First and foremost, I want to thank jessica for allowing me to write for momfuse. I’m very humbled and honored for the opportunity to share some stories and ideas with the momfuse community. I also want to thank Nicole for ‘introducing’ me to Jessica; Hey Nicole! You rock!
For my first article, I wanted to share with you a little glimpse of my green love affair. How it started and a few simple tips if you’d like to pursue one.
My childhood was filled with sweet memories of sewing, knitting, reading with my mom, cooking lessons with my grandmother and planting vegetable gardens with my dad. I grew up in a place where you could hear the birds sing everyday, where trees, flowers and grassy fields abound. Life was simple and had an easy pace.
Fast forward to a few years later, when life strayed away from homemade foods to a constant race with drive-through meals, loads of caffeine and many little things that seemed insignificant yet made great impacts. Things such as keeping the lights on even though i’m not at home, turning my tv on for background noise. During this time, I noticed that my stress level was at a maximum high and I started feeling tired and sluggish all the time. I stopped running when i used to do so regularly. Somehow, time just never seemed enough and I kept making excuses about why I didn’t do the things i enjoyed anymore, because life was so busy and demanding.
I burned out fast and i needed to recapture those simpler times of my childhood, which meant literally stopping and smelling the flowers, enjoying the feel of grass beneath my toes and being grateful for the soft kiss of an afternoon sun.
Inadvertently through reflection, my green love affair began. I started taking walks in the park, which taught me to relax and breathe easy again. Being outside became a need, a necessity. As the necessity grew, so did the acute awareness that things I was doing everyday were gradually changing and impacting our world. One day while watching some kids swinging at the park, i had this bizarre thought about how a simple walk would one day become something of the past. Something people would read about in books not something one actually did. I realized that although I took my childhood for granted, future generations might not have the chance to experience simple joys like playing in the dirt and running around outside. Especially when the world is geared toward being “on” 24/7 with increasing competitiveness for education, jobs, and quests of being better, which could have some negative aspects. This is not to say that drive and determination are not needed but it is also essential to live a balanced life.
For me pursuing a “green” lifestyle was not just because I believed we needed to nurture and protect our environment, it was also because I needed a personal lifestyle makeover and find my balance. A way of life that is more nurturing, relaxed, and less stressful. With that in mind, I wanted to be a part of the solution but i also had to reconcile with the fact that I could not do everything and needed to start with small simple steps. Being “green” didn’t mean I had to spend a lot of money, to replace my entire wardrobe with eco-friendly and organic clothing, roof my apartment with solar panels, or install a rain water collection and filter system. They are great options but they were not economical and tangible for me. So for me, being “green” began with learning ways to reduce my waste and conserve my resources. Therefore, I started recycling, I love to sew and create handmade lovelies so I learned to find new purposes for things. I started up-cycling my plastic bags, rice bags, bottle caps, giving them a new life. I made conscious efforts to turn off the lights when leaving the room, parked my car and opted for a walk if I only needed to go around the corner. My green love affair has not only been a way for me to be more earth friendly, it has also been a great source of personal growth. Yes, I still have moments when I feel as if 24 hours is just not enough to accomplish everything I need to do. Although being “green” taught me to relax, take it easy and enjoy my environment.
I am by no means an expert in what it means to be “green”. I still have a lot to learn. I’m just honored to be given a chance to share some personal experiences in my journey to seek a more nurturing, more holistic and more earth aware lifestyle. I personally believe that being “green” is a community building effort that allows us to make a positive change. And that everybody rich or poor has their own ways in making an impact toward preserving this little place we call home. Whether we live in a mansion or on the street, we all live in it and our children will also. Together with each of our personal and communal efforts we will be able to affect changes. It’s also a personal choice and a personal decision that each of us has to make and that no one can force or coerce us into with drastic statistics and end of world like pictures. Yes, changes need to be made but every person has the choice in how they will become a part of such changes.
So that’s how my green love affair started. It’s been personally rewarding. I learned to take it easy in our post-modern super sonic world. It’s also been comforting because each collective and personal baby step moves us toward a more preserving and less consuming world view.
Mother Teresa said it best, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
A few simple tips:
– switch 1 regular lightbulb in home to a compact fluorescent light. they are effecient, less expensive and versatile. plus, you don’t have to do anything, it’s for the slow starters to just get a feel. go here for info
– go on a walk with the kiddies and teach them the simple joys of playing catch while feeling the soft grass beneath their feet.
– have a family picnic even if it’s in your own backyard.
– go on outings to local farmer’s market for great fresh produce.
– plant a little herb garden. small potted ones are great accents for the kitchen. they not only bring a shot of color but will also add a lovely scent to the room.
– have a little stargazing rendez-vous with your spouse/significant other. there is nothing more romantic than snuggle moments with a great bottle of wine, a life time of stories and dreams to share with your other half.
– earth day is April 22nd. It would be a great time to flirt with your green side. there will be tons of activities in many communities around the country, check out local ones. there many ways to celebrate the day like taking the kids to a neighborhood garden to plant spring vegetables and flowers. going to the nursery to plant a memory tree … ect. go here for more info
– start recycling bins at home. it’s a fun and great activity to do with the kids, while teaching them the value of conserving our resources. helpful recycling guide
– have little craft sessions with the kiddies by up-cycling magazines, newspapers, fabrics scraps and turn them into lovely projects, a great how to at theredthreadblog
Have fun, you have nothing to lose except possibly a little stress or decrease in monthly utility bills! And I can’t wait to hear your stories and feedback.