I am a resource pig and I know it. I'm trying to change. Honest. In this blog I hope to document my steps away from my own resource over consumption and on toward more sustainable life practices. Nothing like a little transparency to do the trick, huh.
One of my favorite past times is hiking. I have always followed the cardinal rule of hiking "leave only footprints and take only memories". It just seemed like the right thing to do. A day came that I realized as soon as the hike was over I was right back to trampling good old planet earth without care. I thought to myself, "Self, shouldn't you try to leave the least footprint you possibly can all the time? Not just when recreating? Hmm...good point. So, before I recycle myself back to soil and feed the dandelions, marigolds and lilies I decided it was time to clean up my act.
After my "conversion" I discovered that society in general views my goal of trying to live more sustainably as being very uncool for the most part. I sometimes find myself lumped together with being a "new ager", "hippie leftover" or sometimes even viewed as being "unpatriotic". "What do you mean you avoid the mall? It's your patriotic duty to shop and keep the economy humming. Waht about the corporations? What will happen to the stockholders? The economy will crash if we all start to live sustainably and stop buying more stuff."
OK, that may be all true. But, economy collapses are survivable. It's happened many times before and we all just went back to eating worms or something while we looked for a good farm and then waited for a good crop of broccoli and carrots. Ice ages and total desertification on the other hand are probably not as easily survivable. Mabybe if you have some good Eddie Bauer gear and a basement full of canned food. Wait! Did someone turn up the heat? Water, I need water!
Another example of falling outside the mainstream is when I chose to begin eating a plant-based rather than an animal-based diet. To be perfectly honest my first intent in changing was health and not sustainability but the ecology bandwagon rolled by soon after and I just jumped right on. My choice was severely questioned by nearly everyone I mentioned it too though. With great concern they would ask, "How on earth do you get your protein if not from a dead cow or chicken?" The answer, of course is that I get it the same place the cow and chicken did before they died. From plants, nuts, seeds, etc, etc. etc. Also, since I gave up mothers milk about fifty-one years ago I decided, very late in life, to give up cow's milk too. I mean it is true I do have calves but I use those mostly for walking and not drinking. And yes, I get my calcium the same way believe it or now. Plants. If somenone out there does find any carnivore cows or chickens please let me know and I may reconsider this choice.
It takes a lot of work to move toward sustainability since the choices are many and it may not be for the faint of heart. One of the easier choices to make is; do I use a paper bag that consumes a tree and saves oil or do I opt for the plastic one that consumes oil and saves a tree? I recently opted for the reusable plastic bags as they seemed to leave the least footprint.
A move toward sustainability may be difficult but it does have a very positive result. It will cost a lot less to live, life will become simpler and less stressful,and I will be much healthier. Admittedly I have taken just a few small baby steps, but it is a start. Each week (month?, year?, decade?) I plan to move a little closer to my goal as I read, learn, adapt and apply. Here are a few of the things I have done so far.
1. I recycle anything I possibly can and end up dumping very little in the dumpster.
2. I eat low on the food chain. That means I eat a very sustainable plant based diet and have eliminated all animal products from the menu since they consume resources at an alarming rate. I do use honey from time to time but mostly agave nectar.
3. I strive to leave the car parked as much as possible and walk or take the bus whenever I can. I'm still working on that one and have considered selling the car and using Flex Cars or a rental whenever I really, really, really need a car.
4. I have taken steps to reduce the junk mail I receive. Here are some instructions on how to do that: Stop the Junk Mail
5. I buy organic when it is available and shop local as much as I can. I am also trying now to eat with the seasons but have not yet fully refined that goal.
6. I read. Books, blogs, websites, anything I can to learn and adapt. Society it seems has moved so far away from sustainability in the last one-hundred years much of our knowledge of living with the earth has been lost. I know I certainly did not grow up in a sustainable household. There are still a few persons in the U.S. that live simply and it is from these I hope to learn how to return.
7. I do not sell my "allotment for polluting" by buying "carbon credits" so I can continue to pollute. I would much rather reduce my own consumption, educate others to do so as well and reduce the carbon emissions that way.
Well, that is my story for now. I hope to keep this blog going and document my progress. I actuallly hope to make quicker progress now than before and I encourage others to join me and post suggestions, good books to read and most of all encouragement. As time goes on I also hope to expand this site and offer select books for sale that will help others move toward co-habiting peacefully with the earth. The way we all did for thousands and thousands of years.
Please recycle this blog properly in the right bin.
If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch