About a year ago, I wrote an article, “Green Resolution: Two Green Goals for 2014,” addressing my green goals for the new year. I had two well-intended goals. First, I was going to stop driving whenever unnecessary and begin using the bus and walking more. If I had plenty of time before class or needed to go to the nearby grocery store, I would do my best to avoid using my car. Second, I was going to completely cut meat out of my meals. Meat was never really a big part of my diet, and its production uses tons of water and causes large quantities of greenhouse gas emissions. I intended to finally take a complete, firm stand against it. These goals seemed reasonable and not too out of my reach. So, when the New Year arrived, I set out to pursue them. And, for some reason, did not even come close. Why couldn’t I accomplish them? I kept contemplating. The most concerning thing was, frankly, that I was being lazy. Walking or bussing, instead of driving, around town would require additional planning and taking time out of my day. Eating meat would mean having to find alternative foods at get-togethers with friends and family, or just rejecting those events altogether. As I was finishing up my college career last year, I knew any extra planning would cause a lot of stress for me. With overloaded schedules, college students are already known for eschewing sleep on a regular basis (or just coping with unhealthy behavior in general). I finally figured out that, with all the moving and studying I had to do, I was not willing to factor in the extra time it would take to avoid using my car or risk complicating my meals with friends and family. A part of me felt a little guilty about this, but I also think I made the best decision for myself. I already only used my car a few times a week. And, meat was already a very rare part of my diet, as I ate it only a few times a month. Although I didn’t completely restrict myself from these luxuries, I took comfort that I was at least using them in small amounts. This is not at all to say that if something is difficult I should just give up, or I should aim for accomplishing less than what I can do. But this experience has shown me how difficult it is to actively work for a green lifestyle, especially when your life is always on the go. A lot of people do not have easy access to public transportation and do not have work or school within walking distance, so driving their car is a sort of unavoidable luxury. Many eating establishments do not offer meat alternatives, and it can sometimes be difficult to find good protein outside of meals with meat. Big differences need to be made everywhere so more people can have access to environmentally friendly alternatives to their daily routine. While one person or a group of people can make a difference, it will be difficult to give our planet the care and attention it needs until more people are easily capable of joining in on this effort. For me, I am now out of school and have started my career. I have more convenient access to both a bus system and a new bike, and I have more control over my meals and diet than ever. So, for 2015, I am going to try to accomplish my green goals once again.
My 2015 Green Goals: Establishing a New Mindset
What happens when you don’t achieve your green-living resolutions? You make lifestyle adjustments and try again.