arth Day has arrived. On three, let’s all give it up for the Earth! She deserves this! One, two, three: EARTH, WE’RE YOUR BIGGEST FANS!!!!!!!! Okay guys. That was a really nice moment. I know the Earth appreciated it. But let’s keep this momentum going, yeah?
Yesterday, I started thinking about ways I could make Earth Day mean something beyond cute crafting projects in elementary schools and hippy parades (to be clear, I am NOT bashing the hippy parades. Quite to the contrary, I love them and think they should continue for ages to come.) Still, I think we can all applaud and/or participate in those things while also making this day have an impact beyond just the day itself.
Then it came to me: I love New Year’s Resolutions, so why don’t I make an Earth Day Resolution?
I’m sure this idea has been circulated before so I won’t claim to be the birth mother – making pledges around sustainability is nothing new. Still, I know that all too often I think about the awful predicament we’re putting our environment in without changing some aspect of my OWN behavior. Those darn corporations with their pollution! That ancient semi-truck on the highway that’s spewing fumes! Don’t you see what you’re doing to our beautiful world?!? This is a crisis!
All the while, I accept another plastic bag at the grocery store because I forgot to bring my reusable one. Or I toss my empty juice bottle into a trash can because I just couldn’t find a recycling bin nearby…instead of stashing it away in my bag, carrying a few extra ounces of weight, and waiting patiently for a recycling receptacle to appear.
It’s too easy for me to place blame on political games, other people, and other entities instead of just raising my hand and saying, “You know what? That stuff is happening and I wish it weren’t but something IS going to change today and that is happening with ME.” It’s like that church hymn with the lyrics, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” This is the same concept: “Let there be sustainability on the earth and let it begin with me remembering my reusable bags.” I’ll need to work on the catchiness of that, but you get the idea.
So who’s with me? What if we all made just ONE resolution today that allowed us to make a positive impact for this big, beautiful earth? If 7 billion humans each made one resolution, that would equate to some WORLD SHAKING change. (I dream big. It starts here, today.)
And I’m all about starting with easy changes that are actually doable. That’s how momentum is gained. If you’re searching for ideas, here are a couple things that I’ve found to be functional and extremely helpful in reducing my ecological footprint (you may already be aware of these/using them yourself. If so, hooray!):
As much as possible, I try to ditch bottled water for my own water bottle. This is far from revolutionary but I think it’s important and makes a difference. For a long time I drank out of a Nalgene…then I got freaked out about the BPA scares…then they made them BPA free…but then I found the S’well bottle and fell in love with the stainless steel, the sophisticated curves, the grown-up look where I could take it with me into a meeting and not look like I’m heading out camping after everything adjourns. My water stays colder in the insulated stainless steel and, theoretically, I could put hot liquids into this as well. If you can’t tell, I really like my Swell bottle. It gets a big thumbs up. If you haven’t been able to fully “get into” reusable water bottles, maybe give the S’well brand a spin.
This little orange bag has been with me through thick and thin for over 4 years. My mom sent it to me in a care package and I LOVE how compactly it squeezes back into it’s pouch after I’ve used it. This is key because it means that I literally always have it with me so long as I have my purse. There are so many times when I randomly pop into a store and end up using it – not a routine grocery excursion where I’ve planned ahead and bring along other bags, but perhaps a quick peek into the drug store to grab some Tylenol. This bag has been perfect for those times. (I’m not trying to sound super sale-sy, although after re-reading this paragraph I probably should go door-to-door for ChicoBags…)
I’ve tried a few other bags with similar designs but they were more of the $1.99 variety and never worked quite as well…which meant that they weren’t as easy to fold back up and pop in my purse for the next time…which meant that I didn’t really use them very much…which defeated the purpose of having them. The particular brand that my mom sent is the ChicoBag, and it has held up really well for me. While searching on Amazon, though, I also discovered a very similar product that is 1) less expensive and 2) folds up into pouches that look like FRUIT. Behold:
(Image via Amazon) I know what’s going on my wish list…
As for me this year, I think I’m going to resolve to stop using the mini plastic bags for produce at the grocery store. They serve the important function of keeping the fruit clean from the conveyer belt at check out and/or keeping all of the fruits or veggies together for transport and while in the fridge. Eventually, though, I take them out of that thin plastic bag and toss it in the trash – sometimes, this happens the second I unload my groceries. The produce was literally in this plastic shell for less than an hour and I’m now throwing it away. I’ve felt guilty about this for a long time but have I actually done something about it? Nope. That stops today.
A few years ago, I bought a set of 4 mesh bags to use in lieu of the thin plastic ones offered in the produce section. I ran into trouble though because, inevitably, I would make a second trip to the grocery store and the mesh bags would still be in the fridge, holding previously bought veggies. Or, I would misplace the mesh bags and discovered they were stowed away in a reusable bag that I had left back at home. After all our moves, I don’t even know where the bags have gone.
So here’s MY Earth Day Resolution – something small but still impactful. I’m getting back on the mesh produce bag train. This time I’m getting 9 of them and I’m going to make a conscious effort to always have them with me during trips to the grocery store.
Won’t you join me? We don’t have to come up with the ultimate solution to global warming to start making a difference! What change will you make? Let the Earth Day Resolutions commence!
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