by Lilly Spantidaki
I have to admit that I have always associated April with 2 things; one is my name day on the 24th [I am happy to receive wishes] and it’s the International Day of the Book on the 23rd. On the danger of repeating myself, for someone who gets acquainted with my articles for the first time — I love books and literature and they have always played a major role in my life.
I also have to admit that I care about the environment but not enough. I love my red meat, I like buying new clothes, especially if the weather or the circumstances are calling for it, and I do not check if the packages are recyclable. Sometimes I think it’s laziness, sometimes I find excuses about my bandwidth and all of the times, guaranteed, I feel horrible about it. So this article is for anyone out there who is like me, they care but they haven’t started, or they have just taken the first steps on this wonderful journey to restore Earth’s health.
It all starts with the realization that, yes, you do care.
Sounds simple, too simple but it’s true. Once your gut gets this deep intense feeling that your actions are impacting the environment then you move on to the next stage:
I noticed a lot of things and I still do every day. Little things, like for instance that I use at least one or two straws for drinking coffee every day [and before anyone thinks I am tapped, I drink Greek Frappe which is cold coffee]. The simplest and the first thing I got rid of. I switched to metal straws that I can even put in the dishwasher.
Instantly, the awareness called for Action and my mindset was never the same.
Another key word mentioned above: dishwasher. I was one of those that would wash everything under a nice boiling hot running tap, obsessing about the cleanness every millimetre of the dishes. Nope, dishwasher is actually better for the environment. Especially if we change our habit of using for example a different glass whenever we need to drink water. One single load at the end of the day is making a difference.
With the risk of waking up very unpleasant memories for early lockdown, toilet rolls. Insane amounts of toilet roll are used every year — unfortunately after intense research I couldn’t find any data specific on Ireland but I hope this helps. So you can switch to bamboo rolls or recycled — although it seems the bamboo is a tad better for keeping up with Earth’s health.
And then my most terrible and wonderful habit of all: shopping. It’s amazing how many uses old clothes have. All of the sudden, and thanks to my mother’s sewing skills, I got new pillowcases and tote bags. I also have dustpans that I honestly do not need to buy from the market, and some people go even further with readjusting the cloth altogether; you get a dress out of old pants -sorcery I am unable to master. And because I can’t do that, charity shops are my best friend every quarter. But that’s half done part. What about the part that I enjoy; researching for that new dress or the need for a new jacket for the winter?
There’s a great book I recommend for anything really, Atomic Habits by James Clear. In a very short attempt to summarize the book, it highlights the importance of breaking the goals into small digestible actions in order to break and reintroduce a habit. For instance, I wanted to break the shopping habit. I introduced a filter to my impulse: do I really need this? And because my mind could easily bypass this question with a “yes” my follow-up question to myself is “why”. I realized there are no whys in the world that could justify the new buy. Not exactly a bullet proof system but it works so far and I turned an old bad habit to a new good Habit.
So if you’re like me, and you feel you don’t do enough, next time walk instead of taking the bus. Check the package before you buy that item in the grocery shop. After a couple of times, it will become a way of living.
Enjoy Earth Day and reach out to GoingFar Instagram account and tag us (@GoingFarIE) with your habit or advice on a greener way of living!