As I mentioned previously, I still want to do more to reduce my impact on the environment. But I still want it to be within my possible realm of being able to still live my life. That is the real challenge for everyone. There’s a difference between asceticism and just plain deprivation. It’s also different for everyone. One person could live like Colin and his family did with no problem for the rest of their lives. While another may need the internet and heat and a car to live. Finding that level is something we all need to do.
Personally I have realized that there are a few things I can do without feeling deprived. One thing is to avoid buying new as much as possible for the next year. I’m saying the next year because it’s only a few weeks away, and I’m still figuring things out. With Christmas coming I’m pretty sure that I’ll be receiving gift cards for stores that only carry new items. I’m trying to figure out, personally, if I simply don’t want to spend any of my money on new things but gift cards are okay, or avoid buying new things outright. Another snag is Dragon*Con in September. I have multiple costumes that I want to have ready by then and they involve buying new materials or components. Things like wigs and fabric can’t be bought used. Also, while I’m there, there are going to be so many amazing things that I won’t be able to buy in person any other time. So I’m seriously considering making it “No buying any new clothes (except for socks and undergarments), books, movies, or CDs” instead of nothing new in general. I will also try to buy used when the opportunity presents itself for anything else. Because I feel that is the difference between asceticism and depriving myself. In a way that will extend to friends and family in the sense that I will not buy any gifts for them that are new unless I have no other option. If by the end of the year next year I feel that it is possible to continue living like that, I have no problem keeping it up.
Another change is in our food. I’m trying to buy vegetables that are either in season, and local when possible, or frozen. By doing this, I’m really reducing the amount of packaging that ends up getting recycled. One thing I’m really enjoying is buying potatoes. I’ve been buying small white potatoes lately and using those instead of instant mashed potatoes. Last week I made up some wonderful roasted potatoes and roasted carrots to go with some sausage we had bought. Those roots were wonderful! I wanted to get a beet this week when we went grocery shopping because I knew we weren’t going to go through a whole bunch since I’m the beet fan. Sadly, Meijer either sells them in bunches with the greens or individually without the greens. I’m not buying my roots without their greens! So probably when I go to Whole Foods this week I’ll pick one up. I think it would go great with the potatoes and carrots. The next adventure: turnips. 🙂
Buying the frozen veggies have changed a bit as well. We used to buy a lot of Steam Fresh veggies. Each bag would be split between us, but the bag itself ended up getting thrown away instead of being recycled because it was too messy and hard to get clean. I’m buying a lot more of our veggies simply frozen now. It’s helping to reduce a lot. One bag lasts two or three meals now. And when the bag is empty it simply needs a quick rinse and it goes into the recycling. It’s so nice!
So I’m slowly working on lowering my impact as much as I can. Taking your significant other into consideration is a very important part in that. I don’t make a noticeable change to both our lives without discussing it with my husband now. There are little things that he doesn’t mind, like the veggies and the recycling. But things like how warm the apartment is kept and having lights on, within reason, are things that we both have to agree on. Otherwise, it isn’t pretty. 😉