I suppose it all started with antropologa. She was the troublesome one who started asking questions: “Are you going to circumcise if you have a boy?” “What kind of diapers will you use?” I don’t think anyone had ever asked me those kind of things before. They just weren’t on my radar at all. I cringe now at how long I spent in relative ignorance, even while being fairly well-educated.
Moving to a smaller, more connected community also moved me down (or up?) that slope. It was common to see fluffy, bulging cloth diaper butts on kids in the church nursery. I started thinking more eco-. Not eco as in -logical, but as in -nomical. The simple truth for me was that cloth diapering saved money. Lots of money. And they were SO not your parents’ cloth diapers. Cute colors, easy to wash, no toxic fumes from outgassing. And REusable.
From giving up disposables, it was a short move into giving up all disposable cloth in the house. No more cloth napkins, no more Bounty Extra Phat Roll. The only time I missed paper towels was when microwaving bacon…but skillet bacon tastes better, anyway. We still haven’t moved into no-TP-land, mostly because R would probably divorce me.
Our ‘hood offered FREE huge recycling barrels…taking care of all plastic, glass, cardboard, and paper. What do we throw away? Food scraps, mostly. So recycling was simple. And there’s a Farmer’s Market down the street on Thursdays and Fridays…fresh, local, organic food. You can even walk it if you’re up for a hike. So, no more strawberries in January, sure, but living more closely in tune with the cycles of the earth made sense.
From there, it was tossing the TV. Not exactly tossing, but it’s upstairs, in the attic- “Man Cave” my husband has created for himself- he plays X-station or PlayBox or whatever when he can’t sleep at night. I have not missed it. My kids are outside more and creating more…and the number of, “Mom, can I have this?”es has sharply decreased.
Some friends started a community garden. They offered plots and we bought in. It’s amazing what some seeds and a little water and sun will do. We had lettuce for quite a while and are still getting tomatoes every few days. We’ve also had plenty of cilantro, basil, kale, blueberries, zucchini, cucumbers, and green beans. The kids love visiting the garden each day (or every 2-3 days when we’re lazy) and seeing what’s new.
The thing is, none of this was hard. At no point did I say to myself, “Man, if I just had some ultra-refined hydrogenated sodium-bathed crunchy things.” Or, “It’s SO HARD to toss my can in the blue barrel instead of the trash can!” I realize not everyone has access to land, a close Farmer’s Market, and support from a community that believes in these kind of things. But we aren’t alone in making these steps, and for a family of five it’s been amazing how these little slides down the slope have changed things for us.
What little changes have made a difference for you?