Triumphs AND Hiccups
Behavioral change experts tell us that we must become more aware of our activities related to the behavior we are changing. Charting behavior only takes a few moments and is always an eye-opening exercise for me. I begin to link my behavior to my motivation. I connect with the circumstances that allow for easy behavioral change and with the circumstances that make it feel impossible! I get to know myself better within the framework of the behavioral change I’m focused on. I feel proud of my triumphs and understanding of my hiccups.
Every month or so, I make an inventory of my progress as a sustainable living transitionist. This holds me accountable to my sincere interest in lifestyle change. I’ve recorded my adjustments, large and small, in hopes to package practical changes that readers can implement. My wish is that you may latch onto a few adjustments that seem effortless to you! Don’t assume that the easy changes don’t pack a punch. The less the change disrupts your daily routine, the more enduring the change will be. In a long-term transition, endurance is the crux of success. The magic happens when the change becomes routine, allowing us move on to the next level of change without disrupting our endurance. As such, I believe that behavioral sustainability is necessary if we are to achieve environmental sustainability.
I hope that sharing my triumphs AND my hiccups will give my transition more life. Although quitting overly consumptive behaviors cold turkey is possible for some, it is not my route to lasting change. Below, I share the details of step by step tapering. Celebrating all levels of sustainable living achievement will encourage us to keep on truckin’ in our personalized approach to the transition! I commit to full disclosure. 1, 2, 3… go:
Triumphs over the last month:
- We are supporting our small local farms by ordering through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Here is a bit of CSA photography art featuring our first delivery from Farm Fresh to You:
- We have not used paper towels! For the “why” and “how” on reusable paper towels watch my short video (I am sorry that the video is a bit choppy at the beginning. I am working on a fix!)
- We gifted a travel set of bamboo eating utensils and cellulose reusable paper towels (Link to view). The recipient (my brother) sent photos to illustrate his use of the cellulose cloths. Used as a coaster:
And as a toilet paper roll… (he’s a jokester):
- We have only used the dishwasher one time! Washing our dishes immediately, and by hand, takes less energy (from us and from the grid) and uses less water.
- Last week we walked to the farmer’s market rather than driving. We used reusable grocery bags and produce bags all month.
- We ordered biodegradable garbage bags. Putting garbage in a plastic bag is sealing it away from it’s re-entry into the life cycle. Biodegradable/compostable bags are an effortless improvement.
- Last week (a cold one) I wore my “puff” jacket instead of turning the heater on:
- When my hair looked fine, I DID NOT wash it. The bangs are a different story:).
- Our bedroom light bulb went out a week ago. I decided not to change it. A small desk lamp and natural window light is more than enough light. Taking away the option of flipping on the big light has made this behavioral change oh-so-easy!!!!
- We celebrated St. Patty’s Day at home… less energy, less resources, less $, more fun!!!!!!!
- 2 weeks ago, our CSA delivery included a large quantity of two ingredients that I have never enjoyed (cauliflower and celery). Every time I opened the fridge and saw them, I let out a huge sigh. Solution: I whipped out the food processor, chopped them up, along with ingredients I DO like, and made delicious veggie cakes out of them! Message me for the recipe!
- Pasta was on the menu one night. I am toying with a conversion to a gluten-free diet and my husband is not… so I made one wheat batch and one gluten-free batch. I used the same water to boil both pastas by placing a pot under the strainer.
- I bought my first whole chicken. Buying parts of an animal requires processing, which requires energy and supports larger/more corrupt farming operations. It is time for this newly initiated omnivore to handle a whole chicken! **Interesting to note: the whole chicken is the ONLY 5 point sustainability-scale option available at our local Whole Foods. I’ve contacted Whole Foods to ask for a 6 point level that would recognize farm biodiversity and soil health!!!! More on Whole Foods sustainability point system.
- As I transition, some sacrifices come so EASILY!!!!! I’ve sold my car (my husband and I share his car now), quit my corporate job, started composting, unplugged cable and cut my spending in HALF!!!! What temptation still taunts me????? Eating meals at restaurants. Weaning will involve baby step tapering for this difficult behavioral change. My husband and I split a single order at our favorite crepe stop this month. This was a first. It’s a triumph, albeit a small one:)!
- We asked vendors to tell us about their food and/or farms! This is community building and incredibly educational. The responses varied. The young man at the seafood counter at Whole Foods couldn’t have been a day older than 18. He was delightfully articulate and knowledgeable about relative sustainability. It was too bad that there are zero options for seafood at Whole Foods that satisfy our sustainability goals. Since it is effortless to buy farmer’s market seafood, we passed. Another vendor responded with an incredulous: “No one has ever asked me that!” One response was particularly memorable, from a vendor at the farmer’s market. She shared her struggle with the cost of certifying organic. Pricing and bureaucracy can marginalize the small farmers. Although my ideal is to “know” that my purchases are organic, it was interesting to experience how much more I trust a sincere farmer’s promise than I do the USDA.
- I enjoy walking outside quite a bit. I prefer to walk around our local reservoir, which is 5+/- miles away from my home. A week ago, I noticed an opportunity to save fuel. I’m committed to driving to walk the reservoir for social walks with friends only (as a treat!).
- I went off the registry for a baby shower gift and bought a 100% bamboo baby bib and a pink sports car toy made out of 100% recycled milk cartons.
- Making the sustainable living transition becomes infectious. We met family for dinner last weekend. They chose a restaurant that advertises sustainable practices, to show support of our transition!
Hiccups over the last month:
- I’m struggling with my compost. On a 1-10 scale, it gets a “4” in stinky rating, down from a “6”. When properly managed, compost should not stink! We use the Bokashi fermenting system. This system allows for meat scraps AND should turn kitchen scraps into compost 10x faster than most composting systems (Link to view Bokashi starter kit). Managing meat scraps in compost is a more advanced skill than I was ready for. My compost is slowly recuperating. We put a few kitchen scraps in the garbage last week (when too rushed to make room in our compost bins).
- Mega-confession: Raised as a vegetarian, Taco Bell was the only veg-friendly fast food for our family in the ’80’s. Now Taco Bell is my nemesis… an addiction that promises temporary comfort, but leaves me feeling guilty and stuffed with chemicals. The last month included a rushed comfort food Taco Bell run (I grimace as I type)! A nutrition mentor of mine (Twitter handle: @sucramdw) says that eating junk is a lot like peeing your pants in public. He explains that, as adults, we understand that visceral urgency often requires delayed gratification. As we wait to get to the a restroom to relieve our bladders, we should wait for our cheat day to relieve our junk cravings. My goal, in future months, is to figuratively “pee my pants in public” less… sheepish smile:)!
- I must admit another comforting habit: long showers. If you ask my college room mate, she may share that I used to take these daily! I definitely did this once, maybe twice in the last month!
- The smoke alarm rang in our building. It was freezing outside. On the hiccup side: we jumped in the car, turned on the heater and drove around for a few minutes until the alarm stopped. On the triumph side: Although we were hungry, we did not use the excuse to eat out. We waited and cooked at home.
Message me about your triumphs and hiccups. I’d love to learn from you and be encouraged by your accomplishments! As you receive CSA deliveries, consider celebrating the feasts-to-come by making CSA photography art. Send me your photos!!!!
Here is a sneak-peak of what I’m working on:
- Hunger Games feature, as the series relates to sustainability
- The Green School, Bali feature (A tour of this school inspired me to action!)
- In-Season Food feature
- Biocadence T-Shirts
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this snapshot of my personal sustainable living transition! Please support Biocadence by subscribing to this blog, “sharing” my content using the one-click buttons below, following the Biocadence Facebook page, by “liking” it, and by strutting your sustainable self and showing the world that living more sustainably is the way to go!
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