The Sustainable Journey #1

Frequently, I come back to the question, “How can I be a better me?” Luckily, I’m a piece of shit, so there are many ways in which to accomplish this. But also, in general, everyone can be a better version of themselves. And that’s the beauty of self-actualization: I may never fully achieve it, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.

Sometimes (most times (all the time)), it can be wildly overwhelming to think about this. So, instead of thinking about it, I’m just gonna do it. After all, a restless mind induces much anxiety; rather, it’s best to live in the moment.

I’ve been trying, ever so slowly, to live a more eco-friendly, zero waste, cruelty-free, minimalist lifestyle (with several heaps of conscientiousness (#buzzwords)), if only to leave the world in a better condition.

This is where I express my love for the Internet and all its wonders. So many guides online from people doing great things with their lives and spreading their wisdom. I want to be like this. To push what I’m passionate about, to detail the tribulations of someone who is sometimes lazy and sometimes misinformed, and to help spread good vibes. Also, if I document it, I’m more likely to follow through with it, right?

Listen, I know it can be hard. One single person can barely make an impact when there’s so much corruption and greed surrounding us daily in all of the “big” businesses. But the point is to try. It gives me some motivation to go on despite the crushing existential crises, the guilt, and burdens I feel.

Remember, one small step in the right direction is better than no steps at all. – ancient Vietnamese proverb, probably

Now, a lot of my life is at the mercy of my landlords, aka my parents (he said, sitting on a leather couch with the hide of a cow next to him). Until I move out on my own and get a career, I’m not really in the place to meet all my goals 100%. And part of me doesn’t even think it’s fully possible.

For example, I’m trying to go vegan (he said at the party where no one asked my food preferences). However, please be aware that I am not against eating animals. I would hunt my own food if I could. Animals dying from predation in the circle of life is normal (and necessary), but what’s not needed is the farming and the torture, all for what? Greed. I’m not even talking about commercial hunting here. I’m talking about back-to-roots, hearken-back-to-Pandora (Avatar) hunting. This is not feasible in this day and age, however.

I’ve lived the majority of my life not giving a fuck (the proper phrase would be “realizing a fuck” because if I had fucks to give, I would’ve given them, but as it so happened, I just wasn’t aware that I had fucks to give). Thus, I have and use a lot of products that are non-vegan and non-sustainable. But would not using them be a waste? Think about how you would be honoring the animal if you threw away, for example, a leather wallet because it’s leather and that’s gross. Wouldn’t it be better to continue to use it. It’s already been purchased after all.

Again, strictness and rigidity is not important. What’s important is trying to achieve goals for oneself. In fact, being so rule-bound goes against trying to live a simple life. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

We’ve been so ensconced in a specific lifestyle that, yes, it can be very difficult to adjust. Yes, sugar, I’m looking at you, you society-accepted cocaine alternative. So I understand if a lot of this seems excessive and “weird”. Nonetheless, my single superpower is changing bad habits, and it happens to also be one of my favorite things to do to occupy my time. #yayselfactualization

Step 1: Before I make a purchase, make sure it satisfies the optimal conditions to lead a sustainable life. Know that not everything can check off all the boxes.

Is it eco-friendly?
Is it cruelty-free? (Is there exploitation of humans and animals?)
Is it zero waste?

Step 2: Be aware of every single item used. Take note if there are better options out there.

I made a list of all the stuff I use daily as well as everyday habits. Then I divided them up into sections and added what my goals are for that particular item.Then I color-coded them to see which ones I’m already doing vs. the ones I need to change vs. the ones that are currently working for me until I find a better solution, etc. I’m also noting dates and cost-effectiveness.

Thankfully, I live a generally simple life with not too much stuff to get by (because I’m relatively broke and live within my means, holla!).

Meals/Kitchen

  1. Food. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are currently vegan. Protein powder (I think I will currently stick with this as the vegan options are too pricey for me currently, though I will phase out mass gainer and casein) and dinner are not vegan yet. Recipes/experiments are not vegan, though I’d still like to practice cooking with all types of recipes. All foods currently have some sort of packaging.
  2. Lunch bag. I think I’ll just forgo the plastic and buying a new lunch bag and just put my lunch directly into a cloth bag.
  3. Water bottle. I use an Alaska Life stainless steel bottle which serves me well.
  4. Kitchenware. Will switch to bamboo once supplies have outlived their usefulness. Most that I use are already steel, cast iron, and wood anyway.
  5. Cutlery. No plastic.
  6. Napkins. No paper. This will be an interesting switch for the parents, though we’re very conservative with our napkins as it is.
  7. Dish soap. Need to switch to Castile soap.
  8. Dish sponge. Need to switch to natural.
  9. Cutting board. Need to switch to wood.
  10. Storage. Foil and Saran wrap are bad. Plastic tupperware is bad; need to switch to glass, though I could just keep using the plastic since I have it.
  11. Trashcan. How easy do you think it’d be to convince my parents to get rid of trashcan liner and compost all wet ingredients?
  12. Compost. I want pet worms, but may just settle for a basic compost bin.
  13. Start a garden. One day!
  14. Go to the Farmer’s Market.

Hygiene/Bathroom

  1. Minimalism in the bathroom: I’ve gone no-poo, no longer put product in my hair, and use aloe vera for everything. I’m generally very simple when it comes to hygiene.
  2. Take shorter showers.
  3. Floss. I think this is the worst offender. Nylon vs. silk. Both bad, but silk might be the better option. Not sure yet.
  4. Toothbrush. I use an electric toothbrush which has plastic bristles, but I don’t replace it often. I will look into a bamboo toothbrush, though I have difficulty straying from my electric.
  5. Toothpaste. Colgate is not cruelty free. I switched to Dr. Bronner’s, though this comes in plastic. However, everyone is saying make your own toothpaste, so that’ll be fun to try.
  6. Lotion. Aveeno is not cruelty free, or at least questionably so. I switched to Avalon organic moisturizing lotion, though this comes in a plastic bottle. The next step would be to try and make my own.
  7. Face wash. I use cruelty-free aloe vera (Fruit of the Earth), though this comes in a plastic bottle.
  8. Face cloth. I use paper towels, but I’ve bought a lot of cloths.
  9. Loofah. I bought an eco-friendly loofah.
  10. Body wash. What spurred all of this madness! Dove for Men is not cruelty free. I switched to cruelty-free Every Man Jack, though this comes in a plastic bottle. The next step would be to try a bar soap.
  11. Deodorant. Old Spice is not cruelty free. I switched to Every Man Jack, though this comes in plastic. The next step would be to try and make my own.
  12. Lip balm. Chapstick is not cruelty free. I switched to Dr. Bronner’s.
  13. Hand soap. I currently have a cruelty free Bed, Bath, and Beyond soap I randomly had in the bathroom cabinets. But I switched to Dr. Bronner’s, which apparently can be used for everything, though this comes in a plastic bottle.
  14. Razor. I use a reusable razor.
  15. Towel. I use a cotton towel.
  16. Nail clipper. I use a stainless steel clipper.
  17. Toilet. I bought a bidet attachment!
  18. Laundry basket. I think mine is made out of cotton.

Personal

  1. Bedding. I use goose down pillows, though I’ve been using them forever and haven’t needed to replace them yet. When the time comes, there will be better options. Other bedding and blankets are fine.
  2. Lighting. I use the proper lightbulbs.
  3. Clothes. I have decluttered my wardrobe and finally gotten rid of all the clothes I don’t wear, and all the clothes that don’t fit me but I’ve held onto. My goal is to keep a really basic wardrobe with only essentials that I’ll have to find creative ways to mix and match. It turns out, however, that my wardrobe is already very small.
  4. Laptop, phone, TV. Apparently all contain animal byproduct. May switch to Apple, which strives to be vegan-friendly. In general, use these less for environmental purposes anyway.
  5. Wallet. I have a leather wallet, but will replace when needed.
  6. Backpack. I have a backpack with leather, but will replace when needed.
  7. Tattoos. I guess they use bone char for the ink sometimes. Still want to get tattoos unfortunately. May have to research this more.
  8. Buy digital over physical, which really pains me to say as a collector.

Other

  1. Household cleaning supplies. Apparently, all you need is baking soda and vinegar for all cleaning.
  2. I would love to have solar power and drought-tolerant foliage. My parents don’t want either of these.
  3. Car. Carpool AMAP. My motto is to run all the fucking yellow lights so I’m not idling on the longest red light ever.
  4. Paper. I’m trying to reduce junk mail and physical receipts.
  5. Bring my own cutlery when needed and use tupperware for to-go in restaurants (cue the weird glances).
  6. Carry around a handkerchief. This would be in lieu of tissues and paper towels in bathrooms and restaurants. I feel like I wouldn’t like this because I would probably want to carry around a lot of handkerchiefs just to not mix my own germs. Nonetheless, I bought several eco-friendly ones.
  7. Give back to the community.

The above is a skeleton list for you to use if you wish to be a more conscious consumer. This was easier to make than I previously thought. And it doesn’t feel overwhelming or excessive. I will keep everyone updated on how things go!

Advertisements

~ by Btab on 19 March 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: