I think one of the really important things for us to realize in our fight to protect the environment is that it’s got to be personal. Like the ‘personal calling’ those with religious fervor feel, the personal conviction a good steward of the environment feels is the cornerstone of an authentic and unflagging purpose. And the reality of climate change is backed up by scientific evidence. So, the conscientious among us are the way we are because of the facts, and because we get a level of enjoyment from this lifestyle. This objective and subjective motivation creates a powerful drive.
So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite means to live my life green.
Presents the chance to basically do an art project with stuff you might otherwise throw away. For example, lately I’ve been creating a collage from old compact disk sleeves. It’s a lot of paper with a lot of artwork bands took plenty of time to either create or curate. Instead of using a canvas, I’m gluing the plastic cases together with the interiors facing down. This makes for a flat surface on which I’ll paste the artwork. I plan on creating or buying a wooden frame to place around the exterior, both for visual appeal and hanging purposes.
I’ve always had a big thing for wooden furniture. A good armless chair is priceless for sitting down and strumming the acoustic on a summer night. When it comes to wooden furniture, yes you can find a lot of scrap, but sometimes tools are pretty spendy and it’s a specialized game to make your own. So if you can’t DIY and you want something that looks decent, the next best option is “upcycled” furniture. Upcycling involves taking previously used materials and making them into something more upscale, something that functions well in the home and looks new.
It’s easy to pick something up from the supermarket, but most of that produce is picked before ripe. According to Dominion Harvest, the average piece of produce travels an average of 1750 miles to get to the supermarket. Cutting a piece of produce from its stalk deprives it from the nutrient source. And, during the time it takes to ship, the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content degrades, as does the overall quality.
That’s why I either grow it myself or buy from a local farm. Again, you don’t have to be hardline DIY. It’s the vindictive, do-it-this-way-or-no-way attitude that scares people away from this practice. In my opinion, what matters is the intent.
But if you have space to garden, first I recommend putting together some good compost. There are a lot reasons to compost and a lot of things you can compost, but if you’re not sure, try consulting a source of information on the subject. Two of my favorite things about composting are: I drink a ton of coffee, and I can use my organic filters and coffee grounds in my compost heap; on the objective side of things, compost captures and destroys about 99% of harmful organic industrial chemicals in the air. The coffee factor is my subjective enjoyment; the benefit for the environment is the objective end.
And there are plenty of other environmental benefits that stem from eating seasonal, local produce. Huge monoculture farms use pesticides and insecticides to protect their crops from insects. You may have heard of Colony Collapse Disorder, in which adult honeybees abandon the hive, leaving the queen and the young and causing destruction of the colony. Although an indisputable link is tough to prove, a recent Harvard School of Public Health study points to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids as a probable culprit.
One indisputable fact is this: less fuel will be consumed if you eat seasonally. It just takes less gas for the goods to get to your table, and that makes environmental sense.
Biking to work
Conserving on fuel is paramount, and biking to work is one of the number one ways I choose to do so. There are a lot of motivating factors for this, especially this month since May is National Bike Month. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of the bike ride. It helps me wake up in the morning, it provides me with a good amount of the cardiovascular exercise my body needs, and it’s just downright fun tearing down the street on your bike.
Knowing my terms
I’m a writer, so I like to stay up-to-date on the terminology and information relating to green practices. For me this comes down to the subjective enjoyment, but at the same time these terms and this information are essential for having an objective, knowledgeable conversation about the subject at hand.
A lot of this stuff is downright fascinating. Ever heard of photovoltaic cells? These are the tiny units that make solar panels possible. Here we have materials that work to achieve a goal similar to the goal photosynthetic plant cells achieve: the conversion of sunlight into directly usable energy. Only, in this case the energy that results is in the form of electricity. What if we could find a way to put these cells in our windows while maintaining transparency? Even if not entirely realistic, for me imagining the possibilities is the most exciting part of the green pursuit.
We each have our own reasons to get in on living a green lifestyle. Getting pleasure out of our practice is the only way we can sustain it. With that in mind, please share some of your green reasons and tips in the comments below.