When Savvy Attempts to Waste Less

Sustainability is the new buzz-word for our time.

(just in case you don’t believe, read about how our planet is going to be a hothouse , how to eat sustainably, musings from New York of a green christmas, and how the UN is involved.)

With our zero-wasting, vegan recipes, and ethical fashion, it’s the new lifestyle that all of the cool kids are living; arguably for good reason.

This last year I have been considering sustainability and what that looks like. What is my role in it and how can I make a difference? I’ve done some research (but still need to do more). I’ve considered my waste and my ethics.

To be honest, it feels like going down a hole of rules and regulations that I don’t follow half of the time. I think to myself that I’ll limit meat before I’m asked to make chicken soup for the family and I have littered before because I’m lazy.  I’m a Hypocrite with a capital H.

At the same time, I cannot help but think that we’re all heading this direction anyways. I can imagine my future grandchildren scoffing about how I would drive 5 minutes down the road to go to the store because it was too cold.

I see two extremes when it comes to the concept of sustainable living. One extreme is legalism and making a religion out of our ethical and vegan lifestyles. The other extreme is indifference and arrogance-doing what makes them happy. We have put the factor of morality into the issue of sustainability, a factor I’m hesitate to use as fact.  Our questions of what is ethical and what is not is thought-provoking and needed, but sometimes there is a self-righteousness in both extremes that we should probably be wary of.

There is a huge need for us to see sustainable living as a reality for present and future generations.

However, there is also a need to see the inequality of realistic expectations on individuals. Everyone does not live the same and not everyone has the privilege to live as green as they can or as they may wish to be. A choice between eco-friendly and packaged convenience often boils down to budget and convenience. Not all ethics are affordable and we are all hypocrites drawn to what is convenient.

Sustainability is not necessarily morality, even though ethics play a part.

That being said, I think we can all waste less, even when we are not able to live sustainably in all areas of our lives. There are small changes that we can make as individuals, and small changes can eventually become big changes. Even when it’s inconvenient, even when it’s not salvation, even when we’re hypocrites, we can still head in this direction.

We’re going to get there eventually. The world is changing, whether you like it or deny it. There is a middle ground in all of this, which is do what you can when you can.

We will always produce waste, but we can try to waste less.


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