"Aw, mom, can we drive today?"
Nearly every morning before we walk up the hill to school, one of my kids asks this question. Nearly always, the answer is No. When my daughter started kindergarten two-and-a-half years ago, I committed to walking to school and home every day. There have been a few exceptions, when I've had somewhere to go in the morning or afternoon, and I've driven. But I can safely say that we walk well over 95% of the time, in any weather. I realize I'm fortunate to have the freedom to do this as a work at home mom, and I want to take advantage of it.
A similar scene plays out when I'm halfway through the grocery store and I realize I've forgotten my reusable bags in the car. I think to myself, "Do I really need to go downstairs for them? They use paper bags at this grocery store, would it be a big deal if I took them just this once?" Eventually I concluded that I was willing to face the inconvenience to head downstairs to the parking garage, hauling my four-year-old with me all the way, while my half-full cart sat at Customer Service.
|Reusable bags aren't much good if you forget them|
The truth is that it's easy to be green when it doesn't take any extra time out of your day. I experience this, myself. I'm lucky to have curbside recycling and compost pick-up, and I use them. But when I have something that I need to bring into the recycling center, I drag my feet and dawdle, and sometimes just end up throwing it out. I try to reassure myself that one little drink box that my kid got from school won't matter that much, compared to every other day when she brings a reusable water bottle. Recycling that drink box just feels like too much work.
I think we all need to make a decision, for ourselves, about how much we're willing to go out of our way in an effort to be green. I would actually suggest starting with a fairly comfortable level. If you take on too much, you're more likely to feel overwhelmed. But once your small changes become habits that you don't even have to think about, why not stretch yourself a little further? Accept a little more inconvenience, walk out of your way a little further, until that becomes habit, too. Slowly but surely you'll be living a greener lifestyle, and it won't feel as inconvenient as it might have at the outset.
How much inconvenience are you willing to accept on behalf of the planet?