Tales of a troubled conservationalist


I've never been an avid promoter of recycling.  Ever since I was in middle school it gave me the feeling that the effort wasn't quite worth it - I didn't know why I felt this way, but it was a feeling I had.  This didn't keep me from disposing of all of my paper wastes in the recycling bin though, but in the back of my head I knew recycling wasn't the solution.  

In college I read a book called Cradle to Cradle and it confirmed everything I suspected - teaching me more about how to save the world.  Read it, please: trust me the solution isn't fast or easy, "it's going to take effort and it's going to take forever, but then again, that's the point." 

Anyway, I'm a firm believer in prevention.  (I apply this belief to everything in life.)  Just like what I've read in this book, I don't want to have to recycle.  I want to avoid all that trash.  There's no reason for containers to last so much longer than the products that came in them, for example.

If you knew me back in highschool you probably remember my issues with conserving paper.  I used the smallest possible margins, to get everything into the least amount of pages possible.  I wrote consicely.  I used single spaces, and a small font.  I printed everything front and back.  Lord knows some teachers hated me.  I used scrap paper.  I recycled when I was done with things, or I kept my work so that I could share it with underclassmen (mainly my little brother).

It's not easy being slightly obsessive compulsive and a conservationist these days.  The people who respect you are freaks like you and most people don't get the whole point.  They say, just recycle!  No... what about reducing?  What about spending less money?  WHAT!?  oh that got your attention.  Yes.  Spending less money. 

-Double siding your work literally saves you half of the paper you use. 
-Using bar soap is cheaper than liquid soap because you're not paying for all the water that comes in liquid soap, and it lasts a LOT longer (it's easy to waste a bunch of soap by oversquirting the liquid but unless you spend an hour rubbing the bar you're actually only allowed to use as much as you need - unless you're one of those that throw the soap away when it "get's too little")
-Only drive your car when you need it.  GAS IS SO EXPENSIVE!  Carpool. 
-Don't use air conditioning unless it's actually HOT out. 
-Put a bucket in your shower to collect the cold water while you're waiting for the warm water, and then use that to water your plants or to fill your toilet.  (P.S. there's actually no reason for toilet water to be as clean as drinking water, dear governmentalists, get on that.)

I actually just remembered this wasn't why I started writing this.  The whole point of this entry was RESPECT.  Nobody respects a conservationalist.  Some people interpret it as being cheap, for example... but I really don't feel that's fair. 

The benefits of conserving are endless.  But I guess it's not for everyone. 
Being on track of everything you spend can be exhausting, and I understand.  But it's easier than it appears.  Just getting into a habit is all it takes.  Just being conscious is a great way to start.  Then it all happens automatically. 

Don't use what you don't need.  If it helps, for example with products you use at home, buy in stock (it's cheaper! ) and keep smaller containers to refill.  I do this even with PeptoBismol.  It helps you use smaller amounts, it's crazy, it's psychological.  What happens is that large containers gives you the illusion that you're never going to run out of anything, so you waste incredible amounts of whatever you're buying.  Especially with food. 

This is my biggest battle with the people around me (I'll write more about trying to change people in newer posts).  USE WHAT YOU NEED and WHAT YOU REALLY WANT (it's OK to indulge yourself - you're a human being with dignity)  But if you're using it just because you can, that's a terrible thing.

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