Growing Green

Another often-overlooked way to simplify life is to grow green in our daily living. For years my wife and I allowed the conventional wisdom of the conservative movement, of which we were proudly a part, to convince us that being environmentally responsible meant being a “tree-hugger” or some such nonsense.

Over time, however, we found ourselves gradually embracing a philosophy of less is more as it relates to our daily consumption practices, particularly at the grocer. For example, due to a friend’s simple blog posting, we opted out of the “paper versus plastic” debate by buying a few reusable fiber bags for our grocery purchases.

Next, my wife and I decided to radically reduce the amount of incoming mail we received by opting out of direct mail lists and canceling our receipt of several catalogs that we used to order from regularly, whether we needed the stuff or not. Not only did we help save forests in the process, we also eliminated one of the chief enticements to our consumptive lifestyle.

Our latest move toward a smaller carbon footprint—words I never thought I’d use to describe my life—involves filtering our tap water instead of purchasing countless quantities of bottled water, which may or may not be of better quality than unfiltered tap water. The tipping point for us was an ad we saw featuring a bottle of water on an exercise machine with the caption [paraphrased]: “An evening at the gym…an eternity in a landfill.”

So what do these relatively minor actions all have in common? For starters, they add up to make a profound difference and each one started with us making a conscious decision to change our personal habits on a practical level after diverse promptings. One or the other may not make a global difference on its own, but taken together such simple changes can do a world of good.