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In the Face of Unpredictable Circumstances…

By Sara Mack                                                                                                                                                        Communications Intern at Bootstrap Compost, Inc.

In today’s society it can feel like there are approximately one million important issues for you to devote your energy toward at any given moment. Over the span of the past few weeks, many people’s worlds have been turned upside down with the continued spread of, and corresponding closures relating to, COVID-19.

At Bootstrap, we are dedicated to keeping everyone on Team Boot, including our customer-base of over 3,500 households and our 30 employees, safe and healthy. Because of this commitment, this past week has been filled with difficult decisions. At the end of the day, we felt it necessary to put the lid on all operations – with the hope of reopening on Monday, March 30th, assuming that doing so is deemed safe at that time by public health officials. This decision was made in an effort to completely curb any part Bootstrap could possibly play in further contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

This being said, Team Boot is committed to collecting all of your food scraps once we reopen. So, in the interim, if you can afford the space, please feel free to keep collecting (and freeze or refrigerate) your food scraps in a plastic bag. Once we resume service, you’re welcome to place that plastic bag (ideally inside a paper bag) on top of your bucket for collection.

With our own closure serving as just one small example, it’s clear that the Coronavirus is responsible for unparalleled change in the daily lives of many; and this type of large-scale change can also lead to some internal priority evaluation – especially when individuals are faced with a drastic increase in free time.

Ultimately, this type of self-reflection may help to determine the principles that remain relevant in your life as you grapple with the new challenges brought on by a global pandemic. For example, if you are struggling with feelings of isolation, it may be worth it to increase your daily screen time in an attempt to connect with loved ones virtually (we also suggest walks in nature as a way to minimize feelings of isolation)! These trade-offs become more complicated, however, when they cross over into political or social beliefs.

Even on a normal day, it can feel difficult to focus on issues occurring outside of our social “bubbles”. This becomes even more challenging in situations like the one we are currently in: when social distancing becomes the expectation. So how and why does it even make sense to continue to prioritize environmentalism (and a facet of that as niche as composting)  in the face of unprecedented closings, cancelations, and change?

Unsurprisingly, the answer differs person-to-person. Does reducing your environmental footprint make you feel good about yourself? Then it is worth it. Does focusing on what you can do to promote positive change provide a distraction from media that can, at times, be disheartening and repetitive? Then it is worth it. Protecting our planet, be it through composting food scraps or otherwise, is a cause that will likely never lose its urgency. We will always need a safe and clean place to live. Even so, there will always be other issues that require more immediate urgency depending on individual circumstances. For these reasons, if the looming threat of Coronavirus has reduced your motivation in any way toward specific issues you normally care quite a bit about, do not feel guilty.

The silver lining in all of this is that both minimizing public health crises (such as COVID-19) and mitigating harmful environmental practices are causes that are fighting for the same goals. Both initiatives are crucial ways for humans to work together to make life better for both current earthly inhabitants and future generations. For this reason, whether you feel unable to maintain your sense of urgency for certain issues or you feel a renewed sense of purpose in pushing toward those goals, you are not in the wrong.

Even though Bootstrap is, at its core, an environmentally focused organization, as a socially responsible business we must also unapologetically prioritize the safety of our community and staff at all times.  Due to these commitments we are hopeful that, even in the face of frightening circumstances, humans will band together to make positive progress. Either by working on important initiatives, or simply by practicing social distancing, we will emerge from this trying time even stronger and more motivated than before.