Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Our Year of Voluntary Simplicity

     The new year is here.  It is a time to think about the past year and see what you want to keep in your life and what you want to change.  As my husband and I were listening to an audiobook, Affluenza, we started talking about how we are doing and if there were things we would like to change.  We have some good habits we want to keep.  We also live a pretty simple life, and have no debt at all.  We pay any credit card charges in full each month.  We have cut back in many ways.  We grow a lot of our own food.  We have chosen to live a minimal lifestyle.  There is one area that we could make some improvements, and that is to be more conscious of the earth and to reduce our impact on it.  We don't plan on being like Colin Beavan, the man who went a year trying reduce his impact on the earth in a very radical way.  We plan to identify what things we are doing that we could improve, and then changing what we can to reduce our impact, one step at a time.

    Today, instead of throwing out a plastic bowl and lid that had leftovers from a free meal at a restaurant, I reused it and then washed it out to use yet again.  It would have been very easy to just throw it away, but I made a better decision.  I also decided to take and eat my own food, instead of spending money eating out when we went out of town for a meeting.  

    I am in the habit of using Ziploc bags, so I put them in the laundry room so I would have to make a greater effort to go them if I wanted to use one.  If I use one, I will wash it out.  I don't enjoy washing out bags, but that can be the consequence for using one.  I try to put things in containers and reuse the containers that I can wash in the dishwasher.  That is my compromise.  There are times, though, when a Ziploc bag is just the thing that works best.  I keep one box of each size in the house.  I will try not to buy any more the rest of the year.  I do like having them for backup, in case someone comes for dinner and you want to send food home, or in case of some unexpected thing that came up where I needed one.  Several years ago, I used to buy Ziploc bags each month.  I used them and threw them away without a second thought.  I didn't pay attention to the impact I was having on the earth.  I can't change the past, but I can change today and the future.  

    Water bottles are another thing that is easy to use once and toss into the recycling.  But, wouldn't it be better if we didn't use them in the first place.  Trying to stop the problem early makes a huge difference.  Taking water, for example, if you don't buy water bottles you save money AND you don't contribute to the problem of so many one-use plastics.  By reusing your glass or your own reusable water bottle, think of all of the trash you don't contribute.  Recycling is better than just throwing something into the trash, but recycling isn't the answer either.  Not using something is better than recycling.  This happens one step at a time.  

    We will make mistakes and learn along the way, but each of us needs to do our part to make the world a better and more beautiful place to live in.

No Impact Man video if you are interested in watching.

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