Simplicity and Climate Change

It’s Thursday so I’m Crafting my Life! It also happens to be Blog Action Day ’09, and the topic is ‘Climate Change’, an issue near and dear to my heart. I think that crafting a life for myself and making environmentally sustainable choices are highly interrelated, and today I will explain exactly how.

We are inundated with advertising all the time, everywhere we go. We constantly hear messages encouraging us to buy stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. After all, we work hard, so we ‘deserve it’, whatever ‘it’ is. It could be a vacation, a new pair of shoes, a tube of lipstick, a television, a fancy new home, a trip to the spa. And while a few little indulgences really can make life worth living, when you add them all up they become part of a cycle. We work hard to make money. Because we work so hard, we reward ourselves. But the rewards add up quickly, so we work more. On and on it goes.

This cycle of working and spending doesn’t just affect us, either. It affects the planet in big ways, too. Everything that we buy, whether it’s a product or a service, has an environmental impact. That plane trip, those shoes, even that tube of lipstick all come from somewhere. Some plant was harvested, some resource was mined, some factory or airplane used fuel to turn it into the item on the store shelf in front of you. In the process finite resources were used, pollution may have been released and carbon was emitted. Even an organic piece of fruit from a local farmer uses resources to get to you, although not as many.

I’m quite the little ray of sunshine today, aren’t I? I’ll stop my doom and glooming, and get to the point.

The point is that by not buying so much stuff, you save money and you also save the planet. Living simply is a powerful choice, a statement that says you would rather have time and reduce your impact than own 237 pairs of shoes or have a home that looks like a showroom. Not that shoes or a nice home are bad, in and of themselves. But the pursuit of these things for their own sake just might be. Spending money to keep up with the Joneses or fill a hole in your life is a losing game, and not just for you.

I am certainly far from perfect. But one of the big choices I’m making as I go about re-inventing my life is to simplify. To hang my clothes to dry. To visit second-hand stores and spend afternoons at the park instead of going to the mall. To give home-made Christmas gifts in less-than-pristine wrappings. To work in my garden and grow vast quantities of cucumbers. In the process I am spending less, impacting the earth less, and teaching my kids to appreciate the little things.

What about you? Are you doing anything to simplify your life? I’d love to hear about it. Because I really believe that if we all do something, that’s the sort of thing that changes the world.

In addition to Blog Action Day today, I am also participating in my first ever Green Moms Carnival. I am so excited to be taking part! My contribution is Walmart’s Sustainability Index. There are also some other really fabulous green bloggers sharing their views. So hop on over to In Women We Trust to read more about Sustainable Standards: What’s the Consumer’s Opinion?

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    Comments

    1. Lead the way, Amber!You're so right . I'll try to follow and be more mindful of everyday purchases.

    2. thanks for the reminder, Amber. sometimes I get tired, and forget to keep at it.

    3. it seems i’ve been on a simplify kick ever since arriving in canada ie. frugal living. we went down to one income when we immigrated and have stayed there ever since once the “wow, it’s so cheap!” feelings dwindled.
      since our visit back to scotland for the summer i’ve been hanging clothes to dry (as no one has a decent dryer over there!). alas i have no garden space and strata rules frown on clothes drying on decks (tho i have been sneaking them out there on sunny days) so the drying rack has been inside. it will have to stop once the weather turns wintry (oh, it is already) as i don’t want any experiences with mould … but we’ll keep going as long as possible.
      another area i’m exploring is packed lunches for the wee guy. he seems quite happy with taking yogurt scooped from a larger container in reusable pots and hacked off pieces of cheese wrapped in greaseproof paper in his lunchbag. i’m trying to avoid the ‘convenience’ single snack servings which are temptingly laid out for ‘busy mums’ and exercising some ingenuity to keep the grocery bill low
      .-= pomomama aka ebbandflo´s last post ..bog soup =-.

    4. Harriet Glynn says:

      So far we have only bought one thing for our 2.5 month-old baby – an ergo carrier. Everything else is a hand me down (stroller, crib, bjorn, clothing …!!) and when I needed a little cap ($5)- I bought one at our local baby store – Bean Sprouts on Main St (also got the Ergo there.) I can walk to this store – it also happens to be conveniently located between two lovely little cafes – hehehe… I love peering into the bags of things people have handed down to us a baby grows to see what fun things are inside. Of course, this abundance is largely due to the incredible generosity of parents who’ve gone before me.

    5. Oh I could go on and on about this subject! It is near and dear to me as well.

      One thing I do is try to keep errands to a minimum. Once a week for shopping, and at the same time do any banking, post office , etc on the same trip. Also, I will move my shopping day to correspond with medical appointments so all the driving happens at once!

      I am a great believer in second-hand for clothing, and feel good re-purposing things, like making cloth bags or fun throw pillows out of favourite, outgrown t-shirts. And second hand means NO PACKAGING!!!! Woohoo!

      I try to give “experience” gifts instead of objects. Aside for home-baked/canned goodies I like to giove (and get) movie tickets, dinner cards, pool passes and that sort of thing… (I am getting more clutter conscious lately).

      I try to buy local whenever possible, even if it costs a bit more. It feels great supporting my community (and my country) and try to keep all that shipping pollution to a minimum. And I have had some success with a small veggie garden in my yard, and container tomatoes and strawberries on my deck.

      I love line dried clothes, so that goes on every day I can get away with it. I have even hung things up under my porch to get them “half” dry as best it can be and then machine dry the rest of the way…. it all makes a difference.

      BTW I found an interesting chart on the Giant mass of plastic floating in the middle of the Pacific… and the graphics are quite creative… http://awesome.good.is/transparency/web/0905/trans0509throughthegyre.html horrifying to think this is all man made, and all going to get bigger and bigger!
      .-= *pol´s last post ..Turkey, Ham and Three Dirtbikes to ride =-.

    6. Trying to live more simply is an ongoing theme in my life, so your post definitely resonates with me! We live car-free and don’t have cable tv. I work hard at taming my consumer tendencies and really consider whether a prospective purchase is a want or a need before buying. Despite my best intentions, we always have more stuff around than necessary, so we have a donation box by the door and are continually culling. It’s a work in progress, but I think we’re making steps in the right direction!
      .-= Holly´s last post ..Blog Action Day 2009 =-.

    7. Ditto on the work in progress. I feel buried under stuff a good part of the time. Part of the problem is the overstuffed jammed-into-every-possible-space bookshelves, but let’s be honest, those aren’t going anywhere, so everything else has to be pared down instead. I’ll let you know how that goes :0
      .-= Allison´s last post ..**************Slightly late list of 23 random things for which I am thankful =-.

    8. I just stumbled across this post today on 25 ways to simplify your life with kids. Some great ideas in it!

      http://zenhabits.net/2008/03/25-ways-to-simplify-your-life-with-kids/
      .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last post ..Dr. Phil Stay-at-home mom vs. working mom show =-.

    9. We’ve started eating “out” at home. The kids pick a restaurant fave, and I re-create it here. Varied menu + kids helping out + healthy meals = everyone wins.
      .-= highlyirritable´s last post ..Cue the Violins =-.

    10. grrrr… I had a nice long reply already done, and it seems to have disappeared!

      Short version. I totally agree. I do stuff too.
      .-= *pol´s last post ..Turkey, Ham and Three Dirtbikes to ride =-.

    11. Sorry I haven’t been by in awhile. I love this post- very inspiring. :)
      .-= Jennifer´s last post ..Just As You Dance, Dance, Dance… =-.

    12. This post is inspiring! I so have to do more… and spend less!
      .-= Loukia´s last post ..Motherhood =-.

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