago:

http://forum.earlyretirementextreme.com/viewtopic.php?t=3509


here is one called "Levels of Excellence (more Wheaton scales)"

http://forum.earlyretirementextreme.com/viewtopic.php?t=4812


I googled the site for "wheaton scale" and came up with 269 results.  Wow!
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Another thing that that should be mentioned is how it is living with a spouse that is a few levels behind you. They want all the lawn mowed with a gas mower. You have to restrain them from dousing bindweed with roundup. They put everything in plastic trashbags ("oh look, meat scraps we can't eat, guess I'll put them in the trash." But, when you put something that decomposes into a trashbag that doesn't decompose, it can't make it back to the earth). They don't care about driving to and from town everyday to pick up a few more things. They pull weeds that aren't harmful and fill an environmental nitch (fireweed, wall lettuce). They want to spray bleach and antkiller all around the house to keep ants and weeds away...even though we have ducks foraging there...

It just shows how those upper Wheaton Eco Scale people really are amazing to have attained those higher levels!



How can we work with these spouses??? My spouse grew up around a manicured lawn. They literally trimmed the grass around the outer buildings and house with hand shears!!  She just can't get passed the idea of not having a big expanse for a lawn. I have asked her to come to a PDC and that went over like a fart in church. Can anyone give me any ideas?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Dana Martin wrote:She just can't get passed the idea of not having a big expanse for a lawn.



Does she want to maintain the lawn herself, or does she ask you to do it?  If she does it herself, then try to negotiate on spaces for your plantings, and a space for her lawn.  If she expects you to maintain the lawn, then I think you have some grounds for drawing a line - a line around a smallish lawn.  A very well maintained little lawn can be a beautiful thing in a yard, I often wish we had one.  I like little circular lawns - they are easy to mow and irrigate.

My husband has virtually no interest in any kind of yard maintenance or gardening.  Every few months he gets tired of wading through the grass and gets out the line trimmer.  I don't expect him to ever change and suddenly decide to want to help with my permaculture projects to any significant degree.
 
Dana Martin
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Dana Martin wrote:She just can't get passed the idea of not having a big expanse for a lawn.



Does she want to maintain the lawn herself, or does she ask you to do it?  If she does it herself, then try to negotiate on spaces for your plantings, and a space for her lawn.  If she expects you to maintain the lawn, then I think you have some grounds for drawing a line - a line around a smallish lawn.  A very well maintained little lawn can be a beautiful thing in a yard, I often wish we had one.  I like little circular lawns - they are easy to mow and irrigate.


She has only mowed twice since we started our homestead around 8 years ago. So maybe we can agree on some part of zone 1 being lawn?.?
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paul wheaton wrote:

permutations wrote:
What's PDC (Professional Developers Conference, Pacific Disaster Center, Public Disclosure Commission, Primary Domain Controller, Pioneer Drilling Company...)?



Permaculture Design Course.  Typically 14 very long days of intensive study in permaculture.



Is there a PDC that you recommend around this area? Are you hosting one perhaps? Or is someone looking for a place to host one? I'd gladly host one at my place!
 
paul wheaton
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Amy Christensen wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:

permutations wrote:
What's PDC (Professional Developers Conference, Pacific Disaster Center, Public Disclosure Commission, Primary Domain Controller, Pioneer Drilling Company...)?



Permaculture Design Course.  Typically 14 very long days of intensive study in permaculture.



Is there a PDC that you recommend around this area? Are you hosting one perhaps? Or is someone looking for a place to host one? I'd gladly host one at my place!



We will probably host one this upcoming summer.
 
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Dana Martin wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:

Another thing that that should be mentioned is how it is living with a spouse that is a few levels behind you. They want all the lawn mowed with a gas mower. You have to restrain them from dousing bindweed with roundup. They put everything in plastic trashbags ("oh look, meat scraps we can't eat, guess I'll put them in the trash." But, when you put something that decomposes into a trashbag that doesn't decompose, it can't make it back to the earth). They don't care about driving to and from town everyday to pick up a few more things. They pull weeds that aren't harmful and fill an environmental nitch (fireweed, wall lettuce). They want to spray bleach and antkiller all around the house to keep ants and weeds away...even though we have ducks foraging there...

It just shows how those upper Wheaton Eco Scale people really are amazing to have attained those higher levels!



How can we work with these spouses??? My spouse grew up around a manicured lawn. They literally trimmed the grass around the outer buildings and house with hand shears!!  She just can't get passed the idea of not having a big expanse for a lawn. I have asked her to come to a PDC and that went over like a fart in church. Can anyone give me any ideas?



We made the rule. He can mow anything he wants but the garden area and front yard are mine. I put little fences around the trees and a few other things and that thus leaves me in charge of those areas as he refuses to move everything and put it back. I haven't ever needed to bale the front lawn but it's gotten a bit long at times....  Around the garden, you better leave my lambs quarters and dandelions ALONE those are my salad greens. I have custody of all the nasty house and yard and garden chemicals too.

Try pitching xeriscaping to her instead of a lawn. That sometimes works. You just sneak a food forest into the plan.
 
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It seems that all 7 billion people live in the US..?

Many, many more people than indicated live a simple life based around foraging and polyculture - of course nearly all of these millions of people live outside the US and Europe.
 
paul wheaton
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I wonder ...

When people contemplate living in the country and doing permaculture ....   and think about how to get their permaculture apples into safeway ....     maybe that is .... level 2?

And then they eventually move along the eco scale to level 4 and their goal is more like gert.


Therefore ....   there are millions of gerts (or gert wannabees).   And, for every gert, there are 100 permies focused on making money through conventional systems.


I'm not sure how true this is, but I do think there is a lot of truth to it.   And as much as it helps level 1 or 2 people to have examples of people making a lot of money with permaculture, I think that eventually they will grow past that and into level 4 and need examples of gerts.

I think evan and kai are getting close to gert-i-tude.  The little bit of coin that comes from their patreon account and people giving them permies pie for posting pictures seems to be all the fuel they need.



 
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Dana Martin wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:

How can we work with these spouses??? My spouse grew up around a manicured lawn. They literally trimmed the grass around the outer buildings and house with hand shears!!  She just can't get passed the idea of not having a big expanse for a lawn. I have asked her to come to a PDC and that went over like a fart in church. Can anyone give me any ideas?



Mow your lawn with bunnies!

Any woman who doesn't like bunnies needs therapy

Move it around the yard 2 or 3 times a day. They'll trim it all up and fertilize at the same time.

My pen is 6×8, so figure they mow 1000+ square feet per week.

20160507_093341.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160507_093341.jpg]
 
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I got rid of the lawn when I got rid of the spouse. Best things I've ever done. But I live in CA, lawns are not appropriate for our climate.

The only value I see in them, are as a place for children to play, but I live really close to an elementary school and a park or completely unnecessary.

I will never fit squarely into any level as I generally don't take courses. I'm something of an autodidact.  
 
Dana Martin
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We did have an exhibit of xeriscaping in Fargo. But they decided to destroy that and put an addition to the water plant instead.... But i do like the idea of Xeriscaping though.

Deb Rebel wrote:

Dana Martin wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:

Another thing that that should be mentioned is how it is living with a spouse that is a few levels behind you. They want all the lawn mowed with a gas mower. You have to restrain them from dousing bindweed with roundup. They put everything in plastic trashbags ("oh look, meat scraps we can't eat, guess I'll put them in the trash." But, when you put something that decomposes into a trashbag that doesn't decompose, it can't make it back to the earth). They don't care about driving to and from town everyday to pick up a few more things. They pull weeds that aren't harmful and fill an environmental nitch (fireweed, wall lettuce). They want to spray bleach and antkiller all around the house to keep ants and weeds away...even though we have ducks foraging there...

It just shows how those upper Wheaton Eco Scale people really are amazing to have attained those higher levels!



How can we work with these spouses??? My spouse grew up around a manicured lawn. They literally trimmed the grass around the outer buildings and house with hand shears!!  She just can't get passed the idea of not having a big expanse for a lawn. I have asked her to come to a PDC and that went over like a fart in church. Can anyone give me any ideas?



We made the rule. He can mow anything he wants but the garden area and front yard are mine. I put little fences around the trees and a few other things and that thus leaves me in charge of those areas as he refuses to move everything and put it back. I haven't ever needed to bale the front lawn but it's gotten a bit long at times....  Around the garden, you better leave my lambs quarters and dandelions ALONE those are my salad greens. I have custody of all the nasty house and yard and garden chemicals too.

Try pitching xeriscaping to her instead of a lawn. That sometimes works. You just sneak a food forest into the plan.




 
paul wheaton
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A variation of observation 1:  99% of people know that there is a scale, of sorts, like this and they are certain that the scale ends at 2 levels ahead of them.  It is a rare person that can see more than 2 levels ahead.
 
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Paul this is amazing. For myself it helped me feel not so alone reading your observations. I'm 'level 6' from what I can tell, I still recall the weird looks I got when I handed a giant (3 foot!) Plantago major spike of seeds to an ecology professor hehe. What is this for? Your garden. Why? Medicine...

Some of us ranty folks can't help being ranty though I do try. I'm aspergers.

Some folks say Aspies have superpowers, obviously I am one of those folk.

I can accumulate vast quantities of information - and bore you to death!









 
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OMG I laughed out loud.
the ones who sold their souls but were cheated!  too clever Joel.

Joel Hollingsworth wrote:Ah, I get it!

It's like categorizing people based on their percentile ranking of SAT score, except that:

a) the scale isn't about standardized test performance, but ecological habits, and

b) in contrast to the linear scale, where each percentile is as common as any other, the scale is logarithmic, so that each level up, people making that grade are several times rarer.

It might be that a minority of people are responsible for the majority of ecological harm done. I think that's the case, so a Hollingsworth scale might go like this:

-10: Richard Bruce Cheney and Thomas Midgley, Jr.
-9:  The 20 people who sold their souls to get to -10, but were cheated. 
-8:  200 or so who've been extremely influential in a negative way.
...
-4:  The 2 million people who give civilization a bad name.
...
-1: 2 billion people who mostly can't be bothered to make ecologically responsible choices.
0:  The one person who is most nearly average. This title shifts around a lot, more because the individual who held it has changed than because the average shifted out from under them.
1:  2 billion people who lack the power to act on their ecologically responsible intentions.
...
8: 200 people we've never heard of, but to whom most of us owe our lives.
9: Maybe 3 of these 20 people are famous...I'd guess Will Allen, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and Masanobu Fukuoka, but that's not a particularly well-informed guess.
10: These two people and their associates were killed, and quietly erased from history, but the changes they made live on far longer than their memory.

A sane adult will be a little uneasy interacting meaningfully with anyone who has a magnitude above 6. People with a magnitude of three or so feel a lot of pity for the people nearer the center of the scale, and are often mean-spirited to those with roughly equal magnitude but opposite sign. 8 and above spend a lot of time trying to keep 4 from getting in their way: half of this work is to escape organized opposition, and the other half is to prevent sympathizers from behaving counterproductively.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Best relationship advice ever, ha!

Deb Rebel wrote:

Dana Martin wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:

Another thing that that should be mentioned is how it is living with a spouse that is a few levels behind you. They want all the lawn mowed with a gas mower. You have to restrain them from dousing bindweed with roundup. They put everything in plastic trashbags ("oh look, meat scraps we can't eat, guess I'll put them in the trash." But, when you put something that decomposes into a trashbag that doesn't decompose, it can't make it back to the earth). They don't care about driving to and from town everyday to pick up a few more things. They pull weeds that aren't harmful and fill an environmental nitch (fireweed, wall lettuce). They want to spray bleach and antkiller all around the house to keep ants and weeds away...even though we have ducks foraging there...

It just shows how those upper Wheaton Eco Scale people really are amazing to have attained those higher levels!



How can we work with these spouses??? My spouse grew up around a manicured lawn. They literally trimmed the grass around the outer buildings and house with hand shears!!  She just can't get passed the idea of not having a big expanse for a lawn. I have asked her to come to a PDC and that went over like a fart in church. Can anyone give me any ideas?



We made the rule. He can mow anything he wants but the garden area and front yard are mine. I put little fences around the trees and a few other things and that thus leaves me in charge of those areas as he refuses to move everything and put it back. I haven't ever needed to bale the front lawn but it's gotten a bit long at times....  Around the garden, you better leave my lambs quarters and dandelions ALONE those are my salad greens. I have custody of all the nasty house and yard and garden chemicals too.

Try pitching xeriscaping to her instead of a lawn. That sometimes works. You just sneak a food forest into the plan.

 
paul wheaton
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Not only does the wheaton eco scale get a mention in this, but jacob talks about how he is re-using it and calling it "the wheaton scale" and applying it to ERE and FIRE.  And then the levels are called "wheaton levels".   I confess that I am flattered for that use of my name!

 
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paul wheaton wrote:I added some image fragments so it is easier to tinker with ....





Just today someone noticed this part of the image has composting spelled wrong! How did we all miss that?

 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:I added some image fragments so it is easier to tinker with ....





Just today someone noticed this part of the image has composting spelled wrong! How did we all miss that?



Oops! Proofreading your own work is difficult because the eye sees what you meant to write rather than what you wrote. I often find errors in things I wrote previously and previously tried to proofread. When possible I ask someone else to proofread my professional writing, but that’s not always possible.

As for the Wheaton scale, I guess I’m stuck too. I doubt I will ever take a PDC course — I think I am done with formal coursework and seeking certifications. I got my fill of such things years ago. I enjoy learning, but in my own way.
 
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Never fear Myrth!  I bought access to the Wheaton Lab PDC last year so I'm counting that.  I did watch it by the way
 
r ranson
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I was frustrated by something I read elsewhere.  They probably didn't mean to say it this way, but the way it was phrased was that everyone should just stop gardening or growing food or doing anything even remotely related to permaculture because they are doing it wrong.  Only people who do permaculture their specific way have the right to grow food and stuff.  

It got me pretty worked up.  So I wrote some stuff and then decided that I didn't want to share it with them after all.  They probably couldn't hear what I had to say because they already know the one true path.

But someone here might find some use from it.


redacted

have a look at this

paul wheaton wrote: most people find folks one level back are ignorant.  Two levels back are assholes.  Any further back and they should be shot on sight for the betterment of society as a whole.  I find that all of these reactions are innapropriate.



It sounds like you are looking at the level one and two people from a level four or five, point of view.  

When someone is just starting out they feel a small pride in what they did.  Hey look, I grew a carrot!  

But if someone comes along and says, you did it wrong for murdering that dandelion, then they aren't going to want to grow carrots ever again.  They are going to back to their TV and consumer lifestyle.  

Whereas if someone says, wow!  Great job with that carrot!  I've got a trick for growing even better-tasting carrots for less work if you want to try it.  You do?  Great, come with me and I'll tell you all about polyculture. Then the person will continue on their journey towards a better path.

The first method says there is one right way and every other way is wrong and must be stopped!  This method closes down brains and prevents permaculture from seeping in.  The other method gives a pat on the back and offers gentle guidance for when the person is ready.  A positive experience opens minds and open minds are willing to learn.  


That's what permies is about for me - gently helping people open their minds, not shutting it down with talk about how wrong they are.

 
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This really rings true to me; but I guess from the opposite direction.

I always beat myself up because I'm not doing things "better". I run a compost program but I feel like I'm not doing it right because it's not "organic compost". I can't get organic food waste where I live because the only restaurant that uses organic produces takes home its own compost to use in their own organic garden beds (they are rad people!). Materials I use to run my program are expensive. I use plastic bin liners and I hate it.

Do I stop my program because of the persistent pesticides that are more than likely in the compost? Do I stop because my compost beds don't run hot enough? Do I stop my program because the plastic liners are adding to the plastic pollution?

No... because every year I get better. Every year I'm able to encourage the restaurants to improve their compost quality. And next year I'm hoping to sell my beyond organic produce to them. But sometimes it's hard to remember that when you're looking up at the "greats". They all started somewhere too.



 
Ashley Cottonwood
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I just revisited this infographic to check in with where I'm at and where I'm going...

... and I just noticed the cow eating the mushroom. OMG I needed that laugh this morning!
 
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Looking at this infographic and I'm thinking (with much excitement) "So. Much. Edge!"
 
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Ashley Cottonwood wrote:No... because every year I get better. Every year I'm able to encourage the restaurants to improve their compost quality. And next year I'm hoping to sell my beyond organic produce to them. But sometimes it's hard to remember that when you're looking up at the "greats". They all started somewhere too.



I was recently wandering through Paul's old articles on richsoil, and I ran across not just his Chicken article (which shows not only a lot of different ways to raise chickens, but that Paul tried most of those lower-Wheaton-Scale things before arriving at his current methodology), but also this article about Fence post  donuts. In the fence post article, he uses *gasp!* concrete! But, that article was writen a LOOOOONG time ago. He's moved up his own eco scale since then!

We're all on a journey. We're all learning to do better, step by step. I still buy organic bagged topsoil and potting soil. They have little plastic labels left over from fruit, and other bits of plastic that I have to pick out. And, they come in plastic bags. And it's all really depressing. But, it's where I am right now--sometimes I just need some weed-free soil to make a new garden bed. A lot of my garden beds are made without it, and I only use an inch or two...but I still use it.

One day, I'd like to be able to just sweep my floor and put everything in the compost, knowing there's no plastic bits....but today is not that day. Today is the day my daughter opened up a lara bar wrapper and cut the wrapper into tiny pieces all over my floor.

We're all at different stages--but we're progressing and helping others, and that's the most important thing!
 
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