At the beginning of my quest to lead a more eco-friendly, simple, sustainable life I kept my "green" desires hidden, like a dirty little secret. Focusing inward, by switching out my personal products but leaving the rest of the family the same. Making small changes that no one would notice: cleaning with vinegar while everyone was gone, line drying in the summer, sneaking in organic food. Gradually things became more noticeable. The toilet paper was not as soft as it used to be, we always seemed to be out of paper towels, the cereal did not taste the same, where did all the soda go? A year and a half later I have moved beyond the confines of my home - put it all out there for the world to see: I became active with local environmental groups; I mow my lawn with a reel mower; I bike; there are raised garden beds in the front lawn; I always bring my own bag (shopping, produce, bulk, or otherwise) and now glass, plate, silverware and napkin.
I am learning that the best way to effect change is not by hiding behind a computer screen blogging about it, but by getting out there and leading by example.
This past holiday weekend is my case in point. At MREA in June I added a few tools to my eco-arsenal: a klean kanteen (with the flat stainless top), mesh produce bags, to-go ware, and a wrap-n-mat. I have been using the klean kanteen all over since. Not so earth shattering since more and more people are starting to carry their own water bottles, but over the weekend I finally had the opportunity to present the others. I returned to my hometown to partake in the Independence Day festivities, including the annual BBQ sandwich sale at the American Legion. I filed in line, paid my $2.00 and stepped up to be served my sloppy, greasy, tasty mess. As she reached for the pile of plastic...
"Wait! I don't want a plate." Digging through my
eco-toolboxpurse, I pulled out my wrap-n-mat and handed it to her. She looked it over, confused. Taking it back, I set it on the table and unfolded it. "There.""Oh. Is this one of those green things?" she asked while piling on the BBQ."Yes." I replied. By now I had a group of ladies. I quickly explained what it was and why I was using it. They happily loaded it up and watched in wonder as I refolded it into a neat little package and walked away."Wait! Don't forget a napkin. You will surely need one of those?" one of them called out."Oh." I habitually turned back to grab one. Stopping after one step, "No, that's okay. I have a towel in my purse. Thanks!"
I sat on the bench outside enjoying the summer weather and onlookers, while eating my greasy goodness from my wrap-n-mat, scooping up overflow with my to-go ware and washing it all down with my klean kanteen. No need to search for a trash can.
I made an encore appearance that night at the pizza pub. Despite our best efforts, we had three pieces left over. When the waitress appeared with the styrofoam take-out container I sank defeated. Looking at the box in despair, the light bulb finally clicked. Wait a minute! I don't need no stinking styrofoam. Da tada da! Wrap-n-mat to the rescue!
Feeling redeemed I wrapped up tomorrow's breakfast and went to the fireworks. Although I think they were already shooting off in my head. Sometimes I swear I live in my own personal movie.