looking back: living low-waste for a year
May 2019, is when I started my journey of living low-waste. I had just graduated from high school & stepped out of my Environmental Science classroom for the last time. It was very bittersweet. I was leaving a room that opened my eyes to the beauty & complexity of the planet, but I was filled with so much inspiration to be kinder to her.
Flashback to my life before the low-waste lifestyle. I got Starbucks everyday- with no reusable cup. The impact of consumerism had never crossed my mind. Most importantly, I never admitted my love for nature. Because, there is a stigma of being an environment advocate or… treehugger.
Also, my family never practiced sustainability. Thinking, climate change is a hoax and the bees are not dying. But, what my teacher taught me was, we are not alone on this Earth. There are other organisms, smaller than the eye can see, who are affected everyday by our actions. We don’t just owe it to ourselves, but the flora and fauna.
This, made me set aside all of my doubts and preexisting opinions, that saving the planet is not worth it… because oh boy it is!
The first thing I remember doing is starting a garden. I knew that growing my food provided me the produce I loved without the waste & gave the ecosystem around my home a little nourishment. It went amazingly for a first-timer! I kept it simple & it thrived.
Then, I finally talked my parents into getting a recycling service for our home. This was a big deal getting them to admit action must be taken to decrease our waste. I am happy to report we still fill up the bin at the end of every week with paper, cans, and plastic. It is the little & repetitive actions that make a difference right?
Yes. After living low-waste for a year I am now aware of the little plastic cup I use, the fast food bag stuck in a tree, and the field being cleared for development. It all just motivates me to be more responsible, because if I can replace that one cup the next day, refuse a plastic bag at the store, or grow more plants I am creating a healthier planet.
Honestly, I actually get slightly aggravated at myself when I wrap an avocado in plastic wrap because I am too lazy to use a beeswax wrap. Because, I know there are so many ways for me to reduce my impact, but it all comes down to action. We need to take action.
(Brb… buying beeswax wraps right now ◡̈ )
It is so big! I remember walking to class towards the end of my senior year and for the first time being intimidated by the grandeur of trees. They are home to so many animals that have a part in the balance of the ecosystem they live in. Not to mention, they create the air we breathe. It is truly humbling, because we are so small.
But, I also notice how disappointing the human race can be. Mindlessly leaving trash on the ground, dumping chemicals in the rivers, and applying pesticides aimlessly- ignoring the damage done.
My teacher would always tell us: we are a blip in the lifetime of our planet. Like the period at the end of this sentence. And yet, we have done more damage than any other animal. There have been 5 mass extinctions, and there is another coming. But, the only difference is that the 6th one will be caused by one species. Us.
I am not one to tell society how it should function- really no one is. But, I can say that it our responsibility as the highest functioning species on this planet speak up for the animals being affected by our careless acts.
It is so much easier than you think to do sustainably small acts everyday! So much easier. We hear this so much, I know, but the little things build up to be a movement. Imagine, if everyone picked up one piece of trash a day. There are 230,000 people in my county… that is a lot of trash!
But, I think we have it all wrong by making sustainability a political issue when it affects everyone. We are all here on this thriving planet & I would love for us to be able to keep it that way together.
My one takeaway from living low-waste for a year is that making one simple action is the first step. It does not have to be perfect either. Because sustainability is not a lifestyle change, just a practice of living mindfully.
And I want to put emphasis on the word practice! Everyday is an opportunity for me to make a choice to continue this journey & somedays it is harder than others. But, I love the Earth and her creatures too much to do anything other than be kind.
Here’s to another low-waste trip around the sun ◡̈ – Kat
Wanna have fun? Look at my first ever Instagram post about living low-waste! Click here The message has never changed!
& do you want some low-waste living inspirations? Check out these posts!