We had big hair, bright colors, acid-washed pegged jeans and rock bands that wore more make-up than Cyndi Lauper. We were the generation of excess. We were the generation of paper plates, cheap plastic jewelry, and walkmans.
Almost everything that was bought was disposable—and we bought a lot.
So fast forward to now: the green generation. Slowly, we have shifted to not only recycling, but becoming eco-conscious, striving towards minimalism and sustainable businesses. Factory farming has been given the spotlight (finally!) and plastic is the new evil.
None of these changes have happened quickly, but I find myself struggling to keep up.
A few months ago, my teenage daughter gave me the look and complained about my store bought bottled water. I snapped back at her that I am busy and I liked the taste of this water. Besides, I recycle the water bottles.
She responded with a tirade about the adverse effects of these factories that produce bottled water, the chemicals in the plastic that potentially leak into the water and that while recycling is good, avoiding the purchase altogether is better.
Sigh. I really don’t like the taste of my tap water though.
Yes, I can get a filter, but the quick and easy way is just to buy bottled water.
I know the importance of living a green life, but putting these practices to work in every day chaotic life is another story.
For instance, we drive everywhere.
I know that perhaps biking or public transportation is a better option, but in our community, there is no public transportation and the roads are not conducive to cycling. Traveling from place to place with three kids in tow on bikes would be hair raising for me—especially since I haven’t been on a bike since I was 13.
While we are not perfect, we are making strides to improve our lifestyle. We are becoming smarter about our purchases. I no longer buy things without thinking through if I really need it. I can’t say I never buy something simply for the sake of really liking it, but this doesn’t happen nearly as often.
We do recycle. Our community supports recycling and we are steadfast in following through with this. My kids are especially good at remembering and frequently nag my parents to participate.
We eat a lot less meat. I have become vegan, my oldest daughter is vegetarian and my younger two prefer meat, but eat vegan dishes at home. While I would rather we were all vegan, my children are at ages where I can’t force them into this lifestyle. I encourage it, we talk about what factory farming is and the nutritional benefits of a diet rich in plant food.
I remember stumbling on a blog years ago about home organization by a woman that dubbed herself The Flylady. One of her mottos was: Progress, not perfection.
I may have come from the excess generation, but slowly we are living a greener life bit by bit.
Thankfully, I am surrounded by three kids of the green generation to help me along.
Like elephant green on Facebook.
Ed: Bryonie Wise