Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Living sustainability

Launching it's first carnival, the new APLS (Affluent People Living Sustainably) blog sought to discover how readers define living sustainably. I purposely haven't read anyone else's posts as I wanted to spend some time thinking about it first, so if I'm just repeating what others have said, I'm sorry, but I'm looking forward to reading everyone's comments when the carnival hits the APLS blog on August 15. Stay tuned!

So, what does sustainability mean to me? Sustainability means finding a critical balance. It means giving back and much as I take. It's about maintaining a symbiotic relationship with the Earth and with everything in it. It's recognizing that being human doesn't make me a master of the universe, rather it makes me an unimaginably small piece of a very large and humbling puzzle. 

Living sustainably means thinking about options before making a decision. Whether that decision is about what toilet paper to buy, what food to eat, or what mode of transportation to use. It's about being mindful. It's about the future of life long after I'm gone.

Living sustainably is a process. You don't wake up one day, decide to live sustainably, and voila - welcome to your NEW life. Well, it didn't happen for me that way. It actually started out as a very selfish pursuit. I wanted to work less. Working less meant consuming less. Consuming less meant prioritizing. Little by little, as I fine-tuned my consumptive habits, I realized how much of an impact I have on the Earth and on others, and I wanted the money I did spend to mean something - I wanted it to stay in the local economy, I wanted quality products, and I wanted it to help people (vs. corporations). It has been a 10 year pursuit to date and year by year, I learn a little more and change accordingly. 

Living sustainably is individual. What's so beautiful about the world is that we are all different, and our pursuit of sustainability will manifest itself in as many different ways are there are individuals who pursue it. There is no right answer. There is only the desire to accept the world around us as an equal; to see it for the miracle that it is.


Unknown said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Awesome. I really love your focus on being mindful.

It is nice to realize you've been making changes for 10 years. I do want to wake up and "Voila" :) You've made me wonder where I'll be in 10 years!

J said...

What a beautiful post Heather, very moving and very well written.

I just recently "joined" APLS and put the banner up on my blog. I didn't realize the carnival post was coming up so quickly! I suppose I'll have to make sure to do it next time. :-(

LK Sisters said...

I love your philosophy of living more simply and sustainably!

I saw a comment you made about recycling through another website...I was wondering where the university center is that allows cereal boxes to be recycled. I'm in College Station and about to take recycles in before I move on Friday....could you tell me where I can recycle cereal boxes here, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

hmd said...

bobbi - Thanks!

green resolutions - Ten years ago, I never would have imagined my life today. I would have said you were crazy if you told me I would be canning and baking bread. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

jennnifer - yeah, I was kinda cutting it at the last minute myself. You can still post one, it just won't hit the carnival site later this week. Would love to hear your perspective!

lk - TAMU's recycling center is on South College. They'll accept community recycling from 4:00-4:45 Monday thru Friday. Here's a link to their webpage...


I just took a load in the other day. I love that they take cereal and shoe boxes!

Anonymous said...

I love your post and I am SO glad I stumbled upon your blog after seeing it listed at the APLS site.

Jennifer!! Get to writing!! I JUST wrote an article one hour ago after deciding to go ahead and jump in. At first I was thinking I'd just catch the NEXT carnival...and then I thought I better just jump right in.

So do it! I've had insomnia the last couple nights...so I need SOMETHING to read!! LOL!

hmd said...

Gina - welcome to SGF!

EnviRambo said...

You really do become more aware with every little change you make. It's a slow and steady progression. Then one day you look back and say, "Wow, how the heck did I get here?" and "I can't believe the way things used to be!" Now that I know, I will never go back.

hmd said...

greeen sheeep - absolutely!

Green Bean said...

Totally agree with you! A lot of living sustainably (or trying) is just being more mindful. Think twice.

Interesting that you came at this from a frugality perspective. Arduous and I were talking about the great overlap between frugal/debt bloggers and eco bloggers. A lot of the stuff we do is the same. Just motivation is different. And that seems to merge eventually too.

Bobbi said...

I like reading how everyone gives their actions such thought. It's not about following a trend; it's about knowledge and action.

hmd said...

Green Bean - I agree. I've found that more often than not the things I do to be green are also frugal and are also simple. The things I do to be frugal are also green and also simple. Etc. It all seems to work together.

Bobbi - Absolutely. I hate it when the papers call "going green" a trend. It should be a new way of life, like the introduction of civil rights. When you realize you've been doing wrong all these years, you start doing right - permanently, not as a trend.