in theory, i respect myself and others.
in theory, i respect this planet, and all it has provided me–food, health, solid ground.
in practice, i say something different.
in practice, all too often, i say convenience rules the day.
practicing your beliefs is so much more difficult than simply speaking them.
i can smile, joyfully proclaim that “the greatest of these is love,” yet want to scream at my cat when he misses the litter box.
i can purchase cloth bags, hang them on the door, ready for a moment’s notice grocery trip, yet leave them behind and decide turning around is far too bothersome.
what is it, then, that holds me back? habit, some.
simple forgetfulness, some.
but these (legitimate) reasons far too easily wander into excuses and lead me on a path i don’t want to travel down.
so, in the spirit of practicing what i preach, i offer these practical applications of seeking out and using better materials–better for you, for me, for the earth.
kitchens are one of the largest culprits in hoarding low-quality, plastic items. from dishes, to scrubbers, to mops, ads manage to convince us that particular gadget will revolutionize cleaning, or eliminate grease.
simplicity will do just fine.
to clean dishes, a simple rag will do. a scraper will clean those cast-iron pots. a coconut-bristle brush will scrape away meddlesome debris. and when you’ve finished? when that rag has more holes than you can count, all of the bristles have fallen out, leaving a useless stick in hand? toss them in the compost heap. simple, effective, and–dare i say–elegant.
floors are a bit trickier. walk the aisles of a general store or supermarket, and you usually find plastic–plastic bristles, plastic handles, plastic trays. you’ll find, too, that these bear a tiny price tag. a price tag that says, “this can be replaced. this can be tossed out.” once again, consider an alternative. consider wood. horse-hair bristles, perhaps. a metal tray.
take a look in your cupboards, your fridge. you might find plates, bowls, utensils made of plastic. you might find plastic tupperware, plastic packages of pre-made food. again, see if you might make a change. visit the local thrift store and find some plates that suit your fancy. consider investing in cast iron for cooking, glass for storage, bamboo for cooking utensils. consider purchasing in bulk bins using your own bags, planning ahead to eliminate single-use plastic and paper, shopping a farmer’s market, and saving your leftovers sustainably.
above all, pay attention. pay attention to your needs and your wants, and learn to recognize which is which. if you already have a synthetic-bristle broom, don’t rush it to a landfill in favor of more sustainable options; use what you have, and replace items sustainably as you need to, as you go.
use what you have. care for what you have. decide where you put your money–where you place your priorities–and proceed accordingly. perhaps a wood-handled scrub brush means little to you, but donating to charity means the world. donate. perhaps your heart aches for animals–source cruelty-free products. whatever your particular cause might be, take a moment out of your day to identify one step (perhaps only the size of a pea) you can take toward putting your convictions into practice.