Friday, November 9, 2012

Sustainable Poppies for Remembrance Day

EcoYogini Remembers...

Since the last Friday of October, small red poppies can be seen dotting the crowds and streets in Canada.

Sunday, November 11th, is Remembrance Day (the Canadian equivalent to Memorial Day) where Canadians all across the country remember those who have died serving our country. The Royal Canadian Legion actually proclaims the poppy as the "sacred" symbol of remembrance and donations from poppies fund an important part of veteran rehabilitation and helping the families of those who have passed.

I may not be a fan of the political decisions surrounding the military, but I will honour and respect those who have died for my country.

In particular, I wear my poppy in honour of my grand-père Albert (who passed away 5 years ago) who fought in the infantry in World War II. Remembrance Day meant a lot to him.

The entire system of the Poppy Campaign  however, necessitates waste. In order to raise money, the Legion counts on people throwing away their poppies and purchasing new ones each year. If 70% of Canadians wear poppies, that's a lot of wasted plastic.

(photo from Fredericton blog Kandise Brown)

Recently, several knitting groups, specifically one in Fredericton New Brunswick, were asked to stop knitting reusable poppies by the Legion. One reason being that a reusable poppy means that person won't purchase one the following year. I think it's a shame a compromise couldn't have been found.

For the past two years, after Remembrance Day, Andrew and I placed our poppies in a drawer where they are protected and bring them out the following year... As they are plastic they last through the rain and snow of November and look virtually the same as the day we bought them. No extra waste.

I do believe in giving back to the Legion, as they have helped my grandparents as well as myself (with a scholarship during my undergraduate degree).

So, instead of taking a poppy, I simply give a donation, smile and continue on my way.

Albert d'Eon WWII 1945 in Holland
J'taime grand-père, et je me souviens...

7 comments:

Melissa A said...

The Royal Canadian Legion holds copyright on the poppy and consider the knitted poppies to be copyright infringement.

Eco Yogini said...

Yes- I had heard that as well. It's not my favourite reason...
Hopefully at their next convention they'll be able to come to support knitted poppies... although I can understand how poppies are an important source of funding for them....

Stephanie said...

The legion has the copyright to a flower? That's silly. I love the idea of reusing a poppy or getting creative with your style and going for one of the knitted variety. Why not? Especially if connects younger generation to their cause. The legion just needs to think outside of the box and modernize their fundraising. Personally, I don't wear one because I too have conflicting views but I don't have any personal connection either. Maybe it's time the legion finds a better way to connect people to their cause and the purpose of the funds instead of relying on this wasteful practice which relies on social pressures/norms.

Can you tell I didn't grow up in NS? I was shocked to find out it's a provincial holiday. It's optional for employers to give it off to employees in ON and BC.

Side note - in the UK they wear paper poppies. They look different than ours and I think the school children are involved in making them? Although I can't remember if that was a true story or not. ...

Alli said...

We also reuse our poppies and give a donation without taking a flower. However, I completely agree with Stephanie that they should be thinking outside the box to connect with the younger generations. I think getting the non-veteran community involved is a strong way to raise awareness about the plight of veterans, especially when they come home from war. No matter how conflicted we may be about the reasons we as a country about sending troops to fight (past or present), those that are fighting truly believe in what they are fighting for and deserve our utmost respect and support.Although I do not have any war veterans in my family, I will wear my poppy in their honour at the cenotaph today.

Elizabeth said...

Our poppies here for Veterans Day, are made of crepe paper. My husband was in the UK over Remembrance Day a couple years ago and brought back a poppy. It was much larger than ours, but also of crepe paper. I save my poppies and other little flowers that are sold by other military support services and loop them onto my handicap tag that I put onto rear view mirror when parked. Looks like a little garden of green, periwinkle, blue, orange and red poppies.

Amber Strocel said...

I can never get my poppies to stay on. This year I bought one and lost it in under 24 hours. I'm not sure that helps anyone - me, the Legion, or our planet. Judging by the number of poppies I see on the ground after Remembrance Day, I'm not the only one. I don't think the Legion only counts on us throwing away and re-buying - I think they count on us losing and re-buying them, many many times each year.

Surely there has to be a better way. I like the idea of a more permanent option, and then just donating.

Christy said...

I'm glad to read this post.

I wrote a tutorial for making a homemade felt poppy because of all the waste I see each year after the assembly at my kids' school or my own school (I'm a teacher). Then I posted it to Facebook. I received a lot of flack for it because somehow I wasn't supporting veterans or the Legion by making my own (it doesn't stop me from donating). I felt frustrated that they missed my point.

Thanks for making me feel like I'm not alone!

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin