Sustainable Living Triumphs AND Hiccups – 3rd Edition
I asked for comments in my last article: What is Ethical Eating?… Is Eating Meat Ethical?. I was not only pleased to read effort-filled collaboration, I was incredibly impressed by the depth! So, I ask again– will you please share your thoughts with Biocadence? I will positively LOVE to hear about your personal triumphs and hiccups. From Freshman to PhD, every sustainable living transitionist has something we can learn from!
I like to begin my T&H (Triumphs & Hiccups) articles with a word on behavioral sustainability as it relates to environmental sustainability:
My sustainable living focus is not about sacrifice, but quality of life. By understanding the consequences of consumption (for inspiration read “The Hunger Games”… Fiction or Non-Fiction), our consumption becomes more purposeful. Connecting our consumption to its consequences spawns conscious consumption. The practice of consumption-design seeks to maximize the joy that comes from vibrant experience while minimizing meaningless consumptive behavior. I believe that this discipline can pull us into the balance I call bio-cadence.
Biocadence doesn’t call us to give up the activities we hold most dear. Rather, I usher myself and my readers to joyfully punt the robotic consumptive nature that has come to characterize North America. In its place we can invite a lifestyle designed for rich satisfaction. Where meaningless distraction once was, we have space to welcome sincere fulfillment. This balance holds distinct values for each individual and each family unit. Observing and studying our behaviors as they relate to consumption allows us to distinguish our unique bio-cadence.
What sustainable living behaviors are EASY for you to implement… effortless… joyful? What consumptive behaviors are EASY for you to give up? With an emphasis on behavioral sustainability, the impact of the change you make matters, but is not the primary focus. A small permanent adjustment may have much more impact than a large adjustment made once. I recommend beginning with behavioral changes that are effortless, then building upon that foundation by tackling more difficult adjustments.
Now for full disclosure of my own triumphs and hiccups. 1,2,3… Go:
I don’t like shopping for clothes. This has been the case for a few years now. Since there is no temptation at all, this is an easy “pass” for me. Behaviorally sustainable? Yes! However- I should add that I will need a few items soon. All tips on clothing companies with sustainable practices are welcome!
We are cutting out all soy products, and eating very little gluten, grain, legumes, and processed sugar. Our sustainable eating efforts consist of huge servings of veggies cooked with grass-fed butter or coconut oil, and small servings of sustainably farmed meat, or local wild-caught fish. This means that most of our food comes from the farmers market or CSA box (ALL veggies and fruit and ALL fish). There is very little packaging. “No bag please” has become our mantra.
We continue to receive and encourage CSA deliveries! Here’s our most recent CSA art:
I’ve been exploring sustainability apps on my iPad. EcoChallenge is an app that offers specific sustainable living challenges. I signed up for the turn-water-off-while-shampooing-and-conditioning-hair challenge. I completed the 9 days and plan to sustain this behavioral change!
In T&H-2 I mention a strategy I’ve used to limit the number of items I buy at the grocery store (as I work to wean off grocery store solicitation): I don’t use a bag… limiting my purchases to what I can hold in my hands/arms. This is going very well! I have two observations to share with followers who may implement this strategy, in order to eliminate tension with grocers who don’t appreciate this practice:
1- Be ready for quick retrieval of items!
2- Share your “no bag for me, please” request well BEFORE the clerk starts bagging!
In T&H-1 I mention saving the envelopes sent in credit card offers. When appropriate, I’ve used the envelopes, filling the window with a sticky note:
I ensured my recycled toothbrush was re-recycled by sending it back to the manufacturer (Check out my short video for details: “Recycle Your Recycled Toothbrush!”)!!!!
We haven’t used our condo air-conditioning nor heating in 1-2 years. We open the windows in the early morning and evenings to cool the condo down. We have slowly adjusted to the heat, and I can honestly share that it doesn’t bother me. I dreamed that we broke our streak and was so distraught! Here’s hoping it doesn’t get too hot this summer, with appreciation for the olive trees that shade our windows:)!
My husband and I reuse our produce bags and never allow grocers to put our items in plastic bags. Yet, somehow we find a plastic bag in the condo once in a while. I donate these on our walking trail, for dog waste pickup! Props to Walnut Creek!
I haven’t used the dishwasher in months! Washing dishes immediately requires less hot water, less soap, and less time! New discovery– We now need far fewer dishes. I’m contemplating donating much of our kitchenware!
Since T&H-2, I’ve donated 2 sweaters, 3 shirts, 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of glasses, and one skirt!
My husband took a job less than 1 mile from our home. This cuts down on our traveling footprint. Although a short commute was not the #1 concern in his job selection, I wholeheartedly celebrate this fortune!
I was invited to a summer picnic. The hostess suggested I bring a beverage. I brainstormed about something packaging-free… something not found in the grocery stores. I brought a 3 gallon jug of homemade “Spa Water” ~ Ingredients: ice water, farmer’s market fresh: mint, strawberry, pluot, and lemon. It was a hit!!!
I went to the movie theatre twice since T&H-2.
Joel Salatin, a sustainable living mentor of mine, recommends eating more grass-fed ruminants and less chicken. Chicken is such an easy meat to prepare and is so palatable for a newly initiated omnivore. Our goal is to eat less chicken, but this has not been behaviorally sustainable for us.
Once in a while we go to Peet’s Coffee. I always grab my own stir stick and toss it after use. My husband always exclaims and reaches as I throw it away, reminding me that we could both use that stir stick:). I will remember soon!
When in a hurry, I’ve used paper towels, rather than my wonderful cellulose reusable paper towels (for more on these watch my short video: “Reusable Paper Towels“).
I bought a whole chicken and tossed the chicken bones, rather than using them for bone broth! As a new omnivore, it is so hard for me to see bones as a nutrient source. This aspect of my transition is coming more slowly.
We had a power outage. I went outside and took a long walk, in an effort to take advantage of the time. I hadn’t thought to turn off all the light switches, so a few lights came back on in my absence! I will certainly think of this next time!
My sweet bicycle has not been ridden yet this summer. This is a shame. I would like to make it a goal to use the bicycle as transportation around town!
Eating out remains a huge challenge for us. Any tips on how to cut down on this in a behaviorally sustainable way are welcome!!!
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- Interview with Shane Shirley-Smith of Environmental Booty (skimbacolifestyle.com)