The Conscious Shopper remembers her transformation into a Green Superhero.
Our story begins with an ordinary suburban mom on her 28th birthday. Shocked to discover that she had already been an adult for ten years, Erin began to question many of the choices she was making. She had always thought of herself as a vegetarian, earth-loving, hippy type of girl. But when she looked closely at her life, she realized that even being a vegetarian, some of her food choices were, well, questionable. And she sure had a lot of polyester-blend clothing in her closet for an earth-loving hippy. And come to think of it, she didn't seem to be doing all that much earth-loving at all.
Erin decided it was time to transform her life: She and her family would go green. They'd switch out their bulbs and always remember their cloth bags. They'd use non-toxic cleaners and eat organic food. They'd turn the A/C up and the heat down. They'd drive less. There was even some talk of building a passive solar home with solar panels on the roof, chickens and goats in the yard, and a hybrid in the driveway.
The changes were slow but steady as Erin and her family continued their transformation into an Eco-Friendly Family. But then, disaster struck as they came face to face with the dreaded Crashing Housing Market!
After putting their house up for sale and moving down to Raleigh, NC, Erin and her family were crushed under the weight of falling house prices and a collapsing economic market. Grocery and gas prices were rising, and their income was budgeted to the last dollar. How could they ever afford organic groceries when it was becoming a challenge just to afford groceries?
Faced with many long months of making two house payments, Erin felt stretched between the opposing forces of Financial Reality and Doing the Right Thing. Wondering if she should start sacrificing some of her principles, she found herself wandering the store aisles and mumbling to herself, "There's no way I can afford organics...Man, Colgate is so much cheaper than Tom's...I feel bad for those poor cows, but my kids have got to have milk...Maybe I should start shopping at Walmart (gasp!)."
Erin was determined to face financial reality and still be able to do the right thing. She took on a new identity as The Conscious Shopper, armed with a secret weapon...her wallet. Erin and her family began cutting back on unnecessary expenses, walking instead of driving, and being more mindful of their energy and water use. They became avid thrift store shoppers and Craigslist fanatics. And with the money they saved, they were able to splurge on organic foods.
Sometimes they fail miserably, but everyday The Conscious Shopper and her family strive to be a little more mindful of the choices they make and how they affect the people and world around them. And everyday, Erin looks a little more like the vegetarian, earth-loving, hippy type of girl she always thought she was. And she's okay with that.
Special thanks to my super-talented five-year-old for illustrating this story!