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All in all, an informative experience

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.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree with you that food is one of the hardest goals to accomplish here on campus, especially because yo can’t really know where the food comes from, but what I can assume is that its not from a natural source. I have heard and talked to many people who complain about the food being harsh on their stomachs. Also, my waste probably looks somewhat like yours, because I also realized that most of my trash is from little things like q-tips especially, sugar packets, tea and gum and sometime even fruit leftovers that could be composted if I had a compost in my room. I also think your goals are really good and inspiring you should keep it up!

  2. I am completely the same way when you say you just keep accumulating stuff. I like to think that I don’t require too many things to live my life, but honestly when I looked at little things (my third pair of sunglasses for instance) I thought “why do I even need these?”. And when I asked myself this, I couldn’t think of a good answer. I want to start living a simpler life and that doesn’t have to mean giving up everything, just identifying what matter most to me. I also agree that all of these goals are inter-connected. When I would write my blogs, I often felt like I was being repetitive but I think that shows how all of our decisions affect not only us, but countless amounts of people as well.

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