As the founder of Dragonlilyarts and The Undoing Reliance Project, I have vested the last 5 years of my life to living and teaching my two daughters about our environmental responsibilities, as well as emphasizing to them a person’s value is measures in actions and intangible things, not by how much stuff they can accumulate, waste, or have during the course of their life.
This being said, I am pretty far in my project based learning goals to action approach. Over the last few years I covered the general items like making my own breads, shopping local farmers markets and co-ops, eating seasonally, finding secondary uses for things, donating and selling consignment, not buying prepackaged, individually packaged items to cut down on waste, and just not purchasing in general, establishing a needs v. wants checklist. If I have less stuff, I need less space, if I have less space, I need less electricity and less heat. If I shop and eat local I am contributing less to driving and less to the demand of things being shipped in and the emissions that occur there. Now that this had gone from a thought about at every step of the way goal, to a way of life transformation that is natural in action; I am taking on a more detailed approach. For the next year I have three “green” goals. One literally green goal, one environmentally green goal, and one symbolically green goal.
The Literal Green Goal:
1. Get planters and small pots to fit on my window sill to try to grow tomatoes and herbs all year round. 2. The monetary investment will probably float in around $50.00, so I would hope to make that up by not having to buy fresh herbs at the farmers market, in the store, or have to by dried or dehydrated to suffice, each purchase coming in at $3-$9 a container. I could very easily make this money up in about 2 months. 3. I have no outdoor space, so my other option is an aero garden. I will most likely be saving up my money for the large 7 plant one in the coming year.
The Environmentally Green Goal:
Reusing cards. Many times I find at estate sales cards given to the person who died that they held on to. I think it is fun to see how cards have changed, and think it would be not only a creative way to recycle or up-cycle paper products, but to keep the spirit of another’s memory alive. The card and the memory meant enough for the person to hold on to it for that many years, why not make it a tradition to see how many names can get on the card. All you do is add an “and” followed by your name to the last people who wrote in it, and it can get a laugh from the recipient while helping the environment.
The Symbolically Green Goal:
I need more money. Who doesn’t? So my last and final goal is to pay off as much debt as possible, and make my liquid assets flow like a green currency river. The largest challenge for me as a single mother, will be stretching my dollar further than I have already stretched it out. Hopefully upon the completion of my Master’s Degree I will be able to pick up a collegiate teaching position, one or two nights out of the week to bring in some extra cash to pay down my student loans for my masters. This way one investment in my future, can once paid off, become profitable for me to invest monetarily in my future.
Goals for a green life are not easy. They take time and thought. Do not be disheartened if you cannot complete them quickly or if it becomes really hard at times. Remember, you have to crack a few eggs to make a cake, but the cake will taste better if the eggs came fresh from the farmer’s nearby. Nothing life changing is ever without its fair share of turmoil and uncomfortable-ness. But change for a better healthier, stress free you in a better and healthier stress free environment may just be worth it.