I am starting my blog today as a long, cumulative thought process that I have been trying to develop throughout the week. Sorry if the ideas don’t flow together well, some things struck me in the moment so I wrote about them.
Throughout this week, I have spent a lot of time thinking about consumption and the way we utilize our surroundings. However, I never spent much time thinking about the way that this project has helped me grow as a person or deal with what I see around me. For me, the hardest part is committing to a change that doesn’t particularly benefit me on a daily basis in obvious ways. If I don’t use the greenie, I am not depriving myself of food or changing anything else about my own life. I am simply adding to a trash pile somewhere else, right? However, like Colin said in his book, the small amounts of trash that each person disposes of will add CO2 and methane to the air I breathe. Dedicating our lives to change could help avoid a major catastrophe, and that should be enough to keep people from creating trash, but it isn’t! I think a major component of the first step to change is making it relevant to people’s lives and that’s truly the hardest part.
Just because I know I should make time for non-school related activities and ho-hum for my own benefit does not mean that as a college student I would be able to make time to just sit around and, like Collin, nourish family ties. Instead, I spend my days nourishing my grades and putting them, in extreme cases, before food and sleep. As a college student, I am already living a minimalistic life. I really only sleep, eat, go to class and meetings, hang out with friends occasionally, and do homework. Therefore, going out of my way to make less trash comes as a pretty big challenge. I eat meals generally 1-2 times a day, and they’re usually between meetings or naps. Sacrificing a nap so I can spend 20 more minutes buying things that aren’t packaged is a very difficult trade off for me. Another point to make is that reducing my impact by not driving forces me to go to the more expensive options within Granville. For me, that isn’t a good trade-off because if I run out of money, I have no other back up plans. Again, I feel as though I need some motive, whether that come from the government or my own passion for the environment to make a real difference.
One of the most important things that I can do is open my mind enough to act on my own promises. This project has inspired me to think about the way that I commit myself to things. I have very few long lasting commitments within my own life because commitment means discipline, and that in turn reflects on my own ability to find passion in the things I do. I think that this is a big problem within society in general; very few people spend time doing things they are truly passionate about, and therefore they struggle to find happiness. By reducing consumption and giving myself time to adjust and find meaning in reducing my impact, I think that people can find happiness because the satisfaction of completing a goal encourages the end goal.