Saturday, February 28, 2009

Green beginning: My introduction.

Hello and welcome to my first blog.

I always thought of myself as a pretty socially conscious person. I've been a vegetarian for going on 14 years, been buying cruelty-free body products, been recycling everything I can, been going for the fair-trade coffee at the grocery stores, etc. But the thought of going green hadn't really hit me until just a few years ago.

I live in Quebec City, Canada. Not too small of a town, but not too big of a town either. What I love mostly about my city is the efforts that are generally put into making it a nice place to live. In the last few years, Quebec City (like many other cities around Canada, North America and the World) has taken many green and eco turns that have made me rethink and revisit a lot of my day-to-day habits. Everybody's always about buying the compact fluorescent bulbs and the Energy Star appliances, but what does it all mean really if you leave the lights on all day and you use non-biodegradable soap in the washing machine?

So I started reading every bit of text and joining every online green community I could find. I subscribed to so many newsletters I was getting lost in my own inbox.

The first thing my husband and I did was easy : We exchanged every cleaning product in the house for biodegradable, non-toxic products. Products were readily available in our local grocery store, they were within our price range and we have kept at it really well. That made us feel good...

Then, I got overwhelmed with horror stories of petroleum products and parabens in my make-up and body products (which I thought I was doing good with, considering all the cruelty-free natural stuff I was buying) and stopped using them. This time, replacing all these things for organic stuff became harder. The reality of it is that organic, a lot of time, means more expensive and "trying stuff out" is not always possible on a middle class household income. I can't afford to be the girl with 60$ worth of deodorants under the bathroom counter that were used only 3-4 times.

That is when I realized that going green was going to be more complicated than I thought and it would take some work and dedication.

I have decided to lay down a 3-step plan to achieve my dreams of a greener life.

My first step is to stop feeling guilty everytime and effort was made that doesn't pan out. People out there need to know that if everyone made a real effort at least part of the time, the world would be a much better place. So every little action counts. I know that everytime I use a reusable plastic container in my lunch instead of a ZipLock bag, I'm doing a bit of something real... I will deal with the toxins from the plastics later. Breaking down a two step (or more) process into single steps does not diminish the impact of these said actions.

My second step will be to commit fully to my actions when they do generate success. Now that I've been using earth friendly cleaning products for over a year, I will not go back. I will never again buy clumping cat litter for my kitties. I will continue to recycle even if it means I live in a neighborhood that does not have front door pickup. (That is what the local center is for and really, it takes only 2 minutes to get there from our apartment complex.)

My third step will be to share my experiences and knowledge, successes and failures, triumphs and frustrations, but without judgment or condescension. This is why this blog is being created. Partly for myself, to have a real record of my progress and downfalls, but also because I refuse to believe that I am the only one out there who is sometimes struggling in their efforts to provide themsleves and their community with a cleaner healthier world.

My blog will most likely be eclectic. I have a curious mind and an insatiable appetite for random facts and tidbits. Hopefully, some of my power of retention may help others in exploring the joys of cleaner living.

I really hope a lot of you will share in this journey!