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#SustainableSunday and lifestyle changes...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Friends from around the world, since today is the last day of the year and tomorrow is likely to be a day full of putting resolutions into action, I thought that I'd take the opportunity not to promote another awesome sustainable brand, but to talk about lifestyle changes.

As you know, I've spent the last couple of years really committing myself to living a more sustainable lifestyle.  There have been many triumphs and lots of challenges and I wanted to give myself just one post to get more into my own personal journey to sustainable living.

I have learned that there is a whole spectrum of conservationists who range from the fanatics to the people who feel strongly that recycling their single-use coffee cup has made a huge difference.  I've found myself somewhere in the middle of said spectrum.  With a few minor exceptions, I've been able to completely overhaul my wardrobe so that it is either second-hand, handmade, fair trade, or a combination of all three.  I have overhauled my house-cleaning process so that I'm using all-natural products (many that are biodegradable).  I'm still working on adjusting my beauty routine, but at this point most of my lotions, shampoos, etc. contain mostly organic and natural products and come in eco-friendly packaging.  I hang-dry the laundry.  I try to use candles as often as I can for both light and heat (which is pretty darn functional in Vegas in the winter).  I grow my own herbs.

I have a reusable water bottle that I use every day and have switched over to reusable hot and cold cups for coffee (including re-usable straws).  I bring these items with me when I travel so that unless I end up going out for coffee on a whim and didn't happen to toss a cup into my bag, I have a way to cut down on waste. I've also made the switch to re-usable grocery bags (several of which I made from old t-shirts), swapped plastic wrap for bee's wrap, and I try to remember to toss a re-usable container into my purse when I'm going out to eat... just in case.  I try to re-purpose everything (i.e. make candles from recycled was in old jars, take stuff to work to use for student crafts, etc.).  I have yet to attempt bulk food-shopping, but it is definitely on the to-do list.

The most difficult piece of the transition into sustainable living has been knowing when to stop talking about it.  When I'm in Vegas, I'm on my own, so any item-saving quirky things are done on my own time and in the privacy of my own home, but if I'm traveling or staying with family, it can be difficult to do things my way.  For example: my mum is wonderful, but she's into convenience.  When I lived with her, I had her totally trained to bring re-usable bags to the grocery store and to bring a re-usable cup on Starbucks runs.  Now that I don't live with her and I'm not around to reinforce these behaviors, she's kind of lost them.  When I am at her house, I try to remind her, but she gets fed up with me feeding her stats about the amount of plastic waste in this country that her ears close and I shut her down... and shutting people down is the very last thing that change makers want to occur!

Another difficulty has been with food.  I've attempted to become a vegetarian about 15 times over the last 3 years.  Through a lot of my own personal research, I've come to believe that it is a healthier way to live, but I've also seen it to be much more sustainable for the planet.  Because I have some medical issues, I haven't been able to completely eliminate meat from my diet, but I have it down to eating red meat usually about once every other week and chicken roughly once a week.  I have been able to go several months completely meat-free, but the medical stuff catches up with me.  Needless to say, I'm still fine-tuning the transition.  What's really the most difficult is that some friends and family members haven't been accepting of my wishes to alter my diet.  Often, when I go home, meat dishes are what is for dinner.  They are the only option and I find that I end up offending people by not eating what I'm served or I end up staying hungry.  Others have teased me, which may be in their own good humor, but doesn't tickle my funny bone at all.  Has anyone else had these experiences?  I'd love to hear how you pushed through them!

In any case, these have been some of the ups and downs of my journey.  It is a journey that, despite the downs, I fully intend to continue and I'd love some feedback from the great wide world about sustainable chances you've made and the successes you've had!

I wish everyone a happy and healthy NYE and will write again in 2018!
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