Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Change is Scary. Apparently.

Being a little greener in our everyday lives is actually a very easy thing to do. Heck, I have a book out about it. It just takes the tiniest little bit of change in thinking...

AHA. There's the problem. "Change." For some reason, we are reluctant to change. Oh, it's OK so long as it comes slowly and we barely notice it. But active change? That we have to think about? Nah. I get it. I was reluctant to learn my new cell phone when I got it. I was comfortable with my "old" one, even though it was becoming a cumbersome brick. Change can be hard. Heck, just this morning I had to force myself to take a different route up my hiking path. We become accustomed to certain things in our lives, and we hit a comfort level that we think we like. And if we change one thing, maybe we'll lose control in other areas? Is that what it is?

The changes we need to make really aren't so significant. A lot of it is remember the things we have forgotten how to do. Things like, washing tennis shoes when they get dirty, rather than getting a new pair. Turning off lights like Dad told us to when we were little. Not flushing after #1 because we saved water where we grew up with the wells and the septic tanks. We USED to do things, but we CHANGED... it's just that we changed so slowly that we didn't notice. We call this progress, I guess. Is it really? (That's a topic for another day!) I just think that some of the change we have to make to be greener is to change BACK to things we used to do. And that's not so scary. After all, we've been there. Is it the fear of going in the wrong direction? Does the Green movement make us think we aren't making progress? That's a deep thought... hm... more on that one later!

Back to Change. Here are some of the super-easy changes we can make every day, tiny little things that take the tiniest tweak in thinking, and that will lead to easier changes every week!

1) For the love of all things holy, TURN OFF the running water while brushing your teeth. I have lost count of how many times this gets put out there and people still don't do it. I don't know how it gets any easier than that.

2) Follow that up by not wasting a lot of running water while doing the dishes. See how easy these things are? And by doing them, we're just a little bit greener!

3) Skip the straw in your beverage. All the time. Just forget it. No straw. Give yourself a no-straw law. You can even start small, with just a few days a week. I'll wait.

4) Use less toothpaste, shampoo, dish detergent, etc. Scale back until you find the level of the least amount that works. You might be surprised to find how much less you really NEED.

5) Lower your thermostat/air conditioning. Instead of making it super-toasty during the winter, lower the heat a few degrees and throw on a sweater. In the summer, put the a/c up a few degrees. Do you really need to freeze? Put on a tank top and shorts. You're at home. No one cares how you are dressed.

Look at that! There is a week's worth of ways you can be the eensiest-teensiest bit greener, with SO little effort, and I've even given you the weekend off! Green does NOT have to be hard. What it is, is paying ATTENTION, and making some changes. That's not really so bad, is it? And you don't even have to preach to others. Just lead by example. BE the change. We can do this.

We have to.