My boyfriend and I try to “level up” frequently in areas of our lives. He recently leveled up in school, and I’ve leveled up with my cooking. Now that the new year is here, I feel that it’s time to level up in my recycling and green living efforts. I already recycle avidly, conserve energy and water in my home, and refrain from buying unnecessary products. I walk to the grocery store two blocks away and bring my own reusable tote bags. As much as I would love to compost, I live in an apartment in the heart of the city, and so far I’ve found no place that will accept scraps for composting. So, until I move to a city with more accommodating options for eco-friendly condo dwellers, I will sadly have to toss my food scraps into the trashcan. Obviously there is much more I can do for a healthy environment, but I’m pretty good at making excuses in the tune of not having enough money, time or energy to take bigger steps. Making and writing down feasible goals for the 2010 will help me stick with them.
- Recently I watched the documentary Food, Inc., and at one point the narrator said something to effect of “every time you make a purchase, you’re casting a vote.” When I apply that concept to every purchase, not just food, I think it’s an extremely important lesson to learn. When I’m at the grocery store, it’s easy to pick up the cheapest tortilla chips or the least expensive toilet paper. But, if I don’t agree with the business practices these large companies are exhibiting, I shouldn’t be supporting them just to save a few bucks. In 2010, I will try to maximize my purchasing power by researching products and companies and making informed choices. It may take some extra time and a few extra dollars, but if I can increase the demand for more eco-friendly products and companies, I feel that’s an improvement.
- Buying local produce cuts down on carbon emissions and supports local farmers. Luckily, where I live in South Florida, there are lots of year-round goodies freshly available. I usually buy vegetables and fruit from my local grocery store, but this year I will try and buy more locally grown food. Miami has a great weekly market in Coconut Grove, and every Saturday I can stock my fridge with tasty, locally grown items.
- I’ve been pretty good at driving minimally. My car sometimes stays parked for weeks at a time, since I can walk basically everywhere I need to go. In 2010, I want to use more public transportation to get around. I would love to start biking around town, but I’m tragically clumsy and Miami drivers are vicious and scary. I don’t think that combination is right for me. Instead, I’ll try to walk more, carpool and take public transportation whenever I can.
- Personally, I love used items. This year I will check out used options for items such as clothing, movies, accessories, furniture, appliances and electronics before opting for new. An hour at a thrift store usually leaves me satisfied, and surfing eBay is always a joy.