Apparently when I was two years old, I used to toddle alongside my mother on the street and pick up random pieces of rubbish – as much as my two, tiny fists could hold. I’d then bring them home and dump them on the bookshelf that sat just inside our front door.
My mother jokes that this was the first sign that I was going to grow up a big, screaming greenie.
I’ve not always kicked-butt as a day-to-day eco-warrior, though. Few of us have. I drove a car for years without carbon offsetting my petrol. I forget to take appliances off standby when I leave the house all the freakin’ time. Sometimes, if I’m chucking a jar out of something on the turn, I won’t rinse it out and recycle it. It’ll just go straight in the bin. Oh, no. I’m no angel, not by a million miles.
But I’m getting better. I’ve now set myself informal ethical-benchmarks. I’ve drawn the line in the sand for myself, so to speak.
I think, if we’re going to embrace a lifestyle of more conscious living, we each need to do this for ourselves. Even if that line does happen to shift around a little bit.
Shoe shopping, for example, has become increasingly difficult since I went vegan. I’ve got very particular taste aesthetically, difficult feet to fit, and a comfort imperative. My values dictate not wearing animal product. But sometimes if I’m in a tight spot and genuinely can’t find anything that will enable me to walk for more than five steps unless it’s leather, then I will offer deep condolence and thanks to the cow/s who have contributed to my footwear, and concede. But you can be damned sure I’ll wear those shoes to bloody death (pun so not intended).
It’s easy to be good. It really is. But sometimes it can feel a little less easy than at others. And that’s okay. So long as we are deeply conscious – actively mindful about the choices that we make when going about our lives – so long as we are clear on our values and draw that line in the sand for ourselves with love, then we’re living well.
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