Green a Little - Sustainable Living in Small Steps
Updated: Jun 2, 2019
Since I was a kid I aspired to be green, sadly I’m not.
I'd like to have a more sustainable lifestyle, consume less stuff and produce less waste. I feel guilty when I buy packaged chicken in the supermarket, first for eating an animal and second for the plastic it’s packed in. I feel guilty for the upcoming vacation my wife and I plan to take in Europe and the 28,000 kilometers round trip from Australia, which will result in more pollution to the air we breathe. Despite my strong desire to be green and the fact that I see it as a priority I am not green at all.
I belong to what I believe is a large group of people, call them the wanna-be-greens, who for various reasons continue to live a life of over consumption and production of large amounts of trash and pollution. The wanna-be-greens are doubly screwed because unlike those who either don’t believe in global warming or simply don’t care about it, and for those reasons are able to enjoy living a reckless lifestyle guilt free, the wanna-be-greens are drowning in guilt. Almost everything we do, touch, consume, and interact with on a daily basis makes us be part of the problem we wish to solve. It feels terrible. We look for inspiration from diehard vegans, zero waste gurus, and hardcore minimalists who managed to create an admirable lifestyle for themselves. They inspire us to believe that it’s totally doable to ditch that yogurt in the morning, buy unpackaged fruits, and give away the shirt we got 30 years ago for our birthday, yet haven’t worn in decades. So we give it a shot, we make drastic and challenging changes to our lives. But typically within a few days we give up because it’s just too hard and we go back to our normal lifestyle. As an added bonus we also hate ourselves a little more for having failed, again. I feel like I’ve been trapped in this maze for a long time, unsuccessfully trying to come up with drastic ways to make a big change.
This year I’ve done two small things in a way to a greener me. The two changes were small and relatively easy to implement. The first was buying a compost bin and composting all of our organic waste from the kitchen. The second was replacing the plastic cling wrap I use for my lunch with a reusable silicone cling wrap. The reason I am excited about these two little changes is not because I believe they will save the world from an ecological catastrophe, but because months after I started I’m still thrilled about taking the organic waste out to the composter and feeding the maggots who help turn it back into soil, and I don’t even think about the minor inconvenience related to washing and drying the silicon cling wrap, these actions became a habit for me.
So this got me thinking, perhaps the way to become greener is not a 180, overnight, change everything about your life campaign, which for most people is too daunting and typically ends with failure, perhaps the way to approach it is with a long succession of small, manageable changes which can become new habits that stick and continue to build on top of each other. And that is exactly our purpose (my wife and I) with green a little, we’d like to write about our efforts in finding small things which will help us to gradually become greener. Our plan is to challenge ourselves to make small green changes and write about it. We hope that the posts will inspire other people who are stuck in the wanna-be-green maze to take small, yet meaningful steps towards being greener.