I thought that I was as green as they come. I eat wicked healthy (mostly organic), use almost all green beauty products, always make sure that I recycle, never litter, and as ludicrous as this might sound, I believed in the cause, so therefore that’s enough right? If you believe that global warming is not some made up cause that worthless amounts of dollars are being poured into, that should be enough right? If you want the world to move away from fossil fuels and utilize green energy, that makes you a green guru, shouldn’t it? If you are a supporter and wish hard enough, others, such as the government and automobile companies will start making more green strides, right? Wrong. Wanting does not = Action. While it is my greatest hope that we steer into a more positive, green direction as a country, I realized that I can no longer just sit around and wait for it to happen, while I be a green minimalist. I’m currently taking a green design and technology course this semester and it has made me realize that I can be doing a lot better. Here are some of the resolutions, some of which I’ve already been working, that I came up with to be a better, greener person.
1.) Unplug appliances when using them: I have a habit of never turning off electronics that I’m not using. Back when I used my family’s desktop computer, I knew that I should have been turning it off when nobody was using it, but instead, I was too lazy to turn it off and then waiting some time for everything to reload and start it back up. Looking back, it was absolutley supremely silly to not do something that would have probably of taken 10 minutes out of my day to deal with. As of right now, I have a laptop computer and have decided that instead of leaving it in the charger all the time, I would simply shut it down when I’m not using it to save energy. I also have changed my laptop’s setting to be in eco mode for when I am charging it. Same thing goes with my cell phone. I always leave my cell phone in the charger or lying around somewhere when not using it. However, like my laptop, I am being more conscious about shutting it down because the less you use the charger, the less energy you’re using.
2.) Be more conscious of clothing purchases: My green design and technology course taught me that one of the biggest zappers of energy is the making and purchasing of products. The mass consumption of this country is absolute insanity and what is probably the worst part is that almost none of it is made in the United States anymore. This makes the carbon footprint on each product crazy high and a lot of the countries where these clothes are made have poor environmental regulations. I will say, I’m don’t really buy a lot of products unless I really want/need it, but I could use more discretion when it comes to purchasing clothes. Often times, I will buy clothes that I like, but not love, because it fits decently, is at a low price, or sadly on impulse, because it looks cool in the moment. Therefore, I notice that a good amount of my clothes doesn’t really get fair usage and that high carbon footprint got me very little in return. As a result, I have decided to create a pseudo capsule wardrobe. Fashion is very important to me because I feel that it is a form of self-expression that gives me confidence, so I’m not going to stop being fashionable. Realistically, I’m not about to donate everything and only buy solid colored tee shirts (my green design and technology teacher actually does this; doesn’t wear anything besides solid colored tee shirts…and pants obviously, haha!) After seeing Cloudy Apples (one of my favorite youtubers) capsule wardrobe video, I have noticed that I could use some more basics in my wardrobe. I have a habit of clinging to the shiny/sparkly/hippie/printy aisles of clothing stores, so I guess you can say this video came at a good time :). When I go out to the clothing store the next time, I’m going to continue my hunt for awesome, well made basics and other essentials that are missing in my closet (rain boots, ear muffs, a new pair of fall boots so I don’t wear out the ones I wear religiously lol, I don’t know why but I always have this problem with shoes), However, I am still going to be on the lookout for unique fashions, but only purchase them if I have that “love it, gotta have it!” feeling and know that I will wear it over and over again. I also plan on trying to use more accessories with my basics, such as scarves, hats, and jewelry. Question for my readers; would the carbon footprint be lower on scarves, hats, and gloves because there is less fabric that is used, therefore there is less processing? I would love to know :).
In terms of where I purchase the clothing, I’d like to shop more at consignment stores and/or look around Goodwill or Savers (Savers briefly because they try to push you out of the store by only letting you take in a maximum of 6 pieces of clothing into the dressing room and then you have to get in the back of line. They also move clothes if they overhear that you want to buy something and then walk away to look around but plan to come back for it. It’s madness, haha). Getting used clothing isn’t something that I do often, but I should, because reusing is essential for helping our environment. I also want to stop more on etsy because a lot of their sellers are based in the USA, which will make for a much smaller carbon footprint then getting something from let’s say China. Also, since they are small business owners, they are much more likely to utilize sound environmental practices and not use workshop labor. What’s not to love?
3.) Convince My Family To Be Locavores: While I eat a very healthy diet (organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, free of other stuff, etc.), most of what we buy is produce that has the potential to come from far away. I never really thought of this as a problem until I realized that once again, the carbon footprint of the packaging and purchasing of the food is way too high. Buying local helps with this carbon footprint. We are especially lucky to live in an area of New England where there are lots of farms around us, so I’d say that it is much easier for us than most to get high quality farm fresh produce. Right now, I have to get my family on board with this idea and get all of us to go to farmers markets more often than we do, but when I’m out on my own at college next year, I’m going to try and see if there are local farms/farmers markets around and purchase as much as I can locally. Apparently, the town of one of the colleges that I’m going to be applying to has one of the best farmers markets in the country, so I’ll be sure to take advantage if I go there :).
Also, it is important to point out in this blog post that the processing of meat takes up a good piece of energy in this country and perhaps the world. Due to health issues and the various dietary restrictions that I have, going vegetarian/vegan would not make the most sense nor be the best for my body. However, I do still want to help with this problem and have decided that in addition to getting more vegetables/fruit from farms, I want to convince my family that we should aspire to purchase more meat that we do consume locally, as the carbon footprint won’t be as large due to there being significantly less processing and shipping.
4.) Shorter Showers: Now this one will be a toughie. I ❤ ❤ ❤ long hot showers. In a way, it is kind of cathartic for my soul, ha-ha. But taking 20-25 minute showers multiple times a week is way too much time! I don’t think I’m ever going to get down to taking 5 minute showers, but I’d say that trying to reduce (the most vital of the three R’s) my showers to 12-15 minutes would be a good start. However, I will reward myself by giving myself one long shower a week :). It’s all about balance people!
5.) Less Trash: I have a habit of taking more food than I can handle and then throwing it away in the trash can. This excess waste creates methane in landfills, which is toxic in large amounts to the environment. When it is dinner time, I will start out by taking just a little bit and then getting up and taking more if I want it. Also, if I do have leftovers, I will see if anyone else wants it or if I can, put it back on the plate/bowl/whatever you put food on, haha.
These are my green resolutions for now and I’m sure that they’ll increase as time goes on. However, I want to start out small as a little bit goes a long way. No, I cannot just give up all technology, live in the woods somewhere with candlelight, and walk around naked, but I can do much better than what I’ve be doing. I’m looking forward to seeing my progress and to helping this planet be greener for the next generation.
Do you guys have any suggestions to add on to my green resolution list? What are some of your green resolutions?
http://www.becomingminimalist.com/buying-stuff-wont-make-you-happy/ (9 Reasons Why Buying Stuff Won’t Make You Happy Article)
http://storyofstuff.org/movies/black-friday-video/ (Tis The Season To Get Trampled Video)
P.S. All of the photos in the blog post are mine. If you would like to use them, please ask and then give me credit. Thank you :D.