Saturday, August 18, 2012

Continuing Conviction

My re-useable grocery bags hanging out to dry on the new clothes line
For quite a long time I've been trying to live more intentionally. Attempting to consider the energy we use, the food we eat, the clothes we buy and where it all comes from. I have to admit that I'm not the best at being consistent in my conviction. For instance, I have a large stash of up-cycled rags made from old flannel sheets and unused t-shirts. They work just as well as a paper towel most of the time. We had been using them in just such a way for quite a while. Then, somehow, paper towels crept back into our lives. 

I think it comes down to convenience (and gross cat puke, to be honest). It is not very fun to wash out the rags when you've had to clean up something disgusting. So much easier to throw the grossness away. 

So you can easily see how we are accustomed to living a certain way and it takes radical change to live another way. The change must certainly come from within myself. No one is forcing me to buy paper towels or use plastic wrap. While there are some things that are beyond my control (the fact that my job is 30 minutes away and thus, not bike-able for instance) the greatest part of my life is up to me. So I'm going to work on some changes. Some, like the $20 wash line I set up through the garden last night are pretty easy. What is difficult is that I will now have to change the way I do laundry. I will have to take note of the weather report, wash only one load at a time and hang the laundry out before I go to work in the morning. This shouldn't be difficult since I was raised by a mother who gave me the best example of this. After 50 years, she still has her original dryer because she rarely uses it. But, it's a change for us. Here are some more changes that I'm considering:
  • Finding a way to eliminate (mostly) throw away packaging: plastic wrap, tin foil, wax paper, ziplock baggies (Oh, how I love those baggies!)
  • Remembering to ALWAYS use my reuseable bags instead of the plastic ones freely given at the grocery store.
  • Asking if our coffee roaster will fill my cloth bags before they bag the coffee into paper. I'm also interested in determining if I can buy the coffee in bulk and share it out with others interested in fair-trade, organic coffee in refillable bags.
  • Finding a source for fabric made without unjust labor practices.
  • Lowering our energy use. I wonder how much we have plugged in that can be unplugged (I say as I type on my electricity dependent computer).
  • Making fewer trips in the car. Biking when possible and being more intentional about errands.

The wash line runs through my garden. It isn't perfect but it works for now.
These feel like big steps but I know if I can start by making baby steps, eventually what feels radical will become normal. I know that this is true because of things we've already done: I haven't bought laundry detergent in over 2 years because we make our own. We have eaten from the bounty of our backyard all spring and summer, we moved from a 2500 sq. foot home with a garage to a 1000 square foot home with a shed and have loved every minute.

There are so many reasons to change our habits. I think often of those less fortunate than we who have no choices about what to eat or wear or where to send their children to school. I hope that by being more intentional in our habits we may have increased time and income to help others.

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