It is all too easy to romanticize other people’s lives, especially when it comes to social media. But this can create a multitude of problems within ourselves. We see others as perfect and think that we are somehow less than, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
When I first started diving into sustainability I was inspired by following other people...but I was also intimidated. It seemed like I had to be vegan, grow all my own food, never drive a car or take a flight, only own 10 items of clothing and have the most aesthetically pleasing collection of glass jars.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience, maybe you’ve even thought about that when you think of me. Which is why I decided to share a few of my “sustainability confessions”, to show you that no one is perfect. After all, we don’t need 100 people living perfectly sustainable lives, we need billions of people doing it imperfectly.
I flew more this past year than ever before. This past year allowed me to travel to places I’ve never been before as well as visit my partner’s family in Hawaii a few times.
I buy new running gear from time to time. I try to find most of my gear used but when it comes to running shoes I buy new ones about every six months. I’ve been wearing Brooks Running Shoes for years and while they are ethically made, there is no beating around the fact that they are made from plastic.
I buy food that comes in plastic. Tofu, vegan ice cream, occasional vegan junk food, among other things all come in plastic. I do my best to limit these purchases but they are definitely still a part of my common diet.
I buy food that isn't local or seasonal. I love bananas and avocados, two items that don't grow anywhere near where I live. I try to minimize these purchases or buy items that are about to be thrown out but nonetheless I still buy them.
I bought a new laptop. Purchasing new tech is very resource intensive. Last year I saved up to buy my first nice laptop and I wanted a brand new one; looking back now I wish I would have just bought a used one.
I sometimes use plastic period products. I’m ALL about the menstrual cup and will tell everyone who is willing to listen about it. But I do stock emergency tampons in my car/bags so I’m always prepared. While they don’t have an applicator they are wrapped in plastic yet they have come in handy multiple times.
I use far too much toilet paper. It wasn’t until recently that I was aware of how much toilet paper I use. A bad habit I am trying to break and I’m looking at getting a bidet to minimize my usage even more.
I don’t always buy organic. I buy organic when I can but not always. I would love to live closer to a farmers market to ensure I am also supporting local and organic farmers.
I drive a car. I drive places that I could probably bike to. I drive to trailheads for runs and to visit friends. While sometimes a car is necessary where I live, I could definitely become more aware of my usage.
All of this to say that I am not perfect. In fact I am far from it. On a daily basis I do a lot to ensure I am making sustainable choices. I live a vegan lifestyle, I avoid plastic whenever possible, I compost my food scraps, I use as much of the food I buy as possible, I recycle what I can, I buy mostly used or ethically made clothing/gear, I ride my bike places, I buy ebooks or rent from my local library, and I’m constantly learning how to become more sustainable.
I have a LONG way to go and living sustainably is a lifelong journey. I share this with you all to show you that you don’t need to do everything perfectly, you just need to start. You’ll make plenty of mistakes along the way. You can either let me define you or you can use them as opportunities to grow.
So start TODAY. Try to limit your plastic at the grocery store, check out shampoo bars, go meatless a few days a week, carpool when you can and don’t ever stop learning and growing.