I just finished my annual re-read of No Impact Man. Every time I read that book I get something different out of it. As I was reading along, I would feel guilty about everything that I do or don’t do. I buy too much. I waste too much. I don’t do enough. Then I got to the end of the project and the epilogue after.
In the end, the point of No Impact Man, isn’t to be extreme and follow his lead. It’s to show that it can be done and it makes you think about what you can do without making yourself miserable. There are so many things that I’d like to do to lessen my impact, but they’re just not possible right now.
-I’d love to do most of my shopping at Whole Foods and buy as little prepackaged foods as possible, but we can’t afford that right now. So I buy what I can and try to be smart about the rest.
-I’d love to compost, but we live in a small apartment that barely fits all of our stuff. I have nowhere to put a composter, and I don’t think my hubby would be too pleased with it being in the apartment. So I try to make sure we throw out as little food as possible.
-I’d love to use my car less, but we live in a large city with little transportation options in Ohio, which means I can only really use my bike about half of the year. So I simply try to use my car wisely and make that tank of gas go for as long as I can.
Then I think about all the little things I do manage to do in my life and I feel a lot better. It’s amazing how we forget to focus on the positives instead of the negatives. Yes there is a lot more that I can do, but I already use soap made locally, baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair, non-toxic cleaners for laundry and dishes, and some kick-ass non-toxic toothpaste and mouthwash. Instead of going out and buying a brand-new desktop, I made it so I can use my laptop like a desktop. Instead of going out and buying a net bag, I looked up a pattern and am using yarn I’ve had sitting around (I’m finally on the handles!).
And yes, one thing I kept feeling guilty about was my spending habits. Let’s face it, it’s the holiday season and we’re all spending money when we can. But by buying a few awesome tea accessories, I improved my ability to use amazing loose leaf teas and keep my use of teabags at zero. It’s also helping me to kick my Wendy’s sweet tea habit. I just bought some silicone baking sheets today on Amazon because they were on sale and they’ll help me use a lot less parchment paper.
Sorry if this sounds like me tooting my own horn or justifying spending money. But it’s my way of reminding myself of everything I already do, and it’s a reminder that you can do some amazing things to reduce your impact on the planet while still enjoying life!