Tuesday, March 13, 2012

sustainability revamp

I call myself an environmentalist. And compared to many, I am. But I have plateau’d. I’m stuck in the no man’s land of average, every day, eco actions.

What on earth do I mean by the average, every day land of the eco plateau? Well, to me this looks something like this:

  • I recycle into the city provided recycle box
  • I use recyclable shopping bags
  • I think twice about organic vs local vs cost when making grocery shopping decisions
  • I’m vegetarian
  • I use eco non toxic toothpaste
  • I buy recycled paper
  • I try to upcycle things and buy 2nd hand
  • I use a travel mug and water mug (both from metal, not plastic)
  • All of our soaps are phosphate free, biodegradable, etc (laundry, dish, body)
  • We use sawdust kitty litter
  • We only use compostable garbage bags
  • I generally use the Diva Cup
  • All paper towels and toilet paper in our house come from recycled papers
  • I don’t use toxins to clean (I’m a vinegar, water, baking soda, borax and essential oil house cleaner)
  • We heat to a maximum of 21 degrees Celsius (don’t ask me what that is in Fahrenheit, I really don’t have a clue… when American’s talk about 60 degree weather, I just think holy FRAK that’s hot because I only know Celsius)
  • I try to buy eco clothing, cosmetics, and goods but generally don’t succeed because of instant gratification issues

There are other things that I do and have done, but those are the big ones. But hopefully, in this day and age, doing things like recycling is the norm, not the exception (though I’m sure someone, somewhere, has statistics to prove to me that this isn’t the norm…). So I’ve reached a level of eco activity that is a norm or bare basic for our society. But it’s a comfortable level of action and doesn’t require that I step much outside the complacent comfort levels of middle class living. And that’s not good enough for me.

One of the things that I pride myself on is the fact that I’m not apathetic about the world we live in and the actions I take in it. So why have I let myself become so complacent and comfortable with my consumerism?

It’s as though I spent the last 6 years educating my husband about these issues, only to rest on my laurels now that I’ve got him to the level I was moving beyond when we first met. (Please understand that this is not a criticism of my husband in any way, just an observation that I feel like I do less now that I actually have the means to do more). I keep telling myself that I’ll do this or that once we move into our new home. Compost, paint, furniture: I’ve pledged to upcycle, recycle, or eco-fy it all.  But is that enough?

If I were to ask myself, quite honestly, what I’d like to be doing more, the answer is a resounding: much more.  

So I’m going to start working on that project. In order to do so, I’m going to follow the SMART method (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and start by breaking it down into smaller, manageable groups. The first areas I’d like to tackle are: beauty, cleaning, and everyday living.
  • Beauty Goals:  Move towards more sustainable, non-toxic beauty products
  • Cleaning: Reduce my packing intake and pre-make all of the household cleaning goods (when possible)
  • Everyday Living: Paper reduction, sustainable consumerism

 More to follow about my action plans for each of these areas!


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