A couple years ago I started a new personal tradition for Earth Day. As a Pagan who walks an earth-based spiritual path, I’m aware of the pollution that modern living is causing. I’m also sure that, collectively, we can reduce it. Each person taking individual action is important. So I decided to implement something new in my life each Earth Day, increasing my efforts to be more environmentally friendly, or “green.”
The first year I gave up straws. I used to buy plastic drinking straws to use with smoothies and with our “house drink,” which is mandarin-orange seltzer water mixed with some all-fruit cranberry juice. Although we did clean and re-use the straws, they only lasted a few uses before having to be tossed out. I decided this was a luxury that I didn’t need, and dropped the use of straws.
Last year I made a vow to be better about using my reusable grocery bags, and to try not to bring home plastic bags anymore. It’s been working quite well, and I’ve also gotten Quester to carry bags in his vehicle – often he even remembers to use them. We still have the occasional plastic bag coming into the house, but we reuse them in various ways, primarily as liners for small trash containers in the bathrooms and bedrooms.
For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what to do for this year’s Earth Day vow.
I mean, we’re pretty green already. We recycle a lot, we compost, we buy nearly all of our clothing, books, and housewares at thrift stores. We’re vegetarian, and tend to make our own meals rather than eat processed food. We make our own candles. Thanks to a friend’s urging, we’re in the process of switching over to the new energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
There are some things that are tough to change. It would be hard to really reduce our driving significantly – we live in a rural area where everything is spread out and there’s no public transportation. Heating is an issue, too. We have plans for a passive-solar addition on our home, including some kind of wood-based heat, but we don’t yet have the extra funds to implement it.
It took a while, but I’ve figured out this year’s green intention. I’m going to increase the percentage of our food that comes from local sources. BlackLion is starting a big permaculture garden project this year, so some of the food will come from our own land. In addition, I plan to mindfully increase the amount of food we obtain from local sources.
The only reason I haven’t done more of this already is the cost. Local produce, especially when it’s organic, is rather expensive. Our food budget hasn’t always been such that I could afford to buy at the farmer’s market. But there are ways to do it more affordably, and I plan to explore them: buying in bulk, bartering with other gardeners, and utilizing the local part of our food co-op are a few ideas.
It’s your turn. Do you have any input on how to buy local on a budget? How do you incorporate green practices into your daily life? What are some lifestyle
changes we can make to be more kind to the environment? Happy Earth Day!