There’s a reason why there’s still plastic in our ocean and climate change seems to be ramping up faster. It’s because of the inconvenient truth of going green. Read more about the hurdles of going green and how to skirt around them.
I’ve set myself a challenge to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. One of my goals is to reduce waste, especially plastic waste. I’m also looking to buy less, but when I must purchase items, I want them to be sustainable. But I have to tell you,
It’s not that easy being green.Kermit the frog
The truth of going green #1: Green is less accessible
Go to the local Drug Mart and try and find a plastic-free toothbrush. You won’t’ find one! How about a loaf of bread without a plastic bag? You won’t find one in the grocery store either! Try bringing a reusable shampoo container to that Big Box store that’s so convenient to stop at since it’s on your way home from work. Nope, you can’t refill it there.
The point is, that it’s less convenient to find sustainable products. You either need to source out a specialty shop for 1 item, or you’ll have to order it online. The demand isn’t there.. yet.
The truth of going green #2: Green is more expensive
So, you’ve finally sourced that bamboo toothbrush, or that sustainable line of clothing you’ve been coveting… and you find out its almost 4 times as expensive as what you expected.
The truth is, the demand isn’t high enough compared to traditional products. Secondly, some of these products might cost you more upfront but will save you money in the long run. And lastly, fair labour and ethical practices do cost more.
The truth of going green #3: Change is difficult
People are creatures of habit. We do what we do because we’ve always done it the same way. Change pushes us outside our comfort zone and we just don’t like being “uncomfortable. So, when doing something new, we are afraid of the unknown.
The truth is, we just have to get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable until new habits are formed.
The truth of going green #4: We don’t see the impact of our choices
When we are buying clothes, how often do we think about where it came from, or who made our clothes? If we had a label with the face of the person who made the garment and a story about that person, would it make a difference? What if it was the picture of a child that worked in a sweatshop? Would you still buy it?
What if we saw a picture of a mountain of discarded toothbrushes, or disposable razors in a landfill site on the package. Would be more apt to go for the bamboo toothbrush or the reusable plastic-free razor?
You get my drift. We go about our daily lives consuming products without considering our impact.
Here’s how to get around the problem:
So, I hope you are still reading this! It’s definitely not meant to scare you away from living “green”. I just want to highlight some of the challenges of an eco-lifestyle. By knowing the roadblocks, you can, therefore, plan better. Here are some strategies:
Choose Quality over Quantity
In this case, less is more. Yes, sustainable products such as clothing, food, furniture, etc cost more and are perceived as more expensive. Upfront, perhaps it is, but in the long run, a good quality pair of jeans, furniture, etc will last you much longer. The takeaway here is to buy less but look for quality.
Vote for change
For a greener future, we need to take action as individuals, but the Government also must do their part to change how we do things. Vote for the party that aligns itself with your views on the environment. Vote for climate change!
Take Baby Steps
The other day, I posted an image of my beeswax food wrap wrapped around a block of cheese on Instagram. One commenter replied, “If you really want to help the environment, cut out dairy”. While I’m working towards reducing my use of plastic, someone else thinks it’s more important to reduce foods coming from resource-intensive animals.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it seems like Pandora’s box has opened. You just can’t cut out everything at once. My advice is to start small with one thing and make it a habit. Once that’s accomplished, move to another new goal.
It doesn’t have to be perfect
I’m very imperfect! Several times lately, I forgot to bring my reusable bags when grocery shopping, and I get angry with myself. I think to myself, here I am blogging about trying to reduce plastic waste and I didn’t bring my bags. I did what I had to do, but then, made a note to start keeping a few bags in the trunk of my car.
We need to do is look at the big picture. We can’t be perfect all the time, what matters is that you are trying to lessen your impact on our beautiful earth. If you are putting in the effort most of the time, please forgive yourself for the occasional. I wouldn’t want someone to get discouraged and give up their efforts entirely because this new lifestyle is a bit difficult.
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