Last week’s post was inspired by a quote, and so is this week’s. A man at a racial justice or families belong together rally was asked if he really thinks protesting can change the country. He said “I don’t protest to change my country. I protest so my country doesn’t change me.” This really stuck with me for obvious reasons, but without opening a political can of worms, let’s apply it to the environment and my project.
I used to love taking time to upcycle, DIY home projects, try and fail at different zero waste ventures, and more. But once I had a kid, I valued my time more than any other impact my actions might make. I ordered as much as I could from Amazon because I could buy and receive without leaving the house – I didn’t think about the implications of shipping a few items via plane or truck. Instead of trying to find a way to recycle, upcycle, or donate items, I would just throw them away because I wanted to get rid of them NOW.
I know a lot of that is instant gratification and being impatient, and I know I have issues with both of those things. I always have, and the internet has not made it any easier. But I am trying to get back to the mindset I had when it was just me. Strangely enough, that was when I blogged all the time, worked full time, and made more money than I needed to live on. I didn’t have much to do in my free time (#hermit) so I researched zero waste and made my own products and experimented a lot.
Lately, despite everything else that has happened in my life, I have been looking back at that brief period with happiness. I know I had problems at that point in my life, but this small aspect of my life made me happy, and it is something I can easily get back – and now I can include my son.
He already loves helping in the yard and garden. He “helps” hang clothes on the clothesline. Those are both things I didn’t have the ability to do when I was renting that smaller place. So now, though I own my own home and have a kid and therefore have different bills and worries, I also have more ways to explore my impact on the environment.
That quote also has me re-assessing what I buy, and why, and what my alternatives are. I am going to sound like a total nerd, but I am starting to research most things in my life. Plastic waste is so massive, and it’s easy for me to cut down on disposable straws but what about yogurt? My son can eat two cups a day, which makes a lot of plastic to recycle. Or uppcycle, as we have been lately – those cups are a great size for seed starters. But would it be better to buy one large container or yogurt? Is that really less plastic? Are there yogurt brands that package their product in cardboard, like a milk carton? If so, even if it is more expensive, it would be worth it to me to buy that. Because I am protesting with my money, and even if buying a different yogurt doesn’t stop the other yogurt companies from using plastic, I am still staying true to myself. I am “protesting” with my money to stay true to myself, while hoping to make a change in someone else, or something larger.