It is painful obvious that we have fucked up our planet and we need to do something about it. This is something that needs to be done on all levels, right on up to our highest governmental organizations. No, I am not going to get into my feelings about the government and ecology and animal welfare. To say I am saddened and disappointed would be a gross understatement. We will just leave it at that.
So I am focusing on what I can do as an individual. And there is a lot I can do. Too much, in fact. Trying to do my part has become a rabbit hole that I willingly jumped into not not realizing how deep it went. I am so naive.
Here is a little glimpse into the path I took to helping save the planet, and how it lead, surprisingly fast, to overwhelm and and a feeling of defeat.
Meat *production* (that’s a nice bland term for the horror that is the meat industry) it one of the biggest burdens on the environment. And it was easy for me to give up meat. Dairy and egg industries are a shit show as well and I am still trying to cut those out completely. When I do occasionally easy eggs or dairy I try to stick with local, ethically sourced products. Well, as ethical as you can be within a horrible industry. I am getting closer to a full vegan lifestyle. I don’t know why this is so hard for me. There are some really great vegan cheeses that I keep around for when I want cheese. I guess it comes down to laziness. That’s not self deprecating, that’s a simple truth. My husband is not vegan or vegetarian AT ALL. As a result we always have both animal and plant based cheeses in the fridge, and we usually have a carton of eggs. I make 2 versions of our meals pretty often. The hubs will eat a vegan meal with me sometimes, he isn’t one of those guys who demands meat at every meal. But he’s not going to give up meat, cheese and eggs. It’s just not going to happen. So most of the time I make us separate meals, or meals that overlap with the main vegetable component being one we both enjoy, and then animal protein for the hubs. but sometimes I am just plain tired and don’t want to make two meals. So I make us something like a veggie omelet to split. I am 90 percent-ish vegan. I am not going to beat myself up about it or judge myself until I get to 100 percent.
Plastic is filling our landfill, choking our oceans and literally killing marine life. We are a society of convenience seekers. The insanity of single use plastic and individually packaged products has gotten just plan stupid. I try very hard not to be a part of that group of consumers. I buy in bulk, or at least large packages, and portion out using reusable glass portables. I have reduced my plastic wrap and baggie use to almost nothing. I use freezer paper and parchment paper when needed (but what about the trees!!!!???) I have cut my foil use to almost nothing.
Straws were easy, switch to steel at home and don’t ask for one when we are out. Done.
Nontoxic cleaning products, another easy fix. So many good ones. I can find Method and Seventh Generation at almost every store.
But I go deeper down the rabbit hole and here’s where it starts getting really tricky, and overwhelming.
*Normal* consumerism is a trashy business. The packaging from my everyday purchases, when I started really paying attention, is, well, a lot! So I try to buy in bulk as often as possible and choose glass options when I can. But I often forget my green bags, reusable produce bags and jars for bulk purchases at home. I am trying. Then there is all the stuff I never really thought about before. Plastic toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, q-tips, plastic shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles. Grocery products that only come in plastic. Meat and veggies that are sold in plastic packaging. Not everything I want to purchase is available in bulk or in glass. How do I reduce those???? So I start reading blogs and follow people on Instagram who can help me. The no-waste people. The are fantastic and so helpful. So many suggestions, so many more things I never thought about before!
I go deeper into the rabbit hole.
My clothing is, I would estimate, 90 percent man made fibers. Every time clothing made with man made fibers is washed particles break off and enter our water supply. Multiply this by every person in the United States and it becomes alarming. I love cotton clothing but it isn’t always affordable and isn’t always an option. Plus, I like a little stretch in my jeans. I am not going to throw away my whole closet of clothes, that isn’t practical. The best I can do is make better purchasing decisions going forward.
I want to do my part as fully as I can, but I start to feel like a failure when I look at how big the whole picture is and how many things I am not doing yet, or not doing perfectly. It is truly overwhelming. I keep plugging along though, and doing what I can when I can (and when I remember). Because every little bit helps.
So my goal going forward it to be more mindful of my future purchasing. Mindful consumerism in my food, healthcare products, household goods and clothing. But also not to make myself so crazy about it that I give up. Our world, our planet, Mother Earth, depends on us not giving up. So I take a deep breath, continue my research, follow my no-waste guru peeps, and go deeper down the rabbit hole, because there really is a lot of great company down here.