Climate Change -Babysteps in my Home

My quest to help save this planet was doomed to fail right from the start. “Put the lunch meat and the cheese in my containers, no plastic bags, please,” and with a determined, but not confident smile I handed her my food containers, yet she didn’t take them.

Why, oh why, is it so complicated to do the right thing sometimes?

The lady at the deli didn’t know what to do with me and called the manager. He wasn’t sure what to do either, so I enlightened them both and shared my simple plan with them. “I am trying to cut down on plastic products and waste. Please, cut the lunch meat and the cheese, weigh it, print the sticker, put the lunch meat and the cheese in my storage containers, and put the sticker on the bottom.” My self-checkout experience has helped me to become an expert on where to place the price stickers.

Purchasing lunchmeat and cheese from the deli not wrapped in plastic bags. Voila, a small baby step was taken in the right direction. Theoretically!

Practically it turned out to be much more complicated. My containers were inspected, and I was checked out as well -just not as obvious. I could tell I had failed the inspection. The look they gave me showed me they were not impressed with me, and rather annoyed by my request.

We went back and forth for a while, and in the end, I won when I asked them to wrap my deli meats and cheeses in paper instead of plastic. That seemed too much of a hassle and all of a sudden my containers were accepted. If you aim to have a reputation to be a crazy older lady, that’s how to do it.

I read about it in an article in a European newspaper magazine. A woman had successfully reduced her trash to 1/3 and lives a plastic-free life. I had borrowed some of her ideas -of course only the ones that didn’t seem to be too inconvenient.

So far I am not willing to be the climate change superhero. I just tried to put my mind at ease, because that’s what we normally do. We give a little, so we can say we weren’t that bad.

Change is complicated! Change is inconvenient! But change is necessary!

Transitions and adjustments are often not as difficult as we initially think. Everything is possible if we only pull together in the same direction.

It is time to save the world

and our future…

What will it take to stir us into a new way of being? Intellectually we ‘get it’ and yet we still cannot close
the gap between our knowledge and our day-to-day behavior. I know I have a hard time. We need to close that chasm between cognition and action, we need a different sort of provocation. We need something to electrify us, move us, spur us on, fire us up.

Lunch meat bought in the store, transport in my own reusable containers! It doesn’t hurt, it just takes a bit of effort! No more plastic straws, no more to-go cups, no more store-bought water bottles but filtered tap water. Small changes can add up.

This year, two of my blogging friends have made an enormous step forward. Both live in California where the draught has been a problem, where water usage for the lawns had been restricted -and rightfully so. Debra and Rosaliene Bacchus both have created beautiful and very interesting yards and gardens. Both have shown great thoughtfulness in planning and designing. The yards are attractive and colorful, different perhaps, but in a very nice way. The yard of the future? Possibly.

Their efforts have paid off, it was worth it. And here I am complaining about the funny looks I got when I asked to have my husband’s lunch meat to be packed in a container that I had brought from home.

So much action on their end, hardly any on mine.

Climate change is not just an issue for politics and business. It affects us all, and each and every one of us can make a difference through small things in everyday life.

The amount of trash just the two of us produce is insane. One full garbage can every week. We use fabric totes and reusable bags to carry our groceries, yet inside there are plastic bags for all the fruits and vegetables we buy, bags for the lunchmeats and the cheeses, everything individually wrapped If you aim to have a reputation to be a crazy older lady

I drink at least five bottles of water a day, store-bought, pure mineral water -that’s what the label says. We have a mini fridge, it’s always filled with sodas and ice-cold water. It’s convenient to just go and open another bottle.

The store-bought water is going to be replaced. Now I own ten 16-oz BPA-free bottles that I will fill up with filtered tap water every night. Giving up the plastic bottles cost us around $60 for filters and bottles. That’s not bad at all, that’s what we spend on store-bought water in eight weeks.

I know I will forget to fill up my water bottles now and then, and cleaning them every day will feel odd at first.

Accepting climate change is problematic because if we accept it, we have to change.

Sometimes I wonder. Why should I care, I am only one person but I also believe that one person can make a difference!

There are a lot of crazy women and men just like me out there, who might be stubborn enough to at least try to be more conscious with their everyday purchases.

I have so much to learn! I am only beginning.

25 thoughts on “Climate Change -Babysteps in my Home

    • I think in general people in Europea are more concerned about climate change than people in the US, also they are better educated (news-wise) and know more about other countries than peope here, who mostly watch morning shows or news channels that solely give out headlines made in USA.
      Western Europe (Sweden/Germany and many others) are far ahead of us. The EU (European Union) brings them together as we both know, there is nothing that will bring the USA together, we are devided no matter what the subject might be.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s for sure manufacturers of plastic bags and bottles are not going to make it easy for us, Bridget. They will argue that they provide jobs and help the economy. You’re right- it’s down to the individual, and laziness and habit often win. Tap water in Portugal is every bit as healthy as bottled. If you want to save money in a restaurant you can ask for a jug of tap water. That feels brave because you can be regarded as a cheapskate. We have got as far as filling bottles with tap water and cooling them in our fridge, which isn’t very modern. It’s not easy to buy meat, even from the butcher’s counter, that isn’t put into plastic bags. Vegetables are easier, but my husband will never be a vegetarian. Knowing and doing aren’t the same, unfortunately. We can only try.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are really awesome steps forward and I applaud you for taking your own containers. Shops here are accepting them now too, but many people forget. However, we have been great about taking reusable bags for our groceries and I recently purchased a non plastic variety for my bread purchases.
    I detest bottled water but if your water is foul tasting it is necessary to have some kind of filter. We used to have an in sink filter but the water here is much better to drink. I fill up a glass bottle and leave it sit for a hour or so, or overnight. The water tastes so much better when I do.
    Keep up the great work. Industry might have to do the heavy lifting re climate change, but individually we have to keep chipping away for if we do the wall of climate denial will eventually break.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the kind mention, Bridget, and I commend you in return for your effort to minimize plastic with your trip to the grocery! I can easily imagine the confusion. LOL! Plastic is such a burden on our landfills. Where some of our California grocery stores had made progress in allowing for bulk purchases in biodegradable bags and containers, I notice with Covid “protections” we’ve rolled back some of that progress and items are encased in plastic. I hope that changes soon. But you’re so bold to make your own effort. I am impressed!

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  4. When we are up north staying at Our Little Red House, everything we bring with us has to be taken out. There is no garbage service in the middle of no where Arizona. You learn how to use as little trash and containers as possible. We use glass jars, have a water filter too. We stopped using plastic water bottles years ago and have also saved a ton by just using our own bottle filled with our filtered water…baby steps. I think it is awful to be up in nature and by beautiful creeks seeing garbage left behind and in the beautiful lakes, rivers and creeks. My husband used to laugh at how I would pick up garbage on the way out of the theater when we were first dating… Why do people leave their garbage everywhere? I would always tell my husband that…and It’s a good question if you think about it. There are so many things we can do, to make sure we leave this planet beautiful for the next generations.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I never understood it either, sadly it’s everywhere like that. Every time I hiked in the mountains, no matter if here or back in Austria, I came back down with a backpack full of trash that wasn’t mine. It’s the small things that make life more beautiful. Why not leave a place the way you found it?

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  5. Bridget, thanks for sharing the link to my blog post. I love what Debra has done with her garden. We adapt whatever way we can in dealing with our climate and ecological crises. Focusing on reducing our plastic usage, as you’re doing, is an excellent way to start. By the way, all those drought resistant plants I buy from our local garden centers come in plastic pots. Local conditions – drought, wildfires, floods, extreme storms, and more – will determine other actions we will need to take.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are very welcome, Rosaliene. Both of your yards are beautiful and definitely a step in the right direction. Adjusting – adapting – taking action! It’s so much easier said than done. It’s not easy to change old habits. I have to admit it’s even a bit inconvenient at times.

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  6. Well done Bridget. It does seem that a single person cannot make a difference but, just as a journey starts with a single step, a few individuals making a tiny difference soon adds up to a sizeable difference. We all need to do at least a little bit and to add to those efforts in future. We will, we must, make a difference.

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  7. This is inspiring. There are things I already do to cut down on plastics; however, after reading this I am going to be on the lookout for other changes I can make. I believe in incrementalism – small changes over time – which can add up. I do have a rain barrel – which I love. That is the only water I use to water my outside plants and flowers. The rain barrel looks like a large stone, so it looks nice. I’ve had it about ten years.

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    • Betty, it’s really the little things that add up. The wrapping paper we use for x mas and gifts in general. Replacing the gift bag with a reusable tote makes sense. Wrapping presents with new kitchen towels, scarves, or other things people can use, also makes sense. It just takes some effort and when you start it, it’s actually fun.

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  8. I know how you feel. Unfortunately the tap water at home is not always potable without boiling so we purchase purified water in bulk and fill a little tank with a tap on it which is kept in the kitchen. I decline the use of plastic bags for fruit and vegetables – they can either place the sticker directly on the vegetable or I use thin cloth bags for the rest. I reuse containers I cannot help getting e.g. polystyrene trays and ice-cream tubs. I never water our lawn and mostly grow plants in pots … every little bit helps. It must!

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