Real Life Green Living tips

By now you have read someone else’s tips for living greener.  I know I have and I try many of them. After all, I’ve been committed to living “green” since I was 7, which has trained me to just keep at it. My brain is wired to think less quantity and better quality

The summer before my freshman year of college, I worked waitressing. I saved up my tips and walked through Filenes every couple of weeks (I had a lot more time back then).  I’ve always loved clothes. One day in August I saw it. The flounciest- floralest skirt made by Ralph Lauren.  It was love at first sight.  I tried it on. I looked at the price.  It was almost $200 which in the 80's was a lot of money.  I went home to count my cash and think about it.  I weighed my options.  A few weeks later with a fist full of cash I went back and bought that wonderful skirt. I wore it throughout the autumn and winter for so many years the cotton was threadbare from so many washes.  It was the only skirt I bought that year.

But that’s me – I don’t like to accumulate many new pieces per year, I prefer to ‘shop my closet’.  And everyone has their own decisions to make in that regard. It is not easy to be green and trendy. There are brain games, trade offs & sometimes disappointments.  If I had a dollar for each time I forgot to not ask for a straw with my drink, or forgot to bring my reusable coffee cup when meeting at a coffee place, I’d have a big chunk of change right now. 

So here are a few of the tips I’ve accumulated along the way that I live by: Check back each week I'll be adding more:

  1. NEVER NEVER NEVER yell at yourself or someone else for forgetting:  Remembering is hard especially with all the other stuff we have going on. You’ll reuse the shopping bags you get at the market when you forget yours, and perhaps the coffee shop cup will get a second life if you set your mind to it.  Chock up a mistake to thinking about a better system for you. I find having reusables available in my tote is relevant for me.  Try carrying your stuff in a upcycled tote by ReWilder.  
  2. Pick one thing in your life you can make a change in.  Is it that you commit to farmers markets & organic for the family? Replacing plastic straws with paper?  My latest is trying to remember to carry a reusable set of utensils to replace one time-use plastic ones. I like to carry them in a little cork bag that slips easily into my ReWilder Tote because then 1) it really is with me most of the time 2) I’m carrying on my person fashion I can be proud of. All our standards may be different but its good to know I’ve done something.

  3. 3) When I’m out shopping (or more like it: online shopping) I still use my “green” brain.  I weigh options that include: shipping distance, choice of materials, & price.  Like these vegan shoes from Spain that I purchased this spring for $170.  I wear them with everything and I know I’ll have them for years.  That’s how I roll. Your decisions will be different.  As you make purchase decisions, give environmental considerations due thought. (Another online concept: Do you really need the item in 2 days? Do you find that you get deliveries multiple times per week? Think of the environmental cost to ship multiple packages to your home each week. Can you let some goods accumulate in your online shopping basket until there’s enough there for a decent delivery?