Eco-Living for Beginners
Hello everyone and welcome to this months blog post. Today’s topic is one that is near and dear to my heart, Sustainability! I could discuss this topic until the end of time, but I can’t just talk the talk if I didn’t walk the walk. I know how daunting and complicated it can seem to transition to that cleaner lifestyle, so this blog is based on my own personal journey.
Like every lifestyle transition it’s all about taking things one step at a time. Start off with small changes, master them and then move to the next. Making these little changes aren’t just good for your health and finances, but they also have a positive impact on our planet as well.
1.) Disposable plastic.
This is the biggest, little thing you can possibly do. The disposal of plastics and their negative effects on our health and environment are staggering, and the reality is, it’s pretty much impossible to go a day without interacting with it at some point. Think about where in your life it has the most influence. Is it plastic bags? Straws? To-go food containers? Bottled water containers? The wrapping on your products? Pick one of these and focus on it specifically, don't try and do it all. I chose to try and eliminate my use of plastic bags by ALWAYS keeping a little fold up bag in my purse, now it’s pretty much routine to pull it out every time I approach a sales till. I get a sense of satisfaction from saying ‘I've got a bag thanks’ and at the end of the day, it helps me sleep better at night.
2.) Shopping with intention and repurposing.
We live in a consumer based society, where we often don't take the time to consider our purchases in terms of necessity vs want. Business knows this, and focuses on playing to our emotions to convince us that we need more. Sometimes a ‘good deal’ can be the most expensive thing you can buy. In the long run quality will always prevail over quantity as you won’t have to continuously replace cheaply made, worn out, or broken items. Another approach I love is repurposing and repairing items, the feeling of fixing something and making it new again is a very rewarding one, can save tons of money and will help you break away from the attitude of disposable goods.
3.) Re-connect with your food source.
It’s a lot easier to limit waste when you feel a connection to what it takes for something to be produced. My personal favourite approach to this is gardening. This is a challenging and rewarding long term hobby. When you know what kind of effort it takes to grow just one single tomato, you really think twice about letting it go to waste and gain a better appreciation in what it means to eat sustainably by connecting with nature as a provider. (Side note this is a gateway to all sorts of things like canning, pickling, fermenting etc. You have been warned!) Another approach to this is simple; visit farmers markets, and connect with those who are growing, providing and selling. There is a wealth of information to be gained from these individuals, and they are happy and eager to share it.
4.) SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS
All in caps because this one is huge, and actually takes some serious effort and can be broken down into baby steps on it’s own. Where do you feel like this is most achievable in your life? Clothing, food, makeup, jewelry? Start off with one area in mind and before you know it you will be rocking an entire life full of small business purchases. Why is this important? When we buy from small business we have an opportunity to support local, interact one-on-one with the business owners and create an intimate experience where our concerns can be heard. Money from these businesses go back into our community which helps our economy, improves equality, social service programs, education, I could go on and on… Small businesses are far more likely to remain transparent out of necessity (and are often, just driven to do so) so it’s easier to find out details like ingredient sourcing and manufacturing ethics.
Some helpful resources:
In summation, take it a little bit at a time. One of my current focus areas is switching up how and where I buy my household cleaning supplies, so it really is a never ending journey. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in regards to your eco-friendly journey too. We are all at a different place on this path so lets help one another regardless of where we find ourselves.
Thanks so much for taking the time, and don’t forget to share your thoughts!