Shampoo bars. Reusable straws. Bamboo toothbrushes. Check, check and check. You’ll also find eco laundry soap, cleaning vinegar, and organic produce in my home, and laundry flapping out on my clothesline. I must be one of the green cool kids.
If only the environment was a popularity contest. We’d be a lot better at fixing what’s wrong. While using eco-friendly cleaning and beauty products are a great start, they aren’t going to get the hard work of fixing our planet done. We have to tackle the heavy hitting categories of transportation, energy usage, waste, water usage, and food consumption. These things aren’t as Instagram-worthy, and involve a commitment to making changes in our lives, and sacrifice. That makes them a whole lot less popular.
Still, it’s do-able, with commitment and prioritization, as well as being immensely rewarding. I work with my clients to do an analysis of their households and lifestyles to find their biggest areas of opportunity, and we create a plan for change that is incremental and sustainable. This means you don’t have to go from a typical American lifestyle to living off grid overnight, or even at all. Extremism isn’t something most people are willing to commit to, and it’s not necessary to get us out of this mess.
To get an idea of changes that make a huge difference, ask your employer if you could work from home at least part time, to reduce your commute, or get a hybrid car. Fly less and try staycations or visit nearby attractions you may have overlooked. Reduce meat and dairy by half, and buy as much organic food from your local farmers market as possible. Eat the food you buy so it doesn’t waste, and purchase products in bulk or at least in packaging you can reuse and then compost or recycle. Contact your electricity company and ask about renewable energy options available in your area. Have an expert analyze your home for heating and cooling leaks, and convert all your old bulbs and faucets to ones that conserve. As your appliances age, be sure to replace them with Energy Star rated ones, or consider selling what you have and replacing them with warranted refurbished Energy Star models now. Buy less. Seriously, most of what you’re buying you don’t really capital N Need.
Bigger changes down the road might include selling one or all of your cars and getting around other ways, downsizing to a smaller, more efficient home, converting your yard from grass to garden space, and installing solar panels.
While it might not win the popularity contest, these changes will absolutely help us win back our planet. Start today, with making one change for the better. Then create attainable goals. If you need some help, contact me!