The Green Consumer



                               

I do a lot of the “usual” green things. I recycle. I compost. I shop second-hand. I carry reusable grocery bags and a stainless steel water bottle. I walk my daughter to kindergarten and back every day. I turn down my thermostat and put on a sweater.

But there is an obstacle to my green efforts – much of the time, I don’t want to be inconvenienced by going green. I bring my reusable grocery bags when I go grocery shopping, but if I occasionally forget, I don’t sweat it. I drink tap water, but when I forget my water bottle at home, I sometimes buy water in a plastic bottle. I don’t always remember to bring a reusable mug with me to the coffee shop, and I have been known to throw recyclables into the garbage when out and about to avoid carting them around with me.

I guess I’m not perfect, after all.

Water break
My daughter drinks from a plastic water bottle on a day when I failed to plan ahead

Recently, though, I’ve been re-thinking my attitude. What does it mean to live a green lifestyle only when it’s convenient for me? It doesn’t exactly say a lot for my commitment to sustainability if it can be forgotten on a mad rush out the door in the morning, along with my cell phone, that snack I packed up and my Klean Kanteen. While bringing my reusables with me most of the time is good, bringing them all of the time would be better.

It strikes me that the way to kick my green living up a notch would be to accept inconvenience in the name of the environment. So, if I forget my water bottle then I either find a drinking fountain, wait until I get home, or take the time to sit down someplace and drink from an actual cup. It’s tedious. I don’t like it. But the pain in the butt factor helps me to remember my water bottle next time. And it means that I’m living my values.

Tomatoes and cucumbers
I won’t be buying this produce if I forget my reusable bag

Sometimes, the inconvenience might be a temporary wash for the earth. Like, if I have to drive back home to pick up my reusable bags before I go grocery shopping. But I think that it will pay off in the long run, as I get into the habit of thinking ahead, and I stop accepting plastic bags when I’m shopping.

The reality is that if we want to change our lives, we’re going to have to accept some inconvenience. Not every shift in thinking comes easily. Sometimes we have to experience discomfort and inconvenience in order to really get the message. I don’t really enjoy it. But I’m ready to accept it, and I hope that it will help me to really live a green lifestyle.

Are you willing to accept some inconvenience as you live your green values? I’d love to hear your thoughts!



                               

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Travel Green to BlogHer ’10

In less than two weeks more than one-thousand bloggers of all ages, races and yes, sexes will descend on New York City. Ushered in on a cloud of anticipation, excitement and social media they will spend two days learning, connecting and yes, partying.

This year, as in years past, BlogHer is working to implement important green initiatives conference wide — an exciting development in and of itself — and paired with the cooperation of individual attendees and the coordinated efforts of every blogger who travels to the conference we can have an even greater impact on the environment for the better!

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Organically Grown

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Around here, spring is finally in the air…which has me scrambling to find warm weather clothes for my kids!Are you ready for spring and summer fashion? Hand-me-downs and second-hand finds are a godsend, but when you need to fill out that wardrobe with new clothes, where do you shop?

Recently, I was fortunate to become accquainted with Organically Grown, a clothing company who believes in offering affordable, safe, stylish, high-quality organic clothing to consumers.* Why was I interested in organic clothing? I was shocked to learn that an estimated 170 million pounds of pesticides and one-quarter of the world’s insecticides are used in the production of conventional, non-organic cotton.

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Staying on the Green Bandwagon

You know how the easiest way to stick to a diet is to not bring ‘problem’ foods into the house in the first place? Well, I’ve found I do the same thing with keeping to a ‘green’ diet. There are certain (decidedly un-environmental) conveniences I simply can’t resist if they’re easily accessable, so instead I don’t purchase them at all.

Maybe I have the will power of a knat, but I find this works for me. Out of sight, out of mind! The following are non-green items I try to avoid like the plague (because if they’re in my house, I’ll gladly use them!):

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Paper towels and napkins.

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Second-Hand Shopping

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Thrift store teacup

There was a time in my life when I never darkened the door of a thrift store. I had a variety of reasons – I thought it took too much work to find something really good, I thought second hand stores smelled bad (they sometimes do), and I didn’t really like the idea that some stranger had worn that shirt or eaten off this plate.

Things have changed. These days I love second hand shopping. When I had kids I discovered that children’s clothing can get really expensive, really fast. This is especially true when they’re super-tiny and they grow through clothes at an alarming rate.

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What We’re Doing Wrong – Oh, The Plastic!

A couple of weeks ago I explained the events that led to my decision to 1) reassess my life and 2) write this series about it. If you haven’t read that, I highly recommend it. (Of course I do, right? Right!) When you’re done just don’t forget to come back and visit me here.

I’m more than a little ashamed to admit that, despite my best efforts, there is a lot of packaging that runs through this house. Especially of the plastic variety. Over the years we’ve instituted all the simple, every day waste reduction methods we could think of.

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Eco-Friendly Easter Gifts for Busy Moms

It’s the week of Easter and I have to assume I am not the only procrastinator — er, busy mom — who does not yet have her kids’ Easter Baskets filled with goodies and awaiting the big morning. And you know, as much as I love all the online guides I find for eco-friendly Easter basket stuffers it seems every year I still find myself in the same position. Life takes precedence and for me that often means my kids’ baskets aren’t filled with organic cotton plush animals ordered in from an internet source, but rather with regular everyday commodities I’m able to find at stores locally as I run my usual errands.

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A Little Inspiration Can Go a Long Way

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I don’t know about you, but March is my least favorite month. In my part of the world, it’s not yet spring, but the lingering winter is no longer welcome; the crocuses try to unfold, just to be deadened by frost. Fog sets in, along with days of rain. Mud cakes boots. And all those best intentions I made back in January seem so very, very distant.

In short, by March, I could use a bit of a boost, so today, I’d like to share a few links with you all. The following are websites and blogs which inspire me to take those big (and small) steps toward a greener me.

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Happy Healthy Eating: Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to support your local farmer and keep fresh vegetables on the table. Most CSA‘s work something like this:

Families (or single folk) buy a “share” (or two if you’re a large family)- ranging in price from say $400.00 to $800.00+ and each week you meet at a pick up location for your box of vegetables and fruits. Most CSA shareholders pay in installments, some take advantage of work-share options, and all pay a down payment of some sort. And that’s in part the beauty of CSA- because buyers pay the farmer upfront she can estimate how much to plant.

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Asking One’s Self The Hard Questions

A couple weeks ago we invited another couple over for dinner and games. I’ve been friends with the wife for sometime but we hadn’t yet gotten together as couples more than a few times — her husband didn’t know me as well as she did and had no idea what it is that I do for a living. In our neck of the woods freelance writers aren’t exactly plentiful so I’m accustomed to reactions of bewilderment when my livelihood comes up for discussion. What I’m not accustomed to is people questioning, even if in a friendly and truly curious manner, why I am fit to do what I do.

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