I did not expect this week to be as challenging as it was. I usually think of myself as a pretty environmentally friendly person, though I know I am nowhere near no impact on a daily basis. This experience helped me to realize where I fell short and needed to improve. The most challenging part for me was probably food since it is hard to find a way to eat no impact while at school, unless I ate at the homestead more often. I would like to be able to make my own food, so that I can be more informed about where the ingredients come from, but I do not have a good kitchen accessible to me and struggle to find low-impact food at the nearby markets. I could try to go to the farmer’s market more, but I can’t depend on it for everything.
The easiest goal water for me since it is something that I can easily change without compromising much. I will continue to take shorter showers (keeping them to around 5 minutes), and use a lower temp. I will continue to reduce my trash production. I am tempted to get a trash can to use for myself only, instead of using the communal one for everyone in my quad, so that I can monitor how much I throw away and what I throw away most. I have enjoyed keeping a compost in my room, and my roommates have really caught onto it. I just bring it to Huffman to dump out when it starts getting full and it actually doesn’t smell to have in the room. I find that second to packaging, I throw away food scraps, tea leaves or bags, coffee grounds, and cotton pads and q-tips. So now I have a place to put all of these things since they are all compostable.
I have found that this semester I have become much more aware of how much stuff I have and have made a concerted effort to reduce how much I buy and use. Though I have bought a fair amount of my own clothes, the majority of my wardrobe is probably hand-me-downs or second-hand clothes, so I can feel better about my impact there, since I am not buying too many things new. However, I still find myself accumulating more and more things throughout the year. I want to try to eliminate how much stuff I have, and use to the greatest capacity, the stuff I have. I try to use products that are eco-friendly, but I could make a stronger effort to stick to that, when buying things that I need. It may sound a little crazy, but after the Take It For Granted Project, I have decided that I want to stop using commercial shampoos since they are all chemicals. So over break, I plan on making my own shampoo from natural products, along with conditioner and toothpaste. I have found some recipes on blogs, so I will try it and see how it goes.
I found that many of the goals were inter-connected, so I found it easier to do them all at once instead of thinking about which ones I shouldn’t care about yet. This experience was more challenging than I expected, but will help me to be more informed when going about day-to-day life around campus.