In my weekly newsletter a few weeks ago, I shared my concern about getting caught up in the minutia of living more sustainably and missing the big picture. With so much out there, it’s easy to get lost in what’s important and what’s not important in being more sustainable.
The whole conversation started – for me – about biodegradable band-aids. Well, that’s a lie. Really the conversation started a few years ago with the major concern about using straws because of the sea turtles. Now, I’m all about saving the sea turtles, don’t misunderstand me, but as I watched so many people on social media share their reusable straws, I looked at their single-use plastic cups, the plastic lids, and the “paper” cups with a plastic lining and just felt they were missing the point.
At the time, I wasn’t as wildly invested in sustainable living as I am now, but my internal monologue got up on its soapbox with this one.
Then came the band-aids much more recently. All my social media channels have identified me as being interested in “green” culture, so I’m bombarded with ads for products made from recycled whatever, certified by XYZ, and so much more.
You know I’m big on the business of being green, but I realized how frustrating it was being inundated for things marketed as eco-friendly (regardless of their true integrity) and the constant influx of new things in general.
What’s Not Important in Being More Sustainable?
I shared the above quote on Instagram recently and it really spoke to my general sustainability message. Obviously I link to and share reviews for sustainable products and I certainly haven’t stopped shopping, but we’ve really slowed down on what we bring into the house and focus a lot on getting the most use out of everything.
In everything I see about people trying to be more sustainable, I think we’re getting caught up in the tiny minutia a little too easily. We’re missing the actions and mentalities that will actually make a difference.
What’s Important to Live Sustainably?
Should we try to skip plastic straws? Yes. Are plastic straws alone causing global warming and massive deforestation? No. (I know, the turtles, but still).
What about biodegradable, sustainable band-aids? Opt for them when we’re in need? Sure. Will they singley save the world from unclean air and water? Nope.
So while I’m trying to find ways to use less, waste less, and spend less, I’m also trying to be realistic about what decisions I make really MAKE a difference.
Voting is major – to put leaders in place with ideas aligned more so with my own, but – thankfully – we don’t have to do that for a little while.
With the terror of fast fashion, cutting back on new, cheap clothes makes a big difference. So I’m rewearing and only buying with great intentions.
Spreading a message of wanting less makes a huge difference! And, I like to think, that being a resource for others is helpful.
You know the one thing we do, however, that I think does make a big difference. Cloth diapering. We’re 14 months in and, conservatively, we’ve saved at least 2500 diapers (which each take about 500 years each to decompose) from the landfill. And we aren’t done yet!
So before you throw away everything in your house because it’s old or because it’s plastic, take a minute to think about whether all the work, emissions, etc. travel for a new one (however ‘green’ it may be) is actually worth it. Can you use that thing a little while longer? Or can you repurpose something else you own to fit your need?