Saturday, July 25, 2015

No One Can Do Everything?

But everyone can do something! 

Do you feel intimidated by starting to green-up your life? Do you feel like there is so much to be done that you don't know where to start?

I definitely feel that way a lot! There are so many habits worth breaking, but you can't break them all at once. It's kind of like trying to start a diet; you can declare you will only eat plain chicken and broccoli for every meal, but how many days until you fall off that wagon?

I think the discourse about environmentalism can sometimes feel like a broccoli diet. If you aren't totally electric-free, plastic-free, etc, then you are failing, but it's hard to change so many habits at once. Not to mention, a lot of green fixes are expensive, so it can be a big investment!

The key here, like so many things in life, is just to moderate and take some pressure off yourself! It's better to keep making small changes that you can sustain than to try to force your whole life into a new box immediately. Plus, the issue here is scale, so if everyone does one thing they keep up with, it can make more of an impact than if you try to change everything for a short while. Need some ideas of where to start? These are some of the simplest fixes. Commit to one for a month, and if you feel good about it at the end, you can add another thing to the list!

Baby Steps to Try 

1. Give in to the re-useable shopping bag- Try keeping them in your trunk if you have trouble remembering!

2. Stop using plastic bottles- Water bottles are the worst. They are literally just tap water in an environment-ruining package. Invest in a camelback and just keep refilling it. If you are a pop drinker, think about buying your pop in larger containers and refilling a camelback or cup. Also, if you are a pop drinker, I am super jealous of you.

3. Start a recycle bin- You may have to drop it off somewhere, but it will make a world of difference!

4. Only buy napkins and toliet paper made of 75% or more recycled materials- Really, does a tree need to die so someone can wipe their butt? If you buy in bulk, the price difference isn't all that significant.

5. Compost- Better if you live in a rural area (it can be stinky), but you can buy compost bins at Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, or even Amazon. A banana peel decomposes in a week or two, but mixed in with all that plastic garbage, it will never decompose, adding to our huge garbage pile on this planet.

6. Give up plastic straws- Yes, I know, drinking is hard, but you can do it. When your server brings you straws at a restaurant, just say you don't need it and give it back.

7. Stop using produce bags at the grocery store- Why exactly are you trying to keep that peel you are going to throw out clean anyway? I know I have trouble with this one (I kind of miss them) but you can put them all in none grocery bag and wash things as you put them away.

8. Say no to microbeads- Those little plastic beads might make your face feel great, but they are doing real damage fast. You can find natural alternatives, or skip the beads all together.

9. Start Local- If you are looking to make a difference, the best place to look is right around you. People are all over this earth, so if everyone took care of the place they lived in, we might be in better shape. One great step is to read up on what is going on in the environment near your neighborhood and to get involved!

10. Join a Buy Nothing group or start one! Ok, I make it no secret that I love my Buy Nothing group, but it really is awesome. You can give things you don't need to someone who needs it, and you can save money by getting things used from your neighbors. If you don't have a Buy Nothing Project in your area, start one!

Ok, this seems like a lot, but the point is to just pick one thing, here or not, that you feel like you can do! Set a goal and succeed!

For us, this month I am trying to minimize some of our baby-created waste, so I am researching biodegradble baby wipes and may finally bite the bullet and do reusable diapers while we are home. Do you know how many diapers a baby uses before they potty train? It feels like about a million. I will let you know how our mission goes- tell me what you might change!

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