I read a lot about living sustainably–from how to eat, dress to even planning a wedding. It’s all really useful and fascinating information. Right now I am reading the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” (thanks for the suggestion, Rosie!) and it is a great book. I am learning all about how a farming family lives off of only local food for a year. I am really enjoying it and really admire the effort they have made to live with as little impact on the environment as possible.
Unfortunately, as I read more and more of these types of books, instead of feeling good about the little things I can do, it leaves me feeling like I’m not doing enough. I read all the time about composting. It sounds crazy and nerdy, but I really wish I could compost. But Janna and I’s apartment is small and there honestly isn’t any way for us to compost. So our food waste goes into the garbage-making it smelly and gross, and then when it makes to the landfill, creating lots of methane gas that in turn creates problems for the environment.
Then there is the garbage itself. We throw our garbage into a huge dumpster, and it makes me cringe to see everything people in our complex throw away that could either be fixed or recycled. I have had to resort to just throwing the bag in there from five feet away and then hurrying away before I get a good look inside, because I figure since I can’t change what they throw away, I might as well not look at it to save myself the pain (If I recognize I am crazy, does that make this last paragraph so ridiculous?).
Even more than the compost and garbage, I wish we could eat as healthy as the family in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I make a big effort to buy all of my fruits and vegetables at the weekly Farmer’s Market in McMinnville, but unfortunately it’s not always convenient or affordable (I am saving for a wedding, after all!). I also hear about all of the great CSAs there are in the area, and how more than just organic fruits and vegetables are available–you can now buy free range and grass fed beef, pork, chicken, eggs and even Thanksgiving turkey. But buying into a CSA is expensive, and so is buying free range food (I also don’t have the room to store it).
I know not everyone can afford to eat completely sustainable, but because I am so conscious about other ways to help the environment, I want nothing more than to buy only organic vegetables and fruits, free range and grass fed meat and eggs.
So what’s a relatively cash-strapped, apartment dwelling eco-conscious 23-year-old to do?
I suppose the easy answer is to just keep using my reusable bags, buy as much organic produce and free range meat as I can afford, recycle as much as possible (and realize I can’t change my neighbors’ habits), and promise that when I have my own home and make a little bit more, that I will compost, recycle, eat only organic and free range food, and not have to look into someone else’s garbage.