For most people, going green sounds like a no-brainer. In practice though, it can honestly feel a bit weird to jump into. Going green means making some changes and we like what we like: routines, familiar foods, products, places. Yeah, venturing off the beaten, traditional path can be exciting. But, in our regularly scheduled lives we tend to stick to what we know. Tradition and routine offer comfort, but outside of your bubble, have you ever imagined the impact your daily choices might have elsewhere?
Reduce, reuse, recycle
We’ve all heard the phrase “Reduce, reuse, recycle” countless times before. You’ve read it on the side of a ghostly looking plastic bag or a cheery advertisement on a street corner. Think about it though; have you reduced, do you reuse, will you recycle? Since embracing this as one of my life mottos, I can honestly say I’ve been feeling better about things. Even if part of me knows that realistically, the impact of one persons’ choices probably won’t make a difference in the long run, it feels GOOD to do so. I think a lot of people may feel the same, like making small changes in their lives won’t really change the outcome of climate change, pollution, all that.
So, why bother? I’ll tell you why; I’m a firm believer in the power of the people, and in this case, the consumer. Probably the only thing I do truly like about consumerism: the customer is always right. What the market wants, the market gets (most of the time). Forbes thinks we have the power too Going Green What’s Good for the Planet is Good for Business. The green movement has been growing and while it might feel like it’s a long and lonely road to sustainability, there are others out there making moves too. What we’ve shown as consumers that we want for a long time is convenience over everything, but that’s not usually what’s best for the environment. I think if enough consumers made conscientious changes in their shopping and even investing habits, the world could truly change. * Hey Siri, play “Imagine” by John Lennon*
Small initiatives to take to go green
Who am I though? Eve’s American friend? Why does my opinion matter? Well, I’m just a girl who is set on saving the world. It sounds extra cheesy, but hey somebody’s got to care! Everyones’ ~*sustainability journey*~ looks different, but here are some of the practices and products I’ve tried and will continue to use;
Say no to plastic bags
One change that was particularly tough for me, especially as an American, was saying no to plastic shopping bags. A fixture in every place I’ve lived has been the plastic bag stash. You know it, the Russian Doll-esque bag of bags inside of bags inside of bags, ad infinitum, shoved behind cleaning products under the kitchen sink. To my fellow bag hoarders, hear this: Bring them to your local grocery store and recycle them!
“Woah, woah, woah, Melissa. What if I NEED one?!” You don’t, you won’t. It’ll be fine. Nearly every brand, cartoon, TV show or sports team you love has a reusable canvas bag calling your name (or probably even with your name ON IT). I must have accumulated a cool dozen myself over the past two years alone. Bring one with you wherever you go, and watch as the mass of bags below your sink begins to dwindle away. Which is good, because you’re gonna need space for your new sustainable purchases.
Laundry detergent what nows?
I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical about this one: laundry detergent sheets. I, like many city dwellers, drag my Ikea bags ( reuse!) four blocks with my jug of detergent in hand, week after week and I grew up watching my mom fill the jugs’ cap to the line with unnaturally blue, viscous, detergent. How could a dry postcard sized piece of paper replace that? Well, I’m not completely read up on the science, but it does. I recently made the switch to Earth Breeze and honestly, I’m not going back. My clothes come out clean and smell nice. I don’t over add detergent to the machine and my back has thanked me for removing one heavy item from my long trek to the laundromat. I use a brand by the name of Earth Breeze, but there may be different kinds available in your area/for order online.
Put your money where your values are
Another, potentially seemingly unfitting, hobby of mine is playing the stocks. This might not seem like the most logical step, but I suggest that you invest in companies that you like what they do, the services they offer and the ethos they put forward. Become a shareholder in a company that perpetuates your values and does what you do on the daily on a much larger scale.
Yeah, the stock market is there to make money (hopefully, only invest what you can afford to lose!) but who do you want reaping the benefits of your capital, building a business with your hard earned cash? Why not earn money from the successes of the solar industry versus oil companies, for example. (This is not financial advice, BUT the solar and hydrogen fuel cell industries have some really good projected growth potential over the course of the next few years… just saying.) It’s worth looking into, and who knows might lead to a nice payday somewhere down the line! Win, win!
Future steps to take to go green
I haven’t taken all the steps I’d like to but Rome wasn’t built in a day, its ok to work yourself up to your green goals. A few of the next things on my make the switch list are:
– recyclable/reusable water filter
– reusable cotton swab/q-tip
– bar shampoo and conditioner
If you have any insight or products you’ve tried and loved, please do share! Personally, I’ve found that the easiest way for me to make a change is to share my ambitions with someone else. That way, it’s easier to hold myself accountable. The other person doesn’t always CARE per se (thanks for listening, mom), but once you put it out there, you can’t take it back. So, I challenge you to tell a friend today one green change you’d like to implement in your own life. It can be as simple as remembering to turn off the lights when you leave the room, taking shorter showers or switching something you use regularly to a waste free product. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire others to make a change too!
x Melissa x