It’s All or Nothing…

I want to get something off my chest.  I have to tell you my big dirty secret…

I cheat.

Yes, I cheat at being green, and I admit it.

I take long, hot showers.  I still use chemically mainstream cleaners (even bleach!)  I eat out at places that are definitely not fair trade certified or even organic!  I throw away plastic instead of recycling it.

I could go on and on, but I’m trying to make a point.  Living sustainablely, living in an eco-friendly way is not an all or nothing proposition.  It’s a journey.

So to those of you who want to be more thoughtful in how you live, but feel completely and totally overwhelmed by the vast number of considerations and things to avoid and the sheer expense of haut coutre enviro-friendly items, I challenge you to look smaller.
Instead of using body wash in a plastic container, filled with harsh detergents, try buying cold-press soap made from oils from a local vendor or etsy seller (two of my personal favorites)

Wipe up simple messes in the kitchen (like spilt milk, water, or wet hands) with a kitchen towel instead of paper towels. Advanced version: wipe up food messes, too.  Extra advanced: pick up cat vomit or child vomit.

Use cloth diapers, cloth menstrual pads, or cloth nursing pads instead of the disposable versions.  The cost initially is more expensive, but when you start to think about how a Huggies diaper or an Always menstrual pad costs you $0.25 each, the initial outlay for cloth pays off fast!

Compost your food instead of throwing it in the trash.

Take a shower that is 5 minutes shorter.

Use a broom instead of a blower, an old-fashioned push mower instead of a gas or electric mower.

Open your windows and let a breeze in (unless it’s prohibitively hot!)

You get the idea.  I don’t remember the book (help me out!) but I once read something that struck me quite a bit.  The story goes on to tell of a woman who would not turn on the heat in her apartment – if she could bear the cold one more hour, she could save a small amount of money.  That money went in a can to be saved.  Just one more hour, one more hour, she’d tell herself, and if she could stand it, she’d have saved money toward her goal.

While I don’t remember the particulars, I do remember thinking that our attitudes should be similar.  Not of self-deprivation – no, but of thriftiness in everything we consume.  But she didn’t say, “If I can just do without heat…” She said, “If I can just wait one more hour…”

When we can bear waiting, denying ourselves something small and reasonably unimportant, we save for bigger causes, whether it’s a large purchase or a cleaner, healthier world for ourselves and our children.

So it doesn’t have to be all or nothing – just little by little, we can change the way we live!


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