Friday, April 7, 2017

Margo's Musings: One Plastic Bag Solution

"People thought I was too young and that women couldn't be leaders. I took these things as challenges; they gave me more power. I didn't call out the problems. I called out the solutions." ~ Isatou Ceesay 


The true story of how one woman looked at the plastic bags littered around her and came up with a way to make a difference. When Isatou Ceesay was growing up the bag she was using to carry items through her village ripped, and when she released it into the wind, she knew it would once again become part of the dirt. All around her she saw people using plastic bags and began to use them herself. Over time she noticed plastic bags on the ground, hundreds discarded by people when they were ripped or broken. As a grownup, Isatou looked around and saw the beautiful Earth with colored bags everywhere. When she finds out that farm animals have been swallowing the bags and dying she decides to act. Grabbing at first only a few bags, and then as many as she can carry, she brings them home. With the help of her friends she washes them and hangs them to dry. Once her sister teaches her to crochet Isatou and her friends begin cutting the discarded bags into long strips and they crochet them into bags. People laugh at them and call them names. But, when they bring the bags to the market place they begin to sell. Isatou earns money and the garbage piles continue to shrink.


The bright colors and textured illustrations really draw in the reader. My sister, Margo, was fascinated by the pictures. The crinkled plastic bags and the scenes really popped on the pages. I loved seeing how Isatou saw a problem and instead of complaining, she decided to make a change. The change started with her, but her friends helped and together they made our planet prettier. This is something we can all do! Looking around we all see trash and things that are falling apart. It is amazing to think that if we all decide to clean up our area that eventually we will have a clean Earth.  When Margo and I finished reading we walked around our yard looking for things we could clean up. Luckily, there wasn’t much, but I plan to walk around some busier areas of town with my friends and I know we will find trash that didn’t make it into the garbage or recycling bin. Who knows- maybe one of us will come up with a clever way to transform something we see!


One Plastic Bag Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia  is a wonderful book for anyone who likes to learn about people who are making the world a better place. Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd and this would be a perfect book to read together to get ideas for cleaning up our planet. Books like this make you want to look around you and see how you can make a difference!

Happy reading! ~ F

*Some people have wanted to see the bags and learn more about the story. Here is the website that goes with the book. You can see the pretty bags and meet Isatou. I originally didn't post a picture of the bags because I wasn't sure if it was okay with copyright laws. :)

52 comments:

  1. She didn't just clean it up, she created something with those bags. Rather amazing.

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    1. Alex- I love that she cleaned and created. So innovative! :) ~F

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful book, and a great idea for people to emulate. Hugs, Valerie

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  3. What a wonderful story. I did a little research on plastic bags for a short story I wrote in which the bags mysteriously disappear from someone's property.

    F is for Fascist Takeover of the US

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    1. Tamara- Sounds like an interesting short story! I really enjoyed this book and feel motivated to use less plastic and to look for ways I can help! :) ~F

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  4. This sounds awesome. I want to know more about what she made with the bags.

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    1. Heidi- There is a whole website about the book with pictures of the hags. You can find it here: http://oneplasticbag.com/
      :) ~F

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  5. Amazing what ideas can show when one puts their mind to it

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  6. Very ingenious in her solution on how to make something creative out of the empty discarded bags!

    betty

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    1. Betty- I loved it and the bags are really pretty too! :) ~F

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  7. There are some wonderful villages in Egypt that are doing something similiar. It's amazing the things that they recycle and the uses that they come up with for items.

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    1. Brenda- I know! I love how people are taking problems and creating answers. Simply awesome! :) ~F

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  8. All power to her, and to those like her. I find it a bit sad that solutions are often found in poorer countries/communties to wealthy waste.

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    1. EC- Isn't that interesting? I have been reading a lot about solutions in other countries and have been noticing the same thing. ~F

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  9. Hi DMS - lovely story and would be perfect for the WATWB (We are the World Blogfest - with inspirational stories ... bringing light into our dark world ... every month end ...

    They make shoes (flipflops) out of old tyres, toys out of bits of fencing, rugs out of old clothes ... and as you say here bags out of discarded plastic bags ...

    If we could get rid of plastic altogether that would help the rivers and oceans a great deal ...

    Lovely post - thank you ... Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/g-is-for-goose-gobbling-or-otherwise.html A-Z

    and my March WATWB post - if anyone would like to join us ...
    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/we-are-world-in-darkness-be-light.html

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    1. Hilary- You are right- this book does go perfectly with WATWB. I agree that getting rid of plastic or using it much less would be wonderful. I love how people are re-purposing old items into new ones. Simply amazing and inspiring! :) ~F

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  10. How very cool! I love to see these kinds of ideas coming about--they are wonderful!

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    1. Meradeth- I couldn't agree more! :) ~F

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  11. What a fascinating story. It makes me want to get out and find something constructive to do for our planet and neighborhoods. Thanks.

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    1. Beverly- Me too! I am itching to get out there and start picking up garbage. Not as great as this idea- but still helpful and it does make a difference. :) ~F

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  12. This sounds wonderful! Thank you for putting this on our radar :-)

    ~Mckenzie

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    1. McKenzie- You are welcome! An informative picture book! :) ~F

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  13. One can be a powerful number when it takes action the way this woman did! I'm so glad this story is out in the world.

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    1. Lee- Me too! It really shows that every person's actions do make a difference. :) ~F

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  14. It sounds like a wonderful story and a great use of those pesky plastic bags.

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    1. Barbara- For sure! I love that the bags are re-purposed! :) ~F

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  15. Are you kidding me!!??? This is an incredible story. I wonder how they actually crocheted the paper bags together. I love how all her friends had their bag. Thank you so much for making me aware of this book!

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    1. Adriana- I know! It really is amazing. They cut the plastic bags into strips and then crocheted the pieces. If you go to the website they have a video showing how to do it (on the bottom of the page about the bags). I put the link to the website up at the bottom of the review. :) ~F

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  16. How lovely! And to think she not only cleaned up the area she lives in but made a profit with it as well, with a product that costs her nothing. Very inspirational.

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    1. Sandra- I totally agree. Amazing on so many levels! :) ~F

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  17. Sounds like such a great picture book. I love that it's based on a true story and has a GREAT message.

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    1. Shooting Stars Mag- I love the message too! A great book for sure! :) ~F

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  18. Egypt has a huge littering and plastic refuse problem. Many places burn their garbage in the open and the chemicals smell awful. It would be great if someone had a solution like this book, but people here don't care about the environment.

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    1. Lexa- That is so sad! I can't imagine burning garbage. It must smell terrible. I would think it is also very dangerous because of the chemicals being burned. The website shows how to turn the broken bags into the purses/bags. It would be a great thing to spread and have people start working on all over the world. I know I see enough of them blowing in the wind and caught in trees. :(
      ~F

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  19. That is such a brilliant idea, and exactly what we should be doing for the environment. It's scary when we really think about the fact that all the plastic rubbish ever created is still sitting on this earth somewhere. We need to produce less of it, and learn how to recycle and reuse it.

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    1. Olivia-Savannah- It really is scary to think about, so finding ways to reuse and re-purpose is a great start to solving this problem. A very inspiring book! :) ~F

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  20. Inspirational! Amazing! What a wonderful book!!

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    1. Magic Love Crow- I couldn't agree more! :) ~F

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  21. I like this one, good lesson too

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    1. Blodeuedd- Definitely a great lesson! :) ~F

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  22. This is such an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. It kind of reminds me of One Hen by Katie Smith Milway.

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    1. Dena- I haven't heard of One Hen- but now I am very curious. Off to look it up! This was definitely an inspiring story. :) ~F

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  23. Oh wow, what an amazing story! We need more people like her in the world. I'm going to visit her website, thanks for the review!

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    1. Gaby- I thought this book was amazing. Definitely insirational. Makes me want to do more for our planet. If we all did a bit more than our world would be even more beautiful. :) ~F

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  24. Hi, my first visit to your blog, as Sandra was telling me about this post ... and what a post, what a person.
    It is very inspirational.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Jan- Thanks for visiting! I am glad Sandra told you about this post. Such a wonderful book and person! :) ~F

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