Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Living Our Values in the Day-to-Day

It is so very easy to lose sight of the big picture, particularly when it comes to making mundane, daily decisions in an ethical way. Budget, convenience, location, aesthetics, all of these factors have interfered at one time or another with trying to live our lives in a more sustainable way. There's also the fitting-in factor; its not uncommon to see people towing their groceries by bike in the city but it sure is weird out here in the suburbs.

As I reflect on the past few years of our life as a family and focus my energy on the forthcoming year, I find myself feeling sheepish at how much we've slipped away from our intentions. Its an ebb and flow, really, and we're not totally lost. Our ideals are still there, the intentions, the discussions - the foundation is solid. Its in the day-to-day that we really screw up.

I took the trash out two weeks ago and was gobsmacked by how much we had accumulated in one week. We're some of the most "sustainable" people we know and yet we throw out so.much.crap. I stumbled upon zero-waste blogs through an article about a Paris capsule wardrobe and I've gone down the rabbit-hole. I cannot stop thinking about ways to reduce our waste and remove poorly-made, disposable or shortly-lived items out of our lives.

I read somewhere that the practice of sustainability is like a table, held up by concepts like frugality, simplicity and some other good stuff that I cannot remember for the life of me now but I'm sure I agree with. Reading the article, I thought "yesssssss". Gardening, permaculture, and the big picture concepts are what turns Jay's crank when it comes to "greening" our lives. For me, its the smaller details that get me going: buying less and buying with quality in mind, choosing fair trade and ethical products, thinking of how our daily choices impact the earth and other people. That $5 t shirt is a bargain for me, but it sure costs a lot to the earth and the person who made it. Minimalism and simplicity appeal because life with young children is chaotic and my brain naturally hums along at a good clip; I crave space and peace and time not spent consuming or cleaning what has been consumed. Jay and I will each play our part in holding up our sustainability table, by focusing on what we are naturally drawn to. That's a comforting thought.

I've been furiously "Pinning" and scribbling notes in my notebook as I come across ideas, blogs and articles. I've decided to organize my thoughts a little bit. Going forward, here are some of my areas of focus (noting that its all connected, buying less is minimalist but its also frugal and sustainable)

1. Making our upcoming renos more sustainable. Some materials have already been purchased from big-box stores, but other purchases can be made more mindfully while staying in budget.

2. Slowly moving away from plastic and disposable items. We've done without paper towels for a few years now (which people think is SO WEIRD when they come over), but there's so much more we can do. Kiss your Spider-man toothbrush goodbye kids, its going to be bamboo from here on out.

3. Buying less, buying in bulk, buying second-hand and buying items with non-toxic ingredients. Buying only what's needed, repairing what we can, making what cannot be purchased frugally, mindfully or fair-trade.

Daunting? Perhaps. Inspiring? Hells to the yes.

No comments:

Post a Comment