Saturday, December 12, 2009

December APLS: Green Journeys

Musings from the Greenhabilitator...

I was so pleased to hear that the topic of this month's APLS carnival was Green Journeys. Not only because I love hearing others' green back-stories, but because it's a topic I can write about without staying up late or banging my head against the wall....something I can really use in the two weeks before Christmas!

Unfortunately, as I sat down to write this, I realized that there wasn't a spectacular answer as to why we decided to pursue a more sustainable lifestyle. I feel the same way when people ask me why we decided to adopt. There was no grand catalyst or life-changing event that caused our decision. It was just something we knew had to be done. Plain and simple.

I guess it all started when I became increasingly distressed by the amount of trash we were producing. I was taking a bag of trash out almost every day. EVERY day! I started realizing how much room I'd save if I could recycle the milk jugs and cardboard boxes...but I didn't know where or how to get recycling set up, so I let it go.

When we finally moved and I had to set up trash service at our new house I asked about recycling and, as they say, the rest is history. I became a recycling fool. Every scrap of paper and piece of plastic went into a bin. Soon I had to buy more bins just to accommodate all of it. (I guess I hadn't learned about "precycling" quite yet.)

I felt so good about cutting our landfill waste that I started to research other ways in which I could be kinder to the planet. Soon I was trading in my Windex for vinegar, fancy bath gel for bar soap, and bottled water for a SIGG (uh, back when we loved SIGG that is). I weaseled my way into working from home and we downsized our main car. We ditched paper towels, paper napkins, and plastic bags. I guess we tackled all of the typical first steps in "going green".

As we ticked the small changes off our list, we started looking at some of the bigger issues. We realized that we weren't just interested in being greener, but also in living a simpler lifestyle. We moved to the mountains, stopped spending as much, started a garden and a compost pile, built a greenhouse, and learned how to do more things for ourselves. I've become anti-plastic crap and pro homemade. I've even started cooking and baking from scratch a little bit, despite being horrid at both.

Next up for us is food. As I've mentioned here before my husband is a meat and potatoes kinda guy who hates veggies. My mother-in-law, who lives with us, is pastatarian - she doesn't eat meat, but doesn't like veggies. The kids are, well, kids.

In my perfect world, we'd cut back to eating meat maybe twice a week and base our diet more on vegetables, beans, and grains. I'd love to eat locally more often, make our garden larger (and more successful) next year, and preserve more than I have in the past two years. I'd also like to have my cupboards full of "real" food instead of boxed.

We have definitely made some progress in the area of food, but it's absolutely the least green area of our lives.

So there you have it: Our journey thus far and where we're going. It's the green rehabilitation of our lives.

This is my submission to the APLS December carnival on the subject of Green Journeys. The carnival is being hosted by the Conscious Shopper on December 18th.


Green Bean said...

I love reading other people's journeys. Someone, I cannot remember who, called the first step - your recycling, my canvas bags - the gateway drug. The single step that drew us into the green lifestyle. Congrats on all you've done so far - including moving. That's the one thing we've not done but always dream of.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story and participating in the carnival!

Daisy said...

Food is one of the last areas to change. I'm still working on convincing husband that he doesn't NEED meat at every single meal.

mrs green said...

Great post; I too love reading about other's 'green journeys' - it's a great topic for the carnival.

I think it's great how all these tiny steps can lead to such great change over time and that's the key to help people who are feeling overwhelmed with the whole 'eco' lifestyle idea/

But look at what you have achieved over time - it's wonderful. And I personally love how you started with trash, because that's my personal mission - to reduce landfill waste :)

Warm wishes
Rae (mrs green

Cherie said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I had a pastor once who said, "We're all on a spiritual journey, and we're all at different points on that journey." I think it's the same way with the green journey. Let's keep moving down the path.

Steph @ Greening Families said...

I love hearing about the issue that triggered others to begin making changes. The mental image I get is of a key turning in a lock - and the key seems to be different for everyone.

Here's to moving from reducing trash to so many other fabulous changes. May the chain reaction continue!

Lisa Sharp said...

Great story! The meat thing is hard in my family as well. I don't get enough protein even eating meat (I don't like meat much so don't eat much) and my husband isn't fond of meatless meals. He did read about meatless mondays (guess he didn't listen when I told him about that lol) and decided he could do that.

We do use meat in dishes in place of them being the main part of the dish which helps.

Also I'm hosting this months carnival and would love if you could join in. :)


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