While the majority of my family’s life is designed to be natural and environmentally friendly not all aspects are easy. I have to admit that some days I just don’t feel like I have the energy needed to go out of my way to save the environment. When other people were cleaning up the bike trail for Earth Day I was sleeping in because I was really tired. Sometimes when I am at Sam’s club picking up office supplies I’ll get a big box of non-organic blackberries – because they are cheap and convenient. And the list could go on.
We all have our own list! So while our intentions are with the environment, sometimes our actions can fall short of what is best for us and the environment.
As I was getting out my re-usable bags at the store the other day, the check-out clerk said, “I have been meaning to switch to those but then I would not have garbage bags for my car.”
I find that sometimes what I (and perhaps others) need is a little what I call “Selfish Lazy Cheapskate Motivation”. So here is my “Top Ten” list of some of my selfish reasons for being an environmentalist.
Of course I am being a bit hard on myself – In general I do volunteer in the community and make great efforts towards treating the earth gently. We all have our altruistic motivations. But some days…
These will all give you (or your friends and family) good reasons to do something that is environmentally friendly but also fits into your busy schedule, benefits you financially, and/or allows you to sleep in 🙂
1. Breastfeeding: It is a lot cheaper than formula and I don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to nurse the baby. I can sleep through most of the feedings.
2. Re-usable shopping bags: I can actually fit ALL of my groceries into 4 bags now, instead of the 12 I usually used on my weekly shopping trip. So I don’t have to nag the kids to help me carry in the groceries and I don’t have to make more than one trip. I can carry two bags in each hand and I am done! It makes shopping a lot easier. I recently purchased a couple even larger bags from IKEA and found that I now can usually carry ALL my groceries in one trip instead of four. This saves me a lot of time!
3. Environmentally Efficient Lightbulbs: How many Kristie’s does it take to change a light-bulb? None. I dislike the chore so much I always find someone else to do it. The only problem with that is I dislike waiting. Since I went with the energy efficient bulbs we have not purchased or changed bulbs for 6 months (and I’m still counting :).
4. Re-chargeable Batteries: It seems like everything uses batteries nowadays. Some days my body could use some I think. Spending $10.00 a week on disposables finally got on my nerves. Since we invested $50.00 in a charger and rechargeables we never buy batteries anymore.
5. Eating Whole Foods: If I eat at a fast food joint I am hungry an hour later. I guess my body wasn’t fooled by the processed food even though my taste buds were! If my kids eat at a fast food joint they are hungry by the time we get home. But I have too much to do in my life to be cooking 24-hours a day or to be repeating meals! It is much more efficient to feed everyone a balanced, whole food meal and then nobody needs to be fed again for at least a few hours.
6. Wooden Toys: They are so expensive we end up buying fewer of them so I have less to clean up around the house. Plus, if they start to get old, a little sanding, gluing or re-finishing will usually take care of any problems. Plus you can sell them on Ebay for a lot more money than you can sell an old plastic toy for 🙂
7. Getting Rid of Junk Mail: Sure, it takes me an hour every few months to write to all the magazines and tell them to take me off their lists, but it saves about 17 trees a year so I can breathe better (I like to breathe) and it also saves me a lot of money since I’m not tempted to buy things from them. Out of sight…out of mind works well for me!
8. Shopping at the Local Health Food Store: If I shop at the local health food store I am surrounded by the scents of aromatherapy and fresh foods. I feel like I have gone on vacation or to the spa. I come home refreshed and feeling ready for the rest of the day. If I shop at a big grocery or mega-store I usually come out of there with a fluorescent light headache, dizzy from all the colors and crowds and annoyed at the check-out lines/process. I arrive home and often don’t even have time to unload my groceries. You have not lived until you shop at the local mom & pop or health food store!
9. Biking Instead of Driving: I have more money to spend on things I want to buy instead of on gas, it is a lot cheaper than joining a gym and I really don’t like exercising (in a formal way). Viva la SPRINGTIME! Time to bike!
10. Putting the Newspapers in the Recycling Bin: They are much easier to find there when I need to retrieve them to cut out a coupon or when I need to get a little pile to change the bedding in the bunny cage.
Enjoy! And feel free to reply to this post with some of your “selfish” motivations as well!