I have been so eager to write about my journey into an eco-friendly lifestyle! I’ve been making small changes for almost 6 months, educating myself more, and becoming more vocal on social media on living more sustainable. And I have to say, this just makes sense to me. This is something that I can wholeheartedly state is important to me; it is a topic that is truly a passion and one I want to continue to pursue. So here, I am, beginning to write down this journey- this “lifestyle”- that I urge everyone to pursue.
I wish I could say that I have had this awakening from the very start. That as a kid I was conscious and connected to the Earth, but unfortunately, I don’t feel as if that was very true. Sure, I have always had a connection to the water. South Padre Island is still the place I hold dearest in my heart. Family vacations, birthday celebrations, school beach clean up trips, I have always loved any opportunity to be in the sand and sunshine. But besides those random beach clean-ups I can’t think of too many times where I was an advocate for this planet that generously is hosting me (and you). Once I was in high school I became part of the crazy consumer world. I wanted to try this product and that one, something to tame my very frizzy hair, this new style for school, trying another vending machine drink, etc. This mindset of consuming, consuming, consuming followed me throughout college and into this first post graduate job of being an international flight attendant. I have left my mark everywhere I have set my feet on: South Padre to Kuwait to Hawaii to New Zealand. Shoot, even my header for this site is with plastic! (Time for new photos!)
So, I’m not sure exactly when my mind made the switch. One day around 6 months ago I was just continuing about my day and something in me snapped, “wow, I am creating so much trash.” The reality is that we all do when we aren’t aware of our decision’s repercussions. And I mean, every single decision that we make in our day to day has an impact. I’m sure you already knew that, but have you ever considered it in terms of that one chocolate wrapper, one coffee cup, one yogurt cup, etc. You’ve probably heard “it’s never just ‘one straw.'” The people saying it aren’t kidding! That is the most important realization, in my opinion. Every single piece of trash that I have ever created is still somewhere on this earth. Maybe in a landfill, maybe in the ocean, a pond, a bird’s beak, a marine animal’s stomach.
So one day something just clicked in my brain and I ran with it. Landfills, fast fashion, plastic pollution, contaminated water, toxic air quality, carbon emissions, land destruction, animal and plant extinction…a never ending path of heartbreak caused by individual decisions without any single consideration of any real impact.
Yeah, shit got scary very quick. It started impacting my everyday life. I couldn’t go to a grocery store without seeing plastic everywhere. Everywhere. Around my fruit, around my yogurt, plastic baggies of trail mix inside a bigger bag of plastic. I wasn’t any fun to go to any store with, Kevin admits that, because suddenly he (and I’m sure others) felt as if I was judging them. And inside my mind, maybe I was? Because how could they not see. “Just look around you!” my brain would silently scream as I hesitantly walked those aisles. It sounds dramatic as I write it, I know, but it was hurting my heart to see what we’ve created. It’s not as if I wanted to judge anyone; I think more than anything I was just judging that we let our world get to this level of destruction marked as convenience.
I’m telling you, once you see this shit, you can’t un-see it. You just can’t.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was and am not even close to being “eco-friendly.” I have a long way to go. Sometimes there’s nothing I want more than those yogurt smoothies in mixed berry flavor. Or as a huge traveler, I know to avoid the tap water in certain places. So what choices do I have? Suffer from dehydration or take a plastic bottle off the plane.
So even though it’s conflicting for me, I’m trying to find a balance and any possible opportunity to make my impact positive. I don’t buy those smoothies anymore (even though I am craving one right now), but yeah if I have to I’ll drink out of a plastic bottle in places that I know I have no other option.
I have learned a few main and hopeful lessons throughout these past few months:
- Just trying is important. Being conscious. Opening your eyes to the issues at hand. Trying to make the right choice. Yeah you might fuck up from time to time, but you’re trying! Keep trying.
- There’s a whole world of people that are trying- just like you! Together, we can save this world. Seek them out, let yourself be inspired and, like I said, just trying is inspiring!
- It’s all a learning process. It took me up till a couple weeks ago to learn that those styrofoam take out boxes and cups aren’t recyclable. I had been cleaning them out and dropping them off at the local recycling center and one day the guy working there was like, “sooooo, just to let you know.” I felt so dumb! Apparently everyone on Instagram already knew this. So now I try and avoid styrofoam as much as possible. You can’t beat yourself up for not doing the whole “eco-friendly” “no waste” “sustainable” “lifestyle” perfectly. It’s not a competition with anyone else besides yourself.
- Yeah, there are all those super fancy words people throw out for their “lifestyle”. But the reality is, we all have one purpose, and it is our Mother Earth. She is our purpose. We may all have altering reasons that brought us here: minimalism, slow fashion, fashion pollution, a more natural lifestyle, plant-based, vegan, no waste, environmental justice, animal activist, human-rights advocate, or you just really fucking care. Whatever your reason- you’re here! And we are all rooting for you. I truly believe Mother Earth thanks us for just trying.
Also, I quoted lifestyle earlier because…well, I don’t feel like this should just be my particular lifestyle. I feel like it should be the standard norm. It should be normal to care about our planet, to create products that will not remain on our land forever, to have an infrastructure that celebrates a system of green innovation, to have lawmakers, politicians, and big companies unafraid and unbiased towards environmental justice, even if it affects their personal wallets. It should be the norm. So, maybe this is just my lifestyle but one day it will be the only way for us all to live. Because at this rate, we don’t have any other option. There is no option or planet B.
I get a little emotional when I speak, and now write, about my love of this journey. This…eye-opening, heart-aching, inspiring process has opened up a whole new way of living for me. It has hiccups and annoyances (you should hear Kevin and I argue about composting), a fear of being too judgmental and being made fun of (it’s going to happen), an unfortunate realization that maybe I’m not as much “fun” to go out of the house with anymore because, “God dammit, I forgot our cutlery, no food truck food for us.” Even on our trip to Savannah I was internally freaking out because as cool as being able to carry open adult beverages is…there’s so much fucking plastic that it drove me insane. This is when I would input the little shrugging emoji because what can you do? It’s all apart of the journey!
And my friends, what a journey it is to be on! I genuinely look forward to writing more, sharing what changes I’ve made- big and small- and continuing to learn as much as possible.
If you’re looking into seeing more eco-documentaries here are a few recommendations I’ve come across:
- The True Cost. Investigating the cost of fast fashion and its polluting system.
- Chasing Corral. Witness our reef’s struggle to survive due to environmental impacts.
- Any Planet Earth episodes. Man, those cute animals deserve so much better.
Until next time when I share the easiest swaps I made to becoming more Mother Earth friendly.