I recently ran across a quote somewhere and I don’t remember by whom, but it was something to the effect that we often forget what is right by what is convenient or what is right is often forgotten by what is convenient. I don’t think it was written with the environment in mind, however, I think some eco-truths are spoken here.
I reflected back on this thought as I analyzed the snack food aisle at the grocery store the other day. I found myself deliberating my frequent purchase of applesauce in those individual plastic cups versus a large glass jar. Convenient on the surface to plop that little pre-packaged item in the lunch box or briefcase, but is it the right thing to do?
The truth of the matter is that most of us are immigrants to this world of sustainability and environmental awareness whereas our children will be natives. And thanks to the latest, greatest marketing message, coupled with our "busyness", most of us subscribe to the convenience factor. I know I have and still often do, but find myself thinking a little bit harder about the consequences.
Convenient today…but what about tomorrow? How convenient will it be when our descendants are still living with that plastic bottle or snack cup we tossed away to save us an extra minute or two. What about that aluminum can we were too lazy to hang onto until we found a recycle bin. Or all of those plastic bags we threw away and on-going production effects because it was easier than remembering reusable totes. What kind of legacy is that?
I don't think it's one I want to leave behind. And in this fast, super-sized, set it and forget it world, we’ve got a lot of work to do to remember to get it right - even at the most basic level I’m talking about. So let’s challenge ourselves to be more cognizant when we reach for that “convenience item”. Is there another, more reasonable way to get the same result with less impact. Of course there is - like buying the applesauce in the larger recylable glass jar, forgoing the bottled water, or using reusable totes. We’ve got to move beyond and incorporate these environmental basics in everyday life.
And if we are successful, those little natives growing up now won’t be having these kinds of conversations like talking about the benefits of recycling, using reusable totes or eco-friendly products. It will be their way of life and hopefully they, as well as the children to follow, will be grateful that we took the extra time and effort to do the right thing...today.
Jeanne Blaisdell also publishes The Green Samaritan, her personal blog encouraging kindness to the environment through refined, renewed and resourceful living.