A few years ago I decided I wanted our family – including three young children – to “go green.” I wanted us to start living in ways that were healthier and safer for ourselves and the planet. And, I wanted to transform everything immediately.
I started right away by making lists of anything and everything we could change. My head spun searching for information about how to re-work it all: what we ate, how we cleaned, how much energy we used, the amount of water we used, etc., etc., etc….
Thankfully, it became clear to me that we didn’t have to completely change the way we lived or do it all at once in order to live greener and make a difference. Whew!
Living greener is about being aware of our current habits then working to change our perspective and our habits, SLOWLY. It isn’t about changing our lifestyle, it’s about living our lives with a different perspective – a green perspective. It’s almost like wearing a pair of glasses with green lenses!
This green perspective helps keep the big picture goal in mind: to live in a way that is safer and healthier for my family and the planet. It helps guide how we live – what we do, what we buy, and the choices we make every day. So instead of getting overwhelmed by a laundry list of things to change, we work with where we are and how to change those habits and the way we currently do things. We are definitely NOT perfect but we are much more aware!
How do you begin to be more aware of your habits and start to change them?
For starters, you can focus on a specific area for a few days to get a better sense of how you currently do things. For example, take a few days this week to pay closer attention to what you toss in the trash at home, at work and while you’re out and about. You might even take a moment to make a note of it each day – sort of a trash diary – to really get yourself to pay attention. Then for the next few days, see if you can toss less into the trash and more into the recycling bin. Or better yet, see if you can use items that don’t create any trash or recycling at all.
The same exercise can be used to cut down on your water use. For a few days, time your showers and make a note of it. Then multiply the number of minutes you showered by 2.5 (gallons per minute) to get a rough estimate of the amount of water you used in the shower. You might be surprised! Next, for the following few days, see if you can beat your previous shower times. You can even get the whole family involved and turn it into a friendly competition with a fun prize for the shortest shower time. Make sure to remind kids they can’t skip the soap!
The point is, once you’re aware of your current habits (that are likely on autopilot), you can start to pay attention to them and make small changes that make them greener.
Please join St. John’s Eco-Pledge for Hope by choosing one or more actions – just click here.
by Pam Mercer, Parishioner & Eco-Action Team Member