start where you are.

earth dayI think the biggest hurdle for me to making changes is it can feel hypocritical or pointless because I’m not a blank slate. I’m talking specifically about my zero waste goal, but this can (and does) apply to other things in my life.

I live in the suburbs, in a big house with a big lawn. We own two vehicles (and neither are hybrids). I look at it all and sometimes think that because I’m not making the BIG changes, like moving into a tiny home, or replacing my lawn with naturalized flora and edibles, my little changes are worthless.

But then I remind myself that kind of thinking is what got our planet into this mess. The thinking that because we can’t do everything, that we shouldn’t do something. Or that you have to be perfect to begin. Or that because someone else does less than you that you are absolved from doing more. THAT thinking is worthless.

For one, little changes add up. My last grocery trip: prevented lots of food packaging waste; helped a local business; added healthy, real food to our weekly menu. That’s not small. I love the quote about how every dollar you spend is casting a vote for the type of future you want. It’s true, and this week I voted for sustainable food and packaging options; local businesses; organic and sustainable small businesses.

For two, we can never say never. I might never live in a tiny house. But maybe this living with less lifestyle will inspire more and more gradual, sustainable changes that will ultimately lead to bigger ones in the future. Maybe we will move into a smaller house (I already want to, but it’s not in the plan for the family right now). Maybe I’ll run for a local office to make changes in the community. That sounds absurd to me right now, but once upon a time so did I lot of things that are now part of my daily life.

For three, you never know who you might be inspiring with your actions. The butterfly effect is real. Even complete strangers I follow on Instagram can make me want to do a little better. I’ve implemented their ideas only to have my real life friends impressed and inspired. It’s pretty amazing!

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