A few weeks ago I went very off brand and went home with a guy I met at a bar and now I know how I can live a more sustainable life. Who would have thought?!
There really is no connection between this out of character sleepover and my journey to living a more sustainable lifestyle. I’d love to sit here and pretend I’m as chill as Samantha, but I’m just not good at hook ups (nor relationships for that matter either). If I’m being totally honest, this guy wasn’t even a stranger, I met him a few months before at a mutual friend’s birthday party. But, somehow, walking home from his place that morning, I made a mundane purchase that completely put the idea of ‘sustainable lifestyle’ into perspective.
I’m going to fast forward through my awkward Saturday morning exit from his apartment in the East Village except to highlight that I asked him where his favorite local coffee shop was (I NEEDED coffee). Wouldn’t it have been great if he told me about a cool place on xyz street that has the best cortado and only uses recycled products? Yes, that would have been great, but he rambled off something that I straight up didn’t listen to. So, I stumbled into a coffee shop a few blocks away that just so happened to be selling metal straws at the counter for a dollar.
I’ve been meaning to get a metal straw, so what’s another $1 after $1.50 for oat milk and $4.50 for the americano?!
Honestly, that’s just bad logic/personal finance, but let’s focus: I bought the metal straw and something clicked.
Little changes, just like that, is how I can live a more sustainable life!
Coming home from that dude’s place is kinda where my journey begins. It was really as simple as that. Now, I’m 100% waste free and I solved world hunger.
No, I’m completely kidding, but the idea of extreme sustainability was the barrier I needed to get over. I can’t really tell you what sparked my desire to live more sustainably, but I’ve been meaning to ‘do it’ for over a year now. From my perspective (aka social media), ‘doing it’ was such a large feat of completely changing my lifestyle. All the #sustainableliving that I saw was whimsically curated Instagram posts of ethical fabric, veganism and other generally unattainable things I didn’t have the time, energy, nor drive to do.
What I didn’t consider was that I could take little sustainable steps every so often and slowly live more ethically.
I know that revelation is neither new nor ground-breaking, but I do think it needs to be spread more than the current trend of extreme sustainability. Do not get me wrong, living zero waste, being vegan, or any other form of sustainable living is admirable, I don’t want to diminish that. I just need more realistic, bite-size, little tweaks to inch my way to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Now if you asked me how many times I’ve used that straw, it’s less than ten, I can’t lie. And yes, I have used that straw in my plastic iced coffee cup. It’s a learning curve to remember to use it or put it in my bag; and honestly, it doesn’t fit in my going out purse so I am not bringing it out to bars/clubs/restaurants (which is where I should really be using it, but I’ll figure something out). The point is that because I made that purchase, I’m conscious of how much plastic I use/waste and am actively trying to reduce.
That dumb metal straw, that clanks in my bag when I walk, acted as the first domino piece to fall. Others domino pieces (fast fashion, food waste and zero waste) are right behind it, waiting to fall.
That morning after that rare one night stand, a bunch of different factors came together – disorientation, convenient product placement and one-too-many-beers-syndorme – to push me towards my goal. I’m hoping that sharing the little steps I take to become more sustainable will push others to consider doing the same.
A quote sticks out to me that truly encapsulates my journey, “We don’t need a few people living completely sustainably, we need a lot of people living more sustainably.”
(I cannot cite and I’m definitely paraphrasing but if you know who said this, please let me know and I’ll properly quote them).
There are an uncountable number of ways to live more sustainably. I hope to highlight a few and am always open to more. I look forward to sharing my journey and hearing more about how others are doing the same!
Stay tuned for a post about a clothing swap and donation I organized for my graduate school colleagues! Spoiler Alert: it was next to a copier, poorly lite, but got the job done!