Sustainability in Practice

First of all, I’d like to give a shout out to my friends at their recently rebranded podcast “We Got Out of Bed” for giving me a shout out for my sustainability ramblings. I really appreciate it! And you should definitely check them out.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

The reason I am writing this blog and the reason why I write about sustainability at all, really, is because my goal here is to make sustainability as easy and as feasible as possible. With so many different conversations and opinions on what it means to be sustainable, it can be really overwhelming. We are often met with “you have to do this” “you have to do that” and it can make people feel discouraged or that they’re not doing enough. So let me stop you right there and tell you that if you are even trying, you are doing enough.

Your sustainability practice is not perfect. My sustainability practice is not perfect.

There are so many different things to consider and choices to make and it is impossible to choose all the right ones.

So in this blog I’m going to talk about some of the ways I am less sustainable and why I made those choices for me.

1. I do not always buy local produce.

I am terrible with groceries. One of the biggest issues I have with depression is my lack of motivation to cook. I end up doing a lot of food that is easy to cook. If I don’t have a purpose in mind for a vegetable, then I won’t buy it fresh or local unless it has a long shelf life because it will go bad. I don’t want to waste that food. It is for this reason I don’t subscribe to local produce boxes. I’m not very good at looking at food and going “oh i can make this dish with this thing”.

So, what I do right now is buy frozen veggies that are staples like broccoli or green beans and carrots and then buy fresh, local produce when I know I’m going to use it that week. Actually, does freezing fresh produce work? I will admit that I haven’t looked into this until this very moment. I also don’t compost because I don’t own the house I live in and I’m not sure how that’s going to work just yet.

2. I do not purchase handmade skincare products

This includes soaps and moisturizers. Even if you market it toward sensitive skin*, and you tell me it’s good for my sensitive skin…I will likely not use it. Here’s the deal: I have eczema. I have rosacea. In general, I have very dry, very fickle, very sensitive skin. I also have a nickel allergy and it turns out colloidal oats as an ingredient doesn’t really agree with me. I have a lot of of ingredient sensitivities, including some essential oils and plant extracts. I have burned my skin, irritated and dried out my skin, and gotten a skin infection so bad I couldn’t bend my arm and needed to be put on antibiotics. This has happened from attempting to use more “natural” products.

At this point, I am not willing to ever risk trying something new or trying something handmade. Some people are safer using products made in a lab. I am just one of those people and I am okay with that.

3. I eat too much cereal. Probably.

This is going to sound real dumb but I honestly think this is a problem. I go through cereal like nobody’s business and yeah, there’s packaging involved. Lots of cardboard pile up in my house until recycling day. Plastic bags that are in the cereal boxes that have to be thrown away. My boxes of soymilk, too. I can go through a box in just a few days because I eat a lot of cereal and there isn’t that much in the box. It’s my meal of choice in the middle of the night and usually what I eat in the morning, cause I’m usually not motivated to cook myself breakfast.

I kind of grew up on cereal. Maybe this seems like a small insignificant thing and I am honestly probably not going to be cutting back anytime soon. But it’s something that I think about every time I empty out a cereal bag and create another bag of trash….also potato chips. I am really big on chips which is also…more trash.

There you go! Like I said, I’m not perfect. I will never claim to be perfect. And I don’t want to ever come off like I’m preaching you the way of the sustainability gods. This is supposed to be a way of life. Sustainability to me is about creating small habits we can maintain over time and that can eventually develop into becoming more conscious about the bigger choices we make. It’s a process that is fine tuned over time.

So if you are very feeling overwhelmed, take a minute and step back. It’s okay to reassess if something’s not working for you. To make change we don’t need one person practicing sustainability perfectly, we need millions of people practicing sustainability imperfectly. What matters is that you’re practicing.

Notes:

* Never ever ever ever ever ever give advice to an adult with very sensitive skin or eczema if they aren’t asking for it. Trust me, we’ve tried it and if we’re not doing it now we’re not going to try it again.

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